Factions and Sects
Depending on who a body asks, he'll be told that the factions are the lifeblood of the planes - or the worst plague that's ever befallen them. 'Course, it's not like anyone can remember a time when there were no factions. Most of the groups that exist today are just a thousand years old or younger, but other factions were around before that time as well. The bands weren't always so organized, either, and there used to be a good deal more of them - four dozen or so, all bickering and brawling. It was the Lady of Pain herself who eventually forced the factions to limit their number to 15, in an event called the Great Upheaval that took place over 600 years ago.
Each faction looks for the meaning of life, the path to power, or the dark of the planes. In short, they all seek truth. Problem is, most of 'em believe they've already found it, and they try to persuade everyone else to accept their view as the one true way. Over the years, this kind of open-minded undertaking has claimed the lives of thousands of sods.
It's possible to change factions, but it doesn't happen very often. For one thing, most people don't have a dramatic change of heart when it comes to their basic beliefs. What's more, the factions - as organized groups with agendas and enemies - don't take quitters lightly. Faction membership is extremely important, and turning stag is dangerous. No faction (as an entity) likes to suffer such a betrayal, and no factioneer (as an individual) likes being made to feel like a leatherhead for trusting and confiding in someone thought to be a kindred spirit.
|Triad of Order||Triad of Despair||Triad of the Spirit||Triad of the Self||Triad of Independence|
|Harmonium||Bleak Cabal||Society of Sensation||Believers of the Source||Athar|
|Fraternity of Order||Doomguard||Transcendent Order||Fated||Free League|
|Mercykillers||Dustmen||Xaositects||Sign of One||Revolutionary League|
On planes where the factions don't hold as much sway as they do in Sigil, other organized groups with wide-reaching philosophies take their place. These groups are called sects. Some are former factions that fell in importance or membership (perhaps because of the Great Upheaval). Others are just groups that espouse the ideas unique or limited to a particular plane or realm.
|Anarch's Guild||Children of the Vine||Converts||Epicureans||Dispossessed|
|Order of the Planes-Militant||Ragers||Ring-Givers||Verdant Guild||Vile Hunt|
("Defiers", "The Lost"), who deny not only the gods' right to pass judgment over mortals, but their very divinity. They claim that the gods (whom they call "powers") are powerful but have limits and do not deserve worship. Instead, Athar priests channel divine power from what they call the "Great Unknown", or what they believe to be the true divine force behind everything. Their headquarters in Sigil is the Shattered Temple, the former temple of the dead god Aoskar. The Athar are broadly derived from real-world atheists, agnostics, and Deists.
- Believers of the Source
("Godsmen"), who believe that each life is a test, and that every person has the potential to become a god. Their headquarters is the Great Foundry, symbolizing their belief that the multiverse constantly forges and refines all beings. Shares many parallels with Hindu and Buddhism. However, the ultimate goal is not Nirvana but apotheosis.
- Bleak Cabal
("Bleakers", "Madmen"), who deny that any belief system has any merit; as they see it, the universe has physical rules, but no metaphysical or philosophical ones, therefore any meaning in life must come from within. Their headquarters is the insane asylum of Sigil, called the Gatehouse. They are derived from real-life existentialists and nihilists.
("Sinkers"), who believe in the sanctity and inevitability of entropy. They see the decay and destruction of the universe as necessary; for once it is destroyed all imperfections will be gone with it, paving the way for a perfect new world. Their headquarters is Sigil's Armory, where they forge weapons as tools of destruction.
("The Dead") believe that both life and death are false states of existence, that there is a state of True Death which can only be accomplished by denying one's emotions and physical wants and needs (a conception similar to oblivion, but also conceivably to Nirvana). Their headquarters is the Mortuary, where Sigil's dead are interred or cremated. Their philosophy is closely related to acosmism, with a more death geared ideal. The faction shares similarities with Buddhism and with the Stoics as well.
("Takers", "The Heartless") believe that those with power and ability have the right to own what they control and to take what they can from those who are unable to keep it, and that it is their right to exploit any situation to their advantage, regardless of how it affects anyone else. Their headquarters is the Hall of Records, where they serve as the tax collectors of Sigil. They are derived from real-life Social Darwinists and the philosophies of Max Stirner.
- Fraternity of Order
("Guvners"), who believe that knowledge is power; they learn and exploit both the natural laws of the universe and the laws of society. Their headquarters is the City Court, where they serve as judges and legal advocates. They recall the Sophists of Classical Athens.
- Free League
("Indeps"), who reject the other factions and their bureaucratic, hierarchical dogmatism; in fact, they don't consider themselves a faction at all. For this reason, they don't have a factol or an official headquarters, though Sigil's Great Bazaar serves as an unofficial one. They believe in individual freedom as the highest good and could be considered similar to libertarianism.
("Hardheads"), who believe that peace and stability can only be established under one rule — theirs. The planar faction known as the Harmonium is actually just a small part of a much larger political entity which rules over the entirety of the Prime Material world of Ortho. In Sigil, they serve as the city's police force, and their headquarters is the City Barracks. They are related to present day authoritarianism, particularly religious evangelicalism and fundamentalism. It is strongly advised that visitors to Sigil never, under any circumstances, use the term 'Hardhead' in front of Harmonium members.
("The Red Death"), who believe in justice and retribution at the expense of all else. Their name does not come from "killing out of mercy," but rather "killing mercy." Their credo that mercy is for the weak, and the merciful should be punished. Appropriately, their headquarters is Sigil's Prison, where they carry out the sentences of convicted criminals.
- Revolutionary League
("Anarchists"), who believe that social order and man-made laws are inherently corrupt and must be destroyed—though none of their members can agree on what, if anything, should replace them. Like the Indeps, they don't have a factol or a headquarters, though they have many safe houses and secret meeting places.
- Sign of One
("Signers"), who believe that everyone is the center of their own reality and that reality can be reshaped by the power of imagination. Their headquarters is the Hall of Speakers, which houses Sigil's legislature. Some of them are solipsists, though most are not so extreme.
- Society of Sensation
("Sensates"), who believe that accumulating experiential knowledge through the senses is the only way to achieve enlightenment. Their headquarters is the Civic Festhall, which features an endless series of entertainments and a library of magically stored experiences. They are remniscent of ancient Epicurianism, as well as the more modern empiricism.
- Transcendent Order
("Ciphers"), who believe that by tapping in to the 'cadence' of the planes and acting through pure instinct they can achieve a higher state of being. Their headquarters is the Great Gymnasium, where members can train to improve their bodies and minds. Their philosophy could be considered similar to Taoism, and its offshoots, such as Zen Buddhism.
("Chaosmen"), who believe that the only truth is revealed in chaos. The Xaositects have been quite accurately described as being "totally off their rockers, every one of 'em." Their headquarters is the Hive, which is the most disorganized part of the Sigil ward of the same name. Some may consider their philosophy a slight twist to accidentalism, but a far more relevant parallel is the Cynics (Greek κῠνικός "dogs") of antiquity. There is even a gang of Xaositects called the "Starved Dogs Barking" featured in Planescape: Torment. Compare with real life discordianism.
|Vincent Vale (Factor)|
|Felonia Lon (Factotum)|
|Nushala Thea (Namer)|
|Nulkra Ildruna (Namer)|
|Leandra Ferrera (Namer)|
Believers of the Source
|Alda Uxio (Factotum)|
|Skeggi Cindermaul (Factotum)|
|Felix Lockheart (Namer)|
|Autumn Rosemary Cherrypot (Namer)|
|Morticia Locard (Namer)|
|Verity Locke (Factotum)|
|Ellanorr Krovst (Namer)|
|Isiel Bloodbane (Namer)|
|Nullus (Greater Doomlord) (Factor)|
|Katya Peacebreaker (Doomlord) (Factotum)|
|Pyre (Doomlord) (Factotum)|
|Saith Nightingale (Entropy Champion) (Factotum)|
|Anducar Engberg (Doomguard) (Namer) Floater|
|Ælfræd (Doomguard) (Namer)|
|Azaj (Doomguard) (Namer)|
|EnDr (Doomguard) (Namer)"|
|Zennad (Doomguard) "(Namer)"|
|Jezebel Ashen (Namer)|
|Titu Huallpa (Namer)|
|Emily Wilkson (Namer)|
|Wynlanrion Elanor (Namer)|
|Rosaline Astair (Factor)|
|Aluniira Dhuunyl-Shil’Vel (Factotum)|
|Alaros Arvendale (Namer)|
|Anasthia Vesk (Namer)|
|Aothar Drakksel (Namer)|
Fraternity of Order
|Nezhara Drallas (A-2) (Administrator) (Factotum)|
|Strigari (A-4) (Administratior) (Factotum)|
|Avalda (A-8) (Aid) (Namer)|
|Zanria Blackmoore (A-8) (Aid) (Namer)|
|Vulca Evitha (A-8) (Aid) (Namer)|
|Lisa (A-8) (Aid) (Namer)|
|Yvant Vilwadal (A-9) (Aid) (Namer)|
|Olena Vanston (A-9) (Aid) (Namer)|
|Avradoss (A-9) (Aid) (Namer)|
|Igor Greyclaw (A-10) (Aid) (Namer)|
|Connor of the Stand|
|Lucius Birkask (Mover I; Major) (Factor)|
|Parias (Measure I; Warrant Officer) (Factotum)|
|Peony Dale (Notary IV; Staff Sergeant) (Namer)|
|Ahai Opra (Notary III; Sergeant) (Namer)|
|Viggu Charmaker (Notary II; Corporal) (Namer)|
|Sayat Arda (Captain) (Factotum)|
|Hiram Blackstone (Namer)|
|Aetrakas Netherdrifter (Namer)|
|Franziska Bick-Leichnam (Namer)|
Sign of One
|Hyeronimus Barxire (Factotum)|
|Scilla Bukir (Namer)|
|Cygnus 'Bizan' Cerau (Namer) Cygglypuff|
Society of Sensation
|Sezela Mirj (Factotum)|
|Aesgil Brilliance-of-Dawn (Factotum)|
|Signsong Swallowsting (Namer)|
|Aisha bint Alia (Namer)|
|Lyrimystrazel "Mitzi" (Namer)|
|Kalleia Shellkeeper (Namer)|
|Zhao Zhu (Namer)|
|One Prayer Tiffany (Namer)|
|Venyr Valeborn (Master of Heart) (Factotum)|
|Ssej Aurix (Novice) (Namer)|
|Sullveig Craggsson (Novice) (Namer)|
|Cin (Adept) (Namer)|
|Nurhial (Novice) (Namer)|
|Zed (Boss) (Factotum)|
|Cavi Smugbucket (Boss) (Factotum)|
Brotherhood of Glory
Children of the Vine
|Syprian Sideris Thalassiadis (Carpet Knight)|
Order of the Planes-Militant
|Brigur Anduin (Watchman)|
|Crispin Shallows (Crusader)|
|Melusine Rivers (Lay-Sister)|
|Haroth Grimstaunch (Lay-Brother)|
This group is private