The Faerie Realm
by Giulio Caroletti
The creatures of the Prime Material Plane are mostly four-dimensional beings; however, they are able only to perceive three of these four dimensions -- they are thus called Three Dimensional Beings (and are the Normal Creatures of the Prime Plane). However, there are creatures and beings who are able to draw upon the powers of the fourth dimension: these are magical creatures, wizards, or other beings with arcane magical powers: they are somehow more "attuned" to the fourth dimension and thus they learn to control partly the fourth dimensional side of reality, becoming able to cast spells; even considering this, they still do not have a complete knowledge of how magic works.
But even in the Prime Plane, there are beings who are able, without being Immortals, to perceive the fourth dimension, which they call the "Spiritual World." Among these are Faeries, Sprites, Pixies ... in a word, the Faerie Folk. Although they are not completely able to see the fourth dimension, they can see its projection on the first three dimensions. So they can see the spiritual reality "attached" somehow to the real world. Some examples: if there is a cathedral dedicated to Ixion, they may be able to see inside it the spirit of a millenary wood, whose spiritual nature is clearly visible, out of time.
If a normal Three Dimensional Being gets in touch with the Faerie Folk, he may be taught how to see the spiritual side of reality. This may happen only with some very special individuals, who have a great affinity with the faeries and Nature: children, old men, simple persons who live in the wood, generally of low culture and neutral/good [Editor's Note: LG, NG, CG, and perhaps LN] alignment, who are ready to accept "supernatural" events as "normal." This is a very rare event, even among races that should be more inclined toward this experience (as an example, it's more common among humans than elves, who are too tied to the material essence of things and of the Prime Plane).
However, as Three Dimensional Beings are not normally able to see more than three dimensions, learning to see the projected fourth dimension results in them being more and more unable to discern real world from spirit world: this explains the reason for some persons to lose appearantly any bond to sanity, and their claims of seeing and talking with mysterious creatures that are not there. When the process is complete, they disappear from reality and become a part of the spiritual world, forever lost to the real world -- a fate that explains why those "crazy persons who talk with faeries" sometimes disappear without a trace.
The Faerie Folk have also developed ways for Three Dimensional Beings to enter their Realm without changing them forever into spiritual creatures. To do so, they have created magic receptacles for their powers, that can be activated if the proper rituals are performed (by druids or others). These receptacles are built as big as the thing that must be transported: a druidic circle of stones built atop on a hill near a village may easily be used to transport the whole village and all its settlers to the Faerie World.
The Faerie World is not an alternate world nor another plane of existance, or a physical location of Mystara. It is just the second- third-and the projected fourth- dimensions of Mystara. Beings that receive the "magical treatment" have their perceptions "shifted" of one dimension, and thus can see only the spiritual world, and be seen only by spiritual creatures, although faeries remain able to see both material and immaterial beings. A man who is transported to the Faerie Realm sees a reality that is basically the same as Mystara, but concrete aspects of the world are not present, only spiritual ones. If a person finds a place where on the real world there is a Temple of Thanatos, he may see a a small wood whose trees are twisted and corrupted, and evil spirits roam inside it, but he will not see stone buildings, which do not have a spiritual side.
To exit the Faerie World, other rituals have to be performed. These rituals are however much simpler than the previous-mentioned ones, and may be left to the DM's discretion.
Copyright (c) 2001, Giulio Caroletti. Used by permission. All rights reserved.