|CG Male human ranger 20/champion 6|
|Allies: Alisohn Nilesia, Free League, Mercykillers, Zadara|
|Enemies: Erin Darkflame Montgomery, Guvners, Harmonium, Sensates|
Renown to some, reviled by others, Duke Rowan Darkwood — factol of the Fated — is one of the most divisive figures in Sigil. Having made his first significant appearance in the city only just over a year ago, in the time since he's risen to ranks many in the city thought inconceivable for a Prime. And his ambitions, as befitting a Taker, seem to have only grown even beyond his lofty position.
A private person, Duke Darkwood (a title he seems to prefer to "factol") has spoken little on his time before Sigil, though the faction has woven a past for him for public perception. A public biography of how he was once a native of Toril, a minor noble of Faerun that worked to protect land and family personally. How on one dark day, though, a fiend struck at he and his family, a lieutenant of the Lords of the Nine. How he was kept tortured for years, before finally finding his way free, coming to Ysgard and to both the faith of Heimdall and the ways of the Fated.
There are many truths to this story, but since the release of the anonymously-written (but in many places independently verified) Factol's Manifesto, many details have come to light. Darkwood was indeed of the Prime, but of the world of Oerth, not Toril. Born in 530 CY (the 70th year of Factol Hashkar by Sigil reckoning), he was the third son of a noble of no special significance in the nation-state of Furyondy, named for the rare darkwood tree found on its lands. There, seeking to make a name for himself, he did as many nobles with no sight of inheritance do and took up the adventuring life, striking out against many for glory and fame. He took to the ways of the ranger alongside his wife, Merilyn, and together, despite his desires of self-significance they did indeed do much good for the realm and its surroundings, while also caring for their two sons at home. Having special ire for the giants of the nearby mountains that oft harried his people, such was his skill that he and his companions managed an expedition into the very depths of the Abyss, successfully striking against the giants, descending into the depths of Oerth against the drow, and even upending the schemes of the Spider Queen of the Demonweb Pits in her own realm, in order to end their collective deigns on conquest and destruction of the lands of the Flanaess.
Granted a small fief of his own in thanks by his realm's king, he at first planned to settle into a light retirement for the rest of his days, his name affirmed and his family well cared for. But the influence of an agent of Baator changed this; an enchanted and entrapped deck left by a passing minstrel, designed to summon a fiend when used. His children nearly caught by the trap, Darkwood managed to free them only by beating the fiend in a game himself. And while he won fairly, the devil was still a devil; letting his children go, the fiend took Darkwood himself into the Nine Hells, holding and torturing him there over the next decade, subjecting him to unimaginable torments. Yet he never broke in his resolve, and after those ten years, the fiend released him into Sigil with a grudging respect for the steel of his soul.
From the Cage, Darkwood made his way back to his home, only to discover his wife remarried, his sons grown, his lands lost in the chaos of war that struck his home in his absence. After a short strike back at the forces that took his fiefdom, he left Oerth again, wandering the multiverse for a time. First Yggdrasil (where he first came to Heimdall), then Toril (where he was crucial in slaying Zhengyi, witch-king of Vaasa), and finally Ysgard; it was on Ysgard where he first joined the Fated, and from there he maneuvered and dealt his way up the ranks, finally replacing Factol Emma Oakwright in the 126th year of Hashkar, to the surprise of all, but none more than her brother Aram.
Since then, he has pushed the Fated further and further in the City of Doors, seeking to place them (and himself) in the position of ultimate power within the city. His blunt and forceful speeches in the Hall of Speakers towards his own agenda are by now a well-known (and well-frustrating) sight, but he hasn't had nearly the success in that arena he would like; while the Guvners and the Harmonium have pushed back, none have been a more prominent thorn in his side than Factol Erin Darkflame Montgomery of the Sensates, one with a special talent at needling and deflating the man on the dias.
The Hall isn't the limit of his dealings, however. It's been an open secret for months that he's had his faction spearhead a job most commonly known as the "Secret History of Sigil" — trawling through the works of the Hall of Records dating back to the earliest days, looking for every bit of information on all of his potential enemies to keep them under his heel, and it's believed he has a number of undercover factors infiltrating the organizations most set against him. More publicly, his relationship with Factol Alisohn Nilesia has gotten more and more attention as of late, the two factions openly colluding more and more often. Rumors have even begun to fly of a pending marriage between the two; to those that believe them, the idea of the two joined so closely is a dreadful portent for the future of the city.
- Factol's Manifesto, pp.58-65
- Planescape Campaign Setting - Sigil and Beyond, pp.72-73
- The Strange Saga of Duke Rowan Darkwood
- Uncaged: Faces of Sigil, pg.118