To Chance with Hell (Planescape)
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The Revolutionary League: Breaking Bad
The Revolutionary League stands for the reversal of the present order. Operating in utmost secrecy, they strike out against their enemies from the darkest shadows. Ask a group of Anarchists what their ultimate goal is, and you‘ll get a different answer each time. Truth is, the Revolutionary League has never been known for unity or cohesion. The members are so paranoid they don‘t even trust each other, much less agree on a common objective. What they can all agree on, though, is that no one should be telling anyone else what to do. Exiles, runaways, and misfits all find a home of sorts with the Anarchists, and a dream of a better tomorrow where all folks‘re free to make their own way, and face up to the darks of the multiverse by themselves.
Philosophy: The truth can only be found once the chains of the social order are removed.
Home Location: Carceri.
Prominent Members: Hazrag the Shifty, Little Miss Tempest, Baltazar Clearview
Alignment: Any non-lawful.
Symbol: The conjunction of two curving, bladed golden designs.
Related skills: Stealth, Thievery. 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 Revolutionary League will confer abilities such as:
- abilities that let the member hide from adversaries
- abilities that cause harm to numerous creatures at once
- abilities that daze, immobolize, or otherwise incapacitate a target.
Note: Anarchists are difficult PCs to work with; please privately contact me before choosing this faction.
The Philosophy of the Revolutionary League
Order is slavery. No one should be able to tell another what to do, not the city officials, not the judges, not the rulers, not even the powers. See, an authoritarian god‘s just one more taskmaster on a guy‘s back, keeping him down. The Anarchists fight to tear down all repressive structures, from the lowest toady to the highest of the high-ups. Several ways exist to accomplish this goal, and the League ain‘t shy about using just about any of ‘em. From propaganda to sabotage, infiltration to assassination, the invisible army of the Revolutionary League fights its war with any weapon it can get its hands on. If they can just uproot all of this decaying system, then the people will finally be able to find the truth. Why is that, you ask?
The planes, as any planar will tell you, operate on belief. If someone can tumble to the dark of what makes them tick, then the planes truly open up for them. But that‘s easier said than done, and there simply ain‘t no chance of doing that with things the way they are. A body has to be able to make their own choices, for good or bad, to get anywhere. But no one‘s going to let them do that. The folks in power, well, they want to keep it that way. They like sitting on top of the heap, and they won‘t let anyone topple them without a fight. Most poor fools don‘t know any better, and swallow any lie they‘re told, and ask for seconds. But if all you believe is what someone else tells you, you‘re never going to find the truth. The Anarchists are there to help you shake off those chains, whether you like it or not. It‘s for your own good.
The Revolutionary League is open to all alike, regardless of race, profession, or background. Well, as long as you aren‘t lawful in alignment, that is. While some would say that the exclusion of folks with a lawful bent makes the Anarchists just as reactionary as their enemies, fact is, lawful types don‘t have the thirst for upheaval that a true Revolutionary does. Anyone else who wants to can join up, if they can find their way in. The best way to contact this secret society is to make yourself visible (but not too visible). Let your dissatisfaction with the way things are be known in quiet conversation with enough people, and sooner or later, someone‘ll come calling. Because of the League‘s welcoming nature, it‘s provided fellowship (structure even, paradoxically enough) to any number of bashers who never would have found it otherwise.
Some wonder if the Revolutionary League ever qualified as a faction, and why the Lady of Pain would let them exist. Well, for starters, trying to figure out what the Lady‘s up to will drive you mad, and if you ain‘t quiet about it, it‘ll drive you into the dead-book or the Mazes. If the Lady kept ‘em around, she must have had a good reason. Some of the more introspective Anarchists or their analysts figure it was because the Anarchists provided a place for those who didn‘t have any other place to be. Even if most Anarchists listed the Lady as one of their eventual targets, what did she have to be afraid of, anyway? In fact, a few think that the real reason the Lady hasn‘t flayed them all is ‘cause she knows they‘re right. So, she lets them go on, skulking and planning with the occasional upheaval. It‘s all for the greater good, and it‘s not harming her rule none. As for whether or not they were a faction, the Lady proclaimed fifteen factions back in the days of Great Upheaval. So even if groups like the Indeps and the Anarchists chafed at the definition, they fit it better than any other comers. And even if they operated without factols, they were still mighty big movers in the Cage.
But for all that, there‘s no real unifying philosophy at work in the League. Everyone‘s working towards this perfect society, but no one‘s agreeing on just what that society is. The League could‘ve become a cozy little group of old men, sitting in their comfy armchairs and rattling their mouths about this, that, and the other. But the Anarchists don‘t have time to worry about the future; what matters is right now. The Anarchists believe in action, thinking the rest will take care of itself. Otherwise, nothing would get done. The one thing the Anarchists can all agree on is that things need to change.
Who knows when the League started? Not even its own members know. They‘ve never been much for record-keeping, after all. Anarchists have a tendency to look at all sorts of revolutionaries from the past and bring them into the fold. And other folks do the same, painting all dissidents with the same stripes. But many of these heroes never belonged to a faction calling itself the Revolutionary League. The same is true today, for better or worse. Anytime something bad happens, the Anarchists get blamed. Everything from bar fights to childish pranks gets laid at their feet.
What is known for sure is that Anarchists have operated in Sigil for a few hundred years, maybe as many as 700, or as few as 300. In that time, all sorts of havoc have been caused. Two major assassinations are the known work of Anarchists: Factol Kraymar the Bloody of the Mercykillers and Factol Sarin of the Harmonium. Kraymar (mustn‘t forget the Bloody; those charged with crimes by him sure didn‘t) was engulfed in a spectacular conflagration of spells flung from several alleyways as he marched to the Prison one day. It‘s said that his carefully orchestrated assassination was not solely the work of the League, but was aided by several Mercykillers who felt he needed to be slapped down. Sarin fell to an enchanted arrow, and his death helped spark the bouncing keg of powder that was the Faction War.
Other victories for the Revolutionary League include Omar, the Anarchist infiltrator who made it all the way to the top of the Harmonium. Upon his election to factol, he tried to disband the Hardheads, but they arrested him and handed him over to the Guvners at the courts. They then handed him over to a Mercykiller executioner and that was that. Still, it was a roc-sized feather in the Anarchists‘ caps, throwing light on the fallibility of the factions. Anarchists were also responsible for the revelation that dull little Factol Hashkar of the Fraternity of Order was actually a petitioner, and of the Lady of Pain at that! This caused quite a ruckus in the days leading up to the Faction War, until Hashkar was laid low by a Xaositect, and the story lost its punch. But it certainly made the old sage more interesting than he had ever been before.
For centuries, the Revolutionary League plotted the downfall of the factions. They figured with the factions and all their hide-bound traditions and viewpoints out of the way, the average planar in the street would be practically free. The factions had become the symbol of everything the Anarchists hated, and all their energies were focused on knocking them aside. Nowadays, that vision proved a bit shortsighted. Sure, the factions controlled the functions of Sigil, but it‘s not like a city without factions has no rules or officials. With the Lady‘s Edict, the League‘s dreams came true; the squabbling of the factions finally ended with the Lady of Pain stepping in and saying through her dabus mouthpiece, “Pike it, berks, or you‘ll get yours!” And the factions went away, just like that, though they seem to only be biding their time, waiting for the Lady to change her mind.
So the League got what it wanted, right? If only. After they were done patting themselves on the back, they started looking around and asked, Now what? No answer has been forthcoming. And truth be told, the League had a lot to do with the current state of affairs. They stoked the flames, spread the rumors, lied, cajoled and killed to keep the Faction War rolling right along. Good for them; they did what they set out to do. Now they‘re dusting themselves off, and haven‘t got the first clue what to do next. See, they had been operating under the idea that philosophizing could wait for so long, their rusty brains can‘t get back into the habit too quickly. The hated factions have been kicked out of Sigil, but nothing much seems to have changed. There are still courts; there are still those who‘ll beat you down soon as look at you; there are still fat merchants with their fat fingers worming into every slice of pie. And as successful as the Faction War was, the Lady sent the top-shelf Anarchists to the Mazes, leaving what little leadership they had in shambles.
So, when word came down from the Lady, the Anarchists bolted to their hidey-hole in the first layer of Carceri, almost to the one. Nestled amongst the prisons of Othrys, the Bastion of Last Hope squats like a big, stony toad. This natural bluff is riddled with caverns and chambers, and has one of the few reliable portals out of Carceri, connecting up to the City of Doors. This secret base traditionally operated as a safe house for Anarchists who needed to lay low for a while. Even here, Anarchists wore masks and kept their real names dark, for the most part. The truly desperate could go under the knife, and come out with a new face, though it was rarely a pleasant one. Now, this den bristled with Anarchists, elbow to elbow, plotting their next step. Some remained in Sigil or other bases, waiting for the word to come down. Many couldn‘t wait for the word to come, and ran out to cause turmoil in the meantime. In Sigil, they operate without symbol or name, but it‘s still pretty much the same.
Then there‘s the Daughters of the Light. This pan-factional group formed for the purpose of quashing the League. Membership was open to all, regardless of race, faction membership, or, despite its name, gender. They drew members from almost every faction save the Anarchists. To them, the Revolutionary League did not qualify as a faction, and was instead the greatest threat to peace Sigil knew. But that changed after the Faction War. The Lady of Pain proved the League right; she revealed that the factions themselves were the problem all along. Now, the Daughters exist to stamp out the remains of every faction but the Revolutionary League. Some bloods say this organization is a tool of the League, always has been. Before the Faction War, the Anarchists used them to spread disinformation about the Anarchists, making sure everyone knew how dangerous and powerful the Revolutionary League was. Since the War, these cat‘s paws have been manipulated into finishing the job of destroying the factions and all their works. There‘s probably some truth to it; after all, the Anarchists are masters of the infiltration racket. Hazrag the Shifty, a guy who manages to both swagger and slink at the same time, says it was all his idea, but he‘s been known to lie before.
Many of the Anarchists are of the opinion that with the factions off their throne, planar society is on the cusp of coming into its own. It still needs a further push, though. Obviously the people aren‘t quite ready, ‘cause the blindfold‘s been taken off, but they still can‘t see their way. The skeletal remnants of authority remaining in Sigil need to be smacked down, and then a transitional governing body will be put in place, made up of members of the Revolutionary League. This new “Committee of the People” will shepherd the berks toward the next stage of development. The Anarchists say they‘ll only need to run things for a little while, until everyone can stand on their own feet. It may be harsh, but it‘s necessary.
Of course, not all Anarchists like this idea too much. In fact, some of ‘em are so against it, they‘ve splintered off, and are working to stop the Committee‘s plans. This has become their primary focus, and fighting them off has become a big focus of the Committee too, if they want to survive to see their master plan come to fruition. What‘ll the splinter group do once they‘ve gotten rid of the Committee? Go back to doing what they‘ve always done, namely working to free planars everywhere from the yoke of law and order. They just don‘t see the point of replacing that order with one of their own making.
Plenty of Anarchists haven‘t sided with either group. Some want to see how it plays out before they line up; no point in backing the loser and getting strung up with them after all. Others think it‘s all a waste of time to be fighting amongst themselves, when there are plenty of enemies out there who don‘t wear an Anarchist‘s badge. Whatever their reason for playing the middle, they operate pretty much as they‘ve always done, while they wait for the True Revolution.
Debate broke down real quick. Remember, Anarchists tend to be fighters, not talkers. The splinter group operated in secret for a good while, but once the Committee figured out there were traitors in its midst, the purge began. The fighting lasted about a week, but so many on both sides knew secrets about their own hideouts, there was no way for anyone to hold it for long. But Carceri‘s a big place, and there‘re lots of places to hide. Skirmishes are frequent, but deaths are rare. Little Miss Tempest, one of the deadliest gnomes to stalk the planes, continuously hops between Curst and Carceri. Her tireless efforts against the Committee of the People have won her the admiration of friend and foe alike.
Anarchists fight each other the same way they fight their other enemies. Anarchists spend most of their time infiltrating other organizations. They keep their real faction membership close to their chests, and only their compatriots in their cells know the dark of who they are, and what their missions are. They spread rumors, half-truths, lies, and even actual facts. They blow things up, and they outright murder. They operate in autonomous cells of three to eight members. At all times, they act as if they were members of the faction they infiltrate, and that includes going on missions for them. They take what they can get from the situation, as long as they don‘t do anything to risk their cover story. When a cell grows too large, it splits, with one member belonging to both. The high-ups belong to several cells, spiders at key points on the web, spreading orders and information.
Friends have always been few. Nowadays, they‘re pretty much non-existent. The Doomguard is crippled, hiding out. The Xaositects have officially disbanded, not that they were terribly organized to begin with. Course, there are still plenty of them around, possibly even more chaotic then they were before. Neither of these groups were staunch allies, but the Anarchists worked with them on occasion. And though they may not agree, many Anarchists admire the Bleakers‘ dedication to helping the unfortunate and downtrodden.
All factions are officially counted as the Enemy. So are the guilds, the governments, and the powers themselves (though most Anarchists leave those to the Athar). The Harmonium are especially loathed. While the Sons of Mercy are better than the Mercykillers were, the Martyrs butt heads with the Anarchists often enough, and the League doesn‘t like their presence in Sigil. The League also keeps a close eye on the Fraternity of Order, even while they sit on the gears of Mechanus.