How do you map an infinite variety of realms and planes, dimensions and space-time labyrinths?
You don’t, really. But a certain metaphysical conception of how –- very broadly speaking! — they tend to sort themselves out does help a bit.
Think of the worlds as a series of nested bubbles made up of drunken rings of endlessly swirling realms, the way colours swirl on a soup bubble. At the very “centre” are the
Corerealms: Well, to the folks born and raised there, they’re the “core”, at least. These are the most balanced of the realms, with sturdy components and rarified elements and all that good stuff. They are, essentially, what one would consider a “typical” (dare we say “mundane”?) world.
Interacting with, overlapping with, and yet not quite part of the Corerealms is:
The Shadow: It seems another Core, until you find another you there. Or several instances of other folks you know. Or get drawn into the never-ending squabbles over the strange milk-marble complexes that scatter across the sunset fields, with warriors that span a thousand thousand worlds’ worth of time and space. But the Shadow has its uses beyond extraplanar land-grabbing and the remnants of ancient aeons under its earth; it’s ridiculously easy to travel from a Corerealm to the Shadow and back, or to another Core, with little to no risk of bungling the ringwalking, and passage-throughs spontaneously weave themselves from places of dusk and want and power.
Beyond the mixture of Core and Shadow lie the
Manifold Palaces: A dizzying array of countless wondrous realms, strange and enlightening and frankly hungry for inspiration, for dreams and daring and for the sweet sweet taste of souls. The Cerulean Hell and the Iron Courts, the Desert of the Ebon Sun, and uncounted would-be paradises and purgatories are found amongst the Manifold Palaces. These realms strive against each other more than any others, with great queens and daemon princes alike whispering and conspiring –- and leading incursion charges. Neither are they above expanding their influence into other worlds beyond their dizzying orbit.
Reaching further still, towards more concrete measures, are the
Foundations: Worlds of forces and concepts that make up, well, very foundations of physicality and mind; what many sages refer to as “elemental planes”. But that does not make them monoliths, oh no, because there are as many understandings of “air” as there are winds across the worlds, and to try to count grains of sand is madness. Primals of the Foundation often consider the Manifold Palaces’ aetheras to be flighty and of little substance at best, utterly untrustworthy at worst. Most primal incursions involve attempts to assimilate other Foundations of similar substance or temper.
Weaving throughout all this are the rogue realms; pocket dimensions, artificial labyrinths and new-budding planes as yet unformed and undetailed, shifting from ring to sphere to orbit. Some murmur of travel to a realm they call the Mirror or the Whirlpool, a place of dreams and nightmares threading clear through all other planes.
And then there is the City Of Chains. Unmoored and untraceable, free of incursion, found only by misfortune and whispered secrets, Wilusa belongs nowhere and everywhere at once.
Published by taichara