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So like, those two crazy guys in the comic didn't explain ANYTHING! What the blazes IS Planescape?
Ok, ok, fine. I must level with everyone. This story is loosely based upon an RPG adventure I played in with some friends a while back. I was one of the players and we didn't actually reach the end of the campaign, so I'm doing a hefty bit of filling-in to make this story coherent. For a good chunk of the earlier episodes, I never had much access to even a campaign setting book, so a lot is based on my understanding of Planescape in AD&D 2nd Edition (with some liberties!). If any of you readers are dyed-in-the-wool fanatics on this setting and you know I'm horribly butchering it, well, feel free to tell me on the forum. But this whole thing is for fun, so enjoy. Of course, now that I've purchased a Campaign Setting boxed set off E-Bay, a lot of things will be more accurate!

Oh, right. What is Planescape? Planescape is an AD&D (and now D&D 3rd Ed) campaign setting. It's basically a huge place called the Multiverse upon which all the demons, angels, gods, and other things roam. The Planes featured in this story include:
Sigil, the city of doors. This is the main city for the whole place, filled with every kind of thing you could expect, except for gods, who are kept out by the Lady of Pain, who runs the place. It rests just about in the middle of all the Outer Planes on a big Spire that can't be climbed. Thus, the city can only be reached via a portal. Sigil is really important because portals extend from random places in the city to everywhere else in the Multiverse. At least they do sometimes.
Image copyright of TSR/Wizards of the Coast, from Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd 
Edition Revised Dungeon Master's Guide, page 179 The Outlands. This is the big area that sits at the base of the Spire. It connects all the Outer Planes, which rest on the edge of a sort of ring. The farther you get from the Spire, the more the Outlands looks like the Plane it is closest to. Unlike most of the Planes, it is possible to walk from one end of the Outlands to the other.
The Inner Planes. These seldom-visited planes form the bedrock of all existence, for they are the elemental planes, primarily fire, water, earth, and air. Also present are the energy planes, positive and negative. Other planes form where these planes touch, creating such dismal places as sludge and magma. Most of these planes are inhospitable to normal folk. They are joined to the Prime Material Plane by the Ethereal Plane.
The Outer Planes. These are all those other places, including the Nine Hells, the Abyss, Mount Celestia, Bytopia, and a host of others. Basically the Outer Planes are the domains of their respective gods and some are more hospitable than others.
The Astral and Ethereal Planes. These planes join the rest together. The astral plane directly joins the Prime Material with the Outer Planes and is the method gods use to communicate with their worshippers in the universe. The ethereal plane connects the inner planes with all others, serving as a conduit for the material of the inner planes to reach its destination.
The Prime Material Plane. This is where most folks (including you dear readers) live. This is the primary plane of existence, consisting basically of a huge empty space known as the Universe filled with lots of matter. Many sections of the Universe have formed into galaxies and solar systems and, in some, life has formed on planets. The Prime Material and the Outer Planes are invisible to each other and can only be reached via portal or the Astral Plane.

(See my Theoretical Planescape Info for more on how this all might fit together.)

Ok, so here's some more info too:

Factions
Transcendent Order Also called the Ciphers, the Transcendent Order believes in action without thought. They're kind of crazy that way, but they do believe that one should take the correct action, which they somehow think will come naturally. Apparently they're big on instinct. They're also big on training and trying to get mind and body to become one or something.
The Fated Probably the most badly named faction, this group basically believes in everything but fate. They're very big on personal achievement and believe that anyone can become great... it just takes an awful lot of work. They have very little respect for anyone who can't succeed on their own, after all, it's their own fault if they're weak.
The Society of Sensation These crazy people, called Sensates, have a root belief that one should experience as many things as possible as quickly as possible. While generally not that bad an idea, members of this faction tend to live a little more dangerously than most would prefer...
The Athar Also called the Defiers, and the Lost, these guys are basically atheists. Which is kind of odd since gods routinely walk around in the Planes. Anyway, basically they think that the big dudes that fire lightning and such aren't so hot, and maybe the true gods are somewhere. Maybe.
Believers of the Source A very happy bunch (or so I interpret) these guys, also called Godsmen, figure that anyone who is worthy enough can eventually become a god. And who wouldn't dig that?!
The Bleak Cabal Goths in the multiverse. They're not happy about anything, because they don't think there's any point. They're also called Bleakers, the Cabal, and Madmen. All with good reason.
The Doomguard The Ian Malcom's of the multiverse, these guys are obsessed with chaos. They like to blow things up... well, as long as they don't go too far or something. Incidentally, if you've ever played Baldur's Gate II, that blue-haired actor guy, Haer-Dalis, was a Doomguard.
The Dustmen Also called the Dead! Because they think they are. They figure things are so awful, they must be dead. Gee, sure are a lot of pessimists in the multiverse, eh?
The Fraternity of Order These guys are like the opposite of the Doomguard. They like laws. Lots of them. If you're doing something, there should be a law saying you can't. They're also called guvners. Cause they like to, y'know, guvern. I mean govern.
The Harmonium If you've ever seen that "Landrieu" episode of Star Trek, then you know what these guys are about. Rules, regulations, and red-tape. They're big-time guard/enforcer/bully types who want you to do what they say. That's probably why they're also called Hardheads. Incidentally, they tend to be big and beefy so they can beat you up better, which is probably why they run all the prisons and such in Sigil.
The MercyKillers These guys are rather funny... if you like being executed for picking up a gold piece on the street. Seriously, Harmonium does enforcing, but these guys take it just a tad more seriously. In terms of working as a tag team of sorts, Harmonium bring in the criminals and the MercyKillers execute them. Any guesses why they're called the Red Death, too?
The Revolutionary League Speaking of new administrations... the Anarchists don't like government. Like at all. Which isn't surprising if you live in Sigil, but still... things can go a little too far. Like these guys.
The Sign of One Totally delusional crazy people. Okay, okay... they basically figure everything is being imagined, as in, it's not really real. Can we say 1984 and O'Brien? Go punch one of these guys for me.
Xaositects These guys are ALSO obsessed with chaos. Sheesh. However, they get to be called Chaosmen, so maybe they have some kind of trademark.
The Outsiders Everybody calls these guys the Clueless, because they don't really know anything about the Multiverse. That's because they're from the Planes. In actuality, this isn't technically a faction, either.

Random Stuff!
The Lady of Pain is the ruler of Sigil, to sum up. Most folks don't like her much because she generally eviscerates people who get in her way and sends those who annoy her to the Mazes. One way to annoy her is to say her name out loud. How she figures out you did that is rather unknown, but it's not such a good idea to test it.
The Mazes exist in some manner of pocket dimension. They're not a happy place. Generally speaking, people who get sent there don't come back. Supposedly, every maze does have an exit, but you're not going to find it, because it keeps moving around. This is the Lady of Pain's idea of a joke.
The Law of Threes you can see this thing toted about the Planescape books and various other sites as some kind of overreaching super wisdom thing, but it's basically just a funky theory a lot of people on the Planes have that everything (EVERYTHING) comes in Threes. Well, there seem to be FIVE good guys in the comic, so... (anyway, this might crop up eventually anyway, since it is widely regarded in the Multiverse)

The Cant
No, not a spelling error. These are words and phrases used in the Planes (and in the comic). (I didn't write these definitions, by the way, and I don't know who did. Sorry! It was probably TSR, though)
Adde-cove A not-particulary friendly way to call someone an idiot, as in, "Did you hear what that addle-coved wizard wanted us to do?"
Bar that An almost-polite way to say "shut up" or "don't talk about that." It's quick and to the point and it can be used as a warning: "Bar that, Jannos, there's Dustmen over there."
Basher A neutral reference to a person, usually a thug or fighter.
Berk A fool, especially one who got himself into the mess when he should have known better.
Blinds The dead-ends of the Mazes, it also means anything impossible or hopeless, as in, "He'll hit the blinds if he tries lying to the factol."
Blood Anyone who's an expert, sage, or a professional at his work. A champion gladiator can be a blood, just like a practiced sorcerer. Calling someone a blood is a mark of high respect.
Bob The business of cheating someone, whether it's of their cash, honor, or trust. A good guide to Sigil will warn a cutter when someone's bobbing him. Thieves boast that they "bobbed some leatherhead on the street."
Bone-box The mouth, named because of its teetch, fangs, or whatever. "Stop rattling your bone-box" is telling a berk to lay off the threats or bragging.
Bub Booz, wine, or ale that's usually cheap and barely drinkable.
Bubber A drunk, espcecially if he, she, or it has fallen on hard times. Bubbers don't get any sympathy from most folks in Sigil.
Burg Any town smaller than Sigil, either in size or spirit - at least that's how folks from Sigil see it. Other bodies don't always agree.
Cage, the This is a common nickname for Sigil, used by locals. It comes from Birdcage (see above), so it's a pretty harsh judgement on the place.
Case The house or place where a cutter lives.
Clueless, the The folks who just don't get it, usually primes. Use this on a planar and it's likely there'll be a fight.
Chant, the An expression that means news, local gossip, the facts, the moods, or anything else about what's happening. "What's the chant?" is a way of asking what's the latest information a basher's heard.
Cross-trade The business of thieving, or anything else illegal or shady. "A cross-trading scum" is a thief who's probably angered the MercyKillers.
Cutter A term that refers to anybody, male or female, that a person wants. It does suggest a certain amount of resourcefulness or daring, and so it's a lot better than calling somebody a berk.
Dark Anything that's secret is said to be a dark. "Here's the dark of it," is a way of saying "I've got a secret and I'll share it with you."
Garnish A bribe, as in "Give the irritating petty officer a little garnish and he'll go away."
Give 'em the laugh Escape or slip through the clutches of someone. Robbing a tanar'ri's house and not getting caught is giving him the laugh.
Give the rope What happens to condemned criminals who don't manage to give the law the laugh. Usually thieves are the only folks who use this term.
High-up man This is what everybody - man, woman, and thing - in Sigil wants to be: somebody with money and influence. Factols are automatically considered high-up men. It's bad form to call one's self this: it's a phrase others bestow.
Jink The goal of the poor: money or coins. "That's going to take a lot of jink!" for an expensive bit of garnishing.
Kip Any place a cutter can put up his feet and sleep for a night, especially cheap flophouses in the Hive or elsewhere. Landlords of good inns get upset if a fellow calls their place a kip.
Knight of the post or knight of the cross-trade A thief, cheat, and a liar - clearly not a compliment unless, of course, that's what the basher wants to be.
Leafless tree The gallows, which is where some berks wind up after they've been scragged.
Leatherhead A dolt, a dull, or thick-witted fellow. Use it to call someone an idiot.
Lost Dead. "He got lost," means he ain't coming back without a resurrection.
Mazes, the The nasty little traps the Lady of Pain creates for would-be dictators. It's also come to mean any particularly well-deserved punishment as in, "It's the Mazes for him and I can't say I'm sorry."
Music A price a cutter usually doesn't want to pay, but has to anyway. "Pay the music or you'll never find your way out of here."
Out-of-touch Like the phrase abo ve, this one's used by Sigilians to describe a body who's on the Outlands.
Peel A swindle, con, or a trick is a peel. It's often used as a verb. Peeling a tanar'ri is usually a bad idea.
Peery Suspicious and on ones' guard. What a basher should be if he thinks he's going to get peeled.
Pike it A useful, all-purpose phrase as in, "Take a short stick and pike it, bubber."
Put in the dead-book Dead. Some people have others "put in the dead-book."
Scragged Arrested or caught.
Sod An unfortunate or poor soul. Use it to show sympathy for an unlucky cutter or use it sarcastically for those who get themsevles into their own mess.
Turn Stag To betray somebody or use treachery. Saying, "he's turned stag" is about the worst thing that can be said about a cutter.

Theoretical Planescape!
What follows are some theories of Planescape that may appear in the comic, but not in any official material. Since this page has been used as a basic guide to Planescape (thanks!), I guess these could be considered to be house rules. View of the Planes, standing outside of Bytopia on the Outlands. View is towards the 
negative planes, Baator, Gehenna, the Gray Waste, and Carceri can be seen

Prime Material Planes?
It is argued by some that the Prime Material Plane should actually be the Prime Material Planes (plural), but evidence suggests that this is merely an illusion from misreading the true relationship between stars and planets. If there are other dimensional planes, they likely do not share the same outer planes, but have their own Sigil, their own Outlands, etc.

Planar Connections
As you can see, the picture above right shows the Prime Material Plane as the sky above the Outlands. However, the Outlands is not actually an outer plane*, thus justifying this view. This also shows the location of Sigil as being the center of all existence, so I like it. Also note that the blue looking sky above the visible Outer Planes is NOT the Prime Material, but rather leakage from those planes into the astral, intensifying the closer you get.

*Then again, further research shows it probably is an Outer Plane. Its borders stretch out to unknown dimensions in the Hinterlands, a bizarre area so fueled by belief that is is nearly impossible to walk around. A number of gods also make the Outlands their home. However, if indeed the Outlands is an Outer Plane, it is unique among them, being near the center of the Multiverse and generally neutral. Under this argument, the Prime Material is visible from the Outlands via the connection with Sigil.

The Makeup of the Multiverse
Since the Planes are often described as spheres within each other, some different theories crop up about how they actually link up. It is known that Sigil is the center of the Multiverse, and, since the Outlands is directly below it, then it follows that the Outlands is next in line. There things get a bit hazy. The Outer Planes are visible from the Outlands, and, theoretically, so is the Prime Material. But which is actually on the outside of the great sphere, the Outer Planes or the Prime Material? In order for things to make the most sense, I would argue that the Prime Material is the outermost layer of the sphere, and is actually the only plane that is indeed infinite.

The Astral Plane
I see the astral plane as more than just a connection between the planes, it is a shield that prevents them from leaking into each other.

Finite Matter
Under this theory, the only infinite in the Multiverse is void. That is, unoccupied, empty space. This abounds in the Prime Material, it should in the other planes as well (well, possibly. See the Makeup of the Multiverse, above). Thus, even though each of the outer planes is supposed to be infinite, the amount of liveable space is finite. Whether this applies to the inner planes (as the building blocks of all matter), is up for debate, but if the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy applies to the Multiverse the same as it does the Universe, then these planes must also be finite.


Copyright 2005-2007 by Travers Jordan

This comic parodies aspects of TSR/Wizard's of the Coasts Planescape AD&D campaign setting under the Fair Use clause of U.S. copyright law. All images are the creation of the author except where otherwise credited.

Planescape Survival Guide is hosted on Comic Genesis, a free webhosting and site automation service for webcomics.