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D&D General how do the outer planes work?

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Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
“What is ‘real’? How do you define ‘real’? If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
- Morpheus

Just because a plane is composed of pure thought doesn’t mean a thinking being can’t experience it as if it were a physical place. We all do exactly that every night when we sleep.
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As others have mentioned, there really hasn't been all that much serious thought put into the exact scientific and/or philosophical reasoning of the D&D Cosmology, and it definitely begins to break down fairly quickly when you look at it too deeply.
But although the original editions of D&D didn't quite officially explain it as such and more recent editions haven't delved any further into it, the basic idea is that concepts like Good, Evil, Light, Air, Thought, etc. are just as much the essential forces that make up the universe as gravity is.
And thus, as Monster Envy said, the general narrative idea is that outer planes are physical places that were, if not directly created, at least given form/substance by those concepts and ideas. Or, as Charlaquin said, perhaps we simply experience these purely conceptual planes as physical in order for us to make logical sense of them.

Or maybe it's aliens.

This is one of those questions that keeps coming up over and over ever since the game was invented, has changed and morphed as editions have come and gone, works differently for each table, and nobody's going to ever really get more than a superficial justification for it.

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