Created By: Bibliophile on September 25, 2013 Last Edited By: Bibliophile on October 19, 2013
Troped

Portal Crossroad World

A world containing many portals to other worlds.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A world that contains access to many others, most of which are themselves unaware of the existence of portals/other worlds.

Where the Portal Crossroad World is populated and has widespread portal travel, expect the culture to be a strange mishmash of elements from other worlds.

Compare Portal Network, more often found in sci-fi where many worlds are equally interlinked by a portal transport system; contrast Void Between the Worlds, the space through which the portals pass. Also compare Inn Between the Worlds, the single-room/building version which is itself outside reality.

This is a common form of the video game mechanic, Hub Level.

Examples

Comics
  • In The Incredible Hulk issue 300, Dr Strange send a mindless rampaging Hulk to the "crossroads" from which he can enter any other world he wants, the plan being that the Hulk will find a world to his liking. If he enters a world and doesn't like it, Strange has placed a subconsious trigger in the Hulk's head to send him back to the crossroads again.

Film - Animation
  • Treasure Planet itself is a planet-sized portal generator created long ago that was discovered by pirate Captain Nathaniel Flint. Flint used the portals to surprise merchant ships and plunder them ruthlessly, then store the captured booty on the centroid of the portal mechanism. This was how Treasure Planet got its name.

Film - Live Action
  • Contact has Hyperspace Lanes from many worlds all leading to the one place where the aliens bring new sentient species to introduce themselves.

Literature
  • In KJ Taylor's first book, The Land of Bad Fantasy, the protagonist comes from one of these, called Y'hyerd B'zeck. There, interdimensional travel is so common that there are various Advice for Dummies books about it, aspects are taught in school, and there is no semblance of whatever their original culture was.
  • The world of ''The Subtle Knife, has many portals thanks to the titular object.
  • From Stephen Donaldson's Mordant's Need series, Mordant is this through the use of Imaging and the mirrors.
  • Quentaris with its rift caves (acts mostly as a one-city-world) is a variation. While many worlds trade through the rifts, many also do not know of their existence. Quentaris also has a greater concentration of rifts than any of the other worlds, which have few or none.
  • The Magician's Nephew has a universe/dimension referred to only as "The Wood Between the Worlds". It's a forest that stretches as far as the eye can see, dotted with pools of ankle-deep water. With the proper magic (such as the rings created by Digory's uncle) any of these pools can become a portal to another universe, like our Earth or the land of Narnia.
  • The Arena in Grand Central Arena, where every spaceship with a drive for Faster-Than-Light Travel ends up.
  • The Nightside from Simon R. Green's novel series is a hidden urban center full of Timeslips to distant eras or alternate histories, passageways to alien realities and planes of existence, and Bigger on the Inside pocket dimensions. Characters such as the Doormouse or the proprietors of the Mammon Emporium have actually commercialized this trope, using portals for architecture, transportation, and importation of exotic goods.
  • Crossroad of Nick O'Donohoe's Crossroads trilogy (The Magic and the Healing, Under the Healing Sign, and The Healing of Crossroads). Some inhabitants there can go to and from there at will, but most end up there by mistake. It's very much a refuge of mythological species.

Tabletop Games
  • The city of Sigil in Planescape is also known as the City of Doors, because there are gateways to all known and unknown planes there.
  • In the Forgotten Realms, one drow city has a whole bunch of portals to various places on the surface, and so is commonly used by raiding parties from various other cities.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • The planet Freleng lies at the center of the galaxy in the Loonatics Unleashed universe, where it functions as a portal junction. Control of planet Freleng is critical to a trio of villains bent on galactic conquest.
Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • September 25, 2013
    Arivne
    The The Magicians Nephew example above is a Zero Context Example and needs more information about how it's an example.

    The Contact example goes against Handling Spoilers because almost the entire example is spoilered, making it virtually usless unless you read the spoilered text.
  • September 26, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Treasure Planet itself is a planet-sized portal generator created long ago that was discovered by pirate Captain Nathaniel Flint. Flint used the portals to surprise merchant ships and plunder them ruthlessly, then store the captured booty on the centroid of the portal mechanism. This was how Treasure Planet got its name.
    • The planet Freleng lies at the center of the galaxy in the Loonatics Unleashed universe, where it functions as a portal junction. Control of planet Freleng is critical to a trio of villains bent on galactic conquest.
  • September 26, 2013
    kjnoren
    Literature:

    • The Arena in Grand Central Arena, where every spaceship with a drive for Faster Than Light Travel ends up.
    • Crossroad of Nick O'Donohoe's Crossroads trilogy (The Magic and the Healing, Under the Healing Sign, and The Healing of Crossroads). Some inhabitants there can go to and from there at will, but most end up there by mistake. It's very much a refuge of mythological species.
  • September 26, 2013
    Koveras
    • The city of Sigil in Planescape is also known as the City of Doors, because there are gateways to all known and unknown planes there.
    • Sigil is the Hub Level in Planescape Torment, and you get to visit some of the planes accessible from there.
  • September 26, 2013
    dalek955
    [[EDIT: I could have sworn we already had this.]]
  • September 26, 2013
    dalek955
    • In the Forgotten Realms, one drow city has a whole bunch of portals to various places on the surface, and so is commonly used by raiding parties from various other cities.
  • September 26, 2013
    Paradisesnake
  • September 26, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    Err, why not Hub World (EDIT: lol redirect) or Hub Overworld? current sounds like a tongue twister.
  • September 26, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In The Incredible Hulk isse 300 Dr Strange send a mindless rampaging Hulk to the "crossroads" from which he can enter any other world he wants, the plan being that the Hulk will find a world to his liking. If he enters a world and doesn't like it, Strange has placed a subconsious trigger in the Hulk's head to send him back to the crossroads again.
  • September 26, 2013
    MrRuano
    Mortal Kombat Deception introduced the Nexus, a void-based Hub World of sorts that opens portals to other realms with the use of the Kamidogu.
  • September 27, 2013
    Arivne
    Video Games
  • September 30, 2013
    zarpaulus
    Literature
    • Honor Harrington's home system, the Star Kingdom of Manticore, has six wormholes, enabling it to become one of the wealthiest star nations through trade. And later the capital of an Empire.

    Tabletop Games
    • Eclipse Phase has Portal, a planet that not only has six Pandora Gates but has all of them clustered together within one kilometer of each other. The Sol system might also count, having five known gates while most systems have just one or two, though they're scattered all over (Pandora, Mars, V-2011/Caldwell, Oberon, Eris) and are controlled by different factions.
  • September 30, 2013
    MetaFour
    Literature:
    • The Magicians Nephew has a universe/dimension referred to only as "The Wood Between the Worlds". It's a forest that stretches as far as the eye can see, dotted with pools of ankle-deep water. With the proper magic (such as the rings created by Digory's uncle) any of these pools can become a portal to another universe, like our Earth or the land of Narnia.
  • October 1, 2013
    kjnoren
    ^^ I'm not sure the Honor Harrington example fits, since the Portal Network nexus lies a bit away from the star system itself. I read the trope as that the world itself serves as a portal crossroad, not that there is a portal crossroad nearby.
  • October 1, 2013
    Bibliophile
    ^ It depends as much on how closely the location is associated with the nexus and the scale of the worldbuilding, as much as anything. I haven't read it so I can't tell how closely it fits. I guess the important things would be how it compares to other locations, and the effect that the nexus has on their culture.
  • October 1, 2013
    kjnoren
    The wormhole nexus is several hours travel away from the Manticoran planets. There are several more nexuses, though Manticore's is by far the largest at six lanes (most other are just two or three). I can't say it has had that dramatic effect on their culture - they were largely a backwater with a strange corporation-feudalism going, and then they turned into a financial and trading clearinghouse but still with the corporation-feudalism (but I can't say I remember much of their pre-wormhole culture, or if it's described in any detail ever in the books).

    If it were up to me, I probably wouldn't include it, putting it just over on the side for an important site in a Portal Network.
  • October 1, 2013
    Bibliophile
    Thanks. From your description I think you're right and it's borderline but fits better just in Portal Network.
  • October 1, 2013
    SharleeD
    • The Nightside from Simon R Green's novel series is a hidden urban center full of Timeslips to distant eras or alternate histories, passageways to alien realities and planes of existence, and Bigger On The Inside pocket dimensions. Characters such as the Doormouse or the proprietors of the Mammon Emporium have actually commercialized this trope, using portals for architecture, transportation, and importation of exotic goods.
  • October 1, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^^ Should probably also edit the Eclipse Phase example too then, I think Portal is still an example since all its gates are within walking distance (same dome habitat even) but the Solar System might not.
  • October 1, 2013
    DRCEQ
    In Ever Quest, in the Planes of Power expansion, the Plane of Knowledge connects all of the player cities around the game together, and also leads to the Plane of Tranquility, which itself contains all the entrance portals leading to the other Planes.
  • October 1, 2013
    MiinU

    Video games

    • Super Mario 64: The paintings in Peach's castle act as portals to each of the game's 11 stages, which Mario has to enter to retrieve the Power Stars.
  • October 2, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    So people are fine with the current tongue twister name?
  • October 2, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ I guess so.
  • October 2, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Why do you have a section called Film — Live Action if you don't put the animated films (like Treasure Planet) in their own section anyway?
  • October 2, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    removing a hat. i found several zero context examples. also, basing it on

    Where the Portal Crossroad World is populated and has widespread portal travel, expect the culture to be a strange mishmash of elements from other worlds.

    this seems to be A melting pot port(al) city which is a center of trade and travel.

    so a Port City Recycled INSPACE. and not so related to Hub World. meaning, it's not limited to portals, but can be FTL ships or whatever, as long as it is a center of instant travel.
    if i'm right, then:

    • The Hulk is not an example
    • Contact is useless because of the spoiler. (forgot the administrativia link)
    • Subtleknife is ZCE
    • Mordant's Need is questionable
    • The Magician's Nephew is questionable

  • October 2, 2013
    kjnoren
    No, that's if "if" clause. There is no requirement from the trope itself for the world to be populated, but IF it's populated and with widespread portal travel, then expect the melting pot.

    But it's not a requirement for the trope. It does seem to be similar to Hub World, though.
  • October 2, 2013
    OlafMerchant
    Videogames

    • Turok The Dinosaur Hunter had the portal nexus as the main stage from which other worlds may be visited, in order to obtain pieces of the Chrono Scepter and keys needed to advance further in the game.
  • October 2, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    too similiar to the point you can simply call this Hub World if you were to remove the "if clause".
  • October 2, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ Aside from that trope referring specifically to video games?
  • October 2, 2013
    Chabal2
    Chrono Trigger has the End of Time, a dimension that exists after time is eaten, containing portals to the different eras and can be used to access an early-game Peninsula Of Power Leveling.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=5qtrmqbbkj1wf9evdl8fi87r&trope=PortalCrossroadWorld