‘What is Sigil?’ Brix asks Planewalkers
‘What is Sigil?’ Brix asks Planewalkers

‘What is Sigil?’ Brix asks Planewalkers

‘What is Sigil?’ Brix asks Planewalkers

Turpental, a Tiefling Tout

“Ever thought that Sigil’s a plane in its own right? It might not be a big one, but size ain’t everything, cutter. Though what a plane’s doing at the top of the Spire is any berks’ guess, I’ll grant you that.

“I’ll tell you what I tell all the Clueless: don’t go looking for the top of the Spire. Someone high up don’t want it to be seen. First, the air gets real thin away from the Cage, yet there’s strong winds which blow a sod right off course; you can’t fly there without magic. Second there’s the anti-magic zone, so you can’t fly there with magic either. Finally, if you’re still leatherheaded enough to make it out of the clouds and mist surrounding the Cage you’ll be blipped away to another plane. Whatever secrets lie at the top of the Spire should be left well alone.”

Thanto Zephistopheles, Etheroscope Manufacturer and Suspected Rilmani agent

“Sigil’s not part of the Outlands.

“See, some folks say the Spire is the focal point of all belief in the Multiverse—that belief slides from other planes, drawn to the magnetic pole of the Spire. It travels down the Spire and into the Outlands, where it begins to disperse throughout the Outer Planes—each belief set moving inexorably toward the plane that is most to its liking. Like a waterfall into the centre of a pool, the belief splashes into the Outlands and ripples outward toward the other planes.

“Thus, the Outlands were never permanent. They are as malleable as water. The towns and realms located in the Outlands maintain a fixed position from the Spire, but occasionally seem to move back and forth between the ripples as the rings of the Outlands expand outward.

“What does this have to do with Sigil? Well, Sigil’s located at the top of this waterfall. It’s the magnifying glass, the faucet, the focus through which all this belief spills. Just as the glass is not part of the sunbeam it focuses, just as the cave mouth is not part of the waterfall it disgorges, just as the faucet is not part of the water it spills, so Sigil is not part of the Outlands.

“And if you take this justification, hey, it would also explain why Sigil’s connected to everywhere. Belief from everywhere spills through the city, thus linking the city to everywhere belief exists.

“That’s why it’s so important that the city remain neutral—that’s why it’s so important that neither the fiends nor the celestials nor any faction assert control over the city. If any of them do, it could cause the multiverse to come crashing down as belief is siphoned only to those places approved by the ruler of Sigil.”

Source: Colin McComb

Quaida’s Mimir, on the Subject of the Cage

“Sigil’s air is cloudy and gloomy, with a dirty grey smear through the middle. This is the other side of the Cage. At night, when it’s clear, the sky’s starless, except where points of light can be seen from the other side of the city. Some of them move – they’re from light boys and sedan chairs – and others are stationary – they’re cooking fires and spell-lit cases. If you look off the side of the city you see nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not the Outlands, not sky, not even a vacuum…simply nothing. It’s not a sight recommended for the faint of heart.”

Barisvati, Dark-Spinner and Screed-Monger Extraordinaire

‘Anyone who’s met the arcane knows how wealthy they are. I once offered them a unique magical artifact, for which they were prepared to pay 20,000 in platinum and a spelljamming ship! But why don’t they ever enter Sigil? Here’s the dark of it…

“The arcane actually own Sigil, and they’re just leasing it out to the Lady of Pain. However, the Lady’s a canny occupant, and forced the arcane to sign an agreement that they could not enter the premises whilst she was home. The Lady’s at least 500,000 years overdue on her rent, but the arcane can’t evict her while she’s in the city. And that’s why the Lady of Pain never leaves…”

Source: James O’Rance

Klanken Vandoff, Planar Authority

“Sigil is called the City of Doors for obvious reasons but, less apparent is that it is one giant portal in and of it self. Where does it lead to? Well, that’s the big mystery, cutter. Doesn’t it make sense though that, that could be the gate that leads to the Home Plane of whoever created the Multiverse? Maybe there is something to The Great Unknown that the Athar worship after all? At any rate, the gate key to Sigil could be harder to find then getting past its guardian, the Lady of Pain.”

Source: Gabriel Eggers

Tarholt, Dwarven Planewalker

“On a clear day I sometimes see Sigil on top of the Spire from the Outlands. Anyone who say’s it’s not up there don’t have good eyes like me, obviously. It hovers there, like magic, though they say no wizard spells work near the Spire, don’t they? One of the Lady’s darks, I guess.

“However she does it, the Cage is definitely floating there. If it were resting on top of the Spire then you’d be able to see the great clod of rock that was the Spire’s peak from the city itself.”

Tiftop, Druid of Silvanus and Resident of the Cage

“Sigil ain’t just any old impossible city. It’s alive. Maybe not in the way we are, but it lives and thinks just like us. The streets and houses are its body, the portals are its eyes, the rumble in the streets is its breathing, and the belief of its inhabitants are its own thoughts. The Cage is sentient, I tell you, and vastly powerful. I should know; I’ve listened to its thoughts. The Lady of Pain’s a manifestation of its will given humanoid form so the city’s inhabitants can identify with it.

Dranoll of Cormyr, a newly arrived Prime

“I hate this crazy place. I don’t know how I got here; one minute I was fast asleep, the next I woke up in this muddy hell they call the Hive. Sleepwalking? Why, I don’t think I sleepwalk. Not often, anyway. Now everything’s upside down and the fog’s as bad as Suzail on a misty day. Say, where are the docks, friend? I think I’ll charter a ship back home.”

Jonroe of Fortitude, proving Planars can be Clueless too

“Why, I always thought Sigil was simply the second layer of the Outlands. Ain’t it?”

A Loathsome Fiend Named the Belching Tanar’ri

“Everyone knows the Lady’s a tanar’ri high-up. <burp!> Well, the powers <belch!> are sodding angry <eckhhh!> because she’s got the Cage in her pockets <proot!> and is able to shut them out as she wishes. <gruuuub!> They’ve cooked up a plan to push Sigil <eeeehh!> over the brink of reality. Heavens, if they can’t have it <grap!> then they figure she shouldn’t either! <boooop!> Anyway, that’s the dark of why Sigil’s so hard to get to <zuuuug!>, and why it looks like it’s about to fly off the top of the Spire <bbbppp!> off the Planes altogether. <ffffft!>”

Freld, a Vine-Farmer of Ysgard

“Sigil’s purpose is simple. During Ragnarok, it will be captured by the powers, and used as the final standpoint. It was created at the beginning of time for that sole reason, and no gods will be allowed in here until that time. The Lady of Pain’s just some berk who figured out its darks. She’ll be destroyed when the gods take this place for their glorious battle!”

(Need it really be said that he was found flayed shortly after?)

Fibberdob, a Barmy with No Hope of Being Released Any Time Soon

“Sigil? I know Sigil, I do! Here’s the dark of it. At the beginning of the Blood War, the Pit Fiend Zimimar was enjoying coffee with the other members of the Dark Eight. But, you see, he didn’t like his doughnut!!!!! It had too much icing on it. I think he wanted raspberry filled, or chocolate coated… or did he want oat biscuits? WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT DOESN’T MATTER ??!? Of course it matters. This is HISTORY! Anyway, he vaporised the nupperibo who brought him the doughnut, and threw the doughnut so far that it landed right on top of the Spire, right in the centre of the Outlands. Heh heh!

“You know I’m right, you’re just scared to admit it!

“There’s an Astral Deva living up my nose. I ask him to pay rent, but he says he’s on a mission from God. THERE’S FACES IN YOUR BUB!”

“Fats” Glathing, Self-Proclaimed Largest Eater this side of the Spire

“Sigil? Let me tell you something, berk. A number of years ago I discovered a strange baked and glazed treat. It was a round circle, the baker called it a ‘doughnut.’ Funny thing is, there ain’t any nuts in it. And it’s covered in sugar! Maybe it should be called a ‘doughcircle’ or ‘sugardough?’ What? Oh, Sigil, right.

“See, this ‘doughnut’ thing was just about the tastiest snack I’ve ever eaten, and believe you me, I’ve sampled the entire Great Bazaar! I figure that Sigil’s this giant planar “doughnut” and some huge, hungry power is just waiting for the thing to finish cooking!

“What? You say there’s been a heat wave? Nice chatting with you, but I’ve got to get out of here! “

Tariq d’Elamar, being unusually succinct

“Sigil cannot be comprehended because it is not supposed to be comprehended. If you cannot understand it through standard means of thinking, simply do not attempt to do so. The whole problem of what Sigil is resolves itself very neatly—it is Sigil.”

Bar von Barian, clueless, after first night in Sigil

“Yeah… um…. Sigil, say…. umm… Kinda… um… Sigil. Yeah, Sigil.”

Nimcri, resident of Chamada, the Second Layer of Gehenna

“Sigil? Sigil’s just my sister. Don’t you worry about her. Now, you said you could lure an army of tanar’ri to this town…”

Source: Emlyn Shannon

A resident of the Gatehouse

“Sigil? Yeah, I’ll tell you about Sigil. Through a portal I hopped. I hopped to the top.

“The top of what? The Spire, berks. Of course I’m barmy! Anyone would be, after that.

“Anyway, I could see Sigil real good, an’ it was all carved in screaming faces. Real lifelike, and they were screamin’ too. Loud enough to get right to a basher’s soul.

“But I got back through the portal and couldn’t leave. The Bleakers scragged me right quick. I think that tiefer I told tipped ’em off. No good fiend. But you, you can still leave, and you gotta get out, before you’re screaming too. Hey, where you going? I’m still talking! Addle-cove!”

Source: Centre of All

Eon Luciferous

“In my travels, I have seen many worlds, and many eras…I am a mage of time, who now travels on the Outlands for my mistress. Sigil is a place of wonder, and yet it is a place of dread. Never before have I seen a place that is many worlds and lives, in one area..I have seen the Lady destroy hundreds of people, just for a stray belief. I have seen half-crazed creatures kill others for a chance of godhood. And I have seen the gift of the portals, which are everywhere. Sigil is not a place for the faint-hearted, and everyone makes Sigil for what it really is a place they can call a home away from home…”

An unnamed bar-berk, shortly before getting scragged by a mysterious shadow…

“I’ve heard a thousand theories about how the Multiverse is set up, each one with Sigil on the Outlands. But here’s the dark of it berk: No blood has ever reached Sigil from the Spire or the Spire from Sigil, for all we know they have nothing to do with each other.

“Before you start thinking I’m a barmy berk I gotta tell you the dark of everything. The rules of three and unity of the rings apply to everything, including the Multiverse. Now if you’re an addle-cove you probably think the rules of three apply with the inner, outer, and prime planes but then you miss out on the obvious. You see the Astral and Ethereal are neither of these. That’s five planes berk, and five ain’t divisible by three. Naturally you’ll have to assume that a plane has to connect the Outer and Inner planes to complete the rule of three and the unity of rings, but where is it? That’s the true dark, Sigil is located in a plane unto itself. You see Sigil is the only point connecting the Inner and Outer planes, just like the Astral connects the Prime and Outer and the Ethereal connects the Inner and Prime. See, you got a nice ring and a 3 + 3 set up. Now that’s the dark of it.”

Source: ChAoS

Rhys Dyserth the Ice Magus, Occasional Visitor to Sigil

“Sigil is the crossroads of the Multiverse. It exists because it needs to. We need it to exist. The Sign of One is correct in their belief that there needs to be a centre to everything. Sigil is that centre it is what everything else in reality radiates out from. It is what everything else in reality leads to. On a more mundane note, it is unfortunate that over the aeons it has become the overcrowded, noisy, muggy, fetid cesspool of mortality and immorality it is today… Sigil is great place to buy spell components, but don’t expect to find me there too often. You can find me at Avilae, my extradimensional estate out in the Ethereal. It’s much more peaceful there… And I control the environment, and I like being in control.”

Microtel, a Malfunctioning Modron

“Sigil. is the most, a-a-a-a-a-advanced machine in existence. It is a vast organic-nic-nic-nic-nic-nic… computing machine using its inhabitants as binary systems, and as data collectors. Sigil is really what some ba-a-a-army primes call “an organic computer”. It has been put up here long ago, to dis-dis-dis-discover the meaning, although it may now be malfunctioning. The Da-da-da-da-dabus are the maintainers of the-the-the-the-the… RUNTIME ERROR #46267B

“According to my calculations, the answer is forty two-two-two-two-two… What? What? Am I malfunctioning? No. I am-am-am-am-am not. You mean…? You mean Chaos Imps are not edible?!…”

Source: Draegarius

Aklenn Gerthion, a Godsman factor, tells his unlikely story

“I know the dark of Sigil, berk. Sigil is itself a gate-town, a gate-town to another reality. How do I know that? Have you heard about the Four Doors? No? Well, berk, they only open once every 500 years, and one of them is the gate to another reality. I’ve been there, basher. Believe me!”

Source: Emanuel Reichert


“Sigil is just a universal reality in the Temporal Prime that the Lady of Pain found and took control of.”

Source: Birn W. Ryrvik

Geirr’Ennghe, Goristro and Paladin Devourer

“Er.. Seegyl? (snarl) Dat’s a doo-nut. Hrmuff. Make me hangrey, does Seegyl! Hrrrmuff.”

Source: Gringo

Shard, a planewalker mage trying to explain what Sigil is to a clueless

“Not ‘who’ is Sigil. ‘What’ is Sigil. Sigil is the centre of the Multiverse. It is the hub of all planar life, the essence of the magics of infinity, the one true city where the law of threes are magnified… [Smiles and a twinkle appears in his eyes] and the cafes there make a darn good caramel cappuccino.”

Source: R. Brent MacKenzie

Mordire the Moonraker, an Alienist and frequent Resident of the Bleak Cabal’s Madhouse

“You berks all reckon I’m barmy, right? Well, I’d be the first to admit I’m a little — erratic. But that don’t mean I don’t know something real dark and scary. It was discovering it that made me like this in the first place, right. I’ll tell you, too, if you like. Careful though, it might drive you insane as well…

“Sigil’s the body of a deity. I don’t mean the town, but the whole tyre-shaped structure. It’s a very old being and most people have long forgotten about it, except me, that is. See, aeons ago the power got put in the dead book by Aoskar, who was jealous of its sphere of influence. The power was a god of portals and shapechangers. The god of mimics, perhaps. Anyway, it wasn’t a very mighty cutter, and Aoskar polished it off and threw it into the Astral, stealing its portfolio…

“The dying power drifted through the Astral for thousands of years until it was discovered. Some bloods started to inhabit it like the other decaying bodies. They called their burg ‘Sigil’, which was the name of the power itself. Then they discovered the portals, which were actually part of the god’s metabolism. They used them for travelling, and this drew more attention to their tiny burg. At first, Sigil was too weak to do anything against this abuse, then it discovered how to feed on the presence of the beings. Now it doesn’t need any worshippers, because most people in the planes admire Sigil: ‘That’s the place you have to go’, ‘It’s the greatest burg of the multiverse’ or ‘Everything is possible here’. You’re heard ’em, I’m sure.

“With its new source of strength it became stronger again and created more portals by changing its metabolism, and built cases and kips for the inhabitants so they’d never want to leave (Sigil’s good at that, being a former power of shape shifting). Eventually, the power was strong enough to extricate itself from the Astral and return to the Outer Planes. Due to its neutral alignment it had to be somewhere in the Outlands.

“Now Sigil was wary of being attacked again, and there wasn’t much space left on the plane where it could establish a Realm without angering neighbouring powers, so the only place left to it was on top of the Spire. It also felt that it wouldn’t be a good idea to settle somewhere within the anti-magic rings, as this might have lowered the attraction for the visitors. So the top of the Spire was a good choice: it was still a part of the Outlands, but it had no magical restrictions…

“To keep the inhabitants under control, the deity placed two forces into the Cage: the Lady — who is something like an avatar — embodies the spirit of the town, and the dabus — who are like petitioners. Beings that really love the town itself will turn into a Dabus after death and tend ‘their’ town forever.

“Sigil keeps other powers out of its body, as it’s bad form to enter another power’s realm. It’s even worse form to enter their body. Besides, it’s uncomfortable for Sigil itself to let them in. Being a liberal sort of power, it doesn’t mind cutters in the Cage worshipping other deities; after all, it’s still getting energy from them as long as they use the city. Except for Aoskar, that is – Sigil hates that sod more than anything else; that’s why Sigil got the Lady of Pain to kill him as soon as it was powerful enough. As Sigil doesn’t have worshippers of its own, it doesn’t grant spells, because nobody asks for them. Except me, of course, but I’m mad like you say. And just because I get them doesn’t mean nothing, does it…?

Sirocco, an Air Genasi Priestess

“All of Sigil’s so-called ‘strange properties’ can be explained simply. The city it lies at the centre of the Outer Planes. Even an elemental could tell you that the properties of a body change drastically at its centre. Hurricanes or cyclones, for example, have calm interiors surrounded by vicious winds. The Outlands; well, at its centre it’s a place of dead magic. Naturally, in the eye of this null-magic zone there’s a place of tempestuous enchantment and tremendous planes-spanning sorcery: Sigil.”

Overheard in a Sermon delivered in the Temple of the Abyss

“…Those fools scurrying around outside realise not that their precious Sigil was born of the Abyss. The Lady of Pain is merely its guardian while its purpose is lived. The Cage will return to the Abyss when it has gathered enough dark souls, and the tanar’ri shall be forever triumphant…”

Some raving Barmy from the Bleaker’s Madhouse

“Sigil’s a ring which fell off Ptah’s finger years ago. He’s been trying to put it back on ever since. It’s still got lots of the magic of the Planewalking Power; that’s why there are portals everywhere. The Spire is his finger see, trying to go through the ring. But we won’t let him, oh no we won’t. You hear me, Ptah?”

Another raving Barmy, arguing with the Former

“No, leatherhead! Sigil was a ring plucked from the nose of Baphomet, the Minotaur Power by the Lady of Pain. She can create the mazes when she wants because she stole that power from him too. He’s mighty angry, so she sealed the doors to him and the other Powers. She’s stolen things from most of them too, see.”

A Third Lunatic, perhaps the most Barmy of all

“You’re both wrong, addle-coves! Sigil’s just a few inches in diameter and every portal to it shrinks plane hoppers to the size of tiny insects! The Cage is really a cork bobbing endlessly in the River Oceanus. Or was it the Styx? Or around a silver thread on the Astral? Or a vertebrate inside Aoskar’s spine? Ach, it’s so hard to remember things these days!”

Multiple Gorna, Arcanaloth Friend of Rule Of Three

“Ever thought there might be more than one Sigil? We all know that Sigil is atop the infinite Spire in the Outlands, but who’s to say that it’s the only one. What if there are other Sigils atop the Spire, above or below the ‘known’ one. Maybe they’ve all got portals all over the Multiverse.

“Sometimes you come back to one Sigil sometimes you comeback to a different one. All are ruled by the Lady and all are roughly the same, but of course there would be differences. Since Sigil’s so big many people might not notice at all: ‘There’s the Gatehouse, But why can’t I find the Armoury?’ It might even be that the streets themselves contain permanently open portals, so not all of the features exist in one Sigil but rather some in each different one.”

Yorothy, aged 7, Singing a Tiefling Children’s’ Song

“Sigil is, Sigil isn’t, Sigil was, Sigil wasn’t, Sigil will be, Sigil won’t be.

“What’s so hard to understand berk?”

Havfro Silverleaf, a clueless with no idea, speaking to Cirily of the Planarists

“The planes….that’s where the Gods and their servants dwell. A big grave if you ask me — all their followers milling about being crazy about the whole…What!? I’m a barmy? What in the Nine Hells are y…Baator! You talk nonsense to me.

“Everything comes from here on Toril I mean everything is here Sijil what are you tal…a city shaped like a tyre — that’s impossible and anything impossible is nonexistent. STOP calling me barmy, what are these words you make up?…

“Suuuure and demons and angels live there. Baatezu! Tanar’ri! Aasimon? There you go with that human guttural speech again. And you find us elves rude. Why isn’t there a war happening on Sijil’s streets then?

“The Lady of Pain…now that’s original and I’m the Man of Destruction. She rules a city containing portals to everywhere? So why hasn’t any evil god taken it from her?….

“Nothing can stop a god are you crazy? What you’re going to nick me if I can’t shut my bone box???? Wha….Urk!!”

Guvner Nomin Bookchaser explains the Irony behind Sigil

“Sigil is the multiverse’s biggest paradox, berk. It’s a city located above the top of an infinitely tall Spire which is in turn located bang in the centre of an infinite plane. Add to this the fact that magic works normally in Sigil, yet below it, at the base of the Spire no magic (or anything else for that matter) works at all. An on top of all those paradoxes, you’ve got the fact that while Sigil itself is technically the most barren spot in the multiverse (as nothing is native to it), it’s also the most populous spot in the multiverse (except with Powers, of course).

“Still more ironic is the fact that this city is called ‘the Cage’, yet there are uncountable exits from it that any blood can freely use (once they’ve got the key, of course). Sigil seems to be able to prove the ‘correctness’ of each and every single Faction; or so the other Factions claim anyway.

“The books say that every place in the Outer Planes is either a Plane, a demiplane, or a Realm. All of these have been called a dimension by the Clueless at some time or another. (Heck, those leatherheaded Primes sometimes call other parts of the Prime a different dimension!) In fact a dimension is something entirely different. Dimensions pervade all the planes at once, but that’s a story for another time. They’re bigger than infinite.

“Does this mean that the City of Doors is a demiplane? No, berk. Demiplanes have to be located in the Ethereal or Astral Planes, and all the evidence suggests that Sigil is clearly on the Outlands (although some berks even disagree with that).

“So, that means Sigil must be a Realm, right? Wrong again. Realms are created and run by Powers. Powers must have worshippers some where or else they die and end up in the Astral. While it’s true that the Lady of Pain runs Sigil, we also know that it is true that she actively discourages worshippers. Any Power who did that would be committing suicide, so by this logic the Lady ain’t a Power and thus Sigil ain’t a Realm. What does that leave us, then?

“To cut a long story, I reckon Sigil is the multiverse’s biggest artefact – and the Lady’s found the dark to controlling it. How else could a non-Realm alter its size at any given time? How else can a Power be excluded from it? And how else can it have all those barmy portals without being ripped apart and all the pieces sucked into the various planes?

“This leads to some interesting questions concerning the dabus. Are they a race that was brought to the Cage by the Lady? Did they live on this artefact before she arrived and just serve her for the hell of it? Or are they a manifestation of the artefact itself, like golems or linquas? This could explain why they only speak in visual rebus puzzles – they aren’t alive, rather manifestations of an extremely alien intellect (perhaps a computing machine of some kind?). After all, Rebus could be considered a truly universal language. Anyone can understand them. Except for the Clueless, of course.

“The Cage does not ‘keep the Lady in’. Rather, if the Lady were ever to leave Sigil, she would no longer control it. This would allow the possibility of someone else taking it over. so that is why the Lady doesn’t leave. Of course, this is the best kind of cage, worthy of any Baatezu: ‘Certainly, its ultimate power will let you live forever and you will be able to control it for as long as you like. Yes, you can leave any time you want.’ (There’s not a word of a lie in that statement.) However, given her unceremonious prohibition of Powers from the Cage, as soon as she leaves, she’ll be toast. Thus, it’s only a cage of her own making.”


Ken Lipka, Colin McComb, Mike Jones, Jon Winter-Holt, Thomas O’Magann Jr., Monte Cook, Gianni Vacca, Randir o Ia, Christian Lautz, Gaute Lindkvist, Center of All, P Smith, Jeremy Warren, Dave Paul, Jeremie Choquette, James O’Rance, David Byrne, Emlyn Shannon, Draegarius, Phil Howard, Emannuel Reichert, Bartomiej Walczak and everyone else from the Planescape Mailing List who inspired speculation on Sigil’s nature (when I was bad at keeping records of who said what), as well as all the bloods on the most recent pieces whose names are listed next to their idea.

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