The Harmonium Faction Symbol
Thing is, this group actually went and did it. They brought peace and harmony to their land, so they started calling themselves the Harmonium. And then they moved on to other lands, and spread some peace and harmony there too. It was tough work, sometimes, because they had to force the peace on some poor berks who didn't know what was best for 'em. But the Harmonium willingly took on these difficult jobs. Eventually, they delivered their whole world into peace and harmony. Naturally, spreading peace throughout the world required the Harmonium to eliminate a lot of nasty types - all those wrong-headed, free-thinking folks who love to cause trouble. Those who journey to Ortho today say it's a very rigid place, where dwarves, orcs, beholders and humans all work together under the Harmonium's law. There's not an elf or a pixie to be seen anywhere, though.
The Harmonium ruled their world, and their world knew peace and harmony. (If not exactly happiness.) Then the problems started. Seems that every once in a while, chaos and discord managed to rear their ugly heads. The Harmonium leaders got tired of this occasional disorder and got together to discuss the matter. The high-ups decided that the chaos must originate somewhere else - it couldn't come from within their own perfect world after all. Suspecting the culprits came from the Outer Planes, the Harmonium mounted an expedition and journeyed to the Abyss. After getting their rumps kicked from the Plain of Infinite Portals to the Caverns of the Skull Goddess and back again, they decided they needed another plan. So, the Harmonium expedition relocated to Sigil, to establish a beachhead of sorts.
And here they have remained.
The faction found some like-minded folks in Sigil - folks like the Guvners - and the Lady of Pain seems to approve of the order they bring to the Cage. They also found targets for their war for peace in the numerous folks of other factions. A lot of those groups regard Harmonium members as playground bullies, a bunch of berks who want to spoil the fun for everyone. But ask a Hardhead, and he'll tell you he's absolutely right about the Way it Should Be.
Oh, the Harmonium's made some mistakes in its time, though the members'd never admit to it. Just ask a high-up about the recent Arcadia "incident" and watch him twitch while be tries to come up with some kind of answer. (The Harmonium accidentally allowed the third layer of the plane to slip into Mechanus.) Or mention the town of Fortitude on the Outlands; that's also a sore spot with the Hardheads that know ahout it. (In response to the loss of the Arcadian layer, the faction tried to shift this town to Arcadia.)
There's also the matter of the world of Athas, the prime planet that's home to lots of giant, psionic bugs, among other things. It seems that a few thousand years ago, a hunch of bashers called the "Champions of Rajaat" went about warring on others to eliminate chaos and bring peace. Sounds familiar, right? Well, the Harmonium wasn't around back then, so the faction couldn't have been involved - although time does some funny things between planes, once in a while. Or maybe the Harmonium took some inspiration from the Champions. Thing is, bashers who've been to Athas call it an awful, dry world wrecked by magic. Almost anything would eat a body just for walking by, they say. Is that what the Harmonium wants?
'Course, the Hardheads deny it. Present-day Athas resulted from the actions of rightminded barmies, who didn't know when to quit, they claim. The Harmonium knows to back off before that point. So they say.
Harmonium members do have their work cut out for them - after all, the Cage doesn’t exactly embrace peace and law. The Hardheads get some help along the way though, from the Guvners and the Mercykillers, their partners in crime. The Harmonium makes the arrests, the Guvners conduct the trials, and the Mercykillers enforce the punishment. All three factions believe in law and order, so they work pretty well together, though the Hardheads seem happy that the painfully meticulous, fill-this-out-in-triplicate Guvners don't actually create the laws. On the other hand, the “wheel of justice” finds opposition in the friends of chaos, like the Indeps, the Revolutionary League, and the Xaositects. 'Course, the Free League seems too independent to constitute much of a threat, but the Anarchists and the Chaosmen can prove dangerous. The Harmonium also considers dangerous the selfish or destructive attitudes of the Fated, the Bleakers, and the Doomguard, as well. The Doomguard has become a special thorn in the Harmonium's side, because this faction controls the Armory and keeps weapons out of Harmonium hands, preventing the Hardheads from launching a full-scale war for peace. Then again, this arrangement suits everyone else fine, from the Lady down to the Clueless.
The Harmonium considers the Athar and the Godsmen a bit barmy, in light of their weird beliefs, but harmless in the end. Hardheads tend to ignore the relatively inoffensive - if spooky - Dustmen. The Signers can become annoying, with their great egos, but like the rest, they seem largely ineffectual; in fact, the Signers help preserve theirpeace by running the Hall of Speakers and getting the factions to meet. The Sensates also prove little threat, but most Harmonium feel leery of them anyway; by wanting to experience everything, the Sensate go around looking for disorder. The Clueless, though they can become magnets for trouble, remain acceptable to the Harmonium.
The Ciphers seem an interesting bunch. They seek harmony of mind and body - so far, so good, according to Harmonium beliefs. By uniting thought and deed in harmony, a cutter's spirit can align with the multiverse. Thing is, Ciphers seek individual harmony - not too consistent with the universal harmony the Hardheads want. Also, Ciphers act without thinking, which counters the Harmonium desire to think everything through - or at least appear to. Here's the dark of it, though: The Ciphers resemble the Harmonium a bit too much for comfort. Besides their search for harmony, both groups like members to feel so sure of themselves that they act with no prior reflection. The Hardheads see a halftwisted reflection of themselves in the Ciphers, and it bothers them enough to remain peery of 'em.
The Harmonium's outlook on the various other factions dictates how the Hardheads will go about accomplishing their long-range goal of peace. Don't forget, the Hardheads're willing to fight for it. Encouraged by their success long ago on their prime world, Harmonium members truly believe everyone one day will come around and join them. In the meantime, members can eliminate troublemakers: starting with the Anarchists, Xaositects, and Indeps.
Factol SarinThe chant says Factol Sarin comes from the Harmonium world of Ortho, where he moved through the ranks to become a high-up. Deserving of promotion, Sarin chose to go to Sigil, rather than take the easier route through the ranks of the prime Harmonium worlds. He knew Sigil would be a rough posting compared to one on Ortho and he'd arrive a near Clueless. And he still wanted the Cage.
This fact ought to tell even a leatherhead one thing: Sarin feels dedicated to the Harmonium cause. This commitment shows in his every word, his every action. Since arriving in Sigil some two decades ago, he has become the ultimate Hardhead, embodying all the reasons his faction got pinned with the nickname.
Sarin's tough - not even a barmy or a Clueless ever would suggest otherwise. He believes unshakably in the Harmonium's cause and will do anything honorable, lawful, and good to promote peace and harmony. Not surprisingly, this attitude makes it very difficult for a lot of folks to deal with Sarin.
And the factol deals with a lot of people. Because he remains active in Sigil, locals see his imposing figure on the streets with some regularity. The tall, broad-shouldered factol wears a perpetually severe look and his unmistakable armor, made of a prime-world metal some call red steel. The front of the armor is decorated with the Harmonium's faction symbol, and the spikes sprouting from the shoulders and helmet resemble the Lady of Pain's own shining blades. The likeness is no coincidence: Sarin likes to remind bashers that he supports the order of the Cage, and that he supports the Lady by doing so.
Anyway, the factol's appearance attracts attention, and so does his personality. Some Harmonium members might feel inclined to soft-sell the faction, but not Sarin. No, he'll take the chance to lecture anyone, anytime, if he doesn't think they understand the absolute correctness of the Hardhead cause. He also feels he can increase his people's morale by performing himself the tasks he asks them to do. Sarin doesn't figure he's doing a good job unless he arrests someone personally, at least every day or two.
The factol makes himself accessible to faction members in a social context, if they happen to run into him - but he'll talk faction business only with cutters who go through the proper procedures to get an audience with him. He'll deal straight with any faction member, and treats everybody fairly - at least given the Harmonium view of "fair".
Sarin has a smooth, deep voice that can really boom a lecture hall or on the seeets of the Cage. He can act charming, almost friendly - when he wants. But even when he's harping on the Hardhead chant or drumming the law into some poor cross-trader's brain-box, his magnetic personality commands respect. Without a doubt, Sarin numbers among the finest leaders in Sigil. He even has the respect of other factols, including those who hate him or disagree with him. The Hardhead even occasionally sways them to work with him - though that works partly because of the threat his faction presents to those who don't behave. Make no mistake, though, Sarin deserves respect, and he gets it; he never has to lead through intimdation.
Sarin has headed the faction for a little more than five years so far, and he's looking forward to leading it for a long time to come. The even-tempered bloods not given to rash decisions that might get him booted, so he likely will hang around for a good, long time.
Besides being a prime and a charismatic and popular leader, Sarin sticks out among most factols for another reason: He's married and has a family. His wife, Faith, is a priest, one of the faction's spiritual leaders. Sarin and Faith have nine children, all of whom they raise in a loving hut disciplined fashion. Their oldest, a girl of 14 named Marinda, already plans to join the Harmonium.
The City Barracks
The City Barracks
The Lady's Ward around this headquarters remains calm and orderly - faction members see to that! Local businesses - few and far between - all make sure they toe the line this close to the Hardheads' home base. The first thing a body encounters on the approach to the Harmonium's barracks is a group of guards. Four stand watch at the building's entrance at all times, day ornight, nomatter what conditions arise around them. They stop everyone who enters, asking simply, "who goes there?" The guards reject anyone without a good reason to visit the headquarters but allow Harmonium members to pass, assuming they have faction concerns.
Visitors walk beneath the clasped stone hands arching above the doorway and into a reception area just inside the main door. Non-Harmonium visitors must sign in here and state their business to the faction's receptionist. If she approves the Visitor, she issues a pass wear while in the building. Only Harmonium may enter freely; those that don't know their way around receive a faction member to guide them. (Generally those just out of training.) The receptionist, Diana the Guardian, reminds visitors to stay with their assigned guides at all times.
A lot of factions have safe houses in Sigil, but not the Harmonium. The Hardheads prefer to operate in the open. Since they obey the law, they don't need places to hide. 'Course, it doesn't hurt that the Harmonium has such a huge presence in the Cage: with fellow Hardheads just a shout away, a member can feel pretty safe.
Still, the Harmonium does have a few places it tries to keep relatively secret. For instance, take a nearby establishment called Liberty Hall. Most people would call it a tavern, but the place has a pretty sedate atmosphere compared to other alehouses. Here, off-duty Harmonium come to unwind. (As much as Hardheads ever unwind, which ain't much.) Liberty Hall has a Notary Club (for the namers), an Officer's Club, and a secret back room that holds a portal to the town of Melodia on Arcadia. The faction guards this portal well; fact is, Liberty Hall usually holds more than 100 Harmonium at any given time. As far as the Harmonium know, only members of their faction have ever used this doorway - but a body might hear a different story from certain lndeps and Anarchists.
Within the RanksThe Harmonium's a big faction. Besides several thousand members in Sigil and the 10,000 in Melodia, the Harmonium includes several thousand more elsewhere in Arcadia and a few thonsand in the town of Fortitude - not to mention a whole prime world full 'em. That's a lot of people. A Hardhead seldom finds himself far away from a fellow Hardhead.
The Harmonium opens its doors to all who huly believe in the group's terms for universal peace. Members of any race and any profession can join, as long as they follow a lawful ethical code.
True belief in the Harmonium way implies a lawful-alignment, but evil members find themselves as welcome as good ones. The understanding of law and order is more important than consideration of good and evil. Fact is, few in the Harmonium seem actually evil; many are good, and lots fall somewhere in the middle of the good-evil spectrum. See, evil doesn't prove truly conducive to harmony and peace. But even a baatezu understands order and the advantages of stabdity.
Just as baatezu understand order, so do members of certain other races. Humans and dwarves remain the most likely to appreciate order, and a lot of humans join the Harmonium; dwarves join in smaller numbers, commensurate with their smaller racial population. Githzerai and bariaur generally don't appreciate order and seldom join the Harmonium, but some tieflings and planar half-elves join; while most have too much independence for this militaristic faction, some of these loners find themselves drawn to the sense of family the Harmonium offers. As for primes, elves and gnomes don't seem very fond of Hardhead ideas. (Especially when they find out that faction members exterminated most of their brethren on Ortho.) Most of the primes who join the Harmonium do so because of the recruitment slogans offering stability and security in a strange, new world.
The "world" is a tough one, and it requires tough people who'll fight for whacs right. Thus, the Harmonium appeals very much to warriors of all sorts, especially paladins. Rangers don't make good Hardheads, as so often they enjoy being on their own. Priests prove much more common - at least, those who appreciate the tenets of peace and stability. Priests of war gods are harder to find within Harmonium ranks, not because they disagree with the faction so much as having too many of them in the membership would be bad for the Harmonium's image. A lot of the faction's priests revere a power called St. Cuthbert from a prime world called Oerth. Seems the followers of Cuthbert have a lot of the same ideas as the Harmonium; any of 'em that visit Sigil find themselves quickly attracted to the faction.
Wizards appear infrequently among the ranks of the Hardheads, though some of the more militant and lawful ones join. Rogues become faction members only rarely, partly because of their very nature - "rogues" don't work well with others, after all - and partly because they are known lawbreakers. It surprises many cutters to see that the Harmonium allows rogues into the ranks, but some thieves actually work to prevent others of their class from committing criminal acts. Even the lawful Harmonium sometimes has a need for good spies - as long as they don't break the law of course.
Harmonium MembershipA basher can join the Harmonium in one of two ways. First, a body can go to the City Barracks and ask for some recruitment pamphlets. The interested party then receives an invitation to a few minor meetings and social activities, where recruitment officers observe him. If they agree he shows merit, they'll ask him to join. Other cutters'll receive an invitation out of the blue to join the Harmonium - it's one of the few factions that actively recruits. Bloods will talk lots of the Clueless into joining, knowing that their faction's stability and strength offers the Outsiders a pleasant view of the future. It appears to provide a home and the comfort of what amounts to one huge family. (Reports that the Harmonium strongarms berks into the faction from off the streets using "Hardhead reform taciics" are greatly exaggerated. But when numbers drop too low to handle increased rioting in the Cage. . . well, sometimes things happen that shouldn 't. Apparently Sarin knows nothing of these unorthodox recruiting methods.)
Every four weeks, all recent recruits gather for Sarin's indoctrination speech. The factol's talk shows the type of man he is - tough, forthright, charismatic, and unforgiving - and tells the recruits what to expect. They then get shipped off to training camps on Buxenus, the second layer of Arcadia. At the end of the eight weeks of grueling training, recruits either have dropped out to become common berks again or have turned into official Hardheads. Those that fail, though regarded with some caution, can freely attempt the training again later. See, the faction fully expects everyone to join eventually. (Despite Facto1 Sarin's words to recruits, the faction does give some second chances. The only ones the Hardheads don't invite back are those who turn stag on the group. Those, the factol has arrested and tried. Guilty sods usually get sentenced to the leafless tree.)
The Harmonium has a paramilitary organization. Namers who've completed their training become Notaries, common soldiers. Notaries fall into five ranks, depending on their length of service, from the lowest Notary Ones to the highat-ranking Notary Fives.
Some Notaries later decide to pursue officer training. Every six months, Harmonium high-ups select a few Notaries who have proved tough, smart, and dedicated (and have reached at least 3rd level). These cutters receive advanced training and, on graduation, become Measures, the Harmonium name for factotums. Like Notaries, Measures are divided into five sub-ranks, depending on the length of time served; the lowest-ranking Measure One eventually can he a Measure Five.
Above the rank of Measure, the Movers are the Harmonium's factors. These high-ups select new additions to their ranks from amoung the Measure Fives. Each Mover also holds a rank from One to Five. The factol himself decides who is worthy of promotion among the Movers, basing his decision on ability, length of membership, and outstanding service to the faction.
Governing all the ranks is the factol, also known amoung the Harmonium as the Composer. The factol holds office as long as his officers deem him competent. When he steps down, a Mover Five becomes the new Composer and promotes a Mover Four to take his place.
All Harmonium members, from Notaries on up, can use charm person once per day. Those of Measure One rank (factotum) or higher receive additional benefits. At 4th level, because of their intensive training, Measures gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls with a weapon of choice. This ability does not affect specialisation; the Harmonium attack roll bonus accumulates with any other applicable bonuses.
Movers of at least 7th level have developed beliefs and dedication to duty so rigid, they become difficult to distract. They gain a +3 bonus to saving throws against fear and such emotion-related spells (or spell-like abilities) as friends, spook, taunt, forget, scare, emotion, fear, despair, sysbite, cause fear, and even dragon fear.
Finally, Mover Fours and Fives of at least 10th level can use a spell-like ability called dictate once per day, regardless of class.