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"Your lies and false values, dressed up as truths and ideals, have failed your followers. Your castoffs become the stuff of my faction's strongest members, the core of mercy and despair." - Factol Lhar

One of the fifteen Factions who rule the city of Sigil.

Faction Branches[]

Below are the listed branches of the Bleakers, including NPC and PC branches. One is run by the Factol, the rest are run by Factors. Each one has a 'take' on the main philosophy of the Faction, sometimes more like the Factols current interpretation, sometimes very different. Even joint philosophies exist in some of the Faction branches across Sigil, forged both from practical alliances and similar beliefs.

Gatehouse - Factol Lhar (NPC)

Planar Refuges - Factor Ezra (NPC)

Orphanage - Factor Tyvold (NPC)

The Faceless - Factor ??? (NPC)

Faction Philosophy[]

The Bleak Cabal holds a simple tenet at the core of its ideology: that no single external belief holds any merit. That isn't to say that Bleakers represent a belief in absence; indeed, the opposite is true, they represent the absence of belief. Bleakers refuse to make any claims about the nature of things, and claim that not only is there no great Answer to be found to the Multiverse's nature, there is also no Question. To a Bleaker, reality equates only to so much senseless noise.

Bleakers don't deny physical phenomena - indeed, their thoughts are attractive to cerebral sorts who study the physical nature of the Multiverse. Rather, they say that these physical phenomena have no metaphysical 'purpose' or 'meaning'. The Bleak Cabal tries to see these things for what they really are, rather than what they imagine or think they are - piercing through preconception to see ugly, naked, physical truth. Only then can a Bleaker see how bad things really are.

Given that nothing means anything, the Cabal likewise teaches that anything goes. There's no reason to do one thing instead of another, in a grand sense, just whatever reason a body can cobble together for themselves. Most Bleakers come to the same conclusion, however: the Multiverse is bad enough as it is, ignoring it or adding to the suffering is true madness. Thus, the entire Faction has a strong 'tradition' (such as it is) of caring for the downtrodden, a charitable streak that no member of the Faction escapes for long. Indeed, the more hopeless or futile a potential kindness is, the more likely it will attract the interest of a Bleaker - who find intense catharsis in doing things they have no reason to really do.

In the end, the Bleak Cabal are a group of mentally disturbed humanitarians on a hopeless crusade to make the Multiverse a better place. If that isn't proof enough that the Multiverse makes no sense, then nothing is.

Faction Politics[]

There are few factions that understand the tenets of the Bleak Cabal or particularly agree with them, although the Doomguard, the Dustmen, the Revolutionary League, and the Xaositects all view the Bleakers with some sympathy.

The Bleakers think the Society of Sensation is full of frivolous nonsense.

The belief of the Harmonium that there is or ought to be order to the universe is completely anathema to the Bleak Cabal.

The Fraternity of Order, the Harmonium, and the Mercykillers all view the apparent concern by the Cabal for the welfare of the city‘s poor with so thing other than a compassionate eye. These lawful factions have had their run-ins with the Bleak Cabal in the past and they’re suspicious of the Madmen’s motives.

Joining the Bleak Cabal[]

The Bleak Cabal does not, and has never, tried to recruit new members. The Cabal grows solely by word of mouth, as people become disillusioned with the other factions or politics.

Joining the Cabal involves a process called "apathy hazing". Whenever a new recruit shows up at a soup kitchen, or the Gatehouse and asks to join the Cabal, the Bleaker they ask will respond with complete apathy - or may even try to convince the poor berk to find some other Faction to join. If the recruit isn't immediately dissuaded, they're put to work in one of the Cabal's charitable endeavors, where they'll receive the same callous apathy from any Bleakers they interact with. Those who are truly Bleak, who have the willpower to withstand this hazing, are eventually given a badge and become a Namer in the faction.

Informal inductions aren't uncommon. In general, a new Bleaker is taken to the site of a Blood War battlefield, or to witness a Doomguard induction ceremony; anything which might break the newcomer down and begin the process of Emptying.

Roleplaying the Bleak Cabal[]

Faction Abilities[]

FACTION ABILITIES

RP Abilities only: Requires consent of a DM/EM or all players involved/affected by its use if no DM/EM is present. (per Server Rules)

Bleakers are immune to all madness-inducing spells such as chaos, confusion, delude, feeblemind, Otto's irresistable dance, and Tasha's hideous laughter. They're also allowed a saving throw vs. spell against all ESP spells directed at them.

Factotums and higher gain the ability that's a natural extension to their own immunity: the power to absorb artificially induced madness in others. This power works on people driven insane by spells or magical items, but does not work on those who have gone insane naturally. To use this power, a Bleaker must first meditate for one hour, cleansing his mind of all thoughts for one hour. The insane berk must hold still either voluntarily or otherwise when this is used and the Bleaker must perform the ritualistic massage on the victim's head. The massage can last up to 1d12+4 hours and exhausts the Bleaker. If they are interrupted, they must start over, otherwise success is guaranteed and the victim regains full mental strength immediately. The Bleaker that performed the ritual, however, will suffer mental anguish for two days, during which time he sorts out the absorbed insanity.

History of the Bleak Cabal[]

The Bleak Cabal is an ancient faction; it seems there's always been a need for some to repudiate the tenets of others. Cabalists believe in nothing, save whatever twisted meaning they can wring out of themselves.

Ever since the faction was born more than nine centuries ago, acceptance of the Bleakers has waxed and waned according to whichever philosophies had the biggest toehold in Sigil at the time. During periods of intense recruitment by other factions, when a factol would try to boost his numbers for some scheme or another, the Bleak Cabal’s numbers would fall to the point of almost nonexistence. But in time, the other factions’ numbers swelled and grew ungainly. When attitudes eventually shifted and some other philosophy came to the fore, folks’d all jump on the latest bandwagon.

At the end of all these cycles of up and down and up and down, many members would renounce their vows, seeking freedom in the nihilistic approach offered by the Cabal - that the multiverse made no sense. Thus, the Bleak Cabal regularly became the single most powerful faction in the Cage; every few hundred years, its point of view prevailed throughout most of the city.

The Grim Retreat[]

Although the Bleakers had (and still have) some desire to mold others to their way of thinking, the very nature of being Madmen defeated them. See, when their numbers increased, so did the pressures and tensions of dealing with the loss of belief. Particularly stressful was the influx of new members, for many of them hadn’t yet found the peace and acceptance notable in older Bleakers. And when the Cabal’s ranks became glutted, the tensions became too much for older faction members. Many went truly insane, fleeing Sigil or retreating into the depths of the Gatehouse. Most often, this madness lingered until merciful death.

The Grim Retreat, as Bleakers came to call their strange illness, struck each time their faction numbers swelled too quickly. The factol and other high ups in the Cabal were frequently the first victims, leaving only inexperienced members behind to take the reins. Even today, the Cabal has the highest factol turnover rate of any faction although Factol Lhar continues to impress with how long he's been Factol.

Giving Alms[]

Its been almost half a century since the last great Grim Retreat, and the number of Madmen seeking voluntary commitment in the Mad Bleaker wing of the Gatehouse has dropped dramatically. Part of this good fortune stems from the Bleak Cabal taking a greater interest in Sigil.

More than a century ago they opened up an almshouse in their faction headquarters, helping to care for the poor and lost. It still operates today, along with small kitchens throughout the city. These places of safe h open to a body in need of a warm or creed. And if the sod happens to be a Bleaker, he and his cutters can get a cot in a back room for a night.

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