To Chance with Hell (Planescape)
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The Free League: Whatever You Want Life to Be
A true Free Leaguer has no philosophy and no problem telling you so if you try to confront them about it. When asked directly on points, most Indeps will give a loose definition or simply not answer the question at all, turning it back upon the questioner. The only thing that a Free Leaguer will be definite about is their independence. They are free to make up their own mind as they wish, and will not give up that freedom for any price. See, the Free League isn‘t about spreading a particular philosophy. They don‘t have a common belief; fact of the matter is, most don‘t believe there is a right belief to begin with. To accept one philosophy over another is only restricting yourself, denying independent thought in favor of someone else‘s opinion. Members of the Free League are not held to any creed other than individualism, freedom, and tolerance. They accept any person, are often non-judgmental, and can be found scattered throughout the Outlands and within Sigil. In the end, the philosophy of the Free League is not having a philosophy. A member determines his own mind, and does not simply follow an outlined guide for his beliefs.
Philosophy: Freedom and individuality.
Home Location: The Outlands.
Prominent Members: Harys Hatchis, Kylie
Alignments: Any, with neutral tendencies.
Symbol: A yellowish or golden-toned abstract dragon, circling in on itself to eat its own tail,
wings above its body though folded close.
Related skills: A player may start the game with skill focus in any skill they wish!
Faction bonuses with the Free League will confer abilities such as:
- those that prevent conditions such as immobilization, restrained, and prone
- those that give bonus movement
- one that make allow easier communication with allies
The Free League‘s true age is lost to time and numerous holes in the histories of the ancient city of Sigil. It is possible that the faction has been around as long as the factions themselves have been around, in one form or another. Perhaps longer, if the nature of the loose alliance of independent minds existed before the factions were formed. Unfortunately, not even the Guvners have any conclusive records on the subject. One of the few things known for certain is that the Free League enjoyed its largest population following the Great Upheaval. At the time, roughly forty-nine factions fought for power in Sigil until the Lady herself declared that there would only be fifteen factions. Many of those factions that had neither the power nor the numbers to establish their own place amongst the remaining fifteen fell under the mantle of the Free League – a faction of laissez-faire philosophy that would allow them to keep their own ideals. Within fourteen days the Free League was the largest faction in Sigil, with nearly a million members.
Yet fifty years later their numbers had dropped to less than twenty thousand. The Free Leaguers simply died by the thousands, without warning and without a recorded cause over a period of several years. Naturally, many blamed other factions for cutting them down in jealousy. Others spoke of a curse from some pantheon of powers, and a few even attributed the deaths to an unknown internal strife. Medical records of the time, what few survived the years, speak of a bizarre plague that found Indeps to be choice victims. What the plague was, where it came from, and why it ended before wiping the faction out all remain a mystery. Indeps that were alive during the time often refuse to discuss what happened, seeming to prefer that it be forgotten.
Regardless, the plague returned only a few years ago, once again mysteriously culling the numbers of the Free League. Indeps fell sick, dying within days or sometimes hours with no cures available in Sigil. In the gate-town of Tradegate cures were available from a few of the Free Leaguers there if the patient managed to arrive in time. Similar to the previous plague, it struck without warning, though much more subtly, and many an Indep was dead before knowing they were sick. Eventually the news traveled through the Indeps‘ rumor mill to all ears, prompting some Indeps to avoid Sigil entirely and stick to the Outlands, at least until it disappears again.
Since the Free League always refused to call itself a faction, or appoint a factol, it never had a representative in the city. They simply refused to give up their freedom enough to allow one individual to control them, even if it might have been to their benefit. Thus, before the Faction War, the Indeps had no rights under Sigil law. Naturally, this helped make the Harmonium their greatest enemy, as the Hardheads already believed the Indeps‘ freedoms were in direct opposition to their ideals of order. Likewise, with the Harmonium‘s strict requirements that all around them fall in line and march to the beat of the same drum the Free League often felt its independence was endangered. Harmonium members were prone to harass members of the Free League, even to arrest them on groundless accusations, and without the legal representation on their behalf, many Indeps simply disappeared.
With the events of the Faction War, the Free League, like all the factions, became distracted from their current troubles. When their leaders disappeared, the Indeps immediately accused the Harmonium, the Mercykillers, and even the Fraternity of Order for secretly killing them. But without their leaders the Indeps soon lost their heart and spirit. Directionless, many Free Leaguers joined forces with the Doomguard against the Hardheads out of a sense of revenge. What Indeps didn’t join retreated out of Sigil to other safe locations, particularly Tradegate, the most heavily Free League-aligned gate-town of the Outlands.
With the Lady‘s Edict, the Free League was banished from Sigil, along with the other remaining factions. The surviving Indeps didn’t mind, considering all the other factions were getting the same message. In fact, this meant that the Indeps had won their cause: the factions were no longer able to control the free-minded and free-willed people of Sigil. The Free League had banded together under the ideals of individuality and freedom only to find by the end of the day that the Lady had made that the standard. Factions were now irrelevant, at least in Sigil. As an added bonus, since the plague seemed to spread in Sigil, the Free League may once again be free of it.
The Indeps continued for the most part just as they had before. They had lost many friends to the War, and a few decided to split off to form their own sects. After all, there was now no need for the Free League cover of protection against the Lady‘s rule that there would only be fifteen factions. But the vast majority of Free Leaguers continued about their business as if the future were the brightest it had been in a long time. They no longer had the Harmonium breathing down their necks, they no longer had the Mercykillers to unfairly punish them, and they no longer had the Guvners enacting laws that they couldn‘t protest against. The business of exchange of goods and information continued.
With the factions dethroned, the Indeps have had more opportunities to expand. While none are willing to go so far as to mark the Free League symbol publicly in Sigil again, the Free Leaguers were amongst the first to return to the Cage and pick up pieces. Following the Tempest of Doors, many Indeps took the chance to make a profit by exploring the new portals, and as a result Indep-owned businesses rediscovered trading routes faster than most. As they were among the first to rediscover the portals and were more willing to risk the Lady’s whims than most trading houses, Indep-owned trading companies have been particularly successful in the years immediately after Faction War. News travels fast amongst a group of friends looking out for each other, and it wasn’t long before the Indeps were back in operation, portal scramble or no portal scramble.
Most Indeps have their own personal goals, and the faction as a whole doesn’t set any for its members. The closest thing to a goal that the Free League currently has is to continue fair business practices in the Bazaar. The Indeps discourage price gouging and other unfair practices. They are certainly in favor of independently owned small businesses, and are not interested in monopolies or any other practices that would restrict the livelihoods of buyers and sellers alike. Beyond that, a body‘s business is their own and no one else’s. They still offer support to their friends and the underdog. But as some Indeps would say, if you want free handouts, go to the Bleakers.
The Free League hasn‘t really changed much, though many of the other factions have. Contact with the other factions, new or old, is generally limited to business deals, conversion attempts, or the occasional fistfight when a Hardhead is involved. The Indeps are too loosely organized to have allies as a whole, though individual members often have friends in interesting places.
The Planar Trading Consortium, under the leadership of Estavan, has been trying for years to consolidate a grip on all trading in the planes. With the war in Sigil, though, his power within the Cage has faded, especially as fewer trading companies are willing to risk the Lady’s whim by using Sigil‘s portals. Estavan, however, can still make a pretty profit by taking advantage of the position of the Outlands as a central point in the planes. It may take longer than using portals, but it will work. He has been rebuilding his power base there before he moves to regain power in the Cage.
Unfortunately, the Indeps pose a problem to him now. There are no factions to suppress the Indeps anymore, and they‘re not willing to sell away their free will at any price he could offer. In Tradegate and the Outlands at least, they have a well-established foothold and connections – even a built-in market in the form of Indep villages. The Free League businesses and trading houses won’t bow down to Estavan’s growing monopoly, and soon that is likely to cause some serious trouble for all involved.
Even though the Harmonium has retreated to Arcadia, and claims to be stepping away from the extreme militarism of the past, to the Indeps ―once a Hardhead always a Hardhead‖. Indeps are even more wary of heading near Arcadia now, and there are some members of the faction that still feel that the Harmonium had something to do with the disappearance of their old leaders. Along the same lines, the Indeps are perhaps more cautious of the Sodkillers than of their predecessors, the Mercykillers. With the new faction‘s influence in Sigil and their preference to operate outside the law, they‘re a primary threat to Free League operations in the Cage.