Factions of the Rilmani
Factions of the Rilmani

Factions of the Rilmani

Factions of the Rilmani

Though the Balance remains the focal point of the mind of every rilmani, the favoured method to maintain that Balance differs between members of the race. One could compare this difference to the differences in methods of worship within a church to the same deity. Such worshipers nominally worship the same power, but their beliefs about that power and the true paths to salvation differ from faction to faction. In much the same way, all of the rilmani have the same end in mind: The support and maintenance of the Balance. However, opinions upon the means to that end differ within the rilmani society. Unlike a religious difference, these philosophical differences are not strong enough to cause a schism within the rilmani race. The rilmani are a strongly unified race. It would seem that the aurumach leaders understand how to use these different views of achieving Balance to further strengthen the unity of the race, rather than allowing the race to fall apart. 

The Rilmani Factions At a Glance

Some of these factions have philosophies that are quite similar. The subtleties of the rilmani are hard to comprehend, cutter. Others factions beliefs actually mesh well with the ideals of one or more other factions. Regardless of any similarities, though, a rilmani in one of these factions believes most strongly in the course that their faction philosophy dictates. To become the leader of a rilmani faction, the supplicant must undergo a ritual trial of their beliefs, give up their name and identities, and have their being subsumed into the philosophy and station they now represent. Those who succeed are transformed into paragons. Those who fail become plumachs.

The Stibbai

Philosophy: Spread belief in the Balance by mixing with other races

Alchemical Metal: Antimony

The Minglers – Often called the Meddlers, the Stibbai faction believes that the Balance should best be achieved by mingling with the other races, either as a rilmani or as one of that other race. Many Stibbai are found in rilmani caravans that travel across the Outlands, and they present the rilmani race to outsiders as travelling merchants, itinerant philosophers and harmless performers of tricks and hedge magics. They are beings of Balance and mystery and superstition. In fact, this is how most folk who’ve met the rilmani see the race, for most of the other factions keep themselves disguised, cloistered in hidden fortresses, or holed up near the Spire. Despite these preconceptions, the Stibbai are however by no means the majority of the race.

The Stibbai have another purpose in travelling the Outlands. When they hear chant that a gate town is in danger of slipping into its adjoining plane, one or more caravans on Stibbai are sure to arrive. These rilmani then work in a contrary way to the prevailing currents of the burg to try and retain it in the Brinklands and preserve the status quo.

The Stibbach, called Ukhukh-of-One-Half is believed to be a rare half-rilmani, a crossbreed between an aurumach and a human being. Although not part of the aurumach council, Ukhukh is a tireless advocate of the Stibbai cause, and due to his mastery of disguise and espionage many rilmani respect his judgement.

The Kalii

One of the Twins of Light and Darkness, one of the Kaliumach

Philosophy: Correct the Balance by eliminating all threats

Alchemical Metal: Calcium

The Destroyers – The Kalii (kal-EE-eye) faction could be described as the rilmani version of the Doomguard. Members of the Kalii believe that the Balance of the multiverse is best achieved by simply eliminating and destroying all that causes imbalance. This might lead to the cancellation of creatures, nations, or even ideas. The leaders of this faction are pair of rilmani known as the Kaliumach, or the Twins of Light and Darkness. They are both argenachs; one dresses in white, the other in black. Other than that, they are identical in both looks and personality, though it is believed that the black-garbed twin is the more aggressive of the two. It’s perfectly possible, however, that they exchange wardrobes depending on the mood they happen to be in. The darker twin seems to favour muscular action to destroy imbalance by force. The light twin prefers a more subtle form of elimination by tactical poisoning and assassinations.

The Zarguni

Philosophy: Serve the Balance by moving in mysterious ways

Alchemical Metal: Zircon

The Veiled – The Veiled seek to work the Balance through extremely subtle means. To them, the rilmani should take an active role in the multiverse, but should do so from behind the scenes. “Balance through obscurity” could be their motto—when a Prime says that powers move in mysterious ways, well, that might just be the Zarguni at work.

Teresias-of-the-Veil, also called the Zargunach, is the most visible of the Veiled Ones, which isn’t saying much. Teresias is almost never seen, except for a pair of golden eyes swathed in cloaks of invisibility. At the council of the aurumachs, Teresias says nothing, but is seen to nod, almost imperceptibly but not quite, while this or that aurumach pauses during a speech. The Veiled apparently take their inspiration from the Yellow Emperor, but the Master-of-All himself has nothing to do with the factions and schisms of his kind. At least, not as far as anyone knows…

The Wolframi

Philosophy: Serve the Balance by working against the strong and supporting the underdog

Alchemical Metal: Tungsten

The Saboteurs – The Wolframi are often mistaken for the Destroyers although they are their antithesis, and the Saboteurs do not believe in complete destruction. Rather, they believe one must undermine the efforts of the strongest side and support the underdog to create the equilibrium that the Balance desires. Unlike most other rilmani groups, the Wolframi like to claim credit when they strike for the Balance, leaving the symbol of a red hand behind to mark their involvement. A feared conquerer will be slain by assassins, or defeated in battle by a ferrumach legion, or outsmarted by abiorachs, and the symbol of the Red Hand will be left to show everyone – especially other rilmani – who was responsible. Across the multiverse, destructive and wasteful powers are eliminated by agents of the Hand. Is there truly one rilmani orchestrating the whole movement, or are a number of associated beings acting as one Wolframach? The mystery remains unsolved.

The Natrui

Philosophy: Promote Balance by pitting powers against one another

Alchemical Metal: Sodium

The Spiresettled — Playing the most dangerous game of all, the Natrui seek to neutralise the over-reaching of the powers by playing them off against each other. By dropping rumours here, spreading secrets or misinformation there, assassinating proxies and misdirecting the blame, or aiding the servants of powers who clash with their targets. When they are plotting or resting between dangerous missions, Natrui cluster in communities at the base of the Spire itself, as safe as they can be from divine retaliation.

The Tantali

Philosophy: Spread Balance by nudging, reinforcing and tempting

Alchemical Metal: Tantalum

The Tempters — This rilmani faction believes the best way to promote the Balance is to incentivise cutters in subtle directions. Rather than forcing a point with military might or assassinating their way to neutrality, the Tantali seek to work through others by influencing rulers of realms, rewarding adventuring bloods, donating jink or magics to organisations that have goals aligned with the greater Balance. As mysterious benefactors, the Tantali operate in secret, for they believe their machinations are most effective when the recipients of their attention believe they are acting in their own best interests.

The argenach Quid-pro-Quo is the Tantalach of the faction. Quid-pro-Quo possesses a tall, graceful, slender form with a captivating silvery sheen to their skin. Their appearance is both striking and enigmatic, and they are often cloaked in attire that blends seamlessly into the surroundings. Their philosophy is deeply rooted in the concept of balance through reciprocity—believing that every action in the cosmos can be countered with a corresponding reaction to maintain equilibrium, and that harmony can be preserved through a series of subtle, calculated interventions.

The Iridii

Philosophy: Spread Balance by converting those with extreme views

Alchemical Metal: Iridium

The Iridii are missionary philosopher rilmani, who specialise in seeking out bashers with extreme beliefs and converting them to more neutral, balanced viewpoints. While they’re wise enough to not waste their time on outsiders who literally embody extreme alignments, creatures not shaped by belief are fair game. Some of the Iridii, concerned at the continually one-way erosion of the Outlands, also work to pull territory into the Brinklands from the surrounding planes.

Iridii are most likely to be encountered by adventurers out on the Great Ring. The rilmani will occasionally seek out such cutters for assistance in couvert missions and smuggling operations. The Iridii are also useful bloods to know; often the only friendly face that a berk will find in the Lower Planes. Abyssal safe houses, legal services in Baator, secret pathways out of Carceri; these are the sorts of things that Iridii can offer a cutter that’ll help them in their mission to neutralise extreme beliefs. Most secret of all is the Underground Railroad organisation called Sanctuary-of-Spire that many Iridii are thought to be a part of.


The Symbol of the Sanctuary-of-Spire

The Sanctuary-of-Spire is a clandestine operation, deeply embedded within the corrupt fabric of the Lower Planes, spearheaded by the Iridii, a dedicated faction of rilmani known for their deep commitment to the preservation of balance on the unbalanced planes of the Great Ring. This network, shrouded in secrecy, has carved out a mission distinct from the typical pursuits of the rilmani: the liberation of “misplaced” souls ensnared in the chthonic realms, aiming to transport them safely to the Spirelands.

The Sanctuary-of-Spire operates through an intricate web of safe houses, secret portals, and sanctuaries that span the breadth of the Lower Planes, each node and waypoint guarded by rilmani and their allies. These guardians are well-versed in the arts of stealth, subterfuge, and, when necessary, combat, ensuring the safe passage of souls across treacherous territories. The network is made possible by the rilmani’s ability to navigate the complex moral territories of the planes, using their understanding of the cosmos to evade detection by the malevolent forces that seek to retain thee escaping souls.

At the heart of the Sanctuary-of-Spire’s mission is the commitment to the principle of balance and freedom. The rilmani involved in this network view the entrapment of certain souls in purgatory not merely as a moral aberration but as a threat to the delicate equilibrium of the cosmos. By aiding these spirits in reaching the Spirelands, they believe they are restoring a measure of balance and providing these beings with an opportunity for a new existence, free from the machinations of good, evil, law, and chaos that define the other planes.

The Spirelands themselves are a region of peace and neutrality, untouched by the conflicts that rage across the multiverse. Here, the souls smuggled out of purgatory can find refuge and begin their afterlife anew, free from the eternal tug-of-war between the forces that sought to claim them. The Spire serves as a beacon for these souls, symbolising the ultimate escape from the cyclical strife of existence.

But the operation of the Sanctuary-of-Spire is fraught with peril. The Lower Planes are domains of intense conflict and suffering, ruled by entities that view souls as currency in their endless wars. The rilmani of the Sanctuary-of-Spire must constantly outwit these powers, employing guile, wisdom, and sometimes force to carry out their missions. Despite the inherent dangers, the network persists, driven underground but powered by a deep-seated belief in the sanctity of balance and the right of all beings to seek a path beyond the confines of imposed destiny.

Though its deeds are seldom recognised beyond the secretive circles of the rilmani and the souls it has aided, the Sanctuary-of-Spire not only reshapes the destinies of countless souls but subtly reinforces the fabric of neutrality, serving as a quiet yet powerful force in the shadowy depths of the Lower Planes.

See Also: Elemental Philosophies of Balance; rilmani factions of the Inner Planes

Source: Ripvanwormer and Jon Winter-Holt

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