Planes Cant

The planes have their own slang, known as the cant. Words shift, change meaning, and fall out of usage faster than a berk can really learn the dark of it, but here is a list of some common words and sayings…

Addle-Cove. Idiot. “Did you hear what that addle-coved wizard wanted us to do?”

Bar That. Almost-polite way to say “shut up.” Often a warning: “Bar that, Jannos; there’s Dustmen over there.”

Barmies. Insane folks, especially those in Sigil, who’ve been “touched” by the impossible bigness of the planes. Adj, barmy.

Basher. Person viewed neutrally, usually a thug or warrior.

Berk. Fool, especially one who got himself into the mess when he should have known better.

Birdcage. Cell, or anything that compares to it. (Sigil, for instance.)

Blinds. Dead-ends of the Mazes, or anything impossible or hopeless. “He’ll hit the blinds if he tries giving the laugh to the factol.”

Blood. Anyone who’s an expert, sage, or professional at her work. A mark of high respect.

Blood War. Eternal conflict waged between the baatezu and tanar’ri; Sigil often gets caught in the middle.

Bob. Cheating someone out of cash, honor, or trust. A good guide to Sigil will warn a cutter when someone’s bobbing him.

Bone-Box. Mouth. “Stop rattling your bone-box” is telling a berk to lay off the boasting.

Bub. Booze, usually cheap and barely drinkable. A bubber is a drunk, especially one who’s fallen on hard times. Bubbers don’t get sympathy from most folks in Sigil.

Burg. Any town smaller than Sigil, either in size or spirit.

The Cage. Local name for Sigil; from the term birdcage, a pretty harsh (but common) judgment on the place.

Case. House or place where a cutter lives.

Clueless. Folks who just don’t get it, usually primes. Call a planar “clueless” and there’ll probably be a fight.

The Chant. News, local gossip, facts, moods, what’s going on. “What’s the chant?” is a way to ask what news a basher’s heard.

Coney. Poor sod who gets bobbed by a peeler; a naive person.

Cross-Trade. Thieving and other shady or illegal businesses.

Cutter. Anybody a person wants. Suggests a certain amount of daring and resourcefulness; a lot better than calling someone a berk.

Dark. Secret. “Here’s the dark of it” is a way to say “I’ve got a secret and I’ll share it with you.”

Demiplane. Finite plane; one with definite borders.

Faction. Philosophical group led by a factol. Faction agendas make for intrigue and conflict, especially in Sigil.

Factol. Leader of a faction.

Factor. High-up in a faction, intermediate authority between the factol and the factotums.

Factotum. “Full-time” faction member, anyone who considers her faction the most important thing in her life. A step up from namers.

Garnish. Bribe. “Give the petty official a little garnish and he’ll go away.”

Give ‘Em the Laugh. Escape or slip through someone’s clutches. Robbing a baatezu without getting caught is giving him the laugh.

Give the Rope. What they do to criminals who don’t give the law the laugh. Usually used by criminals only.

The Great Road or the Great Wheel. The ring of Outer Planes surrounding the Outlands, and the portals linking them together.

High-Up. What everybody in Sigil wants to be: somebody with money and influence, such as the factols. It’s bad form to call yourself a high-up; others bestow this honor upon you.

In the Dead-Book. Dead. Some people have others “put in the dead-book.”

Jink. Money. “Can’t buy a drink if you ain’t got the jink.”

Kip. Any place a cutter can put up her feet and sleep for a night, especially cheap flophouses in the Hive. Landlords of good inns get upset if a berk calls their place a kip.

Knight of the Post or Knight of the Cross-Trade. Thief, cheat, and a liar – not a compliment, unless you enjoy your bad reputation.

Kriegstanz. “Undeclared war,” term describing relations between the factions in Sigil (that is, tense and complex).

Leafless Tree. The gallows, which is where some berks wind up when they get scragged.

Leatherhead. Dolt, a dull or thick-witted fellow.

Lost. Dead. If “she got lost,” she ain’t coming home.

The Mazes. Nasty little traps the Lady of Pain creates for would-be dictators. Also, any well-deserved punishment: “It’s the Mazes for him and I can’t say I’m sorry.”

Multiverse. The whole flamin’ thing; all the infinite planes.

Music. Price a cutter doesn’t want to pay, but has to anyway. “Pay the music or you ain’t getting out of here.”

Namer. Faction member who wears the colors, but keeps clear of its plottings.

Out-of-Touch. Sigilian term for somebody outside the Outer Planes. Also, Out-of-Town, somebody in the Outlands.

Peel. Swindle, con, or trick. Peeling a demon is a bad idea; peeling a devil is nearly impossible.

Peery. Suspicious, on one’s guard. What a basher should be if he thinks he’s going to get peeled.

Pike It. All-purpose phrase. “Pike that talk.” “Take a short stick and pike it, bubber.” “Pike that!” and so on.

Planar Path. Phenomenon that travels between planes with no apparent portals or rifts. The River Oceanus, the River Styx, Mount Olympus, and Yggdrasil are examples. Though the Infinite Staircase has doors to other planes, it is often considered a planar path.

Plane. World or collection of worlds, infinite in size, which operates according to its own laws, including those governing magic and morals.

Scragged. Arrested or caught.

Sect. Like a faction, but with a more limited area of influence (usually not Sigil).

Sod. Unfortunate soul. Use it to show sympathy for an unlucky cutter, or sarcastically for some stupid berk.

Spiv. Someone who makes a living by her wits alone.

Tout. Non-faction guide to Sigil.

Turn Stag. Betray somebody or use treachery. Saying “he’s turned stag” is about the worst thing you can say about a cutter.

Planes Cant

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