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Sigil, the Cage, City of Doors

Sigil City of Doors Map.jpg
  Sigil, the largest planar metropolis in the Planes, and one of the most important cities in all of the multiverse, is located in an impossible location: at the top of the Infinite Spire in the center of the Outlands. The City of Doors is located in the inside face of a large torus that floats in the center of the Outlands, making everything about the City absolutely unique. No matter where a cutter stands in the city, if they look up to the skies they’ll see nothing but more buildings.   The Cage is not like any other place in the multiverse. An infinity of portals link Sigil to everywhere in the multiverse – any doorway, window, arch, or frame might be a dormant portal waiting for the right link to activate it and send an unwary sod to the deepest pits of the Abyss. But this makes the city vitally important to trade throughout the Planes – here, merchants from everywhere gather and meet to sell and distribute their wares. Business is conducted between opposing parties, adventurers come to launch expeditions into the Planes, and the unfortunates of the Planes get marooned in its back alleys. Cutters can learn the way of the Cage – even Primes – while the Clueless are left behind to die.   Sigil is a torus with a 5 mile diameter and a 20 mile circumference – at least by official Guvner records. In truth, the layout of the city is mutable at the whims of the Lady of Pain, although this magical shifting is very rarely apparent, and is notable only in the Hive, where it’s said the Lady hides her Mazes. Despite this large size – at 20 miles of surface, the city is huge – the city always feels crowded. Tiny spaces in buildings that would normally house closets or pantries instead become shops or whole apartments for families. Buildings crowd each other overhead, and some streets are cut off from the skies altogether, cut off by buildings and other streets.   The city is divided into six different Wards, with each Ward divided into various districts and neighborhoods. The Wards aren’t delineated by borders or lines – it’s hard for even the oldest Cagers to tell specifically where one Ward ends and the other begins. Wards are more delineated by the people who live and toil in the Wards – as various neighborhoods fall into disrepair or grow into prosperity, they shift and grow and fall into different Wards.  

The Lady of Pain

The Lady of Pain is the enigmatic ruler of the city of Sigil. She is sometimes described as a floating, robed, giant-sized woman with a mantle of blades around her expressionless face. The Lady is said to have the power to control each and every portal in Sigil, opening and barring them at will. The dabus, her servants, maintain the city, forever fixing and patching its streets at her unspoken command. For all her power, she apparently refuses to be worshipped as a goddess, and anyone brave (or foolish) enough to worship her has met a grisly demise in the shadow of her blades.  

Gate Keys

Not every portal requires a gate key to operate, but many do. To use such a portal, a traveller needs to have the gate key when he or she steps through. Many gate keys allow their portal to remain open for a short time, which lets multiple travellers pass through with the use of a single gate key.   Gate keys tend to be objects or phrases that are neither too common nor too rare. They aren’t so common as to cause accidental use of a given portal, nor are they so rare that a portal can never be used. (Although both such portals can exist somewhere in Sigil, and these alien lead to the wildest adventures)   Gate keys, once established, never change. A gate key usually has a connection to its portal’s destination. providing a clue to where a portal opens up to when the path isn’t widely known. Numerous proprietors throughout Sigil claim to keep logs marking portals, their destinations, and the gate keys required to operate them (if any), and for a price they are usually willing to provide such information to those who ask.  

Sigil Permanent Portals

A permanent portal has an opening in Sight and an opening some place else (on another plane, in the natural world, or in some pocket dimension) that are always available for use. Every time you step through a permanent portal, you know where you’re going to end up. There are no surprises. (Unless, of course, you have no idea where a particular portal connects to.)   Permanent portals tend to connect relatively safe and stable locations. such as gate towns. to Sigil. Many permanent portals are known by someone in Sigil and the information pertaining to them tends to be valuable currency within the City of Doors.  

Magic in Sigil

The very nature of magic is limited in its effect in Sigil. The city walls act as a barrier to the multiverse, nothing is capable of passing through except through the portals. This has the following effects:
• Summoning spells that draw a creature from another plane automatically fail upon casting.
• Divine powers and spells of 9th level do not function in Sigil.
• Plane Shifting into and out of the City does not function and fails to cast.
• Scrying and planar communication does not enter or exit Sigil.
• Mind control effects such as Suggestion, Dominate Monster and a Succubus charm are immediately dispelled upon crossing a portal into or out of Sigil, by other the one who cast it or the one affected.
• Concentration of a spell is broken immediately upon entering or exiting a Sigil portal.
• Bags of Holding and other-dimensional spaces lose their connection with their link in the astral plane. It will simply appear as black void until it exits the city, where it will regain its connection and function normally.  


Services offered in Sigil included:   Touts - Unofficial city guides. It is highly recommended that planewalkers new to Sigil employed a guide, lest they be taken advantage of or mugged. Since there as no central agency or any regulation of the profession, such guides could be little better themselves, either serving to persuade a traveler to the side of their faction or simply robbing their "customer" once their backs were turned.   Factotums - The city's official guides. Regulated by their respective factions, they guided visitors through not only the city's mazes, but its convoluted politics as well.   Public transportation - Sigil had no horses, its transportation system consists of sedan chairs, or litters that could hold up to two people each. The service did not extend to the entire city, as some dangerous areas were avoided by sedan chair pullers.   Couriers - These are hired to deliver messages around the city. It is a dangerous job, so the service is not entirely reliable.   Light boys - Street urchins who offered escorting services via wands of continual light, since Sigil did not possess streetlights. They were familiar with many of the city's intricacies, so they could act as unofficial guides as well.  

Day and Night

Sigil has no sun or moon, but it still has a day-night cycle. Each twenty-four-hour period slides from deep darkness to bright light and back again on a regular cycle. The sky gradually fills with a magical luminescence until the light reaches its brightest intensity (the equivalent of noon in the natural world), and then it begins to fade.   At daybreak, the darkness gradually brightens to dawn, with the light increasing in intensity until midday. The light then steadily wanes into a twilight gloom before plunging into blackest night. Unless the night is particularly overcast or foggy, some ambient light shines down from above. This is not the light of distant stars or a moon, since Sigil has none of these.   Instead, the fires burning in the streets and buildings above light the night sky with flickering pinpoints of brightness. The overall cycle provides six hours of bright daylight and six hours of deepest night, each separated by a six-hour period of gloomy twilight.  

Factions of Sigil

Most everyone who lives in Sigil remembers, or was told of, the upheaval that factions once caused in the city. At one time, there were perhaps a hundred different factions, all scheming for control of the city. After all, the person who controls the city also controls access to the known multiverse!   The fighting between factions ended in a bloody, two-week conflict that brought Sigil to a halt. The Lady of Pain ended it practically overnight when (speaking through a Dabus) she told them that no more than 12 factions would be permitted in Sigil: figure it out, or die. Some factions left Sigil, others did merge, and others simply disappeared, although whether their members simply quit or they were “taken out” by the Lady of Pain is up for dispute.   The remaining 12 factions that came out of the turmoil were larger and stronger than ever, and began to assume control of the city. Many sought out individuals who could hold them together, and with less competition, began to heavily recruit members, spreading out to other planes. For a time there was the peace and order that people believe the Lady of Pain sought. But as many Planars know, things come in “threes”. There would be a third act.   Most of the factions have a home outside of Sigil, but the front lines of belief are fought within the City of doors.   The Athar are most commonly found around the Great Spire in the Outlands, but members also travel with relative frequency to the Astral Plane. They believe the deities are unworthy of worship, and to do so reinforces their subjugation of mortals. To the Lost, deities are just incredibly powerful individuals, but are just as flawed as lesser beings and should not be idolized. Their home in Sigil is the Shattered temple.   Bleak Cabal is most commonly found in Pandemonium and its gate-town, Bedlam. It‘s members believe the multiverse has no purpose or deeper meaning, and every individual must find their own reasons and motivation from within. Though largely humanist in nature, the Bleakers often fall prey to depression and madness due to the implications of their beliefs. They can often be found supporting soup kitchens and other works of relief across the gate-towns and Sigil.   Doomguard calls the negative Quasielemental Planes its home, though wild rumors place some Sinkers as fortifying in the Abyss as well. Their philosophy revolves around entropy, the force of decay that they believe to be the only constant on the planes. Whether that entropy needs to be assisted or stymied varies from member to member, but they have developed reputation as destruction-mongers.   Dustmen have their outpost upon the Negative Energy Plane, though a number of them are still active in Sigil’s mortuary. They believe that this life is a shadow of real existence, and that everyone has already died and transitioned to this poor substitute. Seeing no value in this life, the Dustmen accept death, and work to prepare themselves for True Death and whatever stage of existence exists beyond it.   Fated are often found in Ysgard and its gate-town, Glorium. The Takers accept that life is tough, but assert that it’s survival of the fittest, and that each individual has the right to do whatever it takes to survive and prosper. The multiverse exists for those that can take it, and those who won’t fight for their piece deserve to be shoved aside.   Fraternity of Order is centered on Mechanus and its gate-town, Automata. Understanding the laws of the multiverse provides influence over it, the Guvners say, and those that learn to exploit these rules will have true power. Their hunger for power is well known, and most folks are watchful of them despite their relatively inoffensive nature.   Free League is spread evenly around the Outlands and gate-towns, spreading its philosophy of individual independence from the dictates of others. The Indeps believe the minds of the planes should be free from the thought police of the factions, and allowed to develop their own beliefs. While not advocates of revolution like the Revolutionary League, the Free League has often been persecuted by various groups because of its resistance to authority.   Harmonium is mainly found in Arcadia and the Upper Planes, enforcing its belief in a unified, planes-wide organization. Peace, the Hardheads say, can only be achieved by getting every person across the planes to believe in the same ideals. Naturally, their beliefs are best suited for the task, so peace requires enlisting everyone into being a member of the Harmonium. While seemingly well meaning, the Hardheads have clearly gotten out of hand on a number of occasions, and people across the planes are often polarized between seeing them as saviors or thugs.   Revolutionary League is a loosely knit alliance of various anti-authoritarian cells spread across the planes, with its central holdings in Carceri. The Anarchs seek freedom from authority, and the total liberation of the planes from high-ups and hierarchies. Only once the chains of society are cast down will everyone be free to find the truth of the multiverse. Anarchists to a fault, they are rarely trusted. On the other hand, they often find alliances with the oppressed and dispossessed.   Society of Sensation is based out of Arborea, where it demonstrates its philosophy that experience equals power. That doesn’t mean simply length or depth of experience (though those are nice), but breadth. The Sensates believe experiencing something is the only way to understand it, and so to understand the multiverse one must expose oneself to as much of its experiences as possible.   Transcendent Order centers in the serene locale of Elysium, seeking to attain unity of mind and thought. Deliberation and hesitation are flaws from the standpoint of their members, and the Ciphers believe that by purifying action into instinct one can discover their role in the multiverse. That role often brings them into the center of conflicts as a mediating force, bringing balance and calm to otherwise unstable situations.   Xaositects are everywhere, but find their natural home is Limbo. Chaotic in the extreme, they think that disorder is the true state of the multiverse, and the only state worth seeking. True freedom and strength can only be found by loosing the shackles of reason and conformity according to their example, if not precisely their teachings. Most people simply think them mad, and often the Xaositects only back that up with their bizarre actions and schemes.  

Sigil's Wards

The city is divided into wards. and each ward’s name speaks to what you can expect to find in that section of the city. Where one ward starts and another ends isn’t handled by official maps and property lines. You can usually tell where you arc by the crowding of the buildings for lack thereof), by the general upkeep and ambience of a neighborhood. and by the types of businesses found there. The poorer the ward, the more tightly packed and run-down the living conditions become. Generally, everyone agrees that Sigil has six distinct wards, and these are spread out in a clockwise direction around the hollow ring. The six wards are The Lady’s Ward, the Market Ward, the Guildhall Ward, the Clerk’s Ward, the Lower Ward. and the Hive.  
Sigil City of Doors District Map.jpg

The Lady's Ward

Always “The Lady’s” Ward, and the “t” is always capitalized – is the home to Sigil’s powerful elite. The nicest of Sigil’s wards, it attracts the most powerful and the richest and most influential – cutters looking to rub elbows with high ups could do worse than make their way to The Lady’s Ward.  

Market Ward

The main location for purchasing goods and services. It is famous for offering items from numerous planes and worlds.  

Guildhall Ward

Usually counted as part of the Market Ward. Home to the traders, craftsmen, artisans, guild members and other members of the middle class.  

Clerk's Ward

The Clerk’s Ward is the bureaucratic center of the city, where things are documented in triplicate. Being the best patrolled neighborhood in all of the city also means that anyone who can afford to live here (no easy feat) will likely move here.  

Hive Ward

The Hive Ward is the slum and the ghetto, home to the poor, the rogues, and the unwanted dregs of the city.  

Lower Ward

The Lower Ward is Sigil’s beating industrial heart, churning out the tools and supplies that make city life possible. This is where the blue collar workers live, where goods are made, and where goods are stored.  

Under Sigil

The UnderSigil is not a ward, but is any area found under the streets of Sigil. It includes the sewers, catacombs and dungeons excavated by surface dwellers.
The Lady of Pain Art.jpg
Her Serenity, The Lady of Pain
Sigil Torus.jpg
Sigil's Torus

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