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The Great Wheel awaits.

Planescape is a Dungeons & Dragons setting, centered around its very own City of Adventure: Sigil, the City of Doors. If you want a quick concept of what what the setting is like, think "Avant-garde Fantasy" rather than High Fantasy.

Much of the material that would become Planescape was initially introduced in the supplement Manual of the Planes in 1987 by Jeff Grubb. In 1989, the Spelljammer setting linked previous settings, including Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, and Greyhawk, by allowing player characters to travel the Prime Material Plane, an infinite void in which each of the other settings exist as planets. Planescape, released in 1994, links Spelljammer with the Manual of the Planes by incorporating the Prime and other planes of existence into an even larger network of worlds and magic portals.

Sigil is a strange, Gothic, and often raucous metropolis that lies outside the rest of the Multiverse, inhabited by all manner of odd folk and ruled by the mysterious Lady of Pain and political parties — "philosophers with clubs", in more ways than one — called the Factions that Player Characters could join, all of them searching for the Truth behind the Multiverse. It is the hub of a vast network of magic portals that lead to many places, including:

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     Planes 
  • The Inner Planes, each of which is based around a theme regarding matter and energy. For example, in the Plane of Fire, everything is on fire, on the Plane of Water everything is underwater, etc. There 4 main Inner planes for the 4 classic elements, and 2 energy planes, one positive (life) and one negative (death). 4 Para-elemental planes (Mud/Ooze, Smoke, Ice and Magma) are formed between the four elemental planes (Magma between Earth and Fire...), and 8 Quasi-elemental planes where an elemental and energy plane meet, Lightning, Minerals, Radiance, Steam and Vacuum, Dust, Ash and Salt (which are where the Positive and Negative Energy Planes, respectively, meet the planes of Air, Earth, Fire and Water).
  • The Outer Planes, based on the in-universe Character Alignments. Nine of the Outer Planes correspond precisely to an alignment; the other eight are in in-between spaces, called "Planes of Conflict". The Outer Planes are the literal afterlife where the gods live and their followers go when they die—it just turns out that with the right keys, you can walk there. As such these near infinite (sometimes truly infinite) worlds run on belief and can be changed by it.
    • The Upper Planes of Good . The High Heavens, where all Aasimon (angelic celestials) come from. Aasimon are representations of pure good divided into: Lawful honorable Archons, the balanced empatic Guardinals and Chaotic free-spirited Eladrin. From left to right on the Great Wheel cosmology:
      • The Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia: A Lawful Neutral/Lawful Good realm of good and orderly perfection. Treelines are perfectly lined, mountains don't erode and are perfectly geometrical, day and night are exactly 50% of the day and society is in perfect harmony because the harvest is always incredibly bountiful. Arcadia is so overwhemlingly perfect it is considered a dull, uneventful, boring plane where nothing happens, sometimes described as even oppressive...
      • The Seven Heavens of Mount Celestia: The Lawful Good plane, true Paladin Heaven. A seven level world-sized summit bathed by a glorious sunrise that reaches into the night sky and goes on to the heavens and far beyond. Full of titanic fortresses, monolithic temples, sprawling libraries and home to The Platinum Dragon Bahamut. The Archons, celestials of order and law, like Planetars and Solars hail from Mount Celestia. The Dwarven and Halfling pantheon reside at different points of the mountain. It is said something much more powerful than gods, the idea of "Good" itself in its purest form, resides at the very top.
      • The Twin Paradises of Bytopia: A Lawful Good/Neutral Good mirror utopia of two worlds joined by their highest mountains touching at the top, forming an hourglass bridge between worlds. One half is a bucolic paradise for those who want a peaceful life of relaxing, honest hard work at the farm, the other half is for those who seek adventures, discovery and the challenges of everyday life problems, like repairing your house after a storm. Bytopia is, simply put, Gnome Heaven and a very popular plane to retire.
      • The Blessed Fields of Elysium: The Neutral Good Plane, a prairie of peace and empathy. Elysium is so intoxicatingly peaceful it warms the heart and heals the soul. The sights are breathtaking, the colors are livelier than anywhere else and a soft breeze caresses the skin. It is said adventurers who visit Elysium make the resolve to retire here...if they can resist staying for good the first time, as the plane is known to be addictive to mortals. The Guardinals, like Ursinals or Leonals, anthropomorphic beast celestials, originate from the blessed fields.
      • The Happy Hunting Grounds of the Beastlands: A Neutral Good/Chaotic Good crepuscular realm of idealized nature and the splendorous circle of life. Ruled by Animal Lords, archetypal animals that can take human form, The Beastlands are essentially Druid Heaven. A perfect natural harmony of wildlife and the forest uncontrolled yet untarnished, with biomes for diurnal or nocturnal animals that forever stay at the same time of the day. This is where the spirits of fallen animal companions and pets go when they die.
      • The Olympian fields of Arborea: The Chaotic Good plane of passion, freedom and untamed wilderness. Arborea is Elf Heaven and home to the Elven pantheon, who call the plane Arvandor. The Olympian Greek pantheon is here as well, with Mount Olympus reigning over the plane. The celestial Eladrin, like Bralani or Firre originate from here, fey-like elves that can take the form of elements of nature and beauty, like light, fire, water, lightning, snowflakes or a whirlwind of leaves. The Powers of Arborea value freedom so much that the Eladrin are not servants of the gods, but allies and trusted friends.
      • The Heroic Domains of Ysgard: The Chaotic Good/Chaotic Neutral land of heroes and battle, home to the Asgardian pantheon. The whole plane is an extreme and harsh, cold landscape of glorious sights of mountains, fjords and forests and even more glorious battles. Raging battlefields where heroes and warriors fight to the death with reckless abandon, only to revive and celebrate together with a feast each night, just to battle again the next day. Asgard is, truly, Barbarian Heaven.

    • Planes of Balance, The Neutral planes that exemplify Order, Balance and Chaos. Modrons and Inevitables embody absolute order, with Rilmani and Slaad being neutral, thoughtful balance and nonsensical chaos respectively. From Left to right on the Great Wheel cosmology:
      • The Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus: The Lawful Neutral clockwork universe of perfect mechanical order and law, where entire worlds lie on the sides of cogs working in unison at the pace of the Great Wheel of the multiverse's spin. Mechanus is home to the Modrons, robotic beings of pure mechanical order defined entirely by their role and function in a hierarchy which it in turn defines their complexity, shape and powers, all at the service of their god Primus, who in turn serves the multiverse. The Inevitables, like Maruts, were also created here, abstract contruct-like beings of unspeakable power that represent Axioms and the punishment for violating said constants of existence (law, nature, life and death, magic, time, space...).
      • The Concordant Opposition of the Outlands: The center of the great wheel, a True Neutral wasteland of mild, dry climate, small mountains, canyons and grasslands that starts to take the properties of all other 16 planes bordering it when you get closer to the theoretical edges. Near each plane resides a Gate Town, a small city that embodies the Outer Plane it allows passage to. Sometimes the border towns become so much like those planes they are engulfed by them and a new one has to be built in place. At the center is the Great Spire, an impossibly tall, pillar-shaped infinite mountain that holds the city of Sigil floating above the summit, unreachable to all beings unless by portals, as the mountain simply keeps going on forever if one tries to climb or fly. The closer one gets to the spire, the weaker magic gets, even godly powers. Powers and powerful beings reunite at the base of the spire mountain to negotiate in a place were no magic, mortal or divine can work. The perfect equalizer of ultimate power. Rilmani make their home here, a species of metal-based humanoids (lead, copper, iron, silver, gold...) that seek to preserve the power balance so that Evil does not get the upper hand nor Good gets too complacent. Many gods who care only about natural rules or neutral concepts as time, or the cycle of life and death, call the Outlands their home, like Chronepsis, the Dragon god of time, death and fate.
      • The Ever-Changing Chaos of Limbo: The Chaotic Neutral maelstrom of unstable matter and elements that can be shaped by Will and Belief. The few stable floating islands and cities exist thanks to the Githzerai who migrated here eons ago and learned to impose their iron will as a way to train their minds and make a haven no one but them could enter. Limbo is nonsensical, a blaze can come from a tree leaf falling and then turn mid-air into a rock that falls and splashes as water when it touches the soil to burn again and do the element cycle in a different way. At the same time one can only move by willpower and normal laws of physics do not apply here, as gravity only exists if you perceive it or will it and momentum is zero but lasts infinitely if exerted. Slaad originated here. A species of toadlike being of pure chaos whose childish capriciousness, weird biology and contradictory life cycles simply do not make sense, at all. Limbo is such a shifting mess that planar travelers consider the layers of the plane just where certain species live, like the Slaad layer, or the Githzerai layer where they build their communities.

    • Lower Planes of Evil, each one Hell a particular interpretation of Hell, home to the physical manifestations of it: the tyrannical and militaristic Baatezu (Devils), the anarchic raging Tanar'ri (Demons), and the selfish and backstabbing Yugoloths (Daemons), as well as other minor fiendish species like the Gehreleths (Demodands), or the Hordlings. From left to right on the Great Wheel Cosmology.
      • The Infinite Battlefield of Acheron: A Lawful Neutral/Lawful Evil plane of constant strife, oppressing duties and twisted or pointless causes, War Is Hell. Acheron is a world of floating, clashing, continent sized metal cubes that get smaller and flater the deeper you into the plane until the place becomes a storm of sheets of metal cutting and shredding all life above a bedrock of shattered Black Ice. The inhabitants fight in constant civil wars and rebellions across the faces of the cubes to oppose tyrants, only to depose them and become the new tyrants themselves. Some armies are just blindly following the last orders given by masters that are forgotten even to them. Acheron is where all the good hopes for duty and devotion to a cause come to die and wither in a never ending senseless war. The Goblin and Orc Pantheon reside here as it embodies their expectations for their followers, fight for your people and gods, don't question, just fight. The plane is seen as Soldier Hell, men and women fighting and dying in pointless, never ending wars, and the few of them with hope trying to save what good and innocence still remains in helping refugees leaving the plane.
      • The Nine Hells of Baator: The Lawful Evil plane. Based on Dante's Inferno, the Nine Hells are the epytome of Order, oppression, resentment and malice. A militaristic society of Devils (Baatezu) and lawful fiends who make sure damned souls are punished and put to work, serving in the Blood War as new Devil cannon fodder to "save" the rest of the Multiverse from the unrelenting Chaos of the Demons. Each of the hells is a layer of misery, hopelessness and suffering ruled by an Archdevil (or "Lords of the Nine"), with Asmodeus ruling over all from the deepest Hell like Satan. Some layers are not all fire and brimstone, with some being rocky wastelands, a frozen sea, a ruined city, a fetid swamp or a glaciar, all of them made to crush the soul and make you submit. Everyone in Baator wants to be the tyrant in the hierarchy, everyone knows the draconian rules (or else...), everyone wants to backstab or outdo their superiors and climb to become the next captain, general or ruler. Yet still, no matter how many schemes, revolts and coups come, everyone is a prisoner to Asmodeus, who is enslaved to the plane and duty itself. Unless you are, of course, a Power, like Tiamat, the Queen of Evil Dragons, who has her lair on the first Hell, Avernus. The first Devils were actually ancient Angels, mostly Archons, who resolved to drag everyone they could with oaths, contracts, pacts or just by deeds in life into their fight against the Primordial Chaos of Demons, transforming their mortal souls in the afterlife into new Devils or inviting other Celestials to fall and join their heavy-handed approach to save The Multiverse. A fight that ended up completely corrupting their ideals and methods, but never their goal. It is said by their own inhabitants that Baator is a Hell for Tyrants and Despots, those who apply a law despite being cruel and unfair since no matter how hard you try and how much power you have, you will always be under someone else's boot.
      • The Bleak Eternity of Gehenna: A Lawful Evil/Neutral Evil plane. Gehenna is a desolate world of 4 theoretically infinite-sized volcanoes floating in the inmensity of a burning pit. The mounts are at different levels of activity,. One is awakening, covered in boiling toxic waterfalls, the second one is in full eruption, the third one is dying, leaving that layer an acidic snowland covered in smog, and the final one is completely dead, with the land and underground full of dried ice-cold magma. Gehehnna is a place without mercy or pity, place fot those who use trust in a selfish way, taking on causes by profit and not for ideals or those who just only care about themselves, and do not want to be found easily for the transgressions they committed. Daemons (Yugoloth), Mercenary Fiends residing with their enigmatic General in the Crawling City migrated here from the Gray Waste, since Gehehnna is not as barren and despite being Neutral Evil, their affinity for contracts and pacts sways them a bit more to the Lawful side with the Devils. They offer their services and military and espionage talents to both sides of the Blood War and sometimes mortals. But make no mistake, they will not honor their mercenary contracts if the counteroffer is better. If their payment in gold or souls can be bested they will tell your enemies how much it would cost for them to change sides, back and forth until both sides run out of money. A Nd the Loths are very open about it as it is featured in all of their contracts, the right to get counteroffers. They are only in it for themselves and no one else. Gehenna is a Hell for Backstabbers, Turncoats and Mercenaries, selfish people with no honor and no friends, those who are not trustworthy and therefore persecuted and shunned.
      • The Gray Waste of Hades: The Neutral Evil plane. Hades is a gray immensity of barren nothingness where all color, hope, love and empathy comes to die. This is where Daemons (Yugoloths) originate. Imagine how miserable of a place can be when the fiends born from it want to flee the sensory deprivation hell that is Hades. The plane is pure undiluted Evil and drains color and life from all that enters, turning everything into a gray dull tone, as well as draining all good of those mortals who enter here. Travelers will lose their color and despair, becoming more and more paranoid and selfish and finally apathetic shells who do not want to interact or care for anyone else but themselves, only to be left alone in complete solitude that worsens their affliction. To make things worse, it is also visually uninteresting, being an infinite gray plain with occassional chasms or sometimes even sharp, rocky hills with the only structure being Khin-Oin a Yugoloth fortified tower that goes on for miles both above and underground, where their other leader resides, the Oinoloth (a title for a plaguelord, not a species). Coincidentally this flat topography and its placement in the exact middle of the Lower Planes makes it the perfect battlefield for the Blood War and the clashing of Devils and Demons. The Power Hades from the Greek Pantheon resides here as well as the Night Hags, the most powerful hags in the multiverse, soul merchants who are said by some to have had a hand in creating the Yugoloth and other unspeakable things. The Baernaloths are still here, the Precursors and original Yugoloths, decrepit, Baphomet looking wingless Goat-like Fiends who weep black ichor from their yellow eyes with a sardonic grin on their face. Rumored to predate Devils and Demons, and maybe even creating them, they are philosophers, torturers and plaguemasters. Baernaloths are not interested in the Blood War, they just want to find the true meaning of Evil as an idea untainted by Order or Chaos. The Gray Waste is Hell for those who only care for themselves, not others, not Order, not Chaos, not ideals, not dreams, only themselves.
      • The Tarterian Depths of Carceri: A Neutral Evil/Chaotic Evil prison plane for exiles and betrayers, each layer dedicated to one type of treason, be it a lie, abuse (animal or human), betraying your followers or a false friendship. An inhospitable place of extremes, acid lakes, scorching deserts, biting cold, poisonous jungles, sharp obsidian, volcanic grounds... This is the Greek Tartarus, where each step taken to leave and exact your vengeance is designed to make you suffer and crush your will to do so. As such, the Greek Titans who rebelled against Zeus are trapped here. The plane is made of sphere worlds contained within sphere worlds as if the whole reality is trying to engulf you like quicksand and take you to the bottom. It is said only those prisoners who can overcome the plane with their resentment, hate and force of will could be able to leave to take vengeance on those who sent them here. Demodands (Gehreleths), a small and mostly brutish fiendish species "rules" the plane, or so they think, as they are both inmates and the abusive wardens. Demodands do not care about human souls, they just want to make anyone else suffer and feel miserable, because they find it -fun-, especially the higher caste, the obese Shators, who are the only really intelligent ones above Farastus and Kelubars. Gehreleths make sure Yugoloth colonists cannot erect any proper buildings or fortresses here to keep Carceri completely savage and untamed as it is. Carceri is the Hell for Exiles, those deemed unworthy by their own deeds: oathbreakers, betrayers, deceivers and abusers.
      • The Infinite Layers of The Abyss: The Chaotic Evil plane. The unrelenting, infinite layers of madness, chaos, savage brutality and destructive, warping horrors beyond comprehension. The abyss is made of infinite hells of all shapes and forms: volcanic wastelands, poisonous jungles, lightless caverns, sulfuric pits, toxic swamps, acid lakes, blood seas, out of place paradises and sometimes living matter. Some are catalogued up until the 1200th layer, others exist only theoretically. The most important is Pazunia, the 1st layer, named after Pazuzu and nicknamed the Plain of Infinite Portals, an ashen wasteland full of acid pits and dotted by iron fortresses under a crimson sky. The Drow goddess Lolth has her own layer too, the 66th, The Demonweb pits. The nature of the plane itself corrupts all life and nature as well as mortal souls into vicious, deadly abominations. When Demons invade a world the corruption spreads from the portals and unless stopped it will end up consuming that planet or plane and turn it into a new layer of The Abyss. The Demons (Tanar'ri) are creatures of pure violence and excess that only seek the destruction and consumption of all living things. They are led in warbands and armies by the many Demon Lords and their constant fight for absolute power, the most famous rivalry that of Demogorgon and Orcus. Their only idea of a society is a self-centered darwinist nightmare where everyone is out to prove themselves and kill the others. The only thing that can assure loyalty is fear of being destroyed by a bigger bully. Apart from Demons and Loumarra (incorporeal Demons) their ancestors, the Obyrith, reside here as deposed rulers. Beings of absolute madness and horror, with shapes defying logic and biology the Obyrith aren't spawned from mortal souls like Demons, they were born from the Primordial Chaos at the same time the Abyss was created as a single layer plane at the dawn of creation. The Abyss is Hell for psychopaths and monsters but the kind of mortal souls that end up here would call it a second chance.
      • The Windswept Depths of Pandemonium: A Chaotic Evil/Chaotic Neutral plane of madness and solitude where the howling winds chip at your sanity with every passing moment. A desolate plane, the most barren and uninhabited of them all, even more so than the Gray Waste. Pandemonium is a network of titanic, lightless tunnels without surface to exit, with howling ever-blowing strong winds that chill the bone and rend the mind without pause. Sometimes an occasional hurricane blow lifts up the travelers and thrashes them against the walls for miles at a time. Even if you find refuge from the gale the sound of the wind evokes wails and cries of torment even in your sleep. It is a place so inhospitable and sterile not even Fiends want to spend time here. Deeper layers have vaults and intersections between the tunnels but the deepest part of the plane is just comprised of isolated spheric vaults, like bubbles within stone, that have to be tediously traveled through a combination of scrying and teleportation or using Earthwalk spells. Pandemonium is the dumpster plane for the Powers of the Multiverse. When you want someone or something not found or able to escape you teleport them to the deepest vaults in the depths to never be seen again. Or you build your lair there, like Asgardian Power Loki's Winter Hall. Pandemonium is Hell for those who deserve to suffer a slow, maddening isolation until death and then be forgotten to history.

  • "Pathway universes", the key elements of the magic portal network, including the Astral Plane, the Ethereal Plane, the Infinite Staircase, and Sigil itself.

     Factions 
The Factions (ranks: Initiate, Factotum, Factor & Factol), which form the backbone of character interactions (and fill the splat role), are:

  • The Athar or Defiers, sometimes called The Lost, cynical atheists and agnostics who believe the gods are frauds. To them they are just incredibly powerful beings feeding off belief and not "TRUE" gods. Athar clerics believe in a higher, almighty, incomprehensible power as "God"( And since they get spells from their prayers to the "Great Unknown" they seem to have a point). Some Athar like the very founder (a Loki cleric) are loyal servants who got backstabbed by their gods others are benevolent clerics and paladins forlorn by their deities in their moment of need. Athar members are immune to certain spells which divinate, compel or charm with divine power or impose a curse debuff or fate like Augury, Bestow Curse, Holy Word or Quest/Geas. Athar refuse to get help or healing from specific-deity clerics as they are charlatans to them (non-deity druids are OK). Athar do not run any public service but they gather to debate on the ruins of Aoskar's Shattered Temple, the Portal god felled by the Lady of Pain, seen as a constant proof of their beliefs. There is even a portal to the Astral plane which they put to good use showing tours of visitors the dead gods, starved off and forgotten, floating away in the silvery void.
  • The Believers of the Source or Godsmen, who believe that life is a test and that any person can ascend to divinity by honest work, accomplishments and feats in a cicle of reincarnations. Their members are renowed inventors, artists, artisans, blacksmiths and engineers. If you wanna get your recently deceased character back to life prepare for a reincarnation only spell as you cannot be revived or resurrected (new playable race chosen by the DM). Your handsome elf bard whose goal was writing a masterpiece song is now a 9 feet tall female troll bard, keep on grinding for godhood. Godsmen benefits are just being quite liked by most other groups for their hopeful take on everyone, which results in a +2 to Persuasion, Diplomacy and all types of charisma and skill checks made interacting with Planar beings only (Primes, who are most of the time "clueless" mortals, would think you are talking hopeful nonsense). Godsman clerics of specific deities will suffer a -1 to saving throws due to lack of utmost faith in their gods. Godsmen run the Great Foundry of Sigil where all kinds of new inventions and machinery are created.
  • The Bleak Cabal or Madmen, who believe that there is no meaning in anything, but you can find the true meaning in yourself. This simultaneously tends to make them both the craziest-seeming people in Sigil after the Chaosmen while also being the sanest and often kindest. Their members can represent both crushing nihilism or hopeful anti-nihilism. As such they are immune to magic that causes morale effects, madness, insanity and mood altering spells (like Confusion/Chaos, Irressitible Dance or Hideous Laughter) as well as similar Psionics and can save against ESP effects like Detect Thoughts. Bleaker casters above 5th level have special powerful Pandemonium-based crowd control spells like "Despair" and "Howl of Pandemonium" and at 7th level all members can perform a day-long ritual cleansing head massage (yes, really) on any magic insanity on someone that cures the afflicted (85% and only 2 tries per patient.) but leaves the Bleaker in mental anguish for 2 days. Due to Melancholia they have to roll a d20 each day against Futility, rolling a 1 meaning they are too depressed to take action unless a valid point is philosophically justified by party members, friends or family. Lawful characters cannot be members because life exists without meaning—for without meaning, there is no order. The Bleakers run The Gatehouse, Sigil's mental asylum as well as the orphanages and soup kitchens.
  • The Doomguard or Sinkers, eschatologists who believe that entropy must destroy everything so something better can rise from the ashes. Warriors, blacksmiths, arms dealers and weapon engineers that make sure every war has fuel so the final end can come sooner. They are not above funding and providing to the Blood War, the war to end all wars. Their members get proficiency and weapon focus (+1 on attack rolls) with swords, regardless of class. Sinkers can also use a smite-like Entropic Blow against opposite alignment enemies once per week, which halves the enemy's current HP if they overcome the AC by 5 or more. Healers and creator spellcasters are banned from membership unless they renounce to healing and creation magic. Sinkers are naturally resistant to magical healing and will involuntarily roll a saving throw against any magical healing used on them by others or items like potions. Sinkers run the Great Armory of Sigil where all kinds of weapons are made, from lowly spears to Blood War planar battleships.
  • The Dustmen or the Dead, Buddhist-like death-worshipping ascetics who believe that life and death are both illusions and seek the peace of oblivion or as they call it "True Death". To them "undeath" is just a step closer to enlightment but not their final goal (non-sentient undead are even closer to peace). Most of them are necromancers, druids and clerics (usually serving benevolent or neutral Death deities, sometimes evil ones) as well as free-willed undead. An ancient pact with Death itself, the "Dead Truce" makes all undead friendly unless attacked but only for the Dustman, not their non-faction companions (the Dustman will be attacked too if they help). Factotums can turn or command undead as if neutral priest (Clerics get a +4) and can request to the faction the service of undead up to double their level in HD. The current Factol, Skall, is also their founder from eons ago, a powerful and suspiciously gentle Lich. It is rumored they were in fact the very first faction ever, as old as Death itself, with the Bleakers as a close second. Dustmen will strongly resist and dislike getting revived or resurrected if they die in any way (50% chance of revival) as this would make them hypocrites. Dustmen run Sigil's Mortuary where they take care of funeral services, burning or preserving corpses and record the death census of the entire multiverse.
  • The Fated or Takers, also The Heartless ruthless egotists and self-sufficient objectivists who believe that right to ownership derives from the strength to take and hold it. To them life is a savage Meritocracy as social darwinism is one of their core precepts. Despite their fame as selfish (helping charity is forbidden to members) Fated will avoid taking anything not earned. They will refuse help out of pity, payment in advance, gifts and wholeheartedly respect anyone who manages to steal or take something from them...until they get it back and smite down the offender, that is. Their ranks include merchants, tax collectors, entrepeneurs, nobles who earned the title and wealthy retired adventures. Since they are self-made all Fated have double the skill points at level 1 and can level up all non class skills as if they were proficient in all of them. For example a Fighter learning exclusive Wizard or Rogue skills as Use Magic Device or Disable Traps. Takers also get a +1 to Persuasion when haggling and Sleight of Hand rolls made to steal, +2 for Rogues. Factotums of 3rd level can spend 1 skill point to gain "Plane Knowledge" of a Plane of Existence, granting them not only orientation but knowledge or insight on contacts, customs, places and resources as well as portals, even spending 1 skill point more to focus on a Layer of that plane and get a +3 on Persuasion/Diplomacy there. No Lawful Good character can be a Taker as they are too squeamish for what has to be done to triumph. Sadly their attitude makes them too proud to accept help when incapacitated near death, like a potion or healing, since they failed and are unable to "earn it" in their eyes. Takers are the tax collectors of Sigil's council-based government and their headquarters are the Hall of Records.
  • The Fraternity of Order or Guvners, who believe that power comes from the knowledge, application and exploitation of natural and societal laws. A Lawful-only "National Geographic Society" of bureaucrats that includes spellcasters, lawyers/judges and all kinds of explorers, scientists and mathematicians. A Guvners' highly attuned sense of patterns means they can understand any language with a comprehend languages spell-like ability and from 7th level onwards any member can Use Magic Devices (like scrolls, wands or wondrous items) once per day for a maximum of 24 hours regardless of their class. Higher-ups of level 5+ can also alter probability on their favor or against an enemy for every three levels up to a +3/-3 (or 15%) at level 11. On the other hand Guvners beliefs are so compulsive and square-minded they can never break a law -knowingly-, no matter how unfair and nonsensical it is, unless they can find a legal loophole. Guvners run the City Courts and justice system of Sigil.
  • The Free League or Indeps, individualists who paradoxically reject the faction system while being considered a Neutral faction unto themselves. Their few actually active members and leaders act as libertarians and civil rights activists who keep in check the more power hungry factions, like the Harmonium or the Fated. Their members' free thinking makes them resistant to any kind of charm, mental and compulsion effects which translates into a +2 Will save bonus and they get saving throws even versus no-save effects (but without the bonus). The Free League has no Factol and holds next to no political power or resources so members cannot expect to have any kind of meaningful help or protection from their faction aside from what the other Indeps can do for you, usually a 20% discount for all purchases at the Bazaar. Most Indeps gather to debate at Sigil's Great Bazaar since most members are adventurers and independent merchants, with the Red Lion Inn being the most popular place of reunion.
  • The Harmonium or Hardheads, paramilitary paladin-esque authoritarians who while mostly good willed seek to unite the planes in peace under one rule—theirs. If your town has a militia or police force to keep peace and fight crime, they'll make sure to be those doing the job and no one else, completely phasing out independent or locally established rivals because The Harmonium knows what's best for you (though the Mercykillers can always help). Their ranks are named Notary for recruit, Measure for Factotum, Mover for Factor with the Factol being the Composer of the Harmony. All members must be Lawful and can cast Charm Person 3 times a day. Members of level 4 or more gain +1 on attack rolls with a weapon of their choice (stacking with Weapon Focus) with higher ups above 7 being resistant to fear or mind affecting spells (+3 on saves) and those above 10 able to cast Dictate (Hardhead Priests get it for free as a level 2 spell). If a member disobeys a direct order they will be expelled, needing an Atonement spell to rejoin as if they were an ex-Paladin. Refusing to atone and rejoin after a serious offense can result in a death warrant. Treason ("Turning stag") gets a death warrant from the Factol themselves. Members cannot leave the faction for another one under penalty of death unless honorary discharged or retired. Sigil's Barracks are the Harmonium's headquarters and they serve as the city guard.
  • The Mercykillers or the Red Death, manhunters, jailers, paladins and executioners who believe Justice and Law are sacred, mercy against crime is weakness, and true justice comes from exemplary punishment and violent no-nonsense retribution. Yup, it's D&D's own Judges. While the Harmonium are the beat cops, the Mercykillers are the special crimes unit and prison system rolled into one. Once a day each member can detect lies as per the spell for one question, Arcane casters will always get the Shocking Grasp spell for free as well as Divine casters getting Command instead. Twice per day they can use a zealous smite-like ability for justice that doubles the damage of an attack but the user will receive half the damage dealt. Their members are exent of any crime or lawbreak during the pursuit of a criminal but will have to turn themselves in for any they commit off-duty. Members have to be Lawful-only and will not release a prisoner before their punishment or sentence under any circumstance. Thieves and known criminals cannot join unless they abandon their lifestyle and can join only after they served their sentence. The Mercykiller's base of operations is appropriately Sigil's Prison where they torture, incarcerate, execute and plan their manhunts against notorious criminals and murderers.
  • The Revolutionary League or Anarchists, zealots who believe all societal laws must be overthrown—but to what end, none can agree. Despite their absolute lack of proper long-term goals or organization they have independent cells infiltrated in every faction to undermine them (even those that pose no threat or sympathize with Anarchs, like the Indeps or Xaositects). As such all members can pose as another faction member avoiding divination spells while benefitting from their position or title (but not copying the faction spell-like powers and traits). Members that help 2 or more cells or are considered Factotums get proficiency in all Rogue skills like Trickery, Sleight of Hand or Disable traps, regardless of class with Rogues getting a +2 on those skills. Due to their anarchic beliefs members cannot own businesses, form long-term organized groups (like a militia) or be of Lawful alignment and members have to give 90% of their gold as donations for The Cause", with the final goal of the Cause being disbandment of the Anarchs if they truly destroy the other factions. They do not have a base but independent cells make use of secretive safe houses and they are EVERYWHERE. They are in your walls right now.
  • The Sign of One or Signers, who believe each individual is a god who creates his own universe around them. Egotistical solipsists whose ideology could theoretically make them ludicrously powerful reality warpers given Planescape's rules of Clap Your Hands If You Believe. Supremely arrogant jerks nonetheless because they often claim all of your life experiences were imagined by them. Their immense ego gives them an automatic extra saving throw against all illusion effects when encountered but imposes a -2 to social checks made to interact with others like Diplomacy, Intimidation, Sense motive, Deceive or Persuasion. Signers can also imagine things into existence past the level 3, rolling a Wisdom or Intelligence check with a -5 meaning they can wish magic into existence as if they were a Divine or Arcane caster of their level, casting virtually anything up to 4th level spells. Subsequent uses for one week mutiply the penalty, imagining is -hard-. As one could expect they spend all day at the Hall of Speakers lecturing others about how great and clever they are because they could theoretically unthink everyone else if they stop believing other individuals exist.
  • The Society of Sensation or Sensates, inveterate hedonists who seek enlightenment through new experiences be it physical or emotional. Everything good or bad, from flavours and textures to happy memories or an awful sensation is to be experienced in order to truly appreciate life. They value experiences so much they record them in sensory stones so others can experience those memories and feelings. Sensates have slightly more keen senses and substance tolerance so they get darkvision and a +1 on saves against poisons and surprise checks. They are excellent body readers and have a instant 10% chance of knowing if someone is lying to them without a Sense Motive/Insight check, which rises to 20% if they are interacting with someone of the same race/species as them. Sensates cannot say no to a new experience they are offered or presented with (i.e. a new wine, story or perfume, tasting a strange fruit, feeling stonework or contemplating a view) unless risk of obvious harm is involved. Member of 3rd level can once per day "heal" 1d10 damage from someone, transferring it to the Sensate themselves and can start using Bardic knowledge to identify items past level 5 as if they were a 5 levels lower Bard. Sensates are always attending curious guests at the Civic Fest Hall where they have sensory stones available to everyone.
  • The Transcendent Order or Ciphers, who believe that enlightenment comes from action from pure instinct, not thought. Nicknamed Ciphers as most of the Faction's tradition is only taught by members and is not freely accessible. Inspired by Zen Buddhism Ciphers believe there is a rythm to existence they call "The Cadence of the Planes" and as such they attune themselves to this beat. Their ranks are composed of martial artists, monks, gymnasts, acrobats, athletes, dancers and performers with the 3 eschelons of Master of Heart, Mind and finally Spirit. All members must be Neutral in some manner. Ciphers get Improved Iniatiative rolls but as they live on impulse they cannot change their decision once they state an action. Players cannot say "Wait, I change my mind. I wanna do this other thing". After all, hesitation stops the flow. Ciphers of level 3 onwards get even better initiative rolls and get a +2 vs all kind of mind affecting spells and abilities even a save vs No Save effects (but without the bonus) because they are feeling, not deliberately thinking. Ciphers gather to train and reflect at Sigil's Great Gymnasium.
  • The Xaositects or Chaosmen, rambling cryptic lunatics who see truth in chaos, nonsense and unpredictability and act accordingly. While most will tell you they are hyperactive Dadaist Chaotic Stupid madmen, which gets them frequently banned for player use, their ranks include many avant-garde artists, poets and musicians. In many ways they are D&D's less tragic answer to Vampire: The Masquerade Malkavians (along with some aspects of the "Bleak Cabal"). Factotum and Factor are called Boss and Big Boss respectively though the Factol title remains the same (being all different would still make sense), but only if Factol Karan actually cares about being Factol, or even a member that day (he showed up one day rambling, claiming to be a Xaositect and 6 weeks later he was the Factol by default). Members can use a 30 foot radius Babble spell (the reverse of Tongues) once per week on others (to troll, mainly spellcasters) or themselves (to avoid being understood, and also troll). Xaositects also have the weird and insane ability to "know" where something truly lost is (lost, not stolen) if asked by others ("Your ring is behind your washbasin", "You dropped it near a tree", "5 foot to the left of the door of the green barn in south Lower Ward Sigil") but only if they pass a Will saving throw and Chaosmen cannot benefit themselves from this clairvoyance. Like Anarchs they are forbidden from establishing enduring commitments like a business, organized group or even a small local government. Of course the members can only be of Chaotic alignment and can join by just claiming they are already one of them. Chaosmen tend to gather in squats and plazas at the Hive, Sigil's incredibly diverse slums, though the most popular gathering spot is Quake's Place, an ever-shifting tavern owned by a transmuter wild mage and Factor of the Faction.

Over the course of its run some Minor Factions, called Sects were disclosed in the extended material and Planescape's monster manual Vol. II and III. This classification includes splinters from the main factions, new upstart small factions or old ones that were once powerful but so reviled they were destroyed and fell into obscurity. Most are not recomended for players due to severe restrictions (The Inner Planes-locked Primals), game-breaking benefits, not much development (Ragers are Exactly What It Says on the Tin), or being flat out self-destructively evil like The Incanterium, The Eaters (of Belief) or The Prolongers. Also like Xaositects, The Opposers might be banned for player use despite how absurdly fun they are. The most relevant by far are the wealthy and corrupt Merkhants. The known sects are explained in the Planescape Characters Faction page

Planescape formed a D&D setting where combat is not the best way to resolve conflict (and may even be impossible, depending on circumstances) and its philosophical theme and emphasis on the power of belief encouraged players to come up with inventive, cerebral ways to solve their problems. These themes were helped by the art and style, especially that of Tony DiTerlizzi, which emphasized gothic, neo-Victorian strangeness and Grunge rock-influenced cynicism and attitude over the muscular heroes and glorious violence of other settings. As per the creator of the setting David "Zeb" Cook, Planescape, Sigil and its factions feel likea Bar where everyone is a philosophy student debating and expressing how they see things and the chemistry of the clash of ideas and philosophies but no one really knows what they are talking about because there is still SO much to learn.

While Planescape is a setting for 2nd edition AD&D, its influences are felt throughout later editions. 3rd Edition saw the printing of the Manual of the Planes, the equivalent of the 1st edition AD&D book that Planescape was based on. It contained all the information on the setting compressed into a single book, making it something of a Compressed Adaptation. It was considered to be part of the "core" D&D setting, which in 3e was in turn Greyhawk with the serial numbers filed off. 4th edition saw significant changes to the cosmos with Nentir Vale, which kept Sigil and some of the Planes, combined the Outer Planes with the Astral Plane and the Inner Planes with Limbo. 5th edition has done something similar to 3rd edition: the Inner Planes changed a bit but the Outer Planes, including Sigil, were kept mostly intact if rather undefined.

In 1999, it became the setting for the Western RPG Planescape: Torment. Trapped In The Birdcage was an official Fifth Edition Actual Play campaign set in the Planescape setting and run by Holly Conrad on the D&D YouTube channel.

On August 2022, Wizards of the Coast announced that a 5th Edition sourcebook adaptation of the Planescape setting is in the works, and is set to release around Fall 2023. A 5E adventure module based on the setting is set to release around the year 2024.


Planescape provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Long Stairway: The setting has the Infinite Staircase, a plane with nothing but—you guessed it—an infinite staircase spanning in all directions, with doors leading to various places around the planes.
  • Acid-Trip Dimension
    • The plane of Limbo is a roiling mass of chaos matter, which changes randomly or based on the will of people traveling on the plane.
    • The Far Realm exists "outside the bounds of the multiverse". Nothing there even resembles the real world, and the text which actually describes the appearance of the plane (Of which there is very little) carries the note that nothing on the Far Realm can possibly be comprehended by a human being, therefore you can't even imagine what it's like. Oh, and to top it all off: The Far Realm contains more than one dimension, and you can see all the other dimensions by looking down and, in some areas, can be in several dimensions at once.
  • Alien Geometries: Sigil, because it is a city that exists on its own plane, is connected to others only by portals in the forms of doors. The city resembles the inside of a tire; it's a tube that wraps around on itself, so you can look up and see buildings in the sky, and walking straight for hours will bring you back where you started. Gravity seems to work for whatever ground you are standing on right now and light is just sort of there. Last but not least, it's floating around the top of an impossibly tall spire in the middle of a plane that is both infinitely tall and yet has a visible uppermost point that can be seen from the ground (it's complicated). The best part, though, is that, since Sigil exists completely separate from any other plane, there is a chance that it has no outer surface. It is explained in-universe mages and other beings used magic to fly to the outside of the tire that is Sigil. They found nothingness and the flat rocky surface of the outside tire with nothing else. In fact the outer face of Sigil would be its rocky foundations, like a town built upon concrete.
  • All Myths Are True: Even more so than in non-Planescape settings. One can run into powers that are part of the Sumerian, Babylonian, Celtic, Egyptian, Finnish, Greek, Norse, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Native American and many more pantheons, as well as the gods part of the Birthright, Dragonlance, Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms campaign settings and the various racial (Dwarven, Elven, Gnomish, Goblin, Orcish) pantheons. And of the real-world gods, most of them get along just fine or at least stay out of each others' way.
  • Always Night:
    • Lunia, the first layer of Mount Celestia, is an unusual positive example of this trope. The layer is an eternal starry night on the pristine beaches by a freshwater sea of holy water.
    • Brux, the second layer of the Beastlands, is always shrouded in dusk with the sun and moon half-hidden by the horizon. The deepest layer, Karasuthra, is shrouded in an eternal night under wandering stars and a silver moon. Karasuthra's magic actively enforces this, preventing nonmagical lights and fires from being lit and drastically dimming magical ones. Their faunas match their natural illumination — Brux is home to crepuscular creatures that in most worlds only enjoy brief forays between true day and night, while Krigala is the realm of nocturnal hunters such as panthers and owls.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Characters who spend too much time in the Beastlands tend to develop animalistic traits along these lines — for instance, strong warriors may grow bear or gorilla fur, a wily rogue may grow mouse or rabbit whiskers or snake scales, a wise priest may sprout owl feathers, or a flamboyant bard may grow a peacock's tail.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: The Bleak Cabal, as described above. They have concluded there is no inherent purpose or meaning to the universe, and yet they see this as giving them no reason to contribute to suffering and every reason to contribute benevolence and kindness. As a result, they run not only the official Bedlam House of Sigil (which has far better conditions than any normal Bedlam House), they are also the faction most responsible for running orphanages and soup kitchens.
  • Arcadia: There's actually an outer plane called Arcadia. It's a realm of pastoral splendor dotted with orderly villages. Very orderly villages. As the plane of good-influenced lawful neutral, it's a place of peace and stability on one hand, and conformity on the other.
  • Ashes to Ashes: The Quasi-Elemental Plane of Ash, which embodies Elemental Fire mixed with negative energy, from which come Ash Quasimentals and Ash Mephits.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: This is the basis of the Fraternity of Order, who use their understanding of physical laws to gain spell-like abilities like understanding any language or veteran members using magic devices without spellcaster training.
  • Appeal to Force
    • This is how the Lady of Pain is the Shadow Dictator of Sigil. Simply put, nobody, nothing has enough power to dethrone her, despite many having tried given how valuable Sigil is. Even the god Aoskar was crushed by her for stealing the spotlight. This is reflected in her stats, in that she has no stats; players cannot defeat her in any circumstances. (Some of the source books go so far as to discuss how, if a GM and players are genuinely entertaining the idea of fighting and defeating the Lady, they're misunderstanding the setting on a fundamental level.)
    • Demon Lords rule layers of the Abyss this way. Tanar'ri (Demons) are way too chaotic and animalistic to have any proper government, so the strongest demons are the rulers, plain and simple. Their whole military is based on forceful recruitment of the lesser demons by higher ranks and forcing the reluctant cannon fodder into battle like shepherds, they even have dedicated demons to do this, the Babau (low rank recruiters and foot soldiers who conscript everyone they can bully) and the only Guardian type Tanar'ri, Molydei (ludicrously powerful enforcers of Demon Lord "laws" who keep in check the highest level demons, like Balors). Guys like Demogorgon and Orcus are constantly fighting bloody wars in efforts to gain more territory and followers.
  • Banned in China: The accessory The Factols' Manifesto was an amusing In-Universe example of the Trope. The Interactive Narrator of the book was its unnamed editor, who claimed that the book had been outlawed in Sigil and that he was a fugitive and one of its most hated citizen because he had turned whistleblower on all fifteen Factions and exposed their biggest secrets by writing the book. (He claimed, however, that the Lady herself confronted him once one dark night, and he assumed, as she let him live, that she did not object to his work. In Faction War, he was revealed to be background NPC A'kin, the Friendly Fiend.)
  • Bedlam House
    • The settled parts of Pandemonium are sometimes this trope. The entire Outer Plane consists of lightless tunnels blasted by a constant wind that quickly drives residents insane.
    • Averted by the Gatehouse, the asylum run by the Bleak Cabal, which is relatively safe.
  • Black Comedy: How many settings would publish a picture of a smiling devil parodying the famous Kitchener "I Want You" recruitment poster?
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: Planescape has 666 layers in the Abyss, home of the Chaotic Evil demons. Later editions expanded on them with 3rd already going past layer 1100. Zegrentilandib, layer 393, is sentient, with fleshy ground.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: The Revolutionary League. (When they're not being well-intentioned). For the not-bomb throwing variety, there's the Free League.
  • Butt-Monkey: Every time the Paraelemental Plane of Ooze is mentioned it is described as a revolting and disgusting place where there's nothing to do and no profit to be made. As such it's often seen as the biggest joke in the Multiverse and rarely visited. The plane of vacuum comes as a close second due to being almost completely devoid of well...anything.
  • Celestial Paragons and Archangels: The Archons of Mount Celestia are the clearest example of this trope, though the Guardinals and Eladrin might also apply.
  • Cessation of Existence: The Dustmen's belief is a weird mixture of this, reincarnation, cynicism, asceticism , and the "life is suffering" brand of nihilism that is more commonly used to fuel Put Them All Out of My Misery type villainy. The Dustmen believe existence as we know it is actually a massive array of hells known as "False Life", because living in it brings suffering and disappointment. All people in The Multiverse have already died and passed from the state of "True Life" (which they believe is a form of paradise) and are undergoing purgatory by suffering, "dying", being reincarnated into another stage of "False Life", and thus suffering again. The Dustmen thus practice a Buddhism-like form of asceticism, and try to encourage the others to do the same, in hopes of transcending their suffering and reaching a state they call "True Death", where there is no more suffering. Individual beliefs about what lies beyond True Death vary from this trope to being reincarnated back into "True Life" again.
  • Chaotic Stupid:
    • Players of Xaositect characters were actively encouraged by the rulebooks to act this way (much to some other players' chagrin).
    • Slaad, the giant, toadlike Outsiders who represent pure chaos are typically portrayed like this. The weakest types, red and blue slaad, are almost always like this but the stronger types, the green, gray, and death slaad, typically aren't.
  • Character Alignment: In-Universe, a tangible concept that forms the basis of much of the setting, since the Outer Planes are defined by the alignments. If enough beings within a given area of an Outer Plane adhere to a different alignment than the plane itself, then that entire area will shift to the plane that matches the alignment of the population. Some groups actively try to use this fact to steal territory from one plane to add to another.
  • Character Narrator: Almost every accessory is written under the premise that some scholar or researcher from Sigil is writing down the information from personal experience. Notable examples include the unnamed fugitive editor of The Factol's Manifesto, mentioned above, and Faces of Evil: The Fiends, supposedly edited by the tiefling Ice the Trice Born with the aid of a collection of oddball narrators (not all of them, Ice regrettably tells the readers, survived to see the book printed, but she won't say which ones). The most entertaining one in the book is, without a doubt, the blue slaad Xanxost.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe
    • The central point of the setting. The collective weight of the factions' beliefs—the Sign of One in solipsism, the Fated (Takers) in social darwinism, the Harmonium in statism, and so on—can allow its most powerful members to alter the very physical and spiritual fabric of the Outer Planes.
    • The gods themselves. Gods gain power based on how strongly their followers believe in them. Gods with more followers tend to be stronger than gods with fewer followers, and they can give that power back to their followers in the form of spells for their clerics. Gods who lose all their followers wither away and finally die when they are completely forgotten and erased from memory. This forms an important core of the Athar's belief that these deities are "false" - an actual being of creation wouldn't be reliant on its own creations to sustain itself.
    • "Belief = Power" is a fundamental law of physics in the planes.
  • City Guards: The Harmonium keeps the peace with extreme prejudice, always ready to beat up those who cause trouble. The Mercykillers do a bit of this as well, and are even more violent. Generally speaking the Harmonium keep order and arrest lawbreakers, the Fraternity of Order do the judging and determine sentence, and the Mercykillers handle imprisonment or execution (unless the victim is legally insane, in which case the Bleakers handle containment). If the criminal is violent/dangerous enough to warrant 'kill on sight' that's also the Mercykillers' business.
  • The City Narrows: Sigil's got one of these in the form of the Hive, a crime-ridden and mazelike slum. The Lower Ward, with its toxic air and numerous portals to the Lower Planes, might also qualify.
  • City of Adventure: Not only can you find practically anything in Sigil if you know where to look, it has portals that go to everywhere in the multiverse, literally. Sigil is not only an adventure onto itself, it leads to every adventure a creative DM can think of.
  • Council of Angels: The seven Tome Archons of Mount Celestia. Years later, in 3rd Edition, they were Retconned into the Celestial Hebdomad, a council of unique angels on the same power level as the Demon Lords and Archdevils.
  • Crapsack World: In many ways, Sigil, where the police force is run by a bunch of Knights Templar who believe that All Crimes Are Equal and everyone is guilty of something, while the taxes are collected by the faction that subscribes to a sort of weird mishmash of Randian Objectivism and outright thuggery. And then, of course, there are the actual planes that are Crapsack Worlds, like the seven different versions of Hell (which each come with at least three layers of variety).
  • Crossover Cosmology: as the Outer Planes of almost all Prime Material Planes, the wider Planescape (the planes beyond Sigil) mention gods and other entities from the majority of AD&D game worlds - the Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk and Birthright are all represented. The only major Prime Material setting not to be included is Mystara (which has a very different treatment of gods).
  • Dark Is Not Evil
    • The Dustmen faction are basically all creepy goths who hang around with the undead, but their faction philosophy is akin to Buddhism and they're responsible for Sigil's funerals, proper treatment of the dead and counselling those left behind. The undead they hang out with volunteered to have their bodies reanimated, and are usually just simple laborers. Although it's true that in many ways the Dustmen's philosophy is actually bleaker than the Bleak Cabal's (the Bleakers believe there is no inherent purpose to life; the Dustmen believe life is suffering and one should use asceticism to pursue Cessation of Existence instead of the reincarnation that is "the norm").
    • Also the Doomguard, who believe in entropy and the inevitability of everything that exists eventually crumbling to dust with nothing remaining at the end of time. Some extremists believe that they should speed up the process as much as possible, while others support the constructions of new buildings, because it includes chipping away mountains and cutting hundreds of trees, and the new building will only last for a few hundred years if it doesn't burn down much earlier.
    • The Bleak Cabal are extreme nihilists, most of whom have at least a trace of mental illness. But despite that and their ominous moniker, they run Sigil's orphanage and soup kitchens (in good faith and to the best of their ability), as well as asylums that at least try to not be Bedlam House. The reasoning ends up being genius: if there's no point to anything, there's no existential reason to not help each other, and if we live in a Crapsack World, there's no need to make things worse.
    • It should be noted that all three of these Factions have both good and evil members. Neither moral belief is a prerequisite for joining any of them. (And Player Characters are welcome to join any of these groups, should they desire, with no fear of moral repercussions.)
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils
    • Planescape brought them back to D&D for the first time since the game was "sanitized" in the switch to 2nd Edition. They had to call them "Tanar'ri Lords" and "Lords of the Nine", until the adventure Dead Gods, when Orcus was explicitly referred to as a demon.
    • Specific examples that played a significant role in adventures include the demon Orcus in Dead Gods and the devil Dispater in Fires of Dis.
    • In addition to the fiendish rulers, the Slaad Lords (Ygorl, Ssendam, Chourst, and Renbuu) and Primus of the modrons filled similar roles for Chaotic Neutral and Lawful Neutral respectively.
  • Demon of Human Origin
    • When you die, you become a petitioner on the Outer Plane most suited to your alignment, and lose all memories of your previous existence. However, many petitioners who are sent to Baator (Lawful Evil Hell) and the Abyss (Chaotic Evil Hell) become larvae (soul cattle) or directly lesser, bottom of the barrel fiends and are then selected (essentially at random) to join The Legions of Hell as the diabolic or demonic equivalent of privates (actually cannon fodder). From there, IF they survive and get randomly promoted to an actual private, it is theoretically possible that if the petitioner is both evil enough and badass enough, then he or she could eventually rise up the ranks evolving through each rank/form to become an Archdevil or Demon Lord. This is rare, but possible: the demon lord Orcus (originally an evil human mage) began his career as a lowly Dretch, the weakest and dumbest of demons, only above the Mane who aren't fit enough to think for themselves or be considered demons at all, went on to create Necromancy itself and he's now the second or third (depends who you ask) most powerful being in the Abyss.
    • This is way more prominent in the Baatezu (Devils) where all start from Lemure and each one is an evolved form with a fixed rank by rank evolutionary line until they become Pit Fiends. They are Lawful Evil and the evolution is treated as getting a promotion in the military with messing up getting a demotion by deevolving them to the previous form or even further below. This line is detailed in the monster manual of Planescape and encompasses almost all devils with some forms even considered "dead ends" or alternative steps to the most common line which usually ends with Cornugon into Gelugon and finally Pit Fiend after 777 years as Gelugon without a single misstep. Oh and the Pit Fiend evolution requires frosty Gelugons to spend 1001 days burning inside the Pit of Flame that gives them their name.
    • Tanar'ri (Demons) usually evolve by taking power by themselves or getting a forced promotion (again randomly given at the lowest levels) since the higher ups need better troops and like to reward the few survivors of each battle.
  • Demoted to Extra: The original three new playable races were tieflings, githzerai, and bariaurs. Tieflings became a big Breakout Character of the setting, along with their counterparts, the aasimar, and githzerai (and githyanki), while not as successful, are still a major mainstay and feature prominently. Meanwhile, bariaur faded out almost immediately (mostly due to being an unwieldy quadrupedal race with the exact same problems as centaurs) and rarely feature even in Planescape material.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: A lot of the slang used in Sigil came straight from the Thieves' Cant of Victorian London. Some of the words (especially "berk" and "pike") had (or still have) less than complimentary meanings.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The Upper Planes allow the Blood War to continue without end since it pits the two main fiendish factions against each other, and away from the good folk. The problem is, the Blood War seems to have a corrupting influence all on its own.
  • Domain Holder: The Lady's whim is reality in Sigil. One is entitled to certain defenses (saving throws and so forth) when attacked by a mortal... or a demon/angel... or even (sometimes) a god. The Lady can do as she wills to a god... within the city limits.
    • The Lady has proven she can do as she wills outside of Sigil too. She killed the god of portals Aoskar in his home domain in the Astral Plane while at the same time demolishing his temples and killing or mazing nearly all of his followers across the multiverse. All in a matter of seconds in the middle of the night, with a mere thought. Aoskar's corpse was found in his domain impaled and eviscerated from the inside out by a gazillion scythe blades that looked like The Lady's headdress. It is implied, however, that she could do this because his Portals domain intruded on the City; therefore, she had some kind of authority to deal with him as she wished once he got a bit too grabby with Sigil.
  • Don't Think, Feel: The Ciphers don't believe in thinking through their actions but attempt to do all things on instinct or feelings in the moment. It's their literal guiding philosophy.
  • Dungeon Punk: Certainly contains heavy influences of this style, especially in Sigil. The game also strongly attacks numerous pillars of Dungeons and Dragons like Black-and-White Morality, Good Versus Evil versus Law Versus Chaos, and the reverence for deities as well as causes. It is much closer to a Sword and Sorcery morality system despite being a somewhat Victorian London (in another dimension!) influenced environment.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: When the first Planescape campaign setting was published, it only contained three new playable races; the bariaur (benevolent centaur-like beings that are half human and half mountain sheep), the githzerai, a tribe of mage-warriors and monks (who look like mongolian fu-manchu elves with goatees and freckles) and the tieflings, a mix of humanoid and infernal blood, each one of them with unique looks.
  • Elephant Graveyard: There's a baku graveyard in Bytopia, where the baku's spiritual leaders go to die and — it is rumored — young baku are reared. The graveyard is closely guarded by a herd of baku and a grove of treants, however, so sneaking in to have a look is much easier said than done.
  • Endless Daytime: Krigala, the first level of the Beastlands, is in an eternal and glorious afternoon. The only way to mark the passage of time is through the gentle rains that occur once a day. Krigala is mostly home to diurnal animals, and the constant heat has covered the plane in a patchwork of deserts and savannahs in the drier uplands and thick rainforests in the more humid areas.
  • Enemy Civil War
    • The eternal, devastating Blood War between the baatezu (devils) and tanar'ri (demons) is the only thing keeping the lower planes from overrunning the multiverse. Yugoloth (daemons) serve as mercenaries to both sides while the Gehreleth (demodands) stay outside of the war.
    • Smaller-scale (but no less bloody) examples include the constant war between the tanar'ri lords Demogorgon, Orcus, and Graz'zt; and the feud between the gods of the orcs and goblins on Acheron.
    • Less bloody examples are the power struggles and scheming between the Lords of the Nine Hells of Baator.
  • The Eeyore: Not unusual for The Bleakers (charitable variant) and The Doomguard (destructive variant). Pretty much all Dustmen are like this, too, given that happiness is literally the enemy according to their philosophy.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Nowhere in the universe is the phrase "money talks" truer than it is in Sigil. You can use bribery to get nearly anything, information, entry into places you wouldn't otherwise be allowed, and maybe getting the town watch to look the other way. (The only folks in Sigil you can't bribe, usually, are the Guvners, Harmonium, and Mercykillers, but even then, a few evil members of those Factions will "compromise" in exchange for a "donation" or two.)
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Several. Khin-Oin, in the Gray Waste, is a tower in the shape of a spinal cord reaching forty miles into the sky and forty miles under the ground. The tower is home for the Oinoloth, The number 1 Plaguemaster bar none and a high ranking Yugoloth leader (sometimes co-leader with the unnamed Ultroloth General of Gehenna, who rules the race)
  • Fantastic Slurs: Several of these abound, the most outstanding being "prime" and "clueless."
    • A prime is someone from the prime material plane (i.e. an actual Earth-like world, such as most of D&S's settings) rather than from Sigil or the outer/inner planes; to some people, this implied that the person was rural, uneducated, the "country cousin from out of town," although technically it's purely descriptive and not derogatory.
    • A clueless is Exactly What It Says on the Tin; someone who just doesn't get how things work out among the planes, and sometimes believes he's still back home — an apt comparison would be your country cousin visiting the city for the first time, or a college freshman who has never left home before. Some people consider all primes to be clueless, but there's a good deal of arrogant cluelessness among some planewalkers, too...
  • Fantastic Terrorists: There's the Bomb-Throwing Anarchists of the Revolutionary League and the more extremist elements of the Doomguard.
    • The Anarchists of the League have infiltrated all the other factions in the name of burning down every last trace of the old order and replacing it with something... except that no two cells can agree on exactly what that new order ought to be. In addition to the usual D&D spells and magic items, faction members gain a supernatural ability to convince others that they're part of any faction other than the Anarchists while avoiding magical detection (though they cannot use that factions' member powers or spell-like abilities).
    • Meanwhile, the more fanatical members of the Doomguard not only believe that entropy is inevitable and even desirable, as the rest of the faction does, but also that they have the duty and pleasure of speeding the entire multiverse along to its final destruction. To this end, they stage attacks with weapons from the City Armory, which they themselves control, even as a sizable splinter group within the faction has begun working with the demonic tanar'ri as mercenaries and saboteurs, researching spells, churning out enchanted weapons, and crafting living engines of destruction with which the demons will lay waste to countless worlds. They get away with this because given the infinite scale of the multiverse, an entire world falling to demons can be written off as a petty, localized skirmish. The adventure "Into the abyss" pits the Player Characters versus an alliance of tanar'ri and Sinkers who designed the new flying demonflesh warship for the tanar'ri.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Even moreso than most settings in Dungeons & Dragons. Sigil is a place where you might find anything, literally, if you know where to look.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Pissing off the Lady of Pain can have any number of messy, painful results, but her most famous punishment is Mazing; sending the offender(s) to a pocket dimension labyrinth of her own making. These mazes can be of any make or structure, and the Mazee is immortal, unable to age or die from injuries (self-inflicted or otherwise) or starvation/thirst, possibly leaving them to run the maze for the rest of eternity. The only way out is to finish the maze. However, even if they escape, it's possible for the offender to exit into a completely different place or time, sometimes thousands of year in the past or future. Only way to avoid this fate: DO NOT PISS OFF THE LADY OF PAIN.
  • Festering Fungus: Egarus is a fungus from Abyss that was accidentally introduced on a Prime world when an adventurer brough back a little bit on the tip of his shoe. The fungus quickly covered the shoe, and the adventurer's house, and his village — and then the wind started carrying it farther out. Ater discovering that they couldn't kill it — egarus doesn't burn, it can't be poisoned, and magic does little to it — the natives begged the gods for help. The gods open gates to the Quasiplane of Vacuum, where nothing can survive, and the locals shoveled every last bit in before closing the gates behind it... and it survives there. The fungus learned to feed on nonexistence itself, and reacts to the presence of matter or energy in its environment by rapidly disintegrating them.
  • Fictional Counterpart: A strange version, where Baator is clearly based on Dante's Inferno, Mount Celestia on his Purgatorio, and many locations or characters are adaptations of real-world myths, such as Olympus, Yggdrasil, and the Styx. Likewise, the factions are mostly fictional counterparts and send-ups of real-world beliefs, from the Randian Fated to the solipsistic Sign of One.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Plenty of these. Phlegethos, the fourth layer of Baator, is probably the most traditional. The Abyss, being what it is, is sure to have several layers that meet the criteria. The top two layers of Gehenna also fit, though they're a bit less traditional about it.
  • Flaying Alive: Just one of the many consequences of pissing off The Lady of Pain.
  • Garden of Evil: Cathrys, the second layer of Carceri, is called the Crimson Jungle. It's a tropical hell where the trees drip poison and razor-edged grass can disembowel the careless (or even careful) traveler.
  • Genius Loci: Nimicri is a small, spherical city orbiting one of Gehenna's mounts. While it initially appears to be inhabited, closer inspection, any townspeople are revealed to be extensions of the city itself, which is in reality a titanic mimic that uses the blood of visitors to increase its population with duplicates.
  • Ghibli Hills: Dothion, the bottom layer of Bytopia falls into this category. It's a pastoral land where the natives live in small and industrious villages, embracing the virtues of craftsmanship and honesty. Parts of Elysium may also qualify.
  • A God I Am Not: The Lady Of Pain. Her powers make her a deity for all intents and purposes, but for unknown reasons, worshiping her or referring to her as a goddess is one of the quickest ways to bring down her wrath. The most common theory is that active worship could make her a goddess. The whole idea of Sigil as a neutral ground crossroads of the multiverse is that gods have no access there. If the Lady became one, the whole barrier would collapse in a Puff of Logic.
  • Good Is Impotent: The grand battle that is waged in the outer planes is between the Baatezu/Devils and the Tanar'ri/Demons, two flavors of evil waging a genocidal war over differences about how to spread pain and misery to the multiverse. In this apocalyptic conflict, the primary role of the forces of Good is to try to stay out of it and pray their enemies keep fighting each other, rather than turning their attention to the Heavens.
  • Good is Not Nice: The Celestials can really ruin your day if you give them a reason to.
  • God of Good: Possibly Chronias, the top layer of Celestia. Never explicitly described, it is the final goal of the petitioners making the slow ascent up the holy mountain. There, they hope to be eternally joined to Celestia itself.
  • God of Thunder: On the plane of Arcadia, the weather is ruled by the four Storm Kings. Of these, the best fits for the mercurial Rain King, whose moods can change as easily as a light shower can turn into a hailstorm and back, and the Lightning King, a short-tempered figure with a tendency to solve his problems by throwing thunderbolts.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: see Clap Your Hands If You Believe above.
  • Global Currency
    • While this is an unofficial rule in almost all RPG settings, it's an official rule in this one, mentioned in the core rulebook. Gold from one world is considered just as valuable as it is from another in Sigil. (And Sigil is a place where the rule "Money talks" is truer than anywhere else.)
    • Infernals on the other hand use souls (mostly damned ones) as currency. Damned souls become giant human-faced larvae as petitioners of the lower planes. These larvae are treated like cattle and money at the same time. Infernals need the larvae/souls to create (or "reeincarnate" the souls into) lesser infernals for the Blood War.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Certain planes, such as the Plane of Air, have "subjective directional gravity," which fits the "Gravitational Cognizance" version of this trope.
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Gabberslug, a demon who manages the "Court of Woe," which handles spill-over cases from the City Court of Sigil. His sole bailiff is a tireless, cursed death knight. Your best bet if sent before Gabberslug is to hire Sly Nye, one of the only advocates to win his cases there by dint of being aggravatingly true to his alignment of Chaotic Neutral (unpredictable, arbitrary) yet still usually right about the law.
  • The Hedonist: Subverted with The Sensates, who consider such behavior a mockery of their beliefs. Characters who act this way do try to join, but if they just repeat the same pleasures over and over, they are invited to the Gilded Hall on Arborea — a great palace of the eternal party on the Chaotic Good good plane already biased toward overlong feasting. It's not a prison sentence, but since a hedonists have no reasons to leave the Happy Place incarnate, they spend the rest of their lives lost in indulgences and are buried on the premises (presumably with a great commemoration feast). True Sensates are Sense Freaks, devoted to experiencing every single sensation in existence; pleasant, horrid, and the whole gamut in-between. Or at least "specialize" in finding and discerning all the fine flavours of a some general type of experiences.
  • Hell:
    • Baator, home of the baatezu (better known as "devils") is literally Hell, though all of the Lower Planes have elements of the trope: Carceri is Tartarus from greek mythos, Gehenna is hebrew hell, Acheron and The Grey Waste (of Hades) are both based on greek underworld (Acheron not so much, it's just soldier/war hell) and Pandemonium is Asgardian hell.
    • The Abyss, while only named after the Christian chasm leading to the gates of Hell is worse than the rest, much much worse.
  • Hell Is War: There are seven distinct Lower Planes, each of which is a Hell of sorts. Each of these has multiple dimensions. Of the seven lower planes, five are involved in the Blood War and one is given over to endless, genocidal wars between goblin-kind and orc-kind, with other races being thrown into the mix. So six of seven hells are invoke this trope. For example, Acheron. Just as Ysgard is Warrior Heaven, Acheron is Soldier Hell, where souls of ruthless professionals, conscripts drunk on the bloodshed, all those who lost sense of what they fought for, fight as cannon fodder in pointless never-ending wars.
  • Hive Mind: The cranium rats which are a ubiquitous pest in sigil are this when in close enough proximity to eachother. The collective is not race wide however, and several separate hives war in the sewers of Sigil to add more to their number.
  • Human-Demon Hybrid: Tieflings were first introduced in the second edition as a player character race and became a playable monster race in third (which had them in the default Monster Manual with a level adjustment because of their damage resistances and innate spellcasting ability). At this point, they were effectively humans with a few random (literally; with tables to roll on) demonic traits to indicate their heritage. They also have an aura of evil about them, leading them to be subjected to Fantastic Racism (with villainous or antiheroic tieflings often portrayed as a case of Then Let Me Be Evil).
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Lady of Pain. No one knows exactly WHAT she is, but she does not count herself amongst the gods, and they sure as hell don't want her amongst them. And she's powerful enough that the gods cannot step into Sigil. AT ALL. Not a single one. And within its walls, she is absolutely omnipotent. The laws of physics and magic are literally hers to command. If that doesn't scream eldritch abomination, what does?
  • In the Doldrums: The properties of the Grey Wastes of Hades replace all emotions with hopelessness and gloom, and cause colors fade to gray.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: Many of the game's books start with such an introduction, and their table of contents often have such a short sentence to describe every chapter.
  • The Journey Through Death: An odd sort of example: The various afterlives are planes of existence, traversable by various means and home to their own native inhabitants. As a result, it's entirely possible for a character to end up travelling to an afterlife while technically alive!
  • Knight Templar: Most of the Mercykillers ("Justice at all costs") and a large portion of the Harmonium ("We know what's good for you").
  • Lawful Stupid, Chaotic Stupid: A point of heavy discussion and debate in-universe, and a major theme of the setting. The Fraternity of Order and (especially) the Xaositects are (respectively) painted this way by those outside of their factions, while the Modrons and Slaadi are embodiments of Order and Chaos so steeped in their respective alignments that their Blue-and-Orange Morality is often thought to render them more alien than demons or devils.
  • Lord British Postulate: The Lady has no official stats in order to avert this trope, and also because it would take away her mystery.
  • Lost World: The Lost Plateau is a great pillar of stone rising in the remote depths on the Beastlands, and those who found their way to it report hearing noises and seeing shapes upon unlike anything else in the plane. The plateau's top is a wide, shallow bowl covered by thick jungle and sloping down to a lake in its center, and is home to thriving populations of dinosaurs — creatures otherwise entirely absent in the plane — and a reclusive tribe of green-furred beastmen. There's a great deal of rumor and speculation about it, including the theory that the plateau was raised by ancient powers or the plane itself to create a last haven for the vanishing creatures living there.
  • Mobile City: The Crawling City in Gehenna, the closest thing to a capital city for the fiendish yugoloths, moves upon thousands and thousands of demonic, fireproof legs capable of fording rivers of lava and moving vertically up cliffs, and can move between any of the plane's layers. The city's ruler, the General of Gehenna, uses its mobility to keep his location hidden from enemies both within and without the yugoloth race.
  • Mushroom House: Psilofyr, the god of the myconids, lives within a giant hollowed-out mushroom at the center of his realm in Mechanus.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Fell is a "fallen" Dabus, one of the Lady's servitors, who chose to abandon her service and worship the (at the time very popular) god of portals Aoskar. The Lady responded by killing Aoskar in his own domain in the Astral Plane, razing his main temple (and the whole temple district) and wiping every dedicated follower and cleric of his in Sigil, but left Fell alive. People tend to be wary around him, believing him cursed or to have been left alive to be an example and to tell the tale.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Lady of Pain.
    Spoony: When you do see her, RUN. Fucking RUN, don't look at her, don't speak to her — oh, my GOD, don't speak to her — don't get in her way... if you see her, turn tail and run, and run as fast as you can, and close as many doors behind you as you can, and hope to God she didn't see you... run.
  • Nay-Theist: The Athar. They do speculate about a Higher Power, but they think the beings who refer to themselves as "gods" are just pretenders, misleading mortals in order to gain power form their belief.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: The Beastlands is one of the Upper Planes, a place of untamed nature at its most glorious... and even good-aligned travelers should still watch their step. The Outlands, the neutral plane, has "nature red in tooth and claw" as its ethos.
  • Necessarily Evil: The Lady of Pain is greatly feared for her ruthlessness, but most people acknowledge that, without her, Sigil would be nothing but a battlefield.
  • New Weird: Planescape is essentially the D&D take on this, with an atypical setting that ignores traditional fantasy tropes in favor of a heavy focus on philosophy and surreal imagery.
  • Not Sodifferent Remark: Tarholt was surprised when a bariaur compared him to Harys Hatchis, whom Tarholt views as an "urgent buffoon".
  • Not So Stoic: The previous Primus was killed by Orcus, who then impersonated him, and ordered the Modrons to march around the planes several cycles early, going along a twisting path, and once he learned all he could about the location of his lost scepter, he simply left. This left the Modrons without a leader and with large numbers of their kind separated from the whole. And Orcus left a taint in the species, with one of the Secundus (four Modrons directly under Primus) infected by his evil. When it was time to elect the new Primus, the tainted Secundus said rejected all but himself as a candidate, but another Secundus challenged him anyway. So they went under the tradition of who could kill the most chaotic beings in one week. While the sane Secundus was busy making frogs legs out of the Slaad, the tainted Secundus had his army attack the gnome afterlife! He was disqualified for one, not doing the killing himself, and second, he killed Chaotic GOOD beings, who weren't directly opposed to the Modron cause. He promptly left with his quarter of the species for the lower planes. Meanwhile the Inevitables and Formians took this chance to snatch up large pieces of the Modron's territory for themselves! In the dragon magazine, if you summon the shade of the destroyed Primus, a being of pure logic, he's crying.
  • Not Quite Flight: The above mentioned subjective directional gravity can be used for this, if you have good focus and reaction times.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Not Using D Words. Because de the fiends consider them racial slurs, and get really pissed off (more than usual, that is), and usually no one looks forward to this. The real reason was that TSR was afraid that Moral Guardians would accuse D&D of being Satanic (more than usual) if demons and devils appeared in the game. A Planescape adventure (Dead Gods) was actually the first TSR product that reverted to the use of "demon" over "tanar'ri" after the Satanic Panic died down.
  • The Nothing After Death: The Dustmen's belief is a weird mixture of this, reincarnation, cynicism, asceticism , and the "life is suffering" brand of nihilism that is more commonly used to fuel Put Them All Out of My Misery type villainy. The Dustmen believe existence as we know it is actually a massive array of hells known as "False Life", because living in it brings suffering and disappointment. All people in The Multiverse have already died and passed from the state of "True Life" (which they believe is a form of paradise) and are undergoing purgatory by suffering, "dying", being reincarnated into another stage of "False Life", and thus suffering again. The Dustmen thus practice a Buddhism-like form of asceticism, and try to encourage the others to do the same, in hopes of transcending their suffering and reaching a state they call "True Death", where there is no more suffering. Individual beliefs about what lies beyond True Death vary from this trope to being reincarnated back into "True Life" again.
  • The Old Gods: Naturally, there are things more ancient and powerful than the familiar gods out there on the endless planes.
    • One such being is one of "true Baatorians" or "Maleficarem", who occupied the hells before devils came along, manifesting as an invisible, intangible force that siphons life and energy or as said by devils "breathe in light and breathe out darkness". It's explicitly meant to be one of those things that can't be challenged or explained, and apparently the present-day Baatezu would be very happy if it stayed asleep.
    • Nupperibos are puny, morbidly obese, deaf and blind gray humanoid infernals who are not actually baatezu and thus outside their evolutionary line, larvae in Baator sometimes transform into one of these at random. The baatezu herd these things to devolve them into larvae and then transform them into the lesser of the baatezu, lemure. The reason?: Nupperibos are the "baby" form of the ancient Baatorians. None has evolved since Asmodeus rose to power at the dawn of time and no baatezu wants to have those things loose again.
    • The Lady of Pain herself was long suspected of being one, thanks to her power to keep gods out of Sigil. A possible explanation is given near the end of Die Vecna, Die!. She is rumored to be an Ancient Brethren, a group of entities that existed before the gods and are more powerful than them. The Lady could represent balance itself. A few other characters are implied to belong to this group as well, including the Serpent, the embodiment of magic itself (who is either the Imaginary Friend or Man Behind the Man of Vecna; it's deliberately left vague).
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: It's not shown in any adventure, but it's mentioned in updated material, that the new Primus, in a rather unprecedented move, actually left Mechanus (something that was questionable if it was possible before as he spent all his time submerged waist down in the energy pool that all modrons spawn from), went down to the lower planes himself, and personally destroyed the Orcus tainted Secundus whose actions divided the species, (forcing the Secundus to respawn from the energy pool as a lowly Monodrone free of Orcus' taint), and reunited his kind.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Many of the big evils in the setting seem to be up to nothing in particular. For example, Ilsensine, the mind flayer deity, spends eternity conducting mental surveillance on the universe and waiting. As in 1st Edition, Orcus himself is a major counterexample; he's one of the primary active forces in the metaplot. He's dead, but that doesn't stop him from almost destroying the multiverse.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Arguably more important than good versus evil. The Blood War between the chaotic tanar'ri and the orderly baatezu is perhaps the most famous example.
  • The Plan: Most factions run one. Except for the Xaositects, who think The Multiverse is one big Gambit Roulette mess-up run by no one in particular and behave accordingly, the Ciphers, who live by Don't Think, Feel, the Bleakers, who think that there's no inherent point to existence, and the Indeps, who just want to be left alone.
  • Platonic Prostitution: The Brothel for the Slaking of Intellectual Lusts. Proudly featured and expanded upon in the main plot of Planescape: Torment.
  • Polluted Wasteland: Found in several of the Lower Planes, but special mention should go to Maladomini, the seventh layer of Baator. The ruling Baatezu, Baalzebul, is obsessed with building the perfect city, but is never able to create something that meets his satisfaction. The layer has been completely laid to waste in his quest to find more building materials. Cities of impossible beauty dot the blasted layer, abandoned because of some petty flaw that only Baalzebul can see.
  • Portal Door: In Sigil, the City of Doors, you can find portals that lead anywhere, literally, if you know where to look. However, not all "bounded spaces" are made from doors, so the supertrope Cool Gate may apply instead.
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: Some inhabitants of Sigil take serious offense if you pronounce its name "Sijil" rather than "Sighil".
  • Prison Dimension: Planescape has several of these including:
    • Carceri, the most common option and the plane philosophically located between chaotic and neutral evil. It consist of six layers of nested orbs, each of them embodying a different variety of petty spite. In order to leave a prisoner needs to become more powerful than the one who imprisoned them, something which is actively thwarted by your fellow inmates.
    • The Wells of Darkness, the seventy-third layer of the Abyss, are an endless expanse occasionally interrupted by pits filled with utter blackness. It is generally used by demon lords to imprison their rivals.
    • Agathion, Pandemonium's fourth and final layer, is a plain of solid rock riddled with small bubbles. These pockets are used by deities to imprison monsters or artifacts they are incapable of destroying.
    • Belieren, the third layer of Elysium, is a rare benevolent example of this. It is an entire infinite layer of a plane sacrificed by the celestials in order to serve as a prison for fiends. It was originally used to hold the original, immortal Hydra, the progenitor of the more common species, but the guardinals have developed a tendency to use Belierin as a prison for other evil beings that they can't destroy, and nobody but them is quite sure of how many monsters have been put into that particular can by now.
    • The Paraelemental Plane of Ooze is an expanse of filth extending in all directions. Since it lacks the usual planar barriers that might prevent exit, and is also fairly hospitable, imprisonment here is usually a sign of utter contempt for the individual imprisoned, and is more to humiliate the unlucky prisoner.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Free League is a gathering point for people who don't believe too strongly in any faction philosophy one way or the other, banding together for common protection. They include many of the city's merchants and innkeepers, who benefit from being neutral.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: Several parts of the Lower Planes, including Avernus in Baator, Pazunia in the Abyss, and several layers in Carceri.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Who or what is the Lady of Pain? Where did she come from? No-one knows.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Most of the Lawful factions and races are Team Enlightenment, most of the Chaotic factions and races are Team Romantic, and everyone else does have a stake in the conflict. The Blood War is a war to decide whether Evil is Romantic or Enlightened. As expected, no one is deemed right.
  • Rule of Three: Trope Namer, and the OTHER central rule.
  • Scavenger World: Most of the Lower Planes have aspects of this, though special mention should go to Thuldanin, the second layer of Acheron. Powerful weapons have a way of finding their way to this war-torn layer, and a lucky artifact-seeker can really hit it big.
  • The Scottish Trope: People of Sigil believe that referring to the Lady of Pain by her full name makes her pay attention, and thus refer to her as 'The Lady' if they must mention her at all. They prefer to talk around mentioning her at all if they can.
  • Series Mascot: The Lady of Pain, given the fact that her face is on the logo, making her ominous glare grace every product.
  • Shadow Dictator: Again, the Lady of Pain. In a somewhat unusual take on this trope, she is seen in the city occasionally and only a total loon would deny she exists.
  • Shrug of God: A lot of the details are left blank or vague, furthering the setting's sense of mystery.
    • Just who or what is the Lady of Pain, anyway? Six giant squirrels with a headdress, a robe and a ring of levitation. A common joke in-universe.
    • Just read Swinburne's "Dolores". Then you'll be even more confused. By the way, it was quoted in Pages of Pain.
    • Don't forget the mysterious monster with a sense of humor, Kaydx.
  • Sons of Slaves: The Githyanki were once slaves of the Mind Flayers and were led out of slavery by the hero Zirthamon, whose teaching and moral code became the core of their philosophy very important in a universe, and especially on the plane of Limbo, where belief shapes reality much more than usual.
  • Sour Supporter: Bleakers are one big Sour Support Club.
  • Specifically Numbered Group: The Hierarchs of the Modrons, a race of constructs that embody universal orderinvoked, have nine ranks, each with a population equal to the square of the rank — from 100 Decatons to four Secundi, ruled by Primus. They follow the chain of command without fail; if one dies, one member of every inferior rank is promoted up.
  • Stable Time Loop: Rowan Darkwood's fate. In short, he starts the Faction War with the intent of using it to cover his efforts to obtain the Labyrinth Stone and use it to cast the Sigil spell and claim control of Sigil. He promptly gets Mazed by the Lady on day 19. Eventually, he escapes, only to find the Maze has released him into Sigil some 500 years into the past. This version of Darkwood is imprisoned by the Bleakers as a barmy and renamed Gifad. Towards the end of the Faction War, Gifad is released or escapes and is used to try and end the Faction War by casting the Sigil spell with the aide of the Labyrinth Stone. He fails and is cast into the past, over 10000 years ago. Having lost his memory, he studies magic and eventually becomes the wizard who created the Labyrinth Stone and the Sigil spell in the first place — only to be sealed inside the Stone when he attempts to cast it. And then, millennia later, Rowan Darkwood will be born, learn of the Stone and the spell, and begin the Faction War all over again.
  • Starfish Aliens
    • The Modrons are the inhabitants of Mechanus, and resemble clockwork geometric shapes possessing some combination of limbs, tentacles, and facial features. Divided into different ranks (the most well-known being the cube-shaped quadrones), the Modrons are the living embodiments of law and order. A Modron of any given station is only aware of the ranks immediately above and below it; anything beyond that simply does not register. Sometimes Modrons are touched by chaos and go rogue. This doesn't mean that they start wantonly breaking laws and living large; they're still lawful to an alien degree, just slightly less so than their peers.
    • The frog-like Slaadi are to chaos what the modrons are to order. And occassionaly a rare subspecies of quadrupedal Lawful Neutral Slaad is born.
    • The Far Realm beyond the multiverse and their many tentacled creatures. Lovecraftian Nightmare Fuel incarnate.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: For reasons unknown, attempting to worship the Lady of Pain as if she were a goddess leads to punishment. As said gods are banned from entering Sigil. It has been theorized letting others worship her would make her a power and the rule of no-gods-allowed and her utmost neutrality would collapse in a Puffof Logic.
  • Straw Nihilist: The Dustmen, arguably, as one could argue that their philosophy (all existence is a hell meant to make us suffer, and dying merely causes us to be reincarnated here to suffer again, so we must seek to deny everything that is pleasurable in life so that we may pass into true oblivion and utterly cease to exist) is, in many ways, bleaker than that of the Bleak Cabal.
  • Tailor-Made Prison
    • The Mazes, pocket dimensions that the Lady of Pain creates out of Sigil as prisons for anyone who threatens the city. These small dimensions sustain their occupants without the need for food or water and take the form of an enormous labyrinth. They aren't completely escape-proof, as the Lady always includes a well-hidden way out, but it's rare for anyone to escape. Some people think that she includes the escape route to torment the prisoner with unlikely hope.
    • A particularly persistent rumour about Sigil itself is that its nickname "The Cage" isn't just a dig at its complete lack of physical exits (portals notwithstanding) but that the city itself is a literal cage for someone. The most common version has it that someone is The Lady.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In the Harbinger House module, the Lady of Pain gains a cult of followers led by someone who want to romance her. It's common knowledge that the lady kills all would-be worshippers (though many of her followers are pilgrims from outside Sigil, who might not be quite as in-the-know).
  • Thirsty Desert:
    • Minethys, the third layer of Carceri, is a crimson and demon-haunted desert.
    • The Quasi-Elemental Plane of Salt. While it is not made of sand, it is still a desert. A very thirsty one at that: any water hitting its surface is absorbed immediately and unprotected visitors will have the moisture sucked out of them, causing them to die horrifying deaths in a matter of minutes.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Factol Lahr of the Bleak Cabal discusses this in the Factol's Manifesto. The entire Bleak Cabal faction qualifies. Faces of Evil discusses the demons via the cheerful, hilarious eyes of a mad slaad. And insane characters show up with surprising frequency.
  • Toad Licking: One of the flavor text quotes a Sensate's opinion on licking a Slaadi. He says that it is a horrible mistake... that everyone should make once in their life.
  • Tree Top Town: These are very common in Arborea and the Beastlands, two planes characterized by superlative wildernesses and large populations of elves and of arboreal and flying creatures.
    • Al Karak Elam-Jhankal is a city inhabited by winged elves — al karak elam, as they name themselves — built within the canopy of a towering forest in the Beastlands. The city is made out of platforms around the tree trunks, hanging rope bridges and buildings woven out of living branches, and is very extensive in order to accommodate its citizens' need to fly. The buildings are a mile off the ground at their lowest point, and the city can reach half a mile of vertical thickness. The elves share it with a number of flying creatures, including a great many birds and a colony of giant eagles.
    • The beastmen of the Lost Plateau live in treetop villages, in order to protect themselves from the dinosaurs who rule the jungle floor.
    • Grandfather Oak, the largest and oldest tree in the plane of Arborea, is home to a large community of elves and treants who live in a village built on his branches and within immense knotholes in his trunk.
  • Truce Zone: Sigil allows beings who by nature hate each other, like demons and angels, but forbids them from fighting by the almighty watch of the Lady of Pain.
  • Viewer Pronunciation Confusion:
    • Just how does one pronounce baatezu, tanar'ri, or Xaositect anyways? A Player's Primer to the Outlands and Planescape: Torment helped a bit, but not enough to stop endless arguments at the game table.
    • TSR briefly did have a recorded pronunciation guide on their website. Not that this had any effect except to intensify arguments over whether they were "right."
  • The Voiceless: The Lady of Pain. There is only one confirmed case in Sigil's history where she has been known to utter a sound, and that was at the end of the module Die, Vecna, Die!, in a place where nobody could hear her. Factol Nilesia once made a claim that the Lady spoke to her in a dream, but Nilesia's sanity was questionable at best. In the rare times that the Lady needed to communicate with someone, her entourage of Dabus spoke for her.
  • Warrior Heaven
    • Ysgard! The happy souls who call this plane home live it up Viking-style, fighting each other in grand melees all day. Death for residents is temporary, and when the sun sets they retire to a drinking hall to boast about their deeds. The rule about coming back to life doesn't apply to visitors, however.
    • The fifth layer of Mount Celestia is the Holy Warrior Heaven. Everyone regenerates, including visitors, and it could best be summed up as what would happen if infinite paladins got together to make a stronghold. It is strongly implied all paladins are allowed at least this high on the Mount.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The Revolutionary League (although many would disagree).
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The factions in general are like this, at least a lot of the most influential members of them are, some more than others. Their goals are all different, and most conflict with each other, but many members take their philosophies to extremes, sometimes dangerous extremes. (The Guvners are a bunch of Rules Lawyers who want to take over the universe using laws and the Xaositects don't like laws at all, and want to see ALL of them abolished. Neither idea would be good for the universe in general.)
  • Wham Episode: Faction War
  • World of Chaos: Limbo, literally. Nothing can keep its shape if it stays too long there.
  • Wretched Hive: Many of the towns in the Lower Planes, along with the Gate Towns leading to such planes.
    • Curst, the Gate Town to Carceri, is a run-down desert settlement inhabited by liars and traitors which doubles as a prison.
    • Ribcage, the Gate Town to Baator is a fascist utopia inhabited by tyrants, schemers, oppressors and loyal fanatic soldiers.
    • Plague-Mort, the Gate Town to The Abyss is a chaotic mess of a metropoli full of murderers and psychopaths with no laws at all where the ruler, who changes from months to years at best, is the strongest most insane and cruel tyrant with the power to do so and hold it. Usually "elected" by killing the former governor. The current one, an evil insane cleric of the Demon Lords holds the record at 35 consecutive years.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: The Concordant Killers are a group of Neutral beings either created into a role of maintaining balance or chose to do so after their creator perished. They are insanely powerful, much more than your average greater devils, demons and high tier angels and rivaling those of the highest orders. In either case they possess natures that are both celestial and fiendish with crimson skin, monochrome fire as hair and black angelic wings, granting them powers that allow them to deal with beings of any alignment, both good and evil and lawful and chaotic. Most notable are their Concordant Greatswords, weapons that are anarchic, axiomatic, holy and unholy at the same time, making it a weapon capable of dealing significant ludicrous damage to any beings of extreme (as in, non-neutral) alignment.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Rowan Darkwood, who discovers that he was destined to instigate, start, and end the Faction War he started all in one go... His personal maze is a time loop.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Gravity in the Plane of Air works like this. Whichever direction you think is down, that's the way you fall.

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