What's a Sect?
of the Vine
Copyright 1999 by Scott
History and Philosophy
Symmetrists originally began as a small movement on
Carceri several centuries prior to Sigil's Great
Upheaval. The movement felt that each plane must remain
independent and separate because of a perceived threat to
planar balance. The concept of planar balance was widely
debated among sages. Some evidence suggested that many
planes shared related and similar life forms, but some
also had life forms that were completely unique. However,
most graybeards, except for the rilmani, disagreed over
the idea that the multiverse was somehow balanced and
that each plane was unique. Their view was that any such
theory was based on inaccurate observations and flawed
reasoning. They believed that each plane was simply an
open warehouse, to be exploited at will. However, on
Carceri a small, but vocal minority said it was the
majority who was mistaken. Just because a planar balance
could not be rigorously demonstrated did not mean that it
did not exist. It could be in a form unknown, and perhaps
unknowable, to planar observers.
sages, the forerunners of the Symmetrist movement, said
that each plane was a link in a chain of life that had
evolved according to the rhythms of the multiverse's
natural ebb and flow of matter and energy. To those who
accepted the Carcerianís postulates, planar
balance could be perceived as a single creature,
indescribably vast. To interfere with this natural state
by traveling between the planes through portals and
conduits and thus subjecting delicately balanced planes
indiscriminately to the shock of foreign plants, animals,
disease, and ideals over the course of cycles and even
eons, would be a crime of outrageous
the current factions were allowing all efforts to explore
the different aspects of the multiverse, the movement on
Carceri began appealing directly to the citizens of Sigil
and the planes. They called for the City of Doors to be
closed. They further argued that the factions must be
stewards of planar balance, not exploiters. The citizens
of the multiverse had a responsibility to recognize and
preserve the symmetry of all planes and all things. The
highest ideal of that symmetry stated that the multiverse
was no different from a living being. Therefore, the
factions must accept the sanctity of the planes
Symmetrists pleaded with the factions to amend the laws
and begin to close the portals of Sigil and the planes.
But, the factions rejected the Symmetrists' arguments as
unfounded, unproven, downright barmy, and perhaps more
importantly, as potentially expensive and capable of
bringing planar exploration and commerce to a standstill.
Only if the concerned sages could return with the
knowledge necessary to prove their far-fetched view of
the planes, would the factions deign to revisit their
proposals. But until then, the multiverse would continue
to be regarded as a resource that belonged to
the Carcerians who opposed the factions were rebuffed,
the Symmetrists movement began. At first, they were an
academic group committed to compiling the knowledge
necessary to prove their case. Eventually, the
Symmetrists became aligned with other dissenter groups
and the new sect became a more powerful organization.
Some believed that they were acting in concert with the
rilmani. Others began to question the group's mysterious
funding which had allowed them to purchase a large
building in the Lady's Ward, and established their Sigil
headquarters, The Unbalanced Temple. However, a
connection to the rilmani was never confirmed and
evidence never came forward to support this claim.
Eventually, the Symmetrists gained enough support to
become a minor faction in Sigil, although membership
remained limited as the other factions were more popular
and had more benefits.
new faction continued to grow and reached its greatest
prominence during the period prior to the Great Upheaval.
However, they were unable to move any closer to
supporting their claim that the City of Doors should be
closed. In fact, the chant at the time suggested that the
Lady of Pain was growing tired of the Symmetrists'
insistent desire to close off Sigil. Then during the
Upheaval the Symmetrists' factol, Keras, was mysteriously
poisoned and died. The Expansionists were blamed for his
death as the two groups had serious philosophical
disagreements and conducted heated debates against each
other. Soon, several prominent Symmetrists high-ups began
rallying support to attack the Growers after
Kerasís death. At the largest of these rallies,
the Lady appeared, flayed all of the gathered high-ups,
and issued a warning through her dabus, "Those who seek
balance should weigh their scales." A few days later, a
large number of Symmetrists clerics and sages were found
dead, apparently from a mass suicide. The remaining
Symmetrists, mostly rank-and-file members, fled Sigil and
returned to Carceri.
was after this return to Carceri that the Symmetrists
movement fractured and began to drift into splinter
groups. One group continued the original work of the
Symmetrists and began petitioning several planar realms
to voluntarily close off their portals and conduits.
However, the majority of the fractured Symmetrists
faction developed into an extremist sect, which sought to
isolate the planes by conducting acts of terrorism. Once
this violent group began operating it was attacked, quite
ruthlessly, by the Harmonium who saw the new Symmetrists
as a threat to their plans of spreading Harmonious order
across the planes. After several large public executions,
the remaining Symmetrists disappeared from sight. Even
their headquarters on Carceri, the Palace of Closed
Freedom was abandoned. None were seen or heard from for
10 cycles ago, small groups began appearing in the
Outlands claiming they belonged to the Symmetrists.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that these groups said they
had returned to finish the work of their brethren.
However, none of these groups entered Sigil.
new Symmetrists soon disappeared from sight once word
spread of their return. It was not clear if the groups
had originated from or returned to Carceri, as the Palace
of Closed Freedom had remained empty. In recent cycles,
there have been numerous bombings in Sigil and across the
Outlands near prominent portals and conduits. It is
believed that the new Symmetrists, also called the
Closers, have aligned themselves with radical fringes of
the Revolutionary League, such as the Society of Closed
Doors, and are attempting to close portals and conduits
throughout the planes.
Plane of Influence
Symmetrists formerly had their headquarters, the Palace
of Closed Freedom, on Carceri. The current status of this
site is unknown. In Sigil, the Symmetrists ran The
Unbalanced Temple. Their Sigil headquarters, however, was
long ago destroyed and used for bricks for new
construction by the Fated. They have no influence in
Revolutionary League cells agree with the idea that the
multiverse has been damaged and that the current order
must be reformed. The Harmonium reject the Symmetrists'
philosophy wholesale. The Society of Sensation opposes
the theories of the Symmetrists because they would limit
the experiences of the planes.
Symmetrists are open to all races and classes that
disagree with the current order and agree that portals
and conduits are causing harm.
Symmetrists are highly focused on learning arcane magic
and to using that magic to close portals and conduits. As
a result, they all receive a +5% bonus per level on all
attempts to learn arcane scrolls and spells.
Symmetrists are extremely stubborn and refuse to use any
portals or conduits unless absolutely necessary to
accomplish their goals. Because of this, they have
difficulty in locating portals when they are need and
suffer a -2 penalty to all proficiency checks made to
find portals. Furthermore, Symmetrists should not expect
a warm welcome in Sigil. If the Closers make their
appearance known, they can expect a -2 to all reaction
rolls while in Sigil, as Cagers don't want to invite the
The Symmetrists were
inspired by the Star Trek book, Avenger, Copyright 1997-99
by Paramount Pictures. Planescape adaptation by Scott Perry