Fey crossings (DMG pg. 50) allow visitors to cross from the Material Plane to the Feywild. The description explains that they require key similarities between the corresponding locations on both planes, but doesn't explicitly say whether the crossing exists on both planes.

The examples given of entering a fey crossing seem to focus on traveling to the Feywild (admittedly, probably the part most players are interested in). But can one return the same way? Can other creatures come through the crossing from the other side?

The description of shadow crossings on the next page suggests that this is true of Shadowfell ("creatures can walk from one plane to the other") but I am not sure whether this should be read as a difference or a similarity.

If this information isn't specified in 5th edition, support from prior editions would be acceptable.


Canonically, yes, but a DM may decide otherwise.

5th Edition

The description of Shadow Crossings in the DMG actually has the answer:

Similar to fey crossings, shadow crossings are locations where the veil between the Material Plane and the Shadowfell is so thin that creatures can walk from one plane to the other.

Shadow Crossings allow creatures to walk from one plane to the other, but note the first phrase: similar to fey crossings. This property is what makes the two types of crossings similar.

In Ghosts of Saltmarsh, there is a hull upgrade available to ships called Living Vessel:

This vessel’s hull was crafted in the Feywild under the direction of master eladrin shipwrights. It is a living plant, drawing sustenance from water and sunlight. Vines covered in thick leaves hang over its side, and the wood runs with fresh sap when damaged. The ship gains a +2 bonus to all Constitution checks or saving throws. As long as the ship has at least 1 hit point, it regains 10 hit points every minute.

The ship itself is a plant that is native to the Feywild, so there must be some means of access to materials in the Feywild for this upgrade to be available at all.

4th Edition

Additionally, 4th Edition has an entire book dedicated to the Feywild: Player's Option: Heroes of the Feywild.

In the description of the Satyr playable race, we see some things that guide us to an answer. On page 34,

Possessed of mischievous and investigative souls, satyrs ventured cautiously through the fey crossings and made contact with the fledgling races of the world. [...]

[...] Their race has become well known to the barbarian tribes and civilized outposts along the borderlands, where they emerge from fey crossings to sate their curiosity regarding the mortal realm.

This demonstrates that at least some Fey crossings can take you from the Feywild to the Material plane.

From the many descriptions of Fey crossings found in Heroes of the Feywild, the intent certainly seems to be that they are two-way crossings. They seem to be places where the Fey influence our world, and when the crossing is open, we can travel to their's and they can come explore ours. In the introduction (pg. 9), we see this description of Fey Crossing Hamlet's, small towns situated in close proximity to a crossing:

But as long as you have lived here, you have noticed something strange and magical about the hamlet. When pestilence and famine strike other nearby settlements, your crops grow tall and strong, wild game is plentiful, and your water remains pure and clean. The mists that rise in the evening suggest shapes of fantastic beasts such as unicorns and griffons. Sometimes after dusk in the moonlit woods and fields beyond your village, you hear strange sounds like the tinkling laughter of faraway bells, and you see distant colorful lights dancing slowly through the air like fireflies. Sometimes strangers happen by your hamlet, smelling of faraway scents that create cloud castles in your mind; they speak of domains of eternal summer that are home to elf maidens of surpassing beauty.

Either way, a Fey crossing is a world building tool like any other means of travel. The DM, in building their world decide what methods of travel connect two places and how, so the DM may decide a particular Fey crossing is a one-way ticket.


Indirect support

The DMG description of the Fey Crossing (page 50) says (emphasis mine)

Fey crossings are places of mystery and beauty on the Material Plane that have a near-perfect mirror in the Feywild, creating a portal where the two planes touch.

So what is a portal? Is it bidirectional, one-way only, or does it vary?

A portal is a general term for a stationary interplanar connection that links a specific location on one plane to a specific location on another (PHB301, DMG 45)

which doesn't actually specify whether portals by their nature are uni- or bi-directional.

Of the spells in the PHB that create portals, the descriptions of Arcane Gate, Gate, and Passwall (per Prismatic Wall) are clearly bidirectional, and that of Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion appears to be so (presuming you can leave before the spell ends). That of Teleportation Circle appears to be unidirectional, so perhaps a portal could be of either type.

The portal that might make a fitting "Adventure Climax" (DMG page 75) is clearly bidirectional, as is the "Dungeon: Planar Gate" (DMG page 293).

The description of the Well of Many Worlds (DMG 213) says it creates a "two-way portal" which implies that one-way portals exist as well.

Given that portals conceivably could be uni- or bi-directional, is there any support for Fey Crossings specifically being bi-directional?

In the lore section on redcaps in Volo's Guide to Monsters, p. 188: (emphasis mine)

In the Feywild, or where that plane touches the world at a fey crossing, if a sentient creature acts on an intense desire for bloodshed, one or more redcaps might appear where the blood of a slain person soaks the ground.

While the recaps themselves (fey creatures) are not crossing from the Feywild to the world, certainly some form of influence or essence is, allowing fey creatures to grow in the soil of the connected place.

I think it is safe to conclude that at least some fey crossings would allow creatures in the Feywild to cross over to the Material. Whether or not all do would be DM Prerogative.



... or yes - it’s actually left up to the DM.

@thomasmarkov has quoted the relevant 5e text (my emphasis):

Similar to fey crossings, shadow crossings are locations where the veil between the Material Plane and the Shadowfell is so thin that creatures can walk from one plane to the other.

What’s left unstated is whether you can walk back. Now, if it had said “... creatures can walk from either plane to the other” then the answer would be “yes”. But it doesn’t so it isn’t, or, at least, isn’t with any certainty.

For mine, fry crossings should be weirdly eldritch, overtly mischievous and subtly malevolent- just like the plane the connect to. One that takes you there but doesn’t let you back if you don’t know the secret fits this nicely.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "One plane to the other" doesn't imply it's only one directional, it's simply a standard way to phrase movement across something (like a barrier). For example walking from one side of the road to the other doesn't imply in any way that you can't go back the way you came. They could have explicitly used "either" sure, but you can't infer from their lack of the use of that word that it's unidirectional. Absence of proof positive is not evidence of a proof negative. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Sep 7 '20 at 9:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @illustro it can work either way. Osmosis allows passage from one side to the other - but not back. Security barriers in airports allow passage from one side to the other - but not back. Escalators, turnstiles, non-return valves, diodes, banking transfers all only allow one way passage. Fey crossings might be like those. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Sep 7 '20 at 21:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, but your answer assumes the lack of the word "either" is exclusionary (with the sentence "But it doesn't so it isn't"), but it can't be, when, by your acceptance the original phrasing can be used both ways. Your answer, by that sentence, relies on the lack of a proof positive to prove a proof negative. Doing that is unworkable. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Sep 7 '20 at 22:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @illustro better? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Sep 7 '20 at 22:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ yep it is better, thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Sep 7 '20 at 22:57

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