To Chance with Hell (Planescape)
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The Ring-Givers: Big Hearts, Longer Memeories
The Ring-Givers are a small but growing faction from Ysgard. Completely opposite in ideals from the Fated, the Ring-Givers believe that everything that is given up will come back to them. Thus, whoever can give up everything and convince the multiverse to do likewise will reap the greatest reward in true accordance of the Unity of Rings. To the Ring-Giver, possessions are a form of limitation, and freedom from desire equates to complete power over oneself and eventually the multiverse. Ring-Givers live only on the charity of others, and they thrive in doing so. In a place as cold and uncaring as the multiverse, that is an accomplishment indeed.
Philosophy: You only get as good as you give.
Nicknames: Bargainers, Beggars.
Home Location: Palace of the Jester in Sigil.
Factol: Jeremo the Natterer (CN male human Ftr6/Rog12 Ring-Givers)
Prominent Members: Borghild Walsing, Grim Arneger, Ingwe Alting, Ragin Ravensson, Voltraagh
Alignment: Any, with chaotic and good tendencies.
Symbol: Outstretched hand with a ring in its palm
Related skills: Insight, History. 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 Ring-Givers will confer abilities such as:
- those that reflect or cause harm to enemies that attack the Ring-Giver
- those that heal or remove conditions from their allies
- those that remove slow, immobilize, or restrain conditions from the Ring-Giver
Special: Ring-Givers cannot sell items, nor choose what magic items they get (i.e., they’re all randomly determined). In addition, they must give away any magic item they come to possess after having it for a maximum of three levels. Ring-Givers can either gain 40% of the item’s quest value plus 50% of the value in favour with a faction, or 80% of the item’s quest value back by giving it to a stranger.
The Philosophy of the Ring-Givers
Freedom is the true path to power. The acquisition of material possessions dulls a person‘s true potential. The responsibilities of business and property distract from a person‘s true purpose. When you have nothing, then you truly have everything.
Ring-Givers covet neither money nor possessions, and rarely do they wield overt power. They keep themselves free of debts while living day to day on the charity of others. When given an object, a Ring- Giver uses it as the need arises, then passes it on to another more in need. Rarely does a Ring-Giver keep more than the bare essentials.
Such a lifestyle would seem self-defeating, especially on such an independent plane as Ysgard, where charity is considered an insult. What distinguishes a Ring-Giver from any common beggar in any city on any plane is a sense of integrity and self-worth that remains in balance. Ring-Givers don‘t expect a free ride; they gladly work for what they need, and they lend aid without complaint. “The gods help them who help themselves”, is a favorite saying, and the most unlikely of creatures have given aid in the most unlikely of situations. Stories of such fortune have helped their philosophy spread slowly throughout the planes.
Of all the factions, the Ring-Givers‘ philosophy has possibly been subject to the most interpretations. People tend to embrace the core of the Ring-Givers‘ ethos – give and others will give to you – and alter it to fit their individual perspectives. The Ysgardian Ring-Givers philosophy remains the best-known interpretation: people in a community contribute as much as they can while keeping track of those who owe them something in return. A wainwright mends a farmer‘s wagon wheel, knowing the farmer will bring him a bushel or two of apples when the crop is ripe. A woman cleans her neighbor‘s house when there‘s a new arrival, as the neighbor did the same the previous year. When a stranger comes to town, a family feeds him and gives him a bed for the night; if the stranger doesn‘t pitch in and help around the house the next day, the family knows they‘ll be paid back all the more. Such folk hold on to the favors owed as if they were the purest platinum, trusting their charity will be returned in kind eventually. And they‘re usually right.
Limbo and Pandemonium see a fair number of Ring-Givers as well, as it‘s easier to give up everything when you don‘t have anything to begin with. While this makes those planes a bit more hospitable, Ring- Givers in those regions are more likely to make a quick shift of perspective when it doesn‘t look like they‘ll be making something for their help.
On the fields of Elysium and across regions of the Upper Planes, the Ring-Givers‘ philosophy is less self-motivated and more altruistic in nature. Believing that it is a moral obligation to give one‘s all to those around them, these Ring-Givers act to better the community as a whole. In their eyes this is the only path to the greatest benefits for everyone, and by living by example they slowly convert the multiverse to follow their lead. Not everyone may do so for the same reasons, but the very act of giving is enough.
Abyssal Ring-Givers have the most twisted interpretation – everyone owes them something, for one reason or another. A Bargainer on the Plane of Infinite Portals might admire a fighter‘s sword, suggesting that it would help him keep his silence if questioned about the fighter‘s whereabouts. A quasit might solicit individual gifts from party members, implying it would “forget” the adventurer was with the others if the price is right. Even a marilith might accept a person‘s belongings in exchange for not killing them. Hardly any different from regular extortion, the Abyssal Ring-Givers consider such gifts payment for a debt inherently owed, and that their “gifts” of inaction can be just as valuable as active assistance.
Like most of the factions, the origin of the Ring-Givers is unknown, though it almost assuredly began in Ysgard. The principles of the faction seem to have existed in different forms for a very long time, but it was Ingwe Alting who gave it a firm philosophical foundation. In a land where brawn triumphed over brains on a daily basis, Ingwe Alting found himself ineffective in the pursuit of glory by combat. He had no skill with a sword and little coordination, and he lacked the strength and stature of his peers. This troubled him greatly, for he wished to live up to the ideals of his forefathers, and by the standards of his people he did not contribute to the honor of his clan.
Failing to find prestige through combat, the illusionist sought to win respect through another Ysgardian tradition: hospitality. Using his magical talent to provide bountiful food and entertainment, Ingwe earned a reputation as a wonderful host, and by offering more than was customary of his family‘s resources, over time his visitors all came into his debt. As his influence over the community grew, so did his generosity, until a cycle of favors and repayments established him as one of the most successful men in his region.
His fame naturally spread as others attempted to follow his path to fame. True to his nature, Ingwe shared the secrets of his success, gaining him the respect and admiration of like-minded Ysgardians. Thus, he was eventually given leadership over the fledgling Ring-Givers and named its factol. For years Ingwe gave his all to the faction, formalizing its ideals and guiding his fellows to understand their true meaning. Unfortunately, the Ring-Givers became an organization of a select few precisely because of this perfectionism, and the faction‘s growth became stunted. It is believed that is one of the main reasons Ingwe “gave” the stronghold of Skeinheim on Ysgard back to the Fated and moved the majority of the faction‘s organization to the City of Doors shortly before the Faction War.
This played into the hands of Jeremo the Natterer, who used the war to stage a coup and seize control of the faction. In the wake of the Lady‘s Edict Jeremo‘s natural charisma and ambition is spearheading the Ring-Givers‘ philosophy across the Outer Planes, where its message is becoming more common, if diluted. No one is quite sure how Jeremo is running the Ring-Givers out of Sigil; is he truly mad, or does the “Lady‘s Jester” have a special deal? Whatever the reason, it has drawn even more eyes to the Ring- Givers as the other factions consider their position in the multiverse.
Aside from whatever the goals of Jeremo the Natterer are, the Ring-Givers as a whole have no direction or higher purpose other than general enlightenment of the multiverse‘s populace. Through their spreading their philosophy to others, more people across the planes become accustomed to giving, which in turns reinforces the ideals of the faction and the benefits of its individual members. Likely as the faction spreads and its power grows, Jeremo will begin to pull his weight more and more, but in the meantime he seems just as focused on spreading its ideals as any member.
The Ciphers have always been the Ring-Givers‘ staunchest allies. Both organizations believe that action is the key to existence, but the Ring-Givers believe that giving is the only action that counts. The Ring- Givers also have improving relations with the Sons of Mercy and the Bleak Cabal, which both find common ground with the Ring-Givers‘ dedication to giving to the community, whatever the reasons. Most other factions regard Ring-Givers in a favorable light, as generosity begets feelings of good will.
The Fated have long considered themselves the enemy of the Ring-Givers, but in truth, the organizations are two sides of the same coin. One takes, the other gives. The flip side being that despite their best attempts, the Fated always find themselves paying for the Ring-Givers‘ generosity in the end. Naturally, the Ring-Givers enjoy this relationship, despite its tendency towards competitiveness, and while a Ring-Giver will rarely speak ill of the Fated, one would be hard pressed to find a Taker that thinks much of the Ring-Givers.