Magical Realm Cyoa/Diaspora/Secrets/Unnatural
Perhaps the most unnatural and terrifying aspect of Diaspora is the fact that the dungeons are sentient. Not individually, and not in any really recognizable way, but still the dungeons as they exist through the many scattered pockets of Diaspora have formed a type of group-mind which acts like a kind of sub-conscious genius loci for the entire realm.
What effect does that have, you might ask? Well, that's complicated. Because the Dungeonmind is not so much a person as a gestalt desire to find and train worthy adversaries. You see, while the Dungeonmind is aware of itself and mostly aware of the individual dungeons that compose it, those far-flung outposts of danger and adventure aren't physically connected. They do share a single mystical bond, but that bond stretches through the Elemental Plane of Fire (see Portals section of the Secrets page for how that works) and is quite tenuous. This means that conscious though is subsumed almost entirely by burning desire, rage, hatred, and general malice for everyone and everything. And at the same time, a passionate desire to fight and be fought on equal terms. The Dungeonmind does not want destruction, merely conflict and growth. By preference, wildfire-like growth.
There are several things that the Dungeonmind is very, very good at. It is the force which generates 'random encounters' - match ups between individuals or groups with monsters and other denizens who would be hostile, but for inexplicable reasons are about equal in strength to the forces they are attacking, every single time. Basically, no matter how powerful the individuals marching through the Dungeonmind's territory (which is effectively everything not claimed by civilization), they will find themselves constantly encountering beasts, traps and obstacles that are challenging to them.
Another thing that the Dungeonmind is quite good at is the acquisition and distribution of the realm's magical abilities. The Dungeonmind acts like a cross between a hivemind and a magical archive in this manner - it is the Dungeonmind's duty to take the souls of those who died, strip them of their memories of life, build new bodies for them and place them in new realms with the subconsciously implanted skills needed for survival and rapid growth. The Dungeonmind does all this with great relish and artistry (in its own opinion), because this is the activity it lives for. Taking in the shared experiences of all the realm's inhabitants as they die - experiences it often helped in creating in the first place and now seeing the fruits of its eternal labors? That is why the Dungeonmind exists.
This is also why people will be given new skills when striving and adventuring. The Dungeonmind is rewarding those who live full and rich lives, because those people are the most enjoyable to harvest at death. And the Dungeonmind is also the reason why past lives are difficult to recover from the reborn - the memories of those individuals does still exist, but they are not kept within the mind of reborn. Those memories are stored and cherished by the Dungeonmind itself. The Dungeonmind is willing to trade with those who can sense its presence, usually for strong experiences or fresh kills, and that is how one can manage to get back the lost minds of the dead - but the Dungeonmind also has trouble finding individual minds within its vast memories.
Of course, the Dungeonmind is not entirely benevolent. Indeed, it is actively malevolent much of the time as it desires to harvest the lives of people to feed its own desires. However, it has enough foresight that it does not want to slaughter those who still have life and adventure in them - though it has no problem taking advantage of opportunities as they come up. However, the Dungeonmind is also enlightened enough to know when something is a threat to its 'food' supply.
Those creatures and minds whose purpose is wanton destruction, who would disrupt the realm itself or seek to change it in a fundamental way, earn the instant hatred of the Dungeonmind. This does not apply to simple conquerors - those who would subjugate or even merely slaughter the inhabitants of the realms - such things are merely passing issues to the Dungeonmind, who sees mass slaughter as a hearty breakfast. No, its eternal enmity goes to any who would attempt to deny it food, whether by rendering the world of Diaspora into dust, or forcing it to be less dangerous.
The Realms Themselves
The individual realms of Diaspora will be covered mostly on the main pages. But even with the main realms, there are numerous secret realms which cannot be easily reached.
There are five realms that are wholly barren and devoid of life. These realms are lifeless because they are composed entirely of a single material, and without the normal diversity of matter in a normal place, life is impossible. Such places are even devoid of air, making them wholly unlivable for those unfortunates who enter by accident.
These realms are each roughly the surface area of Mars, with nice deep material layers. Generally, they are made of either sand or gravel made from their specific material. The realms can be called by the material they are composed of, in which case they would be:
Adamantium - As the material from D&D, this is an extremely dense and durable trans-uranic element. This material also tends to be nearly impervious to all forms of magic, making it impossible to enchant.
Mithril - Atomically an impossible isotope of silver, its nature is so absorptive of magic that it is not only entirely stable but also half the density of aluminum while being as strong as titanium.
Orichalcum - Something like a cross between gold and a magical catalyst, Orichalcum can be used as a replacement for any material component in any spell, and can also be used in magitech as a semiconductor, acting as a replacement for doped silicon derivatives.
Soulsteel - This black metal has mostly the same properties as steel, except that it has very strong magical affinities for necromancy and blood magic. Also, any weapon made of Soulsteel will grab and hold the soul of any victim it kills (this prevents the normal respawn effect of Diaspora, and may prevent souls from reaching the afterlife in other realms as well). A soulsteel weapon can only hold one soul at a time, but many such weapons are enchanted to use the souls they capture as fuel for enchantment effect that are far more powerful than one could normally put on another material, even Orichalcum or Mithril.
Anti-Osmium - The only science-based special material in Diaspora, this is the anti-matter form of the element Osmium (the densest trans-uranic element on the periodic table). Actually going, physically, to the Anti-Osmium realm is contraindicated.