Ad Astra Per Arcana
The Planewalker’s Guild
Formerly a powerful organization, respected almost the multiverse over for its knowledge and experience, the Planewalker’s Guild today is but a shadow of its former self. Displaced by the rise of the factions, it consists today of a small number of resolute members, insistent on promoting the exploration of the planes, each for their own reasons. Today, its headquarters can be found upon the Infinite Staircase, a crossroads perhaps less well-known than Sigil, but no less functional. It is lead presently by Hav’run Thain, a minotaur from the world of Krynn, and his everpresent companion, the Vagis.
(“Defiers”, “The Lost”),
The Athar are most commonly found around the Great Spire in the Outlands, but members also travel
with relative frequency to the Astral Plane. They believe the deities are unworthy of worship, and to do so reinforces their subjugation of mortals. To the Lost, deities are just incredibly powerful individuals, but are just as flawed as lesser beings and should not be idolized
(“Bleakers”, “Madmen”), The Bleak Cabal is most commonly found in Pandemonium and its gate-town, Bedlam. It‘s members believe the multiverse has no purpose or deeper meaning, and every individual must find their own reasons and motivation from within. Though largely humanist in nature, the Bleakers often fall prey to depression and madness due to the implications of their beliefs. They can often be found supporting soup kitchens and other works of relief across the gate-towns and Sigil.
(“Sinkers”), The Doomguard calls the negative Quasielemental Planes its home, though wild rumors place some Sinkers as fortifying in the Abyss as well. Their philosophy revolves around entropy, the force of decay that they believe to be the only constant on the planes. Whether that entropy needs to be assisted or stymied varies from member to member, but they have developed reputation as destruction-mongers.
(“The Dead”) The Dustmen have their outpost upon the Negative Energy Plane, though a number of them are still active in Sigil’s mortuary. They believe that this life is a shadow of real existence, and that everyone has already died and transitioned to this poor substitute. Seeing no value in this life, the Dustmen accept death, and work to prepare themselves for True Death and whatever stage of existence exists beyond it.
(“Takers”, “The Heartless”) The Fated are often found in Ysgard and its gate-town, Glorium. The Takers accept that life is tough, but assert that it’s survival of the fittest, and that each individual has the right to do whatever it takes to survive and prosper. The multiverse exists for those that can take it, and those who won’t fight for their piece deserve to be shoved aside. The Fated weren’t much loved before the Faction War, and now that their former factol is blamed for beginning the war, many across the planes intensely distrust them.
Fraternity of Order
(“Guvners”), The Fraternity of Order is centered on Mechanus and its gate-town, Automata. Understanding the laws of the multiverse provides influence over it, the Guvners say, and those that learn to exploit these rules will have true power. Their hunger for power is well known, and most folks are watchful of them despite their relatively inoffensive nature.
(“Indeps”), The Free League is spread evenly around the Outlands and gate-towns, spreading its philosophy of individual independence from the dictates of others. The Indeps believe the minds of the planes should be free from the thought police of the factions, and allowed to develop their own beliefs. While not advocates of revolution like the Revolutionary League, the Free League has often been persecuted by various groups because of its resistance to authority.
(“Hardheads”), The Harmonium is mainly found in Arcadia and the Upper Planes, enforcing its belief in a unified, planes-wide organization. Peace, the Hardheads say, can only be achieved by getting every person across the planes to believe in the same ideals. Naturally, their beliefs are best suited for the task, so peace requires enlisting everyone into being a member of the Harmonium. While seemingly well meaning, the Hardheads have clearly gotten out of hand on a number of occasions, and people across the planes are often polarized between seeing them as saviors or thugs.
The Mind’s Eye
(“Godsmen”), The Mind’s Eye is a neophyte organization, largely spread evenly across the Hinterlands of the Outlands. Also known as Seekers or Visionaries, they see the multiverse as a testing ground, a place designed to help one pursue self-discovery and personal growth. Only through this path can individuals move up the latter of existence. The catch is, they tend to perceive their surroundings as their personal playground, and their self-centered quality rivals that of their forebears, the Sign of One and the Believers of the Source.
(“Anarchists”), The Revolutionary League is a loosely knit alliance of various anti-authoritarian cells spread across the planes, with its central holdings in Carceri. The Anarchs seek freedom from authority, and the total liberation of the planes from high-ups and hierarchies. Only once the chains of society are cast down will everyone be free to find the truth of the multiverse. Anarchists to a fault, they are rarely trusted. On the other hand, they often find alliances with the oppressed and dispossessed.
The Ring-Givers are a rapidly growing faction from Ysgard and now based in Sigil. Focused on freeing themselves from debt and reliance, the Bargainers believe that by coveting material possessions and convincing ourselves they are necessary, we become beholden to them. True freedom, they say, can only be found by giving everything up. Likewise, by giving everything you’ve got to the multiverse, the multiverse will be persuaded to act in kind. Though most folks laugh at the idea of tossing power or riches away, it can’t be denied that they often seem to end up on top of many deals.
Society of Sensation
(“Sensates”), The Society of Sensation is based out of Arborea, where it demonstrates its philosophy that experience equals power. That doesn’t mean simply length or depth of experience (though those are nice), but breadth. The Sensates believe experiencing something is the only way to understand it, and so to understand the multiverse one must expose oneself to as much of its experiences as possible.
The Sodkillers are based out of Acheron, and believe firmly that violence is the solution to all life’s problems. Whatever the trouble, a suitable amount of force properly utilized will resolve the matter. While not exactly popular, they’ve come to gain a significant amount of respect and power in Sigil because of the obvious effectiveness of their tactics.
Sons of Mercy
The Sons of Mercy are a well-meaning group of white knights hailing from Bytopia, traveling across the planes on a mission to demonstrate the best qualities of good. While recognizing the role of laws in protecting the well-being of a community, the Martyrs feel that because law is corruptible, it should not be a hindrance in achieving the greater good. Likewise, they realize evil is counterproductive to peace in the multiverse, but believe that the best way to promote good is by living as an example and helping individuals reform. While noble, a gentle approach isn’t always an effective one, and this has earned them a reputation as idealistic fumblers.
(“Ciphers”), The Transcendent Order centers in the serene locale of Elysium, seeking to attain unity of mind and thought. Deliberation and hesitation are flaws from the standpoint of their members, and the Ciphers believe that by purifying action into instinct one can discover their role in the multiverse. That role often brings them into the center of conflicts as a mediating force, bringing balance and calm to otherwise unstable situations.
(“Chaosmen”), The Xaositects are everywhere, but find their natural home is Limbo. Chaotic in the extreme, they think that disorder is the true state of the multiverse, and the only state worth seeking. True freedom and strength can only be found by loosing the shackles of reason and conformity according to their example, if not precisely their teachings. Most people simply think them mad, and often the Xaositects only back that up with their bizarre actions and schemes.
Adapted from the Planescape Campaign Setting on Planewalker.com Pathfinder converisons by Loki