"How do I know that something exists? I see it. Hear it. Smell it. Taste it. Touch it. The world is experienced through my senses. And a vivid world it is. Look around you! People of all types, all cultures, everything! The smells here are lush and from all corners of the multiverse... being in Sigil truly makes me feel alive. Music, arts, the whole vast tapestry of the cultural spectrum here... it's glorious, it is. The only way to know truly something is to sense it, feel it, experience it. If you can't do that, then it doesn't exist. To know the multiverse is to experience it. And that is what we seek... knowledge of the multiverse."
"The Society of Sensation (the Sensates, to the common berk) is responsible for all the places of culture, all theatres, all drama. We are the lifeblood of the city, for without us, where would the common person be? What would he do, where would he go to be entertained? The populace would up and riot without our distractions from their simple lives. Let me tell you, the Sensates run this city, and we're the only thing making sure that the Duke doesn't run this Sigil into the ground with his oppresive taxes. The Harmonium might claim to keep us safe, but the Fated are working under their noses, worming their way in... and if the Hardheads won't stop them, the Sensates will."
"Party, dance, sing, and drink! Give no thought to the (hic) morrow!"
The Society of Sensation (or the Sensates, as they are most commonly known) is one of the most diverse and powerful groups in Sigil. It is their belief that the multiverse is meant to be experienced, and that the only way to truly know that some exists is to sense it. Sip the wine, don't guzzle it, give everything a thorough looking-over, let the most fragrant of smalls waft into your nostrils, exalt in the beauty and culture of the multiverse. Try everything at least once, because without new experiences you are nothing. If you do not sense the whole multiverse, how are you going to know anything? Members of the Society of Sensation usually take to the streets of Sigil searching out all there is to see and do and experiencing it. Some of them are fools that go out, drinking and reveling every night, giving to heed to common sense and reliving the same experiences over and over again. Almost without exception, these revelers end up vanishing from the streets of Sigil. Whether this is because they drink themselves to death or indicative of something else is unsure... their factol, Erin Darkflame Montgomery, has mentioned a 'culling' of sorts... Let's just say that the Sensates aren't for hedonists.
There's another side to the Sensates, and it exists in the form of Factol Erin Montgomery. She believes that everything should be experienced, yes, but she's looking at the big picture. If enough people experience enough of the multiverse, that they'll realise the grand truth and finally "ascend" into a state of sheer consciousness, leaving their senses behind them once more knowledge is useless. Or so it's said that she believes this... it's always a friend who's heard it from a friend that's "just passing on the information." Whether it's true or not, the Sensates are far more politically active under Factol Erin than they ever have been in the past. They're trying to gather support for the arts, music, and other humanities in the Clerk's Ward, and they've become more interested in the attendance of other factions at their productions and parties. Nobody can give a reason.
"They're up to something," says "Duke" Rowan Darkwood, the factol of the Fated. "They're plotting something, and if nobody else will stop them, I will." The Fated, seeing the current actions of the Signers as a threat to the Duke's own plans for domination, have begun an increase in the taxes to the entire Clerk's Ward: they're hoping to tax the miserable little pleasure-seekers out of existence. The Sensates have taken their voices to the Hall of Speakers, where either the Duke can maintain a block vote to ensure that his demands are put in place, or he fails. All of Sigil's gearing up for the confrontation between Darkwood and Montgomery, but there's not a soul outside their factions that wants to see the conflict escalate.
The Sensates tend to head for the artistic side of the fence, although there are some that would seek to explore the intricacies of law and order. However, for the more part, the Sensates around Sigil are interwined completely with the arts. Poets, artists, singers, dramatists - Sensates, the lot of them. What's more, they usually serve as the faction's eyes and ears in its quest for the complete control of Sigil and the transcendance of its people into realms of pure senses. See that performer on the street corner outside the Hall of Records? It's a sure bet that her keen eyes are watching the comings and goings into the headquarters of the Fated, and that information is flying back to Factol Montgomery. Or course, not every Sensate performer, artist, or poet is a spy, and even if they are, they still care deeply about their artistic productions.
Other Sensates take it upon themselves to find people who have had interesting experiences, and interview them so that their memories and sensations can be added to the Sensoriums of the Civic Festhall: places of mystery and enchantment where powerful illusion magics recreate past sensations that have been recorded into its recorder stones.
Some Sensates throw responsibility to the wind and vow to drink their way from birth to death. Strangely enough, these people usually disappear one night. Their bodies? Never found. Perhaps they wander too far into the Hive. Or perhaps some Mercykiller or Harmonium factor has taken it upon themselves to rid Sigil of its bubber? The factol doesn't seem to care that much about them vanishing from the faction, so it's not a major issue within the Hall of Speakers. There's still a rather glaring mystery there, though - if anyone wants to take the risks of finding out.
The Sign of One, with their focus on self, gets along well with the Sensates. This alliance helps the Sensates quite a bit, as the Sign of One runs the Hall of Speakers and their say and vote is very influencial to the more neutral of the factions.
The Transcendant Order also gets along with the Sensates, even though the Ciphers usually ends up attempting to temper the rabid political nature of the high-ups in the Sensates with wisdom.
The Bleak Cabal doesn't count themself as a friend of the Society of Sensate, probably because the Bleakers see the Sensates as fools of the worst sort. They're people that don't realise that there's no point to anything, pleasure and pain included.
The Dustmen don't like the emotions that the Sensates usually have, and claim that quite publicly. With their focus on introspection and death, this isn't really a surprise.
The Fated are the current arch-rivals to the Society of Sensation. This is more as a conflict between their leaders than anything else, however. Erin Montgomery and Duke Darkwood are two of the most powerful and influential people in Sigil, and each of them wants Sigil for themselves (though they'd never say it, of course. That would be foolish). This causes the factions to almost always be on opposite sides of the fence.
The Harmonium distrust the Sensates, and the feelings are somewhat mutual. The Harmonium doesn't like the members of the Sensates that have a tendency to roar around drunk on whatever sort of liquor and ale and cause all sorts of trouble. But secretly, some members of the Harmonium see the political power of the Sensates and worry... they're accomplishing more through song and dance than the Harmonium has in all their years in Sigil.
Mimir.net Factions Society of Sensation. The Mimir's own section on the Sensates, with theories and visionaries.
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