Campaign of the Month: April 2011
Sigil is located atop the Spire in the Outlands. It has the shape of a torus; the city itself is located on the inner surface of the ring. There is no sky, simply an all-pervasive light that waxes and wanes to create day and night. Sigil cannot be entered or exited save via portals; although this makes it quite safe from any would-be invader, it also makes it a prison of sorts for those not possessing a portal key. Thus, sometimes Sigil is called “The Cage”. Though Sigil is pseudo-geographically located “at the center of the planes” (where it is positioned atop the infinitely tall Spire), scholars argue that this is impossible since the planes are infinite in all dimensions, and therefore there can never truly be a center to any of them, let alone all of them; thus, Sigil is of no special importance. Curiously, from the Outlands one can see Sigil atop the supposedly infinite Spire.
Sigil contains innumerable portals that can lead to anywhere in the multiverse: any bounded opening (a doorway, an arch, a barrel hoop, a picture frame) could possibly be a portal to another plane, or to another point in Sigil itself. Thus, the city is a paradox: it touches all planes at once, yet ultimately belongs to none; from these characteristics it draws its other name: “The City of Doors”.
The ruler of Sigil is the mysterious Lady of Pain. The Lady is sometimes seen in Sigil as a floating, robed Lady with a face bearing a mantle of blades. The Lady does not concern herself with the laws of the city; she typically only interferes when something threatens the stability of Sigil itself. However, she is an entity of inscrutable motives, and often those who cross her path, even accidentally, are flayed to death or teleported to her hidden Mazes, lost forever. It is widely believed that she never speaks, although some unconfirmed (and, most would argue, highly questionable) rumours to the contrary do exist. Sigil is also highly morphic, allowing its leader to alter the city at her whim.
Sigil is, theoretically, a completely neutral ground: no wars are waged there and no armies pass through. Furthermore, no powers (such as deities) are allowed to enter into Sigil; the Lady has barred them from the Cage, some disguised avatars have made it in and been promptly dispatched by the Lady. It is also of great interest to them, as they could use Sigil to send their worshipers anywhere, and it is at the center of the Outer Planes.
Sigil is hardly peaceful; with such a condensed population, consisting of everything from angelic devas to demonic glabrezu, violence is common, usually befalling the foolhardy, the incautious, or the poor. Most natives of Sigil (“Cagers”) are quite jaded as a result of living there.
People coming to Sigil from the Prime Material Plane are often treated as clueless inferiors by the planar elitists who dwell there. They are thus widely referred to as the “Clueless”, or more charitably, as “Primes”.
Sigil is divided into six districts, called wards:
The wards aren’t official designations—no walls divide them from one another—but everyone knows the difference between one ward and the next, even if they don’t agree on exactly where that difference begins and ends. Still, it’s important for visitors to know what’s where, so they don’t wander where they aren’t wanted. In some locales, that might earn them a warning, but in others, it might get them a knife between the ribs.
Lower Ward: The Lower Ward is perhaps the most symbolic of the Cage as a whole. It gets its name from the large number of portals to the Lower Planes found there, portals through which a foul, sulfurous stench billows, filling the area. Still, it’s hard to avoid the Lower Ward, since most of the city’s craftsmen live and work there, and the place is full of forges, mills, warehouses, and workshops.
The Lady’s Ward: Going counterclockwise around the ring of Sigil, the next stop is The Lady’s Ward (and yes, the locals can hear you capitalize all three of those words), The Lady of Pain doesn’t actually live here, but rich citizens and most of Sigil’s temples lie within this ward. The Lady’s Ward has power, wealth, and majesty, and knows how to show it off.
Market Ward: In the Market Ward, everything is for sale. The wealth of Sigil may be concentrated in The Lady’s Ward, but it’s spent here, whether on goods, services, information, reputation, or anything else your heart desires. The best place to get it all is the Grand Bazaar, an immense plaza filled with shops, tents, and stalls offering wares from dozens of planes and strange worlds. As the old saying goes, if you can’t find it here, it probably doesn’t (or shouldn’t) exist. Prices can vary wildly, from dirt cheap (for merchants with an unexpected overstock) to many times the normal value (for goods in sudden short supply, due to a faulty portal or a band of planar marauders).
Guildhall Ward: Many visitors can’t tell the difference between the Guildhall Ward and the Market Ward. Even some locals claim that only tradition separates them. Since guilds haven’t played a particularly significant role in Sigil for Centuries, one can guess that the name itself owes a lot to tradition. Today, the Guildhall Ward serves as the domain of the middle class of Sigil. Many merchants who hawk their wares in the Marked Ward during the day sleep here at night, and many who deal in services (rather than selling finished goods) live and work here as well. The Guildhall Ward also houses many racial neighborhoods, from the transplanted halfling hill of Curly-Foot, to the bariaur neighborhood of Ghundarhavel, to the githyanki community of Git’riban.
Clerk’s Ward: Before the Great Upheaval, the Clerk’s Ward held the bureaucracy of Sigil, but that’s all gone now, and some wonder what keeps the Clerk’s Ward busy. The concern appears well founded; many whisper that the Clerk’s Ward is starting to crumble at the edges, as the filthy Hive encroaches upon its territory. Behind the scenes, though, the Clerk’s Ward is finding new purpose as a quiet place to get things done without a lot of attention. Some criminal organizations looking to improve their lot have moved from the Lower Ward or the Hive into the Clerk’s Ward, and the fact that the locals here tend to respect each other’s privacy just encourages activities of an illicit nature. Of course, it wouldn’t be Sigil if everything made sense, so the Clerk’s Ward is also home to one of the flashiest places in the city—the Civic Festhall. Run by a group calling itself the Society of Sensation (a faction, back when the Lady allowed such things), the Festhall combines the best aspects of a concert hall, museum, and a tavern while simultaneously serving as the centerpiece of an artistic neighborhood that brings travelers from across the multiverse. It’s the best place in Sigil to see or be seen.
The Hive: Many locals claim that the Hive isn’t a ward so much as it’s the lack of a ward. Both the name for the region between the Lower Ward and the Clerk’s Ward and for the chaotic, sprawling slum in its center, the Hive crawls with scum and villainy of all stripes. The lowest of the low live in the Hive—those who can’t afford (or don’t dare) to rub elbows with the more fortunate folks. In effect, the Hive is like a miniature version of Sigil itself, with everything that is needed in daily life: taverns and inns aplenty, entertainment, and services from escorts to sellswords. The quality may be questionable, but the prices can’t be beat. The Gatehouse Night Market offers nearly everything one could find in the Grand Bazaar ( and a few things one couldn’t), though it’s best not to think too hard about where they came from.