View Full Version : Dreams, the unconscious mind and warped reality...

2006-12-14, 07:45 AM
I'm a great fan of Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics, and of speculation into unreal worlds in general... so I was wondering if anyone knows of a roleplaying system that makes use of the ideas of a 'dreamland' otherworld, with reality in general far more fluid than set combat and a magic system.
Any ideas?

Grey Knight
2006-12-14, 02:17 PM
I don't think this is quite what you're looking for, but part of the SRD talks about different planar mechanics (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/planes.htm), including planes with subjective timeflow, gravity, and planes where even the basic physical traits depend on your point of view. You might get some ideas from there, maybe.

Emperor Tippy
2006-12-14, 02:21 PM
Ask the Vorpal Tribble. He does a lot of dream related campaigns and creatures so he may be able to help you.

2006-12-14, 02:49 PM
Yes, I think the planes can get you where you want, and a lot of good description. You need to really tell your gamers that they are not somewhere where the ground is white and soft, and trees are yellow, not green (all the time), but in a land with a totally warped reality. Maybe split them up, and let them encounter things they will have to tell the others, and everyone had his/her own world, maybe depending on his/her point of view and outlook.

2006-12-15, 12:23 AM
Start with the Shadow Plane. I find it is a lot like Gaiman's Mirrormask. The Planar's handbook has a bit on it, but there is a lot of room to create your own world there. Anyway, you can even create your own planes, and demi-planes if you want. The rules are general to allow full creative genius to the DM.

2006-12-15, 12:31 AM
Heroes of Horror has some stuff on running dreams that you might be able to use, too.

2006-12-15, 12:46 AM
Somewhere in the Planar Handbook it actually describes the plane of dreams. If you want to make a more fluid magic system, try using the spell-point and vitalization rules while characters are in dream time. These rules IIRC are on d20srd.org

Grey Knight
2006-12-15, 01:35 AM
Here are dreamscape (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/dreamscape.htm) (epic spell) and dream travel (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/dreamTravel.htm) (psionic power). You might also be interested in the variant sanity (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/campaigns/sanity.htm) rules? Make your choice.

2006-12-15, 10:13 PM
A lot of WoD (notably "Werewolf", "Mage" and "Fey") had elements of dreamworlds/dreamtimes, while "In Nomine" basically copypasta'ed Gaiman's Dreaming as a refuge for forgotten gods and an area for the Angel of Dreams and the Demon of Nightmares to fight it out in. There were also "Grimm" and "Puppetland" which, AFAIK, played with the dreamlike conventions of fairytale and 'living toy' stories.

Quite a few 90s games like "Over the Edge" played with perceptions of reality, as does the freeware "There Is No Spoon" Matrix RPG (which can be adapted to a fantastical matrixworld).

2006-12-15, 10:20 PM
The Wheel of Time campaign setting also has a dreamworld.

2006-12-15, 10:25 PM
The only real dreamworld is Call of Cthulhu's Dreamlands. Not very dreamlike, admittedly - mostly just fantastic.

Shadow of the Sun
2006-12-15, 11:08 PM
You could make it that the villain is actually just a hyperpowerful sorcerer/wizard cursed to an endless sleep, but his dreams are warping reality- a way for his magic to escape, as it were.

2006-12-15, 11:09 PM
Well there is a varient Plane of Dreams that I like.Manual of the Planes page 202 has what you might be looking for. I even created a Dreamteller Expert if you are interested PM me(OGC only).

2006-12-16, 05:24 PM
Dal Quor always exists as an alternate, although the plane as given is too hostile to actually campaign in effectively. At least if you get out of a person's dreams to the actual plane. With quori.

2006-12-16, 11:46 PM
I've found the old World of Darkness' Changeling: The Dreaming and Mage: The Ascension fit the idea of a reality-fluid dreamland perfectly - especially considering Sandman could be considered a decent influence on anyone running those games.

Noblis, while not a dreamland game per se, would be up there in the "reality is fluid" sort of games, as would the newer Mage game, Mage: the Awakening.

The Fair Folk supplement for Exalted was also a good "dreamlandy" book.

The Vorpal Tribble
2007-01-30, 06:59 PM
Hyperconscious (http://www.montecook.com/mpress_Hyper.html)' adventure and materials is fantastic and entirely dream-based.

2007-01-30, 07:10 PM
Don't know if you're into that kind of thing, but Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series has a very developed dreamword, Tel'aran'rhiod.

Most people in the Wheel of Time can only touch the dreamworld fleetingly, but Dreamers (who are often magic users, but not always) can go there when they sleep. Reality in Tel'aran'rhiod is fluid and can be shaped, but any harm you suffer there happens for real. If you die in the World of Dreams, you don't wake up.

Another interesting point is that strength in Tel'aran'rhiod is completely different from skill at arms or magical power. So, in D&D terms, this means that a character who's very high-level could be still almost helpless in the World of Dreams. Spells or combat skill aren't much use when the guy you're up against can edit the reality around you.

- Saph

2007-01-30, 07:33 PM
The Call of Cthulhu game has a Dreamlands setting, which might be more accurately described as an alternate world reachable through dreams than a place where dreams specifically take place. However magic is easier and more powerful there, and with mental effort a Dreamer can even change or create objects or landscape.

The game Dead Inside from ASM has a Spirit World setting which has some strong 'dreamland' elements: including malleable geography and reactive geography and inhabitants.