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pirateshow
2009-02-06, 03:22 PM
I'm starting out a new campaign, my second swing at DMing in Fourth Edition. I've decided to start things in Sigil, as it's a fun and scary place for first-level characters to be, and will easily allow my very creative players to be any kind of crazy character they please. I'm particularly looking forward to turning some of the traditional D&D tropes on their ears- I think the city will have an Adventuring Company License Bureau where newly-formed parties will queue up to be assigned a permit to operate within the city, and where entities in need of problem-solvers or wetworks operatives will post job openings. I'm quite excited for this one.

The catch: my primary source of information on the setting is the incredibly brief listing in the Planar Handbook. I'm trying to track down the 2nd Edition Planescape stuff, with minimal success. Any suggestions for handy online resources with information about Sigil? Creating settings is about the only thing I don't enjoy about DMing, and I'd be much happier to find existing documents.

hamishspence
2009-02-06, 03:30 PM
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits has some info on the dabus and Sigil.

4th ed Manual of the Planes has some info, but not a lot.

and there are online sites- Searches based on Planescape should yield dividends.

Surgoshan
2009-02-06, 04:12 PM
Go buy, play, and fall in love with the PC-RPG Torment: Planescape. It's set in Sigil and will teach you a great deal about the outlands.

Also, it's an awesome game.

Khatoblepas
2009-02-06, 04:51 PM
Go buy, play, and fall in love with the PC-RPG Torment: Planescape. It's set in Sigil and will teach you a great deal about the outlands.

Also, it's an awesome game.

This. Definitely this.

Oh, and if you're wanting to use 4e and Planescape together, bring back the nine alignments, it just makes so much more sense. Rule of Threes, remember?

Look up the Factions. These are also important in Planescape, and I'm sure you can turn the given abilities/immunities into Daily Powers.

4e is possibly the hardest system to port Planescape to, though. It doesn't have the spell level system. Or stats for devils/demons like they used to.

I wish you luck, though! ^^ Sigil is an awesome place to adventure.

Salvonus
2009-02-06, 04:52 PM
Assuming you wish to use the "traditional" Sigil (from the Planescape setting) rather than the standard 4e cosmology (of which I know nothing about), take a look at the fansite Planewalker (http://www.planewalker.com/). It's a semi-official (I think?) adaptation of 2e Planescape to 3.0/3.5e. However, it does make certain changes - the merging of the Sign of One and Believers of the Source into the Mind's Eye faction comes to mind.

If you want to go the 2e route, here are some (alternative) resources from a more 2e Planescape perspective:
A lovely introduction to the world of Sigil (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/DnD_PS_Comic.asp)
Map of Sigil! (http://www.shadowland.org/Planescape/maps.html)
Faction Information (http://www.shadowland.org/Planescape/factions.html)
Dictionary of Lingo (http://www.mimir.net/cant/cant2.html)
More City Info (http://www.shadowland.org/Planescape/city.html)
As above (http://www.shadowland.org/Planescape/city2.html)
As above (http://www.shadowland.org/Planescape/city3.html)

A different adaptation for 3.5e than Planewalker (http://www.geocities.com/findorian/index2.html)

If those resources aren't enough... While I can't tell you where to find them (that's probably a no-no on these boards), the old 2e Planescape books CAN be found on the internet via certain sites that contain a certain type of file that reminds me of an adjective used to describe a heavy rain. No more hints than that. :smallwink: If you find that idea reprehensible, I believe there are some copies hovering around on Amazon.

Hope some of this helps! :smallsmile: Of course, I have NO idea what 4e Sigil is like... I know that 4e changed the cosmology of the D&D universe, and all links I've provided harken back to something more akin to the "Great Wheel" of 3e (there's no "Feywild" or anything if you're in love with that idea :smalltongue:). Then again, why be a slave to the default 4e setting when a rich world awaits? :smallwink:

Inyssius Tor
2009-02-06, 08:39 PM
The cosmology as it pertains to Planescape doesn't actually seem all that different, from what I can tell. Sure, the Blood War has been curtailed, since the two main parties are kind of on different sides of the universe, but... yeah. The major players are still around, and they're still, well, playing, in essentially the same places.

You want the new Manual of the Planes, which covers Sigil--and many of the places the Cage opens out into, so you want it even if you think the four-page Sigil section is way too small to be handy.

You also want the upcoming Dungeon Master's Guide II:

In September, Dungeon Masterís Guide 2 provides an array of new material for DMs, including [...] a paragon-tier city that you can drop into any D&D campaign. What city? None other than Sigil, City of Doors! What better locale to launch your paragon-tier adventures from than the city that connects to everywhere? We have a lot of respect and fond memories of Planescape and Sigil, and a number of us still in the department worked on that setting back in the day (myself included). So it is with great pride and enthusiasm that I announce the return of Sigil to the core of Dungeons & Dragons. I canít wait for you to see the place! This section alone makes Dungeon Masterís Guide 2 a great product, but itís only the icing on the cake. Weíll talk more in future columns.

Salvonus
2009-02-06, 11:06 PM
The cosmology as it pertains to Planescape doesn't actually seem all that different, from what I can tell.

...really? It looks like they changed a lot. Compare 4e Cosmology (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/ManualPlanes/119397.jpg) with the old Planescape "introduction" comic that I linked to...


You want the new Manual of the Planes, which covers Sigil--and many of the places the Cage opens out into, so you want it even if you think the four-page Sigil section is way too small to be handy.

You also want the upcoming Dungeon Master's Guide II:

In September, Dungeon Masterís Guide 2 provides an array of new material for DMs, including [...] a paragon-tier city that you can drop into any D&D campaign. What city? None other than Sigil, City of Doors! What better locale to launch your paragon-tier adventures from than the city that connects to everywhere? We have a lot of respect and fond memories of Planescape and Sigil, and a number of us still in the department worked on that setting back in the day (myself included). So it is with great pride and enthusiasm that I announce the return of Sigil to the core of Dungeons & Dragons. I canít wait for you to see the place! This section alone makes Dungeon Masterís Guide 2 a great product, but itís only the icing on the cake. Weíll talk more in future columns.

I dunno... I don't even see what the problem with using the old 2e fluff is. I mean, the default D&D fluff is hardly a bible that needs to be followed. Even meticulously detailed campaign settings shouldn't be adhered to rigidly.

Rather importantly, it doesn't cost anything to use the information I linked to. Furthermore, the Manual of the Planes doesn't contain any information on the most important part of Sigil - the factions! They even say that "guilds" (factions, I assume?) don't play a significant role in Sigil... I dunno, in my opinion, you'd probably get a richer experience if you imported the old (and free) setting into 4e. I'm not a Planescape expert by any means, but the old stuff just feels more interesting and lively to me.

I'm just not sure if buying two whole books for completely optional fluff that seems different from the feel of "classic" Sigil and Planescape is really worth it, mate. *shrug* What can I say, I'm cheap! :smalltongue:

Well, ultimately, it's up to pirateshow. :smallsmile: My personal feeling is that you could just adapt the old setting (including cosmology - why not, really?) into 4e mechanics with little trouble. Then again, if you absolutely love the new layout of the planes, I suppose you could fork over for a couple books? :smalltongue:

This is obviously my massive personal bias speaking. I dislike the "default setting" of both 4e (what I know of it) and 3.X, to be honest (and 4e FR, but that's a different story; it's not like you can't just use 2e/3e FR fluff with 4e mechanics, anyway). I'm not an old-school player by any stretch (I started with 3.5), but I do think the old planar material has a bit more merit than the new stuff.

General Disclaimer: I don't actually play 4e, as I don't find the mechanical benefit enough to justify a switch (although, if anyone reading this is setting up a really awesome PbP game...). I like to think I don't have a bias against the system itself, although I do have a dislike of the default fluff (just as I do with 3rd edition).

Inyssius Tor
2009-02-06, 11:40 PM
...really? It looks like they changed a lot. Compare 4e Cosmology (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/ManualPlanes/119397.jpg) with the old Planescape "introduction" comic that I linked to...

Point; the Outlands are gone. Easily returned, if you don't like the Astral Sea more.

But of course that's a bit of a slippery slope. It really is pathetically easy to convert the Great Wheel into 4E. In fact, it's pretty much all done for you already, except it's not, y'know, wheel-shaped anymore.

Unless you're standing in just the right place, that is.

Inyssius Tor
2009-02-06, 11:50 PM
Does anyone have a good map of the Great Wheel? I got nothing.

TheLoneCleric
2009-02-07, 12:10 AM
Does anyone have a good map of the Great Wheel? I got nothing.

I'd have to go dig up a boxed set or 3.

bosssmiley
2009-02-07, 08:04 AM
The catch: my primary source of information on the setting is the incredibly brief listing in the Planar Handbook. I'm trying to track down the 2nd Edition Planescape stuff, with minimal success.

You just weren't looking in the right place: paizo store > games > 2E > Planescape (http://paizo.com/store/downloads/wizardsOfTheCoast/aDAndD2/planescape)

Khatoblepas
2009-02-07, 10:55 AM
...really? It looks like they changed a lot. Compare 4e Cosmology (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/ManualPlanes/119397.jpg) with the old Planescape "introduction" comic that I linked to...

Compare with The Great Wheel (http://img220.imageshack.us/img220/1027/addplanescapemapsna9.pdf) and you'll see how different it is. They just kinda threw everything up into the air randomly without regard for, well, anything.

Alignment is very, very important in Planescape, Law/Chaos being most important. And, what's this? The 4e Cosmology seems to have removed Mechanus and Limbo, the pure law/chaos planes. Suddenly Mercykillers are Good, and all Xaotisects are evil? In Planescape, that's pretty wrong, as Mercykillers are LN, without regard for good and evil, and Xaosmen are CN, without regard for Good and Evil.

Why is Celestia just hanging out in the Astral Sea with Carceri and the Nine Hells? Why is the Prime Material so important in this Cosmology?

They'll probably give The Lady of Pain an Evil alignment, too. [/rant]

Though I'm interested to see how it'd pan out in the DMG2, I'd much rather use the 2e material. I'm not against converting some powers for 4e, though ^^. Oh, and bringing back rules for Mechanus and Limbo! x3 I'd love to stat some Slaadi and some Modrons in 4e terms.

hamishspence
2009-02-07, 11:13 AM
4th ed Manual of the Planes- the Doomguard can be of any alignment. Also, Great Wheel is (crudely) outlined and there are biases.

Arcadia- LG, Acheron- Unaligned, Ysgard- Unaligned, Pandemonium- CE.

Since Elemental Chaos itself is unaligned, maybe its the slaadi that are different.

aarondirebear
2009-02-07, 12:56 PM
I'm starting out a new campaign, my second swing at DMing in Fourth Edition. I've decided to start things in Sigil, as it's a fun and scary place for first-level characters to be, and will easily allow my very creative players to be any kind of crazy character they please. I'm particularly looking forward to turning some of the traditional D&D tropes on their ears- I think the city will have an Adventuring Company License Bureau where newly-formed parties will queue up to be assigned a permit to operate within the city, and where entities in need of problem-solvers or wetworks operatives will post job openings. I'm quite excited for this one.

The catch: my primary source of information on the setting is the incredibly brief listing in the Planar Handbook. I'm trying to track down the 2nd Edition Planescape stuff, with minimal success. Any suggestions for handy online resources with information about Sigil? Creating settings is about the only thing I don't enjoy about DMing, and I'd be much happier to find existing documents.

Yes. The lady of pain now does 1d6 damage with all her abilities in order to make her more "4th Edition Player Friendly", and her full backstory has been fleshed out to streamline the roleplaying.
The portals now no longer work because planar travel is just too fun.
Everything is spelt out and exact, you can ONLY find items that the books tell you to.
Oh yes and I should mention the doors are magically warded so that you must be at least level 25 to enter and level 30 to use the public restrooms.

hamishspence
2009-02-07, 01:15 PM
less of the sarcasm please, none of that is in Manual of the Planes.

Inyssius Tor
2009-02-07, 03:51 PM
Khatoblepas: Yeah. How about not.


Alignment is very, very important in Planescape, Law/Chaos being most important.

"The cosmos is at war, with the forces of law battling against the hordes of chaos. There are many battlefields in this terrible war, from desperate struggles in back alleys to great blood-soaked fields in the Elemental Chaos, and while the scale might differ, the consequences are equal. Each victory achieved by chaos threatens the established order of the multiverse. It falls to the Mercykillers to correct these imbalances, to right the course of the cosmos, and to ensure the ultimate victory of absolute order."

At least, that's what they think. A basher caught on the other side of the Law might think a little differently.


And, what's this? The 4e Cosmology seems to have removed Mechanus and Limbo, the pure law/chaos planes.Limbo? I believe you want the Elemental Chaos. Tell me, in nine thousand words or less, how it's different in any way. Mechanus? You want it, it's an island in the Astral just like the other Outer Planes. In fact, it's already more or less there--in the iron fortresses where the Maruts hang out when they're not off Maruting. We haven't gotten a full overview of the forces of Law yet, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.


Suddenly Mercykillers are Good, and all Xaotisects are evil?

"... the Mercykillers stand alone. As hated as they are loved, as feared as they are respected, they represent the double-edged sword of absolute order, embodying the dangers of tyranny as well as the assurance of justice."


Why is Celestia just hanging out in the Astral Sea with Carceri and the Nine Hells?

Why is Celestia just hanging out in the Astral Plane with Carceri and the Nine Hells? Why is Pandemonium just hanging out in the Outlands with the Abyss and Bytopia?

Each of these three statements can be answered in exactly the same way, and they are all equally true.


Why is the Prime Material so important in this Cosmology?

Because you're looking at a map made by primes, berk! Of course it's focused on the Prime! You think your typical outsider would prefer a map centered on Bytopia? No! He wants to know where he can get from here!


Though I'm interested to see how it'd pan out in the DMG2, I'd much rather use the 2e material. I'm not against converting some powers for 4e, though ^^. Oh, and bringing back rules for Mechanus and Limbo! x3 I'd love to stat some Slaadi and some Modrons in 4e terms. Oh, indeed. Mechanus does need a larger role than it has right now, and modrons are pretty neat. Converting stuff is fun. I'm working on just such a project right now, in fact (making the Axis a little more, um, Wheely). We, um, already have 4e slaadi, though.

Inyssius Tor
2009-02-07, 04:03 PM
Yes. The lady of pain now does 1d6 damage with all her abilities in order to make her more "4th Edition Player Friendly", and her full backstory has been fleshed out to streamline the roleplaying.
The portals now no longer work because planar travel is just too fun.
Everything is spelt out and exact, you can ONLY find items that the books tell you to.
Oh yes and I should mention the doors are magically warded so that you must be at least level 25 to enter and level 30 to use the public restrooms.

Thank you for contributing! :smile:

Inyssius Tor
2009-02-07, 05:47 PM
Why is the Prime Material so important in this Cosmology?

"Because you're looking at a map made by primes, berk! Of course it's focused on the Prime! You think your typical outsider would prefer a map centered on Bytopia? No! He wants to know where he can get from here!"

To elaborate, here's a map I whipped up of the Great Wheel cosmology from your typical prime's viewpoint.

http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g280/Inyssius/mapof3E.png

Sure, there are a bunch of other connections that aren't on that map. But it's hardly an all-inclusive map, and neither is its 4E version. You really can't infer that there are no portals between the Shadowfell and Orcus's domain just because there aren't any listed on the map, can you? Or that a host of noble eladrin would have to cross through Senaliesse to Arvandor, walk across half the Feywild, cross through Avaelior to the Prime, swim across half the Prime, and then cross over from the Prime back into the Astral Sea just to get from Corellon's demiplane to Pelor's? EDIT: Or that there are only two ways to get to the Prime Material in the entire Shadowfell?

Khatoblepas
2009-02-07, 06:16 PM
Limbo? I believe you want the Elemental Chaos. Tell me, in nine thousand words or less, how it's different in any way. Mechanus? You want it, it's an island in the Astral just like the other Outer Planes. In fact, it's already more or less there--in the iron fortresses where the Maruts hang out when they're not off Maruting. We haven't gotten a full overview of the forces of Law yet, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Limbo is made of more than just the four elements. Limbo is, could be, is not, might be, and could in future turn into everything. It is a roiling pot of potential, always falling back into entropy. It doesn't have islands of elements in it, nor is it ruled over by elemental lords, nor does it have anything at all to do with Elemental planes. In fact, merging together elemental planes will probably result in something quite stable. Limbo does not have the Abyss in it. Limbo is Chaotic Neutral. Limbo is, well, Limbo. Limbo is also shapable by anyone's will.

Putting Mechanus in the Astral Sea seems kind of unfair on Limbo. The Astral Sea is where all the Good Planes are, too, so... why is there no Good Planes where Limbo is? Shouldn't Limbo be part of the Great Wheel too?



Why is Celestia just hanging out in the Astral Plane with Carceri and the Nine Hells? Why is Pandemonium just hanging out in the Outlands with the Abyss and Bytopia?

Each of these three statements can be answered in exactly the same way, and they are all equally true.

Because you're looking at a map made by primes, berk! Of course it's focused on the Prime! You think your typical outsider would prefer a map centered on Bytopia? No! He wants to know where he can get from here!

Personally, I'd want one that organises things according to where the planes gravitate philsophically. The cosmology as presented in 4e doesn't have any order to it. In the Great Wheel (which is, again, important to the feel of Planescape), the planes gravitate according to the four alignment parts. (Neutral Good, Lawful Neutral, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Neutral) with transitional planes between which represent varying influences on the plane. While the stars-in-the-sky thing might seem to be pretty, it's hardly informative. The Wheel was simple, ringlike (with the Inner Planes being rings too), and gave clueless berks at least an idea that there's organisation, if not order, to the universe. Sigil being in the centre, on a spire on which there is no magic, with The Lady ensuring that it doesn't slide into ANY kind of alignment, is what makes it special. On the 4e Cosmology, it's just kinda... there at the side. No organisation.

Also, that map you made is really messy and doesn't explain anything. It's just.. a cluster of planes. Why are the Outlands there and not connected to Celestia? Why is Hades next to Celestia? What meaning does this have? Why is the Plane of Shadow not connected to the Deep Ethereal like it should be? It seems disingenius to try and shoehorn Planescape into it. It just doesn't fit. Oh, and the Dreamlands and the Far Realm aren't on any cosmologies, as they're somewhere else. Somewhere unchartable.


Oh, indeed. Mechanus does need a larger role than it has right now, and modrons are pretty neat. Converting stuff is fun. I'm working on just such a project right now, in fact (making the Axis a little more, um, Wheely). We, um, already have 4e slaadi, though.

With none of the complex breeding patterns of 2e Slaadi, and with added madness. Oh, and with hardly anything to suggest their random nature. Even the tactics are all the same for every slaadi. It implies that chaos is just madness. Also, Slaad in the Monster Manual seem to be Chaotic Evil. There is nothing EVIL about Slaadi (apart from Death Slaadi, who are unnatural). Would you peg Modrons as Lawful Good? Modrons are just as alien as Slaadi, and neither have any kind of connection with good or evil. The Elemental Chaos, while unaligned itself, seems to share that kind of passive aggressive chaos-is-evil thing that 4e has going on, which is also totally anathema to Planescape's MO.


I'm running a Planescape game right now, though (using BRP instead of D&D), and I've found it's vitally important to have the nine alignments, the wheel, and the Outlands (Threes, Rings, Belief Shaping the World.). And quite frankly, it's a huge shame that Lawful Neutral/Chaotic Neutral have been marginalised, and I have to defend my reasoning that the new cosmology isn't very good for Planescape. It may be simpler, it may be more condusive to 4e as a whole, but it just doesn't have the richness and complexity that Planescape already has somewhere else. Take Planescape: Torment. In 4e, would Ignus be Chaotic Evil? What would Vhailor be? Neither of them have any regard for good or evil. Ignus is totally self absorbed and would have the Fire Alignment if he could. Vhailor is Justice Incarnate. They can't be unaligned, because they HAVE strong affinities for chaos and law respectively. And this, along with The Exceptions, The Blood War, and the confusing-to-the-clueless differences between fiends, is why you should use the original fluff, and not the fluff from 4e. In my opinion, it kills the whole thing if Planescape isn't organised like it should be.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyway, let's have no more of that. It's futile.

I suggest looking for adventures based in Sigil. Harbinger House seems like one that's really Planescapey, for reasons that would be made painfully clear once you read up on it. That's the kind of unique thing that can only happen in Sigil. BUt only run it once your players have gotten familiar with the setting.

Inyssius Tor
2009-02-07, 06:41 PM
Anyway, let's have no more of that. It's futile.

Indeed. Awww, just a little more?

Also, that map you made is really messy and doesn't explain anything. It's just.. a cluster of planes. Why are the Outlands there and not connected to Celestia? Why is Hades next to Celestia? What meaning does this have? Why is the Plane of Shadow not connected to the Deep Ethereal like it should be?

Exactly. You're reading waaaay too much into it. It's not a complete map of everything, since 4E's team has made it their First Law to never provide complete maps of everything. It's just an idea sampler.

Again, the connections are not all-inclusive. There are a whole ton more connections, just like there are a whole ton more connections than those depicted in 4E's cosmology. This is just a couple of them.

Why is Hades next to Celestia, you ask? ...well, how can you tell that it is next to Celestia? They're not directly linked in any way.