Fraternity of Order
"The planes are governed by laws. Laws can be learned. Learn the laws and you rule the Multiverse. That is our goal."
--Factol Hashkar of the Guvners
Also known as:
Guvners, the Law-fools, the Order
Home Field: Mechanus
Sigil HQ: City Court (Lady’s Ward)
Everyplace has laws, even out here on the fringe. Whether they be social laws, philosophical laws, or physical laws, there are rules to everything in The Multiverse. And you can't deny that if someone knows the laws they do pretty good for themselves. They avoid the prisons, they don't anger their friends, and they know the right action to take when opportunity arises. Besides, unless you really know the laws of everything, how can you expect to know the loopholes in those laws? And knowing the loopholes in reality is what separates a real cutter from a sodding berk.
Think about what you could accomplish if you knew the loopholes in the laws of The Multiverse! It would make magic look like a second rate sham. If you learn the most secret laws and how to get around them, even the Powers would be unable to refuse your power. Because you're still following the rules as they were set down. And law can also be used against your enemies to deny them of their power. What a wonderful concept it is!
Who cares what the meaning of The Multiverse is? Even if you discover the meaning of it all (which his extremely improbable), it won't tell you how it all works. Knowing how it works is important. Knowing the rules is important. That is why we study, learn, and research. We will know how it all works while we let all the other addle-covers figure out why.
In Mechanus, it is clear that all things run by precise rules. Since this plane more than any other shows off its laws and rules, it attracts many a Guvner. In Sigil, however, the Fraternity of Order maintains its headquarters at the City Courts, where it enforces the social laws with impossibly precise interpretation.
Such a strong knowledge of the law is important to a few other factions in Sigil. The Mercykillers rely upon the laws to separate the just from the unjust, so they often work together with the Guvners (until someone abuses the law for the purpose of injustice). The Harmonium also respects the Order's strict adherence to law, though they feel that even law must be enforced by might. On the other end of the spectrum, the Xaositects writhe under the constrictive laws of the Guvners and fight them every step of the way. The Revolutionary League sees the laws as a thinly-veiled tool to oppress people, and often tries to undermine the Order's work. Even the Doomguard is suspicious of the Fraternity of Order, wondering if their laws are stymieing the decay of The Multiverse.
The Order accepts anyone as long as they have a strong respect for the law. Due to this stipulation, only lawfully-aligned people can be members of this faction. Most Guvners strike a cutter as bookish types, those wiling to study and adhere to hundreds of rules and laws. To prove they’ve learned the laws, faction members must pass tests, which earns them the admiration of their peers and the opportunity to rise through the ranks.
Two basic types of bashers join the Guvners: those looking for knowledge and those looking for power. To most of them, the two quests amount to exactly the same thing – remember, knowledge is power. Some faction members enjoy delusions of power beyond reason, but they fail to get far. See, such megalomaniacs have lost their sense of order in their fanatic ambition. While many Guvners seek knowledge with fervor, the ones that rise through the ranks are those governed by a sense of order. They don't hunger for the power of knowledge, but accept that it will come.
A cutt'ers got to be lawful to join the Guvners – and pass the right tests, of course. Good characters respect the laws as they are, while evil ones thrill in twisting them legally whenever they can.
Most members of the Fraternity of Order are wizards, since that profession encourages research; all specialties appear in the faction's roll, though Guvner wild mages seem less wild than most and concern themselves with learning the laws and patterns of chaos (such as they are). A lot of the remaining Guvners are priests, usually of a power representing law and order, justice, or a related topic. Warriors seem somewhat common, and the rare Guvner Rogue might be a bard or a thief who lawfully tries to thwart other thieves.
Though a character’s race makes little difference to the Guvners, many Humans and Dwarves join. Half-Elves and Tieflings seem uncommon (they don’t take well to strict rules), Bariaur rare, and Githzerai almost unknown – they like rules even less.
Guvners are extremely adept at finding the loopholes in the laws of The Multiverse. This ability can even be applied against the multiverse's natural and physical laws, allowing a Guvner to accomplish amazing things. Through abusing a logical loophole in the multiverse's rules (which the player must detail), the Guvner can receive the ability to use a spell-like effect that mimics any 0th- or 1st-level arcane spell. Since it is a spell effect, it has no verbal, somatic, or material components, and it can be used multiple times per day. However, they may only use the effect a number of times equal to their Intelligence score before The Multiverse closes the loophole they are abusing. They must then ponder for a month while they attempt to discover another loophole. Once a month has passed, the factioneer may choose another 0th- or 1st-level spell to mimic. Each spell can only be mimicked once; a Guvner can not later find another loophole to create the same effect. Guvners may only have one spell effect at a time, but they can at any time prematurely expire their old effect by assisting in closing the loophole. Once that is done, they lose the effect and can begin to research a new one.
However, this strict adherence to the law also means that a Guvner will never knowingly break any law unless they have a legalistic loophole to fall back on before the action is committed. Even breaking a law unknowingly can be reason enough for expulsion from the Order, unless the offending Guvner pays his penance for the crime.
Sigil - Planar Legends Members of the Fraternity of Order can cast Comprehend Languages 1/day.
Fraternity of Order Membership
The Guvners have their share of namers: berks who pass the initial tests (covering laws and general knowledge) but don’t strive to learn after their acceptance. They join just to belong to a faction. These namers, or Aiders, are the smallest cogs in the Fraternity machine and perform the faction’s mundane, day-to-day tasks. Their superiors assign them duties, but they may request assignments as well. Often, high-ups encourage Aides to go on adventures to gain first-hand knowledge, as long as they write full reports on their return.
‘Course factioneers can’t always go tearing off on adventures, The Fraternity of Order also requires at least a few hours of regular duty from each and every Guvner every week. Aides serve as assistants to factotums, or if they’re lucky, to higher-placed Guvners. (No namer has direct regular contact with the factol himself, though). Most namers work their hours as file clerks, research assistants, and court recorders. Some have more menial tasks, like cleaning or guarding the City Court. Aides all must follow the orders of any factotum unless these orders conflict with a current ongoing task.
It’s a cinch that being at everyone else’s beck and call encourages Aides to become factotums or, to use the Guvner’s term, Administrators. To earn this promotion, an Aide must pass a series of tests, offered every 100 days. Passing the tests makes a basher an Administrator of A10 rank (A1 is highest).
Low-ranking Administrators feel like little more than glorified Aides, as they merely assist faction high-ups. Some of these Administrators do have managerial tasks, like supervising the Shifter’s Logs, accounts of how Sigil’s various shifting portals are used and by whom. (Only factotums and higher can see these secret logbooks, and some times they send namers to stake out more important portals, to gather logbook data.)
Factotums of higher ranks, A5 to A1, might serve as assistants, too, but usually they have their own Aides to supervise as well. These high-ups spend most of their time at faction headquarters (either Sigil or on Mechanus). Some conduct research missions, provided they first make the proper requests with the correct forms through appropriate channels. Within the court system, Administrators of all ranks serve as attorneys, both prosecutors and defenders, as well as legal advisers.
Factotums each have a superior. Sometimes higher ranked Administrator serves as supervisor, but often it’s a Bureau Chief: A factor in the Fraternity. Though some factotums might serve as assistants to the factol, they do so under orders from a Bureau Chief and must respond to both the orders and the factol and of the Bureau Chief. Administrators advance by taking tests once every 100 days. An exceptional score can get a body promoted two ranks instead of one.
Advancement to Bureau Chief naturally requires a test. However bashers gets promoted only when a Bureau Chief position is vacant. Only occasionally does the factol create a new bureau that needs a chief; most A1s have to wait for Bureau Chief to retire or die. The faction’s got way too many middle managers, especially ranks A3 to A1, ’cause they have no place to advance.
The Factol assigns an A1 both knowledgeable and lucky to become Chief of a Bureau. The ranks of Bureau Chiefs start with B5 and work up to B1. B5s supervise lesser bureaus, many of which form parts of bigger bureaus. B1-level Bureau Chiefs run the Star Bureaus: Record-Keeping, Research, Internal Affairs, Planar Affairs, and Prime Affairs. These five bureaus have existed for hundreds of years.
’Course a few other major bureaus, the Ad Hoc Bureaus, have B2s or B3s in charge. Though technically these bureaus are temporary, some have been around a century or more; one, the Bureau of Courts, assigns faction members court duties. Some Bureau Chiefs, usually level B5s or B4s, do not have bureaus of their own. They serve as judges or functionaries of the Bureau of Courts.
To Become factol of the Fraternity of Order, a cutter first must serve as a B1 Bureau Chief. When the position of the factol opens, the B1s vote one of their number into the position. Should a tie arise, Guvners extend the voting to Bureau Chiefs of all ranks. The vote counters eliminate the candidates with the lowest vote totals until a clear winner emerges by plurality vote.
The position of factol seems unlikely to open in the near future. See, Hashkar has held the job for 127 years and shows little sign of slowing down. However, not all factols leave the position by dying. A few have retired, stepping down to honorary B1 status. (A retiree serves as Chief of a bureau with no functions and no functionaries besides himself, allowing the former factol to dodder off into senility).
Some factols, including Hashkar’s predecessor, disappeared without a trace, despite efforts of the faction’s best investigators.