The $yndicate, the Spies
You’d be forgiven for being surprised to find a sect based on Ash: the Incorporata. Revelling in (and profiting from) destruction, razing and burning, ain’t most Outer Planar cutters’ ideal philosophy though…
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 Sect is nothing but a flagrant grab for jink and power. Although the sect’s premise is founded on law, as a plane-spanning criminal organisation, members of the Incorporata tend to be 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, neutrals may use blackmail, and lawful Incorporata typically use political machinations 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: The sect 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.
The Incorporata are consistently opposed by Rilmani, who have so far managed to keep 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; the sect encourages Incorporata to join a second faction in order to maxinise their contacts and networking opportunities. 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 a 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.
Other than the rilmani, 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 similar 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 chant goes that the Harmonium has a special independent branch—answering only to Sarin, which is 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 Incorporata Grand Council’s unanimous vote 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 usually 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.
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.
See also: Pollutus
Source: Lucas Berghaus