|Ownership:||Society of Sensation|
Of all the unusual architecture in Sigil, many say there's none more commanding than the Civic Festhall, headquarters to the Society of Sensation a building of staggering grace and beauty. The magnificent structure soars more than 1,000 feet upward, its buttresses and supports leading from one pinnacle to another, making it distinctive focal point in the city's skyline. It's quite distinctive on the street level, too, as hordes of jugglers, singers, dancers, and the like. There is only one edict that has been held ever since time in memoriam: no mimes.
Ren Hall The Theaters
This theater is named in honor of a legendary prime hero of old and is the largest public theater in Sigil. Performances are staged twice a night, almost always to full houses. Productions vary: one night a githyanki play, the next a production by the Blue Lizard-man Group, the third an opera featuring the howlers of Pandemonium. The Sensates put on a lavish performance, sparing no cost in actors, settings, magic, music and sensory enhancers (such as producing odor when appropriate.)
This theater is a smaller, more intimate setting, generally used for dramatic performances and dance interpretation. Its ceiling is made of capiz shell, a thin, nearly transparent material that lets in considerable light. As such, the theater is used in the daytime for poetry and essay readings, extemporaneous speeches, and the like.
Though it's an outdoor playhouse, Northumber is the same size as the Elloweth Theater. The seats are carved of shale and limestone, all descending deep into the ground. Contests are staged here, as well as grudge matches between opponents who want an audience. Usually, three performances are held each day, though some contests of magic are held at night – for example, to better see the fireworks of the wizard duel.
Night Raven Theater
This was once the most prestigious and decadent of all of Sigil's theaters. Featuring towering gothic spires, gargoyles, baroque balconies, lush velvet curtains, and the famous crystal chandelier, Night Raven Theater only saw the most impressive talents and catered to the cities elite. That is, of course, until the opening of Deilores, the third of Algernon Swineburn's epic trilogy. On that night, both the lead actress, Ashley Hanover, and High Speaker Tiberius Pyre, were killed – the former by Lawshredder, the latter by assassin Isadora Shade. The events of that evening triggered a massive fire in the theater that killed dozens of the trapped audience. Since that time the ruined theater has remained closed and condemned. Any attempts at remodeling or reopening are said to have met with disaster.
Sensoriums are rooms within the Civic Festhall where folks can record or experience a certain even or sensation. The Festhall features a Sensate Sensorium and a Public Sensorium, the former usable only by Sensates – even a spot of garnish won't help.
The Sensate Sensorium
Thankfully, exuberant faction members were eager to share the dark of the place. Experiences to be had in the reserved expanses of the Festhall are fully detailed, overwhelming events, usually the potent recordings of other Sensates. Factol Montgomery's instituted a new policy by which many or her junior Sensates glean needed sensations via the sensoriums. She's also mandated that all Sensates in Sigil must record any new sensation they encounter so that others may benefit from their experiences. Furthering the collective experiences of the Sensates in the manner is also an important means of moving up in the ranks of the faction. Use of the sensorium costs nothing for Sensates.
This part of the building is a whole different matter. It's a crowded place, despite being open 24 hours a spin. More than 200 rooms are available on each of the 20-plus floors in this part of the Festhall. Most are individual rooms offering sensations that last from 5 to 20 minutes and cost about 10 gold pieces. A number of dual sensoriums, open to two people at a time and lasting half an hour, cost 20 gold pieces per body. A berk with a limitless budget or a party wishing to experience the same recorded event cant rent one of the deluxe sensoriums. Theses cost 100 gold pieces per user, last for four hours, and must be reserved a week in advance. Adventuring groups often record their experiences at the Public Sensorium and replay them as training sessions, particularly if a foray's been unsuccessful. Some groups even use the rooms to prepare for trips that'll take them to strange or hostile environments.
Regardless of the sensorium used, the procedure's basically the same. After requesting a specific sensation or experience, a body (or group) enters a sensorium. The client forces his thoughts while holding onto a recorder - a small, round stone made of many semiprecious minerals that contains the full force of the experience. A Sensate remains nearby to help the client concentrate. Slowly the magic encoded in the stone unfolds, and the berk – particularly a first-time user – is likely to be blown away by the experience. The room looses all reality; nothing exists for the person save the sensation that engulfs him. Some sods grow addicted to experiences without risk, but the Sensates restrict use of the sensoriums to three times per day.
While the Sensates have a tremendous collection of sensations, experiences, and events on hand, they're currently paying 500 gold pieces for anything not in their catalog. A cutter convinced he's got something to share can enter the Public Sensorium and inquire at the ticket counter. If he's lucky, he'll be escorted to a room on the second floor to make a detailed recording with an empty recorder stone. The process usually takes about an hour. though long or complex experiences take an entire day. A Sensate remains with the cutter the whole time, asking questions to gain subtle nuances and empathically enhancing the recollections.
Deep in the restricted depths of the Festhall one can come upon a cavernous domed room, built of smooth black stone. This mausoleum-like chamber is completely dark save for ghostly light spilling from a large pool at the base of a giant statue.
The statue appears to be of the Lady of Pain, her arms are held above her as if she is holding the entire weight of the Festhall above. Water streams down from her hands and arms and rides down her cheeks and cascades to a pool below. It appears the statue was designed to make look as if the Lady is crying. In the pool are hundreds of incandescent sensory stones. The crashing water causes the light to shift a flutter through out the cold room.
The Azrai have identified the statue as the Godstone of Idleness.
The Sensory Vaults
Beneath the main floor of the Civic Festhall, beneath all the applause, the laughter and the tears, lies a different part of the Sensate's house. The lower levels of the of the Festhall are restricted to only Sensates. And not just any old Sensate either. Berk's got to get the pass from Factol Erin Darkflame Montgomery herself.
No warm colors and lush tapestries down here. No gilded carpets and crystal chandeliers. Down here it's a bit . . . stark. Here they craft the sensory stones. Apparently the stones are a bit sensitive during the initial stages of creation so the Sensates like to keep details to a minimum so as not to influence them.
The Sensates would like to think that the creation of these little wonders is a trade secret. Dark has it that there are couple of other cutters that have tapped into the secret. No idea who they are, at least not yet.
Most of the vaults are made of dark stone with metal doors. They use some of these rooms to try to recover information out of sensitve or damaged stones. Others for repair and even recharging some of the stones that have been taken off premises and thus turned back into nothing more than a nice rock.
Rumor that some of Darkwood's cutter grabbed more than a handful and pulled them off the grounds just to erase them. A hit below Montgomery's fancy belt if you ask any body.
Down here they also have the deposit boxes that they lock up the rare and special stones or store those for people for years, for a price. There's a whole basement full of em. Got a ladder set up on rails to reach them because they are stacked so tall. Like a library, it is. On each of the boxes is a little Sensate faction symbol that you have to hold your pass up to unlock. Only the factol and factors have the passes to get into them. Must be something precious to get that kind of lock up.
Civic Festhall Map
- Certain Azrai have seen the Fountain for themselves. When in the presence of the statue they felt a sense of "Idleness" (or 'sloth', 'hedonism', or 'sedation').
- The Fountain is the Godstone of "Idleness" (or 'sloth', 'hedonism', or 'sedation').
- Erin Montgomery was almost the victim of Valiant in his monstrous form.