You are a member of the Athar, a faction that believes that the gods do not deserve the worship of mortals. You have been trained by them to read and write, as they endeavor to empower people to make their own way in life, without the help of some supernatural parental figure, and you work for them in small ways around town, running schools, writing tracts, and debating the priests throughout Sigil.
Skill Proficiencies: Persuasion, Relgion
Tool Proficiencies: Scribe's Supplies
Languages: One language of your choice
Equipment: Scribe’s supplies, a desecrated holy symbol, a set of common clothes including a faction badge sewn into them, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp
Feature: One of the Lost
Your reputation as an Athar member allows you to request shelter of any other member, and they are obliged to give it (though you must give in return when asked). You also are welcome at the Shattered Temple in the Lower Ward, have access to its library, and are free to earn some coin by working in the Scriptorium (about 1 gp per day, enough for a Modest lifestyle) copying books and printing tracts. You are also welcome at the Athar Citadel on the Astral Plane, where much of the advanced faction training goes on. You know of a portal that goes to the Citadel, along with the portal key. You also know of a portal (and its key) to one safe-house in a ruined temple somewhere in the planes.
If you gain a point of Inspiration for adhering to your faction philosophy, you may use it to impose disadvantage on an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check made by a fiend, a celestial, or any creature that worships a deity. The target of this ability must be able to hear you.
Examples of things that might give you Inspiration may include
- Refusing healing or enhancement from a follower of a specific deity or pantheon.
- Speaking open blasphemy in the church or realm of a deity.
- Destroying or defacing a god's holy symbol.
Athar are defined by a continuous quest for truth – one that often leads Athar members into plenty of trouble. Their personality traits can be shaped by this quest, and the troubles it has brought them, including the rejection of the gods. Their flaws tend to find them focusing much on the negative aspects of their philosophy, on negating the Powers rather than on supporting the People.
|0||1||Namer||While attuned, you are hidden from divination magic. While cloaked, you can't be targeted by divination magic or perceived by divination spells, including through magical scrying sensors.|
|5||2||Athaon||While attuned, celestials, fiends, and creatures that worship deities have disadvantage on attack rolls against you, and you can't be charmed, frightened, or possessed by them. Those creatures also cannot use magic to read your thoughts, determine whether you are lying, know your alignment, or know your creature type, and can telepathically communicate with you only if you allow it. If you are already charmed, frightened, or possessed by one of these creatures, you can make a saving throw with advantage, and you gain advantage on any new saving throw against the relevant effect.|
|10||3||Factor||While attuned, you can use your action to cast banishment (your DC is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier). You may cast this in conjunction with other attuned characters — every attuned character after the first allows you to target an additional creature with the spell.|
Joining the Athar
Athar membership has a pretty diverse alignment scope — there are Lawful Defiers who seek the true hidden heirarchy of the multiverse, Chaotic members that value their individual liberty, Good ones that want to empower those laboring under lies, and Evil ones who find the message of personal empowerment very interesting. Overall, this diversity leads to Neutral ideals dominating — the Athar overall are concerned with their message of salvation from the gods, for whatever reason one seeks that.
Among the planar races other than human, the githzerai are especially common as Athar members, as they hold no faith in any god, and are especially sensitive to the idea of mental structures and confinement. Some planetouched (especially those touched by planes other than the Outer Planes) are also drawn to the idea that the divinities that live on the planes may not be the true authority of reality.
The bulk of the Athar is - perhaps paradoxically - made up of members of the Cleric and Paladin classes. Though members of these classes in other settings are known for devout worship of a god, crediting their magical abilities with a god's blessing, it is known in Planescape that divine power doesn't need a god to be used, and the Athar teach this as broadly as possible. Many take up the mantle of these classes to prove that it is not divine grace that allows miracles, but "mere" mortal power. Some will even credit their divine energy to a mysterious source beyond the deities, called "The Great Unknown," which is said to be the source of all divine energy and the true force of creation in the multiverse.
Goals and Advancement
Overall, the Athar seek to preach their message and undermine their enemies. Their public goals are typically education and evangelism — they play the persecuted martyr, and it is true that it is difficult to find safe haven as a Defier on the Outer Planes (what with all the gods). Behind the scenes, the Athar are suspected of campaigns of damage, defacement, and destruction of temples and believers. Characters can gain Renown by completing missions for the faction that make the planes a safer place for the faithless. Some typical adventures may include…
- Protect a Voice: A member of the faction known for speaking in dangerous lands is being persecuted by a powerful church, and needs protection — but the church might be too powerful to fight head-on.
- Destroy a Cult: The Athar have received word of a group of cultists trying to raise a being to divine status, and they need folks to help take it out.
- Explore a Ruined Temple: The Athar have discovered a ruined temple dedicated to a divinity that isn't in their archives, and haunted by monsters. Find out what you can about this dead god, and what happened to it.
Lawful Good Male Human Cleric (Level 19)
Terrance is a gentle, hopeful man. He grew up on Elysium, where he served as a cleric of the goddess Mishakal in her realm. His faith in her was lost slowly, as he realized she was more of a powerful personality than a source of divine inspiration and aid. She wasn't able to credit for any of his problems, she never gave him guidance, and he never felt her strength….so he left her church, and found his way to the Athar. He is moderate, kind, and serene. He takes a particular interest in the advancement of the knowledge of the Great Unknown.
Chaotic Good Male Planetouched (tiefling) Ranger (Level 4)
Caylean is joyful, boisterous, and energetic. Miracles seem to follow him around. When he was born, his legs were withered and stunted, and he was unable to walk. No god or temple could heal his affliction, but when he denounced these gods as frauds, he was suddenly able to walk again. After joining the Athar, he took up residence with a poor family, and he is a welcome bit of cheer in their poverty-stricken house, able to make the children laugh and giving joy to the parents. He serves as a guide and messenger, and is delighted simply by the act of walking, running, and dancing.
Chaotic Neutral Male Githzerai Wizard (Level 9)
Hobard is pessimistic, drab, and loves to complain. Many of his endeavors turn out very successful despite his whining and doomsaying. Enough success accompanies him that he is often invited on planewalking expeditions by other Athar members as a token of good luck. His specialty is sneaky, petty nastiness, and he delights in playing cruel pranks on temples, churches, and monasteries whenever he can.