The Sigilian Calendar
My new D&D 5e game is a Planescape campaign, and I’ve decided to set quite a lot of it in Sigil. Weirdly, none of the official material includes a Sigilian calendar, so I thought I’d take a crack at making my own. The way I figure it, there’s no way the Fraternity of Order hasn’t found a way to mark the passing of days and months. I also figure a significant portion of Sigil’s population has no use of any sort of calendar, and just ignores it. In any case, here’s what I’ve come up with.
A messy example of the calendar can be seen here.
Days of the Week
Just like here on Earth, there are seven days in a week. They’re named after the various wards of Sigil. At one time in Sigil’s history each day had a particular meaning or purpose, but now they all mostly blur together. Some traditionalists grumble about that.
Lady’s Day – A day of rest for Sigil’s government, the Court is closed on Lady’s Day. Many Guvner-owned places of business all over town are dark as well. Prison operations used to be suspended on Lady’s Day as well, but since the current Mercykillers factol took charge, they’re open for “business” 24/7. Superstitious folks are extra careful not to raise the Lady of Pain’s ire on this day.
Low Day – The second day of the week used to be reserved for special projects at the Foundry and other forges scattered throughout Sigil. In fact, there used to be a city ordinance (the Sigilian Smog Reduction Initiative) that limited smoke-producing works to three days each week, beginning with Low Day. The unpopular legislation was nixed once it started to adversely affect Sigil’s economy.
Clerk’s Day – Traditionally, Clerk’s Day was the one day a week where attendance was mandatory for all employees of Sigil’s beaurocracy, in an effort to ensure one day each week where taxation paperwork, licenses, records requests and the like were more expedient. This only resulted in said beaurocrats finding any number of loopholes, however, and now the rule is only loosely enforced.
Guild Day – The middle day of the week is traditionally a good time for the movers and shakers in Sigil’s various guilds and businesses to hold meetings and make all sorts of deals. Agreeing to meet to discuss and finalize a business deal on Guild Day is considered a sign of respect. Offering to meet on any other day might be met with suspicion or disdain by old cutters who remember the way things used to be done.
Hive Day – Every few cycles some berk gets it into his head to single out Hive Day for some kind of long form civil works project; cleaning up The Ditch, rounding up the more seedy Collectors, mobilizing Sigil’s upper crust to volunteer work for the downtrodden, that sort of thing. Even the legally-sanctioned attempts die pretty quick, as their organizers drive themselves barmy trying to impose any sort of order on The Hive.
Market Day – There’re a half million rules and restrictions and quirks of law about who can sell what in the Great Bazaar, and on paper lots of these rules are relaxed each Market Day. In practice, it’s rare for anyone to follow or enforce any of these, unless the Hardheads really have it in for one particular merchant. Lots of informal Indep gatherings do tend to happen on Market Day, though.
Ring Day – The last day of the week symbolizes Sigil as a singular unity, rather than any single ward. It’s the closest thing to a weekend the City of Doors has. Many of the city’s temples recognize Ring Day as a day of worship. Lots of galas and parties happen on Ring Day amongst Sigil’s upper classes, considering most of those bashers have the following day off work.
Eons ago it was theorized that the Astral Plane “cycled” across each of the planes it touched, and that this connection moved once per Sigilian cycle. Seventeen days, one for each of the Outer Planes, then one for the Prime Material. Every nineteenth day the Astral’s connection was strongest in Sigil itself, and so those days were declared Astral Days. Of course, the whole business with cycling Astral connections are pure screed, but the tradition stuck.
Every nineteenth day in Sigil is an Astral Day, and these days don’t belong to any week or month. This creates cases where, for example, Lady’s Day doesn’t directly follow Ring Day. Those weeks tend to be particularly raucous. This means that just about every third week has eight days instead of seven. Some folks like to think of the collection of Astral Days as a short month whose days are spread throughout the year instead of coming all together at once.
The official faction of the Astral Days is the Athar. The faction tends to increase its proselytize a big more during Astral Days, and many cagers consider it taboo to worship their powers or enter a temple on these days.
The last day of the year is Dabusdan, and is considered to be separate from any month, although it still falls on a day of the week. It’s the one day a year the dabus do no work in Sigil. In fact, it’s very rare to see one out and about on this day. Since it occurs so regularly (once every 368 days), it’s a good way to mark the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next.
Halfway through each cycle, the calendar is interrupted for two weeks connected with the Inner Planes. Each week includes one day for an Energy Plane, one day for each of the four Elemental Planes, and two days for the Ethereal. These two weeks prove exceptionally busy for the Bazaar, as merchant princes from the Inner Planes come flooding in with their exotic goods.
The first week (known formally as Ethil Rué Fulaan) begins with a day called Life, marking the Positive Energy Plane. The second week (Ethil Rué Rufaan) begins with Death, marking the Negative Energy. To further confuse things, the Earth and Air days switch positions during the second week. This gives official recognition to every possible Para- and Quasi-Elemental Plane, although nobody but the Guvners particularly cares.
If an Astral Day happens to fall in between two Elemental Days (which only occurs once every few years) an offshoot of the Sensates takes it as a sign and puts on a marvelous celebration of the Para-Elemental Plane that results from the combination. This can be fun when it’s Ice’s turn, what with the sledding and snow cones. People are less enthusiastic about Magma, Smoke or Ooze’s celebration, though.
Death, the first day of Ethil Rué Rufaan, is the official day of the Dustmen, although they don’t do anything special. The Doomguard are the official faction of Ethil Rué Rufaan in total. The Godsmen were assigned to Ethil Rué Fulaan, but they have unofficially abandoned it in favor of an entire month elsewhere.
Months of the Cycle
Each Sigilian cycle includes nine months. Four months have 36 days, four have 38, and one (the center month) has 40. The months correspond with the nine alignments, and are named for powerful members of each exemplar race of the Outer Planes. In addition, each month has an official faction. Some factions take their assignments seriously, planning city-wide events and celebrations during their time. Others could care less.
It’s thought that long ago the nine months were much more strongly connected to the outer planes they represented, and Sigil’s overall mood would gravitate in that direction. That’s not the case anymore, if in fact it ever was, but tradition still holds that each month is the best time of year for different kinds of business and actions. Others say that the personalities of those born in Sigil is determined by the month in which they’re born.
Amnizuus – Named for the Amnizu, stewards of the fifth layer of Baator, Amnizuus is also called the “Blood Month”. It has 36 days, and is considered to be a good time in Sigil to make strategic decisions regarding bargaining and warfare. The Blood War tends to spill into the streets a little more during this time, although the fiends tend to behave themselves more often than not. The Blood Month’s faction is the Mercykillers, and the moniker suits them just fine.
Quintember – Named for the Quinton, the Modron record keepers of Mechanus. 38 days long, Sigilians also know it as the “Metal Month”. It’s known to be a good time to undertake long-term planning, or to break ground on new construction projects. Not surprisingly, Quintember’s faction is the Fraternity of Order. Guvner appointments and term limits begin and expire in this month. Most years a splinter group of Guvners appeal to move Quintember to be the first month of the year, rather than the second, to more neatly correspond with the new cycle, but this motion always meets with strong opposition from even inside the faction.
Toma – Named for the hawk-headed Tome Archons of Mount Celestia, the 36 days of Toma are seen as a time for self-improvement and honing of raw physical strength. Sigilians also know it as the “Light Month”, and the three lawful factions traditionally keep their lanterns lit throughout Toma’s nights in recognition. Officially, the month of Toma belongs to the Harmonium. Patrols tend to be larger and tighter during the month, as the Hardheads take great pride in keeping things especially in line when they have the spotlight. This also means recruitment efforts are redoubled during Toma; good news for those looking to join — or infiltrate — the faction.
Ursina – Ursina has 38 days and is named for the philosophical bear-folk of the Guardinals, the Ursinals. Its connection with the plane of Elysium makes Ursina a good month for charity and good works, but also for relaxation and introspection; lots of Sigilians take their holiday during Ursina. Elysium’s connection to the River Oceanus have led Sigilians refer to Ursina as the “Water Month”. The official faction, the Ciphers, have latched onto this symbolism to better illustrate their fluid connection between thought and action.
Cuprilember – At 40 days, Cuprilember (or the “Spire Month”) is the longest month of the year. It is split in half, however, by Ethil Rué, and so is often referenced as “early Spire” or “late Spire”. It’s named for the Cuprilarchs, a subrace of the enigmatic Rilmani known for brash acts of violence in their quest to uphold some cosmic balance. Being the center month, and having no month representing their home plane, Cuprilember has been adopted by the Signers. Jokes abound that having the longest month sooths their fragile egos. In addition, having no month of their own, the Indeps have unofficially claimed Spire Month for themselves, as well. (That is, those among them who care enough about such things.)
Arcanuus – 38-day Arcanuus has an interesting history. Originally it was tied to the Grey Waste and assigned to the Bleakers, who (predictably) didn’t much care about the appointment. At the time the Fated were trying to get their home plane of Ysgard recognized in the calendar, with no success. Instead of fight an eternal losing battle, the Fated seized Arcanuus for themselves instead, and embarked on a lifelong campaign to change its dreary connotations. Named for the Arcanoloths, the month’s new identity was strongly associated with arcane study, and now is known in Sigil as the “Arcane Month”.
Marlithuus – Originally called the “Dread Month”, Marlithuus is associated with the Abyss and is named after those terrible seven-armed demons, the Marilith. Originally no faction wanted to be associated with it, but the Bleakers have been stuck here ever since the Fated grabbed Arcanuus from them. Not content with having such a horrible month in every year, the Sensates, Godsmen, Signers and a few Ciphers were able to re-cast the month’s selfishly chaotic bent into a celebration of the creative arts. Nowadays it’s known as the “Song Month”, although that doesn’t keep some barmies from filling its 36 days with violence.
Graalember – The Slaad don’t have fancy names for themselves, only colors, and there is a lot of debate amongst greybeards over whether Graalember is named for the Grey or Green variety. Most folks find the confusion caused by the name to be the perfect fit for the month associated with Limbo. Officially the month is the domain of the Xoasitects, but they don’t recognize being tied down to one particular box. Instead, the Godsmen have unofficially taken the month for themselves, indulging in the pure joy of creation made possible by the most chaotic of planes. Also known as the “Shape Month”, Graalember is 38 days long and is associated with luck and psionics.
Ghaela – The last month of the year, 36-day-long Ghaela, is named for Arborea’s Ghaele Eladrin, warriors of compassion and protectors of the innocent. Most people in Sigil, however, know it as “Wine Month” and look forward to the many end-of-cycle parties thrown by the Sensates. Ghaela is known throughout Sigil as a time of brotherhood and good cheer. Or, at least, slightly less dismal cheer.
The number of holidays and special events in Sigil is infinite, but there are a few traditional days, many of which are faction-sponsored, that make it onto just about everyone’s calendar.
New Cycle’s Dawn (Amnizuus 1) – The first day of the cycle is a popular time for parties in all of Sigil’s social classes, from the snobbish galas of the Lady’s Ward all the way down to the fervid debauchery of the Hive. A tradition amongst Sigilian children is to keep count of fiends walking the street on the first day of the Blood Month; whomever spots the most gets a special treat during the evening’s festivities.
Green Beer Day (Amnizuus 9) – An old Spinagon named Rakakkukan has lived in a tiny kip in the Lower Ward for as long as anyone can remember, and just about as long he has been Sigil’s benefactor on Green Beer Day. Every Amnizuus 9, precisely at peak, the lights go on in Rakakkukan’s kip and he begins rolling cask after cask of powerful Baatorian ale out into the street, free to anyone who brings their own cup. The old devil’s reasons for this uncharacteristic charity have never been identified, and makes a lot of folks uneasy, but the bubbers line up year after year all the same.
Wyrm’s Day (day after the first Astral Day in Amnizuus) – The only “holiday” sponsored by the Mercykillers, Wyrm’s Day is a favorite amongst Sigil’s lower classes who just want to see a bit of gore. Traditionally the Mercykillers do a bit of housekeeping in the Prison on this day, offering pardons or executions to large numbers of long-time prisoners. As of late there have been far more of the latter, making for particularly grisly and memorable Wyrm’s Days.
Hashkar’s Address (Quintember 1) – Every year on the first day of the Metal Month the factol of the Guvners publicly addresses the people of Sigil in a very long, very boring speech. A huge variety of topics are discussed, mostly involving the state of Sigil during the previous cycle, and plans for improvement in the upcoming cycle. The speech tends to go far longer than anyone can stand to listen, with the record stretching just past 15 straight hours of Hashkar’s droning, methodical voice.
Forum of Law and Order (Quintember 2) – In theory the Hall of Speakers is available for anyone with enough jink and an opinion to rent out, but traditionally the Signers hand this one day over to Sigil’s triumvirate of law: the Guvners, Hardheads and Mercykillers. (No doubt for a very large fee!) Nobody else gets the floor on this day, and lots of lively debate ensues about the proper application of Sigil’s laws and the enforcement and punishment thereof.
Day of Civil Judgment (last Lady’s Day of Quintember) – While the courts are usually closed on Lady’s Day, an exception is made for this holiday, where the factol of the Guvners himself sits the bench for 24 straight hours hearing grievances. The regular court schedule is wiped clean for the day, and citizens are heard on a first-come, first-serve basis, no matter how petty or delusional their cases may be. On this one day only is the factol entrusted with final authority to hand down judgments without slowly grinding through the usual channels. For many Sigilians, this is their only shot at justice in civil matters.
Toma’s Resolution (Toma 1) – The first day of Toma, a month of betterment and self-improvement, it is customary to make resolutions on how one will make oneself better throughout the remainder of the cycle. Popular resolutions include weight loss, persuing a new profession, and finally hopping a portal out of this miserable place and setting up kip elsewhere ont he planes.
Toma’s Regret (Toma 2) – An inevitable favorite throughout Sigil, Toma 2 is an unofficial, tongue-in-cheek way to celebrate all the short-lived resolutions made the day before. Usually with lots of drink.
Good King Garfareon’s Name Day (Toma 21) – Sigil’s not the type of place where a high-up’s name day is likely to get much recognition, but an exception is made for Garfareon, ruler of whatever kingdom the Harmonium originally hailed from, on whatever Prime Material world that was. While it’s an official holiday and the Hardheads take it very seriously, most everyone else celebrates by rolling their eyes and making fun of the good king’s silly name.
Deva’s Day (Toma 35-36) Towards the end of the Light Month a venue is chosen — usually in the Lady’s Ward — for a large gathering of celestials to come together on neutral ground and share the past cycle’s triumphs and experiences. Bloods from all over the Upper Planes turn up for the two-day event. The first day consists of more formal meetings, discussion of business, peaceful resolution of conflicts, what have you. That all taken care of, the second day is spent socializing and partaking of good-aligned brotherhood of all flavors.
The Grand Games (first full week of Ursina with an Astral Day) – This eight-day-long event is sponsored by the Ciphers and takes over the entire Gymnasium and much of the surrounding area. The days are filled with formal athletics competitions and games of skill, and is the most organized most folks ever see the Ciphers get. Registration is open to anyone who wishes to compete, but only those with the most brutal training regimens have a shot at a medal. Despite the Ciphers’ best efforts to combat the seedier elements of gamesmanship, the Grand Games are the most popular gambling event of the cycle.
Prime Appreciation Day (first Ring Day of Cuprilember) – An official Sigilian holiday no doubt proposed by some greybeard who was kept awake at night by the Prime Material Plane not being recognized anywhere in the city’s calendar, Prime Appreciation Day is considered a joke by the best cutters and an excuse to torment Clueless by the worst. Currently no faction sponsors any events on this day, and by the time most Primes learn the ropes well enough to realize they have a day, they don’t want to draw any attention to themselves by celebrating it.
Annointed Morning (Life) – While not an official holiday, the Hall of Records keeps a formal census of children born in Sigil before peak on Life. Having Life as one’s name day is considered especially lucky, and is a good way of making oneself stand out from the crowd. A non-faction-affiliated group called the Annointed Sisterhood congregates just after peak to announce all the births, and each family on the list receives a small gift of freshly baked bread.
Efreeti’s Court (Fire 1) – All of Ethil Rué, the Bazaar fills with exotic visitors from the Inner Planes, selling all manner of strange wares. Fire 1, however, marks the official arrival of a huge trade caravan from the City of Brass. Sale of slaves is forbidden inside Sigil, but just about everything else that can be sampled from that vast Inner Planes marketplace abounds on this day. Chant is that no small amount of souls gets whisked off to the Plane of Fire, caught up in the swirl of excitement each cycle, never to be seen again.
Ordial Day (Astral Day durin Ethil Rué) – There isn’t always an Astral Day during Ethil Rué, but those cycles where there is, a few of the more creative factions come together to celebrate the mysterious, un-visitable Ordial Plane. This theoretical place is said to connect the Outer and Inner Planes, but has never been observed by anyone who came back to tell about it. Ordial Day is a favorite day to spread conspiracy theories and play pranks.
Para Festivals (Astral Days that fall between two Elemental Days) – More rare than Ordial Day are the Para Festivals, which only occur in cycles where an Astral Day lands between two Elemental Days. Depending on which elements are observed, the Sensates put together a whole day of festivities related to the appropriate Para-Elemental Plane. An Astral Day between Fire and Air results in a Festival of Smoke, where every exotic leaf and weed in the multiverse is collected, rolled, and puffed on. Air and Water result in the Festival of Ice, where Sensate wizards turn the roads to ice and engage in sled races and epic snowball fights. Water and Earth cause the Festival of Ooze, which results in quite a lot of naked mud wrestling. Earth and Fire bring the Festival of Magma, the hardest to celebrate by far, which almost always ends with property damage and a few poor sods sorched to death.
Dead-Book Festival (Death) – The Dustmen don’t much care they only get one day a cycle where the other factions get a whole month. They care so little, in fact, they don’t even sponsor an event on their one day. Instead, the Sensates throw a one-day parade throughout the streets adjoining the Civic Festhall celebrating all the facets of death. Folks dress up like skeletons and other undead creatures, share legends and stories of the various powers related to death, and essentially make mock of everything the Dustmen stand for.
Doomguard Riots (Fire 2 – Air 2) – The Elemental Days of Ethil Rué Rufaan are particularly nasty for folks minding their own business in the Lady’s Ward. The Sinkers sponsor a massive faction-only melee outside the Armory (the second most popular gambling event of the cycle), offering every upstart in the faction a chance to prove their martial prowess. That’d be bad enough, but the more unseemly members of the faction always use the melee as an excuse to cause general mayhem throughout the Lady’s and Lower Wards. Used to be the Doomguard would keep a lid on the violence, but since the newest factol took over that hasn’t been a priority. There’s always a body count by the end of the week.
Day-Again of Foul Luck (any Astral Day that follows or precedes a like-numbered day of any month) – Day-Again usually only comes once a year, and always at a different time. Whenever two days in a row have the same number — say, the eleventh of Arcanuus immediately followed by the cycle’s eleventh Astral Day — everyone spends the day looking over their shoulder for the especially bad luck following them around. Chant is that any misfortune that comes your way on the first day is sure to happen a second time on Day-Again, and any good fortune you enjoy on the first day is a cert to be undone.
Tax Holiday (Arcanuus 18) – Of course the one and only holiday sponsored by the Fated would be about collecting taxes. While its name implies it’s a holiday from paying taxes, Tax Holiday is quite the opposite: all fees, fines, leins, bonds and overdue payments come due on this day, and the faction offers its members a cut on anything they manage to collect. Lots of doors get knocked in on Tax Holiday, and lots of berks get thumped by the Hardheads for inability to pay.
Festival of the Arts (Marlithuus 1-7) – The first week of Marlithuus was seized upon by the Sensates as a celebration of the creative energies inherent in the tides of chaos. Everything from orchestras to puppet shows are lauded in the Festhall during the week, and special consideration is given to pieces that are unique, rather than those which display actual quality.
Festival of Blood (Marlithuus 6) – Sponsored by no one in particular, but practiced nonetheless by no small number of chaotic fiends, the Festival of Blood celebrates all the monstrosities of the Blood War smack dab in the middle of the Festival of Arts. While some high-ups have taken to having mock-parties “celebrating” the Festival of Blood behind the secure walls of their manors in the Lady’s Ward, the Festival proper always leaves a gruesome wake in the Hive. A popular Sigilian joke is that the Festival of Blood is the only holiday the Lady in Pain celebrates herself, as it usually sees a few of the more malicious participants flushed down into the Mazes.
Weeping Day (Marlithuus 33) – Against all odds, one splinter group of Bleakers have actually embraced their official space in Sigil’s calendar with Weeping Day, a day to lament the grotesqueries of mortal existence. Though there is no formal planning, most everyone in Sigil manages to get an earful about poverty, or the high murder rate, or unfair application of law, or this or that injustice at some point during the day. Truly canny alehouse proprietors will capitalize on the day by offering discount swill.
Forum of Chaos (Graalember 1) – Similar to the Forum of Law and Order — and also paid for by the Guvners, Harmonium and Mercykillers — on the day of the Forum of Chaos only members of the Xaositects, Doomguard and Bleak Cabal have the floor. Most see the sponsorship as a cynical PR move; the lawful factions get to claim moral high ground over their enemies by making a cursory attempt to let them have their say. Turnout is generally mixed, and some cycles the Hall of Speakers sits empty all day. Other cycles the Hall is filled with swirling, beautiful nonsense. Many Sigilians fondly remember the year 106 Chaosmen all lined up and each delivered the exact same 8-minute speech about the abhorrent state of rodent meat available in the Hive.
Ysgardian Revelry (first full week with an Astral Day in Graalember) – The plane of Ysgard is no slouch when it comes to drink and debauchery, but the plane has no official recognition in Sigil’s calendar. That didn’t stop a few Ysgardian powers from organizing its denizens to come to Sigil and throw a week-long party, though. To many Sigilians, the Ysgardian Revelry begins a two-month-long holiday season, with the planes of Ysgard and Arborea competing with endless supplies of food and drink. The Ysgardian Revelry tends to be a bit more violent than the Hardheads would like, and a few of them get thumped each cycle when trying to break things up.
Tourney of Chaos (Graalember 11-15) – The Godsmen sponsor various shows and competitions for craftsmanship every year, but the biggest annual event is the Tourney of Chaos, in which a portal to Limbo is opened and entrants from both sides of the door demonstrate their skill with chaos shaping. Githzerai allies on the Limbo side guarantee safety from the dangers of the plane, so the people of Sigil get to see strange and wonderful things from literally beyond their imagination.
Day of Zerthinon (Graalember 31) – A somber day of reflection for the githzerai citizens of Sigil, to remember their liberation from their illithid captors and to contemplate their hated foes, the githyanki. The day means something a little different for each individual githzerai, but informal gatherings tend to pop up all over Sigil, some of which are observed with curiosity by those on the outside.
Bariaurmat (Graalember 38 – Ghaela 1) – This two-day celebration seems to exist only because the bariaur want it to. While most folks can’t participate in the many frequent bouts of head-butting, the vast quantities of drink that spill in from Ysgard and the Outlands during this time is more than welcome. One favorite activity of Bariaurmat is for a bariaur to make a public wager with some humanoid berk, who climbs aboard the bariaur’s back and tries to stay on while the bariaur kicks and thrashes about. Other cutters bet on what sort of injuries are sustained, instaed.
Grand Arborean Festival (Ghaela 1-7) – To many Sigilians, and certainly all Sensates, this is THE Festival of the year. When folks ask each other what they’re doing for Festival, or Fest, they’re inevitably talking about this weeklong celebration of all the finest, most indulgent food, drink, song and sex to come from the plane of Arborea. Especially hedonistic cutters have been known to bankrupt themselves during Fest, all trying to one-up each other in the quest to throw the most memorable feast imaginable.
Celebration of Dead Gods (last Astral Day of the cycle) – The only formal event sponsored by the Athar, this celebration is little more than a faction recruitment drive. Athar greybeards take careful notes throughout the cycle of powers whose grasp on their worshippers is slipping, realms that are shrinking, or clerics and paladins whose power is waning. Cycles where a new godly corpse winds up in the Astral are especially desireable. Most non-Athar participants are those berks who are just looking for any excuse to stretch out the Arborean Festival as long as possible.
Dabusdan (last day of the cycle) – The Dabus day of rest. Most Sigilians note it with trepidation, as the city’s silent caretakers are in very short supply. Depending on one’s faction and belief structure, it’s either a day to take the betterment of Sigil upon oneself, or a day to wreak havoc on the city’s infrastructure without those creepy dabus spoiling your fun. Rumor has it that nobody has ever been flayed or mazed by the Lady herself on this day, and none can recall seeing her form float about the city, either. Some really reckless berks use the day as an excuse to thumb their nose at the Lady’s laws. The Mercykillers are on sharp lookout for such foolishness.