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Not much was known about the Lady of Pain, because few in the city ever saw her, and those who did never spoke to her, or rather, she never spoke in answer to anyone. There was never any doubt she was real, because she had been seen hovering over the streets of Sigil on many occasions. Any who tried to interact with her at such times found their skin erupting in bloody wounds when she gazed upon them. Many others who saw her vanished, teleported into the prisons of the hive, so it was not considered a good sign if she was heard to be about in the streets. Those who had seen her and lived to tell of it described her as being ensconced in sparkling blades. Eventually, she would vanish again into nothingness. Whatever she was, she was not human.
The Lady of Pain was not a deity, even if she was as powerful as one, for she had no temples and no worshipers, yet she still existed. In fact, she refused worship. Those who tried to worship her were found with their skin flayed off.
The Lady of Pain was by no means kind or compassionate, while she was not necessarily cruel either. She seemed to care about little more than maintaining the status quo of her city. She had no interest in simple squabbles among her citizens or normal crimes such as burglary or murder. She only cared for things that might upset the balance or security of the city.
The Lady of Pain was a being of intense power. So powerful was she that she could block the gods and goddesses from entrance into her city. Only servants of the deities could pass through Sigil's many portals. She could close or open these "doors" to anyone, but she usually did not bar anyone beyond the powers.
According to the great wizard Mordenkainen, the Lady of Pain had some sort of connection to the Raven Queen, another enigmatic character. It was said that only the Lady of Pain knew the Raven Queen's true intentions.
The Lady was served by a strange race of creatures called the dabus. Like the Lady of Pain, the dabus never spoke, but they could communicate her will by forming mystical images of word-pictures. The dabus never left Sigil and likely could not leave Sigil. They acted as workmen to maintain the infrastructure of the city and occasionally appeared in numbers to punish rioters.
In ancient past, it was said that an entity challenged the Lady's control over Sigil and nearly defeated her. The Lady of Pain was not able to destroy him; she could only entrap his spirit in a gem, known to history as the Labyrinth Stone, which was lost for over 10,000 years.
This was not the only time that someone dared challenge the Lady of Pain's power. Sometime in the 14th century DR by the counting of years of Faerûn, Duke Rowan Darkwood, a former leader from Vaasa titled the Protector of the North and Guardian of the Great Glacier, rose to power in the city of Sigil. Over the course of only a single year, he became the factol of the Fated faction, and only a few years after that, he even sought to challenge the rule of the Lady of Pain herself, starting the ordeal known as the Faction War. Through years of searching, his servants eventually brought to him the Labyrinth Stone, which he hoped to use as a weapon against the Lady of Pain by releasing her ancient foe.
Naturally, the Lady of Pain intervened to stop the war, sending most of the factols into her mystical mazes, including Rowan. Rowan had planned for this, and with the use of a wish spell succeeded in exiting the Lady's labyrinth. Only, she outwitted him yet again. Her magics were so powerful that he exited the maze into a time some 500 years in the past with no way to return to the future.
Over the next half-millennium, his lifespan extended by magic, Rowan, now renamed Gifad, was imprisoned and driven insane, yet still with enough intelligence to await for when he might be able to meet the "younger version" of himself and attempt his plot a second time.
Rumors & Legends
The Guvners, members of the Fraternity of Order, believed that the Lady of Pain created the city of Sigil. The Ciphers, those of the Transcendent Order, suggested that the city was actually nothing but a living dream of the Lady's.
Another theory about the Lady of Pain was that she had something to do with the start of the Blood War. Others hypothesized that she was a rebel fiend herself, specifically, a tanar'ri lord. Some citizens of the gate-town of Plague-Mort on the border of the Abyss whispered that the Lady of Pain was once one of that town's Arch-Lectresses.
The face of the Lady of Pain served as the logo for the entire Planescape Campaign Setting and thus appeared on every sourcebook or accessory. Her image in the logo was intentionally removed from the Faction War sourcebook, but it appeared in the background with a bleeding eye.
- Card Games
- Blood Wars
- David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, A DM Guide to the Planes. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 978-1560768340.
- David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, Sigil and Beyond. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), p. 62. ISBN 978-1560768340.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel (July 2004). Planar Handbook. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 141–144. ISBN 0-7869-3429-8.
- David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, A Player's Guide to the Planes. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), p. 7. ISBN 978-1560768340.
- David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, Sigil and Beyond. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), p. 63. ISBN 978-1560768340.
- David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, Sigil and Beyond. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), p. 55. ISBN 978-1560768340.
- David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, A Player's Guide to the Planes. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 978-1560768340.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 60. ISBN 978-0786966240.
- Monte Cook, Ray Vallese (November 1998). Faction War. Edited by Michele Carter. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 32–37. ISBN 0786912030.
- David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, Sigil and Beyond. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-1560768340.
- David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, Sigil and Beyond. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), p. 45. ISBN 978-1560768340.