Greetings, reader. There is no Ramon to worry about this time around. He is fine, my cohorts have seen to that. However, his journal is just too valuable to fall into the clutches of some grabby faction or offended primer. By all means, let me contribute! For the purposes of this document, this is an addendum to a magnificent tome that will damn you just by thinking about it. I speak of the most infamous tome in Sigil and maybe beyond, The Factol’s Manifesto! The pages within, adorned with flavour and flare by yours truly, describe the deeper details and dim dark on the factions that populate the Cage! Read no further, lest a basilisk of the mind take you! Once you go in, your mind will never go out.
Good, you’re still with me. Let us speak more of the infamous Factols’ Manifesto! The following pages are but supplements to inform you on some background groups attempting to politic and tinker with the workings of wider society all the same. I sense that you’ll ask a question, “Editor, how do I know you’re from Sigil when you don’t speak in Cant?” Well, my scrutinizing friend, one can choose to take a break from such slang terminology. Doing so can allow even the most oblivious of Primers to comprehend forbidden things that could either save them or… well… see above. So, take heed that all you see before puts your life on the line much like it does my own! With that dire warning, continue and be educated!
Author’s Note: Writing in the style of the Factols’ Manifesto, what fun! I’ve made a number of sects and the like over the years, also playing with other ideas. Plus, here’s a chance to spill the rest of the beans on the Acts of Balance “Faction” I’ve been teasing for a while.
The Acts of Balance.
The Red Death aren’t the only hybrid faction, cutter. No, there’s one that lurks in the shadows of the Outlands, slowly making itself at home in the Cage. The Balance of Neutrality and The Neutralizers came together under a common goal. These berks are known as “The Middle Ground” or “The Centrists”. Don’t call them “Spineless”, it’ll get you beaten or worse. Many aren’t above grabbing a patrol to get you scragged for harrassment. Few can pin down what they do, besides complain about factions acting out of balance. To them, enlightenment comes from following “The Golden Mean”, where all philosophies meet rationally. To them, the best of each faction is represented through understanding and compromise of the wider multiverse. Many within their ranks will protest or consult lawful means to try to tear down certain faction activity, if they feel it has gone too far. Some will sabotage, if need be. Their game seems to revolve around a truly neutral space, where none have an edge against others. Some berks think they operate on merit, but creating an even field where one’s own work matters. Others think they’re more nihilistic than the Doomguard or the Bleak Cabal, seeking to destroy belief itself. You want to know The Dark? They embody it! Many a factioneer will tell you they want a proper balance, where no faction rises too far above the rest. Balance brings unity and understanding! Their “headquarters” is in the recently established “Boundless Cage University”, an affordable education center within The Clerks Ward. Many Factors act as professors, offering an unbiased approach to education.
The Indeps have become peery, seeing them as a cruel parody of themselves. Hardheads, Sinkers and more upfront and blunt factions find them to be useful cowards. The Bleakers can’t stand them, citing them as proof the multiverse is illogical. This is due to them helping a soup kitchen done day and sending the Harmonium to another during a different day. Several more neutral factions pay them little mind. Often, they will use their talents to act contrarian against others; whether at the Hall of Speakers or taking more underground approach. Cagers fear the idea of them in total control, as it would bring a sanitized and bland future. It’s for these reasons that the Anarchists directly oppose them too. Even the ones who know the Chant about their desire to destroy the other factions hate their central-based endgame. This hasn’t stopped either faction from infiltrating the other. However, they are among the “least” biased sources of factual information, trying to play things from a neutral stance. And for what it’s worth, they do help keep factions more moderate, if they can help it.
While the faction is mostly peaceful, it’s no secret that many have a bone to pick with everyone else. Some have provoked their many rivals to act their worst as an excuse to seek conflict from them. Most of the faction denounces this vocal minority, but does little to stop them. While many of these fights are provoked, the ones done by their more radical side seek out any faction of group that gained an edge. For legal reasons, they’re often denounced… if caught.
Factol Tomas Kjulgolor
He looks like a rather sickly dwarf, with snow white hair and beard, despite not looking extremely old. By his word, he’s not even 40 years old and has taken the position of Factol from the previous only 7 years ago. Kjulgolor isn’t overly approachable, usually referring one to another member of the faction. In the case of educational issues, he’s appointed his highest ranking Factor (or “Deans” within context of the campus) as the Dean of University. If dealt with directly, his mood is nothing short of flat and dull, with slight twinges of expression here and there. For the most part, he sounds and looks deeply fatigued, despite his claims of taking care of his health. Those who don’t wish to live long liken him to the custodial zombies found in the Mortuary. As to his origins, the chant digs into Mystara’s own dark, implying he’s from the Hollow World. This is in fact a lie. He claims to be from the world of Krynn, though his name doesn’t match up to any clan name from that prime world.
Boundless Cage University
An institution of learning that will accept any Cager, even some Primers. Before, it was the University of Chalm, ran by a Sect obsessed with Tedium and Boredom. They were quickly removed. The new goal turned to making education accessible to all. Furthermore, the courses themselves allow a space for all sides of various arguments to put forth points, in hopes of coming together in a synthesis middle point. This approach is their primary approach to discourse. Of course, a wide variety of courses are given, provided there is no deep bias behind the information. The Chant is that the Collections and Loans department can be accessed by The Takers to keep them off the University’s back.
The general layout looks like a converted massive mansion. The truth regarding that is that it was a location purchased from a Sect wriggling its way into Sigil, the Prime Traditionalists. Two large double doors sit below a cupola gazing down upon prospective visitors with its tall eye-like windows. Along the side are gable end treatments turned wide array of spikes. Curiously, the spikes on the roof are bent and all point towards the building’s center, a subtle nod towards the faction’s ideology. And from the bay view windows, a meeting hall can sometimes observe outsiders as well.
Dormitories for students are not found on site, but within acquired buildings in the Clerks Ward, Lady’s Ward and Guildhall Ward. While habitable buildings exist next to the college, these are saved for students within their faction, as well as other faction members (including those who make up staff). Likewise, outside influence has been mostly pushed back. Both Heartless and Guvners want in on becoming staff, as Centrists have foiled their plans time and again, usually through lawful means. Making the University their faction headquarters helped to cement this. But, petitions to have them amend their policies have become more widespread. The Ciphers have gotten involved after their Great Gymnasium was borrowed for sports. The faction is genuinely worried about how the university will affect their overall mission as of late. To compound things, imposed points involving meeting at comfortable half-measures and limiting ambitions doesn’t sit well with many factions.
Aileen (Corgyn Cleric of Oghma 7, TN, F, Acts of Balance, Factor)
A former Heartless, Dean of Public Relations Aileen acts as a friendly emissary on behalf of The Centrists. To her, The Takers were far too greedy to bring balance to Sigil. While the newer faction was still emerging from just a sect, she found herself drawn to their desire to find a reasonable halfway. Her adorable demeanor and innocent nature made her instantly likable among many in the faction, while her knowledge and passion for the faction made her a useful asset in dealing with others. Some of her detractors consider the bipedal corgi a bit naïve and too trusting in others to simply take a happy medium. Some frown upon the Factor, due to her seemingly simple nature and canine shape, but refuse to be direct about it.
Roleplaying Acts of Balance
To them, there’s always a proper middle ground or reasonable approach to things. They view the other factions as mostly too extreme. If they weren’t so stuck in their own ways, they could have been the force to properly unite the factions more on overlapping issues. This isn’t to say that PCs can’t try, just most of the faction knows it’s not worth their time.
Characters of all neutral-touching alignments are allowed. Good characters will try to help others find common ground in arguments and help develop a solution that is balanced for multiple parties. Beyond that, they might develop plans to refine laws for the good of the masses, also fighting discriminatory practices as well. Meanwhile, Evil characters will go out of their way to accelerate other factions as proof of their own rationality by proxy. Furthermore, they delight in torturing others over the absurdity of their claims, riling them up and setting them off. While Chaotic members are rare, they’re still welcome. They see neutrality as a freedom from the burdens of pure ideology. The less rare Lawful members seek to enforce more central ideas into Sigil’s laws. The majority of members are True Neutral, only getting involved from the right distance. No class is barred, save for Paladins (of the particularly Lawful Good persuasion and all). Likewise, any race can join. Due to its claim for neutrality, a diverse assembly exists.
Ascending the Ranks
Like with many factions, a blood looking to join must take a test in the university. This starts with a written test, followed by a debate with a representative of the student debate team followed by a chosen Dean. From there, the prospective member must prove their belief in a moral dilemma within the city. Given how Sigil operates, it isn’t hard to find one. This last one is crucial, as they must solve the situation from the faction’s own perspective. Should this be accomplished, they’ll be considered a Namer or “Adjunct”. Members of this rank may gain positions for education, should they display knowledge and interest in a particular subject, while proving they’re able to teach in unbiased form. Factotum, or Professor, is a rank gained from exceptional devotion and service. New tests are arranged for the adjunct seeing how well they truly understand moderation, compromise and balance. From there, they must go out and actively solve situation in the city through the faction’s internal beliefs. Only then are they elevated. They may actively teach courses and test themselves for a position even higher. Factors, the Deans, vary in power and level. Their ranks are usually determined by their position within the faction. For example, a Dean of Public Relations will gain clout through social interaction with the campus and wider community. Meanwhile, a Dean of Organic Ministries is mostly just devoted to ensuring life (especially plants) within the campus remain well.
The Rilmani, an epitome of Neutrality in the Outlands, are actually involved with Acts of Balance. This is odd, as they tend to avoid strong convictions or acts towards anything. When inquired about, they’ll simply state that it represents their views of balance. Seeing them outside of the Outlands has been discomforting to many, as they’ve never taken a great interest in matters. And worse, ultimatums have been delivered across the planes. Barmies say that they want the planes to all drift into the Outlands, with Sigil as their seat. (They ain’t wrong.)
A barmy under the name of Vivi Oublié (Human Wizard 6, TN, F, Ex-Acts of Balance) acted as a seer and advisor within The Acts of Balance. Recently, she has received a vision of calamity and a Sigil without Factions. She has plead to others about dropping ties to The Centrists should “it” commence, but the notion of a fully “Balanced” Sigil appeals too much for them to care. She has since been moved to The Gatehouse.
The DM’s Dark
The Rilmani have an end game, forcing all planes into balance. To achieve this, they grabbed the help of another race, a race of creatures from the Demiplane of Shadows. The shadow wraiths believe that they are balance of all things; light and dark, material and immaterial, neither alive or dead, created through positive and negative energies, etc. Factol Tomas Kjulgolor (Shadow-Man Wizard 16, NE, M, Acts of Balance) is one of them, he merely has kept his mortal host body from completely dying. Tomas isn’t even his real name, he just merely adopts the name of whatever host body he has consumed. Despite the shadows’ strong racism, they admire the Rilmani greatly. In fact, the Outlands isn’t the final destination. The real puppet masters want the Demiplane of Shadows and the Outlands to become one. The true faction headquarters, set up by the shadow things, is on the Plane of The Grey Wastes. Kjulgolor has been known to visit there in times of quiet.
Factor Omertà (Human Revenant Rogue 11, CN, M, Acts of Balance), Dean of Security and Intel, has been in charge of hiring out operatives to grab the dark on any other faction. He recently discovered from Anarchists that the Dead have knowledge that causes one to embrace Final Death if learned. This in turn killed the Anarchists and nearly destroyed the Factor himself. He fears to use it ever again. He’s also responsible for sliding information to Factol Darkwood, which considers Omertà a turncoat ally. As for Omertà, his last wish is to see his faction’s ideals through. The Dustmen who discovered this are horrified.
A rising sect-turning-faction in Sigil has already been stomped out, save for a few survivors. The Educatorium was their first targets. Since this group also operated in secret, few on the outside were aware what is happening. The Harmonium has brushed the sudden mass-death as a suicide cult, hunting down potential “cult recruiters” as a result and blaming the Bleak Cabal. More will be detailed on them in due time.