Sign Of One (Planescape)

From Karriviki

Factol Darius the Veyl


The most self-centered organization in Sigil, and yet one of the most open, the Sign of One is a very strange faction. Its halls are marked with constant disagreement and debate of all matters large and small, and not merely because they serve as host to the Speaker's Podium - the parliament of the factols that serves as its erstwhile civilian government under tacit approval of the Lady of Pain. Amongst the Signers, debate is seen as a fine art, as well it should be for an organization where no two people can even agree on what precisely it is the faction believes in.

Despite this seemingly contentious atmosphere, the Sign of One is also the most diverse faction in Sigil, holding members from every major planar culture, a number of minor ones, and a few people from cultures so small even they hadn't heard of them. It's also one of the more empathic organizations in part because of its contentious nature, as listening well to a person's arguments and not holding ill opinion of a person due just to pure disagreement are key tenets of the Signers; it must be said, though, that this is thanks in large part to the efforts of Factol Darius who, ever since she ascended to that position some 20 or so years ago, has done her best to promote the more beneficial aspects of the Signer philosophy.

Beliefs

Quite simply, the Sign of One believes itself the center of the multiverse, and that by virtue of this position it can shape the multiverse however it desires. More specifically, each individual member believes themselves the core figure of all that is; some believe they arrived there by chance, some believe in some sense they created it, some believe all individuals are manifestations of the same higher-dimensional meta-intelligence that personifies the whole of reality. Each member of the Sign of One has their own unique philosophy on how they can do what they do, and yet somehow it functions as a coherent organization; it's a common joke that that alone gives some evidence that maybe there's something to it. And indeed, all but the newest Signers can indeed impose their will on the multiverse in minor ways without recourse of magic. Either through prediction or pure force of will, they can achieve small feats that would otherwise be impossible without magic.

History

The Sing of One's an old faction, dating back many centuries. Its members subscribe to a story about the first Signer, Rilith, whose metaphysical adventures gave birth to the organization and its philosophy.

Rilith possessed an avid fascination with spiders. She had a lot of jink, see, so she could indulge her eccentricities. She collected arachnids from around the Great Ring and from a smattering of prime-material locations. As she preferred her eight-legged pets to arrive for her collection alive, Rilith nearly ended her participation in the hobby when an exotic specimen bit her arm. Its venom produced the typical blue mottling on the skin of the afflicted limb, but Rilith closed her eyes and refused to watch it spread. "Healthy arm, easy breathing, clear vision." she whispered, over and over. Half an hour later, it was true.

She should've died - no other collector had survived the bite of an orange-speckled recluse. Surprised herself that she was still living, Rilith tried a few more thought experiments. First, she imagined she'd obtained an arachnid species discovered by no one else; the twin-tailed blue pincer joined her collection within the week. She pictured her collection winning critical acclaim; Udell Dexlin, Sigil's expert on spiders, knocked at her door the next day. Many more distinguished individuals followed in his footsteps.

Rilith founded a collectors' society aimed at the amateur. She taught her techniques to its admiring membership, including the idiosyncratic habit of imagining desired result. The arachnophiles soon saw the broader application of the latter tactic. The expanded the society's activities beyond its initial focus on spiders to explore the ramifications of positive and negative thinking. Their move into the cerebral ream drew the ire of the Transcendent Order, though. The ciphers considered the concept that thought controls the multiverse a direct affront to their own philosophy that calls action without thought the purest form of existence. They did everything they could to destroy Rilith's society, but their efforts had the reverse effect. More Cagers heard about the group and joined!

Eventually, the members of the Transcendent Order decided to stop wasting their time and energy. What did it matter that the misguided were many, and the enlightened few? So long as each Cipher pursued the goal of harmonizing body and mind, the rest of Sigil could go to the Mazes. The Ciphers ceased their harassment, and Signers continued moving in the direction that shaped their early history. In time, they would come to regard themselves the cosen ones of the multiverse - but that's much later.

They soon embarked on a crusade to teach the entire Cage the benefits of positive thinking and the hazards of negative imagery. 'Course, the Bleak Cabal took instant and hostile exception to this goal. The Signers' claim that they controlled the multiverse trampled on the Madmen's assertion that the cosmos made no sense. Tension rose as neither side backed down. The Signers announced at the Speaker's Podium that they'd assembled teams to envision 'round the clock the death of Bleaker Factol Nobey. When his attendants found the high-up unbreathing in his bed the next day, the Cabal's hatred for the Sing of One crystallized into a permanent bias. To this day, Bleakers seek new ways to make Signers swallow dirt.

With Nobey's demise, the Sign of One began pursuing a new pastime. The faction started making public proclamation of its designs for the future, followed by much fanfare when these visions came to pass. Thing is, the Signers' methods in these later successes weren't always exactly scrupulous. At times, they secretly dispatched assassins, healers, or mediators to aid the imagining they practiced at their headquarters.

Individual members began to adopt their faction's habit, registering personal prophecies with a factor, then bringing their triumphs to the notice of their peers. Signers possessing a long history of shaping the multiverse to their liking grew in influence and prestige within the faction. Success in molding events thought mind power became more important than the wish for happiness that supposedly prompted such attempts in the first place. Signers lost some of their compassion and became preoccupied with status. "We are the elect." the factol declared. "We admit into our ranks only those cutters who can sculpt reality."

Unlike some factions (namely, the Anarchists), recruiting converts to their philosophy and members for their ranks remains a subsidiary goal for the Sign of One. Instead, their primary desire is to increase the respect and awe in which their neighbors and rivals hold them. They want all Sigil - and all the Great Ring - to revere them as the creators of the multiverse. The Signers' current strategy for demonstrating their superior powers involves reviving a dead god. Currently, groups within the faction are bickering over which long-forgotten power to choose.