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ATHAR - "The Powers are not Gods - there aren't any such thing.

" This faction has two big observable things going for them in their denial of the divine. First, the so-called gods can die. If gods are supposed to be all-powerful and eternal, then how come we've got all these corpses in the Astral? Thus, the Powers aren't gods. Also, the Athar have surely found and verified the various stories of mortals becoming these so-called gods. Most recently, we have the afteraffects from the Time of Troubles on Toril (FR setting). Also, we've had at least two demipowers come from mortal stock on Oearth (GH setting). Again, if gods are supposed to be eternal, how are we able to pinpoint a beginning of existance for them? GODSMEN - "The point of life is to evolve/ascend/become better." Again, there are numerous observable examples to support this philosophy. First, we've got part of the Athar's argument - mortals can become Powers. So, there's obviously a place to ascend to. Second, and perhaps more importantly since it occurs more often, each and every single one of the true planeborn races (Baatezu, Tanar'ri, Archons, Guardinals) can evolve to become a more powerful member of its species. Since those beings made of the planes are driven to ascend, why not we? [Given the dual use of the mortals-to-powers, I personally say that the Athar were originally a splinter group of the Godsmen. Their beliefs are very similar, save that the Athar are a bit more narrow and are looking at the symptoms rather than the disease. Thus, if I run Faction War, I'm going to have these two groups unite.] BLEAKERS - "There is no point/meaning on the outside. Look inside." This faction's concrete example is all of the other faction's concrete examples. With all those different "one true meanings" out there, something is seriously wrong with something. Either none of them are true, or all of them are true, or perhaps only some of them are true. And, across the planes, you've got tons of places which break all known laws and rules and don't make sense. Overall, ignore everything. It doesn't matter what happens around you, as long as YOU are still here. So, just worry about yourself and tell the rest to go pike itself. [This can also be viewed as being very close to the Indep and Chaosman philosophies. The differences lie in that the Indeps keep the hope that something will make sense eventually, while the Xaositects simply enjoy the fact that nothing makes sense but don't look any deeper.] DOOMGUARD - "The point is to decay." This is the easiest belief to find concrete examples for. Just look around you. Rivers eat away at their banks; wind wears away at stone; wood rots; food gets moldy and rots away. Everywhere you look, things are dying and decaying and being destroyed. So, why fight it? [The DG and the Dustmen are thus very close together. However, the DG focus more on the process of dying, rather than the end state of death.]

DUSTMEN - "We're all dead. We just have to wake up and realize it." The first half of the statement is supported by the Doomguard examples of the Fundamental Truth. The point of things seems to be to decay and die. The second half is a bit tricker to find evidence of, but it's there. First proof, petitioners. People die, then become petitioners. But then petitioners "die" - either by becoming part of the plane, or becoming one of the planeborn races. The evolution of these races into higher forms can also be viewed as a type of death. The shakey part here, like most factiions, is that they can't point to an example of their ultimate goal. (What is the True Death?) FATED - "Take what you deserve. He who dies with the most toys wins." This is probably one of the shakiest philosophies. They, like many of the other factions, can point to the plane born and their ability to ascend to higher and more powerful forms. They can also point to nature and show that in nearly all cases, animal groups are led by Alphas who fought their way to that status and maintain it by jealously guarding their position and power. They might also be big supporters of the "divine right of kings" theory. At least, this all of their pre-Faction War truths. After FW, their shift to a "Take what you get" philosophy has a better chance of standing up to the Fundamental Truth test. There are many more examples of beings succeeding with only what they have, rather than constantly scrabbling to get more. [This is why I'm going to have them merge with the Ring Givers in my post-FW game.] GUVNERS - "Everything follows Laws. Know the Laws and you'll know Truth." As stated earlier, this faction does have a lot of concrete proof for their beliefs. (Heck, that's part of what they're all about in the first place.) All of their higher level members have the ability to manipulate the laws of the multiverse via loopholes. At least one Factol has discovered the ultimate Truth/Axiom and transcended. Cause-and-effect also goes a long way towards providing a foundation. INDEPS - "Keep your options open. No one can tell me what to do." As I said earlier, their fundatmental truth is similar to the Bleakers - there are so many conflicting truths out there, how do you know which one is right? In order to not be wrong and potentially get in trouble should you actually encounter the Truth, it's best to keep an open mind and evaluate things one at a time on how they feel to you. This could be viewed as either believing in everything or nothing. Either way, it's more positive than the Bleakers since there's still hope. [The Chamelon sect is most likely a splinter group of the Indeps. Whereas the Indeps believe in everything (at some level), so do the Converts save that they do it wholeheartedly for one thing at a time.] HARMONIUM - "Things are better when we work together." Granted, they're a touch more militant about it than my

simplification seems. But their proof is that they are right. When beings cooperate and work for the good of all, things get better for everyone in the group. The problem lies in the fact that they can't conceive of the possibility that there can be multiple groups of harmonious beings - for them, there can be only one. MERCYKILLERS - "...and Justice for all." These guys are most likely in the same boat as the Fated in that their philosophy is more artifical than most. Their core belief is one for an ideal world (no crime goes unpunished). Yet, in the real world (and most of the game world), there are hundreds of crimes that go unpunished and even undected. In the game world, the MK's best hope is the fact that the Outer Planes really are the afterlife and they can point to the hordes of evil petitioners getting "punished" in the Lower Planes. So, at some level, they are striving to make the world a better place. ANARCHISTS - "Tear it down and find Truth in the rubble." Probably the most misguided of the factions. While they can be right at one level - that the presence of all the factions' beliefs could confuse the issue and end up hiding or distoring the real Truth of the multiverse - they're also wrong in that the factions are intentionally hiding the Truth from the commnon person. If they were, their members would be acting very differently if they were lying to the public. As an example, let's say that the DG had the Ulimate Truth. If all the other factions knew this, why would they even bother trying to sell another story? But let's assume they are. At some point, you would have to see members of the other factions acting like members of the DG since that way is the one true way. But you don't. So while the Anarchists are right in that you have to go searching for the truth, blowing things up isn't the best way to go about it - you might destroy what you're looking for in the process. SIGNERS - "I'm the center of the multiverse and it's my dream." Part of their philosophy is easy to prove - the power of belief. The best example is the shifting of the gatetowns. Of course, they've also got the things they themselves have accomplished via belief - but those have mainly been group projects, which kinda refutes the "one person imagines it all" viewpoint. However, this part of the belief does kind of tie in to the Athar and Godsmen - with the Great Unknown/Source belief. A better interpretation of how their philosophy WORKS (not how their members act) is: "The multiverse is shaped by our beliefs." SENSATES - "It's not real unless I experience it." I'd place these guys in with the Fated and the Mercykillers Their views are a bit more self-centered and artificial. This group doesn't seem to have a foundational truth to it. A Sensate might never have been to Mechanus, but there's still a Modron sitting next to him in the bar. Now, a philosophy of "it's real until someone experiences it" might be closer to workable, but it's still got flaws. (How can you walk across land you've never seen before? Maybe you've got a Signer for a

travelling companion...) CIPHERS - "Become one with the multiverse." Actually, at one level, this group shares ground with the Harmonium. Both factions are into being in harmony with something. However, the Hardheads want it to be people, whereas the Ciphers want it to be the rest of the multiverse. (Smacks a bit of control vs. adaptation, doesn't it?) Much like the Guvners, their proof is of their own creation. By not thinking and going on instinct, they do have a better time of things and they have had multiple factols ascend. XOASITECTS - "Become one with the Chaos." This is something of an amalgam philosophy. They're close to the Ciphers in that a person should learn to go with the flow; but they're also like the Bleakers in that nothing makes any sense. But for this group, that's the point. Things happen as they will, and you'd just better be ready for it. The best way to be ready for it is to become part of it. While there's plenty of proof for chaos and randomness, it's a lot harder to prove that you're really better off becoming a part of it.