Dragon Slayers Incorporated
Sigil: The City of Doors
Sigil contains innumerable portals that can lead to anywhere in the cosmos. Any bounded opening (a doorway, an arch, a barrel hoop, a picture frame) could possibly be a portal to another plane, or to another point in Sigil itself. Thus, the city is a paradox: it touches all planes at once, yet ultimately belongs to none; from these characteristics it draws its other name: “The City of Doors”.
The ruler of Sigil is the mysterious Lady of Pain. The Lady is sometimes seen in Sigil as a floating, robed Lady with a face bearing a mantle of blades. The Lady does not concern herself with the laws of the city; she typically only interferes when something threatens the stability of Sigil itself. However, she is an entity of inscrutable motives, and often those who cross her path, even accidentally, are flayed to death or teleported to her hidden Mazes, lost forever.
Sigil is, theoretically, a completely neutral ground: no wars are waged there and no armies pass through. Furthermore, no powers (such as deities) are allowed to enter into Sigil; the Lady has barred them, but some disguised avatars have made it in and been promptly dispatched by the Lady.
Sigil is not a peaceful place; with such a condensed population, consisting of everything from angels to demons, violence is common, usually befalling the foolhardy, the incautious, or the poor.
People coming to Sigil from the natural world are often treated as clueless inferiors by the planar elitists who dwell there.
The only way to get in and out of Sigil is through portals. No other form of planar travel can reach the City of Doors. You can teleport within the city, but not into or out of it.
Portals, also called gates, abound in the city. Those that go to lucrative or desirable locations are often owned by individuals or organizations. These portals usually require a gate key, or, at the very least, the permission of the gate keeper to pass through. Gate keys might be objects, pass words or phrases, specific gestures, or even a state of mind.
Portals are usually two way, enabling you to travel back and forth once you know the location of the portal at your destination. Portals to Sigil are called Treadgates. Treadgates are often guarded, warded, protected by rituals, or hidden. Owners of Treadgates often become wealthy by selling access to the City of Doors. Some Treadgates are located in places known as Gate Towns. These are centres that have grown up around the Treadgate, and are often the location of markets and trade between the planes. Goods, services, information, and people pass through Gate Towns, allowing extensive commerce among the planes.
The Lady of Pain does not allow military forces to pass through Sigil, so anyone attempting to invade Sigil, or to move troops through Sigil to attack another location, are summarily blocked, and often redirected to her mazes.
Sigil is divided into six districts, called wards:
- The Hive Ward — the slum and the ghetto, home to the poor, the rogues, and the unwanted dregs of the city.
- The Lower Ward — an industrial district, clogged up with the smoke from the foundries and from the portals to the Lower Planes.
- The Clerk’s Ward — an affluent district, home to most of the city’s lower-rung bureaucrats and middlemen.
- The Market and Guildhall Wards — are the home to the traders, craftsmen, artisans, guild members and other members of the middle class.
- The Lady’s Ward — the richest and most exclusive section of the city, is home to the elites of society and of its government, though not the Lady herself.