Sigil - The City of Doors
Welcome to the greatest city in all the Multiverse! Sigil, the ringed city of doors, floats high above the plane of Outlands, ever circling the Spire and the castle of the Lady of Pain at its top.
Nine districts, each 15 miles long and 5 wide, make up Sigil, each with their own distinct styles and problems, but one thing remains the same whether you are in the towering skyscrapers of the District of Tomorrow or the foggy back alleys of the Shadow District. In the end all things in Sigil serve the interests of the enigmatic Lady of Pain, and to get ahead, you'll have to play her game. Permanent residence in Sigil, and escape from the exorbitant expense of inns for non residents, requires signing a contract that among other things, restricts your ability to level up without approval of The Authority.
Sigil is a city of balance. Good and Evil. Law and Freedom. But also a city of the truly Neutral, home to tens of millions of Petitioners (also known as the Greys) who came here in the afterlife because they enjoyed their work and enjoyed their life, never getting caught up in the drama of the battle between Good and Evil or Law and Chaos.
For petitioners, every day is a new day, the best day on their job (as long as they aren’t killed by the sometimes chaotic happenings in Sigil). But on those bad days, they wake up the next none the wiser of the fate that befell them, ready to go to work and enjoy their time off after. Since every day is payday, and all their bills are already paid. Petitioners don’t need to eat or drink, but they do so for enjoyment. They make up the vast workforce of Sigil, especially on La Rambla.
Mortals in Sigil, also called the Living, make their home here as well, whether because they were born here, or because they found themselves here after going through a Door and either decided to stay or couldn’t find their way back home. Opportunity exists in abundance in Sigil for the Living with the ambition to get ahead.
It is also a city aware of the Powers of the Multiverse, and the Cosmic Game. The Living routinely talk about Levels, Classes, Ability Scores, and other ‘meta game’ elements from D&D. Philosophers look to understand the underlying rules of the Multiverse, and how they can optimize themselves to better control their fate in the Cosmic Game. A cult that calls itself the Believers of the Players walk the city, exclaiming that everyone here is no more than a figment of the imagination of sentient beings from somewhere beyond the Far Realm, controlling their actions and deciding their fate, though most don’t believe these sometimes fanatic heralds.
The Districts - Sigil is split into 9 districts, each with its own distinct flavor and feel. Each district is 15 miles long and 5 wide.
- Frontier District - Old West style, it also contains the single largest ‘Natural’ space in Sigil, a 5 mile long, 3 mile wide nature preserve in the center of the district.
- Renaissance District - 15th Century Italian, home to great cathedrals and universities
- Classical District - Old Rome/Greece/Egypt, with immense fountains, sculptures and pyramids
- Fantasy District - Whimsical Fantasy, the architecture here often looks impossible, and probably would be on the Material Plane, as are the immense trees that house many Fey people.
- District of Tomorrow - Blade Runner 2049, with towering skyscrapers running immense video screens and flying cars, always pushing the boundaries of magic
- Shadow District - 19th century london, forever enshrouded in a low fog and home to many sentient Undead
- Aqua District - The primary city is underwater and home to aquatic races, but on the surface, thousands of ships tie together in floating communities.
- Library District - Overall style very similar to the 1980s to the present day, but the great Philosopher's war that has been going on for a millenium makes this one of the most dangerous districts in Sigil, especially along La Rambla.
- Carnival District - Vegas/Disneyworld in La Rambla, County Fairs and Big Tops on the outskirts catering to thousands of tourists.
Besides the seven districts that make up Sigil, the city is further divided into three major sections.
La Rambla - A mile wide swath running straight down the middle of the city, this is the home of mighty adventurers, the utra rich, and the tens of thousands of tourists visiting Sigil at any given time. Some of the greatest hotels, shops, restaurants, universities and entertainment in all of the multiverse is found along this section of the city. Businesses along La Rambla itself are the most prestigious, but even the ones found on the border with the Ghostly Avenues far surpass ones from even the greatest cities on the material planes.
But La Rambla also carries a threat. With all the immense wealth of its patrons, La Rambla attracts those who would steal and even kill to get what others have. The Sigil Police Authority does its best to maintain order here, and to keep criminal syndicates from disrupting tourism, but for many people, a trip to La Rambla without a Tier IV bodyguard is a risky proposition.
While the vast majority of the workforce on La Rambla are Petitioners, the managers and owners are nearly always the Living, as the need to remember what happened yesterday outweighs the free labor that the Petitioners provide.
The Ghostly Avenues - On either side of La Rambla, a mile wide swath of city serves as the home of Petitioners and where they spend their free time, but also home to those who don’t want to be found. The services here aren’t ‘real’. The food, drink, clothes and trinkets all carry no real value, and disappear if removed from the Avenues, returning to their original location. Eating or drinking here provides no real nourishment to the Living, though the illusion of experience and the fact that no real money must be spent to enjoy it sometimes leads those with less to spend too much time here, getting addicted to illusion that provides nothing real.
The SPA’s presence here is sparse, typically only coming to hunt down those criminals who try to hide out in the Avenues. Outreach programs from the Curved Boulevards often try to help those Living who have become addicted to the illusions of the Avenues.
The Curved Boulevards - Past the Ghostly Avenues, the boulevards stretch up the curved sides of Sigil to its peak, and serve as home to the Living who don’t have the money, power, or influence to reside in La Rambla. Neighborhoods vary widely in the Boulevards, much like a regular big city, with sections that rival the wealth of typical material plane ‘Nobel’ districts, to vast swaths of slums. The vast majority of work here is carried out by the Living, since the Petitioners typically work La Rambla, but it’s not uncommon to see them either.
The Outlands side of the ring trends a bit more orderly than the Astral side, and tends to get a bit more SPA protection. The Outlands side hosts the major ports that trade goods with the Outlands, and millions of beings make a good living helping to facilitate the trade that comes and goes from Sigil.
Meanwhile, the Astral side trends more bohemian, as it is a place for dreamers and schemers. The Astral side attracts its own fair share of Travelers, those who made it to Sigil and found they couldn’t afford La Rambla but still want to enjoy the delights of the City. Though unofficial, a section of road that stretches around Sigil here just at the curve called the Lit Boulevard serves as a sort of secondary ‘Rambla’ with most of the best services and shops in the Boulevards crowding here.
The Doors - Scattered throughout the city are the Doors. No one but the Lady of Pain herself knows for sure how many doors exist to other planes of existence, but it is estimated that there are at least 1 million, and perhaps as many as 10 million. Having access to a Door in your building is both a blessing and a curse, as it can provide great opportunity, but it also forever links you to the Authority of Sigil, as the Lady of Pain and her agents closely watch those doors and who comes through.
The Undercity - Rumors of a vast network of tunnels and caverns that run under the city exist, but there are far more tales of people who went underground in Sigil and never returned than those that claim to have found secrets there. Some believe that this is a breeding ground for monsters that the Lady of Pain keeps as a last resort to ‘cleanse’ the city should it ever spiral completely out of control, while others contend that it is a necessary area of chaos to balance her control of the City, most believe it is simply where those who have crossed the Authority go for eternity, a vast dungeon patrolled by monstrosities.
The Authority of Sigil - The Lady of Pain is the only Power capable of entering Sigil, and can exert absolute control over its design, function and weather. She will not suffer worship, and the rare times she is seen in the city is typically in response to someone sending her a prayer, resulting in their demise in bloody fashion. Recently, during a Chaos Phage outbreak that spiraled out of control, the Lady of Pain was seen for nearly two weeks straight, slaughtering anyone and everyone who had been in contact with the disease from Limbo. An estimated 200,000 Mortals were killed during the rampage, but the outbreak was finally stopped, likely saving millions.
Nine Attendants, one for each district, serve as administrators of the city under the direct oversight of the Lady of Pain, and control their own special agencies that supersede the SPA and can use its resources for anything they are investigating. They are also in charge of the Sigil Adventuring Agency, which has absolute control over the ability of the Living in Sigil to level up.
Anyone who wishes may sign a contract with the SAA, tying themselves to a patron and their needs for the hope to gain in personal power. Becoming a Patron yourself ties you directly to the SPA and is widely believed to carry more risk than reward.
Still, many who have failed to get ahead in Sigil do sign the contracts, and recruitment stations are a regular sight in the lower class districts of the Boulevards.
The Powers - Beings with a Divine Spark are collectively known as the Powers. At the most basic, there are Demi-Gods, who are still half mortal and therefore can still enter Sigil. The others have shed their mortality for greater power or were never mortal to begin with.
Gods represent Powers that gain their strength by the belief and worship of Mortals, bringing them to their realms in the Outer Planes after death to live in the afterlife and eventually become a part of the God when they are ready. Gods in turn grant some of their power back to mortals to further their own goals.
Titans gain their strength via the direct consumption of mortal souls, but are rare in the Multiverse itself after the Gods banded together to protect Mortals from them. It’s been over half a millennium since a rogue Titan called The Darkness Itself found its way into the Multiverse and wrecked havoc in the Abyss before being destroyed by three demi-gods, the last such incident on record.
Immortals gain power via the absorption of the Divine sparks of other Powers, and oftentimes find themselves as the Lieutenants of the Gods themselves, though many also work on their own. Perhaps most famous of all the Immortals is Asmodeus, the iron fisted ruler of the Nine Hells who leads the Devils in the endless Blood War with the Demons of the Abyss. At the Wheel theater in Shadow District, the Tragedy of Asmodeus is the longest running and best received opera of all time. Tickets start at 1,000 platinum for the twice monthly show.
No one knows if the Lady of Pain is a God, Titan, or Immortal, or if they do, they keep the secret for fear of her wrath, but the debate can often be heard in drinking establishments around Sigil and is one of the major causes of the ongoing Philosopher’s War in Library District.
Another mystery of Sigil is around the existence of the Demi-God Challenge, where Powers offer a piece of their own Divine Spark to mortals who complete a quest for them. Why the Lady of Pain allows this, and why Powers offer a piece of themselves rather than do it themselves or have a lesser Power do it, is a complete mystery, but the Challenge is easily the most popular form of entertainment for the residents of Sigil, talked about and betted on city wide.
The Spire - A spike hundreds of miles high reaches up from Outlands to the center of the ring of Sigil. At the top, the Lady of Pain’s castle resides. At its base, all magic ceases to function for hundreds of miles around it, though at the top it is confined to just inside the circumference of the ring. This makes approaching Sigil via magical transportation from Outlands a dangerous proposition, as the lane between the edge of the city and the anti-magic zone is barely large enough to accommodate the sky ships that bring goods to the city.
The Outlands - Far beneath Sigil lies the vast plane of The Outlands. In the Outer Planes, The Outlands represent the most Material Plane like section. Vast kingdoms of Petitioners and Mortals live out their existence here, and the influence of other Powers is much stronger. Like Sigil, the Outlands is a place of balance, where the great drama of the scheming Gods play out in Epic fashion.
Scattered around the border of the Outlands are the Gate Towns, each connected to one of the other Outer Planes of Existence, and where life is more similar to Sigil, in that they hold a balance of Mortals and Petitioners who are more aware of the reality of the world around them.
The Astral Sea - At the ‘top’ of Sigil is the plane of the Astral Sea, which surrounds and contains the Outer Planes. While beautiful, it is also home to many dangerous denizens, and the Lady of Pain prevents direct travel to or from it from inside the Ring of Sigil.
The Outer Planes of Existence - Beyond the Gate Towns are the realms of the non Neutral Gods themselves and the Immortals who serve them. Each is tied closely to an alignment representing the purest form of those ideals. While some Mortals call those planes home, there are far, far fewer of them in the rest of the outer planes, as they are extremely dangerous to those who don’t align with their intrinsic nature and even those who do.
The Inner Panes - Forged from the Elemental Chaos and the magic of the Weave, it is still a matter of much debate as to whether the Outer Planes and the Gods sprang forth from the Inners, or if the Inners were formed out of Chaos from the Gods. One thing is certain, whatever the origin of the Planes, the Inner and Outer planes are inexorably tied to each other.
The Far Realm - Most inhabitants of Sigil don’t know much about the realm that lies outside of the Multiverse, as even thinking about too hard about the Far Realm can lead to madness, save that it is rumored that immense Titans roam the Far Realm, always looking for ways to enter the Multiverse and feast on the trillions of souls within.
The Great Barrier - Between the Multiverse and the Far Realm is The Great Barrier, an immense weave of magic that protects the Multiverse from the madness of the Far Realm. While its existence is common knowledge in Sigil, what it is, how it works, and even where exactly it exists is unknown amongst the common folk, but most do know that it is maintained by the Powers, and that without it, the Multiverse would descend into chaos. Why? Because it’s a constant refrain whenever the Powers do something incomprehensible that it must be for the good of the Barrier.