"Because we are all dead, everybody belongs to the Dustmen.
Some people just do not know it yet."
--Factol Skall of the Dustmen
Also known as:
The Dead, the Cadavers, Dusties, Dustbunnies
Home Field: Negative Energy Plane
Sigil HQ: Mortuary (Hive Ward)
Unlike most cutters, the Dustmen aren't looking for the Meaning of Life. In fact, they are looking for the Meaning of Death. That's because the Dustmen believe we are all already dead. The planes are just a shadowy mirror of what existence is really like when you are alive. Afterall, if life is supposed to be such a beautiful thing, why is existence so miserable? Life must be without suffering and pain, and the only reason why we are feeling it now is because we are already experiencing our afterlife punishments.
Everyone, petitioners, primers, planars, we're all dead. We're all just bobbin' about in Purgatory while we get our afterlives together and make our way towards the final reward. Some are further along the route than others, and Dustmen credit the walking dead (yes, the undead) as being furthest along, since they have divested themselves of the passions which keep them tied to this wraithly state.
But to really be ready for True Death and to move off of this in-between afterlife, one must understand why he is still bound here and work to remove those chains. Only a fool rushes off to True Death, and most of them just reappear right back here and have to re-do the whole thing over again. Instead, the Dustmen carefully consider this (after)life and work to slowly shrug off their passions and emulate their betters, the undead. Only then do they become ready to move along the path to Truth.
The Dustmen consider the Negative Energy Plane to be a central place to their philosophy, proving that death is here among us. With great difficulty they maintain a fortress out on the Negative Energy Plane, which hosts Dustmen who go there to study Death. In Sigil, the Dustmen have made the Mortuary their home, where they do a great service to the Cage by disposing of the bodies of the dead. Of course, they often study these corpses (and perhaps do even more), but what sod really cares about the dead but these berks?
The Dustmen have a rather strong and surprising philosophy and it has a tendency to produce extreme reactions. The Bleak Cabal and the Doomguard both treat the Dustmen with respect, since they all share rather fatalistic views of The Multiverse. However, at the same time, the Signers and the Sensates tend to hate the Dustmen, because the Dead care not for imagination or sensation, since these things to them are only delusions holding us from reaching True Death.
Everyone is dead, so the Dead accept everyone, priests of death being extremely welcome. However, as the faction promotes the shedding of passion, most Dustmen tend to be of Neutral alignment.
Druids also lean towards Dustman views ‘cause they don’t get distracted working toward good or evil, law or chaos. This neutral position proves common among the Dustmen. Fact is, the longer a body stays in the Dead, the more his alignment shifts toward true neutral, and only neutral characters can achieve True Death. Chaotics may try to play Dead for a while, but any group whose philosophy centers on “we” (as in “we are all dead”) can’t attract chaotic folks long. Revering death ain’t popular with good people, for that matter.
Still, a few Dustmen remain chaotic, or good, or both. A chaotic Dustman believes that each person must find a separate path to True Death. And, as thinking everyone is dead doesn’t exactly conflict with good, a good dustman guides himself and others patiently along the path to the next stage of existence. The Dead’s belief in an orderly pattern to The Multiverse attracts many who favour law, but the group’s apparent lack of respect for “life” attracts the evil. Well-intentioned Dustmen want their neighbors to advance in death – but most folks believe it’s evil to hope for someone’s demise. Go figure.
Many Wizards, as scholarly, intellectual types, favour the introspection of the Dustmen. This quality also attracts clerics, though the ones who actually join have devoted themselves mainly to gods of death. Dustmen clerics all eventually hit the blinds, however: Religious devotion requires some amount of passion, yet progressing among the Dead means letting go of that passion. Clerics slowly become less devoted to specific gods and more devout to Death as a force. The Dead attract few Rogues or Warriors, since these professions encourage flamboyance and emotion. The infrequent Dustman Warrior, a guardian rather than a crusader, becomes a strong, implacable foe.
Though the Dead Thief loses the passion for stealing, he still can skulk with the best of ’em. The unusual Dustman Bard – in demand at funerals – devotes himself to odes and dirges that honor death rather than celebrate life, and he analyzes music and lyric, instead of enjoying it. Now, some claim Druids don’t “belong” in the Dustmen any more than Bards, yet a surprising number of them do join. See, Druids revere nature and see death as a natural progression from life. All life ends in death, right? Once a druid looks at things this way, he’s ready to accept all “life” as merely a stage of death.
Most Dead are Humans. Some factions say that’s because only humans are gullible enough, to follow Dustman beliefs, but that doesn’t explain the minority of nonhuman faction members from other short-lived species. Seems folks with short life spans tend to sympathize with the Dustman philosophy; they see death more than others do, so they feel closer to it. Most other prime races seem too connected to life to consider the Dead philosophy. For instance, it’s a rare thing to see a Dustman Elf, since Elves are a long-lived and generally life-loving bunch. A prime Elf who joins the Dead has come to embrace death and considers his connection with nature and life a disadvantage, one that hinders him from moving forward to the next stage of existence.
The severe Githzerai might seem naturals for the Dustmen, but they have a lot of passion to overcome, like their hatred for the Githyanki. Tieflings and planar Half-Elves, both “misplaced people,” often accept the way of the Dustmen. However, Bariaur prove too carefree, outgoing, and happy for this faction. A Bariaur has to get awfully depressed to even consider joining the Dead, and usually that depression keeps him out, as such an emotional tendency would make him unsuitable.
The Dustmen have a truly unique benefit applied to their factioneers which takes the form of an ancient truce made long ago between the Dustmen and the beings of the Negative Energy Plane. The Dead Truce, as it is called, ensures that none of the walking dead shall ever make an unprovoked move towards a Dustmen. Undead will ignore a member of the Dustmen unless that member provokes the undead in some way, in which case they are released from the pact. This pact does not extend to non-Dustmen companions, so undead may attack an entire party while ignoring the Dustman, assuming he does not act against them.
Because the Dustmen aim to move towards True Death, resurrection and attempts to return them to their body or a new body are often rejected. Any attempt to raise, resurrect or reincarnate a Dustman has a 50% chance of total failure. This difficulty does not take effect against any attempts to transform a Dustman into an undead creature, since they consider these creatures closer to True Death. As another part of the Dead Truce, Dustmen priests may never use their turn undead ability to destroy undead creatures. Those that do are in violation of the Truce, and face explusion from the faction.
Sigil - Planar Legends: Members of the Dustmen can cast Control Undead 1/day.
Life among the Dead – interesting phrase, ain’t it? Though Dustman characters hear a lot of cracks about their faction’s name, they really don’t care one way or the other about nicknames. After all, they’ve supposedly shucked off all emotion. So they don’t mind being called the Dead, or Dusters or even Dusties (the last not used often, and never within earshot). One story going around the Cage, though, tells of an odd primer who thought herself funny calling them the “Dustbunnies.” She stopped the morning she woke up next to a zombie. (Folks say the zombie had on rabbit ears, but it’s tough credit the dead with such a sense of humor.)
Most Dustmen are just namers, folks who join the Dead by promising before witnesses to serve the faction and declaring their knowledge that they, like all in The Multiverse, have left Life behind. They try to leave their passions behind as well, and succeed in varying degrees. However, the majority of ’em never approach True Death. Namers work as Collectors and Mortuary aides.
Those with promise (and of at least 4th level) become factotums, whom fellow Dustmen call Initiates . The lowest ranking factotums are Initiates of the Fifth Circle. They serve guard duty, perform missions on assignment, and escort visitors and funeral parties. For induction into the Fifth Circle, prospective factotums attend their own funerals, detaching themselves from worldly possessions and making peace with family and friends. Factotums who perform well go through a new initiation to gain the Fourth Circle, then presumably another to proceed straight from Fourth to First. The chant has little to say about these secret ceremonies. The First Circle holds the factol and his factors, and a cutter or two advanced there directly from the Fourth Circle. So what about the Third and Second Circles? No one knows, not even other Initiates. (Except, presumably, those of the First Circle.) The chant around the Mortuary says the Third Circle consists of lesser free-willed undead, like ghasts, wights, and wraiths; liches, spectres, and vampires supposedly make up the Second. One thing sure: No living basher can see through this dark.