Li Po's Guide to the Outlands
Living the True Neutral Alignment

Help yourself to my Planescape Character Generator for MS-DOS.

For the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I'd been happy, and that I was happy still.

        -- Albert Camus, "The Stranger"

For every ray of beauty there is an equal element of horror.

        -- Christopher Pike
To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

        -- Shakespeare's Polonius

You don't give a damn... You don't value nothing. You don't respect nothing... You live just for yourself. And that makes you not fit to live with.

In the "AD&D" universe, the great ring of alignment planes has, at its center, the plane of "Concordant Opposition" or "The Outlands". Introduced later in the history of AD&D than the other planes, it is the universe where good and evil, law and chaos find a near balance, and can meet in truce. Don't expect to find unselfish love here. But the ordinary loves -- family, friendship, romance -- must be very similar to our own world. Faith communities exist but are not dedicated to personal moral and ethical development. Instead, they may focus on nature study, health and fitness, or developing personal abilities or wealth. Perhaps there are debating societies here, but they probably attract little interest from most of the locals.

Each visitor experiences the plane slightly differently -- whatever is most comfortable. A Maztican concept is that primitives are likely to see the caves "from which all kinds of people emerged in ages past." The weather is always temperate, and there are few extremes of any kind. The plane is flat and circular, but those who try to walk past the ring of towns out to the edge will never reach it, but will turn back towards the center. I would think that the terrain might become drab and featureless as one approaches the center of the plane. Magic begins to fail, from strongest to weakest, as a visitor travels inward. Up to nine hundred miles from the center, ninth-level spells fail, and so forth. One hundred miles from the center, where all magic is nullified, spiritual creatures have little ability to battle one another, but can still communicate and understand. Here, they meet in truce, if not in friendship. Most cannot remain here for long. The rulers of realms on the outer planes, and the dead assigned to areas on the outer planes, cannot usually enter other such areas. However, they can travel freely to "Concordant Opposition". The Rilmani, who seek to preserve all moral and ethical outlooks, have their abode near the spire, and can enter other worlds when some other powerful outer-planar creature is called. Perhaps the Rilmani wish to be sure that every creature always has moral and ethical choices. Here the Fates spin the web of destiny, but they will never reveal the future, only give wholesome advice. Some may see the Greek Fates, while others see the Norse Norns among the roots of the world-tree. This is a common location for the headquarters of amoral sects devoted to destiny, luck, nature, theft, time, trickery, wealth, or the wilderness. At the very center of the plane, everyone sees something rising to infinity. A few powerful druidical creatures and their friends, certain clergy dedicated solely to pleasure (the Temple of Delight from Li Po's own world) or greed (the Palace of Prosperity, the neutral dwarves), and certain wise scholars and cold intellectuals (there are a mind-flayer cult and a beholder cult headquarters), can make their permanent homes in the Outlands. There is a small but stable community of half-orcs. The Time Dragon sleeps among running hourglasses that tell the lifespans of living dragons; perhaps every grain of sand is the spirit of a dragon who has died. Enter his realm, and your apparent age will change greatly from moment to moment. The mind-flayer cult territory houses a gigantic brain ("Ilsensine") that will expose all a person's secrets, and that will trade any information for the theft of your skills, or the likelihood of making you insane. Those in power send mind-wiped spies into other worlds. Come here with your mind magically shielded, or lose points of intelligence permanently as well. Beholder cult territory is here also, since both mind-flayers and beholders make war on good and evil, law and chaos. Lady Luck reportedly has an abode here. The naga realm will test each visitor to see whether he or she has been true to professed ideals and chosen role in life. Success brings complete healing and rewards, while failure brings oblivion. At the center, be prepared to confront your own expectations, fears, and regrets. There is a huge farm for rustic halflings, where it is never winter. The dwarven mines (the gems are linked with the souls of the inhabitants) and gambling halls (you can bet anything, and they can collect it) are here. The Chinese Hall of Judgment is here, where the Chinese faithful line up for processing and final disposition by a monstrous Confucian bureaucracy. The Celtic Druids have a nature preserve ("Tir Na Og", or "The Land of Youth"). Here one can find the Rainbow Horses, gaudy, plane-shifting females that can change color at will and that mate with male equines of other kinds. The nature preserve includes an entire underwater kingdom, and the headwaters of the River of Truth. The library of Thoth, the Egyptian Scholar, is further down the river; you can find any knowledge here. Lizard Folk heaven is in a swamp adjacent to the nature preserve. The Lone Giant lives in a crystal tower and owns a working, moving model of all the planes. There are altars that read simply, "Moderation in all things." Gray pools leading back to the astral only appear far from the central tower. Public portals take many forms and lead to all the outer planes, and around each, a city has sprung up with that plane's ethos. If and when the city really exemplifies the alignment, with no counterculture, it shifts permanently into the other universe. Modron parades march the circle of these cities, going in and out of the other alignment planes to make the appearance of a huge gear. Very few modrons survive to complete the circle.

Spell alterations in the Outlands: Nothing can be conjured from the inner planes, and divinations and alterations involving the inner planes must be keyed. As one approaches the central spire, magic spells tend to fail. In the circle of gate-towns, there may be an effect from the corresponding alignment plane, but otherwise the gate-towns are too far from the central spire to be affected. Ninth-level spells fail first, and the special powers of the least among the nine angelic choirs fail, also. When sixth-level spells have failed, illusions and energy drains no longer work. When fifth-level spells have failed, level drains no longer work. When fourth-level spells have failed, there is no more creating portals or conduits, except to and from Sigil. When third-level spells have failed, there are no more realms. When first-level spells have failed, at the base of the spire, no creature can harm another, but none can remain here for long. Keys cannot overcome the magic failures. In Sigil, magic works as it does on the Prime Material plane.

Wizardly spell keys are something done, offered, or exchanged; typically a counterpart or opposite. Divinations to the inner planes require revelation of a personal secret. Conjurations and alterations involving the inner planes require a gift. "Shadow" spells require alternating gifts of "continual light" and "continual darkness" objects, etc., etc.

Third edition "Manual of the Planes" focuses primarily on simplifying and encouraging individual campaign creativity. Ideas include:

  • The suggested color for pools from the astral is leather brown. Ethereal curtains might be brown.
  • The dead are immune to electricity and polymorph, have acid resistance 20, and damage reduction 10/+1.
  • The plane is neutral. Creature of any other alignments might have penalties.
  • I respectfully suggest that the Outlands be regarded as somewhat hostile to all who are not true neutral. These effects are additive:

      -1 on all intelligence, wisdom, and charisma checks for all good creatures
      -1 on all intelligence, wisdom, and charisma checks for all evil creatures
      -1 on all intelligence, wisdom, and charisma checks for all chaotic creatures
      -1 on all intelligence, wisdom, and charisma checks for all lawful creatures
      Good-based spells require a Spellcraft check (DC 15) for success.
      Evil-based spells require a Spellcraft check (DC 15) for success.
      Law-based spells require a Spellcraft check (DC 15) for success.
      Chaos-based spells require a Spellcraft check (DC 15) for success.
      Two are required if a spell belongs in two categories (i.e., summoning a Lawful Good celestial).

    The Fourth Edition may someday have an astral realm for those who the truly "unaligned". Perhaps visitors would get bonuses or penalties to intelligence, wisdom, and charisma-based skill checks depending on how much their behavior has been in keeping with the ideals (or lack thereof) of the locals.

    In keeping with the flexibility of the third and fourth editions and the backgrounds of many players, perhaps the Outlands are essentially a world where like-minded spirits meet. It looks and works like our own world, except that there is no talk of moral or ethical principles. NPC attitudes are typically "indifferent", but any talk about morals or ethics will usually get an unfriendly reaction. The rilmani of the Outlands are a non-human (or formerly human) race devoted to promoting the community's ideals among the living by encouragement and subtlety, rather than by force. Perhaps their mission is to be certain that every being will always be able to choose whether to be kind to others or to hurt others for its own sake, and whether to be a cop or a robber, or to remain indifferent. The dead find communities matching their own ideals and interests, and continue to live much as they did on earth, though no longer able to visit the Prime Plane. Instead of the "gods" of polytheism, each living True Neutral divine spellcaster is sponsored (and monitored) by a prayer fellowship with similar interests based on the Outlands. For the fourth edition, I suggest no penalties for divine spellcasters from elsewhere. For earlier editions, I respectfully suggest that the only penalty for such a cleric on a differently-aligned outer plane is the loss of one spell of the highest available level for each plane removed, with the Outlands two planes from Mechanus, Elysium, Limbo, and the Gray Waste. When one level is depleted, spells of the next highest level are lost. Thus a cleric sponsored from the Outlands would lose two spells on Elysium, Limbo, Mechanus, or the Gray Waste, three spells on Bytopia, the Beastlands, Ysgard, Pandemonium, Carceri, Gehenna, Acheron, and Arcadia, and four spells on Mt. Celestia, Arborea, the Abyss, and Baator.

    In our world, people may not always display strong moral or ethical principles. But a world where the people do not talk about deep moral questions or profess motvations beyond concern for self and family would be different from ours -- just like every rules-intensive world ever visited by adventurers.

Referees might not want players to realize that they have entered the Outlands. Depending on the site of arrival, visitors might simply recognize a community of ordinary people. The only sign that this is not our own world could be the community's indifference to talk about morals or ethics. The local clergy will probably explain that this indifference is very spiritual.

No matter what your alignment, please respect TSR's copyrights.

What It Means

The key to understanding the Outlands is the fact that the "Free League" philosophic sect, which rejects ideology and determinism, has its headquarters here. Talk about "balancing good and evil, law and chaos" as much as you like. The truth is that people do not naturally incline either to unselfish kindness (good), gratuitous cruelty (evil), or disinterested reflection on what things mean or don't mean. Most people -- like most other living things -- are concerned with survival, reasonable comfort and security, and ensuring the same for their families. The locals will remind adventuring parties of this truth of human nature, and try to persuade them that the Outlands are their true spiritual home.

True Neutral! When I was a freshman at Brown, everybody on financial aid was offered an advantageous deal from the Feds. The only condition was that we sign an agreement that we'd serve in the armed forces without any reservation. At the time, I was worshipping with the Society of Friends, and was considering conscientious objector status, available as a combat medic rather than a combatant. Although this was the Vietnam War era, I was the only student at liberal Brown who refused to sign. I told somebody who was very special to me at the time about what I'd done, thinking she'd be proud. She simply said, "Ed, this is 1970. No one acts from conscience any more." The relationship ended quickly as a result, but I still say I made the right choice.

It's been said that dwellers on the Outlands will try to balance any act of kindness with an act of cruelty, and any act promoting organization with one promoting anarchy. Perhaps the truth is that acting from principles is as uncommon on the Outlands as it is in our own world.

Sites on the Outlands

"Semuanya's bog" is the home of the old lizard-folk "god" of a classic AD&D hardback. The lizard-god's ideology was eat, survive, and ensure the safety of your young, shunning other races holding to other creeds. Lizard-men appear often enough in science fiction, as humanoids tending to simplicity and cold-bloodedness, and the first "DM's Guide" warned about using them as troops, since they tend to eat the slain on both sides. The lizard as emblem of a simple philosophy based on simple biology is mirrored in the expression "lounge lizard", interpretations of dinosaurs, and the new screen incarnation of Godzilla.

Snakes -- legless, cold-blooded, and without visible evidence of emotion -- evoke ideas of an alien intelligence. That snakes are deep, amoral thinkers goes back to the ancient world, including the beginning of the Bible ("Now the serpent was the subtlest beast...") and the New Testament injunction "Be wise as snakes and innocent as pigeons." Gnostic Christians taught that the serpent nous brought secret wisdom to the enlightened soul. When the framers of the AD&D game conceived a single goddess of all the variably-aligned naga serpent-people, placing her on Concordant Opposition was a happy move.

The ancient druids, like most faiths of the simplest societies, understandably focused on nature rather than cosmic speculation. The land of youth ("Tir Na Og", the Irish fairyland) got a mention in the movie "Titanic".

The deep thinkers of the Outlands gather knowledge for its own sake. Thoth is the court reporter in the Egyptian "Book of the Dead", and was transformed by the framers of AD&D into the cosmic scholar, preserving knowledge and understanding. The beholder and mind-flayer faiths were based on Concordant Opposition, since both emphasize gathering of knowledge despite the lawful-evil tendencies of these races.

    Thoth doing what comes naturally:

      Thoth -- scholar and moralist
      Plato's Phaedrus -- in which Socrates tells how Thoth invented writing, only to be told that this new technology would erode the national character
      "The Great Library" is a piece of excellent fan fiction about the pursuit of knowledge without the desire to use it in the service of others. The link is now down.

In our world, some "spiritual movements" make no moral or ethical demands whatsoever. Caring about how one's life affects others is replaced by the quest for "balance", "harmony", "wholeness", "well-roundedness", "achievement", "fulfillment", and so forth. These people may promote a right-wing agenda ("name it and claim it"; "prosperity thinking", lots more) or a left-wing agenda (typically neo-animism or pseudoscientific environmentalism). You have probably seen instances in which this takes the place of common sense and common kindness. You have many examples for true-neutral clerics in your own community. (There are plenty of chaotic-neutral and lawful-neutral clerics, too.)

Two Model True-Neutral Ministries
The Temple of Delight

    ... in the very Temple of Delight, veiled Melancholy has her sovereign shrine! -- Keats

The Temple of Delight aims to enjoy life and to help others to do the same. Their temples house facilities for exercise, wholesome recreation, and healthy lifestyles. Here you can find groups to help you overcome bad habits, and learn interpersonal skills. You'll find no intense ideological discussions -- merely what you need to have a reasonable chance to find and keep ordinary, secular happiness. The clerics are operating a business, not a philanthropic organization, but they'll take time to instruct you in their philosophy -- that you can probably achieve health and happiness if you try.

When they preach, clerics of "The Temple of Delight" emphasize hard work and moderation in all things. They will point out a person's bad habits that interfere with his or her fulfillment, but will always do it in a nice way. They require a charisma of 12 or greater. They try very hard to be pleasant with everyone. They have the same chance as a bard of equal level to influence the reactions of others. They tend to choose non-weapon proficiencies that make others happy, such as music, public speaking, or making beautiful things. Their spells focus on enchantments and charms. Clergy with Elvish blood often are cleric-enchanters. "Delight", a first-level spell, produces some delightful thing -- a puppy dog, a big chocolate chip cookie, a bouquet of flowers, a music box, a songbird, a beautiful parrot, a round of soft drinks, or whatever. Each cleric of this sect has his or her trademark. Their "Nonholy Word" causes all opponents to save vs. wisdom or be charmed to the cleric for 1 round/level+4.

These clerics are usually True Neutral, though some are Neutral Good. Many Planar members join the Sensates, and all planar members of the sect dislike the Bleakers, Doomguard, and Dust Folk. For AD&D2, these clerics have no power over the undead.

First Level Spell Options: Charm Person, Command, Create Water, Cure Light Wound (1d8), Delight, Detect Magic, Emotion Read (one subject, one instant) ("Tome of Magic"), Endure Cold, Endure Heat, Friends, Light, Purify Food and Drink, Remove Charm, Remove Fear, Sanctuary

Second level Spell Options: Detect Charm, Draw Upon Non-Holy Might ("Tome of Magic") (increase own Charisma 1 full point/3 levels, round up, duration here is one hour), Hypnotic Pattern, Resist Cold, Resist Fire, Silence 15' Radius, Slow Poison

Third level Spell Options: Bestow Curse (charisma=1), Continual Light, Create Food and Water, Cure Blindness or Deafness, Cure Disease, Dispel Magic, Glyph of Warding, Negative Plane Protection, Protection from Cold, Protection from Fire, Remove Curse, Remove Paralysis, Suggestion

Fourth level Spell Options: Charm Monster, Cure Feeblemind, Cure Insanity, Emotion -- Friendliness, Emotion -- Happiness, Focus ("Tome of Magic"), Minor Creation, Neutralize Poison, Plane Adaptation (one plane), Rainbow Pattern, Tongues

Fifth level Spell Options: Adaptation (any environment), Atonement, Dispel Evil, False Seeing, Major Creation, Plane Shift, Quest/Reward Quest, True Seeing

Sixth level Spell Options: Charm Plants, Mass Suggestion, Speak with Monsters, Veil

Seventh level Spell Options: Astral Spell (Plane Travel), Mass Charm, Nonholy Word, Power Word -- Stun, Reincarnation (as character race), Restoration, (Symbol of) Persuasion, (Symbol of) Sleep

For the Third Edition:

    As clerics. Must be N or (rarely) NG.

    No use of good, chaos, evil or law spells. No use of spells that injure or physically disable. Domain slots fillable by any spells ordinarily available.

    Spell choices also include (First level) Charm person, Delight, Emotion read, Friends; (Second level) Hypnotic pattern, Increase charisma; (Third level) Bestow curse (charisma=1), Rainbow pattern; (Fourth level) Charm monster, Emotion -- happiness, Minor creation; (Fifth level) Major creation; (Sixth level) Charm plants, Veil; (Seventh level) Mass charm; (Eighth level) Symbol of sleep;

    Class skills also include sense motive. As a special ability, may use up a turning opportunity to add +10 to any one charisma check.

The Palace of Prosperity

The Palace of Prosperity is a ministry that focuses on helping its members become rich through legitimate business and trade. It glorifies the pursuit of wealth, without any focus on morals or ethics, but without emphasizing "promoting personal excellence at the expense of inferior beings" as evils do.

Palace of Prosperity clerics say unashamedly that "greed is good." They have the same chance as a bard of equal level to influence others whenever there is bargaining. They usually take appraising as a non-weapon proficiency.

Clerics of the sect possess a few trademark spells. "Appraise" (level 1) lets the cleric know the value of one item. For tough cases, an intelligence check may be required, with "20" a serious error. "Corrupt" (level 1) is a minor curse, delivered by touch. When used by a Palace of Prosperity minister, it renders the victim extremely greedy for 1 hour per level (saving throw applies, referee determines the effects.) "Salesmanship I" (level 1) makes a reasonable sales pitch, one selected hearer must check vs. wisdom or comply. Their "Salesmanship II" (level 4) is the same, but all hearers must check vs. wisdom or comply. Their "Nonholy Word" causes all gold, gems, and jewels in range to teleport to the spellcaster.

These clergy must remain True Neutral. Some join the Free League ("good business climate") while others prefer the Takers. In AD&D2, they have no power over the undead. These clerics are much like our own world's "prosperity / possibility thinkers", but without the latter's pretensions to Lawful Good alignment.

First level Spell Choices: Appraise, Bless, Cause Fear, Command, Comprehend Languages, Corrupt, Create Water, Cure Light Wound (1d8), Detect Magic, Emotion Read (one subject, one instant) ("Tome of Magic"), Remove Fear, Salesmanship I (pitch, 1 creature saves vs. wisdom)

Second Level Spell Choices: Augury, Charm Person or Mammal, Find Traps, Fool's Gold, Know Alignment, Silence 15' Radius, Slow Poison, Undetectable Alignment

Third Level Spell Choices: Bestow Curse (no sales resistance), Create Food and Water, Cure Blindness or Deafness, Cure Disease, Dispel Magic, Glyph of Warding, Locate Object, Remove Curse, Remove Paralysis, Suggestion

Fourth Level Spell Choices: Cure Feeblemind, Cure Insanity, Detect Lie, Divination, Emotion -- Greed, Focus ("Tome of Magic"), Free Action, Locate Creature ("Tome of Magic"), Neutralize Poison, Salesmanship II (pitch, all save vs. wisdom), Tongues, Undetectable Lie

Fifth Level Spell Choices: Atonement, Blessed Abundance ("Tome of Magic"), Commune, Major Creation, Magic Font, Plane Shift, Quest/Reward Quest, True Seeing

Sixth Level Spell Choices: Animate Object, Find the Path, Mass Suggestion, Speak with Monsters, Word of Recall

Seventh Level Spell Choices: Astral Spell (Plane Travel), Exaction, Foresight, Nonholy Word, Restoration, Spirit of Power ("Tome of Magic"), (Symbol of) Fear, (Symbol of) Hopelessness, (Symbol of) Pain, (Symbol of) Persuasion

For the Third Edition:

    As clerics. Must be N.

    No use of evil, good, chaos or law spells, or those that injure or physically disable. Domain slots fillable by any spells ordinarily available.

    Spell choices also include (First level) Appraise, Corrupt, Emotion Read, Salesmanship I; (Second level) Fool's gold; (Third level) Bestow curse (no sales resistance), Suggestion; (Fourth level) Salesmanship II; (Fifth level) Blessed abundance; (Sixth level) Mass suggestion;

    Class skills also include appraise. As a special ability, may use a turning check to gain +10 on an appraise check.

Sigil -- The Conflict of Ideas

The strange, squalid, rough, gray and polluted city of Sigil ("The Cage"), with literally millions of gateways, floats in nothingness atop the central spire of Concordant Opposition. There is no entering or leaving Sigil by any means except these gateways. "The gods" -- the universe's personality-based religions -- cannot intrude or enter the city. In Sigil, you are only a portal away from just about anywhere. Sigil has the shape of the inner surface of an automobile tire. In Sigil as elsewhere, people's philosophies give them attitudes, and help shape the multiverse. Each city service (police, courts-and-investigation, jail, tax-collection, entertainment, mental health, sports-and-health, legislature, mortuary, manufacturing, militia, chamber of commerce) is controlled by a different ideological faction. Factions without a service also have roles (anti-clericism, overthrowing the government, promoting chaos.) Most folks in Sigil are arrogant, pretentious and cynical, and they speak a nasty jargon from the British-American underclass of our own world's past. The Lady of Pain presides over the city in silent mystery, floating through the streets. Her body is encircled by whirling blades. Somehow, she keeps any ideology from forcing itself on the whole of Sigil, and bars religious faith. Probably this is why the town's thinking is dominated by philosophies of being and knowing, rather than morals and ethics. Prayers to the pagan "gods" go unanswered here. According to one account, all pains have their origin in the interaction of the invisible Lady of Pain with visitors to Sigil, who spread them to the rest of the multiverse, in which all creatures are ultimately driven and motivated by pain. The Lady of Pain is served, and the city maintained, by her labyrinth-dwelling, sexless, levitating dabus, whose silent speech appears as rebus writing. Those annoying the Lady of Pain are cut cruelly, on the spot, with her knives. Those praying to her are found flayed, with the knives perhaps erupting from within their own bodies. Those who try to talk to her are struck permanently and incurably insane. All folk whose activities threaten the security of Sigil are sent into maze-like micro-universes where they can survive indefinitely, but from which escape is nearly impossible. If the Lady of Pain were to presume to become a "god" instead of remaining above sectarianism, the other "powers" (ideologies) would invade Sigil and ultimately one of them would dominate the multiverse, which must not happen. The human experience of pain must remain more fundamental than any interpretation or ideology.

The names of the sixteen gate towns, and their gates, are:
Automata Lawful Neutral Gear, step onto it
Fortitude Lawful, Good Tendencies Green flame
Excelsior Lawful Good Staircase (remember "Stairway to Heaven?")
Tradegate Good, Lawful Tendencies Bariaur trader; talk with him
Ecstasy Neutral Good Plinthtop mercury pool
Faunel Good, Chaotic Tendencies Pool and statue
Sylvania Chaotic Good Get lost in the woods
Glorium Chaotic, Good Tendencies 1. Cave 2. Watergate
Xaos Chaotic Neutral Changes, you can tell
Bedlam Chaotic, Evil Tendencies Obsidian tower
Plague-Mort Chaotic Evil Castle archway
Curst Evil, Chaotic Tendencies Razorvine arch, red glow
Hopeless Neutral Evil Black slime pool
Torch Evil, Lawful Tendencies Red sphere in sky
Ribcage Lawful Evil Red flame in palace
Rigus Lawful, Evil Tendencies Underground bone arch

Travel via the Gate Towns

Lawful Neutral

Lawful, Good Tendencies

Lawful Good

Good, Lawful Tendencies

Neutral Good

Good, Chaotic Tendencies

Chaotic Good

Chaotic, Good Tendencies

Chaotic Neutral

Chaotic, Evil Tendencies

Chaotic Evil

Evil, Chaotic Tendencies

Neutral Evil

Evil, Lawful Tendencies

Lawful Evil

Lawful, Evil Tendencies

A counterculture prevents each city from slipping into the adjacent plane. Automata has a seamy underground, where illegal goods and services are available. Bedlam has a castle where the folk are better organized. Curst has a few souls who hope for atonement and forgiveness. Ecstasy has a courtyard where no one can harm anyone else, and where all philosophic expressions, even very nasty ones, are encouraged. Excelsior has a thieves' guild, which supposedly only steals from non-good visitors. Faunel's gate-statue, its principal thinker, strongly prefers the neutral outlook. Glorium is a mere barbarians' camp, not inclined to philosophizing. Hopeless has a powerful, ultra-good ministry dedicated to healing. Ribcage has a cynically amoral dictator who opposes the imperialism of the lawful-evil spiritual power and has alliances with the good cities. Rigus has territorial ambitions on the Outlands. Torch's folk are too greedy for the good things found in the Outlands, and they have a pretense to democracy. Tradegate is very focused on business, and this renders the outlook more neutral. Xaos has a major modron contingent that builds things, even though they seldom remain stable. Supposedly, Fortitude and Plague-Mort could pass over soon.

The factions of Sigil each holds a different view of the multiverse, which determines its agenda.

  • The Athar hold that there is at most one God. Such a Being is beyond current understanding, but they seek this knowledge. They are contemptuous of polytheism.
  • The Believers of the Source hold that all souls strive to greater and greater glory, eventually achieving divinity. They believe in keeping the peace through goodwill, example, and persuasion. They operate the manufacturing district, and try to keep peace among the factions.
  • The Bleak Cabal hold that there is no meaning, the multiverse doesn't make sense, and isn't supposed to. They do works of charity, making life better for society's misfits. They treat the mentally ill, focusing on education: "It's not supposed to make sense."
  • The Doomguard hold that ultimately the multiverse should and will wear out. They operate Sigil's militia.
  • The Dust Folk hold that real fulfillment requires the loss of feeling in death. They operate Sigil's mortuary.
  • The Fated hold that people should work and fight to be happy. The best way not to get hurt is to be strong enough to hurt back. Fighting can't earn respect, love, or happiness. Hard work brings prosperity and respect. Kindness without weakness helps win the love of others. They operate Sigil's hall of records and tax collection.
  • The Fraternity of Order hold that we can understand the multiverse, which obeys natural laws. They care about how the multiverse works, not what it means. They operate Sigil's courts.
  • The Free League hold that nobody has a certain knowledge of eternal truth. They want a good business climate, without closing anyone's options. They operate Sigil's business and market district.
  • The Harmonium hold that all creatures could work together for their mutual benefit, in harmony and fairness. They have a strong political program and are not noted for tolerance. They are Sigil's police force.
  • The Mercykillers seek to implement justice without mercy. Showing mercy only encourages misbehavior. They operate Sigil's prison.
  • The Revolutionary League hold that those holding power are totally corrupt and oppressive. People can never learn the truth until they tear down the other factions, ideologies, and governments.
  • The Sign of One hold that the multiverse is a figment of their faction's imagination. They operate Sigil's legislature. Few laws get passed there, and nobody cares.
  • The Society of Sensation hold that sensation is the only guide to knowledge. No one will know ultimate things until he or she has experienced life in all its variety, and learned all manner of subtle distinctions. "Been there, done that." They operate Sigil's entertainment district.
  • The Transcendent Order hold that truth is found internally. The wise do not reflect, but act. When the time comes, people will know what to do. Folks should keep fit, learn about the world, be prepared. They operate Sigil's sports complex, gyms, and health center, and they are the most sought-after advisors.
  • The Xaositects hold that there is no order or pattern to anything. Chaos has a beauty and wonder of its own. Their center is Sigil's violent slum district.

    In the ongoing myth of Sigil ("Faction War"), all these factions are banished from the city. Perhaps when groups focus on politics and personalities rather than beliefs (as the yagnoloth suggests in the module), they cease to be true interpreters of human experience. Perhaps the framers of "Planescape" see this as the origin of the sects that are barred from the heart of the multiverse.



    Michael Moorcock's dark fantasies ("Elric of Melnibone" and so forth) were evidently Gary Gygax's source for the wonderful images of Law and Chaos that underlie the AD&D games. For Moorcock, the city of Tanelorn is an eternal refuge from the struggle of these two supposed cosmic principles. As such, Tanelorn is much sought-after.

    People who know Moorcock's works will not be surprised by his recollection, in the preface to "Tales of the White Wolf", that as a beginning writer, he "had little time for the likes of Tolkien and Lewis, whom I regarded as bad popular children's writers whose moral attitudes were highly questionable..." I don't know Moorcock personally, or what "moral attitudes" drive the way he actually treats other people. His major theme is that the universe is indifferent or hostile to you, that you have to do morally repulsive things to survive, and that heroes are honest about this even though they remain conflicted. This does not square with my own experience of life, and if it squares with yours, you need to decide that I am wrong. Moorcock grew fond of writing morbidly about impossible "moral dilemmas" ("Would you betray your army buddies to prevent your sister from being tortured?").

    If I've ever sought Tanelorn, it's been to trade ideological discussions in favor of common sense and common kindness. A referee might locate Tanelorn on the Outlands, perhaps within the spire rather than atop it. Tanelorn is a refuge from ideology, just as Sigil is a place where ideologies must clash without the complicating factor of organized religion. The contrast between peaceful Tanelorn and weird, violent Sigil is the contrast between Concord and Opposition.

    Tanelorn -- Wikipedia

Final Note

Unity of the Rings -- comic book art

Gamers for Christ -- news group

The Alignment Planes

The Abyss -- Chaotic Evil
Acheron -- Lawful, Evil Tendencies
Arcadia -- Chaotic Good
Arcadia -- Lawful, Good Tendencies
Baator -- Lawful Evil
The Beastlands -- Good, Chaotic Tendencies
Bytopia -- Good, Lawful Tendencies
Carceri -- Evil, Chaotic Tendencies
Elysium -- Neutral Good
Gehenna -- Evil, Lawful Tendencies
The Gray Waste -- Neutral Evil
Limbo -- Chaotic Neutral
Mechanus -- Lawful Neutral
Mount Celestia -- Lawful Good
The Outlands -- True Neutral
Pandemonium -- Chaotic, Evil Tendencies
Ysgard -- Chaotic, Good Tendencies
The Inner Planes
What "Planescape" could be
AD&D and the Religious Right
Li Po's Hermitage (character generators, more)

Ed's character generators:


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Ed says, "This world would be a sorry place if people like me who call ourselves Christians didn't try to act as good as other good people ."