"The gods are frauds; the unknowable truth lies beyond the veil."
Also known as:
Defiers, Lost, Deniers
Home Field: Astral
Sigil HQ: Shattered Temple (Lower Ward)
Allies: Believers of the Source
Listen up. The gods are imposters, mere frauds parading as true divinity. The powers are not divine, they are just more powerful mortals, just like you and me. After all, if they are the most powerful beings every imagined, why are they required to keep their followers happy? Better yet, why do they die then, as they have been shown to do?
Don't get us wrong, most Defiers believe there probably is a true divine power or powers, but they are completely unknowable to us. They are beyond our perception, and the "gods" only channel the power of this unknowable force to the priests and other pious individuals. And if the priests and mortals worship these powers and call them divine, why would the powers argue against it? Would you?
It's just all a big scam. Mortals can shape the planes just like the gods do, it just takes us more work because we aren't as skilled as they are. They've got the petitioners fooled, making them toil away in their afterlife convinced their "god" will lead them to true salvation when they could become part of the Great Unknown anytime they wish. This faction is intent on seeing the truth behind this veil of lies, even if it means upsetting a few powerful beings along the way.
Out in the planes, the Athar dominate the Astral Plane. They carve out kips in the bodies of long-dead gods that bob and float on the astral waves, proud to cite the land they control as evidence of their philosophy. In Sigil, the Athar make their headquarters out of the Shattered Temple, the temple that once belonged to the god Aoskar before the Lady of Pain killed all of the power's followers in Athas and the god's patronage died off. Without an official role in Sigil, many accuse the Athar of being the Lady's spies, because they watch the power structure (especially the temples) of Sigil very closely, and prey upon hypocrisy. They scandalize leaders by revealing their secrets and lead propaganda brigades to sway away loyalty from certain groups.
Because the Godsmen view the powers as just another extension of all of us, their philosophy is less grating than most to the Athar. In fact, the two factions have been known to work together on occasion to promote self-responsibility and self-growth among Sigil's population. Also, oddly enough, the Athar and the Anarchists have been known to ally on occasion, since they both enjoy striking back at people in power.
The only limit on eligibility within the Defiers is that no member can be a priest of a specific diety. Priests in this faction can still receive spells and choose domains (which the Athar cite as proof of an unknowable power), but they do so from a force they do not name or attempt to describe.
Not all the Lost are bitter, but most have had a power turn stag on ’em. That’s why folks join the Defiers, and a lot of them carry around a heavy load of cynicism, paranoia, and resentment. Whatever their attitude, Defiers follow the Rule of Three by having three main goals: to prove publicly the falsity of the so-called gods, to lessen or destroy their influence, and to part the veil of the unknowable to glimpse the truth.
Defiers of various ethical systems all look at the Athar philosophy a little differently. A basher with a bent toward charity wants to save the “faithful” sods from suffering the pain of the inevitable betrayal by their powers. A few Lost value honesty, and so find motivation in a love of truth. Self-centred Defiers hope to pull down the powers to leave more room for their own schemes to gain wealth, pleasure, or even revenge: Strip the false gods of power by stripping them of believers. ’Course, the Defiers who naturally refrain from passing judgment still detest shams. What is, is – and fraudulent gods only muddy the waters.
Lawful Athar think a berk who follows the rules of the powers follows the wrong guidelines: he needs to see past the powers to the order of the Greater Unknown. Chaotic Defiers insist that The Multiverse has no rhyme or reason and think the powers just form part of a false veneer of order. The neutral Lost believe the phonies distort the balance between law and chaos.
A basher’s profession determines the reason for joining the faction and the methods used to pursue its aims. Fighters seek combat with all who serve the powers and believe that the truth will out in melee. Rangers consider deities who enslave animals more vile than others and claim that animals in their natural state provide clues to sublime truths. Paladins hope to convert all beings from worship of their idols to reverence for the true (though unknown) source of all majesty. Priests also look beyond the powers in search of the Greater Unknown god. Druids insist the powers interfere with the natural cycles of The Multiverse and want to see them operate without these interlopers. Wizards claim the powers deliver tainted magic, and thieves want ecclesiastic wealth for themselves.
Many Planars in the Great Ring serve a power and would never join the Athar (nor find themselves welcome). This fact makes the Lost less multiracial than some other factions, such as the Believers of the Source and the Free League. Bariaur, Half-Elves, Humans, Tieflings, Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, and Halflings are all well represented. Githzerai seem few and far between, though: The majority revere either their race’s nameless wizard-king or the legendary Zerthimon as a god.
Because of the strength of their disbelief in the powers, Athar are better at resisting the abilities of those representing the powers. Athar members receive a +4 to all saving throws against spells or powers granted on behalf of a deity, such as priest spells, proxy special abilities, or the powers of a deva or fiend serving a power. However, this resistance is a constant part of an Athar's life, and they find themselves unable (and almost always unwilling) to even accept a deity's power if it is granted in their favour. So, even if a priest is trying to cure his Athar friend, the Athar must roll a saving throw and fail it for the cure spell to work. Of course, most Athar would refuse this aid anyhow, and most priests would not offer it to them.
Sigil - Planar Legends: Members of the Athar can cast Dismissal 1/day.
The Athar Membership
Folks can join the Lost just by presenting themselves at Shattered Temple. Some of the Namers find jobs at the Temple. All of ‘em must provide room and board for needy Factotums, since the temple itself offers no housing. The faction treasury gives them a bit of jink for this service, but not enough to cover all the costs. The excess? Consider it the namer’s contribution to the cause.
Nearly all the Athar feel a need to show the deluded, who still have faith in the powers, the error of their ways. However, most of the Lost feel peery of priests of specific deities and avoid their temples. Why should a body expose himself to the one place where the enemy is strongest? Defiers steer away from overt hostilities against the various faiths: The survival of their faction depends on discretion. After all, too many open attacks on established temples will simply unite their foes into a force the Athar could never withstand.