Every planewalker’s got to know the City of Doors. Even bashers who hold no love for the place know that a body’s got to take advantage of Sigil’s location, its portals, and its services. Sigil’s referred to as the Cage by those who live here, and it ain’t much of a surprise why. For a place also called the City of Doors, getting in or out isn’t always easy.
The only way in or out of Sigil is through the portals that show up in the doorways, archways, windows, manholes, fireplaces, and other openings found throughout the city. Nothing else – spells, magical items, innate powers, or anything else – gets a body into or out of the Cage. That’s the way the Lady wants it.
The Lady of Pain calls kip in Sigil. She runs the show, but not in a direct way like a mayor or queen. In fact, she doesn’t even show her death-dealing image around much. But Sigil’s hers, plain and simple. She controls the portals, and keeps every power and archfiend out. Those who cross her die or end up in the Mazes, extra-dimensional labyrinths from which there’s no escape. Is she a power? Nobody knows. Canny cutters do know this: Leave her be. Don’t talk to her, don’t ask her for help, don’t worship her, and certainly don’t antagonize her.
Some suspect the real power in the City of Doors is held by the dabus, humanoid creatures who serve the Lady of Pain directly. They act as her eyes and ears, but most importantly her hands, making sure everything in Sigil works smoothly. See, Sigil’s got lots of tricks built into it, many having to do with portals. The dark is that the air here comes from portals to the plane of Air, and the water’s drawn from the plane of Water. Some sages think that the Lady can make portals wherever she wishes, and somehow directs the dabus to use and maintain them. A word of advice: Don’t bother the dabus, and don’t get in their way. They’re not so tough, but any berk who crosses them is sure to get on the Lady’s bad side – and that’s no place to be.
The city itself is built within a torus (that’s like a big wheel) that floats above the Spire at the center of the Outlands. How? Nobody knows. Many a graybeard has a theory, but no one can say for sure. Most agree that the city shouldn’t be able to exist where it does, and that magic and other fundamental forces (maybe even life itself) should be altered or nulled or some such. The fact is, spells work just fine, and a body has no problem living here, except for all the smoke and polluted air – and the razorvine, cranium rats, fiends, cross-trading knights, and a population of generally surly berks. Most say it’s the Lady who keeps everything working. Maybe she even built the place.
Sigil’s informally separated into wards – The Lady’s Ward, the Clerk’s Ward, the Lower Ward, the Guildhall Ward and Market Ward which are often counted as a single ward), and the Hive Ward. Each ward has its own general purpose. The Lady’s Ward is home to the wealthy upper classes and many of the powerful individuals who scheme and plot for their perceived control of the city. The Clerk’s Ward houses the city’s administrative offices and is the center of its bureaucracy. All manner of goods are forged, built, or otherwise produced in the Lower Ward. These goods – and others that have been imported from across the multiverse – are sold in the Market Ward. In the Guildhall Ward, craftsmen gather and train apprentices. The poor and lowest classes call kip in the Hive.
The Cage is the center of faction activity. The Guvners, Harmonium, and Mercykillers are the self-appointed judges, enforcers, and executioners of Sigil. Equally (but not always so “officially”), the other factions all fill a niche in the city’s workings. The Lady of Pain tolerates the factions, their assumptions of power, and their various squabbles. As long as nothing they do threatens her goals – whatever they are – or the city as a whole, she doesn’t pay them any attention.