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Friday, May 19, 2017

Planescape Scramble: The Hidden Easter Eggs of Sigil


PST:EE references the works of Franz Kafka, William Shakespeare, Li Shangyin, and more.
Planescape: Torment is a special game that goes deeper than meets the eye. One should not only look for doors to other planes, hidden dialogue lines, and secret spells that can only be taught by NPCs, but also references to the real world. Let’s have a look at a few of the easy-to-miss Easter eggs players can stumble across as the Nameless One.


Warning, Planes dwellers! These barrels are radioactive!
During your travels in Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition you may discover barrels with radioactive warning stickers on them. The images above show a couple of those barrels in the Wrecked Home and the Tenement of Thugs. These are a nod to Fallout, a game many of the original Planescape: Torment team members worked on.

There’s another Fallout Easter egg in PST:EE that wasteland wandering fans may notice - picking up or dropping the Pet Lim-Lim in the inventory screen is the same sound as in Fallout's inventory screen.

The Lord of Murder shall perish…
This one should stand out to all Baldur’s Gate players. A symbol of Bhaal marks one of the gravestones from the Coffin Maker’s Shop in the Lower Ward of Sigil.

Zombie #1041 in the Mortuary recites a poem by Li Shangyin.
Li Shangyin was a Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty, "rediscovered" in the 20th century and famous for his tantalizing "no title" poems. If the Nameless One talks to Zombie #1041 on the ground floor of the Mortuary and uses the Stories-Bones-Tell skill, we’re treated to part of a Li Shangyin’s poem which can be translated as:

It is difficult to meet as it is difficult to part,
The north wind has weakened; hundreds of flowers fade way,
When the Spring worms die, the silk shall never come again,
When the candle wax becomes ash, tears shall stop.

According to David Maldonado, a member of the original Planescape: Torment team, this “translation was a little soddy”. This is what David said once: “Apologies; the game deserved better. Still, it's not as bad as our "Slating" flub. Whoops! I still can't explain/understand that how that managed to happen - much like the Nameless One's true name, it's a Big Fancy Mystery".

This item in Planescape: Torment removes the basic human need for food and drink.
A Theory of Human Motivation by Abraham Maslow was released in 1943. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with physiological needs as the largest, most fundamental needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization and self-transcendence at the top.


A “conqueror on a distant prime material world” is Alexander the Great. Earth is D&D. It’s Planescape canon!
The Gordian Knot, a legend associated with Alexander the Great, is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem solved easily by "thinking outside the box".


The Sensory Stone reflects upon the experience of a insect which has awoken as a human once.
The story told by the Sensory Stone is a reversal of the plot in Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis". This novella, often called one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century, centers on a story of a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed (metamorphosed) into a large, monstrous insect-like creature.


Inspiration for Annah-of-the-Shadows and Fall-From-Grace?
The original team on Planescape: Torment liked many books, comics, and games. According to Chris Avellone, Annah and Fall-From-Grace were inspired by Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge from Archie comics. In the comics Veronica enjoys a very posh lifestyle but chooses to hang out with her less affluent friends. Her best friend (and sometimes arch-rival) is Betty Cooper, and the two enjoy countless activities and interests. However, they are also at constant competition for the love interest.

It’s also interesting that Annah is derived from the Hebrew name Hannah, which in turn means "Grace." Since the Nameless One can meet Fall-From-Grace during his travels, the party can include two female members literally named "Grace" and "Fall-From-Grace”.


There is no sadder story on the Planes… than that of Montague and Juliette.
There are at least two references to works by William Shakespeare in Planescape: Torment. If Dak'kon dies, Morte will utter the words: "Alas, poor Dak'kon, I knew him well”. It’s a nod to the Act V of "Hamlet" (and funnily enough, the same statement could apply to Morte himself, considering Hamlet speaks his famous words looking at the the jester Yorick's skull).

The second reference is an alternative version of Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet". Juliette is one of the many students of Fall-from-Grace working in the Brothel for Slaking Intellectual Lusts and the Nameless One can help in her relationship with Montague.

There are many more secrets and Easter eggs in Planescape: Torment. Which have you found? Let us know in the comments!

New to the planes? Find out more about Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition at planescape.com.

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