Campaign of the Month: January 2015
Skies of Glass
The Dreamscape is a place of imaginary reality and true fictions, laying at the edge of existence and oblivion. Whenever a creature sleeps their mind touches the Dreamscape, their thoughts and imaginations creating a vivid false reality – their dream becoming a tangible place within the dreaming world. To most, this realm is as unknowable as a fleeting daydream, inaccessible to most magics and almost impossible to traverse. However, there are those who spend their lives learning to dive into the Dreamscape and master its many mysteries, known as the dreambound. When not being warped by a dreaming mind, the Dreamscape is a vast flat world of pale violet mists, a soft almost cottony white ground below, twilight skies above, and little else. The Dreamscape is home to a number of strange creatures, the majority of them being Dreamborn creatures – beings born in dreams that remain after the sleeper awakens. However, there are a small number of other intangible outsiders and fantastic beasts native to the world. The Dreamscape offers a great deal of power to those who learn to navigate its streams, but it often becomes a final resting place to those who get lost in its rapids.
The Dreamscape, when not being warped by a dream, has the following traits:
- Eternal Twilight: The Dreamscape is wrapped in a perpetual twilight. The light is pale but beautiful, an ever changing cascade of colors that seems to come from the sky itself. A galaxy of stars and planets can be seen far above the dreaming world, but they add little to the light and are easily lost in the mists as they shift and move. The plane is perpetually in low-light conditions.
- Overwhelming: Living beings were not meant to travel the dreaming world. The Dreamscape is an untamed convergence of thought, each dreamer unconsciously shaping a temporary reality only to have it shatter when they wake. This constant flow of creation and destruction creates a wave of energy that permeates every inch of the Dreamscape. While most travelers are initially unaware of this, the silent maelstrom of energy will slowly erode their essence, weakening their mind and eventually leaving them comatose. The dreambound call this energy the Sapanvar, or Dreamtide. Only native creatures are not affected by this, though a handful of creatures have some natural resistance to its effects. Details on the Dreamtide can be found below.
- Disturbed Dreams: Creatures normally touch upon the Dreamscape when they sleep. Thanks to the Dreamtide, this is impossible while within the Dreamscape. Because of this, travelers here do not dream normally. Instead, their nights are filled with fragments of nearby dreams, a mess of information their mind works hard to form into something resembling a cohesive (if chaotic) dream. This process is tiring on the mind and easily results in restless nights. Non-native creatures traveling on the Dreamscape halve their effective Constitution score when determining the number of nights they can go with reduced sleep or when dealing with losing sleep. See Sleeping for more.
- Nonlinear World: Distance and direction have little meaning in the Dreamscape. While a traveler can navigate within a dream cluster, it’s far from easy. No stable reference points and a regularly shifting landscape make trail signs and other tools a necessity, assuming they don’t get swallowed by a forming dream. However, navigation outside of a planar cluster is exceptionally difficult and moving beyond their edges often causes travelers to become lost, When a traveler exits a dream cluster they have a 50% chance of going the direction they wanted to go, a 30% chance of winding up in a nearby dream cluster in a different direction, a 15% chance of winding up in a random dream cluster on the same plane (not among those nearby them), or a 5% chance of winding up in the Dreamheart or a random dream cluster connected to an entirely different plane.
- Planar Isolation: The Dreamscape is far removed from any other plane, laying on the very edge of Creed’s reality. Because of this, spells that state they function across planar boundaries or tap onto another plane do not function to or from the Dreamscape. Spells and effects that explicitly state they allow such effects with the Dreamscape are an exception to this, as are some incredibly powerful mystical forces, such as the effects of Legendary items or spells (GM discretion).
- Mana Neutral: Although the powers of the Dreamscape can only be properly tapped through dreaming magics, the Dreamscape holds no particular attunement of its own.
- Enhanced Magic: Spells with the dreaming descriptor or that put a creature to sleep are enhanced in the Dreamscape, acting as if their caster level was 2 higher than normal. This bonus applies only once to a spell.
Traveling the Dreamscape
There are four main ways to travel the Dreamscape, each of them providing a deeply distinct experience for the traveler.
Dreaming: Whenever a creature falls asleep, their mind touches the dreamscape and creates a dream. The dreambound simply refer to sleeping creatures as dreamers These dreamers can move only within their dreams and do not realize they’re asleep. While within their dream, the dreaming creature is lost to the whims of their subconscious. Dreamers have power only within their own dream, but they cannot control that power. However, a creature’s true power and their strength within a dream rarely have any correlation – a child may easily dream themselves as a mighty dragon, and a great hero might just as easily dream themselves as a mouse. A dreamer cannot typically be seriously harmed within the Dreamscape – their mind and body are safely on another realm. Most anything that affecting them within their dream fades when they awaken, even effects that would normally instantaneously alter their mind. If a dreamer dies in their dream, they awaken with a hammering heart but are otherwise typically unharmed. There are, however, creatures native to the Dreamscape who can prove a danger to dreamers and some dreaming magics can have lingering (though rarely fatal) effect on dreamers. Dreamers are not subject to any of the planar traits of the Dreamscape, as they remain safely within their own dream.
Lucid Dreaming: A lucid dreamer is any slumbering creature that has realized they’re asleep. Without substantial practice, most sleepers will simply wake up when they realize they’re asleep, though some dreamers achieve this state purely by accident. A lucid dreamer gains some measure of control over their own dreams, able to affect events and even some objects or spaces within their dream. Practiced lucid dreamers can attempt more sweeping changes to their dreams, learning to alter their own form or even the rules of their dreaming world. Lucid dreamers function much like dreamers, they’re simply conscious of their position and able to control their dream to some degree. For additional details, see Lucid Dreaming.
Dreamwalking: A dreamwalker is a being that has mastered lucid dreaming to such a degree that they’ve learned to send their entire mind into the Dreamscape when they fall asleep. Dreamwalkers have far greater control over their dreams than most other lucid dreamers and even have the ability to move out of their own dream and enter the dreams of other nearby creatures. While within a another’s dream, a dreamwalker acts much like their normal self. The dreamwalker’s hit points, ability scores, mana, and all other values are exactly as they were before they fell asleep. Likewise, the dreamwalker retains all their abilities and even gains dreamed equivalents of their normally carried or worn items. However, because these are merely dreamed versions of them, any lingering magics are not with them and their equipment is entirely mundane. Further, the dreamwalker cannot use their normal arms and armor enchantments, as such magics are bound to their body. Because a dreamwalker sends their entire mind into the Dreamscape, they find themselves substantially more vulnerable than other dreamers. Any mana or other abilities the dreamwalker used in the Dreamscape are truly used, and any instantaneous mind-affecting effects remain with the dreamwalker when they awaken. Unlike other dreamers, dreamwalkers find dying while in a dream to be a much more harrowing experience. If a dreamwalker dies in their dream, they must make a DC 10 Will save or die from the sudden mental shock. This DC increases to 20 if they die within the dream of another creature. For additional details, see Dreamwalking.
Physically: The Dreamscape is a very real place for those who enter it body and mind, and death for such a traveler becomes as real and permanent as it is anywhere else. Getting lost in the Dreamscape is incredibly easy for those physically there, and most who enter the realm accidentally or ill-prepared will ultiamtely meet their end there – most of them worn away by the Dreamtide. Fortunately, physically entering the dreamscape is almost impossible. The realm is far removed, most planar magics cannot reach it, and planar pathways to the realm are incredibly few and far between. But, for those who do find themselves physically on the Dreamscape, they find that travel there is much like it is for dreamwalkers. They’re able to travel from dream to dream, they just move through Dreamscape itself rather than leap through nearby minds. Because of this, they can visit the dreams of creatures continents or even worlds away. Unlike any of the other methods of traveling the dreaming world, those physically within the Dreamscape are constantly subject to the planar traits as noted above.
Dreams: The worlds formed by dreaming minds within the Dreamscape. Each dream function by it’s own set of rules and logic, affecting how mana or magic works within it, how gravity functions, how swiftly time moves, or even warping how basic rules of reality normally function – all of which may change as the dream progresses (or as the dreamer wills it, if dealing with a lucid dreamer or a dreamwalker within their own dream). For sample ideas of how a dream may be structured, reference the various traits expressed by the Planes, though it is far from a comprehensive list. A dream exists only as long as the dreamer that made it yet slumbers. When the dreamer who created the dream awakens, the dream bursts. Any others within the dream are awoken along with them (if dreamwalking) or a sent back into the Dreamscape (if physically traveling the dreaming world).
Physically, dreams appear like large swells within the mists of the Dreamscape, faint bits of color, light, and occasionally even images visible within the mists. For uneducated travelers, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a dream and a sleeping fog, which is a horribly dangerous mistake to make. Visiting a dream is a fairly difficult process for dreamwalkers, requiring physical proximity to the dreamer, great amounts of practice, and a steady mind. For those physically within the Dreamscape, visiting a dream is a simple as walking through the mists, usually entering the dream itself within a minute or two of travel. However they enter, Visitors will typically find themselves drawn to where the dream first started or some other important location within. However, given dreams tend to form only what is necessary, they’re rarely far from the world’s dreamer. For instance, a massive mansion in a dream may in truth only have a single room if the entire story so far has unfolded in the parlor.
While entering another’s dream can be easy, exiting is a more difficult process. Exiting a dream requires the visitor make a DC 10 Wisdom check as a 1 round action, focusing their mind and propelling them either back to the waking world, or back out into the Dreamscape if they physically entered the dream. However, if the dreamer does not wish the visitor to depart, or if the visitor is within a particularly emotional or otherwise strong dream (particularly nightmares), this DC increases to 20. Much like casting a spell, if the visitor’s focus would be disrupted while trying to exit, they must succeed on a Concentration check or find their focus lost. These Concentration checks are calculated using their hit dice in place of caster level, their Wisdom modifier as the appropriate mental modifier, and treating the effort as a 10th level spell. Because of these difficulties, those trapped or attacked within a dream often find it sometimes simpler to just kill the dreamer who made it – waking the dreamer up harmlessly and propelling the visitor to safety.
Deep Dreams: Some dreams are can convince visitors that the dream is actually real, the depth of their story is so powerful that it sweeps them them up into their currents. Once caught, the deep dream either makes the rest of the visitor’s life fade away like an old dream or seamlessly melds pieces of their memories into the dream’s stories. Unfortunately, only creatures native to the Dreamscape or those utterly without a mind are able to resist such powerful dreams. Fortunately, such dreams are easily avoided by those walking the Dreamscape, as they appear larger, more turbulent, and more intensely colorful than other dreams. Unfortunately, dreamwalkers gain no such foreknowledge.
Exiting a deep dream is substantially more difficult than a normal dream. The only chance a visitor has to wake up to their reality and escape is presented when they sleep – when their mind fails to connect to the Dreamscape as they normally would and their subconcious tries to uncover the truth. Visitors in a deep dream may only make a Wisdom check to escape when they sleep within the deep dream and even then may only make one check per day. The DC of such a check is typically 20, though it may be lower or higher depending on the dream. Fortunately, if a visitor fails to make this Wisdom check by 5 or less they instead end up awakening to the reality that they’re trapped within a dream. From there, they can continue to try to roll to escape every time they sleep, or they can kill the dreamer and end the dream.
Dream Clusters: The dreams from each individual world gather together on the Dreamscape, forming clusters of dreams from their respective planes. For instance, all of the dreams from Creed gather near one another and stay separate from those of other realms, such as the Elemental Plane of Fire. Within these planar clusters, dreams gather into yet tighter clusters relative to their sleepers location on their world. For instance, all the dreams of the Twin Kingdoms are found near one another on the Dreamscape and to their “West” are the dreams of oceanic creatures and, beyond that, the dreams of Akrekik. Whenever a traveler shifts out of the Dreamscape, they will arrive in an open space somewhere randomly within the real area that created the dream cluster they’re currently within. Given most travelers cannot travel to or from the Dreamscape, this information is typically relevant only to the dreambound.
Sleeping Fogs: The mists of the dreamscape will occasionally become much thicker in an area, as if gathered together by unseen winds. The gathered mists typically form into light fog banks (concealment after 20 feet, total concealment after 300 feet), but can get thick enough to almost entirely block out the world (concealment after 5 feet, total concealment after 10 feet). Thick sleeping fogs look very similar to dreams, easily tricking ill-prepared travelers. Those caught in the fog banks quickly discover why they’re called sleeping fogs. Every minute spent awake in a light fog bank counts as one night of missed sleep, forcing the travelers to make Constitution checks or suffer sleep deprivation. In thicker fog, this process speeds up. In the thickest fog, a mere round spent within can count as a night of missed sleep. Unfortunately, the effects of a sleeping fog are not felt until sleep deprivation begins to set in. See Sleeping for more information.
The Dreamtide: Created by the constant making and unmaking of dreamed realities within the Dreamscape, the dreamtide is a wave of energy that perpetually washes around the dreaming world. While entirely unseen, this energy is destructive to those not meant to withstand it – eroding their essence and their mind. At the conclusion of every day spent on the Dreamscape, any non-native with a Wisdom score must make a Will saving throw (DC 10+the number of days spent on the Dreamscape). Failure indicates that a fragment of the individual’s essence has been worn away, reducing their total mana points by 5% (rounding up, spread as even across all pools as possible, forgetting spells as necessary) and losing an equivalent amount of their memories. If a character fails this check on three concurrent days, they suffer a permanent 1 point reduction to all of their mental ability scores, increasing with each concurrent failure. If a character ever loses 100% of their mana to the Dreamtide, they’ve similarly lost all of their memories. Such characters suffer from complete amnesia and lose the ability to form long term memory. If any of a character’s mental ability scores are ever reduced to zero, they become comatose. Creatures must leave the Dreamscape for as many weeks as they spent days on it to reset this DC. Each week spent off the Dreamscape will additionally restore 5% of a character’s total mana lost to the Dreamtide and an similar amount of their lost memories, and restores 1 ability point to each of their mental ability scores. However, any character who suffered complete amnesia on the Dreamscape will never truly be their former selves ever again. Some memories are lost forever to such individuals and mental breaks are incredibly common, some forever questioning if they aren’t still trapped on the Dreamscape.
Beings of Power are more resilient to the effects of the Dreamtide than other beings. The Dreamtide is fundamentally a wash of mana passing through a creature’s essence,, something such powerful creatures are far more accustomed to. Beings of Power need only check against the effects of the Dreamtide at the conclusion of every week spent on the Dreamscape and the DC only increases once every week. Some Descendants of Power are similarly resistant, only having to check once every two days to a week and having the DC scale at the same rate.
The Nightmare: Nightmares have plagued dreamers for time immemorial. Forged by dark subconscious thoughts or even a failing body, a nightmare is nothing less than a bleeding wound within the mind. Constructs of fear and doubt, nightmares form some of the strongest dreams and many deep dreams that form on the Dreamscape. Sadly, millennia of subconscious-born terrors have given rise to a corruptive force within the dreaming world. The Nightmare, as the dreambound call it, is not a specific location, but a constantly roaming storm that travels unpredictably about the Dreamscape. While it is formed in much the same way as the Dreamtide, the Nightmare moves like a very real storm. Made of black and sickly white mists and howling winds, the Nightmare is a dark hurricane that corrupts every mind it touches and seeps doubt and fear into any dream it passes.
Dreamborn are uniquely vulnerable to the Nightmare, occasionally finding themselves corrupted when exposed to it, becoming nightmares themselves. While some dreamborn will recover from the malady on their own, those of weaker resolve often require outside aid to return to their former selves. Dreamborn already steeped in malice are far more easily warped by the Nightmare and are almost always irreversibly corrupted when exposed. Unsurprisingly, most dreamborn flee the Nightmare’s advance. However, some fight against it – risking their lives to seek out the more vulnerable dreamers within the Nightmare and help them weather the storm.
The Nightmare is roughly 50 miles across and typically travels in a random direction across the Dreamscape at an average of 10 miles per hour (100 feet per round). though it will occasionally sit at rest for days or even weeks at a time. Any dream touched by the the Nightmare has twice the chance of becoming a more emotionally dark dream, potentially turning nightmares into true horrors. When the Nightmare affects the dream of a creature, that creature must succeed on a Will save (DC 20) or act upon their darker inclinations in some way the next day (similar to the Suggestion spell). While this usually has little but social ramifications, it can have dire consequences when worked upon evil creature or a creature with cruel inclinations. At the beginning of every hour a creature spends exposed to the Nightmare – that is, physically within the Nightmare or a dream it’s touched – they must make a Will saving throw (DC 15+the number of hours spent in the Nightmare). Failure indicates that the creature’s mind has been weakened by the dark force, suffering a permanent 1 point reduction to all of their mental ability scores. If a neutral or good aligned dreamborn fails this check for three concurrent hours, they become corrupted by the Nightmare. If an evil aligned dreamborn fails this check even once, they become corrupted. A corrupted dreamborn regains all ability points lost to the Nightmare and gains the Nightmare Creature Template. (See the template for mechanics on how to remove such corruption). Creatures must leave the Nightmare for as many days as they spent hours within it to reset this DC. Each day spent outside the Nightmare restores 1 ability point to each of their mental ability scores lost to the Nightmare’s corruption.
While the Nightmare’s speed, size, and power have fluctuated substantially throughout history, it is believed to have been slowly diminishing for the last hundred years.
Aside from the Dream Clusters, there are few notable locations within the Dreamscape. However, some dreambound have found the dreams of long-slumbering creatures to be of interest, particularly those of great minds or imaginations, or those capable of lucid dreaming during their long rests. Great dragons, ancient elementals, or even creatures locked away within a Stasis spell, all can make for long lasting (albeit technically temporary) dreams of interest. The locations of such fascinating dreams are sometimes shared amongst friendly dreambound, though some are jealously guarded like prized possessions.
- The Dreamheart: The Dreamheart is a dream cluster unlike any other. Containing untold millions of dreams, the cluster is tightly packed and each dream glows strangely, like dying embers. Not connected to any plane, the Dreamheart contains the lingering dreams of creatures who died suddenly in their sleep. Having never woken, their dreams never ended, carrying on an eternal story with what bit of their mind was touching the Dreamscape when they died. Whether the peaceful dreams of a passing elderly, the traumatic dreams of an ill man, or the forlorn dreams of an unborn child – all gather in the Dreamheart. Because the dreams here do not fade away, the Dreamtide is weakened within the Dreamheart, halving the rate at which travelers much check against its effects. How these dreams gather in the Dreamheart is unknown, though many believe it to be a natural phenomenon. Nazena is unaware of how you would plane shift to this location, let alone where you would arrive if you did so.