Sign of One
|Factol||Darius the Veyl (Pl/♀ human/wizard 11/Sign of One/NG)|
|Headquarters||The Hall of Speakers (The Clerk's Ward)|
|Allies||Bel, Society of Sensation, Transcendent Order|
The most self-centered organization in Sigil, and yet one of the most open, the Sign of One is a very strange faction. Its halls are marked with constant disagreement and debate of all matters large and small, and not merely because they serve as host to the Speaker's Podium - the parliament of the factols that serves as its erstwhile civilian government under tacit approval of the Lady of Pain. Amongst the Signers, debate is seen as a fine art, as well it should be for an organization where no two people can even agree on what precisely it is the faction believes in.
Despite this seemingly contentious atmosphere, the Sign of One is also the most diverse faction in Sigil, holding members from every major planar culture, a number of minor ones, and a few people from cultures so small even they hadn't heard of them. It's also one of the more empathic organizations in part because of its contentious nature, as listening well to a person's arguments and not holding ill opinion of a person due just to pure disagreement are key tenets of the Signers; it must be said, though, that this is thanks in large part to the efforts of Factol Darius who, ever since she ascended to that position some 20 or so years ago, has done her best to promote the more beneficial aspects of the Signer philosophy.
Quite simply, the Sign of One believes itself the center of the multiverse, and that by virtue of this position it can shape the multiverse however it desires. More specifically, each individual member believes themselves the core figure of all that is; some believe they arrived there by chance, some believe in some sense they created it, some believe all individuals are manifestations of the same higher-dimensional meta-intelligence that personifies the whole of reality. Each member of the Sign of One has their own unique philosophy on how they can do what they do, and yet somehow it functions as a coherent organization; it's a common joke that that alone gives some evidence that maybe there's something to it. And indeed, all but the newest Signers can indeed impose their will on the multiverse in minor ways without recourse of magic. Either through prediction or pure force of will, they can achieve small feats that would otherwise be impossible without magic.
Given its current focus, the Sign of One has quite odd origins. Around Hashkar -700, the first glimmers of what would eventually become the Signers were formed out of the interests of a minor daughter of the Golden Road. This socialite, Rilith, had a strong interest in spiders, holding the largest live collection of such in all the city — a record that still has never been broken. She went so far as to found a society devoted to the collection of arachnids, picking out a few others with an interest in spiders from her social circle. Though largely an excuse to hold various social events, it was this society that eventually evolved into the Sign of One.
Unfortunately for Rilith, her interests almost proved fatal after suffering the bite of an orange-speckled recluse. Universally fatal if untreated, very fast-acting, and with no alchemical anti-venom at the time, under normal conditions the venom of this spider kills in minutes. With no time to get to a healer, Rilith knew she wasn't much longer to live, her flesh burning as if on fire and her skin already beginning to show the signature blue mottling of the recluse's venom. With no other recourse, she began chanting affirmations to herself as she waited for death to take her. To her surprise, though, the burning didn't spread, but in fact began to retreat. Still, she continued until the feeling had long since passed; after a half-hour, and upon finally opening her eyes, she was perfectly fine, as if she had never been bitten at all.
After such positive results, she began applying positive thinking to other areas, and ran into success after success. She wasn't happy merely using these techniques for herself, though, and began telling the others in her collector's society of her positive results. They began trying her techniques of affirmations and positive thinking themselves, and though they didn't approach her level of success, they did note that it certainly did seem to work. Before long, their society shifted focus from spiders to the possibilities and consequences of these results, and refounded itself to exploring this new discovery, taking the name "Sign of Contemplation".
A brief quarrel with the Transcendent Order early in the existence of Rilith's organization helped boost its notice enough that it was able to call itself a full-fledged faction; after only a few scant years, the Ciphers decided to cease their campaigns against the Signers, and despite the continued division between their core philosophies — one believing an absence of thought leads to true understanding of reality, the other that reality is shaped by personal thought — there were enough similarities in their goals and methods that they soon became fast allies.
This was less so for the Bleak Cabal, which found itself personally confronted during a Signer endeavor in the Hive, the beginning of faction-sponsored proselytizing towards the dangers of negative thinking. The Bleakers naturally took personal offense to this, thinking it a personal attack against the philosophy of the Bleakers right in their home. This fight, unlike the previous, showed no signs of diffusing, and indeed some feared it would result in a war in the Hive. Months passed, and things came to a head when the Signers publicly announced their attempts to think Factol Nobey of the Bleak Cabal to death with a round-the-clock team of faction members attempting to focus their affirmations in that direction. And when Factol Nobey indeed did perish with no apparent cause the very next day, the Bleakers were quite reasonably quick to point the finger. They have never forgiven the Signers this offense, and the feud between the two continues to this day, though it's long since turned cold (especially following the Great Upheaval).
After the success with Factol Nobey, the Sign of Contemplation turned its attention towards not just bringing good fortune and a happy life through affirmations, but in manipulating the world about them. It began issuing regular public proclamations of what was to come in the future — ofttimes making such prophecies true themselves by hook or by crook. This soon spread to the Signers themselves, as more members turned towards soothsaying and divination, and those with skill in such areas were courted for membership. Within the next 40 years, focus of the faction had shifted from personal happiness to manipulating reality itself, and to represent this shift in focus, the faction officially renamed itself the "Sign of One".
Over the next three years following the renaming, their faction headquarters — an estate house in the Clerk's Ward once belonging to Rilith, left to the faction upon her death — began a heavy reconstruction, based on a design said to have appeared fully formed into then-Factol Gaelan's mind. Upon the completion of what was then known as the Hall of the Elect, Factol Gaelan officially opened its doors to all with the skill to foresee and rewrite reality, and the first classes to that end began. It wasn't much longer before this shift slid even further, for when one can bend reality with one's mind without the need of tool or magic, even if in minor degrees, then doesn't it naturally follow that one may be behind the very creation of reality itself? Or at the very least, a heavily important figure within it?
It wasn't until the Great Upheaval a century and a half later, however, that the building officially took its modern name, and the Signers took their current role in government. Following the Upheaval, and the unmanageable chaos that resulted from having so many disparate factions clamoring for a say, the Signers decided to open their doors in a different manner. By then, the faction was well used to letting a variety of people with widely-divergent views each have their say; it becomes quite necessary when just about literally every member of the faction has their own philosophy on the nature of the multiverse, a natural consequence to each believing themselves the center and creator of it. As such, they welcomed the opportunity to serve as a neutral host to a parliament of the factions, a way to help ensure every faction would have a voice without leading to the mess that was pre-Upheaval faction-run Sigil. The building was officially renamed the "Hall of Speakers" as the first act of the faction government, and has served in just that role since.
As of late, a small minority in the faction (if one supported publicly by Factol Darius) has begun sliding even further down this road, wishing for far greater acknowledgement and respect for creating the multiverse; to that end, they desire to force the resurrection of a power through sheer force of will purely to demonstrate their power. While the specific deity in question has yet to be openly stated — rumors abound that it's Aoskar, though nearly everyone in the Cage would agree that would be an absolutely horrible idea — if they did in fact succeed, it would certainly be a huge boost for the faction in one form or another.
No species, gender, or creed is barred from the ranks of the Signers, but active recruitment is rare. While those that seem to show great natural skill at predicting or manipulating reality will be sought out, for the most part prospective members must seek out the Signers, and prove their worth. This most often takes the form of a prediction of an event to come, and should the prediction come true, the person in question is allowed to count themselves a factotum. This needn't come from true predictive ability, of course; it is considered just as beneficial to be able to make ones own fate, and bring a desired outcome to pass through direct effort.
Namers in the Signers are immediately assigned a small apartment in the Hall of Speakers (should they desire it) and a personal mentor, and taught the first techniques of reality shaping. As their training progresses, they learn more and more how to manifest their thoughts into reality in various small ways, and their progress through the ranks of the faction are judged by their ability to bring a thought from mind to reality; the most accurate prophets or most skilled shapers (and sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the two) find themselves rising the ranks quite quickly.
Responsibilities are given commensurate with a Signer's rank; namers are given few duties and are expected instead to serve the faction by honing their skills through training and practice. Once a namer reaches the rank of factotum, they're given the opportunity for off-Sigil missions, guard duty in the Hall, and occasional public speaking assignments at major events. At the top ranks, a factotum will get the opportunity to join a Signer "think tank"; a literal collection of thinkers focusing on nothing more than advancing some specific goal of the Signers. The top-ranked factors are allowed to serve as personal assistant to the factol, head up off-Sigil outposts, and even arrange their own missions for factotums so long as they advance the interest of the faction.
When necessary, selection of a factol tends to be almost automatic, with someone simply slipping into the role when the old factol loses their position, and most everyone agreeing that they are the new factol. For the most part, the faction believes that whoever acts such must've successfully imagined themselves in the role and so are naturally the best-suited candidate; if they weren't, someone better would have out-imagined them and taken the role instead. Such mutually-agreed-upon promotions nearly always come from the ranks of the faction factors, although on rare occasion a powerful-enough figure of lower rank has managed to ascend to the position.
- Factol Darius the Veyl (Pl/♀ human/wizard 11/Sign of One/NG)
- Factor Sarazh (Pl/♀ tiefling/cleric 14 (Deneir)/Sign of One/LG), overseer of the Dreamhearth
- Fell (Px/∅ dabus/HD 7/Sign of One/N), last surviving priest of Aoskar
- Ingrid Lionsdottir (Px/♀ drow/wizard 17/Sign of One/CG), head proxy of Eilistraee
- Prisine (Pl/♀ water genasi/bard 9/Sign of One/N), head of the Will of the One
- Factol Rilith (Pl/♀ half-elf/expert 6/Sign of One/N), first factol of the Sign of One
- Factol Gaelan (Pl/♂ human/psion 7/Sign of One/N), sponsored construction of the Hall of Speakers
- Factol's Manifesto, pp.120-129