|Factol||Duke Rowan Darkwood (Pr/♂ human/ranger 20/champion 6/Fated/CN)|
|Headquarters||Hall of Records (The Clerk's Ward)|
|Allies||Free League, Mercykillers, Merkhants|
|Enemies||Harmonium, Society of Sensation|
The Fated hold an odd position in the perception of the people of Sigil. On the one hand, grumbling about the Takers is a common pastime among Sigilians, nearly as much so as griping about the Hardheads hassling citizens over nothing, or the Chaosmen disrupting a person's day in the name of nothing whatsoever. They're the taxman, after all, and few among the free-spirited people of Sigil appreciate such matters.
Still, the self-sufficiency and self-direction that they espouse has always held a place of import too. The idea that a person deserves only what they can hold and keep is far easier to appreciate than some of the more abstract views presented by, say, the Guvners, or the Signers. Many have argued in the past that it among the fifteen has one of the best arguments towards being the driving force of Sigil itself.
As a result, there's always been an odd mix amongst Sigil's people of respect and fear towards this faction; a balance that as of late has tilted more and more towards "respect". Since the ascent of Duke Darkwood, a special effort has been put forth towards the people of Sigil that seems to have begun paying off. Less obviously-rampant greed amongst the tax collectors towards the cooperative (if perhaps necessarily balanced by a greater harshness towards the uncooperative), more open pushback towards the unrealistic views advanced by such factions as the Sensates in the Hall of Speakers, and the mere presence of a self-made adventurer like Darkwood — a Prime, no less — have all combined to cause the cachet of the Fated to grow in recent months, threatening to upset the balance of the kriegstanz as long-standing agreements and alignments have been forced to shuffle themselves as a result.
The fundamental beliefs of the Fated are simple: What a person can claim, and defend against others, they deserve. No, not merely deserve: indeed, they're fated to hold it. It is an undeniable fact, for if it was not a fact, they would not be able to hold it in the first place, for how could any person defy fate? There is no such thing as an unfair multiverse: the multiverse is exactly as fair as it could be, it's merely the people that have the meaning of "fair" wrong. And so what a person wants — whether it be wealth, strength, a desired item, or even simply happiness — they must strive for with utmost focus, with total determination. They cannot let themselves waver from their goal for an instant, for doubt is merely the opportunity for another to pass you by. A person can certainly cooperate with others towards this, as some goals can of course be shared among many with no loss to any one, but they can just as easily be as ruthless as need be, should what they want be something to be held by one alone.
There is some nuance to this outlook, of course. At first, many see little difference between this and the "might makes right" philosophy of the tanar'ri. However, it's important to remember that their view does not merely apply to oneself, but to all. If you think yourself more deserving of an item, a title, or an accolade than another, then you must absolutely prove that. But if you fail, you must acknowledge that you were not truly deserving of it after all. It is not merely oneself who deserves what they can hold, but all, and failure is not to be denied nor is it to be ignored, but accepted and confronted. A Taker must be willing to know when they have been beaten, and must be willing to learn from the experience for future endeavors. In addition, fitting an organization with such strong Ysgardian ties, in Fated philosophy an achievement is not deserving unless it has been earned. A goal simply given to you has demonstrated nothing of how deserving you might be. Among the Fated, nothing is given to a person that hasn't shown themselves worthy, yes. But nothing is taken by a person who hasn't shown themselves worthy either. Finally, in general, the Fated believe that a person's business is their own if not a factor in your goals. It's not your place to judge the goals of another, especially if such goals are irrelevant to your own. Advise them, perhaps, if their efforts are not likely to pay off for reasons other than themselves, but in the end they must prove their own way. Of course, this latter point has seen some strain in recent months due to the faction's recent unexpected shift in leadership.
Currently, membership in the faction has divided into two camps as a result of Darkwood's ascent. The first, the traditionalists, are unofficially aligned with Aram Oakwright, though they have no official leader. This camp would seek a reversion to the pre-Darkwood ways, believing that the increasing pursuit of power of the faction is too much interference into the ways of others at the expense of oneself. They believe that such naked greed places the cart before the horse, in assuming that a person deserves power before they've actually managed to demonstrate it. The second, consisting in large part of recent members joining under Darkwood's example, supports Darkwood's recent efforts whole-heartedly, believing that it's never enough to rest on ones laurels, and that with each achieved goal a new one must be forged. They don't see such efforts as assuming before proving, but rather simply another means of demonstrating that fact; that if another's goal doesn't conflict with your own, but their efforts might, then it's only sensible to disrupt them on the way to your own destiny.
Little detail is known of the history of the Fated outside the faction itself, which is just how they prefer it; mention is often made of the Secret History of Sigil the Fated are said to be compiling, detailing both the city and their own faction, but not even a portion of the tome has yet leaked from their walls. It's known that the Fated have been present in the city since the Fraternity of Order first formalized the faction registration process in Hashkar -856, as their registration entry is still on file, but anything before that date is foggy at best. They likely don't predate the Dustmen (whose founding is usually dated to approximately Hashkar -1000), as they usually agree to that faction's claim as the oldest in Sigil, but even this is uncertain. Even the name of the first factol of the Fated isn't recorded, suggesting that the organization may have predated its presence in Sigil much as the more-recent Harmonium, and simply migrated from elsewhere (likely Ysgard) to Sigil.
It doesn't help matters that (as much as they may argue to the contrary) for much of their early time, the Fated was a relatively minor faction in Sigil with little influence on greater events. This didn't begin to change until the culmination of a supposedly long-planned economic coup in the city, when the massively popular Tzunk College of Academic Arts — originally cowritten by the Fated, passing allies of the mage, due to a general inability at the time of Primes to hold large amounts of property in the city — fell into arrears with the death of the Oerthian mage Tzunk in Hashkar -629. Taking immediate advantage of the opportunity, the Fated exploited a clause in the original lease agreement to repossess the campus and all holdings within from Tzunk's intended inheritors, replacing the College with what eventually came to be known as the Hall of Records. The sudden influx of the vast knowledge held then by the university, plus the land and (after the sale of the original library building) financial resources that went alongside, allowed the faction's influence to rapidly jump. It was at this point that modern Fated policy towards information was established: it, like the physical, is an item of worth to be held by those with the strength to maintain control.
This influence continued to build over the following century as they continued to parlay their advantage into knowledge of more and more of the hidden secrets of the city's most powerful. By the time of the Great Upheaval, their strength in the city was such that they were able to nearly immediately establish themselves in the erstwhile city government as the official record-keepers and treasurers, to some failed objection from the Fraternity of Order. Though bound to collect taxes for the purposes of government endeavors, they were able to argue for a collection fee in exchange for their services, giving them a permanent inflow of income that ensured their wealth would only grow.
Over the next centuries, their position remained stable; while they continued maintaining their vast holdings, ensuring that they could not lose any prestige or importance, they largely had no interest in advancing their Sigilian interests further, placing more focus on Ysgard. According to the philosophy over this era, it was enough to merely have to demonstrate strength. Loss was to be avoided, and a person (or a faction) ought to do whatever they could to avoid loss now or in the future, but gain was only necessary towards that end. And they were able to persist in this fairly well; there was the occasional interruption, and one or two moments when the kriegstanz briefly erupted into outright conflict, but for the most part the faction was able to keep a stable place in the city from the Upheaval on, never instigating conflict and never positioning themselves as anything more than an ally to the side whose position was judged most deserving.
This changed suddenly in recent months with the rapid rise of Duke Rowan Darkwood. He and his followers take a different tack towards the views of the Fated: to them, it is not enough to simply not lose what one has, but to always press onwards, to try for more and more. Breaking a long-standing Fated tradition in exploiting the hidden knowledge of the faction to oust then-Factol Emma Oakwright, Darkwood arranged to be declared factol in her place within mere days of his oath of initiation (in lieu of the then-predicted successor, her younger brother Aram) and struck swiftly at the Hall of Speakers to solidify his support in the faction by successfully arranging to shift tax collection to a twice-monthly schedule under the auspices of better affordability with more, yet cheaper, collection periods (and if the collection fee intake happened to double as a result, well, it's only fair).
Darkwood's eye for greater Fated power in the city is no secret, from cooling the centuries-old enmity between the Fated and the Mercykillers to a new allegiance to increase influence in city operations to courting the Free League to improve public perception amongst the unaligned majority to his open and regular near-warfare with Factol Montgomery of the Sensates in the Hall of Speakers. Though many both inside and outside the faction have issue with the new direction the Fated has been taken in recent months, his support is broad, and the Duke is growing increasingly beloved; especially by the increasing numbers of Prime adventurers glad to see one of their own in a seat of power in the city.
Membership in the Fated is open to all, but those with especially extreme Upper leanings tend not to apply; the extreme bent towards both self-sufficiency and self-interest tends to conflict strongly with the fundamentally self-sacrificial nature that is "Good". Of course, this is not a guarantee, as many have been able to direct their own "do no harm" philosophies through a Fated lens (especially those amongst the traditionalist camp in recent months), but it's still unlikely to find an archon or eladrin with an interest in the faction. The individualistic view also tends to draw the eye of those with a chaotic bent, although as the Fated is not innately opposed to collective organization or government in the manner of, say, the Anarchists or the Xaositects means that the most extreme will more likely gravitate towards one of those factions instead. The only absolute requirement in the Fated is a demonstration of ability, shown by the tests performed for all prospective
The Fated has little in the way of formal organization. The factol wields the reins of the faction, determining how they proceed, but there's little within the faction requiring a person to follow such directives. Most follow the factol because, in becoming the factol, they've obviously (according to Fated philosophy) shown themselves deserving of the position and deserving of attention. However, especially contentious times such as Darkwood's often lead to fractures within the faction.
There are a number of relatively unofficial titles that still hold respect, of course. These positions are taken by the one most wanting to hold them, and are filled until the factor dies or another proves themselves more capable of filling the role. Whether any given role is filled depends entirely on if there is anyone interested enough and skilled enough to claim them, and at times they've fallen empty, their duties when necessary spread amongst other members. Such titles include: the chief steward, who is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations within the Hall of Records while the factol concerns themselves with the bigger picture (though some factols may choose to micromanage the faction more than others); the head instructor, who leads the Academy of Training to improve the prowess of those members needing additional aid; the chief archivist, who directs the actual Hall of Records on the broader campus and is responsible for ensuring both the accuracy and the long-term preservation of all faction records; and the chief treasurer, who is charged with directing the faction's official and legal responsibilities for both inflow to the city's coffers and outflow to broader city projects.
- Duke Rowan Darkwood (Pr/♂ human/ranger 20/champion 6/Fated/CN), Hashkar 126-Present
- Aram Oakwright (Pl/♂ dwarf/fighter 4/Fated/CN), chief steward
- Rayl Whitespoon (Pl/♀ githzerai/fighter 4/wizard 6/Fated/CN), head instructor
- Alberich the Fire-Tamer (Pl/♂ dwarf/wizard 14/rogue 25/Fated/CN), king of the dwarves of Nidavellir
- Foreman Dreabh (Px/♂ dwarf/fighter 8/Fated/NE), proxy of Abbathor
- Red Shroud (Pl/♀ succubus/sorcerer 11/fatespinner 4/Fated/CE), ruler of Broken Reach
- Baron Yurel Zarnthaskar (Pr/♂ human/fighter 10/Fated/LN), head of the Wall Watch of Curst
- Factol's Manifesto, pgs.8,58-67.114
- Planar Handbook, pp.49-52
- Planescape Monstrous Compendium II, pp.63
- Planewalker's Handbook, pgs.50,60-61