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"Instinct is a truer guide than contemplation."
— An instructor of the Transcendent Order

The Transcendent Order is a planar faction based in the City of Sigil. Their philosophy is that each individual is part of the multiverse, and therefore intuitively knows the right action to take at the right time. Members of the Order are nicknamed Ciphers.[1]



The Transcendent Order believe that each individual is intuitively aware of their place in the cosmos, and instinctively knows the right thing to do at the right time. Conscious thought overrules this, and only interferes with their ability to act correctly. The Ciphers train to unify body and mind in order that the individual can live as their authentic self.

Members must learn to act unhesitantly and commit to their actions.



Membership requirements[]

The Ciphers accept anyone of neutral alignment. People of all races and cultures are welcome. There are many tieflings among their number.

Simply asking to join is often enough to gain entry. The Ciphers are impressed with those who take the action to join; merely planning to join shows that one has not yet grasped the order's philosophy.


The Transcendent Order has no strict hierarchy. Members give respect to those more successful.[2]

Members who train to exploit their intuitive connection to the multiverse are known as cipher adepts.[3]

The Order recognizes those accomplished in the to have attained the rank of Master. This is divided into three tiers: the Master of the Heart, who has learned to enter a state of pure action known as "action trance"; the Master of the Mind, whose mind and body have become one; and Master of the Spirit, a rank held only by the faction leader, and which represents a being who has found their true place in the multiverse. Members who exceed this level are said to transcend mortal limits, whereupon a new leader is chosen.

Notable members[]

  • Ronassic of Sigil, sage who attained the guild rank of Master of Heart
  • Factol Rhys, de facto leader of the Order



The Transcendent Order tend not to seek out enemies or allies, believing instead in individual truth. However, individual members will often join a group on a quest.


Ciphers tend not to seek out enemies or allies, believing in individual truth. The Harmonium is suspicious of them, and most other planar factions are neutral toward them.


The Order makes their headquarters at the Great Gymnasium in the City of Sigil. It is a grand complex of baths and exercise fields where people can forget their conscious worries. Members of the Order are the only beings permitted spells or weapons within the headquarters.

They also form an ad-hoc headquarters on the harmonious plane of Elysium, where they establish individual huts. The Ciphers believe that Elysium is a plane of goodness without conscious thought.



The Transcendent Order was established centuries ago. However, the in-the-moment philosophy of the Order preludes keeping detailed history.[4]

Recent history[]

Publication history[]

AD&D 2nd edition[]

The Transcendent Order first appeared in the Planescape Campaign Setting (1994). They appeared in further Planescape sourcebooks, including Uncaged: Faces of Sigil (1996), The Planewalker's Handbook (1996), Something Wild (1996), Hellbound: The Blood War (1996), The Factol's Manifesto (1995), Harbinger House (1995), and In the Cage: A Guide to Sigil (1995).

D&D 3rd edition[]

The Transcendent Order are detailed in the Planar Handbook (2004), p.58-60. The cipher adept prestige class represents a member of this guild.

Creative origins[]

The word "cipher" derives from the Arabic "sifr", meaning "empty" or "zero". In east Asia, adherents to Zen buddhism likewise believed in the virtue of emptiness of conscious thought. The concept of unifying body and mind appears in various east Asian martial arts.

According to the Planescape Campaign Setting (1994), the Transcendent Order are known as "ciphers" because "most folks don't know what they're talking about".


  1. Planescape Campaign Setting, Player's Book (1994), p.29.
  2. The Factol's Manifesto (1995), p.148.
  3. Planar Handbook (2004), p.58-60.
  4. The Factol's Manifesto (1995), p.144.