Sign of One
What's the point of the
multiverse? There isn't one, says the Bleak Cabal. You want
proof? Look at the other factions. They're each claiming to know The
Answer. Obviously, they're not all right, but they've been around
for hundreds of years; some of them for thousands. You'd think that
by now they'd have made some progress on figuring out the big picture by now,
wouldn't you? But the reason they haven't done that yet is painfully obvious to anyone that stops and
thinks about it for half a second. It's because there is no big
picture. There's no meaning, no point, to the multiverse. If you
want meaning, you've got to look inward, and find your own personal truth to
existence, because there's certainly none to be found if you look outward.
The Cabal's philosophy is fairly simple,
but it's produced a very complex faction. Bleakers are a diverse lot -
some of them have gone insane from the realization that there's no point to it
all, but many are kind individuals that take pity on others. In fact,
the Madmen, as they're commonly called, are the most charitable faction in
Sigil. They run the Gatehouse, Sigil's mental hospital and
operate countless soup kitchens and shelters for Sigil's poor and
It's true that most Bleakers, if they really
accept the faction creed, tend to become a little unstable, even if they don't
descend into pure madness. Depression is by far their most common mental
malady, but more than a few Bleakers come out of the other side of this
depression, and reach an acceptance that while the multiverse rages with
pointlessness around them, they can find a reason within, though none
ever seem to completely shake off their melancholia. All Bleakers, regardless of mental state, tend to
look on members of other factions with pity, as they watch them waste their
lives away looking for a meaning that doesn't exist.
In Sigil, the Bleak Cabal makes
their headquarters at the Gatehouse, Sigil's home for the insane. On the
planes, they gravitate toward Pandemonium, with it's screaming winds of
Bleakers don't believe that anything really matters, and because of
that believe things do matter less to them.
Prerequisites: Membership in
the Bleak Cabal
Benefit: You gain damage
reduction of X/-, where X is one plus their character level divided by five. This
does not stack with any other form of damage reduction, though the Bleaker may
use the better value.
[General, Bleak Cabal]
The Bleak Cabal are all somewhat insane themselves,
and so are immune to madness effects.
Prerequisite: Membership in the Bleak Cabal.
Benefit: You are immune to all spells or effects that cause madness
or confusion, such as Confusion, Tasha's Hideous Laughter, Otto's
Irresistible Dance, and Feeblemind.
[General, Bleak Cabal]
Many Bleakers swing from depressed to manic on a daily basis.
Prerequisite: Membership in the Bleak Cabal
Benefit: At the beginning of each day, you must roll a 1d20. If you
roll a 1-5, you are depressed for the day, and suffer a -1 morale penalty to all
attacks, skill checks, and saving throws for the day. In addiction,
if the result is a 1, you sink into a depressed state, overcome with melancholia
and the pointlessness of life. You won't do anything unless philosophically
convinced that it's worth it. Note that "Bob's being eaten by that
monster" is not a philosophical argument. If you roll a 15-20, you
are uncharacteristically happy, and receive a +1 morale bonus to all attacks,
skill checks, and saving throws for the day.
Apathy cannot inspire.
Ambivalence cannot lead.
Love would be glorious.
And pain would be beauty.
But I have looked into the Void, and the Void did not look back.
It doesn't care that I have seen it, and that I know it's secret.
There is nothing in the Void.
There is no point to it's being.
I wish there was a reason.
I wish the multiverse hated me.
Loved me. Feared me.
Changed me. Killed me.
Anything would be something.
But nothing is worst of all.
There is nothing in the Void,
But what we put there.
There is nothing.
- "The Point of It All," lyrics by Morvun, music by Phineas.
You wouldn't expect bards to be very popular in a faction like the Bleak
Cabal, and you'd be right. But there are some, called Bleakniks, that sing
about the meaninglessness of life and the sad pointlessness of it all.
The style has picked up a bit of popularity among City of Doors' art crowd
lately, and has even spawned imitators outside of the faction (though others
that try to emulate the Bleaknik's musical style do not gain the prestige
class's abilities). But despite it's current popularity with some folk,
most people just can't stand Bleaknik music, which is typified by a minimalist
structure to the songs and dark, depressing lyrics to accompany them.
Probably the best known Bleakniks are the fensir twins Morvun and Phineas.
They always perform together, with Morvun supplying the verse, and Phineas
playing hauntingly as the backup (using either a Howler skull made into a flute
or a drum made of the skull of an ash mephit). Phineas is by far the more
talented of the two, and while most of Sigil hates his music, the incredibly
talented singer and fortune teller Black Marion often attends his performances.
Morvun, on the other hand, writes mostly bad poetry, though he seems to be
given to bouts of creative genius, and occasionally his recitals are truly
moving, if still very depressing.
||Spells per day/
||Bleaknik Style, Bleaknik
Performance (Dirge of Despair)
||+1 spellcasting level
||Bleaknik Performance (Hymn
||Bleaknik Performance (Song of Madness)
||+1 spellcasting level
||+1 spellcasting level
||Bleaknik Performance (Ode of
||Bleaknik Performance (Greater Dirge of
||+1 spellcasting level
||+1 spellcasting level
||Bleaknik Performance (Lament of Insanity)
||+1 spellcasting level
To qualify as an Bleaknik, a character must fulfill all of the
Skills: Perform 8+ ranks
Other: Must be able to cast 1st level arcane spells.
A Bleaknik's class skills (and the key ability for each
skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Wis),
Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha),
Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Perform (Cha), Profession (Any), Spellcraft (Int), and Tumble (Dex).
Skill Points at Each Level 4 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the Bleaknik
Hit Die: d6
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Bleakniks
gain no new weapon or armor proficiencies.
Spells per day/ Spells known: Whenever an Bleaknik
gains a new level, they gain new spells per day and spells known
as if they had gained a level in an existing spellcasting class. If they
have levels in more than one spellcasting class, they must choose which one to
apply this to.
Bleaknik Style: A Bleaknik may no longer use
any bardic music abilities that include the word inspire, such as Inspire
Greatness or Inspire Courage.
Bleaknik Performance (Su): Bleaknik
Performance grants the bardic music ability of bards, and Bleakniks gain an
extra performance every level, just as normal Bards do. However, a
Bleaknik is capable of musical effects beyond that of other bards. A
Bleaknik Performance counts as a bardic music use, except where noted otherwise.
Most Bleaknik Performances state that they affect "all
enemies" or "all allies," but a Bleaknik may choose to have them
affect only some enemies if he wishes or affect some allies if he so chooses.
In truth, who is affected is entirely up to the Bleaknik, though all
Bleaknik Performances may only affect those that can hear them.
If a Bleaknik Performance allows a save, the DC is equal to 10 + the
Bleaknik's class level + his charisma modifier.
Dirge of Despiar: All enemies hearing a Song
of Despair receive a -1 penalty to attack and damage rolls, and a -2 to saves
vs. spells that cause madness or depression. Song of Despair dispels the
Emotion spell, and is dispelled by the Emotion spell when used as Emotion
(hope). A Song of Despair lasts as long as it is sung by the Bleaknik, and
for five rounds after he stops.
Hymn of Sorrow: Bringing forth feelings
of grief and sorrow about the meaninglessness of the multiverse, Lament of
Sorrow deals one point of temporary Wisdom damage to each person listening every
round. A Will save negates Lament of Sorrow, and a new save must be made
Song of Madness: The Bleknik's Song of Madness lets others glimpse
the Bleak Cabal's worldview, and see for themselves why the pointlessness of
life so often drives the Bleakers mad. Song of Madness duplicates the
effects of the spell Confusion, except it is always centered on the Bleaknik,
it's area of effect is limited only by the Bleaknik's voice, and it lasts only
as long as the Bleaknik sings. Song of Madness expends two Bardic Music
uses for the day. A successful Will save negates Song of Madness.
Ode of Hopelessness: Directing his soul-wrenching music at one
individual, the Bleaknik causes the target to fall into a deep despair as he
realizes the pointlessness of the multiverse and himself. For as long as
the Bleaknik sings and for three rounds thereafter, he cannot summon the will to
do anything beyond the most basic defense of his life. During the
performance, he is considered flatfooted, and stares blankly into space. He
will not move on his own, but will follow if led by the hand. A successful
Will save negates Ode of Hopelessness.
Greater Song of Despair: As Song of Despair, except it imposes a -2
penalty to attack and damage rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and weapon
damage rolls. Song of Despair dispels the Emotion spell, and cannot be dispelled
by it. Greater Song of Despair lasts for as long as the Bleaknik sings it,
and for five rounds after he stops.
Lament of Insanity: Through their music, a
Bleaknik may show others the utter pointlessness of the multiverse, visiting
insanity on them. The Bleaknik cannot choose what form this madness will
take, however. The DM may roll on the following table to determine the
result, or may simply select a mental disorder (the DM should feel free to add
to or change this list as he sees fit, as long as he does not create insanities
that are significantly more debilitating than what is below). A successful
Will save negates Lament of Insanity. The effect is permanent, and my only
be cured by a Heal, Miracle, Wish, or Limited Wish.
1: Subject is inflicted with insomnia, and is considered fatigued
2: Subject is affected as per Feeblemind spell.
3: Subject develops 1d4 split personalities, of the DM's choice that
manifest during any stressful situation (including combat).
4: Subject suffers alignment shift, roll randomly for new result
5: Subject becomes manic depressive, as per the Bleak Cabal feat, except
on a roll of 1-15, they are depressed for the day.
6: Subject becomes paranoid, and believes that all former friends are now
7: Subject becomes catatonic.
8: DM's choice
Insane Insight (Su): Once per day, the Bleaknik
can delve into his madness long enough to gain a glimpse of insight about a
person, object or location. This works similarly to a legend lore
spell, except that the casting time is always 1d4x10 minutes, and the Bleaknik
must succeed at a a will save against her own spell or be affected as if Feebleminded
Lhar, the first son of a blind father and an orc mother, was
abandoned as a child on the steps of the Gatehouse, and raised in the Orphanage
and Insane Asylum wing of the Bleaker's headquarters, under the eye then-factor
Tollysalmon and her staff. The Gatehouse wasn't exactly a loving
environment, and most of the orphans put there ended up running away when they
old enough to tie their shoes, but not Lhar. Oh, sure, he left once when
he went to try and find his parents, but when he found his old home occupied by
a new family, he simply returned to the orphanage. He never gave up on
finding them - he's still obsessed with the idea - but without any leads he's
devoted himself to other pursuits.
See, growing up in the Gatehouse's Orphanage and Insane
wing, Lhar saw the barmies and downtrodden of Sigil every day, and
deep empathy for them. Even as a child, he helped the adults deal
the barmies as often as he could, and as he got older he continued to
pitch. When he got old enough to join the faction, he signed
up immediately, and continued his work with little change. By the
time Tollysalmon became
Factol, he was ready to take over her old duties, and when the githyanki
mental breakdown six months later, he stepped in as the new
That was three years ago, and Lhar is still the Bleak
Cabal's factol. That's nearly a record by their standards - only
one other factol
has lasted longer, and everyone has heard the stories of what happened
to her. See, like most factions, only Bleakers that truly embrace
their philosophy, and (in the Cabal's case) really understand that there is no point to the multiverse
can hope to lead the faction. But by the same token, those that admit in
their deepest heart that their is no rhyme or reason to existence aren't the
sanest of individuals. Add to that the burden of commanding an entire
faction, and total mental breakdown generally ensues shortly thereafter.
And Lhar is beginning to crack as well. He's been one of
the faction's most active leaders ever, opening scores of new soup kitchens,
extending the Cabal's already sizable community service projects, and increasing
the faction's numbers. But all of this is taking a toll on him. Lhar
himself recognizes this, and has already prepared a quartet of successors that
will help guide the faction when he succumbs to the Grim Retreat (as the faction
calls it) and hopefully see him through the Retreat and out the other
side. See, Lhar hopes to be the first Cabal factol to ever return to the
job. Every other factol that's fallen to the Retreat has either died or is
still in the Criminally and Irretrievably Insane wing of the Gatehouse.
Tactics: Lhar is a scrapper that grew up
around the Gatehouse and the Hive, so he doesn't like backing down
from a fight - but at the
same time he's not stupid. He knows when he's outmatched, and when to
retreat. Additionally, he doesn't trust magic, believing
that it warps the wielder. His friends have convinced him to use
Adamantine at least, but
hew won't use anything else. His reduced CR reflects his lack
of equipment for a character of his level.
Lhar, M Half-Orc Fighter8 CR 6; Size: M; Type Humanoid; HD
(8d10)+16; hp 66; Init +2 (+2 Dex,); Spd Walk 20'; AC 23 (flatfooted 23, touch
11), *Sword (Bastard/Adamantine) +15/+10 (1d10+8 19-20/x2) ;
SA: Damage Reduction 1/-, Immune to Mind Affecting Effects, Orc Blood; Vision:
Darkvision (60'),Normal AL: CN; Sv: Fort +8, Ref +4, Will +8; Str 18, Dex 15,
Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8
Skills: Climb +3, Diplomacy +1, Jump +3, Ride +4
Feats: Apathy, Already Mad, Cleave, Exotic Weapon
Proficiency, Manic Depressive, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (Sword
(Bastard/1-H)), Weapon Specialization (Sword (Bastard/1-H))
Possessions: Sword (Bastard/Adamantine), Banded
Mail (Adamantine), Large Steel Shield (Adamantine),