I'm not really sure what inspired it, possibly my recent re-reading of Faction War, possibly pondering what to do to my players my D&D game. Whatever caused it, here's the end result of roughly four and a half hours of frantically typing at my keyboards (music and computer): The prologue of Faction Wars: The Musical. Music for Darkwood's song to come as soon as I work out how to upload it on my website.
> The musical opens with a darkened stage, a single spotlight highlighting the image of the Lady of Pain in the middle of the back wall of the stage.
> Two minions enter the stage, apparently searching for something. One of them bears in his hand a large black spherical gem
Minion 1: Factol Darkwood, Factol Darkwood, where is the Factol?
Minion 2: Factol Darkwood, Factol Darkwood, where can he be found?
Minion 1: Factol Darkwood, Factol Darkwood, where is the duke?
Minions : Factol Darkwood, Factol Darkwood, we bear great news.
> While this is occurring, Rowan Darkwood, Factol of the Fated, enters the stage, arriving at centre stage at “news”. The two minions rush to him.
In the tunnels of Pandemonium,
In a cavern, opened by gods,
We have found what you have been seeking,
A power to change the world
> They give him the gem.
My loyal, and faithful companions,
My honoured and trusted friends,
I give you all of my gratitude,
But you were just the means to an end.
>He to two guards rush on and dispose of the minions while Darkwood continues:
This gem that you have brought me
And the essence within contained
Will bring this faction power,
The power to control the planes.
> He turns to face the image of the Lady
My lady, your serenity,
That tranquil face soon will change
When you are bowing before me
Your hands and feet in chains
Your city and all of its people
Its factions who bicker and fight
Will all now fall before me
After seeing my power and might.
They all will fall before me,
Cowering before my might.
> Darkwood laughs menacingly and exits the stage.
> The tout saunters onto the stage and turns to address the audience.
Tout: You know, a canny prime once wrote about “two houses, both alike in dignity”. Well, Sigil’s a bit like that, only instead of two, we’ve got fifteen. All bickering and fighting like there’s not tomorrow. Course, everyone’s careful to make sure that things don’t get out of hand, but there are times when the air’s so think you could slice it with a rusty sword. We call this little standoff the Kriegstanz and generally try to ignore it as best we can. And everything that happens here in Sigil is watched over by ‘Er Serenity, the Lady of Pain.
> The tout points to the Lady’s image.
Tout: Now, these fifteen groups, we call ‘em factions. They all have their jobs here in Sigil and they all have their own ideas on how the universe works. That bloke we just saw, that was Duke Rowan Darkwood, the Factol, or leader, of the Fated faction. They say that anything a cutter wants, he has to be able to get under his own steam, else it’s not worth getting.
> Members of the various factions start to move onto the stage as their factions are called out.
Tout: Then there’s the Society of Sensation, a group who believe that the only way to understand the universe is to experience everything in it. They’ll take the good with the bad and most of ‘em ‘ll go to any length to get their hands on something new.
Next up there’s the groups that enforce law and order here in Sigil, the Mercykillers and the Harmonium. Course, any law and order they impose has to be their law and order, and the powers help anyone who says differently to what they want. The Mercykiller say they support justice, but there’s more cutters dance at the end of a hemp rope than ever before under Alishon Nilesia, and the Harmonium, who say they just want universal peace, have committed some of the most violent acts in the city’s history
My faction, the Free League, tend to bear the brunt of this, ‘cus we believe that people should be allowed to govern their own lives without anyone else interfering. Needless to say, the Hardheads in the Harmonium don’t like that one bit and they’d jump at the chance to wipe us off the map.
Another faction that supports freedom are the Anarchists, though they tend to take a more aggressive approach: Assassination, sabotage, kidnapping, you name it, they’ve tried it. I doubt they’ll be able to bring about the downfall of the factions any time soon though.
Then we have some of the more dismal factions – The Doomguard, who spout a bunch of screed about the planes coming to an end, and how once everything is over, the planes ‘ll start up again, only this time it’ll all be right. The Athar are the ultimate agnostics. They say that the powers aren’t worthy of worship ‘cus they aren’t “true” gods. Still, they keep the more righteous evangelists off the streets, which is a good thing.
The Bleak Cabal and the Dustmen are about as depressing as each other. The Bleakers say that life is meaningless and we have to find our own meaning to it and the Dusties say that we’re already dead and the only way to pass on to the true death is to get rid of all our living habits like emotion.
The Believer’s of the Source and the Sign of One share a fair amount of beliefs. They pretty much think that the universe is a test, and if you can pass the test you can become gods. Course, this means that since they all think they’re Powers-in-waiting, they’re all a bunch of self-centred, arrogant, berks.
Nearing the end of the list come the Transcendent Order, or Ciphers, as we know ‘em. They believe in being able to act without thinking, listening to something they call “the Cadence of the Planes”. ‘Course, most people think that’s just a bunch of screed, but they do say that if you want to know if trouble’s on its way you should count the number of Ciphers leaving the area.
Finally we get to the essences of law and chaos in the factions. The Fraternity of Order, who tell us that if law is power, and knowledge is power, the knowledge of law is the ultimate power.
> All present faction members don Factol Karan masks and begin cavorting wildly about the stage, prodding the tout, trying the interrupt him as he speaks. Eventually grabbing him and pulling him off stage.
Tout: Then there’s the Xaositects, or Chaosmen, or Bob, or whatever they’ve decided to call themselves today – stop that! – They think that – Hey! Give that back! – They think that – Stop! – They think – Wait, where are you taking me!? Help!