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Otherworld Tropes

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Tropes and settings that are not of our Earth.

For tropes about Earth, see This Index Earth.

  • Agri World: A world dedicated primarily or entirely to agriculture.
  • Alien Landmass: Using unusual or exotic landscapes to signify that the setting is alien and unlike the mundane world.
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  • Alien Sea: Making the ocean strangely colored or otherwise weird to signify that the setting is alien and unlike the mundane world.
  • Alien Sky: Using a weird or exotic sky to signify that the setting is alien and unlike the mundane world.
  • All Planets Are Earth-Like: The climate, habitability and other details of every world you come across are conveniently like good ol' Terra's.
  • Alternate History: A world fundamentally like ours, but whose history took some weird turns.
  • Alternate Tooniverse: A parallel dimension where everything's a cartoon.
  • Balkanize Me: Alternate history where large real-life nations fragment into lots of smaller ones.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: A marketplace where you can buy weird, magical or just very exotic stuff.
  • Beneath the Earth: Large, far-reaching cavern systems extending beneath other settings.
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  • Binary Suns: There are two suns in the sky.
  • Bizarro Universe: A parallel dimension where everything is weird.
  • Brown Note Being: An entity whose mere presence is enough to harm others.
  • Colonized Solar System: After humanity leaves Earth, it builds homes on Mars, Venus, the Moon, Jupiter and the rest.
  • Constructed World: A setting ideated and designed by a story's writer.
  • Crystal Landscape: A setting made of or filled with crystals, gemstones and jewels.
  • Cyberspace: The Internet as an alternate dimension.
  • Dark World: A world that serves as a ruined or pessimistic parody of another.
  • Daydream Believer: Someone believes their daydreams are the world's objective truth.
  • Departure Means Death: Someone cannot leave a certain area or they will die.
  • Different World, Different Movies: When you go to a parallel dimension, famous media will be subtly, glaringly or comically different.
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  • Dimensional Traveler: Someone who journeys from alternate dimension to alternate dimension.
  • Dream Land: Dreams as an alternate dimension.
  • Dream People: Self-aware beings who live in other people's dreams.
  • A Dungeon Is You: Someone becomes the Genius Loci of a complex, probably underground, building full of monsters.
  • The Earth-Prime Theory: In the multiverse, one universe existed first, is at the center, or is a keystone for the existence of all the others.
  • Easily Conquered World: A world that is very easily taken over by the bad guys.
  • Elseworld: Already-established characters are put into a different continuity.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: Universes besides the story's primary one can be ruined or destroyed with little fuss.
  • Extradimensional Shortcut: Going faster than light by popping over into a dimension where that's a thing you can do.
  • Fantasy Americana: The wilderness of North America as a fantasy setting.
  • Fictional Earth: It's got one sun, one Moon, the same weather and climate and flora and fauna, it's probably still called Earth, but it's a different world.
  • For Want of a Nail: When one tiny action drastically changes the course of history.
  • Gender-Bent Alternate Universe: An alternate dimension where everyone's sexes and/or genders are switched around.
  • Genius Loci: A place that's also a person.
  • Grim Up North: The northern lands of fantasy settings — expect cold, barbarism, and lots of dangerous monsters.
  • Hellgate: A gate that leads to Hell.
  • Inexplicable Cultural Ties: The natives of distant planets develop suspicious similarities to Earth's own cultures.
    • Space Romans: Aliens who behave like Ancient Rome at its imperial, militaristic height.
  • Inn Between the Worlds: A pub, inn, bar or other watering hole that serves as a travel hub between dimensions.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: A gadget that lets you travel between universes.
  • In the Doldrums: A place that is actively dull, featureless and dead, and takes steps to keep itself that way.
  • Intrepid Fictioneer: A character who travels into in-universe fictional settings.
  • Land of Faerie: A magic-filled dimension where the fairies live.
  • Layered World: A world built in layers, which are either metaphorically above and below one another or physically so.
  • Level Ate: A place made out of food.
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away...: An interplanetary setting far removed from Earth and humanity as we know it.
  • Lost World: A place somehow isolated from the wider world, where unusual things and creatures or ones from the past still exist.
  • Mage in Manhattan: A villain from a Magical Land comes to our world to cause havoc.
  • Magical Land: A fantasy world with magic that is accessible from the "real" world.
  • Media Transmigration: A character's soul is transferred from their current body into that of a fictional character.
  • Merged Reality: Two or more timelines/dimensions/realities are merged into one.
  • The Metaverse: An internet-like system represented as a place where people can walk around like in the physical world.
  • Mirror Universe: An alternate dimension where the good guys are bad and the bad guys are good.
  • Modern Mayincatec Empire: A mesoamerican nation, or one inspired by mesoamerican culture, existing in a present-day or future setting.
  • Multicultural Alien Planet: An alien planet home to multiple independent cultures and/or nations.
  • Multipurpose Monocultured Crop: A single farmed crop that can be used for everything.
  • The Multiverse: Many universes existing alongside each other. Travel between them may be possible.
  • Mushroom House: Houses built within giant mushrooms.
  • Mutually Fictional: The natives of two different dimensions/universes know of each other as characters from works of fiction.
  • Never Was This Universe: An alternate history without a specific point of divergence from real life.
  • New Life in Another World Bonus: If you end up trapped in another world, you also get skills or powers to go with your new life.
  • Platonic Cave: The world is not as it seems, and a deception keeps you from seeing it.
  • A Planet Named Zok: Alien planets' names tend to be heavy on the z's, x's, k's and the like.
  • Planet of Copyhats: A planetary race with very specific, similar traits.
  • Planet of Hats: A planetary race defined by a specific quirk, habit or value.
  • Planetville: Planets are treated as culturally uniform throughout — essentially like big towns or cities.
  • Portal Pool: A pool that serves as a portal between places or universes.
  • Psychological Torment Zone: A location that preys upon your deepest, darkest fears and secrets.
  • Real World Episode: Fictional characters visit the real world.
  • Recursive Reality: Reality exists infinitely within itself.
  • Refugee from TV Land: Fictional characters escape to or become trapped in the real world.
  • Reincarnate in Another World: You die, and are reborn in another universe.
  • Retro Universe: An alternate universe where retro, vintage or antiquated technology, styles and aesthetics are still used.
  • Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman: A historical figure who, in an alternate universe or history, holds a vastly different job.
  • The Savage South: The distant south of pulp or fantasy settings. Expect jungles, stifling humidity, hostile wildlife and hostile natives.
  • Save Both Worlds: Protagonists who need to save Another Dimension find their original one endangered as well.
  • The Series Has Left Reality: A previously more grounded or realistic series gains more fanciful elements as it goes on.
  • Single-Biome Planet: A planet improbably covered in a single biome — all swamp, all desert, all rainforest, all constantly-erupting volcanoes, etc.
  • Space-Filling Empire: Alternate history where one or a few sprawling nations cover most of the world.
  • Speculative Fiction LGBT: Fantasy and science fiction with a heavy emphasis on LGBT themes.
  • Sudden Lack of Signal: When you find yourself somewhere weird, you will also find yourself without wi-fi or phone reception.
  • Thin Dimensional Barrier: Location where whatever keeps dimensions separate can be easily passed through.
  • Tidally Locked Planet: A natural satellite that has one side always facing the body it orbits and the other always facing away.
  • The Time of Myths: The often-vague period in the ancient past when gods, heroes and monsters walked, often with little emphasis on hard chronology.
  • Toon Town: A place where cartoon characters live in an otherwise normal world.
  • Trapped in Another World: Characters from one world are left stranded in another.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Characters are left stranded in an in-universe work of fiction.
  • United Europe: Europe unites under a single government that supersedes or supplants the traditional national governments.
  • Up the Real Rabbit Hole: Fantasy worlds and their inhabitants are of no consequence because they're not really "real".
  • Vision Quest: A character goes on a spiritual journey of self-discovery.
  • Weird West: The Wild West with supernatural elements.
  • Win to Exit: Characters trapped in a virtual reality must win a game to exit it.
  • The World as Myth: All fictional universes are real and accessible to one another and the real world.
  • World Building: The process of filling out and expanding a fictional world's lore and setting.
  • World Pillars: A world, or a part of it, held up by literal pillars.
  • World Shapes: Worlds with unusual shapes — flat, cubical, ring-shaped, etc.
  • World Sundering: A world is physically broken into pieces.
  • World Tree: A tree that hold up one or more worlds.
  • Your Magic's No Good Here: Traveling to an alternate dimension/reality/universe causes a person's special abilities (magic, super powers, etc.) to work differently.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: How to show that a work takes place in another universe or an alternate history? Put zeppelins everywhere.


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