The Incorporata, an Ashen Sect

[ Main | The Basics | Locations | Creatures | Genasi | Philosophers ]
Magic | Powers | Stories | TSR's Inner Planes ]

Pollutus (by Lucas Berghaus)

Character: Trust no one, and say nothing. The eyes of the council are far-reaching. Productivity is survival. Get vengeance secretly, and take power from the weak. Use the weak, destroy your allies when their usefulness is gone. Keep the fire going, tear apart the earth, leave nothing in your wake but ashes.

Rulers: Pollutus is governed by the Incorporata High Council. The Lord Councillors are Acherus (Planar / male human / 0-level / Incorporata Guvner / LE), Minerus (Planar / male human / M(Earth)8 / Incorporata Merkhant / NE), Siberus (Prime / male human / Trader 4 / Incorporata Merkhant / LE), Exarius (Prime / female human / F5 / Incorporata Merkhant / CE), and Tanalius (Planar / succubus tanar'ri / Incorporata Sensate / CE).

Acherus is a graybearded old politician, who is the Senior Lord and Incorporata Founder. This is a purely honorary title -- he has but one vote on the Council, but his opinion is well-respected. Although Acherus has no combat, psionic, or magical skill, he is far from an unwitting dinosaur awaiting overthrow from a new generation. He is farseeing and sharp-witted. He has not lived this long by making mistakes. His plots would make an pit fiend respect him. He is incredibly smart (Int 21). He is over 100, and his eyesight is failing. He oversees profit and policy, and reports his recommendation to the council for voting. Acherus has a special ring of protection +5, which only functions in Pollutus. Acherus is protected by a chain contingency spell, triggered by an image he must only think of,which triggers descent into madness, teleport without error (to his private sanctuary), and banishment.

Efka Farstrider

Acherus is said to have been once been a factol of the Guvners, but he felt hollow and unfulfilled by the post. Indeed, the well-oiled bureaucracy of the Fraternity of Order made him lose interest. Acherus felt as if the group was merely using him, and he needed to truly rule by fear, not law. Acherus may retain knowledge of an Axiom or two -- his uncanny knowledge of distant and glimpses of future events indicate something of the kind. A few of the original Merkhant councillors once conspired to kill him, when his power was too great, but when his secret police spies got wind of it, they were betrayed and cast from power. None of the new councillors have dared to challenge Acherus yet, but they'll not wait too much longer.

Minerus is the youngest and newest of the Lord Councillors -- he is but 23, and he oversees all gathering of raw materials. Minerus prefers to become personally involved in random inspection of the mines, and is fond of making "examples" of unproductive workers, with his powerful (+3) magical claymore. He calls the sword Shattersoul, and it drains life force from his enemies while they fight, as if a second level caster used vampiric touch each round of combat. Although Minerus has not truly studied the art of swordsmanship, Shattersoul guides his fighting skill, and he fights with High Mastery of the broad sword. Shattersoul and Minerus do not attempt to dominate each other; they are kindred spirits of malice and sadism. Minerus replaced Camaburion, a lord who was killed in a miner revolt. Minerus shattered the strike, and was rewarded with his current status two years ago.

Siberus is the day-to-day governor of Pollutus. He reports to the council on the citizens activity. Siberus is incredibly strong, comes from Athas, and takes the people's complaints as jests. Those who protest working conditions are tossed in the catacombs of Pollutus, under the factories where alien monsters dwell, awaiting human feasts. Most miners and employees never walk alone on the lower levels, and never enter the catacombs at all. No escape is found in the catacombs, which form mysterious tunnels throughout the great chunk of Ash. Siberus orders constant display of authority from his personal Guard, the Corpse Ravens, who are the most feared warriors in Pollutus. Siberus, with reason, fears Acherus' plots and is content to wait on his death to try to seize control. Siberus has independent agents spying for him, and he learns first of any visitors. Siberus took power when the original lords were cast down.

Exarius is the factory manager. She is responsible for quality of product, and waste disposal. She was a worker who advanced quickly through the ranks of Pollutus, leaving a trail of corpses, among her supervisors. Even so, Exarius orders employees killed who show too much independent thought, and has totally forgotten her roots. Acherus needed a replacement for a disloyal Councillor six years ago, and chose Exarius, although she tried to kill him before. He has humiliated her time and again, and she still aspires to replace Acherus, but has not yet made any plain movement toward this goal. Once in a while, Exarius leaves the upper buildings to oversee the smokestacks, and she also guides the floating cinder, avoiding collision with other Ash particles.

Tanalius sells the products, and manages funds. Tanalius uses her polymorph self ability to cater to the purchaser. She retains no ties to her Abyssal kin, and often takes time off to have fun. People go missing when she has her "fun", only to be found days later, horribly yet creatively mangled. Products are exported to various Abyssal lords, yugoloth captains, and baatezu generals. She has no problem with baatezu, but sends other negotiators to deal with them, to avoid conflicts. Tanalius was Acherus' mistress, and she assassinated two of the previous lords, so she was granted her own title. Tanalius likes to do personal killings but also has an elite force of mercenaries (she feels the locals have no real spirit) to do her dirty work at times.

Behind the Throne: Many petty Incorporata give lip service to the council, and act more independently and brutally to the populace, but no single police chief, psionic interrogator, mining overseer, or guard captain has much influence.

Description: Pollutus is a city of humans on the plane of Ashes. They live in a large city, primarily operating great furnaces which burn all manner of fuel. The great stone factories produce weapons, wagons, armour, barding, gears, arrows, cannons, bricks, and assorted products.

Several hundred thousand humans live on Pollutus, as indentured servants to the Incorporata. The Incorporata is a group which sticks together for mutual and equally split profit. All Incorporata are evil, and many are Guvners, Merkhants, fiends, or Mercykillers. The Incorporata has powerful and high level connections in Sigil, though they do not openly operate in that city. Incorporata swear an powerful oath of loyalty to each other, but treachery is not uncommon.

History: This town was founded by a few Merkhants as a joint venture, and has grown into the greatest interplanar trade route of the Inner Planes. Twenty years ago Acherus and four forgotten councillors began this project, but after three years Acherus eliminated them and replaced them with men and women more to his liking. Acherus has rapidly established a powerful network of Spies throughout the planes.

Militia: While each Lord Councillor has their own extensive personal forces, Pollutus is protected by the Incorporata Police Force, which is mostly concerned with oppressing citizenry and taking bribes, although they do maintain a watch for outsiders. Pollutus' existence is secret, so no one can leave without orders from a councillor.

Services: In addition to many manufactured products of a generic quality, Pollutus has great mineral resources and contains two permanent planar gates. The Great Portal of Pollutus is a highway to Sigil, with the gate key of exactly a 175 (celsius) degree air temperature (generated by enormous smokestacks). A would be traveller must engage protective magic and jump into the smokestack. In addition to this portal, Acherus alone knows the dark of the Spinning Gate, which is contained in a closed sector. The Spinning Gate randomly leads to different destinations on the Inner Planes. Acherus can use the Gate to enter any Inner plane, while the average cutter has no idea what destination it will take him to.

Local News: Tanalius' has hit the jackpot. She made a secret deal with an Abyssal Lord, and more gold is rolling in. They will have to start a new product in order to do it, though...

Subversives, $yndicate, Spies
Sect Philosophy: The sole stated goal of the Incorporata is: To Act for the Benefit of the Incorporata and its Members, in an Orderly and Reasonable way. The more unofficial Incorporata code, Power is Right. This really means the Incorporata is nothing but a flagrant power grab. Although the sect's premise is founded on law, as a plane-spanning criminal organisation, all members of the Incorporata are evil. In defiance of their own internal rules, Incorporata keep secrets and hold animosity for one another, but allow internal treachery to happen only discreetly, and personally. Chaotic Incorporata use assassination, Neutral may use blackmail, and Lawful Incorporata typically use political movements to bring their enemies to an early retirement.

Primary Plane of Influence: The Incorporata operate openly in Pollutus, their founding place, on the plane of Ash.

Allies and Enemies: They originally evolved from Merkhants who sought power as well as sheer funds, and were not afraid to join their strength to oppose the weak. Now Merkhant Incorporata look down on true Merkhants and vice versa. Merkhant Incorporata are relatively common, and disdain and a hidden fear exists in Merkhants forced to deal with Incorporata representatives. Merkhants are loners by nature, and never trust anyone. Incorporata members are consistently opposed by Rilmani, which has kept them off the Great Ring. Incorporata tend to exert a powerful unbalancing and irresistible influence over their lands. The Incorporata have no allies, although each faction has members. Guvners have tended to be special targets of Syndicate corruption, and most Incorporata the Harmonium arrests are assigned a talented defence attorney, a biased judge and jury, and an fresh namer as prosecutor. The Fraternity of Order as a group have no agreement with the Incorporata, although it isn't from lack of trying on Acherus' part. The particular enemies of the Spies are the Harmonium, Fated, Mercykillers, and Indeps. Harmonium cannot stand any internal bickering and disloyalty, and Fated are feared by the Incorporata as true rivals, due to their considerable power and lack of scruples. Mercykillers know that Incorporata defy justice, and have little use for them except for blade-testing. Indeps resent the Incorporata's above the law status, and hoarding of wealth, and oppression of the citizenry.

Gray Knights: The Harmonium has a special independent branch - answering only to Sarin, dedicated to capturing and closing down the Incorporata. These Hardheads are the Gray Knights. Acting as the Harmonium's Bureau of Internal Affairs, their skill at ferreting out spies makes them an ideal counter for Anarchist, corrupted members, and their special task, the Incorporata. Since most Incorporata either never held any true loyalty to their faction, joining for a sense of belonging, or to worm their way into power, and many Incorporata retain faction links to subvert faction members and aid Incorporata causes, the Harmonium has recognised this threat. Alone of all the factions, it remains relatively pure from Incorporata in high places. The Gray Knights are not perfect however. Incorporata operatives work in secrecy. The Gray Knights may not discover a once loyal members conversion until it is too late.

Eligibility: The Council's unanimous votes is normally needed to expel a member, or to let a member join. All joining members must be sponsored by an Incorporata willing to stake his/her life on the new blood. If the new operative screws up, it's the sponsors job to administer punishment. If the new member screws up and the council takes a notion to lose the sponsor, they can write the pair a double entry in the dead book. Because of such stringent guidelines, candidates are groomed for years by sponsors, although unknowingly.

When the offer to join is made, refusal is presented as an option, but those who hold true to their faction cannot be allowed to reveal the spy's loyalties. Refusers are normally killed, or ruined, or hipped, or tortured and sold to yugoloths, etc.

Benefits: In many high-up's courts, a few evil bashers have been bought by a friendly Incorporata representative. Thus Incorporata have both discreet, and highly placed connections in most places. Incorporata retain all powers of their assumed or previous faction, that do not require belief in the factions principles. Incorporata are expected to help each other out, but if not, often the unlucky member will not live to file a complaint.

Penalties: Incorporata must obey all orders from the high council. If all objectives are not fully complete, the offending Subversive may receive a second chance, if it suits the council. If an Incorporata operative directly defies an order, expulsion is immediate, requiring no vote. Expelled members are traditionally allowed a last request, and by discretion of the council, a decent burial.

[ Main | The Basics | Locations | Creatures | Genasi | Philosophers ]
Magic | Powers | Stories | TSR's Inner Planes ]

Inner Planes

Here's something I can't praise enough. This tome explores not only Ash, but all eighteen Inner Planes, describing the hazards, physical conditions, powerful residents and most famous sites of each.

Just because I like you, I'm going to make you an offer. You want to learn more about the Inner Planes? You got the right jink? Why didn't you say before? It's a deal!

Find out more about the Inner Planes book here, or order it here, at a generous discount from the RRP of US$20: [ US$ | UK£ ]

Copyright 1999, text by Lucas Berghaus,
graphics by Jon Winter and Jeremiah Golden

Consult the Mimir Again