The Sign of One
The Sign of One Faction Symbol
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 hit 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 results. The arachnophiles soon saw the broader aplication of the latter tactic. They 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 realm 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 Riliths 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 the Signers continued moving in the direction that shaped their early history. In time, they would come to regard themselves the chosen ones of the mnltiverse - 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 Madmens assertion that the cosmos made no sense. Tensions 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 Facto1 Nobey. When his attendants found the high-up unbreatbing in his bed the next day, the Cabal‘s hatred for the Sign of One crystallized into a permanent bias. (No cause of death was ever found: No signs of sickness, violence, or evil magic attended the factol’s corpse.) 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 through 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 facto1 declared. "We admit into our ranks only those cutters who can sculpt reality." (Taken from The Writings of Gaelan, factol at the time of the Signers ’first major philosophical shift.)
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 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. Some have settled upon Aoskar, a former god of portals and opportunity, as the best candidate for the procedure.
However, others favor Enki, a god of rivers and oceans once from Mechanus and know for his great hatred of fiends - when he still had worshipers, that is. Both sides are organizing campaigns to "believe" these ex-powers right out of their helpless state adrift in the Astral. They’ve even prepared little figures of the two gods to help foster concentration.) They merely await the factors choice.
Factol DariusDarius the Veyl currently serves as factol of the Sign of One. This olive-skinned woman has soft gray eyes and a flawless complexion. Her vague, unfocused demeanor matches her soft appearance, yet somehow she holds a body’s attention. Something in the fleeting moments of steadiness in her gaze or in the deliberate grace of her movements commands respect.
She was born in the Outlands realm Tir na Og, on the shores of the vast sea her people, the Esprene, call Feyliriel. The daughter of a philosophical wizard, Darius learned metaphysics at her father’s knee almost before she could rattle her hone-box. Exposed to rationalism, hedonism, stoicism, mysticism, solipsism, existentialism, and other systems of thought from an early age, Darius became cynical toward intellectual exercise. Her contempt for the mental realm changed when her father introduced her to spellpower: Clearly, thought properly channeled could accomplish a lot!
Darius specialized in divination, earning the title “The Veyl,” an epithet bestowed by the Esprene upon one who dispenses wise advice. She might have remained forever in her father’s house, studying magic and counseling bashers on the horns of dilemmas, but for the arrival of the assassin Toddy.
Toddy had just accepted (under duress) an assignment from the fiend Za’rafas to kill a wanderer named Mason. The tanar’ri’s superiors had caught the chant that Mason could successfully block an Outlands raid they were planning, so they wanted him out of the picture. Thing was, Mason had pulled Toddy out of lethal scrapes twice. The assassin wanted to spare his friend; if he took his time, might his employer perish in the raid? Then Toddy need never finish his work. ’Course, if Za’rafas survived, Toddy’d take his friend‘s place in the dead-book! What did Darius advise?
The Veyl did far more than advise. After scrutinizing the immediate future, she recommended that Toddy lie low: Za’rafas would die of wounds received in battle. Then she sought out Mason. One meeting with the roving warrior showed her that his flair for diplomacy, combined with his talent in tactics and stategy, would give him what he needed to lead Outlands locals in defense against the tanar’ri. ’Course, putting down the raid quickly didn’t entirely prevent warfare, or the destruction that comes with it: renegade tanar’ri razed a few Outlands burgs before their defeat.
Welbey, Darius' family home, numbered among the ravaged hamlets. The Veyl escaped death, but her father and the other village folk did not. With nothing left of her former life, Darius chose to relocate to Sigil.
Once ensconced there, she drifted into company with Signers and soon joined their faction. She proved a potent dreamer - some say she achieved her present position merely by envisioning herself there. Darius suffers less frnm self-centeredness than most Signers. Her primary goal for the faction seems a noble one: popularizing the Sign of One’s tolerance for diversity throughout society while enhancing the empathic abilities of the faction’s members. ’Course, she agrees that her faction deserves more respect, so she authored the scheme to revive a dead god.
Thing is, she’s not certain Aoskar’s the better candidate. Sure, the Signers could handle the opposition they’d receive when the Athar picked up the chant. (The Defiers use Aoskar as a symbol of their groups beliefs; plus, they make their base in his Shattered Temple.) She’s not even worried about the Lost learning the dark of the plan: Aoskar’s revival would require the destruction of the Athar’s magical tree, the Bois Verdurous. See, what concerns Darius is that the Lady of Pain booted Aoskar out of Sigil. Some say this god of portals got so popular even the dabus worshiped him, and others say folks started revering the Lady as one of his aspects! Reviving an enemy of the Lady of Pain just ain’t a healthy idea.
Darius favors garb of beige, ecru, or cream, generally donning tunic, kilt, and many-strapped sandals beneath the silken folds of her balandrana. Her most notable idiosyncracy is the wimple covering her hair and neck: No one ever sees the Veyl without it.
The Hall of Speakers
The Hall of Speakers
The Signer headquarters rests in a lively corner of the Clerks Ward. Street criers, scribes, touts, and couriers stay plenty busy. Visitors to the Hall need their services and will pay. Mercenaries resting between campaigns book rooms in the lush inns here, refurbish their gear, and change their foreign coins for local jink with the moneylenders. Importers of exotica sell their goods to the wealthy and the perverse. Devas in disguise pursue the goals of their powers. And lone knights of the post - the most adept at the trade - skim the rich pickings available.
The Hall itself has no lawns or terraces, but rests amid the surrounding welter of affluent lodgings and domiciles. Its tall, graceful spire makes the place hard to miss. (So does the titanic iron statue outfront, called "The Power of the One."] The oval Hall itself is carved of marble. A covered arcade surrounds the building, interrupted hy two entrances: the Signer’s Portal at one end and the Speaker’s Portal at the other.
The foyer inside either entrance looks brigbt and airy. Tbe walls seem to glow, and high windows checker the floor with light. A continuous stream of visitors flows through the entrances; some head for the meeting rooms and private apartments leased out by the Signers, but more make -for the chamber called the Speaker’s Podium. A basher standing in the foyer of the Speaker’s Portal can hear quite clearly the debate raging dead ahead: "I demand that the Fhurling Bridge be demolished forthwith!" yells an irate Indep. "That crumbling span’s a hazard to any hasher crossing it, and I’m tired of telling the Clueless why they can’t get from Ulick’s Bowse in the Hive to Ilyer’s Haberdasher in the Lower Ward without going all the way up to the Zaddfum Trestle."
Debates such as this usually get resolved in the Council Chambers to either side of the Speaker’s Podium. Folks on the speaker’s list come here to hold public hearings or discussions. Getting on the speaker’s list (and getting others off) makes this Hall another arena for interfaction battles. See, anybody can be a speaker, as long as they get on the list. The Council of Speakers comprises only official delegates from each legitimate faction - factols or other high-ups. The Speaker, always a Signer, oversees all public sessions, presiding over the debates regarding statutes, decrees, and Sigil law. After sufficient public hearings, the Council retires to chambers to vote the proposals into law - or vote them down.
Across the corridor and to either side of the Speaker’s Podium, a visitor might spot two spiral staircases that give access to the Hall’s upper chambers. A pair of identical stairways flanks the Signers’ Portal at the other end of the Hall, and more stairs are situated at intervals along the corridor that encircles the Hall. A basher climbing to the top of a stairway sees a long, curved hall, spotted with doors at regular intervals. Behind these doors lie meeting rooms, faction members’ kips, and the rented cases of visitors and dignitaries who don’t mind having landlords who happen to be the centers of the multiverse. The stairs each climb 10 stories above the Hall’s main floor.
Back on the main level, heading down the corridor, more than one cutter’s been accosted by some berk trying to sprinkle flower petals over him. Through the open door to one of the meeting rooms here, a body might see a dozen more petal-strewers conversing. "Sigil‘s hopeless," a woman says. "The only thing that grows here is razorvine. I almost think we should give up." A man’s voice answers ber: "Nonsense. The rich have conservatories. Once we fill them with roses, we’ll bave a better idea of how to tackle the streets." Other bashers passing by chuckle quietly at the discussion of the Rosebringers, a sect devoted to filling the multiverse with the scent of roses, which most considered merely a bubber-tale.
The far end of the Hall‘s faction territory - but except for the guards on either side of the Signers’ Portal, the area frequently goes unpatrolled. A daring basher could approach even the factol’s quarters without anyone squelching the peel. Though glimpsing Darius herself always makes a body wonder what she’s thinking, spying on her rooms is pretty dull. ’Course, a blood that does as much concentrating as she does wouldn’t clutter up her bland quarters with a lot of hick-knacks and treasure.
Exiting the factol’s rooms into the Hall’s immense garden, a basher can sneak right past the faction’s Chamber of Concord. Watching the long likes of Signers pass out its door, a basher has to ask himself bow they ever arrive at consensus. Aligning so many personal multiverses into a shared view can’t be easy.
The most mysterious chamber in the Hall of Speakers is the tomb of faction founder Rilith. The impressive vault, oval like most other rooms in the Hall, features strangely organic pilasters supporting a cornice that resembles stalactites arranged in a line. Magical light from high above in the curved roof - everything looks curved in the Hall of Speakers - focuses on a massive urn carved from a colossal ocean pearl. According to the chant, Rilith’s remains rest within that urn. A contingent of Signers watch the thing day and night, all the while thinking about their founder. See, they fear Rilith might disappear from history, should their attention lapse a moment. And, without its founder, the faction itself might vanish!
Within the Ranks
Signers generally also seem more self-centered than most folks. See, exterminating a rival or betraying a friend become more attractive alternatives when a body views others as products of one’s imagination without subjective realities. Such self-centeredness means Signers have difficulty understanding (or caring about) others’ feelings. They suffer -2 penalties on all encounter reactions and NPC loyalty checks.
The Sign of One bars no one from joining. ’Course, remember that lawful types consider the multiverse a complex but orderly place that exists objectively and can be analyzed by bashers who live in it. Such folks can’t tolerate the subjective nature of reality Signers espouse. Lawful good folk, for instance, feel awfully peery of the views of evil beings. Even lawful neutral types seem uneasy about the lack of order in the Signer creed. Only lawfulevil characters, with their self serving behaviour, might appreciate the philosophy of the Sign of One for allowing them to seize the advantage whenever they choose.
Cutters of neutral of chaotic alignment can feel at home in this faction. The former understand how positive and negative thinking can help a hody balance tragedy with thiumph in life. Chaotic Signers let whims direct their thoughts and like to imagine new things into existence just for the sake of change.
Good Signers revive practices from the fartion’s early years, like teaching their fellows how to think positively. In the reality they envision, folks all treat each other kindly. Evil Signers try to make rivals think negatively. They imagine a cosmos where they enjoy power and recognition. And more neutral Signers envision a life where bashers mind their own business.
Signers welcome members of any character class. Thing is, certain classes, like paladins, likely won’t feel comfortable in the faction. Paladins who do join hope to teach all beings a proper reverence for self as the font of all creation. They believe many multiverses exist side by side: one for each individual.
Fighters in the Sign of One seek to prove their status as the chosen of the multiverse through brilliant combat. They believe defeating an enemy in combat will send him spiraling down into negative thinking and thus ensure that his defeat persists through time.
Signer rangers and druids think they have a special duty to envision havens for animals and to benefit the natural world, since the flora and fauna can’t do it themselves. Priests in the faction revere their gods as products of their own imagination, the way the faction’s wizards think of their spells. [The faction’s spellcasters love researching spells and possess wide repertoires.)
The faction’s thieves practice imagining themselves moving stealthily as much as they actually pracitce stealth. When they get caught, they rarely credit their captor’s vigilance. Rather they blame themselves for envisioning failure. Signer bards feel their gift to sway audiences gives them great power.
The Sign of One, among the most diverse of factions, encourages all and sundly to rub elbows within the organization. Tanar’ri are Signers, as are baatezu, titans, hellcats, and aasimon, as well as bariaur, tieflings, and halfelves of the Outlands ... and on down the line.
Signer MembershipThe Sign of One does not recruit new members as actively as other factions. See, bashers need to prove they can alter the multiverse before the faction’ll admit them. The Signers recognize the chosen by allowing faction hopefuls to register their visions for the future at headquarters. Bashers whose predictions come to pass become namers, but their faction allows them to do little more than serve as runners and legislative clerks and hold various menial jobs in the Hall of Speakers. They spend their free time improving their concentration, to prepare for greater faction duties.
Namers of 4th level or higher can ascend in the ranks the same way they got in - successfully predicting future events. (Each rank in the Sign of One has a special conclave devoted to evaluating members of the level below, checking their recorded predictions, and promoting the most talented.) Factotums enjoy the privilege of going on faction missions and speaking at major events in the Cage and elsewhere. Some perform guard duty within the Hall (such as at Rilith’s Tomb), and the best can join special "think tanks" concentrating on the Signers’ vital goals.
A character must have reached 10th level to become a factor. These Signers work as personal assistants to the factol, guard faction outposts, and supervise factotums involved in complex missions. As factors have worked tirelessly to imnrove their concentration abilities they form the core of the Sign of One’s "think tanks."
It's hard to put one over on Signers, as their belief that they create the multiverse lets them see through illusion. (All mem bers receive an automatic saving throw vs spells to resist illusion magic.)
Those of at least factotum level share the power of imagining, which a character can use to bend the fabric of reality to conform to his wishes. To imagine a thing into (or out of) existence, a factotum must make a successful imagination check: in other words, roll at or below the average of his Wisdom and Intelligence scores, modified by -5. For each subsequent attempt that week, the check receives a cumulative penalty of -5. Imagining’s hard work berk.
With a successful imagination check, a Signer factotum mimics the effects of any wizard or priest spell (up to 4th level) as if he were a wizard or priest at his current experience level. ('Course, he can only mimic the effects of spells a caster of his experience level could actually use. That is, a 5th-level factotum can’t cast a 4th-level priest spells.) Factotums who fail their imagining check find themselves unable to wield the skill again for the rest of the week.
Using this power, a Signer factotum can imagine an object into existence (as with the minor creation wizard spell), heal a comrade of a sickness (as with the cure disease priest spell), or any number of other feats. All that matters is the power of the mind!
’Course, imagining has its dangers, too. Factotums who fail their checks by rolling a "1" believe themselves imaginary! They become shadow monster versions of themselves; the sods temporarily possess only 20% of their hit points, inflict 20% of normal damage in combat, and cannot cast spells or use racial or class abilities. They can try once a day to make a successful imagining check and return to reality.
Signers of factor rank can take imagining to even greater heights. Factors who make their imagination checks (with the same modifiers as factotums) can mimic priest and wizard spells up to 9th level. However, factors who fail the check lose their imagining powers until they gain a level. Rolling a "1" means the factor has imagined too well a multiverse without him: He ceases to exist. The only way he can return to the multiverse is through the use of a wish spell - or if another Signer imagines him back!