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The Other Realm

Inspired by mythology of the fairy realm and the fae, the Other Realm is a fragment of the First Creation that escaped its destruction. This beautiful and dangerous place connects to Crossroads in a small number of magical gateways. Anyone able to find one of these gateways can cross into the Other Realm, but be warned, the Other Realm is shaped by the will of its Three Rulers and it follows its own laws.

This article is a work in progress. I will post edits and new sections as I finish them. 🙂


A green tinted photograph of a temperate forest that was taken looking upward at the tops of the trees disappearing into the fog. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

A green tinted photograph of a temperate forest that was taken looking upward at the tops of the trees disappearing into the fog. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.


The Other Realm is a large piece of the First Creation that escaped its destruction. Three beings of immense power rule this realm, shaping the unstable essence it is made from with the power of their thoughts. Together these Three Rulers give the essence of the Other Realm stability, a stability that prevents the random thoughts of its inhabitants from causing it harm. However that doesn’t mean that the Other Realm is unchanging. As the Three Ruler’s thoughts change, so too does the land, molding itself to their will.

It is believed that the Three Rulers are actually beings from the First Creation whose combined power saved the Other Realm from destruction. Yet this is only speculation because next to nothing is known about them. No outsider has ever seen them and the inhabitants of the Other Realm only ever speak of them obliquely. Even their names are unknown.

The only thing that outsiders are sure of is that one ruler is a king, one ruler is a queen, and the third ruler is a sovereign. Their three palaces have been glimpsed from afar. High up, at the top of the Crystal Mountains, the king of the Other Realm resides in a gleaming silver palace. Because of this, outsiders call him the Silver King. Meanwhile, deep in the heart of the Trackless Forest, the queen of the Other Realm lives in a spiraling palace of green and red jasper. She is known to outsiders as the Jasper Queen. And, in the luminous waters of the Submerged Islands, the sovereign of the Other Realm dwells in a rainbow palace of living coral. Outsiders know them as the Rainbow Sovereign.

Although the Other Realm exists separately, it touches Crossroads in a few places. The best known of these are deep inside the Misty Woods. There each point of contact forms a gateway, allowing people and goods to travel between the two realms. Interestingly, even though these gateways are marked by a magical mist, this mist does not stop knowledge or goods from passing back and forth, though it does make the journey more perilous.

Travel between these two realms isn’t easy, especially for those residents of Crossroads who wish to visit the Other Realm. You see, the Other Realm existed before the Laws of the Gods, so it knows nothing of them. Instead, the Other Realm follows the laws of its Three Rulers: the Law of Life, the Law of Increase, and the Law of Bargains.

The Law of Life gives every object in the landscape a consciousness of its own. This means that the landmarks can move at will and paths frequently change directions. Meanwhile, the Law of Increase requires any outsider who wishes to leave the Other Realm to give the Three Rulers a valuable gift. This law also causes any outsider unwise enough to eat or drink something from the Other Realm to become trapped there. However, the Law of Bargains does offer an escape for those who have run afoul of the Law of Increase, but that escape always comes at a price.

Despite these dangers, rumors abound of the many wonders to be found inside the Other Realm. There are said to be fountains that flow with healing waters, a rainbow desert of dancing sand, a gemstone forest, caverns full of stars, clouds that change color depending on their mood, and an endless library that has a copy of every book ever written. Others say that there are rivers of singing water, rolling hills of pink grass that chimes in the wind like bells, a violet swamp that exists in eternal twilight, sunset-colored mountains so steep and smooth that they are impossible to climb, and a lake that reflects glimpses of the future. Still others tell stories about meadows of flowers that flutter through the air like butterflies, a hidden valley where the breezes whisper secrets to each other, a magic pool with water that turns everything that touches it to gold, and a memory tree with fruit that allows anyone who eats it to experience a moment in history as if they were there. It is unclear how many of these rumors are true, but the temptations they represent, and the dangers they hide, are real.


For more information of the First and Second Creation see “The Story of Creation” in “Crossroads Lore.”



The Three Laws of the Other Realm

The Law of Life

Everything in the Other Realm is imbued with a kind of consciousness. However, the consciousnesses of objects are not much like those of people. For one thing, the boundaries of what makes a consciousness are ambiguous. Many small, simple consciousnesses can add together to make a larger, more complex consciousness. For example, each grain of sand has a consciousness so simple it is hard to perceive, yet many grains of sand can add together to become a sand dune with an identifiable personality. This can go further, with many sand dunes adding together to become a desert that has its own complex ideas and motivations.

All of these different levels of consciousness exist simultaneously. However, most of the interactions that people have are with medium-sized consciousnesses, such rocks, dunes, roads, streams, clouds, and breezes. Perhaps this is because things with medium-sized consciousnesses are easiest size for people to interact with. Or perhaps it is because things with medium-sized consciousnesses care more about their interactions with people than things with larger or smaller consciousnesses. Among the scholars of Crossroads, this is a matter of great debate.

Another unique property of the consciousnesses of objects is that each consciousness is grounded in its existence as a specific type of object. For example, rocks think rock thoughts and want to do rock things, like be heavy, stay in place, and slowly sink deeper into the ground. This is significant because the raw essence that the Other Realm is made out of is flexible and easily molded by the thoughts of any conscious being. In environments with a lot of non-conscious objects, this can lead to instability as those objects are constantly reshaped by the stray thoughts of nearby living beings. This doesn’t happen in the Other Realm because every object has its own consciousness that keeps it rooted in its nature and helps it resist being reshaped.

The fact that all objects are conscious does produce a range of interesting effects; most significantly, objects can use the flexibility of essence to take actions, such as moving or changing their shape. They also have their own desires and goals. It is important for each person to have a good relationship with the objects around them, because if they don’t, those object may decide to hinder them. For example, if someone walks down a road that is upset with them, it can trip them or change its shape and position so that the person becomes lost. This is why showing respect for places and objects is an important part of life in the Other Realm.


The Law of Increase

In progress.


The Law of Bargains

In progress.



Important Concepts

Fae and Fae Bonds

Everything in the Other Realm has a consciousness, including locations, inanimate objects, and natural forces. It is believed that the Three Rules crafted the different fae species out of the many consciousnesses of their realm. For example, Elves were made from the consciousnesses of individual plants, Dryads were made from the consciousnesses of forests, Trolls were made from rocks, Goblins were made from the heat and creative power of lava, Motley Fae were made from the exuberance of biodiversity, and the different types of Imps were made from the various forces of erosion and decay.

Regardless of whether or not this is their true origin, Fae are beings whose bodies and minds are shaped by the magic of the Other Realm and have a magical connection to it. This magical connection is called a fae bond and all living things or magical objects that start their existence in the Other Realm have one. Powerful fae can also create fae bonds to living things and magical objects without them, such as those beings that started life outside of the Other Realm, however, the bond can’t form to a sapient being without that being’s consent.

All things that originate in the Other Realm are physically shaped by its magic. For those living in the Other Realm, this shaping is a continuous and ongoing process, making distinctions like species fluid things. While species is fixed for those living outside the Other Realm, a person living there can be born one species and over time become another.

When members of species that originated in the Other Realm start their existence outside of it, they are called fae-descended to acknowledge the role that fae magic played in their origins and in shaping their species. If a fae-descended person gains a fae bond, just having it is mind-altering and gaining it causes them to undergo a seven-day physical and mental transformation into a fae.

While fae-descended people are much like ordinary sapient people, fae have minds more like forces of nature and are particularly difficult for non-fae, those who aren’t fae-descended and also lack a fae bond, to understand. In fact, most fae-descended also have trouble understanding fae.

Any being with a fae bond that is outside of the Other Realm can use the magic of their bond to detect nearby fae magic and anything with a fae bond. Fae bonds can also be used to facilitate communication being different fae-bonded entities. When a non-fae gains a fae bond, they become fae-touched. Over time the magic of the bond transforms the body and mind of a fae-touched, turning them into a fae, though this process takes many years.

Fae bonds are difficult for anyone but one of the Three Rulers to break, though breaking them is possible. When a fae bond is broken it turns a fae into an ex-fae and a fae-touched into an ex-fae-touched. This action is rare and painful, leaving the ex-fae or ex-fae-touched with a powerful craving for fae magic and desire to regain their bond.

All fae take breaking a fae bond fae bond seriously. It is done as a punishment in extreme cases. In addition, it is considered a serious crime for a non-fae to break a fae bond and fae will hunt down and destroy any non-fae who breaks one. This is why most people with an unwanted fae bond try make it go dormant, rather than remove it.

There is a language differences between the Other Realm and Crossroads that it is important to know. In the Other Realm, a fae-descended Dryad is called a fae-descended Dryad, while a fae Dryad is just called a Dryad. Conversely, in Crossroads, a fae-descended Dryad is just called a Dryad, while a fae Dryad is called a fae Dryad.


Domains and Guardians

The landscape of the Other Realm is divided up into domains, which are discrete geographic features and ecosystems, such as valleys, mountains, rivers, marshes, forests, and seas that have their own consciousnesses. Each domain has a magical bond to a powerful fae that is its guardian. This bond, called a domain bond, is separate from the fae bond that every fae has to the Other Realm. A domain bond is a magical connection to a specific place and its consciousness. Through the bond, the guardian is aware of the entirety of their domain and can directly affect the landscape and all of the non-sapient objects and plants within it. The bond also gives the guardian access to a reservoir of magical power.

Guardians act as stewards of their domains, protecting them and helping them thrive. Their will helps keep the domain stable. It is suspected that guardians are chosen by the Three Rules and are magically connected to the Three Rulers through their domain bonds, but this has never been confirmed. What is known is that guardians sometimes act as representatives of the Three Rules and make bargains on their behalf.

Fae who aren’t guardians are expected to make a bargain with a guardian in order to live in their domains. Typically, these bargains are made when a fae comes of age, and they are usually long-term. Before a fae comes of age, they are bound by the bargains of their parents. Those who avoid making bargains become wanderers without a domain to call home. The Three Rulers periodically take specific wanderers to be their agents for tasks that require greater mobility.

Bargains with guardians vary widely, but there are three general levels of bargain that define three groups of people. Short-term bargains with limited commitment allow people to become guests within a guardian’s domain. This guest status is tenuous and can be revoked by the guardian at any time. Bargains with moderate duties, protections, and rewards make people into subjects of the guardian. Those who make bargains with the greatest duties receive the greatest protections and rewards, and they become agents of the guardian. Typically only fae become subjects or agents, but there are a few exceptions.

Outsiders who visit the Other Realm are treated as wanderers. Wanderers are allowed to pass through domains, but they can’t stay unless they negotiate being a guest, subject, or agent. While they are passing through, wanderers are subject to the rules of the domain. The only places wanderers are allowed to stay without negotiating for permission are the narrow strips of land that form the borders between different domains. This is where the few towns and agricultural areas that exist in the Other Realm are located.




Key aspects of the Other Realm and game mechanics for it are in progress.


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