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A lot of stress is placed on the importance of staying on the path in the Hedge.

But on the other hand, you can open up a gateway from basically anywhere (certainly anywhere you can get a car to; that's an example used in the book!), and there is some relation between Hedge geography and "real" geography.

So: if I create a new gateway into the Hedge, is it assumed that the gateway opens up onto a path? Or, is it likely that I'll open up into the thick of the Hedge, particularly if I'm in an area with few trods?

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The core book is fairly ambiguous about this. Based on the examples of play in it, opening a Door always puts you on a path, and mechanically, you are not considered "off the path". However, that path may peter out, or only lead to one place, forcing a character to choose between going back or going off the path. This isn't explicitly stated in the core, but is implied based on the examples given there.

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