Planescape 5e Planescape- What would you like to see in the upcoming setting?

This is such a treasure trove. We've got weird faces leering out of everything, and spikes everywhere, which is As It Should Be.

First person on the left might be Rhys of the Ciphers. The tail and the big ears resemble the 2e art a lot.
D8vDyg2UYAEM2Dz
Rhys is depicted in 5e on Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, in the "Group Patrons" chapter on page 103. She is not blue and doesn't have any horns in the picture from Tasha's, just like how she appears in that picture above.
 

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I have every expectation that the new Planescape will retcon Faction War out of existence completely.
I'm personally fine with the Faction War, but that's probably because I was introduced to the setting in the 3e/3.5e era with Planwalker's fan update and Shemeska's Storyhour, rather than during the setting's heyday.

Perhaps also because I'm neck-deep in putting together a Dragon Heist conversion that relies on the Faction War and weaves its events and fallout into the adventure backstory and setup...
 

Rhys is depicted in 5e on Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, in the "Group Patrons" chapter on page 103. She is not blue and doesn't have any horns in the picture from Tasha's, just like how she appears in that picture above.
Concerningly for any of us hoping for sanity to win out and Faction War to get retcon'd, Rhys is referred to as "Guildmaster Rhys", not "Factol Rhys" in that.

Guildmaster is a title she might have in the awful Des Moines version of Sigil.

On the flipside, the "recruits" she's training are quite clearly wearing Transcendent Order symbols, despite that organization explicitly being disbanded in Faction War.

So it could go either way from that.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
IMO, Faction War isn't bad as background lore. It sucked to be a fan of Planescape and to have the setting broken like that and then oops there comes 3e. So quietly undoing most of its effects (maybe mentioning them in the history of the city or some of the factions) makes the most sense to me. I'm not really a Status Quo is God kind of person, but the Planescape I want to play in is one where the factions are maneuvering for influence and power within Sigil. Keep those plot threads dangling so my players can pick them up and run with them.
 

IMO, Faction War isn't bad as background lore. It sucked to be a fan of Planescape and to have the setting broken like that and then oops there comes 3e. So quietly undoing most of its effects (maybe mentioning them in the history of the city or some of the factions) makes the most sense to me. I'm not really a Status Quo is God kind of person, but the Planescape I want to play in is one where the factions are maneuvering for influence and power within Sigil. Keep those plot threads dangling so my players can pick them up and run with them.
The undeniable and unavoidable problem with Faction War is that it explicitly WIPED OUT pretty much all the coolest and most interesting Factions.

Deleted: The Believers of the Source, the Mercykillers, and the Sign of One

Disbanded: The Bleak Cabal, the Dustmen, the Free League, the Society of Sensation, the Transcendent Order, and the Xaositects

Right there we've wiped out literally all the most emblematic and memorable Factions (except The Revolutionary League). All of them. Monte Cook is a goddamn embarrassment for doing that even if we believe he intended to bring them back. And it's classic Monte Cook. The man has zero taste level and shows a shocking lack of imagination at times - just compare the notional setting of Numenera and the actual setting he wrote - notionally it's amazing, wild. The actual setting he wrote? Easily the most boring and even mind-numbing setting you could imagine. What a disconnect.

All the rest have been forced to flee Sigil and hang out on various planes, all much diminished and smashed up. A couple have even changed philosophy in ways that indicate Monte profoundly did not even understand the philosophy they had previous (The Harmonium, for example).

Jockeying for position and so on is absolutely the polar opposite of being wiped out. So sorry, I absolutely reject "not bad as background lore". Wiping half Factions including most of the most interesting and daring ones? That's just bad. Purely bad. Retcon it and give the Factions room to maneuver again. You need the retcon to bring them back to life.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
I won't mind if they support both timelines simultaneously, but yeah the original factions really need support in the books. That said, factions don't need to come with a bunch of mechanics.
 



I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
I think that the impact of a factol's loss isn't so significant, and while FW had the factions officially disband, there's little reason to say that they didn't basically reband almost immediately ("she said abandon your faction or die, but she didn't say for how long...?")

For me, the return of the 15 OG factions is part of "quietly undoing its effects." I don't mind if the factions have a history of fracture and joining and repair as a way to signal to the PC's what they could do with their characters: these are not permanent fixtures of the setting like the regions and power centers of the Forgotten Realms, but things you can and ought to play with yourself, flexible and subject to where you want to take them. I do like that the recent history of them changing and breaking encourages that mindset.

Not that a retcon wouldn't be preferable, but if the decision is made to say what was written still happened, you could still return the OG 15 to Sigil without much issue. In most cases, the return of the former leaders from the Mazes could reconstruct their factions. If I were to game it out...
The Third Edict
630 years before the Faction War, the Lady issued an edict to the 50 or so factions that were squabbling within Sigil at that time: “By the order of the Lady of Pain, there will be but fifteen factions in Sigil. Organize thy colors in a fortnight – or die.”

Once there were 15 factions, they spent the next few hundred years carving up the City of Doors. The Faction War broke out, and in the aftermath, there came another edict, given to the leaders of the remaining factions: "This city tolerates your faction no longer. Abandon it or die."

In the last few years, Sigil has been struggling.

The Sons of Mercy were lousy at stopping crime in Sigil. The dabus were over-worked in the Courts. The Sigil Advisory Council quickly became bought-and-paid-for mouthpieces of the wealthy. If the logic of the Lady at the start of the Faction War was that the factions posed a threat to Sigil, her logic quickly became that their absence is leading to unacceptable anarchy (and even the Anarchists don't like it - they have their utopia and it all falls apart, just like every other utopia on the planes).

So, just as she en masse Mazed a bunch of factols, she now en masse dumps them back into their lives with a third edict: "Create your faction anew. Make this city better, or die."

Which is just ambiguous enough to get 15 radically different interpretations, but also to maybe keep them more interested in a peace of rivals than a bitter civil war (overall).

The Athar. Terrance returns from the Mazes and leads his faction back to Sigil. They didn't like the Outlands anyway (not enough people to hear their message). They'll need a new HQ, but they weren't much a part of Sigil's infrastructure before the Faction War, anyway. Maybe their new HQ is just the old one - the Shattered Temple now is both the ruins of a church of Aoskar and the ruins of a church of Hades.

The Believers of the Source. Ambar comes back from the mazes and most of his former faithful abandon the Mind's Eye (after perhaps a bit of in-fighting with the Signers) and return to their original belief. The war is a mere blip in history - Ambar believes his time in the Mazes made him stronger, most of his faithful believe it was a time of tests and that they passed. Perhaps, given that the Ethereal Plane is their HQ, the Believers didn't wait on the Lady to return Ambar, and instead rescued him, giving them a bit of bravado and confidence for having thwarted the Lady's will (though also maybe she just let him be recused - it's Planescape, truth is subjective). They're also back at the Foundry - the bladelings there have mostly joined the faction.

The Bleak Cabal. The Cabal wasn't even really affected by the faction war. They've been doing their thing basically unaffected. In FW, they say that Lhar succumbed to the Grim Retreat just before the factols were Mazed, and we're playing out the scenario where they keep that. But, maybe Lhar leads the faction still, going slowly mad in the Gatehouse, issuing edicts and rules from the brink of madness. Or maybe Sruce is the new factol when she returns. Or maybe she's one who doesn't (and WHY?!).

The Doomguard. Ah, to be a victim of their own success. It is not exactly on-brand for the Doomguard to build themselves up again, but entropy is inevitable, and it is inevitable that more and more people will see the need to tear things down, and that they'll gather and cluster in Sigil. I think it is actually important that the Doomguard isn't reformed for their experience. They are not a kinder, gentler Doomguard. They see the Lady's new edict and think that the way to make the city better is to obliterate it. Maybe they are like the Free League and the Anarchists - a "not a Faction" faction. And that suits them just fine. I could see a case for leaving Pentar in the Mazes (her crimes run beyond faction rivalries), but maybe the next leader is kind of the same, or even a little bit worse. If Pentar does come back, she should similarly be unrepentant. The Armory was really obliterated by the end of 2e, but it's not like the Doomguard hasn't been collecting weapons. They stash them somewhere new, call it the Armory again, and dare anyone to stop them. Heroic members of the Doomguard are still there, of course, but like Doomguard heroes before them, they are not exactly trusted. Definitely "dark hero" archetypes. But maybe they do enough damage to the Post-Faction-War status quo to allow it to fall.

The Dust. Skall's back from the Mazes, and nobody is even a little excited about it, because excitement would be something a little too lively. The Dust barely noticed he was missing. Faction War suggests that the Mortuary might be moved due to some changing portals but eh...the seem to be working OK now.

The Fated. Even though Darkwood was the big villain here, the faction as a whole mostly just suffers embarrassment. Darkwood himself probably shouldn't get out of his fate at the end of FW, so we're not seeing a return of this particular factol. The important element, though, is just that grasping, striving, achievement-oriented kind of leadership, and the Fated is chockablock full of 'em. Maybe a native of Ysgard this time. When the Lady's new edict goes out and everyone gets free of the Mazes, the new Factol of the Fated is quickly back in Sigil, restoring the Hall of Records, and, perhaps more ably than the faction before, the new Factol is showing how well-spent tax dollars can work. The Fated haven't really changed, but maybe their leader gets on board with the spirit of the new edict - to make the city better means to both do infrastructure, and to possess as much of it as possible.

The Fraternity of Order. Hashkar's fate is kind of fascinating for a lot of reasons, and according to Faction War his big secret has been revealed. He also can't be resurrected thanks to what he was. So I think he remains gone, and we get a new Factol who isn't much different - boring and obsessed with law and order and entirely on board with the new edict (and believing law and order is the best way to do it). Because of Haskhar's fate, there's even debate about whether the Lady's Second Edict applies to them or not. They dabus formally hand the courts back to them, and they have a lot of catching up to do. I want them to have weird dark secrets, too, but I'm open to being surprised by those.

The Free League. Bria and the wemics return from the Mazes. The Free League still ardently asserts that it Was Not And Never Has Been A Faction. The years after the Faction War were something of a troubling victory for the League, which saw a Sigil where true freedom reigned - and the strong took from the weak and the rich took from the poor and armies marched in the streets and no one was safe. The leadership has embraced the Lady's edict and has been focused on protecting the foundations of freedom from the tyranny of fear and force.

The Harmonium. What believer in multiversal harmony can refuse an invitation like the Third Edict. They've got a job to do, and they've been called to do it! The Harmonium quickly take back the Barracks and push the ineffective Sons of Mercy back into joining the Sodkillers. Their factol was died, but perhaps Sarin has been resurrected, which then challenges him to make peace with his murderers and their factions. The Harmonium's claim to be the only source of law and order is a little weaker today than it was before, and mercenary groups and private security are very popular among those who can afford their own personal law and order.

The Mercykillers. Nilesia is back, having escaped from her time bound to fiends in the Lower Planes. And, as befits a Mercykiller, she's very interested in bringing justice to those who put her in this situation. The Sons of Mercy and the Sodkillers are quickly brought under her heel again (sometimes using force), though bits of them may remain, and she becomes a righteous figure of vengeance. She's returned having bound powerful fiends into her service, and she's gone about turning the Prison into a place that employs them. Her campaign once again resumes to convict the Lady of Pain for her crimes against her own citizens, this time using the Faction War as recent evidence. The Sons of Mercy are especially put out by this turn, but Nilesia offers some carrots: a genuine campaign of internal justice, ensuring that the Mercykillers play a role that betters the city instead of one that destroys it.

The Revolutionary League. The League was put in the strange position of forming one of the most influential post-War models of government. They did well in the aftermath. However, it didn't last - agents of the Daughters of Light (and Anarchists who didn't like the new direction) caused it to collapse. Now that factions are given official sanction once again, the Anarchists are back to ensuring that no one faction ever consolidates too much power. Even though they're not a faction, they've always claimed to want to make the city better - specifically by ensuring that the factions can ever threaten the city again as they did during the War.

The Sign of One. When Darius returns, she of course interprets the Third Edict to mean that she and she alone is destined to improve the world, through imagining a better world. It doesn't take long for members of the Mind's Eye to return to her side and help her to envision this. As part of this, she embraces some of the ideas from the Anarchists that help make sure a multitude of voices are heard in the Hall of Speakers.

The Society of Sensation. Erin Montgomery returns, excited to have experienced the Mazes for the first time. The Sensates weren't really broken up by the War, and so her return is pretty smooth - one more experience for them.

The Transcendent Order. They continued on after the Faction War as influential in the new government. With the official return of the factions, they take over the Gymnasium again and continue to be well-regarded by their fellow civilians.

The Xaositects. Karan's back, but it's not like it matters. The Xaositects are surprisingly stable and consistent sometimes, and when times are chaotic, they don't need to change much to stay with them. They improve the city the same way they always have: by creating Chaos.

The Remnants. The Sons of Mercy, the Sodkillers, and the Mind's Eye still exist, though they are greatly diminished. They seek official faction status, but have been muscled out by the existing power structures. The only ones that really bothers are the Sons of Mercy, who are threatened by the return of the Mercykillers and the Harmonium.

The Sects. The Eschaton (who believe that all things must end) and the Children of Light (who seek to uphold Sigil's order and who believe they are empowered by the Lady of Pain) both retain a bit of prominence after the War that allowed them to rise to power.
 


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