The "Voice" of the Planescape Setting is Planar Cant, aka Planescape slang, Sigil cant, or just The Cant. It “came from the extremely colorful slang of thieves, swindlers, and beggars in the 16th, 17th, and 18th century” (Sigil and Beyond, p.95).
Planar slang, like Planescape's art, gives the setting its distinctive feel. It also gives players a more immersive experience. Don't try to add too much, too fast--start with lower class residents of Sigil throwing out a few phrases and build from there until it feels natural.
The following glossary of Planescape slang draws from and summarizes content from The Player's Primer to the Outlands.
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An idiot. "Did you hear what that addle-coved wizard wanted us to do?"
Slang for member of Revolutionary League faction.
City or town.
To hang around somewhere. Between adventures, bashers “bang around the Cage.”
“Be quiet,” or "shut up.” Used as a warning.
A neutral reference to a person, usually a thug or fighter.
A fool or loser, especially one who got himself into a mess when he should have known better.
A cell, prison, or anything that compares to it.
A member of the Bleak Cabal faction.
A Bleaker who expresses meaningless of world through Beatnik-style art.
Something impossible or hopeless. "He'll hit the blinds if he tries lying to the factol."
An expert or pro in any field, from fighting to poetry. Calling someone a blood is a mark of high respect.
To cheat someone. Thieves boast they “bobbed a leatherhead on the street.”
One’s mouth. "Stop rattling your bone-box," is telling a berk to lay off the threats or bragging.
A rogue modron that has taken up residence in Sigil.
A berk's head. "Go soak your brain-box" is a common phrase, while "He banged his fool brain-box on it" means a berk finally figured something (obvious) out.
Booze, wine, or ale - usually cheap and barely drinkable.
A drunk, especially if he, she, or it has fallen on hard times.
Any town smaller than Sigil, in size or in spirit. To Sigil residents, refers to any city other than Sigil.
A common nickname for Sigil, derived from “birdcage,” or how Sigil feels when you can’t access a portal to get out.
A native or resident of Sigil.
Smart or talented.
A decent or nice residence.
News, local gossip, the facts, the moods, or anything else about what's happening. "What's the chant?" is a common way of asking the latest news.
A nickname for the Xaositects faction.
A weapon, usually something with a blade.
A nickname for the Transcendent Order faction.
Someone from a prime world, at least until they’ve spent some time in the planes. Also an adjective, e.g., “clueless berk.”
Portals on the Astral Plane that give access to the Prime Material and Outer Planes.
Victims of the cony-catchers.
Con-men, tricksters, or thieves looking for someone to peel.
The business of thieving, or anything else illegal or shady. "A cross-trading scum" is a thief who's probably angered the Mercykillers.
A generic complimentary term for a person that suggests resourcefulness or daring.
Secret information. "Here's the dark of it," is a way to start sharing a secret.
A nickname for the Dustmen faction.
To be dead. “Cross me and I’ll put you in the dead book.”
Anyone in the dead-book.
Nickname for members of the Athar faction.
Nickname for members of the Dustmen faction.
A medium-ranking member of a faction.
A high-ranking member of a faction.
The leader of a faction.
Feeding the Wyrm
Executing a prisoner. Taken from a form of execution used by the Mercykillers in Sigil, wherein they feed prisoners to a wyvern called the Wyrm.
Any sort of passage between one plane and another.
One of the sixteen towns on the Outlands that has a gate to one of the sixteen Outer Planes. Each Outer Plane has one corresponding gate-town, and the town often has the same basic appearance, outlook, and attributes as the inhabitants, architecture, and terrain of that plane.
A prime who visits the planes via astral spell. Since it involves little physical risk on the prime's part, it's considered cowardly by planars. Also called "cord babies."
Give 'em the laugh
To escape or slip through the clutches of someone. “He tried to give the Mercykillers the laugh, but ended up feeding the wyrm.”
Give the rope
What happens to condemned criminals who don't manage to give the law the laugh.
Go to the Mazes
Planar equivalent to “Go to hell,” referring to the Lady of Pain’s mazes.
A sage or scholar. This term refers to the stereotypical wizened old man but can apply to any learned intellectual.
Great Ring, Great Wheel
The Outer Planes, often depicted in maps and diagrams as a ring. This also refers to their infinite size, another allusion to the endlessness of a ring.
A series of permanent gates that connects the Outer Planes.
A potential victim of a peel, a gullible sod.
Nickname for the Fraternity of Order faction or its members.
Nickname for the Harmonium faction or its members.
Nickname for the Fated faction or its members.
A person with power, money and influence. Factols are high-ups.
Stranded. "Hipping the rube" means stranding someone by sending them through a one-way portal.
Nickname for the Free League faction or its members.
Money or coin.
A residence or place to stay. To "call kip" is to make a place a body's home, at least for a while.
Knight of the post, knight of the cross-trade
A professional thief or cheat, or a term used as an insult.
To tell or inform. See "well-lanned."
A dolt or idiot.
Nickname for the Athar faction or its members.
Nickname for the Bleak Cabal faction or its members.
The extraplanar mazes to which the Lady of Pain banishes those who threaten Sigil’s independence or insult her.
To be noted or identified as something. “That berk was marked to be a Guvner.”
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.”
Low-level faction members who subscribe to the philosophy but do not perform substantial duties for the faction. Term derived from “faction member in name only.”
To attack, cut, or strike someone, often used in threats. “I nicked him good.”
Outside of the Outer Planes.
On the Outlands (i.e, outside Sigil).
Park your ears
To eavesdrop, spy upon, or just simply listen intently. “He parked his ears in the tavern to get the latest chant.”
Means of planar travel that requires physical movement. Includes traveling via the Styx or Oceanus, the World Ash Yggdrasil, or the Infinite Staicase.
To swindle, con, or trick.
Suspicious and on one's guard.
The soul of a mortal who has died and reformed on the plane of his alignment and/or deity without memory of its former life. The chant goes that Petitioners seek to become one with their new plane.
A useful, all-purpose rude phrase. “Take a short stick and pike it.”
To anger someone. "Once he discovers he's been peeled, he's going to be really piked off."
A being not native to the prime material plane or its echoes.
A wormhole-like connection that links two layers of the same plane or two layers of two different planes.
The offspring of a planar native and a humanoid. Tieflings, aasimar, genasi, and cambions are types of plane-touched.
A term of respect for a cutter who is knowledgeable, experienced and capable of traveling to different planes.
A doorway to another plane or location. Typically requires a portal key. May be permanent or temporary, two-way or one-way.
A deity or god.
The Prime Material Plane or a being who originates from there.
A direct and powerful servant of a power.
Nickname for the Mercykiller faction or its members.
An adventure, task, or undertaking. “What’s the ride today, boss?”
A naive or clueless person, though not necessarily a prime.
Look, listen, or learn. “Scan this, berk.”
Arrested or caught.
A monotonous tirade, or someone who gives one.
Nickname for the Society of Sensation faction or its members.
Nickname for the Sign of One faction or its members.
An unfortunate or poor soul. Use it to show sympathy for an unlucky cutter or use it sarcastically for those who get into their own messes. “Sod off, you sodding sod.
A derogatory term used to stress magnitude. “A sodding leatherhead.”
Specifically a diamond, but also any gem.
An individual who lives by his wits (rather than having regular employment).
Nickname for the Athar faction or its members.
Derogatory term for a faction member, used by those who dislike the factions.
To discover, understand or figure out something. “Tumble to the dark of a problem.”
To betray somebody or use treachery. “Turn stag on me and you’ll end up in the dead book.”
To take a liking to. “The poor sod twigged to a knight of the cross trade.”
Unity of Rings
The outer planar consensus philosophy that everything forms a logical ring or circular pattern.
A passage between an environmental extreme on the Prime Material and the corresponding Elemental Plane.
Connected, in-touch, or otherwise blessed with numerous friends, allies, and informants.
To chat or talk.
The state of being bored. "This place gives me the yawn."