Sigil’s Philosophical Calendar
The Calendar of Sigil, while originally unique to the Cage, is now used by nearly every thing that has to deal with the mortal races. It is used as a “trade time” mainly due to the fact that while a Sigilian Year lasts as long as an Outlands Year, its 13 months of four weeks each were arbitrarily defined and don’t depend on outside influences to indicate when one ends and the next begins. This is especially useful in places like the Grey Waste where there aren’t even clearly visible days. As a matter of convenience, these months are named after each of the represented factions in the Cage.
- Fraternity of Order: Regula
- Harmonium: Accordant
- Mercykillers: Retributus
- The Sign of One: Narciss
- The Fated: Tithing
- Society of Sensation: Savorus
- The Transcendent Order: The Pivot
- Believers of the Source: Catechism
- Athar: Sacrilegion
- The Bleak Cabal: Nihilum
- The Dustmen: Mortis
- Doomguard: Decadre
- Xaositects: Capricious
- The Free League and The Revolutionary League: Leagueheim
- The Day of Grace
These months are then further grouped into groups of three to make philosophical seasons:
- Philosophical Spring: Regula (Guvners), Accordant (Harmonium), Retributus (Mercykillers)
- Philosophical Summer: Narciss (Signers), Tithing* (Fated), Savorus (Sensates)
- The Pivot (Ciphers)
- Philosophical Autumn: Catechism* (Godsmen), Sacrilegion (Lost), Nihilum (Bleakers)
- Philosophical Winter: Mortis (Dustmen), Decadre (Sinkers), Capricious (Chaosmen)
As any sod who ain’t Clueless knows, time doesn’t amount to much on the endless and unchanging Outer Planes. All of the true planar races – the fiends, the celestials, the powers – are similarly immortal, existing until they are killed (and sometimes even that doesn’t matter, berk). To people and places such as these, it matters not whether something happens in a day or a century; all that matters is that things happen… eventually. Unfortunately the younger planar races – humans, tieflings, githzerai and the rest – typically do not have the luxury of eternity. They’re limited by their lifetimes, a finite number of days in which to accomplish all that they must and all that they want. To these people, Time holds great meaning. As a result, the mortal conveniences of clocks and calendars have made their presence felt in the Outer Planes.
However, there is one problem inherent with these “conveniences” – there are nearly as many systems of time measurement as there are layers of the Abyss. Some are based on absolute, unchanging patterns such as the rotations of the Gears of Mechanus; others are based on mostly predictable events such as the weather patterns of the Outlands; and still others are relative time scales based on completely random, local events – such as the one used in Gallowsgate on the Plain of Infinite Portals where the dates are marked by the time since the last unfortunate high-up was strung up by the locals. While these calendars are fine for those who’ve set their kips in the neighborhood, it tends to drive a planewalker barmy trying to keep track of events across planar boundaries. Fortunately (or not, depending on a body’s beliefs), the Fraternity of Order has provided a solution.
Given their bent for making rules and seeing patterns everywhere, the Guvners have long proposed the adoption of a multiversal Trade Time, similar in scope and use like the Trade Tongues which are prevalent in the Upper and Lower Planes. Surprisingly enough, this idea has been accepted by the multiverse – though not quite in the way the faction intended. See, rather than use the Common Planar Time Calendar that the Guvners created (which was so complicated that only a moigno could ever consistently figure out the date), the residents of the planes adopted the calendar the Fraternity reserved for Sigil’s exclusive use. The Guvners, while initially put out, eventually learned to be satisfied with the change in plan. ‘Course, the rest of the multiverse ended up paying the music for giving the Fraternity’s chosen system the laugh; Cagers are now more self-important than ever since they can go anywhere and still be able know when things’re supposed to happen.
The Calendar of Sigil has become popular primarily because it is simple and almost completely independent of external events. In fact, other than the length of a day (which is defined by the patterns of light and dark in Sigil), the whole of the Calendar is largely symbolic. The Guvners defined seven days to a week – one for each ward of Sigil plus one for the Void in which (theoretically) the city is suspended. They then decided to group four of these weeks to a month. This is both a nod to the people who, according to the Fraternity of Order, live in the Cage: mortals, planeborn, petitioners, and dabus. Finally, the Order has declared a Sigilian Year to last for thirteen of these months. Why thirteen, a number many would consider unlucky? That number is the number of legally represented and recognized factions in Sigil. (Yes, this does ignore the presence of the Free League and the Revolutionary League.) In fact, each month is named in honor of one of those factions. Due to this consistent convention of using abstract things as a basis, the Calendar of Sigil is most often referred to as “The Philosophical Year”.
Given that this timekeeping system is was based on the Guvners’ love of laws and patterns, and not on something like the generally unchanging weather of Sigil, that would mean that there is nothing special about any of the months, right? Bar that, basher. Remember the old adage “belief is power”? Well, even the Cage can be affected by centuries of belief. See, the Philosophical Year might better be called “the Political Year” as that’s what the system is really based on. In the Cage, belief and politics are nearly one and the same. So, each month, while originally a political division, has become something of a psychic one as well. During a particular faction’s month, the whole Cage – people and city alike – tends to act a bit more in line with that faction’s beliefs. But you’d have to be a real leatherhead to think that everyone’s forced to act like a Fated during Tithing, for example. Any one who’s a factotum or better, or just a sod who’s strong in his beliefs, can usually ignore the influence of the month. But most namers, and nearly all of the undeclared, tend to have their personalities subtly shaped by each of the passing months. Overall, while nothing changes in the big picture, each month of the Philosophical Year can be claimed as a victory, no matter how small, for the factions in Sigil.
The Calendar of the Cage
The Sigilian Year consists of thirteen months, each sponsored by one of the represented factions in Sigil. Thus, the Free League – who claim not to be a faction – and the Revolutionary League – who have no unifying leader – do not have a month named after them. (At least, not officially.) Twelve of the months are grouped into four “seasons” of three months in length, with each season being a collection of like-minded factions. The thirteenth month stands on its own between the “summer” and the “autumn”. All months are 28 days long, which are divided up into four weeks, consisting of seven days each. The days are named after the various wards of Sigil, with the last being named for the Nothing one can see beyond the borders of the Cage. The names, in order, are: Lady, Market, Guild, Clerk, Hive, Low, Void. One interesting thing to note is that while each day of the week is named, none of them are numbered. That is, the third day of the month is referred to as “the first Guild of the month”, the eighth day is “the second Lady”, and so on. In addition to these base mechanics, there are several other factors common to each month of the calendar.
The first day (the first Lady) of every month has been defined by the Guvners as “Factol’s Day”. Specifically, this day is set aside to celebrate both the birthday of the factol and the founding of the faction, no matter when each was actually created. Regardless of the faction, this day is marked by some sort of celebration that more often than not forces Cagers to sit up and take notice that a new month has started. All months have a pair of days which are commonly called “Taker’s Days” (a term which no doubt irks all of the other factions). These days, the second and fourth Clerks of the month, are when the Fated make their rounds of the Cage to collect the various taxes that have been levied on nearly everything. The final common thread of the months doesn’t represent a fixed day, but rather a fixed observance. Given that Sigil is taken to be the center (or at least, the focus) of the multiverse, nearly every Power has a representative kip here. And, in order to make their presence known, the powers direct their priests to hold festivals and rites to attract new worshippers and mark certain days as holy to them. Thus, the powers have found a month that matches their general philosophical outlook and instructed their priests to set aside days in that month for these religious observances. Additionally, certain monthly local traditions have sprung up over the years based on past events.
It is no accident that the start to the Sigilian Year is sponsored by the Fraternity of Order. Despite their claims of following the impartiality of Law, the Guvners assigned themselves Regula only because they were the ones to create the calendar in the first place. While not denying this, the faction instead claims that it is also shouldering a lot of responsibility because the first month of the year has to redress the problems left over from the previous year. When the other factions learned that the Xaositects had the final month of the year, they shut their bone boxes pretty quickly and have since learned to live with the fact that the Fraternity of Order gets to be the start of both the year and the Philosophical Spring.
Factol’s Day of Regula, even though it is referred to as The Day of Yawning by the rest of the Cage, is one of the most anticipated holidays in Sigil. Besides being the start of a new year and a cause for optimism and hope, it also provides the much awaited respite from the general chaos of last year’s Capricious (the final month of the Philosophical Year). While most of the Cage is taking a much needed rest, the Fraternity of Order is very busy. The factioneers fill their morning with a rousing lecture from the Factol; the subject is usually a lengthy dissertation on the most significant Axiom discovered the previous year, followed by suggestions for the new year’s focus of study. After this lawful and orderly rally, the Guvners proceed to hold rituals and ceremonies in which various factioneers are promoted or otherwise honored for their work in discovering the laws of the multiverse. These pompous proceedings usually last far into the evening. Only after all of the business of the day has been properly taken care of do the members of the Fraternity finally engage in the time-honored tradition of celebrating – by getting orderly, predictably, and royally, drunk.
The Fraternity of Order takes its sponsorship of Regula very seriously. During this month, the faction puts extra effort into all of its activities. Researchers work longer hours on their projects; scribes work faster to try and produce more copies of the faction’s books and records; judges spend more time reviewing their cases as well as attempting to process more of them. Regula is often used as a time for Guvners to leave the security of their headquarters and go planewalking in order to verify some of their studies “in the field”. In addition to increasing and improving their own stores of knowledge, the Fraternity of Order also attempts to share what they know with the rest of the Cage. Throughout the course of the month, the Guvners hold a series of lectures which are open to everyone and free of charge. The faction attempts to ensure that the subjects are of general interest and that the speakers have minimized their use of obtuse language. The presentations given by the ursinal Tripicus have proven to be the most popular.
With such an obvious focus on Law, Regula is one of the safer months in which to visit the Cage. Folks tend to be calmer and more rational in their dealings with others, and a canny basher can use logic to talk his way out of most conflicts that arise. Overall, Sigil and its residents take on a more ordered approach to living. Certainly, a sod’s still able to act with as much chaos as he wants, for chance and surprises still exist. But these things are much more predictable now than at any other time of the year. During Regula, the various Laws of statistics and probabilities actually work. (A fact which annoys the city’s various gaming houses to no end.) Thus, rather than trying to prepare for the unexpected, it’s easier to go with the results dictated by Laws. This atmosphere lets a fore-thinking cutter adequately plan ahead and prepare for setbacks. However, this general aura of law and predictability does have a number of drawbacks – most of which only apply to knights of the cross trade. This is because the first month of the year influences people to be more accepting of doing things in the ‘proper’ manner and avoiding short cuts; they tend to ensure that everything is ready before going ahead with any undertaking. Contracts get more involved, and legally binding. This attitude makes it very hard to let to your jink speed things along with garnishes or get any one to invest in risky undertakings. Also, with increased zeal the Fraternity of Order displays this month, the progress of cases in the City Courts speeds up, making it nearly impossibly for a rogue to escape sentence through the use of sly tricks or delaying tactics. And if all of that wasn’t harsh enough, the Harmonium starts a slow build-up of its forces, both to support the respect for the Law that Regula fosters as well as to prepare for the following month, Accordant. Overall, it’s best not to break the Law during this month – or the rest of the Philosophical Spring for that matter.
The public events of Regula tend to be stifled by the atmosphere of Law this month fosters. Part of this is due to the fact that the tanar’ri and other chaotic beings tend to give the Cage a wide berth for the duration of this month and the rest of the Philosophical Spring. And the corresponding influx of baatezu isn’t much cause for celebration either. Thus, most of the special events during this month are confined to the Fraternity of Order or similar, lawfully aligned groups. The Guvners sponsor at least three different celebrations of Law throughout the month, in addition to their free lecture series. Occasionally, there have been gaming contests sponsored by faction. Granted, these don’t get much more exciting than Theoretical Derivations for Speed or Tag-Team Computation, but some bubbers’ll endure anything for a party. In the sphere of religion, a few powers observe holy days during Regula; these include the various gods of Law, Order, and some of the more restrictive powers of Knowledge.
Once the Guvners got the other factions to accept their guidance in the creation of the Sigilian Calendar, they essentially had a blank slate to set up the year how they saw fit. Thus, in Accordant, they continued the theme of Law that had been established in Regula. The Fraternity of Order honored both one of their allies and the legal system of the Cage by assigning the Harmonium to be this month’s sponsor. And the Harmonium takes great pains to ensure that the attitudes of law, order, and harmony are promoted and enforced throughout the middle of the Cage’s Spring.
Factol’s Day of Accordant is a time for great celebration – at least, it is for the Hardheads. The day follows a similar schedule to that of the Guvners and begins with a muster of all faction members in the Cage. Assembling at the Barracks, they gather to hear a rousing speech by the factol, who reminds them of their “great duty to bring Harmony to the multiverse” as well as the faction’s past successes. After this self-inflating ritual, promotions and special awards are granted to those most deserving of them. The Day’s festivities conclude at Peak with the start of a parade of the bulk of the faction’s members throughout the whole of Sigil. (Note that this is one of the few times that the Harmonium willingly and openly enters the Hive Ward.) Once the march is complete, the members of this faction spend the rest of the day in contemplation; mentally preparing themselves for the hard work ahead of them during the rest of the month.
With the Harmonium in symbolic control, Accordant is very much the month of Order. As with Regula, this month’s sponsor faction makes extra effort and rededicates itself to its cause. The faction is out in full force during this month, recalling many of its planar members to help double both the strength and frequency of its patrols in Sigil. It is almost impossible to avoid the Hardheads as they seem to be everywhere a body looks – even the Hive. Of course, this presence is still a mere token display. The Hive squads (known as “Dirt Patrols” to the more junior factioneers; known as “A Damn Nuisance” or simply “Fresh Meat” to the residents) are only active during the day and even then only on the edges of the ward. The Harmonium stresses conformance to the laws of the Cage, and is aggressive about enforcing all of Sigil’s laws. As a result, the sheer number of relatively minor infractions and the scragging of relatively innocent people tends to recreates the backlog of cases in the City Courts which had been eliminated during Regula. The Hardheads put just as much effort into recruiting as they do enforcing. Touts are paid to mention the good works of the faction to visitors. Posters and leaflets for the literate are plastered across Sigil, while criers are hired to advertise informational meetings and induction opportunities for the less learned. Many people suspect that the Harmonium is rather over zealous with its efforts to obtain new members for the faction. Rumors abound about special “recruiting squads” that patrol the City of Doors looking for Primes that can be “drafted” into the cause.
Sigil appears unusually quiet and peaceful during Accordant. Events are no longer as regulated as they were in the previous month, but surprises and other disruptions are rare. People are more tolerant of other viewpoints, while bigotry and racial hatreds are muted. This is not to say that every one gets along like one big happy family, but beings are more likely to cooperate with one another and talk things out, first rather than resort to violence. However, all of this peaceful harmony is only an illusion. Those few chaotic residents of Sigil that stood their ground in Regula tend to pack up and leave during Accordant. Even the baatezu reduce in numbers as the Hardheads are more likely to notice their legal manipulations and improprieties during this month. For the more lawful, tolerant, and self-possessed residents that remain, the Cage takes on a more polite, almost friendly, atmosphere. It is without a doubt forced – but a canny cutter takes what he can get. Although ‘polite’ is the word most often spoken, ‘peery’ is far more accurate. The main reason why everyone in Sigil is so friendly is that no one knows for certain if the person on the other end of the conversation is a Hardhead sympathizer looking to turn them in for breaking some little-known law.
Accordant has close to the least number of public events of the entire year. Part of this is due to the reduced population of the City of Doors; the citizens that are left are more content to work and wait for the month the end than to celebrate anything. The Harmonium encourages people to schedule speeches and rallies and the like; provided they meet with certain standards, of course. Naturally, only faction members or those who are sympathetic their point of view take them up on the offer. The vast majority of the approved events thus belong to either the Harmonium, or to certain religions groups. The powers which prefer to hold holy days in Accordant oversee the spheres of Harmony, Order, or Control.
To complete the ideals set forth by the Guvners, the final month of Sigil’s Spring has been given over to the Red Death. Naturally, the tone of Retributus very closely aligns itself with the goals of the faction – justice to all. And, since the faction also serves as the final step in the legal process of the Cage, the Mercykillers are quite satisfied to be able to help bring the philosophical season to a fitting – and final – close.
The tone of Retributus is set immediately with Factol’s Day. Rather than allowing the Prison’s occupants visitors as is normally done, the new factol of the Mercykillers “treats” any who care to come to the Prison to an open viewing of one of the daily hangings. And, just in case there are those who missed this visible display of the consequences of breaking the Law, three public executions are also held in Petitioner’s Square. Members of the Red Death use this day to renew their vows to their Tenets of Justice – both before the factol and publicly on many street corners in the Cage. The Mercykillers attempt to ensure that everyone acknowledges the fact that Justice does exist, and that the errors of Spring do not go unpunished.
Fact is, the wheels of the Red Death’s justice turn much faster during Retributus. It’s said that in the Prison a berk’s body has barely cleared the gallows before the next poor sod’s strung up. While no factioneer will verify this, it is obvious that the number of events in Petitioner’s Square increases during this month. The rulings of the City Courts seem more harsh for this period of time – rumors say that it is an intentional act, done at the request of the Red Death. (Perhaps the factol is in need of more berks to keep up with the increased demand caused by the faster rate of execution.) Often, the Mercykillers will skip the Harmonium and the Fraternity of Order entirely in the enforcement of Sigil’s laws and take sods guilty of trespass directly to the Prison for the punishment their crime is “certain” to warrant. In addition to these roving gangs of fanatical Mercykillers, the faction’s Justicars are present in much stronger numbers than at any other time of the year. Despite what the paranoid might think, this is not directly related to the increased zeal of the faction – rather, Retributus is simply a convenient time to promote and replace these official bounty hunters.
In spite of the heavy hand of Justice hovering over the City of Doors, the denizens are not very restrained. After being forced to behave in a civilized manner for two months, patience has worn very thin and tempers flare very easily. Fights erupt over smaller and smaller perceived wrongs. For while the faction of the Red Death is busy extolling the virtues of Justice, the Cage is busying itself with the other side of the coin – Revenge. Those who have a reputation for “removing problems” can quite often make enough jink during Retributus to fade from sight for the rest of the year. The Justicars who remain in Sigil usually spend their time hunting such mercenary vigilantes. And even though many good-aligned bashers condemn the actions of the assassins, they are often forced to admit that it is only during Retributus that a long-time villain finally receives his comeuppance. And that is the lesson the Mercykillers try to teach – no one gets away with it forever.
On the last day of the month, the Red Death sponsors a rather surprising celebration. This holiday, known in the Cage as The Day of Indulgous, is unique in that tries to embody the first part of the faction’s name – the quality of Mercy. There is only one execution held on this day, and it is a public one in Petitioner’s Square. Throughout the day, members of the faction can be found in the Square, selling pardons – or rather, potential pardons – to anyone with the jink to afford one. The amount of money paid to the faction determines the amount of leniency the paper will grant to the donor should he be convicted of a crime in the future. Of course, these pardons are good only for one year or one crime, which ever comes first. It is interesting to note that while the factol denounces this practice – calling it the work of the weaker members of the Red Death – the activity continues unabated. One can only conclude that the funds generated by the sales are used to fund some vital effort of the faction. The Day of Indulgous is marked by a single execution at Peak. The victim – who’s always fed to the Wyrm – is unique in that he is a Mercykiller who’s volunteered to shoulder the blame for both the sins of the faction and the sins of everyone in the Cage. This symbolic execution of the month – and the faction – serves to show that the Mercykillers really do care about the people they punish, as well as to show that not even they are exempt from the chains of Justice. Of course, it’s a poorly kept secret that the Mercykiller volunteer is neither – he’s either someone the faction couldn’t normally execute without causing a riot, or else a factioneer who’s turned stag and was recaptured.
In addition to the Day of Indulgous, there are other celebrations inside the Cage. As one would expect, most of them are sponsored by the various powers of Justice and Vengeance. Also, theater attendance is way up during Retributus. This is, after all, the only time and place can one safely, and legally, see their fantasies of Revenge acted out without the Mercykillers taking all the credit – or the fun.
Narciss marks the first month of the Philosophical Summer. Mirroring the weather that Primes associate with this season, Sigil’s fourth month shows the signs of Spring’s plantings taking root and beginning to grow. As the Summer progresses, these ideas grow into their fullness and completeness. The Fraternity of Order likes to claim that they intentionally set things up this way, and gave Narciss to the Sign of One to make sure that the process is started correctly. It is closer to the truth to say that the Guvners merely wanted a month to let Sigil catch its collective breath and cool off after the rather antagonistic Spring.
One might expect Factol’s Day of Narciss to be a very quiet day, particularly after the events of the Day of Indulgous. But that is not the case. For while this day marks the start of a month-long period of introspection for the Sign of One, it is also a day of parties throughout the Cage. Why? Because while all factions place their founding and the birth of their factol on the first day of their respective months, the Sign of One takes this observance one step further. Since all Signers view themselves as the center of the multiverse, each factioneer believes his own birthday to be on Factol’s Day. After all, even if they aren’t the factol, they did dream her up. And what better to celebrate one’s creative genius than by giving yourself a party?
Apart from the first day of the month, Sigil sees very little evidence of the Signers’ presence for the rest of Narciss. After a day of thanks-giving, the faction sequesters itself in the Hall of Speakers and factioneers’ kips to begin their month-long work of changing something about the multiverse. Many Signers consider it fashionable to focus on particular aspect of their lives and try to change it through pure force of will. Groups of Signers will also form to work on changing something about their collective view of the multiverse. During the rare times that a member of the Sign of One ventures out of his kip, he will urge the people he interacts with to also focus inward and reflect on their lives. After all, it never hurts to give one’s self encouragement. Most Cagers say that the faction’s efforts are a waste of time. With so many different – and conflicting – views of the multiverse, any progress made in one area will certainly be counteracted somewhere else. Sure, they’re happy that they don’t have to deal with the stuck-up berks, but after Narciss is over, the Signers are back – unchanged and more egotistical than ever. In spite of this cynical attitude, it is still very hard to discount the rumors of fantastic objects suddenly appearing within the Hall of Speakers. And of course, there always the stories of people who are never heard from again after this month.
Regardless of the derisive views of the Sign of One’s beliefs and actions, Narciss is generally a quieter time in the Cage. It seems that however reluctantly, the people of Sigil do take the faction’s advice and spend more time reflecting on their lives and actions. While many a thought is turned inward, a canny basher knows that it’s not self-improvement that’s being contemplated. Truth is, Cagers are busy licking their wounds from Retributus and are creating goals to obtain during the following month, Tithing. The City of Doors does see an influx of visitors during Narciss. Sigil is most popular with philosophers and sages at this time of the year. This is due to the fact that fighting is generally at an all-time low, as people tend to talk more and act less. This allows the greybeards to get into “down-and-dirty” arguments over obscure beliefs and trivia without having to worry about the disagreement ending with a knife in the back. Narciss also sees a rise in the number of illithids and other psionic beings that visit the Cage. They, too, like the more introspective atmosphere of Sigil, and come here to meditate in a much more interesting environment than their shrines, pools, and monasteries.
While most events during Narciss are small, private affairs which are attended only by those who most think like the host, there are two events of note. The first is a large, public festival of the Arts, which takes place during the last week of the month. The Cage’s artists claim that their personal muses are most effective during Narciss, allowing them to finish stalled projects or create startling new ones. Local chant says that this is the best time for a new artist to try and obtain a patron. Chant also whispers of the other big event in Narciss. For the decades that this rumor has been out there, no one has ever been able to confirm it one way or the other. It is said that at some random time during this month, the pit fiend Bel comes to Sigil to pay his respects to the factol of the Sign of One. No one knows the reason for this supposed visit, but there are many wild theories. Apart from these events, some religious observances take place. These mainly involve powers of Thought or Creation, although the occasional Power of Inspiration or Creativity also holds a holiday.
Tithing could be considered “High Summer” in the Cage. As on most Prime worlds, this period is the hottest time of the year. However, in Sigil, this heat has nothing to do with the weather. Rather, it has everything to do with the degree of danger to a sod’s belongings, body, and soul. Most of the Cage spent the previous month of Narciss deciding what they wanted out of life; they now spend all of Tithing trying to get it. The City of Doors is best described by the oft misquoted credo of The Fated: “Every berk for himself.”
Factol’s Day of Tithing is a rather tense day in Sigil. Unlike most of the other factions, the leader of the Fated does not have a celebration held in his honor. This is because, as any Taker will tell you, even though one person deserves to have more than most people, that doesn’t give him the right to flaunt it. Instead, the Factols of the Heartless have made their Day something of a culling within the Faction. Each Fated who lives in Sigil is expected to use these twenty-four hours to obtain something they feel they deserve. At the start of the day, the factioneers give a sealed scroll with their personal goal to the faction’s record keepers. Once the scroll is submitted, the Fated is then expected to spend the whole of the day working to obtain whatever it is he has written down. When the day ends, the scrolls are opened and use to prove how successful – or not – each member was. Those who succeed are looked upon more favorably, and often have an easier time of things in the faction – at least, for the rest of Tithing they do. Those who fail to achieve their stated goals, while not thrown out of the faction, are viewed with derision. This bad feeling usually lasts far past the end of the month. However, one should not make the mistake of assuming that the Heartless are not equally ambitious throughout the rest of the month as well.
A canny basher tends not to trust any member of the Fated during Tithing. Those who failed to achieve their goal on Factol’s Day are more likely as not looking to “make it up” by achieving that goal at some point in the month. These Fated are most likely to have a bad attitude about the whole thing; not many Heartless are gracious losers. The rest of the faction will be working to achieve goals as well; but these are more ambitious, often the result of many months’ or years’ worth of planning and effort. This month is one of the few, rare times that members of this faction will willingly work together, occasionally on projects that benefit the faction as a whole, rather than themselves. (In fact, the faction obtained their current headquarters, the Hall of Records, during this month as a result of such combined efforts.) In addition to the efforts of the established members of the faction, Tithing also sees a sharp increase in the number of beings attempting to become members of the Fated. Most of these are only of namer quality, encouraged to join by the rapacious atmosphere of the Cage during this month. However, past history has shown that those few who are worthy of the higher ranks are most often of exceptional quality. Factol Darkwood pays close attention to these recruits. After all, he joined in Tithing and might not a potential protege (or rival) appear during this time?
The rest of the Cage tends to take on a “what’s in it for me” attitude during Tithing. Nearly all prices increase during the month and most merchants tend to drive much harder bargains. The gaming houses try to make up for lost profits by tightening the odds and fixing more games than they normally would. However, all is not hopeless. These gaming houses also tend to be more forgiving when it comes to cheaters during Tithing; after all, if someone could outfox a house on its guard, it deserves what it got. (“It’s all right boys. He cheated us fair and square.”) This month also sees a rather frightening influx in the number of fiends coming to Sigil. The baatezu are returning after lying low for Retributus; the tanar’ri are returning en masse with a vengeance after the air of hated lawfulness has finally lifted from the Cage. In addition to the expected rise in the number of brawls between fiends, the City of Doors also sees a rise in recruiting for the Blood War. The fiends are trying to take foolish berks as fodder, while many mercenaries are trying to make that one big score and retire like kings. With all the deals and promises, it’s said that Tithing is the month to get the best contracts with fiendish employers.
The fifth month of the Sigilian Calendar sees the second highest number of celebrations and public events during the year. All of these are based around some form of competition, usually sports-related. After all, with so many people trying to obtain their goals during Tithing, some are going to end up going for the same prize. The Guvners have decided to make things safer in Sigil by sanctioning as many official competitions as they can think of to allow for a legal, and controllable, means of resolving such conflicts. A sod can find any kind of contest to compete in that he can think of: beauty pageants, gambling tournaments, gladiatorial combats, etc. In fact, this is the one month where many illegal activities become legal for the sake of a contest. Of course, winning in one of those games is a two-edged sword; the victor is marked by the Harmonium as a trouble-maker and is usually arrested as soon as the month is over. Besides the Hardheads, there is a darker side to all of these contests. In keeping with the general atmosphere of the month, a group of erinyes and succubi set aside their racial hatred and hold their own contest. These fiends attempt to seduce as many souls as possible over the course of Tithing. The victorious group then claims the right to stalk the brothels of the Cage in the following month. The powers which like to make noise during this month are those who stress Individualism and Self-Reliance. Of course, more than one Power of Greed or Luck likes to have its devotees show off during this month as well.
The month of Savorus is the most eventful of any of the months in the Sigilian Calendar (with the occasional exception of Capricious, of course). Savorus marks not only the end of the Philosophical Summer, it also marks the end of the first half of the year. Those two events alone are enough to cause some people to call for celebrations. However, the entire month has become a celebration due to the influence of its sponsor, the Sensates. The faction has decided use Savorus to help the people of the Cage forget about the problems of the previous, serious months by trying to make life more enjoyable. And one can bet that the Society of Sensation provides plenty of opportunities to succeed at accomplishing that goal.
Factol’s Day of Savorus is the only day that the Civic Festhall closes to the public as the faction reserves the building for their exclusive use. Superficially, it appears that the faction is merely having a private party; however, this is not the whole truth. While the entire day is indeed one continuous party for the faction and the factol, it is truly a celebration of Life and Sensations. The Society’s members meet to share their sensations with one another; not only to refine their understanding of common experiences, but a lot to find at least one new sensation in order to expand their personal horizons. The overall atmosphere is one of a carnival combined with an intense philosophical debate. During the course of the day, many of the factors and more ambitious factotums continue an ancient tradition of the faction – the attempt to present the factol with a sensation she has not yet experienced. Those who succeed not only find favor with their factol, but have their political influence within the Sensates increased as well. However, in recent years, Factol Erin Montgomery has been trying to change this practice; besides being a very difficult task, it also tends to cause factioneers to take foolhardy risks with their lives. Instead, the factol has been reversing the tradition – sharing a key experience of hers with the other members of the faction. The celebration ends at anti-peak with a special presentation to the gathered factioneers. These presentations are designed to make a unique experience which is centered around one of the Senses. However, since the Festhall is closed to the public, and no Sensate has ever described one of these events, Sigil is thick with rumors as to what these presentations are like. The favored chant is that these events are dark and evil in nature, most likely performed with fiendish help.
Once the private activities of Factol’s Day are complete, the Civic Festhall reopens its doors to the general populace. For the rest of the month, the faction headquarters literally overflows with sensations to be experienced. Not only is every available space filled with some presentation – be it artwork, a performance, or an aura of feelings – the Sensates also take over many of the city streets around the building. These blocks are filled with throngs of visitors gaping at the free art shows and performances which litter the streets. However, even with the lure of these additional experiences, the Society does not rest on its laurels. During Savorus, the Sensates take their philosophy to the people who cannot, or do not, visit the Festhall. The faction has several (heavily guarded) mobile sensoriums which travel throughout the city’s wards – including the Hive – to provide experiences the residents might never have otherwise. It is also a common sight to see a member of the Society standing on a street corner and giving an impromptu oration on the merits of truly Sensing the multiverse. (A few of the more peery bashers in town claim that the events of Savorus are the Society’s attempts to take over the Cage by numbing its denizens into a state of sensory overload.) This month also sees the hiring of a fair number of planewalking mercenaries by individual Sensates. In keeping with the theme of the month, these adventurous factioneers mount expeditions to visit some of the more exotic locales on the Great Ring; and many of these places require some form of armed escort in order to ensure that the Sensate survives the desired experience.
While the Society’s influence on Sigil during Savorus is only slightly less subtle than that of other factions in other months, it is more pervasive. For not just the people of the Cage are affected; the city itself is also changed during this month. Everyone and everything in the City of Doors becomes more intense during Savorus. The hues of fresh paint on a building or of blood on a chiv seem brighter. The odors carried in the smokes of the Lower Ward are more varied and distinct. People’s emotions swing closer to the extremes. Overall, Sigil takes on characteristics better suited for Arborea, the adopted home plane of the Sensates, than the Outlands. A canny cutter best not let himself get distracted by the scenery, though. For this emphasis on sensations has a dangerous undercurrent to it. People are more willing to give in to their desires during Savorus. Crimes of passion hit a yearly high this month. People are also willing to use the month as an excuse to try things they would not normally do. This is the most probable cause for the sharp increase in weddings and crimes.
Savorus is the most popular month for celebrations and public events; the previous month of Tithing is the only one that even comes close to matching the sheer number and variety of happenings. While the Society of Sensation has taken the vast majority of these events under its collective wing, all of the other “philosophers with clubs” also try to get in on the act. Using the Sensate model of public presentation, the other factions (and a few sects) use this month to present morality plays (of a sort) that try to present their core beliefs in a format that is more palatable to the general public. Most are not very well attended and have to be redone from year to year. However, a few presentations have managed to catch on and become a yearly tradition. One of these is the annual presentation of the play “Waiting…” by the Bleak Cabal; another is the Doomguard’s Entropy Race through the Hive Ward. In addition to these faction-sponsored events, there are several independent festivals that are anticipated by the City of Doors. The most popular of these is the annual art show sponsored by the titan Zadara. One of the conditions she makes when she sponsors an artist is that they must present at least two works during her event in Savorus. In addition to the usually fantastic displays of art, this show can also be used as an opportunity by new artist to petition the titan for support. Only rarely does she choose someone who comes to her in this manner. The powers which hold holy days during Savorus are a rather mixed lot. In addition to the expected boisterous gods (such as those of Mirth or Wine), a few of the more open gods of Knowledge also celebrate. And naturally, the various powers of Fertility hold rites during this month.
The seventh month of the Sigilian Calendar exists outside of any season, philosophical or otherwise. It sits in the center of the year, belonging neither to the two previous “positive” monthly triads nor the following two “negative” ones. The Guvners asked the Transcendent Order to sponsor The Pivot seeing as how they couldn’t properly assign it to one pattern of thought or another. This lack of influence on the Cage’s thoughts fits the Ciphers just fine; they are happier focusing on actions of the body rather than the mind.
Factol’s Day of The Pivot, much like the month itself, tends to break with the patterns set by the other months. The Ciphers hold no large, faction-wide event on this day; partly due to the fact that planning to be spontaneous goes against their beliefs, but mainly because doing so just feels artificial and wrong. Rather, it is hoped that the factioneers will be in tune with their instincts and the multiverse enough that they will know what personal action to take. These actions are expected to be those that, in addition to being correct with a minimum of thought, honor the factol and further either the member’s or the faction’s growth in some manner. Often, such actions take the form of shows of respect to the factol, or perhaps a demonstration of physical prowess. But just as likely, Ciphers can be found furthering the faction’s role within the Cage, acting as peace-makers and settling disputes. All of the factols of the Transcendent Order have followed this latter course of action. They have often been seen on the streets of Sigil (or occasionally, further afield), wandering until they find the one action which will make the most difference in the daily life of the average person. More often than not, the various factols of the Ciphers have always managed to prevent some major accident or other incident on this day by being in the right place at the right time.
The phrase “the right place at the right time” best sums up the actions of the factioneers throughout The Pivot. Members of the Order strive to live up to their well-deserved reputations as diplomats and problem-solvers. They take to the streets in full force, attempting to feel where their help will be needed (if not necessarily wanted) next. The streets are full of stories of a Cipher or two suddenly appearing to help unload a cart, repair a wall, or save a child from being run down in the street. Practically every task that needs more than one person to complete will attract a Cipher to help out at just the right time. Many times, a Cager will report that the same Cipher will help him out multiple times. It seems as if the members of the faction go out and pick a person for whom they will be a sort of “guardian angel”. It’s enough to make a blood a bit paranoid and jumpy. However, a bit of peeriness isn’t a bad thing. While it is true the all of the good-aligned Ciphers are out to help make Sigil a better place through their actions, there is a minority of faction members who are more dark-hearted, and are out to act at the right time to make things occur to the worst possible effect. (These factioneers are known as “murphies” in Cager slang.) Regardless of their personal goals, all members of the Transcendent Order demonstrate that one person can make a difference, if they act in harmony with the multiverse and don’t take very long to think about their actions.
Even though the Guvners claim that The Pivot is not part of any philosophical season, a quick look around will tell any sod that life in the Cage is affected just as much by the Ciphers in this month as it is by any of the other faction-sponsored months. Overall, everything in the City of Doors tends to go much faster. Much of the deliberation and second-guessing that occurs normally is reduced or removed. Residents of Sigil tend to go with their first instinct when making choices. Unfortunately, just because things are happening much quicker, that doesn’t mean they’re happening any smoother. In fact, The Pivot proves to be the most troublesome month in terms of personal disasters. Too many beings tend to use the mantra “action without thought” to mean “acting without common sense”. Many fortunes have been lost due to bad investments. Merchants tend to hate The Pivot as they find it very difficult to drive hard bargains. Sigil’s houses of healing see a large jump in business due to self-inflicted injuries, especially among mages who gave in to the temptation to cut corners.
Apart from the actions of the Ciphers – and the small disasters from those who attempt to emulate them – there aren’t a lot of major events which take place during The Pivot. Much like Narciss, the main focus of the month is personal (but with actions favored over thoughts). Those events which do take place are primarily the results of the urgings of the powers and their priests. The deities which favor holding religious observances create an interesting contrast. On one side, there are a lot of the more visible and active deities – such as those of physical prowess (like Strength) or action (like Racing). On the other, there are many of the quieter powers – such as those dedicated to Diplomacy or Peace. And, through force of circumstance and opportunity, many of the powers of Healing also hold religious ceremonies during this month.
The eighth month of the year, Catechism, marks the start of the Philosophical Autumn. Most graybeards will tell you that in the natural world, autumn signifies the beginning of the end for Life; things start to decay in preparation for the death and dormancy of winter. This was the general idea beyond the Guvner’s calendar – the last two triads of the year would be sponsored by those factions that are generally believed to hold a detrimental outlook. So, it caught many by surprise when the Believers of the Source volunteered to be grouped with the other “negative” factions. The faction did so as a direct result of their beliefs – they see their sponsorship of Catechism as something of a stewardship, helping to prepare the Cage for the worse times ahead.
The members of the Godsmen refer to their Factol’s Day as The Smithing. And, surprising as it may seem, this is the one day that all work within the Great Foundry ceases. This is because this day is dedicated to the work done on improving one’s life rather than one’s goods. All Believers of the Source are expected to gather within the courtyard of the Foundry on Catechism’s Factol’s Day. The only exceptions made are for those Godsmen who are either vital to the maintaining of faction interests in remote locations, or else truly dead. (Since the faction revolves around overcoming challenges in one’s life, no excuses for not appearing are accepted.) Once all are assembled, a three-part ceremony begins. The first part, known as The Litany of the Forge, involves each faction member standing before his fellows and describing the most recent and/or important challenges he has faced in his life (or lives) thus far. The second portion, known as The Naming of the Hammer, resembles the actions of the Fated on the Factol’s Day of Tithing. During the Naming, each faction member is expected to name the next challenge in their life that they will face (and hopefully overcome). However, unlike the Fated, this task does not have to be completed within the day, or even the month. The second ritual is merely a way to ensure that the faction is continually moving towards its ultimate goal of self-improvement. Factol’s Day ends with a third ritual called The Quenching – which is nothing more than a fancy name for a really big party.
Once the festivities of Factol’s Day are over, work resumes in the Great Foundry. The factioneers also go to work within the rest of Sigil as well. In a manner similar to the Ciphers in The Pivot, Godsmen patrol the streets of the Cage, looking for those who are faced with a challenge (although a Godsman’d call it an opportunity). However, unlike the Transcendent Order, the tasks that the Godsmen choose to get involved with are not mundane and their aid does not take the form of a free ride. Members of the faction believe that it is the duty of every being to face the challenges in one’s life and overcome them. The Believers say that it’s fine to get some help, but the majority of the work should be done by one’s self in order to achieve the maximum benefit. Despite what seems to be a noble goal – helping people to learn from life – many bashers have good reason to be peery during Catechism. See, the Godsmen are also on the lookout for those who, in their opinion, have had a far too easy time of life to date and seek to give some challenges to them. (Thieves who belong to the faction are often very busy this month relieving beings of their unearned gains.) And a few of the more hard- (or evil-) hearted members of the Godsmen seek out those who have seemingly blown their current chance at life and give them the opportunity to start again from scratch – by sending them to the dead-book.
During Catechism, life in the City of Doors seems to become more unfair, seeming to go out of its way to either beat a body down or else build him up. Successes and failures, while not any more frequent than in other months, are more spectacular – all the better to see how well a basher handles himself and learns his lessons. A being can almost be assured of facing one major life test during this month if he’s in Sigil for any length of time. The chant is that if a body can pull himself through a rough spot in his life, he’ll be rewarded soon after. Likewise, if a body lets his ego get to him after a success, a big fall will soon appear to deflate his self-worth. Essentially, one has to keep his head down and be prepared to weather the winds of fortune that shift and blow through the start of the Philosophical Autumn.
The start of Catechism also marks the beginning of what some wags mockingly refer to as “the Philosophical Wind”; this month sees a sharp increase in the number of speeches and lectures given by the Cage’s pontificators and others who enjoy hearing themselves speak. Naturally, the subject of most of these presentations revolves around dealing with life’s challenges. The Godsmen who take to the lectern advocate self-reliance, while the numerous priests in Sigil tell passers-by to seek solace in their respective religions. The more wild addle-coves make use of Catechism to spout their yearly “end-of-the-multiverse” speeches; even a few Anarchists come out of hiding to rail against the other factions. Despite all of this ideological noise, tasks actually get accomplished during the month. Many of the other factions take advantage of Catechism’s “fortune favors the bold” attitude to lay the groundwork their next big project; and more often than not, a few faction-related projects come to fruition (for good or ill) in this month. In addition to all of this activity, there are the usual collection of religious ceremonies taking place. The powers which prefer observances in this month are those whose portfolios cover such areas as Fate, Strife, and Learning.
Even though Sacrilegion is the middle of Autumn as defined by the Fraternity of Order, this month is the first which truly embodies the season’s core nature of fading away. From this point forward in the Philosophical Year, each month is sponsored by a faction which has some element of loss or decay in their core beliefs. The sponsors of this month, the Athar, concern themselves (and as much as of the Cage as they can get away with) with the loss of Faith.
Factol’s Day of Sacrilegion has, with the notable exception of Capricious’, seen the most changes to its events over the long course of years. This is directly due to the influence of the Athar’s factols, and how they have interpreted the faction’s philosophy and goals. Activities on this day have ranged from full-scale assaults on some of Sigil’s temples to unintentionally recreating the natural season of Fall by throwing thousands of anti-deity pamphlets from the rooftops so that the streets of the Cage appear to be littered with leaves. The current factol of the Athar, Terrance, has followed the examples of some of the other factions and turned his followers’ attention inward on this day. He urges the members to spend the day in quiet reflection on how and why they came to realize that the powers aren’t the gods they make themselves out to be. At the end of the day, the factol leads a large gathering in the central chamber of the Shattered Temple, at the base of the faction’s special tree. The factioneers refer to it as a “discourse” on the existence and nature of the Great Unknown; an outsider would call it a form of worship. (Which probably explains why outsiders aren’t allowed anywhere near the faction’s headquarters on Factol’s Day.)
For the Defiers, Sacrilegion is one of the few times they feel confident enough to be visible and proactive in their beliefs. Many factioneers take a break from their endless writing of instructional information (or “inflammatory propaganda”, as the priests call it) and take to the streets to talk to people directly about the faction’s ideas. Most of these “missionaries” follow the example set by Factol Terrance and are polite and respectful in their manner. They will quietly stand on street corners or sit in taverns near the temples and ask passerby for a moment of their time to discuss the nature of one’s faith. Others will be a bit more active and offer to conduct public – and loud – debate on the nature of the divine. However, there is a small fraction of the Athar (the most visible portion of which is the Godslayers) which holds a more militant outlook, and tends to use tactics reminiscent of the Revolutionary League. These factioneers seek to disrupt worship services either by causing a commotion outside the sanctuary, or else sneaking into the service and asking bothersome questions of the priests. A few run a dangerous risk by holding services which are mockery of those normally held in a power’s name. (More than a handful of Athar have been slain by angry proxies for such insults.) Regardless of how they choose to go about it, every member of the faction spends Sacrilegion trying to shake people’s faith – if not belief – in the powers.
Although the Athar are never as successful as they would like, the nature of the Philosophical Year is such that this month still grants the faction a minor victory. The atmosphere of Sigil is filled with a subtle shade of Doubt. While the Athar would like to see a loss of religious faith, the month instead engenders an erosion of the common, everyday variety. People tend to be less accepting of others, and try to get more assurances of intentions than they normally would. Information is not accepted at face value as readily, and is often not believed unless it comes from what the listener considers a very reliable source. While this lack of trust usually leads to nothing more than flaring tempers and longer negotiations, there is a more insidious result to this increased doubt. People also tend to lack faith in themselves. This can result not only in a lack of initiative, but also an increased rate of failure. These failures could range from the rather mundane result of not completing a contract on time, to a dangerous accident involving construction or even magical research. After a few such setbacks, those who didn’t have much self-esteem in the first place find it to be almost gone, and either end up in the Hive or the Mortuary through their own choosing (or lack thereof).
The most common form of public event that occurs during Sacrilegion is the debate. The general atmosphere of Doubt tends to make everyone more argumentative. Many of these debates are simply private arguments that got out of hand and grew to encompass everyone in the immediate area. Others are planned events. The Hall of Speakers sees near-constant use as merchants, philosophers, priests, and factioneers all want to talk something out in a public, yet controlled, arena. Additionally, many trouble-makers (not all of whom are Anarchists) take the opportunity to play on people’s doubts and fears by speaking out against a particular group. Given this general lack of faith, it would seem that no deity would willingly have a holy day during this month. However, a very small minority of gods actually do offer celebrations at this time of the year. These powers represent either Hope (as it requires only a very small amount of Faith) or Humor (as they are best able to take the Athar in stride).
The third triad of Sigil’s Calendar ends with Nihilum. The downward spiral started in the previous month continues with, and is even accelerated by, the lackluster support of the month’s patron faction, the Bleak Cabal. The attitude of this month is most definitely “apathy”. Nihilum feeds off the loss of Faith during Sacrilegion and prepares the Cage for the full brunt of the Philosophical Winter by showcasing the loss of Meaning.
Factol’s Day of Nihilum is the most uneventful day in the entire Sigilian Calendar. Despite the best efforts of the Fraternity of Order, the Bleakers continue to refuse to acknowledge that this day is different from any other day in the City of Doors. No special observances are planned by the faction; no great rallies reminding the factioneers of the pointlessness of it all take place. In fact, the members of the Cabal derive a certain perverse pleasure in frustrating the expectations of the populace in general and the Guvners in particular. The most they’ll do is shrug their shoulders a little more, smile a little wider, and say, “You expected something different?” (Recently, however, the Fraternity of Order has managed to assign a small bit of significance to Factol’s Day, much to the chagrin of the Bleakers. It seems that historically more factols have begun the Grim Retreat on this day, and the admittance rate into the Gatehouse tends to be significantly higher.)
While the members of the Bleak Cabal refuse to admit to any meaning for the month of Nihilum and their mandated sponsorship of it, they freely acknowledge that the Cage is more willing to pay attention to them and their message during this span of days. The bolder members of the faction take advantage of this attitude and leave the Hive Ward to take their offer of services into the rest of Sigil. They create at least one soup kitchen or hospice in each of the wards, usually in the shadow of the other factions’ headquarters. While some factions approve of this and help (like the Godsmen or the Indeps), others aren’t too pleased and end up resorting to violence to kick the Bleakers off their doorsteps (the Fated and the Harmonium are the leaders in this behavior). An enterprising few Bleakers follow the model of their own Ridner Tetch and his Weary Spirit Infirmary and create temporary clinics. Since the residents of the other wards can usually afford the healing provided by the various temples in Sigil, these clinics deal almost exclusively with mental disorders. Usually, these factioneers provide nothing more than a sympathetic ear, but occasionally they will recommend a visit to the Gatehouse. The majority of Bleakers, however, keep their increased activities confined to the Hive. Instead of being content to let people come to them, they seek out those who are in need of their help. They create mobile soup kitchens which travel by on the back of a wagon (or sometimes the backs of zombies borrowed from the Dustmen), bringing food to the deepest parts of the Cage’s slums. Others look for the insane who cannot bring themselves (or be brought) to the Gatehouse. Unfortunately, some of these patrols tend to be a bit broad in their definition of “insane” and end up kidnapping those on the borderline of sanity. The high-ups merely shrug at these mistakes and correct them as they find them. Overall, the Bleakers tend to be more vocal and visible in their efforts to care for the downtrodden, as well as in their attempts to convince others of their point of view. And, as a surprise to pretty much everyone, they actually succeed – after a fashion.
Although the Cabal would love for everyone in the Cage to wake up one morning and realize that nothing external has any meaning, Nihilum instead instills in the city’s residents a lack of significance. That is, while people still continue to think life is important and their goals and activities have meaning, they begin to ignore the larger picture. If something doesn’t affect them directly (and often, immediately), they don’t care. This marked lack of concern tends to make Nihilum one of the more dangerous months in Sigil. Very few beings, including celestials, are willing to come to the aid of strangers this month. Thus, there is a sharp increase in the number of successful muggings and assaults as no one will step in, or even bother to summon the Harmonium. Fires are especially dangerous in Nihilum as no one will pitch in to combat the flames unless it appears that their kip is next in line to become charcoal. One interesting aspect of the general air of unconcern is that the Cage’s information brokers see a drastic drop in business; no one really cares to know the general state of affairs since it doesn’t seem to affect them. One Guvner described the atmosphere of Sigil as being “like some mage had created an enormous aura of antipathy, causing everything to appear to be the concern of a being other than one’s self.” However, this predominant feeling does make the City of Doors a good place to hide as no one cares enough to question suspicious-looking characters as to their purpose in town.
Nihilum fosters has even fewer events than Accordant, making it the least “active” month of the Sigilian Calendar. Given the general lack of concern, people find it rather hard to work up the motivation to do anything involving others. This decay of interest and motivation extends even to the powers. Only the already converted attend services, and even then, the numbers tend to be a little smaller than normal. As a result, there are no regular religious events scheduled during this month. This would make the Athar very happy, if only they could work up enough interest to care.
Although, by the decree of the Fraternity of Order, Mortis is the beginning of the final triad of Sigil’s Calendar, it fits much better as part of a triad formed with Sacrilegion and Nihilum. The first month of the Philosophical Winter is the natural apex of the progression of decay demonstrated by the Autumn. After losing one’s faith and all sense of meaning, all that’s left to lose is your life. And according to the Dustmen – the month’s sponsor – that isn’t really a loss.
Factol’s Day of Mortis has come to be called The Day Macabre. The Dead decided that the Mercykillers had a good idea with their symbolic punishment of Sigil, and put their own twist on things. The first Lady of Mortis is a day-long funeral, a depiction of the symbolic death of Sigil. Although the rest of the Cage claims that this event is as morbid, somber, and depressing as the faction itself, the Dustmen view this as a celebration. Things start at dawn with a large gathering of factioneers outside the Mortuary. Until peak, the faction holds what is essentially a memorial service to the memory of Sigil, with a grand eulogy given by Factol Skall himself. After the requiem is complete, the Dustmen embark on a grand funeral procession through the streets of Sigil. No Cager willingly views this procession more than once. This is because the factioneers travel with a coffin holding a symbolic corpse – one that could be said to represent the Lady of Pain. The residents of the City of Doors fear for their lives should the real Lady show up and make her displeasure known. However, in all the years this morbid parade has taken place, she has not shown up once. However, it should be noted that a large number of dabus do cease work and silently watch the procession go by, as if paying their respects. Once this is complete, the body is placed in state for the rest of the day in the Mortuary and the Dustmen quietly meditate upon the nature of Death.
For the remainder of Mortis, the Cadavers imitate the Bleak Cabal and leave their usual haunts of the Mortuary and the Hive Ward to take their services – and message – to the rest of the Cage. Naturally, the concern of these factioneers (sometimes called “missionaries” by the Dustmen) is death, dying, and the dead. For the most part, the roving Dead are relatively welcome in the other wards of Sigil because the faction is collecting corpses, thus saving people the trouble of transporting the bodies to their headquarters. Additionally, the faction is also willing to help the more wealthy residents hold funeral rites in places of their choosing, rather than renting one of the halls in the Mortuary. In Mortis, it is not unusual to see a funeral being held on a street corner or in a tavern favored by the deceased. However, this willingness to make house calls on the part of the Dead also has a darker side. Some of the bodies the faction collects weren’t dead prior to the factioneers’ arrival. It seems that the Dustmen continue to follow the example of the Bleakers and provide “counseling” to those who are near death – either physically or mentally. Usually, the decision to end a life and progress closer to the True Death is made willingly; however, the more evil Dustmen are willing to take money and perform some active euthanasia. The faction also commissions its own version of the Mercykillers’ Justicars. These are small groups of adventurers – not always exclusively faction members – who are sent out to find those who have been unnaturally holding Death at bay (especially members of the Prolongers sect) and show them the “error of their ways”.
As with the other months in the Philosophical Year, Mortis exerts its own subtle influence on the general population of the City of Doors. In this case, the month tends to suppress (or, more accurately, depress) the spirits of the residents. Their hopes, dreams, and feelings – while not forgotten – have all become muted and somehow less important. Cagers go through their daily routines almost mechanically, without much enthusiasm or effort. It’s very hard not to draw a comparison with modrons, the walking dead, or the Dustmen themselves. This sight tends to give the Dead about as much joy as they will allow themselves to feel. The overall effect on Sigil is that everything tends to slow down and take longer since only minimal effort is put into any task. Mistakes occur more frequently as people tend not to care enough to be as precise as they normally are. In general, the atmosphere of Sigil is very similar to that seen during Nihilum – for while people once again care about the big picture, its hard to work up the motivation to actually do anything about it. One side effect from this muting of emotion is that Mortis is another of the safer months to be in the Cage. Since there’s a dearth of emotion and motivation, it becomes rather hard to anger someone during this month. Of course, it’s equally hard to move someone to happiness. Bards (with the exception of the Bleakniks) loathe this month and tend to leave the city altogether.
One might expect any public event which occurs during the month of Mortis to be a rather solemn or formal affair. It is true that more public funerals take place during this month than any other. A fair number of memorial services which commemorate large battles or disasters with high body counts also occur. But this is only one side of the coin. The Dustmen aren’t the only group in the multiverse to not be afraid of Death and to view it as a positive thing. Thus, for every funeral and gathering of mourners, there is also a celebration. Many of these are held to wish the recently departed well. Some cultures, while mourning the passing of a loved one, still hold a party as means to remember the dead as well as comfort themselves that they are still alive. In addition to these more mundane events, the Outer Planes fosters a unique variation on the attitudes of reverence for the dead. Those who engage in the practice of ancestor worship use the month of Mortis to start quests to search the various planes for the petitioners of previous generations so that they may directly speak with their forbears. All in all, the temple district of Sigil becomes a very interesting – and potentially dangerous – place to be as the various powers of Death, Disease, and Murder have their holy days during this month.
The phrase “wake the dead” has often been used to describe the general flavor of Decadre. After two solid months of depression and near catatonia, Sigil is jolted back to life by the Doomguard and their sponsorship of this month. This is because the Sinkers see it as their sacred duty to embody the storms which a “normal” winter usually delivers. They feel they are justified in their behavior because – if one follows the philosophical model begun in the Autumn – after the body dies, it rots.
Factol’s Day of Decadre, in addition to being one of the most widely noticed holidays in Sigil, rivals those of the months of Sacrilegion and Capricious for being the most varied. While the general theme is the same, the specific implementation varies from factol to factol, if not from year to year. The Doomguard celebrate the start of their month by holding a large and public demonstration of Entropy. This most common version has been the complete destruction of a building or large object which the faction has purchased (or made) just for the occasion. This Ritual of Rot starts with First Light and ends at Last Light. Over the course of the day, representatives of the faction proceed to use a wide variety of means to destroy the target as completely, but as creatively, as possible. Thus, buildings are taken down brick-by-brick and nail-by-nail, while statues are subject to the effects of summoned winds and conjured waters to simulate natural erosion. Occasionally, the Ritual has taken the form of public challenge – that is, anyone can bring an object to the Doomguard to see if they can apply Entropy to it. Recently, under the leadership of Factol Pentar, the Ritual has taken on a darker and more dangerous tone. Under her guidance, the targets of the Factol’s Day celebration are not owned by the faction or handed over willingly.
The efforts of the faction for the rest of Decadre, while visible, tend to resemble the Entropy they revere – a large, chaotic mass that ends up gaining or losing nothing. While the members of the Doomguard follow the examples of the other factions and make their presence and philosophy felt throughout the City of Doors, it is not a unified or well-coordinated effort. This comes from the fact that the Sinkers are a far more fractious lot in their personal views of how to accomplish their goals than other factioneers. The three camps within the faction seem to become even more like separate groups during Decadre than at any other time of the year. Those who seek a more active and faster approach to the decay of the multiverse spend their days causing trouble throughout Sigil by breaking things and sabotaging buildings or projects. The neutral members of the Sinkers, who prefer to let things die at their own pace without interference, tend to act as militant caretakers – they will “adopt” a location or an object and see to it that no one attempts to either heal or harm it, beyond what time alone does. Naturally, these factioneers run a great risk of running afoul of the dabus if they attempt to prevent the trimming of razorvine. And finally, there is the small minority of the Doomguard who feel that they have to slow down the general rate of decay. These members present an odd picture as they move about Sigil, repairing and fixing things – usually ones which have recently fallen prey to their more active brethren.
Decadre’s style of influence on the rest of Sigil is similar to that seen in the months of Savorus or Catechism; day-to-day living and the physical structure of the city is affected much more than the people themselves. While the residents of the Cage have finally shaken off the lethargy and mental fog of the late Philosophical Autumn and early Winter, it seems that multiverse has turned against them. Things do not go smoothly during Decadre as practically anything that can go wrong, does. The wagon wheels on an important cargo shipment will break. The roof will spring a leak right over a bookcase and ruin several tomes. The previous customer of a merchant will have just bought the last item in stock that you needed. Everything seems to go out of its way to prove that the Doomguard are at least partially right – things do break down. While all of this is very frustrating, this pervasive decay does also work for the good. Surprisingly, the overall crime rate in Sigil is way down during Decadre. This is mainly due to the fact that the criminal’s plans never seem to work out exactly right: the Harmonium patrol is early in its rounds, the lookout falls asleep, or no vulnerable victim is available. Even the dabus aren’t immune from the month’s influence; they seem more harried and rude as the number of potholes to patch, buildings to fix, and razorvine patches to trim rise to their highest levels of the year.
The so-called Philosophical Wind makes a strong resurgence in the month of Decadre. However, in this case, it’s not the sounds of reasoned debate but emotional shouting matches that fill the streets. As the Doomguard are fond of pointing out, even intangibles like personal interaction aren’t immune to the embrace of Entropy. The general air of bad luck frays people’s nerves and shortens their tempers. Any one of numerous small decay problems could be the proverbial straw which causes a sod to lose his control and start an argument. Some factioneers (not exclusively members of the Doomguard) like to preach from street corners, using the frustrations of the day to illustrate some point before they are shouted down by the passing crowds. All of these verbal outbursts don’t last long, however. They are either quickly ended by mutual disgust, or else they degenerate into a brawl. As if this wasn’t enough activity, there are also religious festivals sponsored by the various powers of Corruption, Decay, and Destruction held during this month.
The final month of the Philosophical Year (and Winter), Capricious, is viewed as a necessary evil by the Fraternity of Order. They created the Calendar of Sigil as something of a political compromise, a method by which to foster at least some small sense of unity between the factions. Unfortunately, this also includes the Xaositects. Forced to give every represented faction a month, the Guvners chose the last month of the year as a way to try and minimize the “damage” that could be caused to the system. And although the Chaosmen don’t really care that they are supposed to sponsor the month, they do make very sure that their faction takes full advantage of this chance to “legally” occupy the stage of public attention.
As befits the month’s sponsors, Factol’s Day of Capricious tends to be the largest expression of Chaos the City of Doors sees all month, not to mention all year. No small part of this belongs to the fact that Factol’s Day occurs randomly from year to year. Certainly, in the long history of Sigil, it has happened on the first day of the month. But it has also been observed on the last day, somewhere in the middle, sometimes twice, or even not at all. It simply happens when the factol feels the time is right, and enough factioneers have gathered in one place to make it happen. And what happens is something the Xaositects most commonly call The Surprise!. While this project is indeed a surprise to Cagers – and, it seems, to much of the faction as well – it is actually a well planned and coordinated event. Past Surprises! have included painting the Prison pink and, more recently, the attempt to build a spoke across the width of Sigil. But Factol’s Day serves as more than just a public expression of Chaos. It also serves as a major recruiting drive by the faction. If one is able to guess when and where the Surprise! takes place – and is waiting for the Chaosmen when they arrive – the Xaositects will view that person as their best friend for the rest of the month. (This caused a lot of Hardheads to be severely annoyed the one year they figured out what the Surprise! was.) And, if the successful guesser is actually properly prepared to help, the Chaosmen will induct him into the faction on the spot.
Naturally, it is hard to classify the actions of the Xaositects during Capricious, beyond the general simplification that they are being Chaotic as a whole. Prior to Factol’s Day, whenever that may be this year, most of the factioneers are concerned with getting ready to spring the next Surprise! on the Cage. Afterwards, the Chaosmen continue on pretty much as they have all year, freely expressing a wide variety of personal interpretations on what it means to be in tune with Chaos. However, the factioneers are aware that the residents of Sigil are paying more attention to them this month, so there are three subtle differences in their behavior. First, every member of the faction makes an attempt to express Chaos differently than all the rest. Thus, the Xaositects become something of a living lecture on the nature of Chaos. (This is probably the reason for the large number of visits to the Cage from members of the sect known as the Chaos Engineers.) Second, each factioneer also tries to be a more stereotypical (some would say extreme) example of the particular brand of Chaos they have adopted for the month; presumably to allow for the casual observer to quickly understand what is going on, and then move on to the next Xaositect. And third… Two differences.
Much like Decadre, the influence of the Xaositect’s philosophy pervades everyday life in Sigil during Capricious. In this case, the Cage is almost saturated with the unpredictable tides of chance and fortune. Events are twisted so that the highly improbable becomes more than likely. Fiends fall in love; things can be viewed in terms of black and white; snow falls in Sigil. If there’s an exception to the rule, you’ll probably see it during Capricious. However, this atmosphere of randomness does not turn the Cage into a poor mirror of Soax or Limbo; it merely enhances the natural Chaos that is to be found everywhere in the multiverse. Indeed, these fickle expressions usually confine themselves to small events: lost socks, hitting the jackpot while gambling, or managing not to get lost in the streets of the Hive Ward. Things often turn out for the best if one leaves it all up to chance and simply goes along for the ride. However, history has shown that every year one event will happen (in Sigil or elsewhere) which is guaranteed to surprise even the most jaded resident of the Lady’s Ward.
Overall, “confusion” is the best word to describe events during Capricious. The numerous disruptions the general increase in randomness causes combined with the antics of the Chaosmen makes for a wide number of spontaneous sources of amusement – or danger. (After all, one never knows if that Xaositect is going to juggle those knives. or throw them.) In addition to those from “everyday” life, a wide variety of beings and organizations use the excuse provided by the month to stage events for public consumption. The primary celebrants are the worshippers of the various powers of Chance, Chaos, or Luck. Some of the braver sects send representatives to Sigil to try to gain a few new recruits from beyond their home areas. Even some fiends and celestials hold impromptu rallies on the street corners for their respective causes. Essentially, any group hasn’t found an appropriate month for their plans earlier in the year stages the activity now. And, to top everything off, more than a few normally upright citizens use the surrounding swirl of chaos as an excuse to let loose and act a little crazy themselves.
The month known as Leagueheim is the exception to nearly every rule in the Fraternity of Order’s calendar – mainly because they had nothing to do with its creation. Each year, starting on a different day every time, there is a period of three weeks when the weather of Sigil drastically changes – the clouds and pollution clear up, it doesn’t rain, and the air actually gets warm. (This always occurs at the same time that the Outlands experiences “The Veiled Month” of its calendar system.) While the Guvners simply tried to ignore this occurrence as just another set of days that need no special significance in their time-keeping system, the philosophical weather clears up right along with Sigil’s. During this span of days, whatever month (or two) was influencing the Cage is canceled and replaced by Leagueheim. Over the centuries, these three weeks have come to be seen as a fourteenth month in the cage. And as such, it has come to be adopted by the two remaining factions of Sigil, the Free League and the Revolutionary League.
Given the natures of the two Leagues, there is no official event that could be considered a Factol’s Day for either faction or the month. However, this doesn’t mean that the beginning of the month goes unmarked. On the third day of Leagueheim, the Indeps begin an informal event they commonly refer to as The Gathering. During the next eight days of the month, members of the Free League from across the planes come to Sigil and collect in the Great Bazaar. There, they meet one another, exchange information, tell stories, and generally enjoy themselves and one another’s company. Part of the Free League’s creed is to always have enough information to keep your options open and make an informed opinion; the Gathering is the most visible portion of the faction’s famed information network. The Revolutionary League also marks the beginning of the month with a gathering of their own. However, this meeting takes place outside of Sigil in the faction’s “headquarters” – the Bastion of Last Hope on Carceri. There, the various cells use the relative safety of the Bastion to re-evaluate their strategy for the downfall of the factions in Sigil. Occasionally, some of the cells ally with other cells in order to carry out bigger plans. Before the month ends, they return to Sigil and attempt to carry out at least one act of sabotage. Naturally, this is a rather tense time as all the factions wait for the expected attempts.
For the rest of Leagueheim, the Indeps and the Anarchists take different approaches to their adopted month. Members of the Free League mostly downplay the significance of the month, just as they do with their status as a faction. At most, the Indeps will be on their best behavior – aware that the Cage is watching and making sure that they lead by example. Some members will make a point of becoming touts for the month, catching the Clueless and warning them of the dangers of falling in with the factions before they’ve got all the facts. Others will attempt to engage members of the other factions in reasoned discourse and try to show them their errors in being too strongly committed to one point of view. The members of the Revolutionary League, on the other hand, are on their worst behavior. They see Leagueheim as the break they’ve been waiting for and make as much of a public presence (the Harmonium would say nuisance) of themselves as they can get away with. Anarchists seem to be found on every street corner, railing against the dominant paradigm. Anti-faction graffiti appears on walls all over Sigil. And naturally, large numbers of acts of sabotage against the factions take place. While the factions are ready for this increased activity, the sheer number of attempts means that at least one will succeed. And although many members of the Revolutionary League are captured during the month, the faction always seems to be able to find enough new recruits to replenish the ranks.
Leagueheim’s influence on the rest of the Cage is different from those of the other months in the Philosophical Year – it doesn’t have any. See, the atmospheric effects of the month (or months) that these three weeks override are completely negated, leaving the residents of Sigil free to think and act completely on their own. The Anarchists claim that this exactly the situation that any being truly wants, while the Indeps say that this is exactly the situation that most beings fear. It is the one time during the entire year that everyone – from the most Clueless to the most rabid factol – is on equal footing with regards as to knowing what their personal belief system is. It is in this air of intellectual freedom that Sigil is best able to show its true, cosmopolitan character. It seems that more travelers come through the Cage’s portals during Leagueheim, bringing a wealth of new chant and ideas with them. While fights between those of conflicting values and beliefs occur regularly, it is an honest exchange of hostilities such as would be found elsewhere on the planes. The ratio of beings in the City of Doors tips in favor of the planeborn, as they come to Sigil to teach mortals that there are other philosophies to live by – those of a moral basis rather than an intellectual one. Ironically, after this month of mental liberation is over, all of the factions see a sharp increase in new members.
Even though the timing of Leagueheim changes from year to year, a number of regular events still take place during this month. All deal with the theme of freedom in one form or another. One of these is the sharp increase in the number of thefts in Sigil. Others include parades or festivals which commemorate some great event (usually a battle) which resulted in the liberation of one group of people or another. Also, there are powers who find the roving nature of the month to their liking. Obviously, the gods of Travel as well those of crafts or professions which involve movement have holy days during this time. Powers whose portfolios cover the realms of Stealth or Thieves also enjoy Leagueheim because it can strike at any time to relieve the other months of their influence.
The Day of Grace
A parade passes through The Lady’s Ward sponsored by the Harmonium at first light on the final day of each year. Though this began as a festive event, it has since become a military exercise. Many merchants have yearly sales and discounts on the holiday, so plenty of cutters use this as an excuse to purchase gifts for their friends—such niceties are not a fundamental part of the Day of Grace, however. It’s simply a day in which all Cagers pause before resorting to violence or vengeance. For more details on the Day of Grace, see here…
In the Aftermath of Faction War
As has been stated many times, the Fraternity of Order created this calendar based on the factions of Sigil; each getting their own month to sponsor and showcase their beliefs. But, after the recent events, the factions have been swept from the face of the Cage. Their place in the city’s politics and infrastructure has been replaced by the average citizen and those factioneers that have renounced their allegiances. So, the current situation in the City of Doors with regard to the Philosophical Year begs the rather obvious question of, “Now What?”
Fear not, for the Calendar of Sigil remains intact for the time being. Cagers are a stubborn lot – old habits die hard. While the factions may be gone as political entities, they have been a part of the landscape for so long that they still remain a part of the public consciousness. Many of the shortened names for the factions have been adopted into the general slang of the Cage; thus, their legacy remains. (Besides, no one knows who the new dominant groups are going to be and, chances are, no one is going to be willing to presume to make decisions for the entire city for quite some time.) The Philosophical Year is too deeply rooted in mindset of Sigil’s residents to be washed away so easily. Perhaps in the coming years the factions’ imprints on the Cage will fade, but nobody’s betting on that when the traditions are still so strong…
Source: Ken Lipka, (rescued from a web archive of his fantastic site On the Wings of Mephits)
Supporting files: Printable calendar for one month and three months…