To Chance with Hell (Planescape)
Sects and Ex-Factions
Quick navigation: Main | Races | Factions | The Planes | Sigil | Characters | NPCs | House Rules
Much of the information on these pages are reproduced with permission from the Planewalker Planescape 3.0/3.5 Campaign Setting. Please visit their homepage for more information. See the Credits page.
Sects and Ex-Factions
The following are the almost-rans – those that didn‘t make it into main list of factions. Some are dead and aren‘t as of nearly as much consequence anymore, others only work in a single part of the multiverse, while others are just small or dying. That doesn‘t mean, though, that they don‘t have an impact – for example, The Anarch‘s Guild is very important in Limbo, and the Primal are very important in the Inner Planes – but that they just don‘t play in the big picture.
The Anarchs’ Guild
A guild of githzerai, the Anarchs (not to be confused with Anarchists) are not brought together by a belief, but rather, a skill. Also known as Chaos Masters or Groundsmen, they help maintain the various communities of Limbo, keeping them stable through their mastery of chaos-shaping. The grand majority of them are githzerai, with only a handful of other races being trained as a great favor from the githzerai race. Most remain in Limbo, and very few venture outward – most have a desire to maintain their home towns there.
Despite recent attempts by other groups, such as a radical group of Guvners, to learn chaos-shaping, the Anarchs have kept a very tight grip on their skill. Ironically for their location, they remain largely the same despite the recent plane-shaking events, continuing on as they always have.
The Believers of the Source
A Sigil faction, the Godsmen believed that all things carried a divine spark, and the universe was a series of tests designed to hone that spark to higher and higher heights. The Faction War saw them scattered in the aftermath, and the majority of them went to form the new faction known as the Mind‘s Eye, with a smaller group joining up as a part of the Wild Union. More on the Believers of the Source can be found in the Mind‘s Eye and Wild Union descriptions.
Seemingly originating out of Limbo, the Converts are dedicated to finding truth by taking up the mantle of others‘ beliefs. They believe that any belief held too long becomes rhetoric, and that nobody knows how anything works. Therefore, the best way to find the truth of the multiverse is to sample every take on it, and never hold to one belief for two long. Their habit, however, of infiltrating other groups has earned them the nickname of Chameleons or the more derogatory term ―Turncoats‖.
Their numbers have been increased by those disillusioned by recent events, but they‘re still considered a sect by most, as they‘re nowhere near widespread and lack any sort of cohesive force or organization. They‘re still strongest around Limbo and Xaos, but there‘s a rumor going around that the Converts are just a sub-group of the Xaositects. Of course, there‘s another crazier rumor that claims vice versa, or that (insert faction here) only still exists because the Converts have bolstered their numbers…
The Daughters of Light
A mysterious group based out of Sigil, the Daughters of Light (also known as the Word-Keepers) went on a purge shortly after the Faction War, rooting out subtle remainders of faction influence in a subtle but violent fashion. They claim to have the Lady‘s sponsorship, and seem to be based around the idea that conspiracies and secret organizations, deeper than even the factions, run everything. They claim to be the “violators of secrets”… but don‘t seem to mind the fact that they are very secretive as well. To hear them tell it, they have to become what they fight in order to fight it.
While very active just after Faction War, the Daughters of Light have become quiet as of late, and the factions have been slipping in more and more. Some say that their members have been vanishing, but the tales vary as to the reason why. It could be that they‘ve angered the Lady by claiming to be allied with her for awhile now, perhaps they came too close to influencing Sigil‘s events as the factions did, or maybe they‘ve just lost the Lady‘s fickle favor. For whatever the reason, they‘ve retreated back to the shadows, and some people are starting to wonder if they ever really existed at all.
Also known as Exiles or Chippers, the Dispossessed are an offshoot of the Banished. See, Pandemonium has become a hiding spot or point of exile for any number of folks that have angered rulers across the multiverse. Most of them just gather together to survive in the bleak plane – those are the Banished. The Dispossessed are the few that decide that the Banished are just twiddling their thumbs, and it‘s up to them to show the universe that they‘re worthy of power and respect despite the bad hand given to them. Sooner or later this means revenge against whomever wronged them, but typically they go around picking fights and generally being abrasive, inviting the disrespect of others in hopes that they can mold that disrespect into fear and dread.
The Dispossessed have taken a number of exiles from Sigil, but hardly many – most exiles have gone over to more inviting ground. Still, the Dispossessed maintain their ―brotherhood‖, exemplified by their loose system of secret signals and mutual assistance. However, the recent revival of Bane, a Toril deity of Tyrants, has in turn resulted in a growth of his cult within the sect, with a number desiring power over those who which mocked them, even if at the sacrifice of some of their own persona freedom.
This cult is unified by the simple belief that the end is near. The fact that they‘ve existed for over a millennium and still think this may seem self-defeating, but there are always new members inspired by doomsday prophecies and the timeless march of change to replace those that figure out it‘s all a bunch of bunk. Still, they‘ve always remained small, and it can be argued that the idea has outlived any sort of organization – most believe that the group has gone through a number of incarnations that all have just taken up the same name (though the few familiar enough with them often call them the Naysayers).
They made a big showing during the recent Faction War, and membership seemed to swell for a bit to make them a proper sect or maybe even a faction, but it died down just as fast. Nowadays they‘re relegated to shouting from Sigil‘s street corners, pointing back several years to the impending doom of the planes. Of course, most people have written off as nothing more than a hiccup, but that doesn‘t stop them.
A splinter group of the Athar, the Godslayers hold much the same beliefs of their former faction, but take them to a further extreme. Rather than deny gods their worship, they’re more inclined to find ways to kill powers. Of course, they haven’t had a lot of luck, but that hasn’t stopped them from planning and dreaming of the day they do. Most folks see them as a bunch of lunatics, even compared to most other factions or sects. Supposedly, they hone their skills on the powerful creatures of the Astral and elsewhere, training for the day they’ll finally take on a power.
Rumor has it they were going to ally with the Mercykillers in an attempt to take down various powers that needed punishment, but the dissolution of the Mercykiller faction has seemingly cut that notion short. If they have a new plan to fulfill their goal, it hasn’t come to light. To most folks, they’re just rattling their bone-boxes… dreaming of an outcome that’ll never happen.
Inspired by the race of celestials known as the guardinals, The Guardians strive to protect good and to defend the defenseless. Their way isn‘t a forceful one, and they don‘t demand membership (like the Harmonium) or meddle in others affairs (like the Order of Planes-Militant). Having recently found an alliance with the Sons of Mercy, it seems that the Sons of Mercy are likely to subsume the Guardians in time. This is not necessarily seen as a bad thing, as the two groups are very alike in spirit, but the more conservative in the sect claim that the Sons of Mercy are too proactive… and too concerned with upholding good rather than being good. Their work on the upper planes has earned them an adoring, if strictly local public that calls them things like the Caretakers and the Protectors.
For more on the current state of the Guardians, see the Sons of Mercy description.
More popularly known as the Merkhants, Misers, or Gold Hounds, the Hidden Hand originated out of the Outlands. Their belief is that money is the purest form of power, and thusly gathering money makes one powerful. Of course, that‘s only potential power, and so the members make sure they money flows through their hands and into an enterprise of one sort or another – as long as that enterprise gets them back more than what they put in. Master of the deal, most Merkhants keep their beliefs secret, since advertising their greed is a good way to turn deals sour.
Rumor has it that they recently tried to set up some type of organized effort in Sigil, to control the bounty of trade that flows through it, but all that seemed to result of it was a shocking number of dead Miser bodies popping up. Some point a finger at the Daughters of Light or the Planar Trade Consortium, while others figure a single Miser pulled off the ultimate cross-trade and it‘s just that nobody‘s noticed yet…
Hunters of the Vile
Known almost universally outside of the sect as the “Vile Hunt”, a not-so-subtle poke at their name, the Hunters of the Vile seem to think that animals can talk are a grand perversion. They claim that the Beastlands were once a place of human savagery, and that the present state of affairs is an aberration. They often make forays into the Beastlands to rid it of animal petitioners, while others have gone after awakened animals just out of spite. They often clash with the Wyld Union, the Will of One, and other groups that call the Beastlands or Faunel home.
More recently, rather than kill animal petitioners, they‘ve started to shuffle them off-plane, to places where they‘ll be killed without joining with their home plane. That way, they hope to influence the Beastlands, and bring the plane itself over to their way of thinking… since they can‘t easily get the inhabitants to see things their way.
Once known as the Magicians or the Wanters, the Incantifiers once held power in Sigil. They were deposed mysteriously, with their Tower Sorcerous vanishing. Most people believe the Lady responsible, while others point to a number of factions that might have pulled it off. They have continued on, but their numbers have dwindled to a handful of survivors and their apprentices. See, they believe that magic is the only true force in the universe, and that wizardry and sorcery are the only arts worth pursuing. Indeed, through mystical means lost to all but them, they become magical beings that feed on spells, magical items, enchantments, and more.
Though individually very powerful, their numbers have only continued to decline to perhaps no more than a few dozen. More often members compete rather than cooperate, and it seems that perhaps in the next millennium, they – and their vast amount of secrets – will be lost forever.
The Mathematicians were an offshoot of the Fraternity of Order, believing that all of the answers to Guvner theories could be found in Mechanus itself. With the Fraternity of Order‘s relocation to Mechanus, the Mathematicians have rejoined with their brethren, and are no longer considered a separate group.
More on the Mathematicians can be found in the Fraternity of Order description.
Once the union of the Sons of Mercy and the Sodkillers, the Mercykillers dispensed justice across the planes, and were obsessed with the concepts of justice, law, and order. They served as Sigil‘s jailers, and saw little issue with breaking the law in the interest of enforcing it. Prior to the Faction War, their leadership pursued their ends fanatically enough that the group rifted, and with the disappearance of their factol, the group splintered in twain.
More on the Mercykillers can be found in the Sodkiller and Sons of Mercy descriptions.
Opposers believe that strength comes from conflict. They believe that opposition and adversity breeds power. Thusly, how powerful could one become by opposing everything? Partaking in the ultimate struggles, they will conflict against others even if there‘s no sensible reason to, or if it might seem foolish to others. The Prime phrase ―That which does not kill you, makes you stronger‖ is something they take deeply to heart. Most originate from the Inner Planes, where the raging elements have helped define their philosophy.
Most folks are inclined to avoid the Opposition for obvious reasons, and their own internal conflicts has kept their numbers stable and low. Recently a large group of Opposers went and had it out with the Ring-Givers, distributing anti-Ring-Giver propaganda. Since it didn‘t work out, this folks have only redoubled their efforts, shouting from gate-burg squares, though they haven‘t turned to their blades as an answer as of yet.
The Order of Planes-Militant
Spreading good is the goal of the Order of Planes-Militant, and they believe that all of the planes can be converted to the call of good. Of course, a lot of folks disagree, which is where you get the ―Militant‖ part of the name. They focus on expanding the size of Mount Celestia by weakening the forces of chaos and evil, figuring that millennia down the road, all of the outer planes might be dominated by the Mount. Of course, there are some that whisper that they‘ve been pulling the cross-trade on Bytopia and Arcadia, stealing land from even other good planes with their endless proselytize.
Though they exemplify law and good in many ways, The Order‘s started to ruffle the feathers of even its staunchest allies – namely, the Harmonium and the Fraternity of Order. Some say that the Order of Planes-Militant has gone so far into its own extreme that even other lawful folks are starting to get peery about their ways. While known across the Children of Heaven, the Brethren, the Faithful, or other complimentary names across the upper planes, they‘re starting to pick up a new name – the Intolerant.
The Planarists are basically anti-prime crusaders, seeing quite nearly anything from the prime material planes as a contagion, a plague upon the planes to be wiped out. After all, what right do the primes have to visit the homes of the gods? Why put up with the questions of Clueless one second longer? While others in Sigil undoubtedly agree with their assessment, at the same time their general bigotry has kept them from being little more than a sect. A number of strikes done against “prime puppets” like the Sons of Mercy and Harmonium have only proven to be their undoing, as the return blows from the larger factions have nearly broken them apart entirely.
Their original leader, a eladrin by the name of Cirily, originally advocated the Planarists as a faction. However, the Faction War – and Cirily’s disappearance during it – forced the fledgling sect to reconsider its options. Nowadays, they hold Cirily up as a martyr, claiming to be a “concerned group of citizens simply policing our fine planar ’burg”. Despite their fringe status (even for a sect) they have been able to at least recruit with stirring speeches holding up former Factol Darkwood, a prime, as the cause of the Faction War. Though few support them openly, the quiet support they have received in Sigil has been disturbing to the more level-headed.
Most people don’t consider the Prolongers a sect at all, though some greybeards do, believing that they were a sect prior to the Great Upheaval that’s just degenerated to the point their original beliefs are long lost. Most are just bodies obsessed with staving death off for as long as they can manage, by whichever means they can manage it. Because this often means taking the life-force they need from others, they aren’t viewed in a real favorable light by most folks. They don’t really stick together either, though somebody out there has to be teaching folks the new trick of surviving at the expense of others.
The more paranoid believe that their lifespan has allowed them to implement plans for the planes on a scale only otherwise held by fiends, celestials, and the like, and that their seeming disorganized manner is simply a ruse to hide their greater machinations. Certainly, some have pointed to a number of sects prior to the Great Upheaval that supposedly let a berk live forever on pure belief, but most consider the Prolongers just a bunch of greedy bastards who can’t face getting written into the dead-book properly.
Perhaps one of the most mysterious sects, the Primals aren‘t real well-known outside of the Inner Planes. Supposedly they believe that their power is dependent on keeping their philosophy secret, but most figure it‘s got something to do with the basic elemental forces in one way or another. Few advertise their membership, and it‘s believed they have their own codes and signs to communicate. Some point to runes carved throughout the elemental plane as some sort of Primal signposts, though nothing really exists to support that claim.
Typically, it‘s said that they approach folks for membership rather than vice-versa, and have a battery of tests for loyalty and subtlety that supposedly make Guvner entrance exams a cakewalk. Some say that their secrecy is because they run most of the communities on the Inner Planes, that they‘re the hidden rulers of the elements and that things like the genies and elemental lords are just pawns in the Primals‘ game. Of course, most people write that off as barmy nonsense. After all, the sect would have to be huge for that, and secrecy is harder to keep in numbers…
The Ragers are a simple yet dreaded sect defined by one thing: they go around picking fights. See, they think that anger is the ultimate force in the universe, and that it‘s the spark that ignites the forge. Of course, it‘s their job to leap headlong into that forge, and start fights to test their mettle and continually grow more refined because it. Some say they were an offshoot of the Believers of the Source, but the Godsmen would vehemently deny that while they were still around. For what it‘s worth, they only pick fair fights, or at least what they perceive to be a fair fight.
A dying sect, the conflict-prone existence of the Rangers has continued to cut into their membership. They continue to gather members from warriors of various stripes, but time has not been kind to the Ragers, and their way seems to be dwindling.
The Sign of the One
A faction of Sigil that believed that one of their number – or possibly all of them – imagined the universe, the Signers were considered firmly barmy by most. When they were dissolved during the Faction War, some of their number joined with the Godsmen, while the more extremist faction, the Will of One, became a new sect entirely.
More on the Signers can be found in the Mind‘s Eye and Will of the One descriptions.
A sinister “knighthood” largely operating within the Outlands, the Tacharim seems to advocate a very simple philosophy – that evil makes might. It’s commonly believed that to them, evil is flexible enough to do what’s needed to be done at all times, and greedy enough to snag every bit of potential power along the way. Some say, though, that the Tacharim was just a catspaw of good itself… formed by parties unknown on the upper planes to serve as a constant force to struggle against in lieu of the fiends. Though never considered a major group, even among sects, they are considered to be the bane of goodly-minded folk in the Outlands. It’s said that the ruler of Excelsior, in the past, dedicated more time to foiling the Tacharim than actually overseeing his ’burg.
Over five years ago, however, their headquarters in Gehenna was destroyed under mysterious circumstances, along with a lot of their membership. While a number of people across the lower planes still bear the symbol of the “Flower Infernal”, it’s questionable as to whether they’ve actually reorganized or it’s just a bunch of former members clinging to a dying tradition.
The Wild Union
The Wild Union is the child of a faction and a sect: the Verdant Guild and the Believers of the Source. When the Believers of the Source drifted apart, a specific group within them had always championed the cause of animals, claiming they carried the divine spark as deeply as any sentient. Meanwhile, the Verdant Guild had always worked to defend nature against ―progress‖, particularly in the Beastlands. The two groups found a common cause in the wake of the Faction War, and decided to form a new union to strengthen their cause.
The Wylders, as they‘re known, seem to champion the preservation of wildlife in all its forms, and also seem to believe that the ultimate truth can be found by studying the balance of nature and the instincts of animals. While the Verdant Guild always worked covertly to thwart the growth of civilization and the destruction of ecologies, it‘s starting to step up into outright guerilla raids on those they think provide deeper threats, to the chagrin of many others throughout the Outer Planes.
Will of the One
Not all of the Sign of One turned over to the Mind‘s Eye, but those that remained true to their ways are more extreme – one might even say megalomanical – compared to their former faction. They seem to think that Terwolfe is “The One”, a being that is imagining the rest of reality. To be certain, all of his predictions have come true. But their aim seems to be to prove his power in a big way. But his prediction just prior to the Faction War about the ascension of a god didn‘t come true, and it resulted in a pretty heavy backlash against the group.
A woman named Prisine is said to be the power behind The One, and a lot of folks are whispering that if The One can really make things happen, she‘s sticking ideas in his head to make things go his way. Others say that she manipulates events to make things happen as he predicts them. Based out of Dreamhearth in Faunel, the recent claim by Prisine is that ―The One‖ is ―distributing his power among the true believers‖. This has made most of the Will of the One members more than a little cocky, almost like Signers with bigger egos. And those that knew the Signers can tell you that‘s no small feat…
Dedicating to protecting the wild places and things, the Verdant Guild was often found to be at odds with the Hunters of the Vile, and mainly had influence in the Beastlands. Though they always had a broad scope, combining with a splinter group from the Believers of the Source helped them towards achieving that goal.
For more on the new state of the Verdant Guild, see the Wyld Union listed above.