Review: Wizards of the Coast – Sigil and the Outlands (Dungeons & Dragons)

This is part 1 of a 3-part review of the Planescape boxed set – read them all here.

Sigil and the Outlands
Sigil and the Outlands is an epic fantasy supplement for Dungeons & Dragons, written by Justice Ramin Arman, Dan Dillon, and F. Wesley Schneider and published by Wizards of the Coast
By Aaron T. Huss

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Sigil and the Outlands is the setting and character book for Planescape with a strong emphasis on setting. It presents a deep delve into Sigil and the locales that comprise The Outlands including how they all connect to the multi-planar setting that truly connects all aspects of Dungeons and Dragons, at least the core products and the settings stemming from them. The character options focus on those who have made their lives amongst this multi-planar chaos or call Sigil home. The bulk of the book is the setting and what they all mean, which will be detailed herein. The setting is one of uniqueness whereas a bit of everything is mashed into one while being separated at the same time. Almost like a puzzle where each piece fits together physically but the story they represent is different from one to another. The only thing that hold them together are the blurred lines in-between them.

I’m not going to go into further detail about the character options because there isn’t much there; the focus is on the setting. Instead we’ll focus on the chapter on Sigil and the chapter on The Outlands.

Sigil and the Outlands feels like a concept similar to Ygdrassil. The Outlands connect to all the different lands and at its unreachable center is Sigil, only reachable through portals. This multiverse, known as the Great Wheel, is pinned at the center by Sigil, a place that is nowhere and visibly there at the same time. Even though you can see it across the landscape, you can never reach it through normal means. Inside Sigil is what feels like a metropolis rolled into a sphere. Multiple districts with distinct look and feel are arrayed across Sigil, creating a mish mash of opportunities and conflicts. A land built for adventure! Due to its draw for many different reasons, it is also a place filled with a plethora of cultures, enhancing the opportunity for action, adventure, and intrigue. It is a setting begging to throw your PCs into the mix! The book is filled with source material on Sigil with a delve into those who control Sigil, life there, the portals, a deep delve into the various factions of Sigil, and the main wards. Each main ward is described along with the factions you’ll find there, and all important locales. Maps are sometimes included along with potential NPCs.

The Outlands are where the multiverse magic takes place (not literally). Each location has an alignment with another planar location, representing one of any number of setting flavors with an endless number of combinations. But if that locale gets too aligned, it is whisked away into that planar location and replaced by a new locale. These locales are called the Gate-Towns and are “bordered” by a realm they align with. Stretching across The Outlands are many Gate-Towns with many different realms to be aligned to. Each one is described with important locations, adventure hooks, primary citizens, rulers, and the gate used to get to and from. 16 Gate-Towns are included and each one is unique, much like what you would expect from a multiverse where no two realms need to be exactly alike.

Keep in mind this is only the first of three books delving into Planescape, but it sure is a fun setting! There are an endless number of possibilities in terms of gameplay and setting style, allowing you to break free form the confines of traditional fantasy and mix in any colorful texture imaginable! Throw in the ability to play urban fantasy games in Sigil, a city large enough that you’d never need to leave for to keep your game exciting, and you have a tremendous amount of replayability! From a setting utility standpoint, this is probably one of its best values that will draw people in. Also, it gives you a reason to connect all those wild settings you enjoy without breaking canon!

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