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The Factol's Manifesto (2e)

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This volume's outlawed in the Cage, berk? it's a crime just to own it. 'Course, that makes it required reading for peery cutters. Which factol's gone barmy, and which one ain't quite alive? Who tops the Hardheads' hit list, and who's a Sensate spy? What portals, spells, and powers can a factioneer use to give his foes the laugh? Catch the chant here!

Designed for players and Dungeon Masters alike,The Factol's Manifesto provides a covert look at Sigil's 15 factions? the bands whose philosophies shape the multiverse. For each faction, get the dirt on:

  • Secret histories, current plans, and raging conflicts.
  • Headquarters and other safe houses, including detailed, full-color maps.
  • Bloods a basher's bound to meet, from the factol on down.
  • New and vital abilities for the faithful.

Product History

"The Factol's Manifesto" (1995), by Dori Jean Hein, Tim Beach, and J.M. Salsbury, is a splatbook for the Planescape setting. It was published in June 1995.

About the Title. What's a factol? It's the "high-up in charge" of a Sigil faction. Good 'ole Planescape cant!

Origins (I): The Sigil Trilogy(s). The Planescape Campaign Setting (1994) said "the number 3's important - some say it's got power. Things out here tend to happen in threes, like Prime Material, Inner, and Outer Planes; Good, Evil, and Neutrality; Law, Chaos, and Neutrality; even prime, planar, and petitioner … See two things and ask, 'Where's the third?'"

In 1995 TSR published two books about the center of the multiverse: "A Player's Primer to the Outlands" (1995) in April, then "In the Cage: A Guide to Sigil" (1995) in May. Where's the third, you might ask. It's "The Factol's Manifesto" (1995), published just a month later, in June. While "In the Cage" gave very little attention to the factions of Sigil, that's what "The Factol's Manifesto" is all about.

But maybe we counted wrong, because a year later TSR decided to supplement the center of the multiverse trilogy with "Uncaged: Faces of Sigil". So maybe it was a Sigil trilogy all along, and "A Player's Primer to the Outlands" was just a complementary release.

Origins (II): Splat! Factional splatbooks were big news (and big sales) in the roleplaying industry of the '90s. They were especially important at White Wolf who put out long series of clanbooks, tribebooks, tradition books, guildbooks, and kithbooks for their many World of Darkness games.

TSR's "PHBR" series (1989-1995) was sort of splatty but it focused on mechanics. "The Factol's Manifesto" was TSR's other approach to the popular topic. Like the White Wolf books, it concentrated on the fluff of player organizations, to enable and empower characters. However, it jammed the material on all fifteen of Planescape's factions into one book. This was how things had been done in proto-splatbooks like Chaosium's Cults of Prax (1979) and Lion Rampant's The Order of Hermes (1990) but it was still a major step away from the player-oriented organization books that consumed the rest of the industry at the time.

Origins (III): The Factions. The factions of this "Manifesto" didn't come out of nowhere. They were a crucial part of the Planescape setting from the start, receiving a page each in "A Player's Guide to the Planes" and a few additional pages in "Sigil and Beyond", all in the original box. However, Dragon #213 (January 1995) offered an equally important breakthrough. In "Godsmen, Bleakers, Guvnors & Takers", Rich Baker spent another half-dozen pages describing secrets of the factions, secrets that were then built upon in this "Manifesto".

If you wanted a sillier take on Planescape factions, that appeared in "April Fool's Faxions" in Dragon #216 (April 1995). Unshockingly, those new "faxions" aren't referenced herein.

Origins (IV): Musical Designers. In the '70s and even into the '80s, TSR's campaign worlds had pretty singular visions. Greyhawk was the creation of Gary Gygax, Dragonlance was Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's child, and the Known World came under the strong guiding hand of Bruce Heard.

By the '90s, this was dramatically changing. Core designers were often brought in to create a world, then other hands took over its maintenance. Thus, Monte Cook was one of the main creators of Planescape, but TSR soon turned it over to others (while Monte Cook himself left the company).

The fractures that this could cause in TSR's lines was obvious in a Monte Cook interview, when he said, "As for Factol's Manifesto, some of the sections I think are great expansions on the faction background, but there are a few (particularly the Mercykillers, unless my memory is toast) that seemed to wildly miss the point, even to the extent of making the faction unplayable."

Bits & Pieces: A Unique Accessory. "The Factol's Manifesto" came with a neat little artifact: a bookmark ribbon that reads "Banned in Sigil". It gives the book part of its in-world feel, but it also feels like a jab at the BADDs and other censors of the '80s who tried to ban D&D.

Metaplotting Along. Though "The Factol's Manifesto" is about the current state of the factions of Sigil, those factions all feel like they're on the verge of war, making this book a prelude to the major metaplot events of "Faction War" (1998).

Exploring the Great Wheel. After "In the Cage", "The Factol's Manifesto" is the second most important book detailing Sigil, because it focuses on the factions that underlie the fabric of Sigilian society.

NPCs of Note. The in-game portions of "The Facto's Manifesto" are written by a mysterious "editor". A few years later, "Faction War" would reveal that editor was A'kin the friendly fiend, introduced several months earlier in "Planar Personalities", another Planescape article from Dragon #213.

About the Creators. Hein was a frequent editor and project coordinator at TSR, but only received credit for writing on a few supplements. Salsbury only has two writing credits himself, with his other being a co-authorship of "The Deva Spark" (1994). Of the three, Beach was the biggest workhorse for TSR in the early '90s, though this was his only Planescape work, and one of his last TSR books overall.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (6)
Discussions (6)
Customer avatar
Dennis N August 22, 2023 4:32 pm UTC
Is the currently offered scan still as bad as Donovan suggested two years ago?
Customer avatar
Donovan A October 04, 2023 5:03 am UTC
Donovan here,
I just redownloaded the latest copy to see if they fixed it and it hasn't changed.
Pages still out of order and all of the other issues, too.
Customer avatar
Dennis N October 30, 2023 4:13 pm UTC
Oh, damn... :(
Thanks for replying!
Customer avatar
Nick S April 01, 2021 6:24 pm UTC
I have contacted both DMs Guild and WotC about quality problems with this product and they simply don't care.

The Factol's Manifesto (2e): The content does not fit the dimensions of the page (they are small rectangles within the page -- the edges do not touch), the cover is damaged (cracks and creases on left-hand side), text is super blurry and washed out -- headings in yellow text are impossible to read
Customer avatar
Nick S November 08, 2021 9:48 pm UTC
November 2021: The book has been updated. "The book has been rescanned for legibility, and an additional ZIP file containing printable poster segments has been added."

WAY more readable plus it's OCR'd and the artwork isn't as compressed and looks better. OK to buy now.

Thanks to whoever rescanned this!
Customer avatar
Benjamin A February 11, 2021 7:59 pm UTC
Really, REALLY enjoying this book, glad I got the POD. Lots of juicy information, and not too much crunch. I'm currently DMing a homebrewed 5E Planescape campaign with my group, so combining the info herein with the 5E DMG's section on Renown; the faction abilities in this book line up nicely with the renown system. Giving my players the possibility of eventually becoming the Factols of their respective factions... which would lead to some interesting possibilities for political intrigue in Sigil...
Customer avatar
Matt B May 24, 2019 7:20 pm UTC
Great POD copy.
Customer avatar
Justin C February 04, 2019 2:56 pm UTC
Waiting and hoping for a hardcover PoD.
Customer avatar
Brad M May 18, 2018 10:42 pm UTC
Is it just me, or is the full-size preview of this book ... blurry? Did anybody find that their PDF was blurry? Did anyone order the print-on-demand book and find it equally blurry?
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File Last Updated:
November 08, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on January 17, 2017.