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The most famous planar metropolis of all is the city of Sigil.  Located at the center of the Outer Planes and built on the inner surface of an enormous ring.  Sigil claims to be the true crossroads of the multiverse.  The city is ruled by the dreaded Lady of Pain, an enigma credited with enormous power Ė including the ability to bar divine beings from her realm.  Bards call Sigil the City of Doors due to its large number of portals, but the locals arenít that poetic.  They just call it the Cage, a named suited to a city thatís tough to get into and tough to leave.  Not just physically Ė though unless you know a little something about portals, even thatís a challenge Ė but emotionally.  After all, what could you ever need that you couldnít find in Sigil?  The place has everything, and then some.  Itís a filthy, noisy place, with smoke-choked alleyways and crowed streets, but Sigil is alive in a way that no other city could every hope to be. 

As befits its paradoxical nature, Sigil is in the center of an infinite plane (the Concordant Domain of the Outlands), floating above an infinitely tall spire and built on the inside of a gigantic hollow ring of unknown material.  The place has no sun or moon (see Illumination, below) and no real ďhorizon,Ē and only naÔve visitors wonder aloud about whatís on the other side of the ground.  The only way in or out of the Cage is through its many interplanar portals.  Locals claim that you can get anywhere from Sigil if you just know the right portal.  While that may be an exaggerated, it isnít far from the truth.  See Entering and Exiting Sigil, below, for more on the portals that give the city its reputation as the gateway to everywhere.

Entering and Exiting Sigil

Sigil may well hold the honor of being both the best Ė and worst Ė protected city in the multiverse.  It has no walls or gates, so it has nothing to fear from sieges or any of the other threats that face a typical city.  On the other hand, just about anybody or anything can walk right into the city whenever he, she, or it pleases through the portals that connect Sigil to other planes.  The portals arenít specially marked, ornate gates, but instead look like average doorways, windows, arches, manholes, fireplaces, and the like.  Thatís because thatís just what they are.  Any bounded space big enough for somebody to walk or wriggle through Ė from a sewer entrance to a wardrobe Ė might double as a portal to another plane.

But a visitor to Sigil need not worry about opening his bedroom closet and accidentally tumbling through to the Abyss.  Most portals need a portal key to activate them Ė usually, a specific object that has some affinity for whatís on the other side, but sometimes merely a word, a gesture, or the right state of mind.  Without the correct key, a portal is just an open space.  Many of the cityís natives are more than happy to sell keys to specific portals, or at least sell the knowledge of a keyís nature.  Some portals donít cooperate with the commercially minded, however.  Many donít linger long enough to become well known, and some donít even lead to the same place twice in a row.  But since nobody knows how to make or control portals, little can be done to improve the situation. 

Furthermore, thereís no way around the portals, no special back door to get into or out of the Cage.   You canít call or summon creatures into or out of Sigil (even with a gate spell), nor can you use plane shift to get in or out.  You canít use astral projection, though, strangely enough, the various teleportation spells work just fine within Sigil itself.  Since the city resides on the Outer Planes, no connection to the Ethereal Plane exists.  Even the deities themselves canít (or donít want to) overcome these restrictions.


In most cities, the architecture depends on three factors: the building materials available, the environment, and the dominant style and personality of the locals.  Sigil has none of those things, and its architecture demonstrates that fact amply.  Thereís nothing to build with in Sigil.  The ďground,Ē though hard and sturdy, isnít stone, and it crumbles to dust when excavated.  The place has no trees to turn into lumber (the only plant that seems to thrive in Sigil is razorvine, see below).  You canít even dig up sod or mud to build a crude hut.  Every piece of material in every building on every street is imported from another plane.  No two building are made from the same material or designed the same way.  Sigil doesnít have much of an environment to shape its architecture, either.  It never gets very hot or very cold, it has no monsoons or tornados, and what does pass for weather just tends to make everything look gray and dingy.  Thus, since the inhabitants donít have to worry about their houses surviving the next big storm, they build whatever kind of structures suit their fancy.  Whatís more, they build wherever they like, with no thought to overall city planning.

Finally, Sigil has no dominant style.  The look of the city reflects the fact that its residents come from everywhere.  Dwarves build sturdy stone structures next to graceful elven villas.  Down the street stands a faithful reproduction of an Abyssal palace, and tucked into a nearby alley is a white marble shrine to Pelor.  On top of that, since itís easier to scavenge than to import, half (or more) of the buildings in Sigil are ramshackle affairs thrown together from the parts of a dozen other constructions.  The gorgeous darkwood faÁade of that tavern probably came from an old elven inn, and its stone fireplace was carried rock by rock from the ruins of a foundry twenty-three blocks away.


Despite the lack of a sun or moon, Sigil enjoys days and nights much like any terrestrial city.  In the early hours of the morning, the sky slowly brightens, reaching a peak of illumination as bright as the noonday sun in a mid-latitude city (tempered somewhat by the near-perpetual haze).  After peak, the illumination fades over the next several hours until darkness reigns, and then the whole cycle starts over.  With no moon or stars, of course, ďnightĒ in Sigil isnít like a typical country evening.  If itís clear, though, you can usually make out the flickers of torchlight and lanterns from the other side of the city high above (remember, the cityís built on the inside of a ring, so the far side of town is directly overhead).

All told, over the course of 24 hours, Sigil has about 6 hours of bright light and the same amount of darkness.  The rest of the day resembles twilight, allowing beings sensitive or vulnerable to bright light or sunlight the freedom to go about their business with relative ease.