To Chance with Hell (Planescape)
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The Xaositects: Cease Sixth Tot
The Xaositects embody chaos, or at least try to. They are difficult to define, since they spend much of their time working to be undefinable. That‘s all there is to it. If you want to know more, have you considered Sopworth’s delicious soup? Doors usually only open one way; it’s too much trouble otherwise. The ointment is best put directly under the skin, but who wants to do that? Blackened tanar’ri smells awful, believe me. If only there were a way to keep a pen magically wet all the time… use the speed factor and damage appropriate to the grip. You don’t like Bytopia? Don’t go to Elysium, then! Well, I can if I want, and make it so. Inquiries regarding rules should be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope and sent to Tactical Studies Rules, POB 756, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, 53147. Grick and drangle, bloeth the preen. Ful and toothbeck, it sans the yrene.
Philosophy: There is no pattern to the multiverse, no meaning. Its true state is chaos.
Home Location: Limbo.
Prominent Members (at the Moment): Mordigaarz, The Painter, Quake Lavender
Alignment: Any chaotic.
Symbol: The horned, crimson face of a gargoyle-like fiend on a black backdrop.
Related skills: A player may start the game with a randomly generated (by the DM) skill focus if they choose not to pick a skill related to being a Primer, or Planar. Upon gaining a new level, this random skill focus is swapped for a different one.
Faction bonuses with the The Xaositects will confer abilities such as:
- Powers that have a random effect
- Powers that daze, stun, or knock enemies prone
- Powers that add (or remove) bonuses from other powers
The Philosophy of the Xaositects
The multiverse wasn‘t just born from chaos; it is chaos. There‘s no order to the multiverse, no rules that define its existence. The only order that exists is that which we try to impose on it, and as soon as we stop the multiverse will return to chaos. And if chaos is the true state of the multiverse, why fight it when you can just accept it, become one with its beauty and energy?
So goes the philosophy of the Xaositects (kay – Oh – si – tekts), and it sounds simple enough. But it‘s much harder to truly live, and embody, a force with no true direction or reason. Even the hearts of nominally chaotic beings like bariaur and chaond have natural processes and organs that beat and function to a particular rhythm, and truly coming to champion chaos as a force can be as difficult – and dangerous – as training one‘s heart to beat out of sync. Even slaadi have a hierarchy and path of progress. Few beings can really be said to fully embody chaos. Some mindless creatures like the chaos beast and the teratomorph come close physically, but even they have limitations and patterns they abide by. Xaositects aspire as best they can to embody chaos mentally, if not necessarily physically. To many they come across as insane or idiotic, but they aspire to neither. The mad are often more lawful than one might expect, limited more keenly by their own delusions or neuroses than any sane person. Nor do they desire to abandon thought; rather they desire to abandon reason and patterns, to act in an entirely unpredictable fashion, and by doing so, seed chaos throughout the multiverse.
Of course, chaos should exist outside of moral structures. Good and evil are irrelevant before its glory. Does a storm care whom it rains lightning down on? Chaos is random, and randomness is arbitrary. Often the only people Xaositects are partial to are other Xaositects, and even that’s a bit questionable. However, individual Xaositects often impose their own moral strictures on chaos. Good-minded Xaositects tend to desire the implementation of positive change and development… they tend to stir the pot where they see corruption and stagnation, hoping their actions will serve as a wake-up call and impetus for change on the part of the wicked and lazy. More evil Chaosmen tend to see chaos as a tool to be used for their own benefit, a method for self-gain and a weapon to be used against their enemies.
Naturally, there‘s no real codified path to follow; that‘d defeat the point. Some go to Limbo to try and learn what they can there. Others follow some of the more charismatic Xaositects for periods of time. A few try and take up different roles or missions each day. The one thing that can be said, though, is that each follows their own way. Sometimes that’s somebody else’s way, but that’s chaos for you.
Though often Xaositects seem silly, it should be noted that humor is rarely their intent. If at times they come across as laughable and nonsensical, this is a byproduct of their chaotic actions. Often things that might be considered humorous initially might be dragged out long past being funny, or become things that are rarely considered amusing (especially when folks start losing eyes). Still, as some bards will admit, there is a certain artistic bent the chaotic mindset lends itself to. Some of the greatest and worst artists Sigil has seen have been part of the Xaositect philosophy.
While the Xaositects haven’t been around long per se, perhaps only a century or so, there has always seemingly been a group that approximates them. Older organizations such as the Order of Dis, the Ochlocrats, the Raucous Guild, and dozens more litter the histories of the planes, few of them lasting longer than a century. Of course, such groups have often been prominent in Sigil, sometimes gathering in greater numbers there than they even might around Limbo and the gate-town Xaos. Most rival factions count them under the simple heading of trouble. In fact, it may be the only reason the Xaositects are known as such is because the other groups have gotten used to calling them that… and not out of any desire of the Chaosmen to keep a stable name. Certainly, it’s not unheard of for a Xaositect to refer to the faction by a totally unknown name. Rarely do such appellations reach any sort of common usage, though it may be how the group eventually evolves into new labels and definitions.
Trying to compile a history of the Xaositects is essentially futile. They have kept no written or verbal records – no accurate ones, anyway – and those on the outside have difficulty telling what’s really going on in any Xaositect endeavor. More like a natural force than an organization, they’ve rarely taken part in pivotal events in the City of Doors. Oh, sure, there are countless colorful tales of the Xaositects’ exploits, such as the time they assassinated the factol of the Harmonium by hitting him upside the head with an hourglass. Or the time the Sensates invited them to a party and ended up sparking one of the biggest riots ever to hit Sigil (with some help from the Anarchists). Then there’s the time they worked up a bunch of Karan look-alikes during the Faction War, just to add to the chaos. There are thousands of amusing stories surrounding the Chaosmen, of which about half might actually be true. But the Xaositects live firmly in the present. Though the Faction War came and went, it didn’t have a huge impact on them. If anything, those lost during the warring and exodus have been replaced by a nearly equal number of bodies inspired by the war and the sheer confusion and change that resulted because of it. Sure, they lost their so-called leader, Karan, but he only really led by example in the first place… when he felt like it that is. No Chaosman has come to take the reins of the group since Karan, and some say the Faction War has only made them more pure as a result. A couple of Xaositects have led their own small groups of Chaosmen to various ends, though they’re niche groups and hardly represent any major movements within the faction.
According to most folks, the main goal of the Xaositects is to foment chaos. The trick is, having a goal means that you’re falling into a pattern, and the Xaositects despise patterns rather vehemently.
So scratch that.
Want to know what the huge, labyrinthine plot the Chaosmen are engaged in is? Ask one. You might even get an honest answer. Doesn’t make it the right answer, though. Truthfully, most plots the Xaositects might engage in are short-term and rarely have more than a dozen members collaborating on them.
Ask Quake Lavender, and you might get a speech about how magic is the root of all things, and that magic is naturally chaotic. She runs a tavern, but she seems to largely be involved with the spread of wild magic in Sigil, though just as often she seems to follow random whims for days at a time. When bored, she often tosses a spell like random action or confusion about, though whether this is deliberate is up for debate. Her own tavern has many unusual magical innovations, from the tap that produces random liquor (served to anybody that asks for the usual) to the fact that the business often changes furniture, layout, name, or even locale. While her business is a perfectly serviceable tavern for the most part, there’s the occasional touch that says in no uncertain terms that chaos was here.
Ask The Painter, a tiefling member, what she’s doing and she’s unlikely to give you a straight answer. What her actions show, though, is that she and her crew are engaged in painting across Sigil. They’re responsible for the mural in the Great Gymnasium, the one lauded as one of the greatest paintings the planes have ever seen. They’re also responsible for the horrible eyesore that’s been left in the Hall of Speakers. They paint on anything: walls, the roads, trees, spires, the primes… anything that they find handy, and with whatever paints they happen to be lugging about at the time (which isn’t always proper paint). Other smaller groups have splintered off on their own, each seeming to follow their own aesthetic philosophy, and at least one is working to try and tear down works of art created by the other groups.
Ask Mordrigaarz what he’s been up to and you’re likely to get the bile beaten out of you for infringing on his turf. Ask someone from the Hive and they might mention that Mordrigaarz and his merry band are a bunch of thugs that wander around the Hive starting brawls, which is a bad thing. On the other hand, he tends to protect them when he thinks they’re threatened – it’s his job to mess with them, and nobody else’s. There’s a reluctant gratitude among many Hivers for his efforts, because he’s cleaned up the neighborhood to some extent… even if his reasoning is anything but benevolent. Often he’ll choose a criterion that he decides Hivers must fit, and goes around harassing folks based on that criterion as outsiders (even if they actually are Hivers). Some days it may be the color of their clothes; other days he may pick on folks for not rolling their r’s in the proper, Hiver way. Still, most Hivers just know to give him a wide berth and let those less wise in the ways of the Hive get accosted by the Xaositect gang.
Ask Sister Cade and she’ll give a speech on her current newfound faith. Though her faith is deep, abiding, and downright fanatical from time to time, it is also inconsistent. She’s worshipped over forty-three different gods, and doesn’t look to have settled on one yet, remaining nothing more than an acolyte. While one might think the churches and temples of Sigil would have given up on her already, her deep faith is a much-desired commodity… however brief it may be. Perhaps there’s something special about it, or perhaps each religious leader simply wants to be the one that finally makes her settle down.
Ask Karan and chances are he’ll chat you up for a bit of chaos-speak, and perhaps try and recruit you, but he will always deny ever having been missing. Of course, most people never see Karan around anymore, and most sightings are passed from a relative of a friend of a friend. Some say there’s a group of Chaosmen still going around and impersonating Karan. Others say he never got Mazed in the first place. Some say that Karan was never a member to begin with, but instead is a primal force of chaos that just often wears a similar face. A few even claim that there never was a Karan, and that he was a disguise for various Xaositects all along (it certainly would explain his odd absences). But the truth, as with most things Xaositect, is shrouded in chaos.
There are, naturally, many other groups of Xaositects running around with their various agendas. There’s the group running around and trying to forcibly implant slaad eggs in others. There’s the group down in Menausus trying to make sure conflict between the Fraternity of Order and the Harmonium sparks up. There’s a group trying to go research a way to make elementals insane. If you can think of it, there’s probably a Xaositect that will do, has done, or currently is doing it.
The Chaosmen may not be predictable, but their allies often are. The Revolutionary League and Doomguard are traditional allies for the Xaositects, but that’s got more to do with the chaotic tendencies of those factions than any active attempt by the Xaositects to court them. Truth is, the Xaositects have been allies with nearly all of the factions at one point or another, but their unreliability makes most folks steer clear of them. More foolish Anarchists and Sinkers sometimes treat the Xaositects as a destructive tool, figuring that if they can get enough Chaosmen in one spot, destruction and anarchy will ensue. This sort of plot works just about as often as it fails. The Xaositects might indeed riot, party, or go to war, but it’s just likely that they’ll do something less disruptive, such as build a misshapen statue dedicated to St. Cuthbert or take a group nap.
It isn’t hard to figure out who the Xaositects are most often at odds with – the Harmonium and the Fraternity of Order. While not deliberately opposed to the Harmonium, the Chaosmen naturally find themselves at odds with the Hardheads, especially due to the fact one of their number was responsible for killing a Harmonium factol. Even so, they’re not taken to be as serious a threat to Harmonium unity as the Revolutionary League or the Free League. Surprisingly, they clash less often with the Fraternity of Order. Even when the Chaosmen stick their noses into orderly affairs, the Guvners’ academic perspective often keeps them from being dragged into outright conflict.
More recently, the Xaositects have run afoul of the Sons of Mercy. While the two groups haven’t conflicted often, the chaotic nature of the Xaositects means they often break the law, and they have run into the Sons trying to uphold it. Just as often, though, a Son has upheld the rights of an unjustly persecuted Chaosman, and the two groups’ flexible natures has kept them from conflicting on a serious basis – so far.