What the Factions Are
Sigil is the City of Doors; from it, the rest of the multiverse is accessable with but the proper keys. It is the nexus for the planes, and most that would travel the multiverse would pass through Sigil at one time or another. Sigil is a place where beliefs meet and come into focus, where like-minded people meet others of their own ilk. These groups come to Sigil in control Sigil control the beliefs of the multiverse, and a group that's powerful and prominent in Sigil is known throughout the multiverse, as well as gaining a large amount of influence (and jink) within the City itself. Currently, the city has fifteen factions that make up the majority of its population. A "faction" is a group of like-minded people united under a single ideology or series of beliefs. They are led by "factols", who serve as a leader for the faction and represent them in all things; they focus the beliefs and set new directions for the group, for good or ill.
The philosophies that the factions base themselves are sometimes polarised around law and chaos, such as the Fraternity of Order (who believe that order is inherent in all things) or the Xaositects (who believe that the multiverse is chaos). Others, like the Sign of One (the self is the center of the multiverse) focus more on a single tenet that is neither good, evil, lawful, or chaotic. The more popular factions are the ones with the loosest philosophical standards: the normal people of Sigil have an innate desire to belong, but they usually don't want to wholeheartedly give their lives and souls to their group.
Within the Ranks
The "Namers" of a Faction are the group that most players will start out as. Unlike the masses and masses of faction members that don't completely believe in their faction's ideals, the Namers are the first that start to gain knowledge of their faction's philosophy and truly embarce it as their own. They serve the faction in an auxillary function most of the time: they usually have other jobs outside of the faction that conflict with their loyalty to that group. However, they quite often are hired to run messages from one place to another, to look into a particular matter, and other more mundane tasks. None of these are really mandatory, but shying away from aiding the faction is going to get someone deadbooked in terms of power.
Higher up on the ladder are the factotums: they work full-time for a faction, getting their salary from them and their very way of life. They are the ones that run messages, contact people of interest to the faction, serve as guards, and do almost anything that their faction asks of them. Their loyalty is noted, and they can easily rise within the ranks of the faction, gaining money, prestige, and the rewards of belief. Some serve as guides to the city to those new, but the majority of them are out doing whatever is needed at the particular moment. The life of a factotum is never dull.
"Ask not what
your faction can do for you,
Those that gain enough influence and prestige throughout their faction rise to the rank of "factor". These are the highest up of the highups, right next to only the factol themselves. They have great sway in the City of Doors and often represent their faction in a public and official matter. For example, Tonat Shar, a factor of the Harmonium, issues official orders and declaration from the Factol himself. They are some of the most respected members of their particular grounds, commanding a large amount of power through their belief alone.
At the very top of the line is the factol. Leader and guider of the entire faction, they set the tone for their members. Factols are the representatives of their groups: to get a basic idea about the current nature of a faction, one has only to look at their factol. Currently the Doomguard, a group that believes everything is decaying, is led by the young and enthusiastic Pentar. She believes that the multiverse isn't falling apart quick enough: things need to be sped up. As a result, the rest of the Doomguard is beginning to fall in with her ideas as she leads them down that path. She is but an example of the greater truth: factols determine the attitudes and the beliefs of the flock. They are the faction in all respects. When it comes time for factols to be replaced, whether it is through natural death or some foul play, a factol is chosen from among the available factors by a group decision.
Plotting of the Factions - Kriegstanz
While many of the factions profess to be looking for belief, that is usually not true of some of their members. Power is what they see instead. Power through belief, power over followers, power over the City of Doors. This lust for power leads people to do anything: to give their lives to the faction in the hopes of squeezing out power over their fellow man. This isn't always as cruel as it sounds, and power is only the overt motive of few. For most, it is in the back of their minds, driving them forward under the guise of "bettering Sigil". Luckily for Sigil, these powermongers are in the distinct minority. Unluckily, it is usually these that rise quickly to higher and higher ranks in the faction, as they are the most dedicated and speak in the loudest voice. Sometimes, these power hungry berks somehow manage to worm their way into factor or even, powers forbid, factol standing. This is when the trouble starts, because the most powerful leaders of a faction tend to attract followers, and to condemn a powerhungry troublemaker will alienate their followers and cause the faction to begin to split... something that no faction wants to see. Recently, the most influential ones of these seem to be the water genasi Prisine of the Signers and Factol Rowan "Duke" Darkwood of the Fated; it's no secret that these two want power, and lots of it... however, because of their already massive powerbases, it's not foreseeable that either of the two will be vanishing anytime soon.
There's a reason for this desire for power: the factions have a large amount of influence within the City of Doors, running it through the Hall of Speakers, a legislative body where thirteen of the factions decide all matters relating to the governing of Sigil. The only two factions that do not have a say in the Hall of Speakers are the Free League (who doesn't even claim to be a faction) and the Revolutionary League (who's vowed to destroy all the other factions... what a surprise that they're not invited, eh?). Those that gain prominence in the Hall of Speakers quickly make a name for themselves in Sigil, thus the desire to rise to fame within the factions.
The factions, to put it frankly, want Sigil. They want to control it, they want to delude themselves into thinking that The Lady can be destroyed and that their enemies can be defeated. Their dreams are ultimately to manipulate Sigil to spin on their end, whether they're lustful for the power or not. It's just their nature to fight over Sigil: it is the prize of the multiverse. The powers, the celestials, and the fiends want it... should the factions be any different, really? The word is whispered throughout the taverns of Sigil: kriegstanz... a sort of Cold War between the factions. Open violence means nothing: you cannot kill belief, and violence within the City of the Lady of Pain means a quick exile to Her Serenity's Mazes. The fighting that takes place is one of silent fighting, a war in the shadows that none see but those that look for it. The war is fought with not magics and steel as the weapons, but secrets, rumors, lies, and gold. It is what keeps Sigil running, and what threatens to tear it apart.
Once, perhaps five hundred years ago, there were around fifty factions in Sigil, as opposed to the fifteen now. There were so many running around that it was impossible to keep any semblance of order, it was a violent free-for-all, and everyone wanted a slice of Sigil. It was downright chaotic and things were starting to look bad for Sigil. Action needed to be taken: the Lady of Pain herself appeared before the leaders of each of the so-called 'factions' accompanied by her dabus, who spoke out the following symbols, "There will be only fifteen factions in Sigil. Organise thy colors in a fortnight or die." There was panic, and groups quickly disbanded or merged, creating more or less the rough organisation that there is today. Groups merged or died, basically. In the end... thousands did die. Factions that didn't quite make the top fifteen in terms of membership had their members brutally slain... or they just plain vanished. People feared; their way of life had been shattered. But things were better, more peaceful... without more than fifty factions vying for control of Sigil, the city became quieter. Only this time, there are fifteen factions trying to divide the place up for themselves.
Life in a Faction
Who is a member of a faction? Well, most everyone that's employed has found their job through their faction: from merchants to guards to woodcarvers, they usually owe their positions to their factions. Those without faction backing usually get overrun by those with faction jink and prestige. This makes it bloody difficult for the Free League (a group of free-thinkers without a real faction structure) to compete for business with other merchants, that have faction backing. People that actually believe in the faction's tenets fall in with the group after not too long in the city. But realistically, the factions are too important for anyone to ignore: they have a large amount of followers and influence in Sigil. Their men are the ones that get the jobs, the situations, the opportunities. Those that are not in a faction are left in the dust. Those without a faction make their living on their own... and usually get hunted down without a strength in numbers for some imagined grudge. Those in the factions make the connections necessary for survival. Those outside of them do not. It's as simple as that.
What does a member do for their faction, then? Assuming that they're more than simple namer, they do work: they run messages, guard faction business, do whatever they're needed for. For most, their factions are their lives: they give people a way to gain understanding of their life through belief in their tenets. In the end, that's all people want: understanding of their existence. Why were they created? It's all within their faction's philosophy.
In the end, the Factions of Sigil put the meaning of life in front of the common person. They dangle the carrot of understanding before perspective members, and say, "This is the meaning of life." Once someone enters the faction, they learn (of course) that things aren't quite easy... in a city of belief, philosophy is difficult. But the factions are there, serving as guides to the infinite spectrum of the multiverse: guides that are sorely needed for the masses of Sigil. Without the factions, the place would be chaos, thousands of voices screaming for their own piece. With the factions, at least people know what side they're on. They are an essential part of Sigil: without the factions, things would be far less interesting and far more dangerous for the average person.
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