The Plane of Dreams is the backdoor to all reality. It is the realm ruled by the minds of dreamers, an endlessly changing sea of dreamstuff dotted with islands and skerries of individual fantasy. Prophecies and omens swim through the Dream Plane like shoals of eager fish and wizards, psions and dragons are known to swim through the sea to reach other planes.
Describing the Dream Plane is, of course, quite impossible. You have been there before, every night, but you forget the shape and form of it when you wake, recalling only fragments.
The Dream Spell
Dream works by creating a dream-avatar for the messenger, who is then plane shifted into the dream-sea next to the dream of the target. The message is delivered by shouting into the sphere – the spell allows sound to penetrate the planar boundary.
Plane of Dreams Traits
Gravity 0 Normal Time -5 One hour on plane equals one round on Material Plane Size 14 Multiple solar systems Morphic 17 Highly Morphic Life +6 Supernaturally Rich Weather 0 Normal Water/Fire 0 Balanced Earth/Air 0 Balanced Negative/Positive 0 Balanced Good/Evil 0 Balanced Law/Chaos 0 Mildly Neutral Arcane 0 Normal Divine 0 Normal Green 0 Normal Accessibility 17 Through Key Dreamers can access the plane freely Proximity… …to Material and Outer Planes 7 Coterminous …to Shadow 5 Occasional Intersections
Getting there…and Back
The easiest way to access the Dream Plane is simply to fall asleep. All true dreams take place on the Plane of Dreams; the mind projects a dream-avatar (like an astral projection) into the plane, which shapes a small section of it into the landscape for the dream and peoples it with the ‘cast’ – creatures conjured from dream stuff. When the sleeper wakes, the landscape dissolves back into the greater dreamscape and the dream-avatar vanishes.
It is possible to gate or plane shift to the Plane of Dreams, or to cast door on a sleeping dreamer to open a portal to the dreamer’s dream. If a door is cast on the Dream Plane while the caster is touching a dream avatar, the door opens to the location of the sleeping dreamer. It is possible to use coordinated dreaming to quickly slip from one plane to another without passing through the Astral Plane at all.
There are no natural portals to the Plane of Dreams, although there are minglings. Artificial portals generally go only to the dream-sea, but a few lead to permanent dreams.
Survival on the Dream Plane
The magic or skills required to survive on the Plane of Dreams vary depending on the dream. For dreamers, the plane is very rarely dangerous; should the dreamer die in a dream, the avatar dissolves and the dreamer awakens. However, those who have physically transported themselves to the Plane of Dreams are at risk of more permanent injury. Dreams have just as much substance here as mortal flesh, and a dream sword can cut as deeply as a real one.
Features & Properties
The Plane of Dreams is divided into two regions – the dream-sea and the islands of dream.
Calling it a sea is mere fancy – from some perspectives, it is an ocean; from others, a constellation of stars; from still other points, a field of shifting energies. It is Highly Morphic, so it can be shaped by those with the will to do so. The only way to travel through the energies is to shape a road or river or some other surface to move across.
The Dream-Islands appear to be impenetrable bubbles of crystal floating in the sea. The scenes of the dream can be dimly perceived though the frosted shell of the bubble. In some places, they cluster thickly – where a whole city shapes, the sea is filled with tens of thousands of busy dreams. In other places, a traveler can swim for miles without encountering a single intelligible dream. Sometimes, dreams are shared (the four or five dreams granted to insects can be recognized from a great distance by their sound, the buzzing of trillions of dream-avatars all inside one vast shared dream). A successful Knowledge (the planes) check (DC 25- the Size of the plane) allows an observer in the Dream-Sea to calculate what plane a dreamer is on by the position of the dream in the sea.
Usually, the only way to enter a dream from the Dream-Sea is to use a spell like plane shift to enter the pocket plane. Teleportation effects, however, will not work, as they cannot cross planar boundaries. Experienced dreamers who are aware of the existence of the Dream Plane can leave holes in the edges of their dreams, allowing a traveler to walk or swim.
The Dreaming Skill
A character who has visited the Plane of Dreams may take ranks in the Dreaming skill. This is a Wisdom-based skill that is a class skill for all. A character may use their Dreaming skill to shape his dreamscape when he falls asleep. He must make a Dreaming check for each trait he wishes the plane to have, at a DC of 5 + the value of the trait. Dreaming cannot be used untrained. A character may also use the Dreaming skill to ‘wake up’ inside a dream (Dreaming check, DC 15) instead of making a Will save, and may wake up inside a dream without being disturbed by travelers.
Finally, a character with 10 ranks in the Dreaming skill may cast dream and fabricate once per day each while dreaming, as a sorcerer equal to his character level.
Each island is essentially its own pocket plane, known as dreamscapes, with its own unique traits. These dreamscapes have a Size trait of 2 + 1d10 and instantly dissolve when the dreamer awakens, although some planecrafters have managed to make a dream permanent by infusing it with Law or altering its Time trait. The Morphic trait of a dreamscape is always 14 (Narrative Morphic).
Other than these restrictions, a dreamscape may have almost any traits, to a maximum of +/-7.
The dream plays out within its own dreamscape unless interrupted by the dreamer waking (in which case the dream-avatar vanishes and the island and all its contents dissolve within 3d6 rounds), or if travelers enter the dream and are seen by the dreamer. The dreamer must then make a Sense Motive check opposed by the traveler’s Bluff or Disguise skills; if the dreamer succeeds, he realizes that these strangers are not part of the dream, and begins to wake. The dreamer may make a Will save (DC 15) to stay asleep, but is now conscious that he is dreaming.
Items can be taken from one dream to another, but they soon decay if removed from the Plane of Dreams. Anyone holding an item must make a Will save each round (DC equal to the number of rounds since the item was taken from the Plane of Dreams) or the item dissolves. Only one item per person can be taken in this manner.
Wandering Destinies (CR4)
The Plane of Dreams is also the realm of prophecy and fate. Destinies coil and writhe through the Dream-Sea like rainbow serpents. Sometimes, they nest in a peasant’s dream, causing a peasant girl to become a great general or warlord. They are also attracted to travelers. A wandering destiny cannot be fought directly, only blocked or imprisoned. It has an incorporeal touch attack with an Attack Bonus of +10, a fighting space of five feet by five feet, no reach, and a perfect Flying move of 30 feet. If the destiny hits a character, he must make a Fortitude save (DC 14). If the saving throw fails, the character now has a destiny. This behaves just like a quest spell, but it cannot normally be removed – the character is fated to accomplish, or at least, attempt to accomplish some legendary feat.
Nightmare Zones (CR8)
Nightmare Zones occur where the Plane of Shadow and the Plane of Dreams blend into each other. The manifestation of a Nightmare Zone is described on page 85, but at the heart of a Nightmare Zone is an adamant dream as described below.
Adamant Dreams (CR Varies)
Characters who travel into the dreams of others may be caught within these dreams. Normally, a dream can be escaped by plane shifting out or simply waking the sleeper, but some dreams, known as adamant dreams, are much, much stronger. These dreams have an Accessibility of 1 from inside – you can get in, but you cannot get out as easily. Even if the dreamer is woken and the dream dissolves, the bubble of force containing the dreamscape endures, and travelers are left trapped inside an empty, featureless bubble. Luckily for travelers, these dreams are usually recurring dreams, so the bubble will fill with dreamstuff once more when the dreamer falls asleep again. Keep in mind that one hour on the Plane of Dream is equal to one round on the Material Plane. If the dreamer falls asleep twelve hours after waking, the trapped dreamers will have to wait for a subjective 150 days if the dream has the same Time trait as the Dream-Sea.
The only way to escape one of these dreams is to resolve it. Such dreams come in several forms:
- Questing Dreams: The dreamer is trying to get somewhere or attain some goal, but there are obstacles in his path.
- Dreams of Desire: The dreamer is trying to claim some prize, but the prize keeps moving or his path to it is blocked or treacherous.
- Dreams of Danger: The dreamer is being pursed by some monster or other threat, and must escape or defeat it.
- Dreams of Catastrophe: The dreamer is involved in some activity that has gone utterly and bizarrely wrong.
- Dreams of Madness: Surreal, symbolic dreams that defy logic.
Characters in a dream must aid the dreamer in resolving the dream – it is only when the quest or prize is found, when the danger or catastrophe is dealt with or when the madness is plumbed that the portal out of the dream may be found.
The Dream City
The Dream City in is thronged by sleepers and stranger creatures; refugee dream-things crawled from a thousand imaginings or visitors from other planes.
The chief attraction of the Dream City is the Fool’s Market. While the things of dream cannot long exist outside the Dream-Sea, they can be used within it. There are wizard’s towers floating in the sea of dream, creating real items from dreamed components. All sorts of treasures can be bought for a pittance in the Fool’s Market – but caveat emptor, for your purchases may dissolve when the dreamer who dreamed them wakes.
The Riding of Faerie
The Fey domains are rumored to border the Dream Plane. Faerie hunts sometimes ride out into the sea and pursue beasts through half-a-dozen dreams, or kidnap unwary sleepers. Other Fey hunt for the bright, shapeless dreams of infants, slipping in and out through door spells to steal away the child and replace it with a changeling. Nine Faerie castles mark the borders of the Riding of Faerie; it is something of an irony that this, the most stable and well-established outpost of Faerieland, should be located on one of the most amorphous and changeable planes of all. Still, those who seek to contact the Fey can do so through dreams.
The Dream of Worlds
Once, there was a girl who dreamed of a forest, and in that forest there were many paths. Each of these paths led to a different world. The girl was so enchanted with her dream that she did not wake up again. Her body aged, withered and died, yet her spirit remained wandering the forest. She would dance down one path or another, clad in her favorite red cloak, visiting world after world. Some of these worlds are other planes, others are the dreams of sleepers. She has been dreaming now for uncounted centuries and has become immensely powerful in the art of dreaming. She has been known to lure and employ interesting people from their dreams and bring them to one plane or another. Her dream-domain can be used as a nexus point, but is filled with all manner of dangerous monsters, especially massive dire wolves and flesh golems armed with huge woodcutting axes.
Most of the creatures of the Plane of Dreams are made from the stuff of dreams, and to the stuff of dreams they return when their brief lives are done. Within the plane, they are almost identical to the ‘normal’ versions of the creature – apply the Dream-Creature template. A few creatures dwell in or visit the Plane of Dreams using plane shift – eerie, whale-like creatures that carry particular types of dream are the most well known natives. Strange birds that resemble titanic hummingbirds also flit through the Plane of Dreams, draining the essence of dreamers, punching through the crystal shells of their dreams with massive beaks. Dragons use the Plane of Dreams as part of their long sleep cycle, creating powerful avatars that use the plane to expand the draconic mind and soul as their bodies grow. Succubi and hags are also known to visit the plane from below, and lillends from above.
‘Dream-Creature’ is a template that can be applied to any creature. It uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here. Special Qualities: A dream-creature retains all the special qualities of the base creature, and adds: Real only in Dreams (Su): If a dream-creature is removed from the Plane of Dreams, it begins to dissolve. The creature must make a Will save every round (DC 10 plus the number of rounds since it left the dream-plane) or vanish. Quasi-real (Su): Dream-creatures are only quasi-real. A character encountering a dream-creature may make a Will save (DC 10 + half the dream-creature’s Hit Dice + its Charisma modifier). If the save succeeds, the creature’s attacks and spells are reduced to 20% of normal effectiveness. Resistant to Damage (Ex): Dreams are notoriously difficult to kill. Dream-creatures automatically convert lethal damage to non-lethal damage, although each creature has a specific weakness to a form of attack that it cannot convert to non-lethal damage. Climate/Terrain: Plane of Dreams Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature -2.
The Dream Plane can be a useful replacement for the Astral Plane for a more mystical or roleplaying-oriented campaign. Instead of crossing the vast gulfs of the Great Realm, the characters must navigate the treacherous Dream-Sea and overcome a variety of nightmares. It makes travel more varied, but also much more troublesome.
The plane can also be used as a dumping ground for plots and ideas that do not fit elsewhere. If a scenario about a cursed tower or fantastical mirror world does not fit into your campaign, have someone dream about it and trap the characters in that dream.
- A powerful wizard is rumored to dream of the spell he is currently researching. Ambitious thieves could find his dream, enter it and steal the spell – but what horrors must a wizard of such rank dream of?
- A mingling is occurring between the Plane of Dreams and the Material Plane, and dreams are spilling out into the world. Fear feeds on fear and nightmare on nightmare – if the common folk see horrors, they will dream of them and spawn yet more. How can the characters keep people distracted until the mingling ends?
- A creature on a far-off plane where time moves slowly – such as the Astral Plane – is dreaming of a dark god. This dream-god has immeasurable power and as such is capable of affecting the worlds beyond the Dream Plane. It is desperately searching for a way to become real. The characters must find the sleeper and wake it before the dream-god escapes the unreal prison of its dreamscape.