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The Far Realm is a mix of horror, madness, and Lovecraftian geometries.
The Far Realm and many of the creatures therein are influenced by the works of H. P. Lovecraft. The Far Realm is particularly inspired by Lovecraft stories like "Through the Gates of the Silver Key."
The Far Realm was introduced in the second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure module The Gates of Firestorm Peak (1996) written by Bruce Cordell. The adventure featured creatures from the Far Realm appearing through a portal. Energies from the Far Realm were twisting the land around the portal as well. James Jacobs later described it as an "adventure with a distinctly Lovecraftian feel", noting that "Deep inside Firestorm Peak lies a portal to an insidious region beyond sanity and light known only as the Far Realm, and the unknowable but hostile entities of this hideous region prepare to pass through into the world."
In fourth edition, members of the Warlock class can forge a pact (called the Starpact) with the entities from or near the Far Realm in order to gain power. The Far Realm's association with the new setting has been detailed in various supplements.
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The Far Realm contains an infinite number of layers, these layers range from inches thick to miles, and it is often possible to perceive multiple layers simultaneously. These layers can grow, spawn further layers, breathe and possibly die.
The Far Realm is home to many powerful and unspeakable beings ripped from the nightmares of the darkest minds of the waking world, beings so unfathomable that their very existence is a perversion of reality itself. These beings are governed by lords of unimaginable power and knowledge completely alien. The Far Realm is a plane far outside the others and often not included in the standard cosmology. It is sometimes referred to simply as "Outside", because in many cosmologies it is literally outside reality as mortals understand it.
An anomalous plane, the Far Realm is bizarre and maddening. Creatures native to or connected with the Far Realm have the aberrant origin. Distant stars have been driven mad by proximity to the Far Realm, resulting in the abominations known as starspawn. The Far Realm also breaks into reality at various points in the Underdark, leading to the rise of the aboleth and mind flayer empires. Natural humanoids tainted by the Far Realm are known as foulspawn. The Far Realm was originally sealed off from reality by a construction known as the Living Gate, which lay at the top of the Astral Sea. The Living Gate awoke and opened during the Dawn War between the gods and primordials, and was destroyed in the same war, thus allowing the Far Realm to break into the D&D universe. Psionics are believed to have developed as a means to fight the Far Realm, in the same way that a body develops antibodies to fight an infection.
Many of the Far Realm's inhabitants are too vast and inchoate to even notice visitors to their domain. Others take an interest in mortals, communicating with them through the veil between realms and sponsoring magic-users called alienists.
- Cordell, Bruce R. "Enter the Far Realm", Dragon #330 (Wizards of the Coast, April 2005)
- Jacobs, James. "The Shadow Over D&D", Dragon #324 (Wizards of the Coast, October 2004)
- Cordell, Bruce. The Gates of Firestorm Peak (TSR, 1996)
- Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook 4th Edition, Heinsoo, Rob, Collins, Andy and Wyatt, James, page 32
- Heinsoo, Rob, Collins, Andy and Wyatt, James; Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook 4th Edition. 2008, Wizards of the Coast ISBN 978-0-7869-4867-3.