To Chance with Hell (Planescape)
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The Fated: Not You and Me, just Me
The Fated are possibly one of the most distrusted groups in the multiverse. Their leader was responsible for the calamity of the Faction War, and everyone knows it. Although the members of the Fated weren‘t aware of their factol‘s true ambitions at the time, they were wise to scarper out of Sigil when they did. Now, they make their way the best they can in the planes of the Great Ring, and they find it just as unforgiving as any cold-blooded Taker.
See, the Fated don‘t believe in pity. They recognize the multiverse is a tough place, but they say everyone‘s the master of their own destiny, and there‘s no one else to blame. Everyone has the potential to make it big, but only those who are really work for it are going to get anywhere. The multiverse belongs to those who can hold it, and if you fail along the way, it‘s because you weren‘t trying hard enough.
Philosophy: Everyone‘s responsible for themselves. For good or bad, you carve out your own fate.
Nicknames: Survivors, Takers, the Heartless.
Factol: Aram Oakwright
Prominent Members: Rayl Whitespoon, Brigitte Gunnarsmoon, and Shorash Ambergrove
Alignment: Any except lawful good.
Symbol: A hand gripping a golden walking stick against a purple background. It has been adopted to
highlight the faction‘s change of emphasis, but detractors claim the stick‘s actually a cudgel.
Related skills: Endurance, Streetwise. A player may start the game with skill focus with either skill if they choose not to pick a skill related to being a Primer, or Planar.
Faction bonuses with the Fated will confer abilities such as:
- temporary bonuses that improve your character only
- those that give you an advantage over a single opponent, including skill based abilities
- those that grant a resistance to damage
The Philosophy of the Fated
The Fated believe that the multiverse and everything in it is up for grabs. Those who are strong enough to hold on to something deserve it. This covers everything from material wealth, to land, to the abstract ideals that make up the multiverse. A body needs to pull himself up by his own strength in the end, and if they fall, it‘s no one‘s fault but his own. Luck, chance, fate, those are all shams. A true Fated grabs the woven threads of the Norns, and snaps em in twain. Then he moves on, and does what he needs to do to make the future he wants. Sure, there‘s all sorts of names thrown at the Fated, like heartless and cold-blooded. Just the squalling of babes, who are too weak to stand on their own two feet. Instead of doing something about it, they try to bring down the successful with words like knives. Well, the Fated have a nice, thick skin.
And truth is, those poor fools have got it all wrong. The Fated aren‘t petty thieves and thugs (at least not for the most part). They‘re individuals first and foremost. Most are the fair-minded, upstanding sort. Being a Taker doesn‘t mean grabbing everything in sight, and it doesn‘t mean you can‘t give someone a fair shake. But when you want something, you make it yours with everything you can muster. All but the dimmest realize not everything can be won by force. But even finding love and happiness takes force of will, an inner strength that too many lack.
Never show weakness or softness. Never be a coward. It‘s courage to stand up for what you want and what you believe that‘ll get you places. Anytime you see someone in the gutter, just remember whose fault that is. Any self-respecting body wouldn‘t wallow about in the mud there, asking for handouts. A body has to be self-sufficient. ‘Cause when it comes down to it, there‘s no one else looking out for you. The only one with your best interests at heart is your own self.
The Fated keep the truth of their early days close to their chests. They were banging about the Cage for quite some time, having had the foresight and wherewithal to set up the Hall of Records and become Sigil‘s tax collectors. The Hall of Records contained files on almost every transaction and title of ownership that had any importance in Sigil. Birth, marriage, and death certificates were kept in the Hall, along with histories and census records. The basement held the extensive archives acquired when the Fated foreclosed on the original owners of the Hall, Bigby‘s College of Academic Arts. These archives came in very useful indeed, and became the basis for The Secret History of Sigil, the Fated‘s greatest collection of information on the factions. This research project was continuously added to, and also contained the history of the Fated itself.
Not much else is known about the history of the faction. They have always had a presence on several other planes, most notably Ysgard, where a large number of the inhabitants belong to the faction. The strong thrive in the fields of Ysgard, and the relationship was natural. The Fated seem to have begun there, having learned valuable lessons of survival and self-sufficiency. From there, the faction spread throughout the planes, learning how to cope with the various conditions on the Great Ring, finding ways to survive, and even thrive. As time passed, they turned their attentions to more than merely getting by, especially when they came to Sigil. Many Fated came to hold positions of power throughout the planes, sometimes as rulers, but more often as right hands or other powers behind the thrones. The Fated tend towards subtlety and manipulation, and staying behind the curtain gives their power more longevity than if they were out in the open.
Duke Rowan Darkwood became factol by getting the dirt on Emma Oakwright, the factol before him. Darkwood had only been in the Cage for a short time, but he was a quick study. Ambitious enough to put most Fated to shame, he set his eyes on nothing less than Sigil itself. He made plenty of enemies along the way, from his own faction as well as the rest. His plans all came together when he finally got hold of something to use against the Lady herself. That‘s when he set the Faction War in motion.
Of course, Darkwood‘s plans didn‘t work out the way he‘d planned, and he was sent to the Mazes with the rest of the factols. The whole power structure of the factions came tumbling down, and the Lady blew the pieces to the winds. When the ragged factions started comparing notes, they figured out that Darkwood had played the lot of them, manipulating events and bringing about this whole sorry state of affairs. The Fated made themselves real scarce when that came to light, with most of them scurrying back to Ysgard. Their headquarters there used to be called Rowan‘s Hall, in honor of their leader, but now it‘s simply known as the Sanctuary. Any Fated‘s welcome to make it their home whenever need be. Naturally they have to work for the privilege, but it‘s better than being out in the cold. Although they‘ve lost the Hall of Records (and the Hall‘s lost the records), Darkwood had The Secret History of Sigil moved here shortly before the War. The information contained in the history may be the key to the Fated‘s return to Sigil. Historian Brigitte Gunnarsmoon has been put in charge of maintaining the archives, and incorporating new information.
Recently, the Ring-Givers abandoned Skeinheim, their headquarters in Ysgard. This used to be the headquarters of the Fated, but it fell into the Ring-Givers‘ hands. The Takers claimed that they were tricked, and have never forgiven the upstart Ring-Givers. The Fated tried to take the town back several times over the years, but the Ring-Givers beat em back each time. Since the Ring-Givers pulled up stakes, a number of the Takers have moved back in. Many of the Fated are sure it‘s some sort of ploy, and they still give Skeinheim a wide berth.
Aram Oakwright, Darkwood‘s former right hand at the Hall of Records, has shoved his way to control of the faction. He‘d been eyeing the top spot since Darkwood took it from his cousin. Oakwright is a master at trading and selling information, and with The Secret History of Sigil at his fingertips, he‘s been able to keep most competitors at bay. His position is still precarious, though. The other ambitious sorts are looking for any way to topple him they can, while a good number of Fated aren‘t looking to replace Darkwood with another power-hungry bastard. To the more forward-looking Survivors, Oakwright is a dangerous anachronism, the sort of conniver that made them pariahs in the first place. Some of em have simply chosen to ignore him for now; they‘re too busy forging their own paths to bother with him.
Just getting by in these times is a pretty big goal in and of itself for the faction. Although none of em were privy to their former factol‘s plans, the members of the Fated are even less popular than they used to be. One of the things they need to accomplish is brightening their image, and there are several ways they‘re going about accomplishing this.
The Fated are trying to at least pretend they‘re friendly folks, and if not offering outright charity, at least offer a helping hand here and there. They expect to be paid for their help in some fashion, but they usually cut a fair deal. They also try to show a body that their driving philosophy ain‘t so bad, after all. They point out the fact that anyone‘s welcome to join (unless they‘re paladins or some such). They may be elitists, but it‘s not because they stop anyone else from trying to be the best they can be. The best example of this campaign is Shorash Ambergrove, an aasimar with a personality as bright as his skin. Shorash travels the Great Ring, offering seminars (for a fee) on how to reach a person‘s full potential. He also sells a book containing all sorts of advice and little phrases a body can repeat to himself to keep a positive attitude. A lot of folks have joined up with the faction after going to a seminar or two. Shorash hasn‘t made it to the Cage, yet, but it‘s only a matter of time. The Fated, by and large, are working hard to regain respect, and try to show themselves as self-reliant cutters to be admired, not feared and despised.
Many of the Takers are scrambling for any plot of land they can get hold of in the planes, especially the Outlands. Even in the infinite multiverse, territory is a valuable commodity. Oakwright is especially interested in Glorium, Ysgard‘s gate-town. The town‘s chieftain, Flatnose Grim of the Free League, has always resisted the Fated‘s attempts to gain a foothold here. Oakwright figures he‘ll take Glorium by force of arms if it comes to it. Rayl Whitespoon, who used to run the Rowan Academy of Training, has distinguished herself in several sorties across the planes, particularly in the battle for Kra‘thinkar, a githyanki fortress built on the corpse of some nameless deity. While this has given the Fated a base on the Astral Plane, it‘s whispered that the real reason for the dangerous assault lay in a long-standing grudge between Whitespoon and H‘r‘kai, a prominent githyanki knight of Kra‘thinkar. Some people wonder how Darkwood could have ever had the guts to spurn Whitespoon for Factol Nilesia.
Many of the less militant Takers have taken control of caravan lines, or have otherwise opened or maintained existing merchant ventures. Several caravan routes across the Outlands and throughout the Outer Planes bring goods to gate-towns, realms, and the Great Bazaar of Sigil. Some of them quietly support Oakwright‘s plans for Glorium, hoping they can gain access to Yggdrasil‘s pathways.
In general, the Fated have fallen back on the skills that made them special in the first place. When a Survivor sets his mind to knowing a plane, few can approach his skill. The Fated know how to endure the unforgiving nature of the Great Ring, and some note with pride their forays into the inimical Inner Planes and the like. Many Fated have taken up the job of guide, for individuals or caravans. The Survivors operate way stations, inns, and toll bridges, and offer places to hire guides, even along a number of caravan routes they do not explicitly control.
The Fated never had many friends to begin with, and that isn‘t changing since Faction War. They still tend to get along with the Free League, as long as their individual goals don‘t clash and the Fated bring a lot of goods to the Great Bazaar of Sigil, or help protect the routes. The Fated used to have some tenuous links with the Mercykillers. Of the two splinter groups born of that dead faction, the Sons of Mercy don‘t think much of the Fated (and the feeling‘s mutual). The Sodkillers have quite a bit in common with the Fated though, and sometimes they work together with the Takers, while other times it comes to blows, depending on the situation.
Pretty much everyone else qualifies as an enemy. Most bodies are still wary of the Fated, and none of the factions seems interested in forgiving them for the war. The Fated still holds grudges against the other big group in Ysgard, the Ring-Givers. Their philosophies don‘t mix well, and that‘s caused quite a bit of strife over the years.