Ad Astra Per Arcana
Stoic, calm, dead expressions… their nickname ―The Dead- describes the Dustmen best. Believing that this life has no meaning and that everyone is already dead, they come off as a little bit creepy. They run the mortuary of Sigil, and have always done so as far back as anyone can remember. The Dustmen try to eliminate their emotions, and many succeed to the point that it is nearly impossible to get a rise out of them; even insulting or threatening one of the Dead makes no difference. If a basher manages to rid himself of all emotion, the Dustmen believe, then he can finally reach True Death – for everyone in this multiverse is dead, and this multiverse is only a shadowy afterlife.
Philosophy: No one is truly alive; all there is to do is strive for True Death.
Nicknames: The Dead, Dusties.
Headquarters: The Mortuary of Sigil, with outposts on the Negative Energy Plane.
Majority Races: Half-elves, humans, and tieflings.
Majority Classes: Clerics, monks, and wizards.
Factol: Currently none
Prominent Members: Iunne (CN male asuras Dustmen), Komosahl Trevant (NE male human Wiz13
Dustmen), Oridi Malefin (N female tiefling Cle19 Dustmen), Silidath (NE female shad Wiz5/Rog5
Alignment: Any, with evil and neutral tendencies.
Symbol: An elongated skull, front view, with a collarbone, over a field of purple.
The world is a miserable place, an endless cycle of death and sadness. Cruelty, brutishness, and greed are common throughout the multiverse, and even expected in some places. The quality of ―life‖ is in the gutter. But of course, that’s because this isn’t ―life‖ at all. It’s the afterlife, and it’s not a pleasant one.
The Dead believe that we’ve all lived and died already, and this is what comes next. Life is about joy and celebration, after all, yet the multiverse is filled with conflict and suffering. Instead of positive feelings, there is pain. Instead of growth, there is only death. No, this cannot be life. This is a twisted mockery, a shadow of what life really is.
The only goal now is to achieve True Death and pass beyond this miserable stage of existence. What comes after True Death? Well, that‘s up for debate. Some believe that after True Death, a body comes back into True Life, and has a chance to live again where he lived before, a place far more vibrant and real than this pale post-mortal shadow. Others believe that it’s not True Life that comes after True Death, but a true afterlife, where joy and real happiness are the only things there are, and pain is unknown. Still others believe that True Death is oblivion; that what it brings is a permanent end to the soul and to consciousness. What all the Dustmen agree on, however, is that whatever comes after True Death, it has to be better than this.
That doesn‘t mean that they go around looking for death. Just dying ain’t enough; a body’s got to have prepared himself right to get to the next stage after True Death. One has to truly understand this stage of existence, its trials and its hardships, before being ready to move on. Otherwise, well, he’ll probably just end up right back here and have to go through this painful afterlife all over again – and wouldn’t that be a waste of time? So Dustmen don’t really want to die until they’re ready for it, nor do most go about rushing others to – if they aren’t ready for True Death, then putting them in the dead-book won’t do anyone any good. Even of those who think they are ready for it, many want to stick around to help shepherd others to the right paths. Thus the Dustmen feature an odd mix of apathy and altruism, though very few appreciate their generosity.
Stoicism is a common trait among the Dustmen: this is only an afterlife, and anything that happens here doesn’t really matter except insofar as it brings a body closer to True Death. So why bother caring? And as far as cares are concerned, the Dead don‘t have them. A sense of aloof pity is common; the Dustmen feel sorry for those who don‘t see the big picture. But then, pity is a feeling, and so even that is something of which the really advanced Dustmen try to divest themselves.
Sometimes, though, some of the Dead get a bit overzealous in their striving against passion. That may seem like a contradiction in terms, but the resulting condition, called the Apathy, is very real. Those afflicted become so detached and apathetic that they don’t even care about eating and other basic tasks. Now, elimination of all passion and desire is one thing, but not even caring about day-to-day existence… well, that’s not going to get a body any closer to True Death. Fact is, many Dustmen call the Apathy ―False Death, because it’s superficially similar to death in some ways but ultimately it’s something a body‘s going to have to shake off if he wants to advance. Some do – there have been cases of recovery from the Apathy. But far too many who fall victim to the Apathy end up just withering away and dying, or losing their drive to find True Death and joining the Bleakers.
As far as the Dead are concerned, primes are only beginning the path of True Death; they are too
caught up in trying to live in this existence to understand the stages of death. Planars are wiser about the multiverse, knowing more about the processes and ends of ―death‖ here in the afterlife, but only some recognize that it is an afterlife, and that it’s True Death they need to reach. Petitioners and proxies are both in dead-end positions, even if they are closer to True Death than most. The petitioners are focused on merging with their plane, and proxies on serving their powers, when both should be looking toward True Death. Perhaps the closest beings to True Death are the undead. Purged of passion and attachment to ―life‖, they have a purity few can know. Ironically, unintelligent undead may be devoid of emotion, but they lack the sentience to appreciate their nearness to True Death. The free-willed undead, on the other hand, should be most able to appreciate their position – and yet even they tend to cling too fiercely to ―life‖ to be ready for True Death
Adapted from the Planescape Campaign Setting on Planewalker.com Pathfinder converison by Loki