View Full Version : SAND, the Game of Dreams

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2010-04-24, 07:48 PM
The following is SAND, a new RPG project centered around the concept of dreams, dreaming, and the consequences, dangers, and joys thereof.

It represents my attempt to bring the themes of the dream-worlds we create for ourselves to (quite literally), the table, and it is my hope you will judge it a success.

Chapter One


Sand is a role-playing game about dreams.
This is, self-evidently, the short version. The longer version is that it is a pretentious product of latter-generation game design; the result of late nights, dreams good and bad, and a saturation of material about insomnia and insanity.
It is my considered hope that you will enjoy Sand, as a tool for stories, as a game, as an opportunity for cleverness. I have enjoyed creating it, and playing and reading the many other works that went into it.
To acknowledge these sources, briefly- I owe a deep debt to Wraith: the Oblivion, another fine product from our friends at White Wolf; and I owe a goodly many hours of pleasure to Neil Gaiman's much-touted, but still deserving, Sandman, and Alan Moore's height of didactism, Promethea. Ultimately, however, this game owes its origin to the serpents and moments of flight that sleep has seen fit to bring me.
Sleep well.

Table Of Contents

Lucid Dreamers, an explanation of what the players portray

Character creation, an explanation of the process by which said dreamers define their powers

Images, the essence of the powers so defined

Inspirations, those malevolent ideas a lucid dreamer must combat

Multiples, invasive dreams that threaten sanity

Shadows, enemies from within

Immersion, the reality of dreams

Use of images, the method by which these various enemies may be fought


Or, who are you, who are we

Within the ordinary world of waking, we can still recognize the echoes of our night-time visions; in the scent of a lover, in the feel of insects passing across the skin, we discern the shadows of our nocturnal imaginations. Even as we walk in the sun, we are still, fundamentally, as humans, dreamers.
Some more than most.

One day, you went to sleep, and realized where you were- within a dream. Accordingly, you spread your wings to fly; the manipulation of those images your sleeping mind chose to birth became as second nature. Night became a time of perfect and unfettered choice.
Until something appeared that you did not choose.

Out of the corner of your eye, a butterfly, or a crucifix, or the smell of rain; beyond your control, from outside yourself. The horror of invasion and infection could have frozen your heart. You might have died in your sleep.
Or you might have woken, to speak and walk and love, with, behind your eyes, a maelstrom of butterflies. Instead you became something you were and were not, before.

A Lucid Dreamer.

Past the wit of man

As a lucid dreamer, you interact with your unconscious in a way most people do not understand, and indeed, may well fear; this attitude is not without a certain reasonable basis.
You are capable of manipulating your own dreams, granting yourself abilities beyond those of your waking self, summoning up memories and thoughts by your lonely will to aid you and hinder your phantom enemies. If your abilities stopped there, you would be merely fortunate, rather than heroic.
However, in this latter age of the unconscious, not all of your foes are entirely phantasmal, nor do they content themselves with inhabiting the realms from which they spring. Hostile memes are on the wind, embedded in the advertiser's screed, in the white noise of urban life and the hum of the high-tension wire. Most of all, however, they invade dreams not their own. In consequence of which, you do the same, hopping from your own dreamscape into the sleeping minds of neighbors, friends and strangers.
There you do battle with entities ancient and modern, actively malevolent and mindlessly acquisitive; your waking life, a pale imitation of this war. You are exposed to dangers in accordance with your newfound power- dangers to your identity, your memory, your sanity. There is no gift that is entirely without price, in any life.

Beneath your feet

An unarmed mind, of course, would not stand a chance in such environs as the modern dream. You are, luckily, not unarmed. Your weapons are Images, the retained contents of your own dreams and imagination. These images are defined by their Form, what they appear to be, the Intent with which they are invested, and the Origin from which they spring.
As a newborn hero, you possess seven images, in addition to your Persona, the image of identity. Your Persona is, at first, how you wish you were; steadily, you may reveal how you are; and, at last, you can peal away desire and doubt to reveal what you should be, the essential Archetype that underlies identity. Let the dreamer beware, however; an Archetype is no mere quiescent idea- it has its own agenda, and though it will preserve its host, your own good self, its decisions will not always accord with your own.
Most images are nouns, in short; people, places, and things you carry with you. This is by no means the final limit, however; particular actions, even those only dreams will support, are images as well. So, too, are sensory impressions, or strong emotion. Imagination is virtually the only limit on the content of an image.
In the waking world, you usually have no access to your images, and are far more vulnerable to attack; you are more likely to succeed if you act in concert with your persona, but otherwise you will succeed or fail on the merits. The most powerful dreamers can bring their images forth into reality itself; to do so, however, is to make your enemies as real, and as flesh-and-blood dangerous, as your tools, risking not just madness, but mutilation and death of the most terrifying sort.
Nonetheless, from time to time the chance must be taken; you are, after all, the only protectors of the unconscious realm. You are the sentry on the walls of the land of nod.
You are the last hope.

To put matters in more concrete terms:

Before you assign heroic characteristics, define your waking self. This is a simple process- define a concept, one or more areas of expertise, an equal number of areas of weakness, and, optionally, habits and compulsions.

As a starting hero, you and your shadow both begin with seven (7) images. For each of these images, define:

I:Form- how it looks, and/or what it is; your father's favorite tie, the smell of popcorn, running so fast you can leap the grand canyon, the way you felt when your dog got run over. Form defines many of the limits of an image, and is the least mutable aspect thereof.

II:Intent- what it does, what you want it to do. The scent of blood can enrage, bring joy, or cause sorrow- form and intent are not intrinsically linked. Intent can be changed more easily than form, but an image used in concert with its intent will be more potent than one used in opposition.

III:Origin- where it comes from, how you obtained it. Some images, particularly the more fantastical, originate in dreams; some originate in memories of the past, or fears or hopes for the future. An image's origin is an associative door through which both you and your opponent may strengthen or weaken an image, and, like intent, an image used in concert with its origin is more potent.

Your Persona is the most powerful image at your disposal, not merely a tool, but a facet of yourself.

It has the same attributes as a more ordinary image- a Form, an Intent, and an Origin.

These decisions are weightier with regard to your persona, however, because your persona is your identity within the world of dream.

The attributes of your Persona are things from which you cannot be divided, facets of self on a deeper level. They are correspondingly more powerful- especially as your persona begins its transformation into Archetype- than your other tools and pet impressions.

This power is not without its disadvantages, however; should your persona be changed, infiltrated, or infected, your very self will be correspondingly changed.

The loss of identity is among the most fearful dangers facing a lucid dreamer.

Your persona may be similar to your flesh-world body; it may be entirely dissimilar, of a different gender, a different age, or even a more monstrous difference.

Lucid dreamers, spending their time among landscapes of fantasy and mythography, often take on the forms of myths or dream-creatures in either defense, or desire.

A Persona is a mask, but it is also entirely true.

Dramatis Personae

Some examples of Personae:

The Forest-walker
FORM seems only vaguely human; a shifting mass of shadows and sunbeams, tinged green as if seen through leaves, forming ephemeral limbs and half-glimpsed faces.
INTENT is of the gentlest sort, enfolding and cradling like a bed of moss. The central purpose of the forest-walker is to conceal and to comfort.
ORIGIN lies in memories, of considerable distance; of days spent running away from troubles into the woods, where wait brooks and streams and silence.

The Blind Man
FORM nearly identical to the dreamer himself, save only that in place of eyes, two blackened pits stare out, of startling depth.
INTENT is as bleak as appearance, to fascinate and entrance, drawing forth those who meet the eyeless gaze to hold them, for all time.
ORIGIN is unacknowledged, two figures, voices raised- wishing not to see.

Their Fair lady
FORM is feminine, cartoonishly exaggerated; breasts full and high, legs spider-like in their extension. Like the willendorf venus, the face is smoothed to a featureless sheen, pale as ivory.
INTENT is to inspire love and confirm identity; to cast aside the expectations of others as to form and grasp a mystery flesh would not allow to be inborn.
ORIGIN is in an accident of birth, a history of cruel jests and half-measures, and a certain lack of courage.


Some examples of Images:

Walking on Air
FORM: with every step, you bound ten feet forward, floating and gliding over the earth; you can't quite fly...yet.
INTENT: freedom from all strictures.
ORIGIN: within your dreams, and there alone.

The Eel
FORM: an eel, or a serpent; twining through windows and across floors, graceful and perilous.
INTENT: infiltration, stealth, a hidden path; never to be seen or heard.
ORIGIN: certain matters better left unsaid- certain shames linked to the flesh.

Smell of Blood
FORM: the scent, the taste of one's own blood, from a split lip or a cut above the eye.
INTENT: to bring shame, fear, and disgust.
ORIGIN: once a gesture of defiance led to reciprocal violence- born in youth, remembered in age.

FORM: a house, creaking chairs on a porch; closets, kitchens, bedrooms.
INTENT: to provide a haven from the dangers of an uncertain world.
ORIGIN: all the earliest years of one's life.

Chapter Two

Or, who are they, whom we fight

Nightmares are commonplace things. Images of fear are more disturbing than dangerous. More deadly, by far, are pleasant dreams. Dreams from which we do not wish to awake; that stifle ambition, placate desire, and ultimately smother will.

Some do so from active evil intent, seeking to bring forth their dark dominion once more one earth- these are Inspirations, the overlords of the shadowlands of dream.

Other dreams, no less dangerous, seek only to duplicate themselves, much as any other form of life; they are the beasts that gnaw the bones left by inspirational conquest, and scrabble at the gates of the crystal cities of the mind. Such beasts supplant the native mind, twisting it into an incomplete thing, wholly consumed by their cancerous identity. Such are Multiples.

These dreams are the proper foes of the Lucid, though not the only ones. All things are dangerous and beneficent by turns in the lands of sleep.

The defense of the dream is a battle without end, a war without inception or hope of final victory.

The barbarians are forever at the gates.

Unless First

In the opening years of this century, several murders were carried out by an otherwise unremarkable schoolteacher; hearts were taken and burned in each case. Upon his apprehension, the gentleman in question was found to be cogent, and, apparently, sane, saving only that his remarks concerned nothing but profound, moving dreams of this world being the fifth in a line of similar planets, now vanished. It was his belief that the deaths he had caused were necessary.

A considerable period in the past, the selfsame dream took hold of a greater number, unopposed; the result being the empire whose heart lies buried at Tenochtitlán.

This is an example of an Inspiration, and the root of nearly all mankind's convictions regarding the will of gods and spirits; previous generations of dreamers termed these same creatures 'the dreams imperial', for their tendency to seek temporal power.
It may at first seem illogical for a creature of the unconscious to seek power and agency in the waking world- until one recalls that Inspirations, almost without exception, regard the separation between the two as both unnatural and reversible. In the event that mankind can be shackled in service to the idea, divorced from reason and waking, the dreamtime- so believe the Inspirations- can return.

This may not be entirely true, on balance; however, belief has its own power in the dreamtime, and the armies of beguiling are beyond number, more than sufficient to create, should they succeed, their own reality.

Inspirations are, in circles with knowledge of their existence, generally sorted by the particular appeal they dangle before their victims to gain acquiescence.
Of these categories, the most potent are the theocrats, who take upon themselves the mantle of divinity; the facets of theocratic appeal are many, from the comfort of authority, to the paternalistic love of a personal god and the accompanying self-aggrandizement. Most of all, however, theocrats feed on the tradition of faith; preying, to a greater or lesser extent, on entire extended families. This guaranteed source of pawns is what grants them their edge over their fellows.

As fearsome as theocrats, but of a gentler semblance, are the erotics, who make use of the desires that the flesh cannot satisfy; warping the body into the sexual ideal the waking self longs for, and granting it those pleasures it could not possibly indulge outside of the dream. These pleasures may, of themselves, be less directly dangerous than the unreasoning allegiance demanding by the gods, but the loss of connection to the truths of the body is one more step toward sleeping oblivion for mankind.

Beyond these two foremost nobilities of nightmare, various splinter groups, based around hunger, material wealth, or the want of power; indeed, Inspirations exist who dangle lures as obscure as childhood dogs. None, however, match the comfort of divine interest, or the pleasures of sexualized desire.

Inspirations are a profound danger to dreamers; they are organized, and more intelligent than most of humanity, capable of concerted activity to destroy those they perceive as threats. Many ancient accounts of hell as a place of parliments, principalities, and councils are based around confused impressions of Inspirational armies.

We are Such Stuff

In contrast to the malice of Inspirations are the behaviors common to Multiples, the lower life of the unconscious realms; they inhabit a twilit realm between instinct and intelligence- less than men, more than beasts. This dichotomy, however, has not instilled anything recognizable as scruple.

Multiples are madness personified; dreams so far beyond the experiences of the waking world that they can only come from outside. Outside the mind that experiences them- and outside of all the worlds humanity has come to know.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft, a noted (though not uncontroversial) lucid of his day, finally fell in combat with the multiples he had spent his life documenting; the aftermath of his demise being a reality incursion sufficiently severe to wipe his home town of Innsmouth from the face of the earth, rendering it retroactively fictional.

The horror of the multiple dream, to give them their full title, is twofold; first, they relate to dreamers not as pawns to be manipulated, but as food to be consumed; a dreamer who fails in battle with an Inspiration may yet be saved, but one who is consumed by multiples, in whole or in part, is at best disturbed and forever changed, and at worst, a hollow shell, spewing forth the chosen image of their body's true inhabitant.

The second facet of multiple incursions that, in a world rich in ironies, keeps lucids awake at night, is their native subtlety. Generally speaking, a multiple dream is entirely contained within a single motif- a recurring object, impression, or event. Multiples are generally categorized by the type of repeated stimulus in which they are embodied.

Multiples linked to a visual image or object are called glimmers, not without reason, since light patterns are in fact a common carrier of their taint. These are among the easiest to combat, since the removal or significant change of the image, including iteration, is sufficient to drive the intruder out.

Those linked to a recurring action are known as tics, and are considerably more difficult to destroy; frequently, they are not even detected until much too late, when it becomes apparent that a persistent habit is rooted not within, but without the psyche.

Recurring event linkages are usually known as flashbacks, as this is the impression they produced upon the observer. Time within the dreamscape being what it is, they are nearly as subtle as their brethren; however, differing reactions to multiple repetitions of the event seem to harm the creatures, causing the loop to gradually decay.

Even with all the knowledge dreamers of today possess with regard to the wolves of dream, infection is still a distinct possibility; more than one seemingly invincible warrior of image has been felled by a tune they couldn't get out of their head.

Our precious diamonds

Beside external threats to agency and sanity, all dreamers must eventually face an enemy within- their shadow. While the concept of an unacknowledged portion of the self must be regarded as an ancient one- talk of inner demons is nothing new- our modern age has provided unprecedented avenues for the expression of this other self.

In our responses to the honeyed messages of advertisers and politicians, which enter into our minds each day and hour without notice, through the corner of the eye.

In the electron highways, where a thousand thousand other identities are tried, discarded, modified, reiterated, made whole again.

In the justified fears of people living in a world on the edge of oblivion by nuclear, chemical, or biological means.

There are a thousand doorways, today, for the entrance of the shadow.

Dreamers fear shadows because they are one of the few opponents capable of challenging them on precisely even terms; shadows possess their own stock of images, and, as fellow-travelers in a dreamer's form, they have full access to the dreamer's immersion, albeit not without effort.

The other aspect of shadows that breeds fear in the dreaming population is their alien nature; they are, though internal, possessed of their own will and purpose, almost always at odds with the ends of the primary mind.

Shadows also represent a potential weak point for unwary lucids; the shadow is as susceptible to infection by multiples as any other dreaming being, and as capable of being suborned by (or even, in some cases, making alliance with) inspirations.

Only unremitting vigilance, and, ultimately, a coming to terms, can make the shadow anything less than a downfall in waiting.

A Strange and beautiful Flower

Though beleaguered by many foes, a dreamer is not, essentially, a warrior in the most traditional sense; any use of their most potent weapons leaves a dreamer vulnerable after the fact, so that most seek to exist primarily as travelers and observers.

The reason for this reticence is immersion, and the loss thereof; immersion results from treating a dream as reality, and is lost by treating a dream as the malleable thing a dreamer may know it to be.

With insufficient immersion, a dreamer's conviction is insufficient to make use of their images and other abilities is insufficient to the tasks they undertake.

With too much, however, a dreamer may never emerge from the dream in which they are traveling; the reality they have accepted becomes the only one in which they may move.

To state matters with more precision:
In any scene- a scene being here defined as a sequence of events in roughly the same location, or related thematically- in which a character treats the dream they are moving through as entirely real, obeying all of its laws and using only the basic capabilities of their persona, or iteration of images, that character gains a point of immersion.

One point of immersion is sufficient to:

Warp a single image for the duration of a scene.
Put forth a dictum that will hold true for the same duration.
Insert an image, which will abide until warped or iterated into another form.
Reverse the effects of these same actions for the duration of a scene.
Immediately move to a deeper symbolic level, abandoning the present dream's form, though not necessarily escaping all danger.

Characters also begin each session with immersion points equal to their images (usually seven).

On the opposite side of the equation, a character who treats a dream as malleable, unreal, and ephemeral gains a degree of resistance to that dream, and is therefore able to ignore effects that would ensnare a more immersed dreamer.

When a character moves through a scene freely making use of their powers to warp and insert, and otherwise manipulate and change a dream, they grow more convinced of the essential truth of the waking world; they gain grounding.

While grounding makes a dreamer less able to lay their will upon the dreamscape, it also render them considerably more resilient to the hostile effects of images.

For purposes of arbitration:
In any scene where a character acts in such a way that they do not gain immersion, denying the reality of the dream, they gain one point of grounding.

This point can be spent to:

Ignore the effects of an attempt to warp the character's persona or images.
Ignore an inserted image, effectively rendering it not present within the dream.
Immediately awaken, abandoning the dreamscape; in most cases, this leaves all enemies behind.

In the first case, the initiator of the warping attempt does not have to spend a point of immersion if they do not repeat the attempt in the same way on the same image- as if the attempt never happened.

The Center of Every Man

A lucid's images are their most precious possessions for many reasons- to some, they are mere playthings, pleasant things used to provide a congenial atmosphere wherever their minds may travel.

To a dreamer encountering one of the antagonistic forces we have recently described, however, images are far more important; it is the use of images that is the only way in which dreams can be fought.

The three methods that can be used to bring forth or manipulate images are as follows:

First, warping, the movement from one image to another, perhaps unrelated image, in sensory stages; this requires immersion, and can only be used to manipulate form.

Warping attempts generally rely on similarities of texture, shape, appearance, or scent to provide the transition; there must always be some congruence between the result and the origin.
An apple could become a lump of bloodied meat, both bright crimson- and an apple could become a pear- both fruits, similar in character- but turning an apple into a small dog is beyond the powers of warping, at least in one transition.
Over the course of a scene, characters can bring images through as many transitions as is reasonable, though others inhabiting the dream may reverse or change the course of warping to suit their own ends; when a warping attempt is countered in this way, an additional point of immersion must be spent.

The second of the two disruptive uses of images- that is, those that require immersion- is insertion, which can be enormously blatant or entirely subtle, depending upon the skill with which it is used.

Insertion simply brings forth an exemplar of one of the dreamer's images, in a place of their choosing within the dreamscape; the precise details of the image are typical of its appearance within the dreamer's own mind, though subsequent warping can sometimes cause it to fit in more seamlessly- if this is done, the character can interact with the image without gaining grounding.

Because insertion brings forth images entire, and in the ideal form the dreamer originally conceived them in, it is usually considered most useful for summoning weapons, havens, or means of escape- it is the most reliable method of doing so.

The third art, which is sometimes referred to, portentously, as the true art of the dreamer, is iteration, the only non-disruptive means of manipulating images.

When an image is iterated, its form or intent is changed in accord with the meanings of the image, on a symbolic or philosophic level; for instance, a flower could become a seed, from which all flowers ultimately spring, and that seed could in turn become a zygote, the seed of life, which can then be iterated into the sensation of desire, the prerequisite, in most cases, of the formation of such zygotic matter.

Iteration is an enormously potent tool, but has its dangers; most images have multiple meanings, some hostile to the intention of the original iterator, and poor reasoning can cause an iteration to fail, falling in upon itself.
Iteration does not require the dreamer to expend immersion to enable its use.

All of the above means can be used by inspirations and multiples as well as dreamers; the number of points of immersion to which such a creature has access can be used to gauge its relative threat, although a clever dreamer can defeat a much more powerful antagonist on occasion.

The shadow can also make use of some of these techniques, and has its own seven images to do so with, and gains immersion whenever the character does. The shadow can use this immersion at any time to advance its agenda; the character can make use of a shadow's powers by making a bargain.
This bargain requires, at minimum, granting the shadow a single point of immersion from the character's own store, creating an imbalance of power the dreamer would be unwise to leave be.
Shadows do have one weakness; as fragments, not whole psyches, they cannot make use of iteration.
In game terms, the Shadow, it should be noted, is under control of its player; however, players who abuse the shadow to gain 'free' power are working against the spirit of the game and should be treated accordingly.

In addition to use of images, as a use of their grasp of dream-logic, a dreamer can lay down a dictum, a simple prohibition or rule that must be held true for all parties unless erased by an effort of will. A dictum cannot be designed in such a way as to destroy an opponent directly, and the scope of this power is quite limited- more or less to nonsensical or trivial matters.

The dreamer, as well as his opponents, must act in accordance with the dictum for the duration of the scene in which it was brought forth; failure to do so erases a point of immersion, and may have other consequences depending on the nature of the dictum.

As they usually already operate according to incomprehensible private rules, inspirations and multiples are not capable of bringing forth a dictum.

In Dream 'combat', all of the above uses of image have their place; as both Multiples and Inspirations are essentially made up of dreamstuff- that is, Images- they are uniquely and inherently vulnerable to the weapons of dreamers.

To state the matter in more detail- opponents are generally defeated by either twisting their images sufficiently that they lose their essential meaning, or by trapping them in a dream-prison from which they cannot, within the logic of the dream, escape.
The first case, that of recontextualizing, is usual, but impermanent- sentient images will eventually re-assert their preferred forms. A logic-prison, however, can be used to permanently cage a dream-foe.


Combat, and indeed, all actions, are considerably simpler in the waking world.

If an action falls under a character's expertise, they succeed, unless there is a strong reason they should not. In the event of such strong opposition, a point of immersion or grounding can be spent to succeed- that is, to narrate the course of events.

If an action falls under the character's weaknesses, they fail- unless, again, they spend a point of immersion or grounding, or unless they are receiving potent assistance from some quarter.

Most of the action in a game of sand, however, takes place within dreams.

2010-04-24, 08:03 PM
I like it. I eagerly await more.

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2010-04-24, 08:13 PM
I like it. I eagerly await more.

The next chapter (should be out around Tuesday) is mainly an expansion on antagonists- for instance, Inspirations, malevolent ideas, were the basis of Aztec religion, while Multiples, invasive dreams, cause schizophrenic hallucinations.
You also have your Shadow, the antagonist within- your own hidden agenda, in short, with images of its own, controlled by another player for added mysteriousness and danger.

It also contains the basics of the 'combat' system, which is based around three concepts: warping, iteration, and insertion.
Insertion is forcibly pushing an image your character has into the dream you're in; an emergency measure, though it can be better integrated if it fits the dreamscape (an image of food at a dream of a banquet, for instance).

Warping is changing one image into another, more or less unrelated image, in sensory stages- water turns to wine turns to blood is a sequence of warping actions.

Both of the above deny the reality of the dream, and cause you to lose immersion, your action currency within the game, to a greater or lesser degree.

Iteration, on the other hand, is the transformation of images into their symbolic basis or equivalent; a sword to a serpent to the world tree is a sequence of iterations.
Iterations are subjective, to a degree; the important thing is that it makes sense, and your character believes the symbolic equivalence is there.

Because iteration confirms the symbolic reality of the dream, it not only does not cost immersion, it can grant it.

That's the basics; still roughing out the best way to phrase them, and working on the presentation.

2010-04-24, 08:18 PM
This is looking very interesting. Definitely keeping an eye on it. Keep up the good work.

Jack of Spades
2010-04-24, 09:15 PM
My immediate reaction is to think of the Fade in the Dragon Age series: It has that same "The Boogeymen in your dreams want to kill you!" vibe going. However, after having read through the text, it appears that this will be much more interesting than the Fade. It will be very interesting to see this put into numbers and equations.

EDIT: I must ask: Is there a Sand-Man in this game?

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2010-04-24, 09:36 PM
My immediate reaction is to think of the Fade in the Dragon Age series: It has that same "The Boogeymen in your dreams want to kill you!" vibe going. However, after having read through the text, it appears that this will be much more interesting than the Fade. It will be very interesting to see this put into numbers and equations.

EDIT: I must ask: Is there a Sand-Man in this game?
Not just a Sand-man; there's likely to be a goodly number.
Children's songs and books and rhymes have a twofold power- they're encountered early in life, and they're oft-repeated, catchy: you 'can't get them out of your head'.

It's no surprise, therefore, if some dreamers choose to take the form of a Sand-man of one sort of another- and no surprise if some memes choose to do the same.

Jack of Spades
2010-04-24, 10:52 PM
Children's songs and books and rhymes have a twofold power- they're encountered early in life, and they're oft-repeated, catchy: you 'can't get them out of your head'.

It's no surprise, therefore, if some dreamers choose to take the form of a Sand-man of one sort of another- and no surprise if some memes choose to do the same.

Oh no, please tell me there won't be a Rickrolling goatse who herd you leik mudkips and wants to know how babby is formed...

On to seriousness: Which form of dream-based psychology will you be basing this most on? I mean, with the subconscious and especially dreaming being a topic of discussion for every form of psychology, it'd be easy to get lost in the differing stories.

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2010-04-24, 11:55 PM
Oh no, please tell me there won't be a Rickrolling goatse who herd you leik mudkips and wants to know how babby is formed...

On to seriousness: Which form of dream-based psychology will you be basing this most on? I mean, with the subconscious and especially dreaming being a topic of discussion for every form of psychology, it'd be easy to get lost in the differing stories.

No, no; these are memes in their original sense- ideas that act like living things, passing themselves on from mind to mind.
This isn't to say some of them aren't banal, or even comedic; but if you don't find memes more scary than otherwise, you aren't paying attention.

As to what form; as to terminology, I'm stealing from Jung because he's recognisable.
As to the actual theoretical underpinning, there isn't one- because that would put undue restriction on the design, and because 'dream theory', for the most part, is a discredited branch of psychological practice.

2010-04-25, 12:24 AM
Watching this project eagerly.

2010-04-25, 01:08 AM
I've always wanted to teach myself to lucid dream. Absolute control over reality for a short time seems like a good deal. Anyone a lucid dreamer here?

This smacks somewhat of Nobilis, in style if not in setting. Any relation there, Shiny?

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2010-04-25, 04:12 AM
I've always wanted to teach myself to lucid dream. Absolute control over reality for a short time seems like a good deal. Anyone a lucid dreamer here?

This smacks somewhat of Nobilis, in style if not in setting. Any relation there, Shiny?
Stylistically, sure.
I'm not as classy as Nobilis, graphic-design wise, but it's by no means my least favorite game- unabashedly erudite, very very different.
We're trying to do similar things, I guess you could say, though I'm not sure we're going about it the same way.

2010-05-05, 10:23 AM
This is one of the most interesting systems I have ever come across.

Keep up the good work.


Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2010-05-31, 12:23 AM

Moving on: the first post now contains any and all relevant rules and setting information, more or less, and the game is now ready for playtesting (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8597582#post8597582).

2010-05-31, 09:29 AM
Just wondering, as long as you have enough immersion to keep you in the dream. Can you use it to deny the reality of the dream and do unrealistic things. e.g. could you burn a point of immersion to run up a wall, send an opponent flying 30ft backwards, or even fly?

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2010-05-31, 10:02 AM
Just wondering, as long as you have enough immersion to keep you in the dream. Can you use it to deny the reality of the dream and do unrealistic things. e.g. could you burn a point of immersion to run up a wall, send an opponent flying 30ft backwards, or even fly?
If that were one of your images, yes, you could so something like that- which would be Insertion, and costs Immersion as usual.

In the event you don't have an appropriate image, then you could attempt to do so by, in essence, warping your persona- probably in stages. This would, again, cost Immersion as usual.

If it were part of the dream itself- the dream's rules stipulate lower gravity, for instance- then you don't need to spend Immersion, and in fact you gain it for 'playing along'.

2010-05-31, 10:19 AM
ok, thanks for the clarification.

Also, could you give some examples of dictums, I get the jist but I'm unsure as to there limits or excact functions.

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2010-05-31, 05:18 PM
ok, thanks for the clarification.

Also, could you give some examples of dictums, I get the jist but I'm unsure as to there limits or excact functions.

The most famous dictum is the one concerning cracks and one's mother's spine.

Basically, they're along the lines of things a fairy wife tells you never to do: don't open this box, always say your prayers before you go to sleep.

As to limits: you have to have a rationale for the dictum (your mother's vulnerable back, your wife leaving, god's wrath) and the dictum can be attacked through that- loopholes and so forth.
As well, it's generally just a single proscription (don't do this) or prescription (do this), not a broad principle or more than one rule.

Plus, right there in the text: nonsensical or trivial matters.
And of course, you have to follow it as well.

As well, only dreamers can create them, but once created, they are essentially dream-objects subject to the usual rules.

Usually, it's a delaying tactic.

Chainsaw Hobbit
2010-06-04, 07:40 PM
This is great, are you going to wright more? (please do so in return for me saving your thread)