View Full Version : Encounters in the Dream World

2011-05-18, 12:35 PM
So, in my campaign, I think the PCs are going to have to get information from someone in a state of magical slumber by going into his mind... you get the idea.

This NPC himself isn't hostile to the PCs, but he is going to be at least partially insane, because of an brush with the Far Realm. I'm just sort of drawing a blank on unique encounter ideas for the PCs from the time between when they're inside his mind.

Any ideas? Just please no Inception style dream-within-a-dream sequences. :smalltongue:

2011-05-18, 04:03 PM
If you're going to be playing around with dreams, you need to decide first of all how closely the rules of the dream world mimic the rules of the dream world. Can the PC's consciously control what happens? Can the dreamer? Do the laws of physics work as expected? What about the laws of magic? Deciding this will give you the scope of what you can work with.

Also bear in mind the symbolic nature of dreams. Figure out what motivates the NPC, and what hidden demons may be in his psyche, and you'll have some ideas as to what they should find in his dreams.

For example, this information they want: what is it? What does it mean to the dreamer? Does he know that he knows it? Does he want to keep it secret?

Something he doesn't know he knows (an exchange he witnessed, perhaps, and didn't realize the significance of, or something he once knew and forgot) may take the form of a scavenger hunt - the "clues" may be hidden in plain sight in his dreamscape, waiting for the PC's to realize what they are and collect them, or maybe buried deep so that they have to search for them. If it's something he wants to keep secret, they may have to fight their way past his defenses, which could take the form of monsters to defeat or obstacles to bypass. If it's a painful memory, they may have to talk part of his psyche into revealing it, like coaxing something out of a small child.

One thing occurs to me: you said he's partially insane because of a brush with Something. Did the Something brush back? By which I mean, the PC's are going to be in his mind, fighting or negotiating or searching or devising clever ways into locked rooms (or maybe all of the above), and it's interesting and occasionally frustrating but it's ultimately not real. It's just a dream in someone else's head. But what if there were something else in there with them, and they didn't know it? Something very real, stalking through his dreamscape, left over from the incident that caused him to go insane? Suddenly there's an element of real risk in this for the PC's, as well as a time crunch - they need to get this info and get out, because as soon as this thing realizes they're there, it's going to start hunting them.

The Rose Dragon
2011-05-18, 04:17 PM
You should play Don't Rest Your Head for the dream sequences. It is normally about insomniacs rather than insane dreamers, but it fits quite well for both.

2011-05-18, 04:33 PM
I like playing with gravity. The PCs enter the a very high chamber (more like a vertical tunnel, really), and then inexplicably start falling up. You can stage a fight in this room, where they must gain control of the gravity orb before crashing into the ceiling. Control of the orb would allow them to reach a door in the center of the room. A spell/effect that lets the PC fly should be allowed with some complications of your choosing.

Since you mention the Far Realm, pull a HP Lovecraft book out of the library and page through some of the descriptions. Possibly my favorite description is from Call of Cthulhu, where he describes an area with the simple words, "The geometry was all wrong." That leaves it up to your PCs imagination to fill in the details, which is what a dream world is all about!

Mirrors that do not reflect light.

You can do this with everything- look at anything you see on a daily basis, and ask, "what if it didn't do what it always does?" Chalk that writes bizarre messages to you. Doors that you can only pass through when they are closed. Trees growing from the ceiling. Maddening books for which the text disappears while you read it. Rather uncomfortable chairs. Boats that cannot sail in the wind. Clubs that cut ropes.

2011-05-18, 06:21 PM
One evil dream sequence I ran from a published source (HERO System I think) was a prison the players had to enter to break someone out of. When they enter the prison they find themselves in what appears to be a cube they're flying/floating in. There is a portal on each of the cube's six walls. Their quarry appears to be sitting on each of the cube's other five walls as well. All 5 appear to be hostile

The portals in the floor and ceiling cannot be entered. Of course figuring out which portals those are is not immediately obvious. All of the walls\floors\ceilings are identical. All of the usual "escape" mechanics (teleportation, tunneling, extra-dimensional movement, that sort of thing) fails -- this is a magic prison, after all.

At first (before anybody goes through a portal) the party can physically interact with each other but not the 5 copies of their quarry; everyone can see/hear/communicate with everyone. In HERO mental powers work on everyone (because of the mechanics, you'd need to rebalance this for your world), and naturally the 5 copies of their quarry have them.

Hillarity ensues.

The prison is the inside of a d6, with six rooms existing in the same space/overlapping the inside of the cube. You can only physically interact with someone in the same room.

Naturally 4 of those 5 copies are fakes\dopplegangers. Which one is real? The last one standing, obviously :smallcool: