The Epicureans are an obscure subculture within the Mercykillers, most prominent in Sigil. The sect's philosophies originated with the Roman Lucretius, and initially concerned a systemic view of the fundamental mechanics of the Multiverse. The Epicurean Mercykillers expounded upon this basis to formulate their fatalist credo.
They believe moderation is the optimal and most appropriate approach to life: excesses in greed for wealth and lust for pleasure will only result in pain at the inevitable loss of those things. Fear of death is foolish; While living we experience life, and when that is over we experience nothing and are incapable of feeling the loss. Mortals should exist with dignity and propriety, be humble before that which they cannot influence, and be active with that which they can.
Epicureans tend to be unpleasant to be around, even moreso than ordinary Mercykillers. Most members of the Red Death are not particularly sympathetic to the sect, but there have been no open disputes between the groups. Members are careful to assert their loyalty to Factol Nilesia at least as much as to their own figure-head Dwindle, a drow female from Faerûn. Some Epicureans have been known to perform surgery or other medical procedures on themselves in the spirit of science, or to modify their own Clinamen.
Lucretius first developed an epistemology divided into sense and reason, corresponding to macro and micro. Sentient beings perceive the world on the macroscopic, everyday scale by their senses, and by their reason they infer the microscopic world from what their senses tell them.
His observations resulted in a materialistic world view: the cosmos consists of microscopic, eternal particles - the Ultimate Atoms - falling ever downward in the infinite Void Space. Mortals, gods, fiends and celestials are all simply random cohesions of falling particles. All life and all objects, since they consist of constantly shifting building blocks, are temporary and transitory, and any given world as we know it now will inevitably pass away, turning into something else, unknowable. Hence, becoming too attached to this life, to any particular god, or even to reality as we now know it would be foolish and narrow-minded.
Sentient beings are generally ignorant of the mechanics of the Multiverse and tend toward superstition, putting their trust in gods - who are equally pointless and deterministic as the rest of the Multiverse - and seek pleasure while avoiding pain.
As a sect this group is younger than most other splinter groups, but under the de facto leadership of Dwindle, they've gathered a stable and faithful membership. Dwindle elaborated upon the original ideas of Lucretius, extrapolating what she deemed the necessary conclusions, to provide the like-minded among her faction with a practical sequitir in the context of the Sigilian world view.
The Epicurean philosophy was first influential among the Doomguard but spread to other factions, seeing popularity with the Bleak Cabal and the Athar, in addition to the Red Death where it eventually became a formalized sect.
The Cause of Criminality
The Epicureans believe free will to be possible by a phenomenon known as Clinamen - the spontaneous swerving of particles as they plunge through Void Space. Because the hearts, minds, souls of mortal beings are comprised of these elements, their swerving is believed to correspond to their thoughts and feelings. If Clinamen is responsible for the behaviour of sentient mortals, it follows that criminality must be a sub-phenomenon of the Clinamen. The Epicureans devote much of their time to studying and experimenting with the biology, the anatomy, and the physical constitution of criminals in order to discover the fundamental causes of criminality and the possible ways to correct it. Accordingly, they have pioneered the practice of punitive surgery, which seeks to simultaneously punish, study and rehabilitate the subject, generally in that order of priority.
Like other Mercykillers, the Epicureans are more interested in punishing transgressors of the law than in preventing such transgression in the first place. But if the Epicureans could discover a way to check the Clinamen from causing criminal behaviour, and manage to put such a method into practice, they will, they feel, have done their part in ensuring that mortals pass through the downwards spiral of existence with Modesty, Justice, Consequence, and Compassion - the four watchwords of the Sect.