Planescape Factions

Revised Faction Abilities

Ever since I first posted my version of the faction abilities for Pathfinder, I have been wanting to update them to more closely resemble the faction abilities as presented in The Factol’s Manifesto. My problem (and the reason it took me five years to figure out) was three-fold: 1) many of the abilities seem awfully over-powered; 2) many of the abilities seem unbalanced when compared to each other; 3) all these abilities could get very complex, especially if you have to deal with some players who aren’t overly interested in the factions.

One of the nice things about the faction abilities from the Planescape Campaign Setting was that they were pretty easy to work with. Members of the Doomguard can always wield a sword no matter what, get a +1 bonus to hit with swords, and have to fail a saving throw vs. spells in order to receive magical healing. All members of the Harmonium can cast charm person once per day, and have to follow the orders of their faction high-ups no matter what. Even the most stats-averse role-player can deal with those.

The Factol’s Manifesto added a lot of flavour to the factions and their abilities, but also a lot of complexity. Sinkers still get the ability to wield swords and still have to fail a saving throw to be healed, but now they don’t gain the +1 bonus to hit until 3rd level, plus they can deliver an “entropic blow” that knocks half off the target’s current hit points (but only if it’s an opposite alignment to the Sinker), and can sift through destroyed material to find the cause of the destruction (if it happened within a limited amount of time). Plus, they can become a “Doomlord” which doesn’t seem to have any benefits other than a nifty free sword. Meanwhile, the Hardheads get a +1 bonus to hit with a single weapon at 4th level, a +3 bonus to some saving throws at 7th level, and a new spell called dictum that they can cast once per day at 10th level. All these abilities depend on the Hardhead moving up through the ranks, in addition to the character’s level. All this is in addition to the abilities they already had. Yikes!

So I think I’ve hit upon a good balance: faction-based feats. These feats are completely optional. Players who don’t want to be bothered with the complexities of the factions can just select a faction, add their basic abilities to their character sheets, and go, effectively remaining namers all their lives and seldom being bothered by their faction ever again. Players who really want to get the most out of their faction (and, let’s face it, the Planescape setting) have the option to gain the feats offered by their faction as they move up in level and rank. For the most part, the basic abilities are the original ones from the Planescape Campaign Setting, and the feats are the new abilities from The Factol’s Manifesto. Faction feats tend to be more powerful than regular feats, but they’re restricted to members of the faction, the most powerful ones tend to have heavy potential drawbacks, and they’re limited in number to just two or three per faction.

You must be a member in good standing of your faction to learn a faction feat. Under no circumstances can you gain a faction feat from a faction you don’t belong to. (I’m looking at you, Anarchists!) If you leave a faction, you lose the use of the feats, as well as the basic abilities. If you join a new faction, you can retrain the faction feats from your old faction into feats from your new faction. The only other restriction on faction feats is that you can only gain them with feats you gain from levels; under no circumstances can a faction feat be selected as a bonus feat, no matter the source of the bonus feat.

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.

Try them out and let me know what you think!

Athar

Divine Disavowal: Defiers gain spell resistance equal to 10 + 1/2 their character level + their Wisdom modifier against certain faith-based spells when cast by servants of a power: augury, bane, banishment, bestow curse, blasphemy, dictum, dismissal, divination, doom, enthral, geas/quest, holy word, lesser geas, and word of chaos. The GM may expand this list at their discretion.

Divine Ban: The Lost pay a price for their defiance: Clerics, paladins, and other followers of specific deities may not aid known faction members with spells or other uses of divine power, particularly healing. Only extreme situations might lead a follower to violate this ban. ‘Course, no Defier blood would accept this aid anyhow.

Skills: Defiers have a +2 competence bonus on Knowledge (religion) checks and may always make Knowledge (religion) checks untrained. A Defier always treats Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Knowledge (religion) as class skills.

Athar Feats

Banishing

Prerequisites: Athar, athaon, character level 4th.
Benefit: You can participate in an Athar banishing. (See the Athar Banishing sidebar.)

Divine Resistance

Prerequisites: Athar, athaon.
Benefit: You get a +2 resistance bonus on all saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities used by servants of a power.

Obscurement

Prerequisites: Athar, factor, character level 9th.
Benefit: You gain the continuous protection of a nondetection spell as though cast by a sorcerer of a level equal to your level. This protection only functions against spells and spell-like abilities of powers and their minions. The DC of any attempt to break through the effect is equal to 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Wisdom modifier.
You can choose to suppress this ability. Suppressing or re-establishing it is a free action.

Athar Banishing

Only rarely and with the utmost discretion does the Athar use its most beloved asset: the power of banishment, as the 7th-level wizard spell. Four or more mid-level athaons (of at least 4th level) may link hands, encircling their target. By concerted force of will (one round in which they may perform no other action), they can banish petitioners, servant creatures, or proxies of a power back to the god’s domain on his home plane.

Petitioners who fail a saving throw are banished, unable to leave their power’s realm for a year. Servant creatures who fail the saving throw find themselves constrained for a month, and banished proxies stay confined for a week.

The caster level of this ability is equal to the total character levels of athaons in the circle, and the Will save DC is equal to 17 + the sum of the Charisma modifiers of the athaons in the circle. Up to 2 HD or levels of creature per caster level can be banished in this matter.

Unlike the banishment spell, Athar banishing works only on representatives of a power, and objects or substances that the target hates, fears, or otherwise opposes do not increase the caster level check or save DC.

Believers of the Source

Next Step: The Believers of the Source possess a faculty they don’t truly understand. See, in the Great Ring, beliefs matter more than they do in prime-material worlds. Whole burgs can vanish or move because of belief – take Plague-Mort, the gate-town that’s regularly pulled onto the Abyss, then pushed out. Entire planes can be born or destroyed because of belief. And, because the Godsmen believe ordinary bashers may one day evolve into powers, they actually can. So far, the Godsmen’ve seen only one of their fellows evolve to this stage: the previous factol, Curran, who grants her followers spells of healing and protection. Many think Ambar’ll be next.

Reputation: The Godsmen belief that everyone can achieve godhood generally translates into fair treatment of all they encounter. This reputation for a consistent lack of prejudice makes them well-received throughout the Great Ring. They gain a +2 circumstance bonus to all Charisma-based checks with sentient planar beings (Intelligence 3 or better).

Climbing the Chain: Godsmen can’t be resurrected or raised. Every time any Godsman dies, they are automatically reincarnated as a PC race (chosen by the GM based upon the Godsman’s previous actions).

Lack of Faith: Godsmen who venerate a specific deity (as opposed to the Source) suffer from lack of ultimate faith. After all, they know a power ain’t anything special – just some basher who occupies the next-to-last rung on the ladder of evolution. This problem of faith results in -2 penalties to save DCs for any divine spells or spell-like abilities they cast.

Skills: Godsmen have a +2 competence bonus on all Craft checks. A Godsman always treats Diplomacy and Sense Motive as class skills.

Believers of the Source Feats

Cumulative Life Experience

Prerequisites: Believers of the Source.
Benefits: Many Godsmen believe that your intuition is the sum of the lessons you have learned in previous lives. A number of times per day equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1/day), you may add a +2 insight bonus to any one skill check, and if necessary can use the skill untrained. If you have at least 10 ranks in the skill, this bonus increases to +4. This bonus represents the intuition you’ve gained from past lives. You must choose to use this feat before the roll is made.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Each time, you can use this ability one additional time per day.

What Kills You Makes You Stronger

Prerequisites: Believers of the Source, you must have died at least once.
Benefits: Godsmen believe that their soul becomes stronger through learning from past mistakes, even the deadly ones. If your last death was caused by something that allowed a save, you gain a +3 insight bonus to that saving throw. If your last death was due to combat damage (as opposed to damage from a magical source like a fireball spell), you gain a +3 insight bonus to your Fortitude save.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times, so long as the bonus is applied to a different save. In other words, you have to die again in a different way from the last time you gained this feat.

Bleak Cabal

Already Mad: Already considered mad by most standards, devotees of the Bleak Cabal gain spell resistance equal to 10 + 1/2 their character level (minimum +1) + their Wisdom modifier against spells causing madness or insanity, including confusion, feeblemind, hideous laughter, irresistible dance, and lesser confusion. The GM may add to this list at their discretion.

Melancholia: 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 1, 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.)

Mad Bleaker: A Bleaker who fails the melancholia roll three days in a row (or five days during a single 30 day period) may be considered for incarceration in the Mad Bleaker wing of the Gatehouse. ‘Course, it’s up to him whether or not he wants to commit himself to the asylum. But if he chooses to postpone or forgo the trip, he faces the possibility of extended madness – the very next time his daily 1d20 roll results in either a 1 or a 2, the Bleaker immediately goes insane and will remain in that condition until he’s taken to the Gatehouse for treatment. What’s more, the player must make the roll secretly, so other players won’t automatically know if the Bleaker’s gone mad. While insane, the Bleaker may wander off if left alone, may try to lead his group into trouble, won’t be able to take direction or cast spells, and won’t make a distinction between enemies and friends in combat.

Any faction member who enters the Mad Bleaker wing for treatment is allowed as much time as he needs to recover, receiving the care (such as it is) of Sruce and her workers. Only one of three things can happen:

  • The Bleaker dies in his cell. A DC 10 Constitution check avoids this fate.
  • With a successful DC 15 Wisdom check and much soul-searching, the Bleaker returns to his faith in the Cabal and is released. He won’t be subject to melancholia for the next six months of game time (he needn’t roll a d20 each day).
  • If the Bleaker neither dies nor reaffirms his faith, his will to live is shattered by the horrors within his mind and the weakened physical condition brought on by inaction. He can do nothing to escape, nor can he intimate to anyone that he wants to escape.

In this last case, the Bleaker’s cutters may try to rescue him. But even if they make it through the Gatehouse to his cell, the Madman’s likely to scream at the sight of his former friends and resist rescue. Should the group succeed in taking the Bleaker from the Gatehouse and care for him intently, the sod makes a full recovery after 1d4 game months of rest with a DC 10 Intelligence check. However, if he fails the Intelligence check, he retreats into a catatonic state for either 1d6 months (if cared for constantly) or 1d20 months (if cared for haphazardly). The Bleaker’s cutters may choose to return their catatonic friend to the Gatehouse for treatment.

Shortened Lifespan: Even if a Bleaker keeps making his daily d20 roll and never goes insane, he still faces a greater drawback to belonging to the faction. All members of the Bleak Cabal suffer from a shortened life span, as years of living with madness and melancholia eventually take their toll. For humans, half-orcs, and tieflings, this penalty is relatively minor: a subtraction of 10 years from a character’s Maximum Age. Halflings lose 20 years, while aasimar, genasi, gnomes, and half-elves lose 50 years. Full-blooded elves are the hardest hit, losing 200 years of their life span. (Oddly, dwarf, bariaur, and githzerai Bleakers suffer no ill effects.) ‘Course, many faction members see this as not a curse, but a blessing. Think about it – who’d want to live long in a multiverse that didn’t make sense?

Skills: Bleakers have a +2 competence bonus on Heal checks. A bleaker always treats Diplomacy and Heal as class skills.

Bleak Cabal Feats

Absorb Madness

Prerequisites: Bleak Cabal, Iron Will, character level 7th.
Benefit: You gain an ability that’s a natural extension of your own resistance: the power to absorb artificially-induced madness in others. This power works on sods driven insane by spells or magical items, but not on those who’ve gone insane naturally. To use the power, you must first meditate for one hour, cleansing your mind of all thoughts. (This is often impossible. You’ve got to make a DC 10 Wisdom check to cleanse your mind; if you fail, you can try only one more time to cleanse his mind for the same victim.) The insane berk’s got to hold still, either voluntarily or otherwise, and you then begin a ritulastic massage of the victim’s head. The massage must be kept up until the barmy’s body grows numb, at which point you absorb the insanity. You gain your regular spell resistance roll against the madness, but if you fail you suffer the full effect. The process is exhausting, taking 1d12+4 hours to complete. If the ritual is interrupted, you must start over; otherwise, success is guaranteed and the victim regains full mental health immediately. However, you’ll suffer mental anguish for two days afterwards, during which time you sort out the absorbed insanity; during these two days, you take a -2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. You also fail your melancholia check if you roll a 1 or 2 during these two days.

Bleaker Spells

Prerequisites: Bleak Cabal, character level 7th, able to cast arcane spells.
Benefit: You are taught the use of the spells despair and howl of Panedmonium. (See the Bleaker Spells sidebar.)

Bleaker Spells

Despair

School enchantment (charm) [mind-affecting]; Level sorcerer/wizard 4
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range 90 feet
Targets 2d4 creatures, no two of which can be more than 20 ft. apart
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

Despair allows a Bleaker caster to share his world view with others. When this spell is cast, 2d4 sentient creatures (of Intelligence 3 or better) in the area of effect lapse into a severe depression. Victims of despair are unable to attack, cast spells, move, or even engage in basic activities such as eating or drinking. Berks suffering from despair don’t even bother to defend themselves; opponents can automatically strike, disarm, or bind them without resistance. If a body’s bound or damaged, he gets another saving throw to shake off the effects of the spell. Interestingly, primes and members of the Free League are somewhat resistant to this spell, perhaps because they’re not stuck on any particular philosophy; they gain a +2 bonus on their saving throws.

Howl of Pandemonium

School conjuration (creation) [sonic]; Level sorcerer/wizard 6
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a pebble from Pandemonium, which must be consumed by the caster)
Range 0
Area 30-ft. radius circle or 60-ft. by 20-ft. cone
Duration concentration, up to 1 round/level
Saving Throw special, see text; Spell Resistance yes

Although the howl of Pandemonium spell derives power from the plane of Pandemonium, it can be used by Bleakers anywhere in the multiverse. Howl enables the caster to channel the screaming winds of the plane through his own body, giving voice to a numbing wail that incapacitates all nearby. The howl must be maintained for at least one round to have any effect, but it lasts as long as the wizard concentrates, to a maximum of one round per caster level (the caster can’t move or do anything else while maintaining the howl).

When casting the howl of Pandemonium, the caster can opt to affect all creatures within 30 ft., or he can channel a cone 60 ft. long by 20 ft. wide. All creatures in the area of effect are deafened and disoriented; communication of any kind is impossible. They also suffer a -2 penalty to attack rolls and saving throws. Non-magical missiles are deflected by the force of the howl, and sods who try to physically approach the caster must make a Fortitude saving throw before doing so. Furthermore, all sonic-based effects are negated, drowned out by the howl.

In addition to the above effects, creatures whose Hit Dice or levels are lower than the caster’s must successfully make a Will save or become confused, as the confusion spell, for the duration of the spell. Any creature with 2 or fewer levels or Hit Dice who fail their saving throws are simply driven into a catatonic state that lasts for 1 hour per two caster levels (minimum 1 hour).

This spell has no effect on creatures or petitioners native to Pandemonium.

Doomguard

Sword Training: Sinkers can choose any one weapon from the following list and gain the appropriate Martial Weapon Proficiency feat: bastard sword, falchion, greatsword, longsword, rapier, scimitar, short sword. If the Sinker is already proficient in the chosen weapon, they instead gain the Weapon Focus feat for the weapon. In either case, the Sinker gains a +1 competence bonus to hit with the chosen weapon.

Sift: Faction members find themselves with more than just fighting skills. Any Sinker can sift through destroyed material and gain a psychic impression of what caused the destruction. He just picks up some broken rubble, charred wood, ground dust, or whatever. He then lets the material filter through his fingers while he spends 1 minute in quiet meditation. Sinkers of 1st through 5th level can read the cause of destruction only if it happened in the last 10 years. Sinkers of 6th through 10th level can go back 500 years. And Sinkers of 11th level or higher can read as far back as 1,000 years.

What’s more, if the destruction occurred within the last century, higher-level Sinkers can actually experience parts of it. For every minute spent in meditation and in contact with the rubble, sinkers of 6th through 10th level can relive five minutes of the disaster through sight only. Sinkers of 11th level or higher can hear and smell as well as see. And the chant hints that Sinkers who are 30th level or higher can actually enter the scene of a disaster, though nothing’s ever said of a basher returning from such a trip.

Doomguard clerics of all levels can also sift through deceased organic material and learn the cause of death. The mental images received are particularly vivid if the death was a violent one, or if the destroyed being was of the same alignment as the cleric.

Healing Resistance: Sinkers gain spell resistance equal to 10 + 1/2 their character level + their Wisdom modifier against any kind of healing magic. They cannot voluntarily lower this resistance.

Skills: Sinkers have a +2 competence bonus on Knowledge (engineering) checks and may always make Knowledge (engineering) checks untrained. A Sinker always treats Disable Device and Knowledge (engineering) as class skills.

Doomguard Feats

Entropic Blow

Prerequisites: Doomguard.
Benefit: As a vessel of entropy, you can channel destructive energy, dealing extra damage with a melee attack. Once per week you can use an entropic blow as a standard action. You add your Charisma bonus to your attack roll and deal an extra 1 point of damage per character level. Use of the entropic blow must be declared before the attack is made. If the attack misses, the blow is wasted. The entropic blow is especially good at unravelling that which binds nonliving matter together. It automatically ignores hardness, as well as any damage reduction possessed by constructs or undead (regardless of the source of the damage reduction).

Extra Entropic Blow

Prerequisites: Doomguard, Entropic Blow.
Benefit: You can use your entropic blow one additional time per week.
Special: You can gain Extra Entropic Blow multiple times. Its effects stack.

Improved Sword Training

Prerequisites: Doomguard, Weapon Focus with selected weapon, base attack bonus +4.
Benefit: You gain Weapon Specialization with the selected weapon as a bonus feat. You do not have to meet the prerequisites for the feat.

Dustmen

Dead Truce: The Dustmen have one of the most unique abilities of all 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.

Negative Energy Channelling: No matter their religion or alignment, once a basher with the ability to channel energy joins the ranks of the Dustmen they always channel negative energy.

Toward True Death: A deceased Dustman should always refuse to be brought back from the dead. Even those willing to be resurrected only return if they fail a saving throw (Will DC 10 + spell level + ability modifier). The Dustman cannot choose to willingly fail this saving throw. 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.

Skills: Dustmen have a +2 competence bonus on Knowledge (religion) checks and may always make Knowledge (religion) checks untrained. A Dustman always treats Heal and Knowledge (religion) as class skills.

Dustmen Feats

Leader of the Undead

Prerequisites: Dustmen, Initiate of the Fourth Circle.
Benefit: You gain Command Undead as a bonus feat.
Special: If you cannot already channel negative energy, you gain the power to channel negative energy as if you were an evil cleric of your level. However, you cannot use this ability to heal undead or harm the living, only to use the Command Undead feat.
Special: If you already have the Command Undead feat, you gain a +4 competence bonus to your Will save DC when using the Command Undead feat.

Undead Minions

Prerequisites: Dustmen, Initiate of the Fourth or First Circle, Leader of the Undead.
Benefit: When on a faction mission, you can request help from a group of undead (whose total Hit Dice equal no more than twice your character level). ‘Course, you must first convince your superiors you need the help, then successfully command the undead and reward them for their service.
Special: The GM determines undead availability and pay scale, but you can’t attempt to muster undead allies from the faction more than once per adventure. Clever Dustmen don’t abuse this pact of service or let it hit the chant – a lot of bashers would inflict their anger on the faction as a whole if they saw droves of undead marching the streets. Dustmen guilty of such abuse might find they’ve suddenly joined the walking dead themselves.

Fated

Taker’s Skills: The Heartless are a self-sufficient bunch, and an independent one, too. They don’t pass out magical items or spells to every namer in the faction; each berk’s got to earn his way. However, all Takers gain two additional skill ranks per level (e.g. fighters gain four skill ranks per level, rogues gain 10 per level, etc.).

Haggle: A body who spends his life looking out for himself tends to pick up other tricks, as well. Any member of the Fated looking to make a purchase can haggle to get the price reduced. On a successful Diplomacy check opposed by the merchant’s Sense Motive check, the price is reduced by 5%, plus an additional 1% for every 4 points by which the Diplomacy check exceeds the Sense Motive check, to a maximum discount of 10%.

Nothing’s Free: The Fated have the wherewithal to learn and grab what they need, but a Taker’s fierce independence is also one of his greatest weaknesses. No member of the Fated can give or receive any kind of charity. It’s an easy thing to refuse to drop a few coins in a beggar’s hat, but it’s another story if a Taker’s dying and a comrade wants to give him a cure potion. Hard as it seems to believe, the Taker simply won’t accept the potion – it must be earned, not given freely.

Skills: Takers have a +2 competence bonus on Sleight of Hand checks and may always make Sleight of Hand checks untrained. A Taker treats all skills as class skills, regardless of the Taker’s class.

Fated Feats

Layer Specialization

Prerequisites: Fated, Planar Specialization with selected plane, character level 10th.
Benefits: Select a layer of the plane you specialized in to further specialize in. When on your layer of specialization, or when dealing with natives of that layer, you gain a bonus equal to your character level to Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Knowledge (planes), Sense Motive, and Survival checks. This bonus does not stack with your bonus for specializing in the plane.
Special: Becoming an expert on a specific layer requires 1d4+1 months of travel on that layer to develop the necessary contacts and skills for survival before gaining your bonus for specializing in a layer.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time it applies to a different layer of the plane. If a plane only has one layer, you gain no further benefit.

Plane Specialization

Prerequisites: Fated, factotum, character level 5th.
Benefits: Select a plane of existence in which to specialize. When on your plane of specialization, or when dealing with natives of that plane, you gains a bonus equal to 1/2 your character level to Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Knowledge (planes), Sense Motive, and Survival checks.
Special: Just because you choose a plane doesn’t mean the information just pops into your head. You’ve got to spend time there learning the ins and outs of the place. About a month of travel on and study of a plane is required before you gain your bonus for specializing in a plane.

Fraternity of Order

Intuit Pattern: Since Guvners tend to understand patterns easily, they can use comprehend languages once per day as a spell-like ability.

Letter of the 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.

Skills: Guvners have a +2 competence bonus on Linguistics checks and may always make Linguistics checks untrained. A Guvner always treats Linguistics, Knowledge (planes) and Spellcraft as class skills.

Fraternity of Order Feats

Adjust Pattern

Prerequisites: Fraternity of Order, character level 7th.
Benefits: You can use shrink item once per day as a spell-like ability with a maximum duration of 24 hours.

Loophole

Prerequisites: Fraternity of Order.
Benefits: By careful research of the laws of the multiverse, you are able to discover (or create) a loophole that allows you to gain a spell-like ability. The overall process is similar to researching a spell: It requires the expenditure of 1,000 gp per week and takes one week per level of the loophole (Note: The level of the loophole being created must be equal to or less than 1/2 your character level, rounded up). At the end of the time, you roll a Spellcraft check versus DC 10 + loophole level. If successful you have discovered a loophole and can now use the spell at will as a spell-like ability, up to once per round (caster level is equal to your character level). If you fail the Spellcraft check, you must start over.

Loopholes don’t last forever. Each time the Guvner uses the loophole there is a cumulative 2-in-20 chance that the laws of the multiverse notice and close the loophole. For example, the first time a Guvner uses the ability it works fine, but he loses that power permanently on a d20 roll of 1 or 2. If the Guvner has not lost the ability, he can then use it a second time, then afterwards loses the ability on a d20 roll of 1 – 4. Canny Guvners with the Manipulate Probability feat can use that ability to adjust the roll for loophole closure. A roll of natural 1 causes the loophole to close catastrophically, regardless of adjustments. (GMs, be creatively malevolent.) Whenever a loophole is closed, you can research a new loophole, as described above.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Each time it allows you to create another, simultaneously active loophole. You may only have a number of active loopholes equal to your Intelligence modifier.

Manipulate Probability

Prerequisites: Fraternity of Order, Administrator, character level 5th.
Benefits: You gain a limited power to manipulate probability. Once per day, you can tinker with the laws of chance to gain an advantage. You can give yourself a +1 luck bonus to an attack roll, damage roll, ability check, skill check, or saving throw. You can change probability for a foe, too, inflicting a -1 point penalty to an opponent’s roll.
Special: You can gain this feat up to three times. Each time improves your modifier by +/- 1 point, to a maximum of +/-3.

Free League

Free Will: Free Leaguers have a natural resistance to mind-affecting effects, be they from spells, creatures, or magical items. Indeps save against mind-affecting effects with +2 bonuses to their rolls. Against mind-affecting effects that don’t normally allow saving throws, they still make a throw (though without the bonus).

Know Faction: In general, the Indeps don’t hand out special powers and equipment to every berk wearing the colours. But they know that other factions do outfit their members, and Indeps always like to know the dark of who they’re dealing with. One way they do that is with the know faction spell. (See the Know Faction sidebar.)

One of Us: The Indeps aren’t a tight group, but they do look out for their own. Free Leaguers who buy wares in the Great Bazaar of Sigil get a 20% discount on all items purchased. This discount is only intended for fellow Free Leaguers, and Indeps buying discounted gear for members of other factions, even those friendly to the Free League, will quickly find this discount disappearing. And in public scuffles, a Free Leaguer who makes his faction known is likely to get help from other Indeps passing by.

On Our Own: 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.

Skills: Indeps have a +2 competence bonus on Sense Motive checks. An Indep always treats Diplomacy and Sense Motive as class skills.

Free League Feats

Slippery Mind

Prerequisites: Free League, character level 7th.
Benefits: You gain the slippery mind advanced rogue trait.

Underground Network

Prerequisites: Free League, character level 3rd.
Benefits: You gain access to the faction’s underground network of information. These contacts give you a +2 insight bonus on Diplomacy checks to gather information. If you have 10 or more ranks in Diplomacy, this bonus increases to +4.

Know Faction

School divination; Level bard 1, cleric 1, druid 1, paladin 1, ranger 1, sorcerer/wizard 1
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range 60 feet
Targets one creature/level
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will negates (special); Spell Resistance yes

The know faction spell enables the caster to determine a body’s faction just by looking at him. It lasts one round per level of the caster; each round, the caster can determine the faction of one creature within range. If a target is trying to conceal his faction, the GM can roll a saving throw for the target, with success meaning that the spell fails. (The GM must make the roll secretly so the target won’t know if his true faction’s been detected or not.)

Note that an Anarchist spy automatically makes the saving throw, as members of the Revolutionary League can pose as members of other factions.

On occasion, the know faction spell reveals a creature’s deep-rooted philosophical beliefs instead of its faction. For example, a cleric who worships a power of death may be mistaken for a Dustman.

Harmonium

Command: All Harmonium members, from Notaries on up, gain the spell-like ability command once per day as a cleric of the character’s level (DC 11 + Charisma modifier).

Orders: Their rigid beliefs 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. This spell must be cast by a spellcaster who is sympathetic to the Harmonium’s cause. 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.

Skills: Hardheads have a +2 competence bonus on Intimidate checks. A Hardhead always treats Intimidate, Knowledge (local), and Sense Motive as class skills.

Harmonium Feats

Dedication

Prerequisites: Harmonium, Mover, character level 7th.
Benefits: You gain a +3 resistance bonus to saving throws against spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities with the emotion or fear descriptors.

Dictate

Prerequisites: Harmonium, Mover Four, character level 10th.
Benefits: You gain the spell-like ability dictate once per day as a cleric of your level (DC 12 + Charisma modifier). (See the Dictate sidebar.)

Weapon of Choice

Prerequisites: Harmonium, Measure One, character level 4th.
Benefits: You gain a +1 competence bonus to attack rolls with a weapon of your choice. This weapon does not affect specialization; the attack roll bonus accumulates with any other applicable bonuses.

Dictate

All Harmonium priests can access dictate as a 2nd-level spell, regardless of their rank.

Dictate

School enchantment (compulsion) [language-dependent, mind-affecting]; Level cleric 2
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V
Range 90 feet
Targets up to six creatures, no two of which can be more than 20 ft. apart
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

The dictate spell improves on the 1st-level cleric spell command. It can affect up to six creatures at once with effects lasting more than one round. As a spell or spell-like ability, dictate allows the character to speak a short, precise phrase or order of no more than a dozen words that all that all targets must obey if they fail their saving throws. Examples include “Throw down your weapons!” or “Stay here until I return!” and even “Seize that elf!” The faction member must state the command in a language that the targets know, or the spell fails. Subjects continue to obey long-term orders (such as “Wait here.”) for up to one round per experience level of the caster.

To dictate an order, a Hardhead must phrase it to create an immediate course of physical action for the target. Commands to “die” or “sleep” usually don’t work, but mandates to “lie down and put your hands behind your head” prove effective. If the faction member phrases the order poorly, GMs can assign the targets saving throw modifiers of +1 to +4. If the caster directs the intended victims to perform an obviously self-destructive action (“Throw yourself off that cliff!”), victims who fail their saving throws stand still for one round, fighting the compulsion to obey, before shaking off the spell.

Mercykillers

Discern Lies: All members of the faction are taught how to discern lies (per the 4th-level cleric spell) once per day to a single chosen question (DC 14 + Charisma modifier).

Shocking Grasp: Every Mercykiller arcane spellcaster automatically receives the 1st-level spell shocking grasp (the better to handle obstinate criminals) in addition to all other spells granted by the cutter’s level or ability scores.

Above the Law: The faction tends to turn a blind eye to its own violations of the law – to a point. If a Mercykiller commits a crime while pursuing or punishing a known criminal, he’ll consider himself innocent, of course. Justice takes precedence over all. On the other hand, if he commits a crime outside of his punishment of a felon, he’s subject to the full weight of the law.

Eight Tenets of Justice: Any Mercykiller – Justiciar or otherwise – who ever fails to uphold the faction’s Eight Tenets of Justice must pay the music. First, the accused gets a short hearing before the factol. If he can’t give a satisfactory explanation for having shirked his duty, he’s given a choice: death by beheading in the Guillotine Room, or abandonment in the cavernous Grotto beneath the Prison. Most Mercykillers so charged have chosen the quick and relatively painless death accorded by the guillotine. It’s said that those few who’ve chosen the Grotto found death by a much less pleasant means. (See the Eight Tenets of Justice sidebar.)

Skills: Mercykillers have a +2 bonus to Survival checks when following tracks. A Mercykiller always treats Diplomacy, Knowledge (local), and Survival as class skills.

Mercykiller Feats

Blood of Justice

Prerequisites: Mercykiller, character level 3rd.
Benefits: You may request one vial of blood of justice per month; each vial contains three doses of the liquid. (See the Blood of Justice sidebar.)

Extra Justice Blow

Prerequisites: Mercykiller, Justice Blow.
Benefit: You can use your justice blow one additional time per day.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects stack.

Justice Blow

Prerequisites: Mercykiller, base attack bonus +1.
Benefits: Your beliefs allow you to impose additional suffering on your foes. Twice a day, you can tell the GM that you’re dealing his next blow in the name of justice. Whether you’re swinging a sword, casting a spell, or dislodging a rock from overhead, the damage rolled is doubled, including all bonuses. ‘Course, this special power doesn’t come without cost. Half of the extra damage caused is immediately subtracted from your hit points. But a true Mercykiller gladly takes any and all pains in the quest for justice.

Blood of Justice

The faction’s developed a dark red liquid that intensifies a body’s guilt; they call it the blood of justice. The stuff’s said to be made of the blood of the great wyvern kept in the faction’s Tower of the Wyrm. If the blood enters the target’s body, whether he drinks the liquid or gets cut by a sword coated with it, on the next round the berk starts confessing to any and all crimes he’s knowingly committed in the past 24 hours. If the target makes a successful DC 13 Fortitude save, the blood has no effect. One of the guard captains at the Prison, a basher named Reggia Pylk, controls the faction’s supply of the blood of justice.

The Eight Tenets of Justice

  1. I will uphold Justice before all else, purging the multiverse of those who break the law.
  2. In all situations I shall weigh the rights and wrongs with a clear and impartial mind.
  3. I shall decide where Justice must fall under the law, and I will mete out that Justice with a firm and unyielding hand.
  4. I believe in the righteousness of my faction; we alone answer to the higher law of Justice.
  5. I will not pass judgement on good or evil, only on law-abiding and law-breaking, for therein lies wrongdoing.
  6. I will punish the guilty as the crime demands.
  7. I will be diligent in my pursuit of the guilty, and while so engaged I will remain innocent of any wrongdoing in the eyes of other.
  8. I will never release a lawbreaker until his sentence has been carried out.

Revolutionary League

Infiltration: An Anarchist can pose as a member of any other faction automatically, without being detected. While they don’t receive the special abilities of the assumed faction, they gain acceptance, access to their headquarters, and can call on members of other factions for aid. Fact is, Anarchists can get help from a member of another faction sooner than from their own.

Fight the Power: 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 non-player character.

Skills: Anarchists have a +2 competence bonus to Bluff checks. An Anarchist always treats Bluff, Disguise, and Stealth as class skills.

Revolutionary League Feats

Rogue Talent

Prerequisites: Revolutionary League, cannot have any levels in a class that grants rogue talents.
Benefits: You gain one rogue talent. You must meet all of the prerequisites for this rogue talent. You can now take the Extra Rogue Talent feat (Advanced Player’s Guide).

Rogue Training

Prerequisites: Revolutionary League, factotum.
Benefits: You always treat all rogue class skills as class skills, no matter your class. If you already have one or more levels in the rogue class, you instead gain a +2 bonus on any rogue class skills that you have one or more ranks in.

Sign of One

Illusion Perception: It’s hard to put one over on Signers, as their belief that they create the multiverse lets them see through illusion. All members receive an automatic saving throw to resist illusion magic. Even if they fail this initial saving throw, they still receive the standard saving throw after interacting with the illusion.

Centre of All: Perhaps because of their often immense egos, Signers have difficulties understanding the motives and feelings of others. Hence, they suffer a -2 penalty on all Diplomacy checks (or Charisma checks) made to influence the attitude of a nonplayer character, as well as a -2 penalty on their leadership score if they have the Leadership feat.

Skills: Signers have a +2 competence bonus to Perception checks. A Signer always treats Knowledge (planes) and Perception as class skills.

Sign of One Feats

Imagining

Prerequisites: Sign of One, factotum.
Benefit: You gain the power of imagining, which you can use to bend the fabric of reality to conform to your wishes. To imagine a thing into (or out of) existence, you must make a successful imagination check: make a Wisdom check, with 1/2 your character level added as a bonus. The DC of the check is 20 + the level of the spell being mimicked, with a cumulative +5 added for each subsequent attempt that week. Imagining’s hard work, berk.

With a successful imagination check, you mimic the effect of any spell (up to 4th level) as if you were the appropriate class at your current character level. ‘Course, you can only mimic the effects of spells a caster of your character level could actually use. That is, a 5th-level factotum can’t cast a 4th-level cleric spell.

Using this power, you can imagine an object into existence (as with the minor creation wizard spell), heal a comrade of sickness (as with the cure disease cleric spell), or any number of other feats. All that matters is the power of the mind!
Special: If you fail your imagining check you are unable to wield the skill again for seven days. ‘Course, imagining has its dangers, too. If you fail your check by rolling a natural 1 you believe yourself imaginary! You become a shadow conjuration versions of yourself; you temporarily possess only 20% of your hit points, inflict 20% normal damage in combat, and cannot cast spells or use racial or class abilities. You can try up to once a day to make a successful imagining check and return to reality. Once you imagine yourself back into reality, you are unable to use this ability again for seven days, plus one day for every day you were imaginary.

Greater Imagining

Prerequisites: Sign of One, factor.
Benefits: You can take imagining to even greater heights to mimic spells up to 9th level.
Special: If you fail the check when attempting to mimic a spell of 5th level or higher you lose your imagining powers until you gain a level. Rolling a natural 1 when attempting to mimic a spell of 5th level or higher means you have imagined too well a multiverse without yourself: You cease to exist. The only way you can return to the multiverse is through the use of a miracle or wish spell – or if another Signer of equal or higher character level imagines you back!

Society of Sensation

Membership Has its Privileges: As managers of most of the entertainment in Sigil, the Sensates are by far the richest faction in the Cage, and they’re generous to their members. Characters who join the Sensates immediately receive a signing bonus – new characters begin with three times the typical starting money.

What’s more, Annali Webspinner’s quite receptive to adventurers who seek her help at the Civic Festhall. If a party that includes a Sensate agrees to return to the Festhall afterwards and record its experiences in the sensoriums, Webspinner’s likely to donate a magical item or a few spells to aid in the quest.

New Sensations: 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 practise, 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.

Skills: Sensates have a +2 competence bonus to Perception and Sense Motive checks. A Sensate always treats Perception and Sense Motive as class skills.

Society of Sensation Feats

Broad Experiences

Prerequisites: Sensate, character level 5th.
Benefits: You have started to explore more than just your physical surroundings. You’ve built up an extensive store of experiences that often gives you unusual insights into a problem. You can make all Knowledge skill checks untrained.
Special: If you have the bardic knowledge ability or a similar ability from another class (such as loremaster), you instead gain a +2 insight bonus to all Knowledge skill checks.

Heightened Senses

Prerequisites: Sensate.
Benefits: You gain a +1 bonus to saves vs. poison, and 60-ft. darkvision. If you already have darkvision, your range is increased by 60 ft.

Sensory Touch

Prerequisites: Sensate, character level 3rd.
Benefits: You gain the sensory touch ability, a laying on of the hands to heal wounded sods. The touch works automatically, but it can be performed only once per day and only in a moment of quiet reflection. You touch the person’s injuries and open your mind to the pain. As a result, 1 point of healing for each of your character levels is transferred from you to the wounded person; you, in turn, suffer the same number of points of damage.
Special: The reciprocal damage can’t be healed by magical means – you can recover the lost hit points only through natural rest.

Transcendent Order

Combat Instinct: Because they always try to act without thought, all Ciphers – namers included – gain a +1 insight bonus on their initiative modifiers.

No Hesitation: 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 action. They 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.

Skills: Ciphers have a +2 competence bonus to Acrobatics checks. A cipher always treats Acrobatics, Climb, Fly, and Swim as class skills.

Transcendent Order Feats

Master of the Heart

Prerequisites: Transcendent Order, master of the heart.
Benefits: You can place yourself in an action trance, where you can act on reflex alone. Such a state begins with the start of an encounter, when you first roll initiative. From then until the end of the encounter, you gain a +1 resistance bonus to saving throws against mind-affecting effects (like charm person, dragon fear, a harpy’s song, etc.) If the spell or effect normally allows no saving throw, you get one anyway, but without a bonus. It’s tough to control the mind of a cutter who ain’t thinking.

Master of the Mind

Prerequisites: Transcendent Order, master of the mind.
Benefits: You increase your initiative bonus to a +2 modifier and increase your saving throw bonus against mind-affecting effects to a +2 modifier. In addition, a number of times per day equal to 1 + your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1/day) you can initiate the action trance at will as a swift action; however, the trance lasts no more than a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your character level, unless an encounter requires an initiative roll before that time expires. The action trance lasts through any encounter that may occur.

Master of the Spirit

Prerequisites: Transcendent Order, master of the spirit.
Benefits: You receive +3 modifiers to initiative and +3 bonuses to saving throws against mind-affecting effects. Like the mind master, you can initiate the action trance at will, but as a free action. You automatically enter action trances before an encounter begins, and are therefore never considered flat-footed at the beginning of an encounter.

Xaositects

Babble: Once per week, all Xaositects can generate a 30-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. This ability lasts for 1 round per two levels of the Xaositect.

Namers tend to use this ability every chance they get, whether they need to or not.

Scramblespeak: “Not insane I am. Do to I naturally me merely comes what to multiverse the randomness the according of.” Anyone rattling his bone-box like that has to be barmy, right? Well, maybe not: Rolling a Xaositect’s words around a bit makes them clear: I am not insane. I merely do what comes naturally to me, according to the randomness of the multiverse. When Xaositects use this scramblespeak, they twist all the words of a sentence out of order. Another Xaositect can understand the talk if he makes a successful Intelligence check. Most cutters just muddle through, but, to interpreters of scramblespeak, Xaositect bloods can be downright erudite.

Namers try to use the Xaositects’ scrambled syntax ability, but they ain’t too good at it; they can reverse a few sentences, or mix up a short one. Still, they keep trying. A lot. A boss can use strings of full sentences of scramblespeak – but only part of the time. If he used it all the time, namers couldn’t understand him. (But if he never scrambled his syntax, namers’d understand him all the time, and either good no, that’s.) ‘Course, big bosses speak scrambled whenever they want.

Follow the Wind: The Chaosmen are committed to the power of Chaos. As such, Xaositects 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.

Skills: Chaosmen have a +2 competence bonus to Bluff checks. A Xaositect always treats Bluff and Intimidate as class skills.

Xaositect Feats

Big Boss Ability

Prerequisites: Xaositect, big boss.
Benefits: You gain special abilities beyond those of regular bosses. The GM determines this ability: You might have the power of a rod of wonder once a day, find yourself able to alter self three times a day, or even become subject to alter self with no control. You might suddenly discover you can use a power similar to the spell shrink item or minor creation three times a day or gain a constant unseen servant (per the wizard spell).
Special: GMs should base abilities on a character’s personality and skills, taking care not to make the PC the centre of power in a campaign. And change the ability from time to time. That’s the way chaos works: Nothing stays the same for long.

Confusion

Prerequisites: Xaositect, boss, character level 9th.
Benefits: You can radiate confusion, like the wizard spell, once per day in a 20-foot radius. The effects last 2d6 rounds; any lawful characters in the area of effect receive -2 penalties to their saving throws.

Scofflaw

Prerequisites: Xaositect, boss, character level 5th.
Benefits: You always enjoy the protection of nondetection (as the 4th-level sorcerer/wizard spell) from spells cast by lawful spellcasters. Such creatures must succeed on a caster level check against a DC of 10 + one-half your character level + your Charisma modifier to successfully employ a divination against you. This ability can be suppressed or resumed as a free action.

12 thoughts on “Revised Faction Abilities”

  1. Just want to say that this is amazing work — all of your Planescape stuff is great, but this in particular is awesome. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words. It’s nice to be reminded occasionally that I’m not posting into a vacuum! Glad you’re enjoying it — feel free to share any time.

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