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The goal of this section is to share vibrant species with unique physical and mental characteristics, while simultaneously depicting the diversity within each species. This is challenging. I don’t know of any model for doing this, especially one that makes room for the existence of disability within a species, so I’m figuring out how to do it as I go along.

Part of what makes it challenging is that I believe it is important for different fictional species to feel significantly different. To me, this is part of the joy of portraying a nonhuman character. It also creates space for diverse physical and mental experiences within the fictional world. The presence of this physical and mental diversity also emphasizes the role society plays in creating accessibility for its members.

One major reason that I’m using the word “species” here instead of “race” is because these groups of people are intended to be significantly different from each other with unique biology, not socially constructed groups within the same species.

At the same time that the differences between species are portrayed, it is also important to avoid racial essentialism. Racial essentialism is “the view that racial groups possess underlying essences that represent deep-rooted, unalterable traits and abilities,” and it affects how people think. There is long history of racial essentialism in the portrayal of “fantasy races,” with groups like orcs and goblins being used as villainous stand-ins for people of color. Using the word “species” instead of “race” might help, but it doesn’t remove this idea from people’s minds. That is why it is so important to oppose these ideas by separating morality from species and emphasizing the diversity within each species.

The challenge is to find ways of defining and describing each species that show what is unique about it, while simultaneously making room for the diversity within that species. Finding this balance is also important for disability representation. In the real world, disabled people have bodies and minds that don’t fit with what is considered “normal” by mainstream society, but disability is a normal part of humanity. If we want to make space for disabled people as a normal part of each species within this fictional world, we need to expand normal from a single type of body and mind to a diverse spectrum of bodies and minds.

A gold compass rose is surrounded by slices from eight different landscapes. Clockwise from the upper left they are: a rainforest, a desert with red stripped hills, a grassy plane surrounded by mountains, red mountains, a temperate forest, a lake with a rainbow, snow covered mountains, and an underwater view of a coral reef.

A gold compass rose is surrounded by slices from eight different landscapes. Clockwise from the upper left they are: a rainforest, a desert with red stripped hills, a grassy plane surrounded by mountains, red mountains, a temperate forest, a lake with a rainbow, snow covered mountains, and an underwater view of a coral reef.




This is the general format in which each species entry is written. For individual species, some sections may be skipped or additional ones added.

Overview: A rough overview of what this species is, with a few key facts to provide useful context for the following discussion.

Physical Description: A description of what the bodies of most members of the species are like. Common variations are noted.

Senses: A discussion of the senses most common in the members of this species, and frequent variations in them.

Diet: The types of food that members of this species can eat.

Common Mental Characteristics: A discussion of those mental characteristics that are especially common in this species, their most frequent variations, and related traits like behavior.

Magical Affinities: The types of magic that members of this species frequently have a talent for. These types of magic may have connections to the species’ origin or its history. These affinities are listed from most to least common. None of them are universal.

Common Species Traits: A list of traits ranging from things most members of the species have to ones only a few have.

Common Vulnerabilities: A list of vulnerabilities ranging from things most members of the species have to ones only a few have.

A Few Interesting Facts: Any interesting facts about the biology of this species that don’t fit into other sections.

History: Important historical events that involved this species, such as their origin or historic oppression they experienced.

Prominent Cultures: The most noteworthy cultures that have a significant connection with this species or its history. While species and culture are separate, there sometimes are one or more cultures associated with a species—cultures that are heavily influenced by the species’ most common physical and mental characteristics.

Naming Traditions from Prominent Cultures: A description of any special naming traditions that involve this species.

Inspiration: A list of interesting facts, mythology, and other sources that inspired me or that I used to create this species.



Magical Species

These species have magic infusing their forms.


Plasmodial Slime-People

Pronunciation: plaz-moh-dee-ahl

An illustration of pink slime filled with complicated, twisting currents and goopy bubbles.

Overview: Slime-people are sapient beings whose bodies are made from a gelatinous substance that is squishy, flexible, and elastic. Most slime-people have a roughly humanoid form and can change their shape at will.

Plasmodial Slime-people are a specific group of Slime-people descended from plasmodial slime-molds that were altered by powerful magic that infused them with amphibian and humanoid traits. They are the largest population of Slime-people in Crossroads.

Physical Description: Like most species with magical origins, Plasmodial Slime-people are physically diverse. Their gelatinous bodies are roughly humanoid, but vary greatly in size and shape. Some have significantly different body plans, including those with tails, gills, more than four limbs, no limbs, skin flaps, horns, and dangling appendages. While blue and green are most common, their colors vary so widely that they can be any color of the rainbow. Many are a single color, but others are a combination of colors, with a significant number displaying the striking patterns of the most vivid amphibians.

The internal structures of Plasmodial Slime-people also vary, but all have less structure than flesh and blood species. A few have no organ-like structures, while others have one or more organ-like structures that carry out key functions. For example, those without organ-like structures have bits of food floating throughout their bodies as it is digested, while those with a stomach-like structure have all of their food contained and digested in one place.

Like amphibians, most Plasmodial Slime-people are adapted for a life both in water and on land. Most breathe through their skin, which allows them to breathe underwater, but does require their skin to stay moist. Many also have basic lungs which allow them to breathe air and use verbal language.

Senses: Most Plasmodial Slime-people have excellent vision. Many of these have vision like a human. Others see like a frog, making them nearsighted with slightly blurry vision, but they have full-color low-light vision and such a wide field of view they can almost see directly behind them. A few others see like different amphibians. In all cases, these eyes are squishy and pliable, meaning that they aren’t harmed if their owner gets squished, molds their body into different shape, or squeezes through a narrow opening.

A good sense of smell, touch, and taste are also common in Plasmodial Slime-people, while hearing is more varied. Some have ears, some don’t, and some have internal structures similar to those of frogs, which allow limited hearing. As a result, a large portion of the Plasmodial Slime-person population is deaf or hard of hearing.

Diet: Most slime-people can eat nearly anything, but many have a special fondness for decaying wood and vegetation.

Magical Affinities:

  • Water Magic
  • Shapeshifting Magic
  • Animal Magic
  • Enhancement Magic

Common Species Traits:

  • Amphibious: Most breathe through their skin both on land and underwater. This is frequently combined with simple lungs and sometimes gills.
  • Malleable Form: Most Plasmodial Slime-people can reshape their bodies at will. In addition, those that also have stomach-like internal structures get Internal Storage, an expansion of the Malleable Form species trait that is unique to Slime-people.
    • Internal Storage: Those Plasmodial Slime-people with Malleable Form and a stomach-like digestion structure that keeps digestion contained in one place are able to store objects in the other parts of their body. For long-term storage, these items need to be moisture resistant, such as glass, ceramic, bronze, copper, pitch-coated wood, and beeswax-saturated natural fibers. Things that aren’t water resistant can be wrapped in oilcloth. The objects come out moist, but otherwise unharmed and slime-free. The main limitation that comes with this trait is that the size and density of the objects inside the character’s body will limit how small of an opening they can squeeze through.
  • Permanent Defense (for Physical Defense): Some have tough, rubbery skin that protects them like armor, causing physical harm to bounce off.
  • Permanent Defense (for Mental Defense): Some have magical items inside them, like crystal dust, carved pebbles, or enchanted copper disks, which protect them like a magical outfit.
  • Additional Limbs: Some of those with less common body plans have tails, or additional arms or legs.
  • Animal Talker (amphibians): Being part amphibian, some manifest the magical ability to talk to all amphibians.
  • Built-in Tool: A few have sticky skin, like the hands and feet of a tree frog, that can be used as the required tools for the Climbing skill. This sticky skin grants the special bonus that they can cling to surfaces that aren’t normally climbable, allowing them to climb on smooth surfaces and climb upside down.
  • Regeneration: A few can rapidly heal injuries by absorbing and digesting large quantities of food.

Common Vulnerabilities:

  • Moist Skin: Those who breathe through their skin need it to stay moist and will be harmed if their skin dries out.
  • Heat Sensitivity: Some are particularly sensitive to heat because it makes their internal goo too liquid, decreasing their strength.
  • Cold Sensitivity: Some are particularly sensitive to cold because it stiffens their internal goo, decreasing their dexterity.
  • Specific Damage Vulnerability (fire): Some are severely harmed by contact with fire because it boils the goo inside their body.
  • Specific Damage Vulnerability (freezing): Some are severely harmed by freezing cold because it creates ice shards inside their body.

A Few Interesting Facts:

  • Decoration with Dyes: Many Plasmodial Slime-people decorate the outsides of their bodies with edible dyes. These dyes are gradually absorbed into their bodies, where they trace out intricate internal patterns.
  • Decoration with Plant Arrangements: Those with separated digestion structures can decorate themselves internally by arranging flowers and leaves inside of their bodies, but outside of those digestion structures. In their moist insides, these flower and leaf arrangements can last for days. In contrast, those that dissolve food throughout their body find that flower and leaf arrangements are transient, as they are quickly digested.
  • Decoration with Sparkly Minerals: A more permanent internal decoration for those with digestion structures is the use of sparkly minerals inside their bodies, but outside of their digestion structures. These minerals don’t break down and are difficult to remove. In contrast, those that dissolve food throughout their body can decorate for a few days with sparkly minerals because those minerals slowly dissolve over time.

Prominent Cultures: Because there are many deaf and hard of hearing Plasmodial Slime-people, it is common for communities with large numbers of Plasmodial Slime People to use Amphibious Sign Language—a language designed to work both on land and underwater. In these communities, architecture and spatial design also center the needs of deaf people, and include other aspects of Deaf culture, such as the use of name signs.

Inspiration: I’ve researched slime molds, amphibians, and octopuses (squish-able organs) for various aspects of their biology.



Vine Collectives

An artwork showing the woody trunks of vines twisted and entwined together. This is meant to illustrate the way individual vines might twist together to form a Vine Collective’s body.


Overview: Vine Collectives are a sapient plant species. Each individual is a group of animated vines that entwine together to form a shared body and consciousness.

Physical Description: Most Vine Collectives have a roughly humanoid body covered in leaves. The vines, usually siblings, are unbranching. They are joined together at the feet and weave together as they go upward to form legs, a torso, arms, and a head. Each foot is an interconnected root web that allows the vines to share water, food, and other nutrients with each other. New shoots start in these root webs and grow quickly because they are nurtured by the adult vines.

In order for a Vine Collective’s roots to get water and nutrients from soil or mud, the ends of their roots temporarily extend out of the root web and sink down into the ground. Vine Collective roots can pull in water and nutrients quickly and store them in the base of the vine stems, allowing the collective to retract their roots and move on after only a short time of being rooted. This also gives their humanoid bodies big feet, thick legs, and a low center of gravity. Combined with strong roots, many Vine Collectives have the added benefit of being difficult to knock over.

Different vines in each collective perform specific tasks. At a minimum, most Vine Collectives have woody Structure Vines that hold the other vines up, leafy Energy Vines that make lots of food, and delicate Sensory Vines with organs that let the Vine Collective perceive the world around them. Many Vine Collectives also have tough Protector Vines that form an armor-like shell. A few have thorny Protector Vines instead. And some don’t have Protector Vines at all. There are many other variations and some individuals have vines that fulfill other tasks, like helping the collective endure extreme weather or repel insects.

Most Vine Collectives can reweave their structures as needed to take advantage of the functions of their different vines. For example, they can reweave to extend their Energy Vines and maximize food production, then tuck those Energy Vines underneath Protector Vines 3when a threat is near.

Gender: As with many sapient plants, most Vine Collectives are nonbinary, using they/them pronouns. There are few that have binary genders or more specific nonbinary genders.

Senses: The abilities of each Vine Collective’s Sensory Vines vary from individual to individual.

Diet: They get energy from photosynthesis and need a significant amount of time in the sun every day. Water and nutrients are absorbed through their roots as described above. Because Vine Collectives can store energy, water, and nutrients in the base of their stems, they can go a few days without sun, water, or other nutrients, but doing this will be increasingly uncomfortable over time.

Common Mental Characteristics: The consciousness of each individual vine in a Vine Collective joins with the others to form a collective consciousness. Usually this connection is facilitated by telepathy. The degree to which individual vine consciousnesses are subsumed into a Vine Collective’s group consciousness varies. Some Vine Collectives experience themselves as a single entity, using the pronoun “I” when talking about themself, but others experience themselves as a group of consciousness and use the pronoun “we” when talking about themselves.

Magical Affinities:

  • Plant Magic
  • Weather Magic
  • Earth Magic
  • Communication Magic

Common Species Traits:

  • Telepathy
  • Permanent Defense from the armor-like Protector Vines
  • Immunity to Being Knocked Over because they have a low center of gravity and strong roots in their feet
  • Immunity to Being Lifted Off the Ground because their strong roots can quickly grab onto any surface
  • Plant Talker
  • Regeneration

Common Vulnerabilities:

  • Cold Sensitivity
  • Specific Damage Vulnerability to Freezing and Fire
  • Moist Skin, or in this case, Moist Leaves
  • The importance of the root webs in their feet means that their feet can become a vulnerable point for some, especially those without Protector Vines
  • Sunlight Reactive Body due to having the large, easily-burned leaves of a shade plant that can’t tolerate direct sunlight

History: The chaotic magic of a Warped Magic Zone in a tropical rainforest created the first Vine Collectives. Being able to move to get nutrients and sunlight was a major advantage for them and they thrived inside the Warped Magic Zone. Like most of the creations of Warped Magic Zones, the first Vine Collectives required a lot of magic to sustain their existence, making them unable to leave the Warped Magic Zone, because they depended on its intense magic. Over time, however, the Vine Collectives developed and became more magic efficient until they finally emerged into the rest of Crossroads.

Prominent Cultures: Because each individual is a collective, communities that have many Vine Collectives in them tend toward a collective mindset. Also, being mobile sapient plants, the resources they need, like sunlight, are easily shared. As a result, communities with many Vine Collectives tend to value sharing, generosity, and cooperation.

Their origins in a tropical rainforest makes many Vine Collectives sensitive to cold and dryness. As a result, most Vine Collectives live in wet areas with a warm or mild climate. Only a few travel to places with extreme cold or dryness and fewer live there. It is similar for dark locations, such as underground caves. Naturally, there are a few intrepid individuals who do brave these conditions using specialized gear, such as crystals that absorb then emit sunlight.

Outside of protective gear for harsh conditions, Vine Collectives rarely wear clothing, as it interferes with photosynthesis. However, some Vine Collectives do wear jewelry, ribbons, or small pieces of fabric for ornamentation. Because of the importance of the root webs in their feet, a significant number of Vine Collectives wear sandals or boots protect their feat.

Inspiration: The ways that plant siblings in some species share resources and grow together. The way that cells divide and develop into different types of tissue. Superorganisms formed by social insects.

Respectful Portrayal Note: As a fictional being made up of multiple consciousnesses joined together, some portrayals of Vine Collectives may be associated with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Please take care when portraying anything associated with this much stigmatized condition and do the research needed to avoid myths and stereotypes.



Pitcher Crabs

Image of the pitcher of a Pitcher Crab, showing the red and green mouth of a pitcher with its lid partially raised. Above the lid, black oval eyes rise on pale eyestalks that attach to the back of the pitcher in the same place as the lid. Two fang-like, green projections hang down from the bottom of the pitcher’s lid, adding the the impression of the lid being the top of an open mouth.

Overview: A sapient plant species that has a large, crab-like body, with roots for legs, a leafy body, and a large pitcher that forms both face and stomach.

Physical Description: An average adult Pitcher Crab is six feet wide and five feet tall. The majority of their size is eight thick, woody roots shaped like the legs of a giant crab. Protective bark on these roots mimics the tough shell of a crab. These crab-like legs support a bushy plant body with long, dark-green, oval leaves. Delicate, feathered antennae are distributed through this bushy body while a single red and green pitcher sprouts from its front. A pair of beady, black eyestalks, like those of a crab, rise alertly from the place where the lid attaches to the pitcher. Below these eyes, the mobile lid of the pitcher acts as a mouth, creating the Pitcher Crab’s face.

The cup of the pitcher acts as a Pitcher Crab’s stomach. In it, Pitcher Crabs ferment and digest fallen leaves and other nonwoody plant debris for both nutrients and energy. The ability to digest food makes Pitcher Crabs less dependent on sunlight than most other sapient plant species, giving them greater lifestyle flexibility.

A Pitcher Crab’s front two root-legs form large claws that can be used like hands to pick up and hold things. The joints in these two root-legs allow a wide range of movement, but like a crab, a Pitcher Crab’s remaining legs have a limited range of motion. It is easiest for them to move sideways, but they can shuffle forward and backwards. They are the fastest when moving sideways, so they always run sideways.

Gender: Pitcher Crabs are monoecious plants (meaning that they have both male and female reproductive organs). The majority identify as nonbinary and use they/them pronouns. However, a significant number of Pitcher Plants use other terms to describe themselves, such as agender or genderfluid. A few Pitcher Crabs have binary genders, but this is rare.

Senses: Pitcher Crabs have compound eyes, making their vision a bit pixilated but particularly good at detecting motion. The eyestalks of Pitcher Crabs allow their eyes to swivel around, giving them a panoramic view of their surroundings. In addition, like plants, they have photoreceptors all over their body. These photoreceptors give Pitcher Crabs basic vision in all directions, allowing them to detect large shapes and movements behind, below, and above them at all times.

Pitcher Crabs use some of their antennae for hearing and the others for smelling. While both of these senses are keen, their sense of taste depends entirely on their sense of smell. In addition to antennae, Pitcher Crabs, like plants, are covered in little hairs that make them sensitive to touch.

Seedlings: Each Pitcher Crab produces a small number of seeds, each of which is the size of a goose egg. When they are ready to be a parent, they remove the seed from its protective husk and soak it for a day, then rinse it and wrap it in a damp cloth. The seed sprouts within a week, rapidly growing its own tiny legs, leaves, and pitcher. After the first week of growth, the sprout is strong enough to hold on to its parent and they are carried around on their parent’s backs.

Pitcher Frogs: Those who look closely at a Pitcher Crab might see a little frog peaking out from their pitcher. This is a special type of frog called a Pitcher Frog. They are an acid-resistant species that has a symbiotic relationship with Pitcher Crabs. Pitcher Frogs provide Pitcher Crabs with companionship and nutritious fertilizer. In return, Pitcher Crabs provide Pitcher Frogs with a protected home that moves around and regularly stirs up insects. Pitcher Crabs are particularly likely to disturb insects when they collect plant debris, giving Pitcher Frogs a good opportunity to catch them.

Not every Pitcher Crab has a Pitcher Frog, but most do. The historic relationship between Pitcher Crabs and Pitcher Frogs means that magical bonds between them form easily and many Pitcher Crabs have a Pitcher Frog as their familiar.

Diet: Sunlight is the main energy source for most Pitcher Crabs, but their ability to get energy from digesting plant debris means that they can survive in circumstances where digested food is their primary energy source. While Pitcher Crabs can digest diverse types of nonwoody plant debris, when they are relying on digestion to be their main source of energy, Pitcher Crabs need to focus on consuming energy-rich plant materials, such as hay and leafy greens. Similarly, a Pitcher Frog’s usual diet of fresh insects can be substituted with fermented grubs for an extended period of time.

While Pitcher Crabs can digest a wide variety of nonwoody plant debris, the digestion of a Pitcher Crabs can also be sensitive, as it depends on them growing and maintaining a healthy community of digestive bacteria and fungi. The balance of this community can be upset by the introduction of sugary foods, like fruit and sugary vegetables, which can cause dangerous fungal growths. This is also why Pitcher Crabs should avoid consuming anything that is rotting or infected with large quantities of fungus.

Common Mental Characteristics: Overall, the mental characteristics of Pitcher Crabs come from being a sapient and mobile plant with a symbiotic relationship and no predators. They are inclined toward cooperation and sociability, focusing on developing mutually beneficial relationships. Pitcher Crabs also tend to be open, curious, and unafraid, and most like to keep busy. As a result, quite a few Pitcher Crabs are intrepid explorers.

Of course, it is important to keep in mind that these are general trends and the variation between individual Pitcher Crabs is large. Pitcher Crabs are perfectly capable of being competitive, unsociable, indifferent, guarded, disinterested, timid, inactive, and any other trait.

Magical Affinities:

  • Familiar, especially a Pitcher Frog
  • Water Magic
  • Plant Magic

Common Species Traits:

  • Plant Talker
  • Additional Limbs
  • Permanent Defense using their front claws as shields
  • Telepathy
  • Magical Nature

Common Vulnerabilities:

  • Intense Curiosity
  • Specific Damage Vulnerability to Freezing
  • Cold Sensitivity
  • Moist Skin, or rather, Moist Leaves
  • Sunlight Reactive Body due to having the large, easily-burned leaves of a shade plant that can’t tolerate direct sunlight
  • Severe Allergy to a specific plant or food that is common in the debris they would normally eat

A Few Interesting Facts: Here are five intriguing facts about Pitcher Crabs.

  • Some Pitcher Crabs can use their tough front claws as shields to protect the more vulnerable parts of their bodies, like their leaves and pitcher.
  • Unlike carnivorous pitcher plants, the inside of a Pitcher Crab’s pitcher isn’t slippery. This is important, because it helps the Pitcher Frogs move around.
  • Some Pitcher Crabs also eat insects. This is especially common in Pitcher Crabs that spend long periods of time with limited or no access to sunlight.
  • Pitcher Crabs grow in new pitchers every two years. Once the new pitcher is fully established, the previous pitcher starts to shrink and disappear. A new pitcher can also be grown to replace an injured pitcher.
  • A small number of Pitcher Crabs always have two or more pitchers.

Prominent Cultures: Because they originated in a tropical rainforest, warm and wet climates are most hospitable to Pitcher Crabs, but their ability to digest plant debris has allowed them to spread far and wide. Their diet of sunlight and plant debris makes it convenient for Pitcher Crabs to live among agricultural communities, and many do, helping out with various outdoor tasks. Those that live in cities and towns commonly take on roles as gardeners and landscapers, as that is a convenient way to nourish themselves and their Pitcher Frogs.

Like other mobile sapient plants, the resources Pitcher Crabs need are easily shared. As a result, those communities that have many Pitcher Crabs in them are especially inclined to sharing and cooperation, and tend to value generosity.

Naming Traditions from Prominent Cultures: The most prominent naming tradition is for Pitcher Crabs to have onomatopoeia names, like Zip, Slosh, Plop, Whirr, Clang, Rustle, Snap, and Chirp. Another common tradition is for Pitcher Crabs to be named after their distinguishing physical characteristics, especially characteristics of their pitchers.

Inspiration: Nepenthes ampullaria, a detrivorous species of pitcher plant from Borneo that subsists at least partially on decomposing leaf matter. The smallest species of frog in Asia lives inside them. Also, research into crabs, including the many eyes of horseshoe crabs, how compound eyes see, and the senses of plants.



Other Magical Species

Melding Ghosts are in progress!



Fae and Fae-Descended Species

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. This image represents one of the gateways into the Other Realm. Photo by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

Species that originate in the Other Realm (the fae realm) have had their bodies and minds shaped by its fae magic. When a member of one of these species is born in the Other Realm they gain a magical bond to that realm, called a fae bond. Any being that is shaped by fae magic and also has a fae bond is a fae. All living things and magical objects that start their existence in the Other Realm have a fae bond.

In contrast, members of species that originated in the Other Realm, but who were born outside of it, don’t have a fae bond and are called fae-descended. Because fae bonds are mind-altering, fae-descended people are distinct from fae, being more like non-fae, those who aren’t fae-descended and also lack a fae bond. In contrast, fae have minds that are like forces of nature, making them difficult for both non-fae and fae-descended people to understand.

Powerful fae can create fae bonds to living things and magical objects that didn’t start with them, such as non-fae. This bond can’t form to a sapient being without that being’s consent. Members of non-fae species who gain a fae bond are fae-touched. Because of the transformative nature of fae magic, the bond gradually transforms the body and mind of the fae-touched person, eventually turning them into a fae, though this process takes many years. In contrast, fae-descended people who gain a fae bond are immediately affected by it and it causes them to undergo a seven-day physical and mental transformation into a fae.

When beings with fae bonds are outside of the Other Realm, they can use their bonds to detect nearby fae magic and other beings with fae bonds, including fae and fae-touched people. Fae bonds can also be used to facilitate communication between beings with fae-bonds.

It is difficult, but possible, to break a fae bond, turning a fae into an ex-fae and a fae-touched into an ex-fae-touched. Severing a fae bond is painful and leaves the ex-fae or ex-fae-touched with a powerful craving to regain their connection to fae magic and form a new bond. This is why most people with an unwanted fae bond try to make it go dormant, rather than remove it. Another reason fae bonds are rarely severed is that fae take it so seriously. They will hunt down and destroy any non-fae who severs a fae bond, regardless of why it was done.

Language: Because fae-descended people are more common than fae in Crossroads, there, a fae-descended Dryad is just called a “Dryad,” while a fae Dryad is called a “fae Dryad.” Because fae are more common in the Other Realm, there, a fae-descended Dryad is called a “fae-descended Dryad,” and a fae Dryad is just called a “Dryad.”

Origins: It is believed that the Three Rulers of the Other Realm crafted the different fae species out of the different consciousnesses that fill their realm. For example, Elves were made from the consciousnesses of individual plants, while Dryads were made from the consciousnesses of forests. Because inanimate objects and natural forces also have consciousnesses in the Other Realm, species were also crafted from these things. For example, Trolls were made from rocks, Imps were made from erosion and decay, Goblins were made from the heat and creative power of lava, and Motley Fae were made from the exuberance of biodiversity.


Motley Fae

Watercolor illustration of a small, rainbow-colored, four-legged creature with an elongated body climbing over a dandelion that is bent down with its weight. It has dragonfly wings and a long thin tail that ends in a leaf-like fan. Illustration by Victoria_Watercolor from Pixabay.

Overview: Motley Fae embody the exuberant diversity of nature. Each individual is unique and many have extraordinary appearances.

Physical Description: Diversity and variation are the rule for Motley Fae. They are all sizes from tiny to huge. Some are humanoid and some aren’t. They frequently display a disparate mixture of animal parts, with many plant traits and a few additional natural elements mixed in, but this also varies. There is no body plan or trait common to them. Nothing but variation marks a Motley Fae, not even heredity. The traits each individual’s parents have don’t have any relationship to their traits, not even for Motley Fae-descended people living outside the Other Realm.

Some Motley Fae have contrasting traits paired together, such as a lion with a fern mane, a person with butterfly wings and goat eyes, a deer with beetle jaws, a snake-person with feathers and a scorpion tail, a salamander with gemstones embedded in its skin, and a fungus-person with an elephant face. Others have different traits combined into one, such as flint hooves, tree branches that grow as horns, skin the texture of a seashell, tusks made from ice, wings with leaves instead of feathers, bands of moss and lichen that grow like striped fur, crystal teeth, and crests made from colorful mushrooms. Striking appearances are common, as is asymmetry.

Senses: These vary based on each fae’s physical form.

Diet: Their diets vary widely. There is usually a connection between each individual’s diet and their main physical characteristics.

Common Mental Characteristics: Once again, diversity and variation are the rule.

Magical Affinities:

  • Shapeshifting Magic
  • All other types of magic are equally likely

Common Species Traits:

  • Magical Nature
  • Built-in Tool
  • Any other species trait is equally likely

Common Vulnerabilities:

  • Character Flaw
  • Any other vulnerability is equally likely

Origins: The Three Rulers of the Other Realm shaped its different peoples out of the realm’s natural elements and forces. Motley Fae were shaped from the Other Realm’s exuberant biodiversity, making diversity and variation their inherent nature.

Prominent Cultures: Because of their inherent physical diversity, places where many Motley Fae or Motley Fae-descended live tend to have cultures that center accessibility and value diversity.

Inspiration: I wanted to capture the exuberant diversity and strangeness present in some portrayals of fae. Combining that with the exuberance of biodiversity felt like a perfect fit.



Other Fae and Fae-descended Species

Imps, Pixies, Goblins, Dryads, and Trolls are in progress.


One Response to “The Peoples of Crossroads”

  1. FoxFarm says:

    This is challenging. I don’t know of any model for doing this, especially one that makes room for the existence of disability within a species, so I’m figuring out how to do it as I go along.

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