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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 downtrodden.  

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 madness.



Apathy [General, Bleak Cabal]
Bleakers don't believe that anything really matters, and because of that believe things do matter less to them. 
Membership in the Bleak Cabal
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.

Already Mad [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.

Manic Depressive [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.


Special Spells per day/ 
Spells known
1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Bleaknik Style, Bleaknik Performance (Dirge of Despair)  
2 +1 +0 +0 +3 +1 spellcasting level
3 +2 +1 +1 +3 Bleaknik Performance (Hymn of Sorrow)  
4 +3 +1 +1 +4 Bleaknik Performance (Song of Madness)   +1 spellcasting level
5 +3 +1 +1 +4 Insane Insight  
6 +4 +2 +2 +5 +1 spellcasting level
7 +5 +2 +2 +5 Bleaknik Performance (Ode of Hopelessness)  
8 +6 +2 +2 +6 Bleaknik Performance (Greater Dirge of Despair) +1 spellcasting level
9 +6 +3 +3 +6   +1 spellcasting level
10 +7 +3 +3 +7 Bleaknik Performance (Lament of Insanity) +1 spellcasting level


To qualify as an Bleaknik, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.
Skills:  Perform 8+ ranks
Other:  Must be able to cast 1st level arcane spells.

Class Skills

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.

Class Features
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 every round.
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 constantly.
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 against him.
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



Factol Lhar

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 were 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 Asylum wing, Lhar saw the barmies and downtrodden of Sigil every day, and developed a deep empathy for them.  Even as a child, he helped the adults deal with 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 had her mental breakdown six months later, he stepped in as the new Factol.  

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 in and 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),