Faction Abilities

Presented here are options for Planescape faction abilities for Pathfinder RPG. These abilities are based on those originally presented in the Planescape Campaign Setting box set, and are intended to replicate the style of the benefits and restrictions without unnecessary detail. Changes in the rules since AD&D Second Edition have made some changes to the abilities necessary, but the feel of the abilities should still be there. No attempts to balance the abilities were made, just straight translations keeping as close to the original flavour as possible. Which means, for example, that the trade-off for the Doomguard still sucks, but the Fated get an awesome ability.

The options presented here are intended for those who don’t need or want an obsessive level of detail in their campaign when it comes to the factions of Sigil. Those wanting more detail are encouraged to check out the Planescape Campaign Setting (3.0/3.5) downloads available from Planewalker.com, which have enough detail to choke an Arcadian pony.

I wouldn’t suggest using these if your Planescape campaign allows characters to take faction-specific prestige classes, which usually duplicate and update these abilities.

Hey berk, there’s a revised version of the faction abilities over here!


The Athar

Divine Defiance (Su): Followers of the Athar faction are immune to these spells: bestow curse, blasphemy, dictum, doom, geas/quest, holy word, and word of chaos.
The Gods are Frauds: Because Athars deny the validity of the powers, any character or nonplayer who has any connection to a god, demigod, or other divine entity can’t provide known Athars with aid in the form of spells and magical devices, particularly those of healing. Only the most dire circumstances can compel a follower to violate this restriction. ‘Course, no self-respecting Athar would let any toadie of a power touch him, anyway… This restriction does not affect clerics who worship a cause or a nonpersonified source of divine magic.

Believers of the Source

Lack of Faith (Ex): Members of classes, including prestige classes, who receive their powers directly from specific deities suffer a -1 penalty to all saving throws, for lack of utmost faith in their high-up man.
Seeing the Best (Ex): Because they believe that all things have potential, Godsmen are generally well-received throughout the planes. They gain a +2 bonus to all Diplomacy checks (or Charisma checks) made to influence the attitude of planar natives (nonplayer characters only).
Try Again (Su): In addition to the restrictions on worshippers of specific deities as described in the lack of faith ability, Godsmen can’t be raised or resurrected by any means, including wishes, limited wishes, and miracles. However, they can be reincarnated as a player character race (of the GM’s choice).

The Bleak Cabal

Already Mad (Su): Considered mad by most, devotees of the Bleak Cabal are immune to spells causing madness or insanity, including confusion, crushing despair, feeblemind, hideous laughter, insanity, irresistible dance, rage, and touch of idiocy.
Fit of Melancholia (Ex): Bleakers are subject to fits of deep melancholia as they reflect on the pointlessness of life. At the start of each game day, the player rolls 1d20. On a roll of 20, the character is overcome by the futility of his or her own beliefs. The basher won’t do anything unless philosophically convinced by another that it’s worthwhile. Note that a monster eating another party member is not sufficient justification. (To the Bleaker, the poor sod’s life or death is pointless anyway.)

The Doomguard

Entropy is Ecstasy (Su): The Doomguard are naturally resistant to healing and cures. For any Conjuration (healing) spell or effect to have effect, a Doomguard cutter must first fail a Will saving throw (DC 10 + spell level + caster’s ability modifier). If the save is successful, the magic is negated. The Sinker cannot choose to willingly fail this saving throw.
Sword Focus (Ex): All Sinkers gain a +1 bonus to hit with any sword. This stacks with any other bonuses to hit, such as Weapon Focus.
Sword Training (Ex): The Doomguard is very military in organization and outlook. All members are trained to fight with a sword, and are proficient with all light and one-handed non-exotic swords (including longswords, rapiers, scimitars, and short swords). Members already proficient with these weapons do not gain any replacement abilities.

The Dustmen

Dead Truce (Su): The Dustmen have one of the most unique abilities of the factions, embodied in the Dead Truce. This truce is a pact, reached in times more ancient than memory, between the Dustmen and the beings of the undead realm. The effect of the truce is that the undead’ll ignore a Dustman, so long as the Dustman does nothing to harm the undead creature. If the Dustman breaks the pact, the undead and its companions will treat the sod as they would any other living being. This pact applies only to Dustmen. If one of this faction is with other bashers, the undead will react to the rest of the group normally (attacking, for example) while ignoring the Dustman. Should the Dustman aid his companions, those undead are released from the pact. Because of this possibility, it’s more common to find Dustmen working side by side with zombies and such.
True Death (Su): The concept of raising and resurrection is counter to the philosophy of the faction, and so it’s not something willingly accepted by most Dustmen. Even if the Dustman is willing, for any such spell or effect (including including limited wish, miracle, or wish) to have effect, a Dustman must first fail a Will saving throw (DC 10 + spell level + caster’s ability modifier). If the save is successful, the magic is negated, and no further attempts can be made to bring the Dustman back from the dead. The Dustman cannot choose to willingly fail this saving throw.

The Fated

Charity Is for the Weak: Adherents to this philosophy can’t accept or perform charity in any capacity. Everything they receive must be earned in one fashion or another, and the service must be provided before the payment is given.
Self-Sufficient (Ex): The Fated are great believers in self-sufficiency. They receive two bonus skill points per level, and all skills are considered class skills.

The Fraternity of Order

Adherent of Law: Guvners believe in laws, though the rightness or wrongness of them often makes little difference. A Guvner won’t knowingly break a law, unless he or she can find a legalistic loophole to avoid the penalty.
Comprehend Languages (Sp): With their incessant search for order in all things, the Guvners have a highly attuned sense of patterns. They can cast comprehend languages once per day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this ability is equal to half the Guvner’s character level.
Shrink Item (Sp): Upon reaching 7th character level, Guvners gain enough knowledge of the multiverse to use shrink item once per day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this ability is equal to half the Guvner’s character level. Unlike the spell, the effect has a maximum duration of 24 hours.

The Free League

Free Will (Ex): Being bodies of their own minds, Indeps are a stubborn lot, hard to persuade. This gives them a natural resistance to all charms, whether by spell, creature, or magical item. Indeps gain a +2 bonus to their Will saves against enchantment (charm) spells and effects. Against charms that wouldn’t normally allow a saving throw, Indeps make a normal saving throw (without the bonus).
No Representation: Being independent, the Free League has no factol and therefore is not represented in any city business. Indeps have no judge in the courts, nor any seat on the council. Not surprisingly, in Sigil Indeps have few protected rights.

The Harmonium

Charm Person (Sp): Members of the Harmonium gain benefits from their firm beliefs and fierce dedication to them. All members of the Harmonium are able to use charm person once per day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this ability is equal to half the Hardhead’s character level.
Orders: Their rigid beliefs also expose several weaknesses in Harmonium philosophy. Any variance from the orders of a Harmonium superior requires an atonement on the part of the character before he or she can rejoin the ranks of the faction. Members who “turn stag” – betray the faction – are automatically sentenced to death by the factol. Even refusing to return to the faction’s ranks is considered treasonous.

The Mercykillers

Discern Lies (Sp): Because of their passion for punishment, every Mercykiller can cast discern lies once per day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this ability is equal to half the Mercykiller’s character level. Unlike the spell, the effect only lasts for the time it takes for a single question to be answered.
Justice is Served: Mercykillers consider themselves innocent of crimes when these are committed in the course of punishing a known criminal. Should a Mercykiller commit a crime for any other reason, he or she would be subject to full punishment under the law. Furthermore, although a Mercykiller can accept the surrender of an individual (so that person can be properly punished), he can never release a lawbreaker until the proper sentence has been carried out.

The Revolutionary League

Faction Chameleon (Ex): The Anarchists’ power is limited but cunning. They can automatically pose as a member of any other faction without being detected, even through magical means. They don’t gain special abilities that are magic or training related (such as a Xaositect’s babble or a Cipher’s initiative bonus), but they can benefit from abilities related to position or title, including access to the faction’s headquarters.
Power to the People: Anarchists can never hold any public office or noble title, own a business, or take part in anything that would tie them into the power structure of the planes. Fully 90% of all treasure gained by those bashers must be distributed either to the cause or to the oppressed. In no case can it be given to another player character or player-controlled nonplayer character.

The Sign of One

Detached (Ex): Perhaps because of their often immense egos, Signers have difficulty understanding the motives and feelings of others. Hence, they suffer a -2 penalty to all Diplomacy checks (or Charisma checks) made to influence nonplayer characters. If the Signer has taken the Leadership feat, they suffer a -2 penalty to their Leadership score.
Figment of My Imagination (Su): Because they believe all the world is created from within, Signers are hard to fool with illusions of any type. A Signer automatically gets a Will save when confronted by illusionary magic. They are not required to interact with the illusion or study it in order to disbelieve it.

The Society of Sensation

Darkvision (Ex): Sensates gain darkvision with a 60-foot range, regardless of their race. If their race already has darkvision, it is extended to 60 feet if it is normally less.
Hearty (Ex): Sensates gain a +1 bonus on saving throws against poison.
Heightened Senses (Ex): Sensates gain a +1 insight bonus to Perception checks.
New Experiences: While not to the point of foolhardiness, Sensates are fascinated by new tastes, smells, and so forth. Whenever possible, they’ll seek out new experiences. In practice, they can’t refuse offers that could lead to these – a new wine, an exotic flower, or whatever. Only when faced with obvious deadly peril will they shun such temptations.

The Transcendent Order

Action Without Thought: Because Ciphers act unhesitatingly, they suffer a unique restriction: In play, as soon as an action is stated for a Cipher player character, that cutter is committed to. The player can’t say, “Oh, wait, I changed my mind!” Bashers who pause to consider or debate pending actions are failing to adhere to the philosophy.
Unhesitating (Ex): The training of a Cipher stresses quick and unhesitating action. Thus, all Ciphers gain a +1 insight bonus to their initiative rolls.

The Xaositects

Babble (Su): Believers in the ultimate power of Chaos, once per week a Xaositect can generate a 10-foot-radius emanation that causes all sounds in the area to turn into garbled, cacophonous, and unintelligible noise. Sounds that issue from, enter, or pass through the area are altered and made unrecognizable as a natural sound. Within this area, verbal communication is impossible. Even something as simple as a shout of surprise is turned into a warped and alien sound. Spells with verbal components cannot be cast. Scrolls and other magic items that require a verbal component to be activated do not function. Spells and items that rely on sound do not function. Sonic damage has no effect.
Beautiful is: Chaos The Chaosmen are committed to the power of Chaos. As such, they can never found businesses, build strongholds, raise armies, or undertake any other action that requires long-term organization and discipline. Indeed, they just barely hold their faction together as it is.

One thought on “Faction Abilities”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *