Fraternity of Order


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Fraternity of Order
Symbol of Fraternity of Order
Factol Hashkar (Pl/♂ gnome/expert 14/Fraternity of Order/LN)
Headquarters The City Court (The Lady's Ward)
Plane Mechanus


Allies Harmonium, Mercykillers, Society of Sensation
Enemies Revolutionary League, Xaositects


Most Sigilians likely only encounter the Fraternity of Order in their role alongside the Harmonium and the Mercykillers keeping order within Sigil, serving as a cornerstone of the criminal justice system. In that duty, they direct the operation of its entire court system, the lowest courts overseen by the faction while the highest courts are judged and ran by members of the Fraternity itself. However, they do much more within the city than merely try offenders, even if most of their duties are invisible to the citizenry. They keep all judicial records of Sigil going back to their very founding, as well as all historical and governmental records of same, though as of late the Fated has increasingly pushed to take hold of this role and the Fraternity archives. They track the portals of Sigil, providing one of the most reliable resources for records on shifting portals (for those that can gain access to them).

Afar, they similarly serve in supporting roles for any number of organizations. They run the workings of Automata, fully managing its bureaucracy from top to bottom. From the Fortress of Disciplined Enlightenment, they watch the gears of Mechanus, charting their turning across the decades. Anywhere where there is government, they offer their services as advisors and clerks, and anywhere there is study, they offer their services as researchers and philosophers. Across the planes, from Inner to Outer, Fraternity members can be found, all means towards the faction's ends: the understanding of systems and structures at all levels, in hopes that by identifying patterns through observation, cataloging, and collation, they can truly know reality.

Beliefs

The core beliefs of the Fraternity of Order are the same as those first set down by Factol Clarille nearly a millennium ago. The structure of reality can be divided into three categories (as per the Rule of Threes): Rules, Laws, and Axioms. Rules are those structures instituted by mortals; the governments, bureaucracies, and organizations constructed so that society can function. Laws are those structures instituted by the powers; the "laws of nature" that direct how the multiverse itself functions. Axioms are those structures instituted by the multiverse itself; the underlying truths that all within reality must abide by, that cannot be bent or broken, and that bind all. To understand these structures is to understand their limits, and potentially even exploit those limits.

The Fraternity believes that all such structures are not made or invented, but discovered. Even Rules are merely reflections of subconscious insight into the underlying structures of reality, attempts to take those rare glimpses and solidify them into something explicit. In their eyes, even the most devoted followers of chaos cannot help but gain the occasional insight into reality and apply it in their day-to-day life. However, for the Fraternity, these glimpses are not enough; they wish to shine a light upon these structures, and thus bring them to the fore.

Many are happy placing their focus upon the Rules or Laws, feeling that they still provide tremendous insight into all levels of reality. A slim few, however, wish to delve into the true depths and directly seek out the Axioms of reality themselves, despite the fact that the bare existence of Axioms is still wholly conjectural; some even believe that any discovery of an Axiom transforms that Axiom, and so transforms reality in such a way that the previous Axiom never held true in the first place and was never actually uncovered as a result. However, such beliefs have not dissuaded some of the Fraternity from attempting to unearth these most underlying facts, despite the danger they may hold; some chalk just such research up to the disappearance of former Factol Lariset the Inescapable, of whom no trace has been found in the last 127 years.

Still, no member devotes themselves fully to a single level, for each level reflects on and reveals something of the others. It is through this study that those of the Fraternity discover "loopholes"; exploits in the Laws that allow the performance of things that should not be possible by any understood means. By locating the edges of the Laws, those of the Fraternity can bend them to their will to a point. Interestingly, though — and not entirely yet understood even today — the exploitation of a loophole seems to shift the Laws themselves, eventually leading to its closure. It seems that on some level, the more a loophole in reality is exploited, the greater the chance that reality itself takes notice and acts to repair it. Whether this indicates that reality is sentient or merely self-repairing is a debate that still rages amongst all ranks of the Fraternity even after so many centuries.

History

The Fraternity of Order dates back as one of the oldest factions in Sigil — the oldest by their claim, though only due to having created the system of chartering that formalized the process. Its origins date back nearly a thousand years, to the Oerthian emigration of the Suloise following that civilization's fall. Thousands of newly-arrived Prime arcanists with passing familiarity with the planes but little practical knowledge suddenly walked the streets of Sigil to escape the destruction of their homeland, holding a long tradition of understanding and interpreting reality, even the arcane, through the lens of law. Of these refugees, the noblewoman Clarille soon grew to prominence as a tremendously generous patron of science. Seeking to better understand her new home, she gave innumerous donations from the wealth she carried from Oerth to the peoples and institutions of Sigil, funding dozens of academic and research efforts to continue the studies that so took her interest prior to her escape.

Year after year passed, and while much in the way of lore was collated and collected, it was obvious there was too much for any one person in any one lifetime, and she did not want her efforts to fall by the wayside when she no longer lived. She knew she had to look more towards the longterm, and took inspiration from the other informal factions of Sigil. Drawing from the heavily-striated nature of the Suloise, she and her allies took the concept of the faction and formalized it, drawing up the first faction charter. And so in the first year of the reign of Factol Clarille the Munificent, or Hashkar -856, the Fraternity of Order was founded, devoted to uncovering and tapping into the very laws of existence, to find sense in a senseless multiverse.

From the very start of the faction's existence, Factol Clarille and her colleagues sought to cement the importance of the Fraternity to the planewalkers and travelers of Sigil, planar and prime alike. They began the first records of Sigil itself, tracking the events and ways of the city. They spread the system of faction charter, that the city's factions could hold a greater air of officiality when dealing with the more longstanding organizations outside the city. They founded the cross-planar timekeeping and calendar systems that are still used today both within and beyond the City of Doors. In one of their most auspicious (and ultimately successful) efforts, they even looked to enforcea degree of order upon the Abyss itself, beginning the Lexicon of the Abyss on the suggestion of Clarille's close advisor Alonthas the Dark after his party's discovery of the abandoned observatory of the obyrith Cabiri.

Years passed into centuries, and though Factol Clarille passed on, her faction continued, weaving itself into the very fabric of Sigil; never significant enough to be a threat to any other, but always there to provide aid and knowledge. Such was its fundamental nature in the city that it passed through the Great Upheaval essentially unscathed, there having been no question that it ought to be one of the fifteen. Following the Upheaval, after the Sign of One offered their services as a faction intermediary, the Fraternity joined with them to hammer out the first foundation of what would eventually become Sigil's core city government. As the keepers of Sigil's laws and courts, they were even considered the natural candidates for keeping order in the city, though it was barely 50 years before they ceded such an active role to the Mercykillers and Doomguard, seeking to maintain their passive, advisory position in the operation of the city and allowing the lion's share of their focus to stay directed towards study and analysis. And so they have continued up to the modern day, maintaining the smooth functioning of Sigil and others in ways that most would never even think upon, their knowledge of reality ever-growing.

Membership

The Fraternity of Order takes only those members who accept the fundamental nature of reality as built upon laws, and swear to act accordingly. As a result, all members of the Fraternity obviously have a lawful bent, with the majority neutral in their ethical outlook. Beyond this, there are no restrictions on who may join the Fraternity. Some individuals that show a special skill in pursuing or understanding the underlying truths of the multiverse are actively recruited by the faction, that their knowledge and research would be added to the whole of the Fraternity, but otherwise recruitment efforts are scant.

Members of the Fraternity tend to fall into one of two categories. The first are those seeking to take the laws of reality and wield them in their favor to gain power. These members tend to have little interest in understanding reality, and so rarely advance beyond the position of namer in the faction, but as they can often be useful to the faction's operation they are allowed to maintain within the faction so long as they proffer service or resources and stay within the laws. The second are those seeking to build upon the laws that reality would reveal itself to them, and it is these members that form the core of the faction, seeking to both apply and discover truth.

Organization

The core organization and direction of the Fraternity of Order has been essentially the same for the entire near-millennium of its existence, with the occasional amendment and modification over time to better improve the organization's functioning as a unit. Its principles and structure were originally penned in the first edition of the Fraternity of Order Handbook and Philosophical Manual by Factol Clarille herself; since then, there have been almost 50 amended editions released, the specific rules and functioning of the Fraternity evolving as its members better understand how the faction ought function and reflect their understanding of law.

All members are expected to provide regular and direct service to the faction, though this requirement is somewhat flexible for the higher-placed "civilians" that have other means of serving the faction than working in the courts or the stacks. Of those that do directly serve the faction, the lowest ranks are the Aides, those who act as file clerks, court recorders, research assistants, personal assistants, field researchers, and other such roles intended to get them accustomed to the ways of the faction. Aides are usually shifted from role to role, allowing them to see all sides of the ways of the Fraternity.

Above the Aides are the Administrators. Members can only reach this rank by proving their understanding through the demonstration of the discovery of a loophole in reality as a result of their studies. Once having proved their skills, they are granted the option of choosing their path and bureau, whether it be in Sigil, in one of the Fraternity's field facilities, or generally abroad. Those acting abroad continue their studies and observations directly — most choosing to focus their attentions in Mechanus or the Astral — while those staying within a Fraternity office take on managerial roles within the faction or serve the higher ranks as assistants and apprentices. Administrators range from rank A5, the lowest, to rank A1, the highest, and barring extreme circumstances, only those reaching rank A1 are allowed to move upwards.

The highest rank below the Factol is that of the Bureau Chief. Such members lead the various bureaus of the Fraternity, and as such, few Bureau Chiefs serve in the field (though each plane does have at least one ad hoc field bureau devoted to its analysis). All operations of the Fraternity are done under the auspices of some bureau, some permanently established and other temporary ad hoc bureaus established as needed (though some "temporary" bureaus have existed for centuries), and each bureau must be led by a Bureau Chief. Judges and court functionaries, given their required experience, are each considered as the head of the ad hoc bureau devoted to their court, to ensure that only those most aware of the workings of law are granted such lofty roles. Much as Administrators, Bureau Chiefs range in rank from B5 to B1; in general, the more important the bureau, the higher the rank of its Chief. While permanent bureaus can be led by a Bureau Chief of any rank, ad hoc bureaus take only Bureau Chiefs of rank B2 or lower. By custom, the so-called "Star Bureaus", those most key to the faction's operations — Record-Keeping, Research, Internal Affairs, Planar Affairs, and Prime Affairs — are always led by a B1 Chief, and these Bureau Chiefs tend to also act as a sort of cabinet to the current factol.

The position of factol is an elected lifetime role, vacated only upon death or retirement; upon retirement, the former factol is assigned the honorary rank of B1 Bureau Chief, with no associated duties but what they choose to take on. In either event, the new factol is selected from all current B1 Bureau Chiefs by a general vote of all active members of the Fraternity. The elected member immediately takes the rank of factol upon the counting and verification of the votes, their first act most often the promotion of a new member to replace their vacated position.

Prominent Members

Former Members

  • Factol Clarille the Munificent (Pr/♀ human/expert 10/Fraternity of Order/LN), first factol of the Fraternity of Order
  • Factol Lariset the Inescapable (Pl/♀ human/wizard 9/Fraternity of Order/LN), Hashkar -15-1

See Also

References

  • Dragon #357 - Gazing Into the Abyss, pg.69
  • Factol's Manifesto, pp.68-77
  • In the Cage, pgs.9,12,34-35
  • Planewalker's Handbook, pg.61
  • Player's Primer to the Outlands, pg.8
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