Dreamshard

Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)

A dreamshard is explicitly linked to a single creature. It contains the entire width and breadth of one of that creature’s dreams or nightmares. Most dreamshards are tiny objects, but particularly detailed or vibrant dreams may be much larger.

Once a creature is attuned to the dreamshard, they can delve into the dreamscape contained inside the object. Entering the dreamscape requires one hour of unbroken concentration. Creatures inside the dreamscape aren’t real and can’t be truly killed, but if their hit points are reduced to 0, they instead become permanently incapacitated; creatures so affected can’t be revived or resuscitated except by wish, divine intervention, or some similarly powerful effect.

Creatures inside a dreamscape do not need air, food, water, sleep, or similar comforts, though they must still rest to regain spell slots, magic item charges, and the like. They may not be aware of their lack of need for these things and will likely choose to continue to do them. A creature attuned to another creature’s dreamshard gains telepathy with that creature so long as they’re both on the same plane of existence or so long as they’re together in the dreamscape; this communication can’t be blocked, magically or otherwise.

A dreamshard can be destroyed only if the creature whose dream it is determines that the dream should be forgotten forever, or if the Eater of Dreams consumes it. However, they must come to this decision on their own; if another creature attempts to convince them to forget this dream, the dreamshard can’t be broken. Once a dreamshard is broken, any creature rendered incapacitated during their journey into it is immediately revived with 1 hit point (unless their hit points are higher). Furthermore, the dream that is forgotten can never be recalled again and is permanently lost to them.

The Dreamscape

The Eater of Dreams does not maintain a traditional lair, as it can only be encountered in the dreamscape. A dreamscape is akin to a demiplane, as it isn’t a plane of existence in the traditional sense. However, it differs from a demiplane in that it possesses the following qualities:

  • No maximum defined size. A demiplane is limited to a space measuring 30 feet by 30 feet. The dreamscape is limited to the space defined by the dream that the Eater of Dreams is currently occupied. This may be a tiny space for a claustrophobic nightmare, or a huge expanse for a dream full of wonder and exploration.
  • Any number of dreamscapes may exist, and they may be nested one inside another.
  • The original dreamer and the Eater of Dreams have full control of the dreamscape’s environment, though anything gained in the dreamscape remains there when the dreamer leaves. Anything lost there is lost forever, as it simply ceases to exist when the dream ends. No magic or effect can bypass this.
  • There is no magical method to create an artificial dreamscape. The Eater of Dreams may create or destroy them at its whim, though.
  • While a demiplane features a shadowy door on a flat solid surface in the real world, the dreamscape is not so obvious. The portal from the real world to the dreamscape can be literally anything that allows the passage of one object into or through another; for example, it may be a thimble leaking tendrils of faintly green sticky mist, a huge dungeon door with iron bands, an ancient portcullis under 100 feet of water, a dog-sized door in a country cottage, or literally any other type of portal. This portal does not necessarily need to be in close proximity to the dreamer, and in most cases it is thematically or directly related to the content of the dreamscape.
  • The dreamscape commonly straddles the alien worlds of eldritch horrors, the fey, and shadowy undead. This powerful intersection of realities presents many opportunities for challenge and storytelling. Because of the inherent risks that the dreamscape represents, the gods have struggled to lock it away from common knowledge since time immemorial and several have stationed powerful guardians there to protect this secret place.

It is thought that every sentient creature has its own dedicated dreamscape, but this is likely nothing more than a tale for bards and sages to debate.

Entering the Dreamscape

Entering the dreamscape is an epic event in many ways. For those that enter, it may appear that they’ve crossed into the world of the fey, some utterly new plane of existence that is similar but not identical to the prime material plane, or some darker plane haunted by monsters and things better left unknown. Whatever their perception is, they found a doorway whether they know it or not. Here are some potential methods by which a creature might enter the dreamscape: Entering via Dreams. The dreamscape is most often entered by interacting with another creature’s dreams. This is most often accomplished in a minor way by casting the dream spell. This spell allows limited interaction with the target’s dreamscape, and because of the gods decree that the dreamscape is to remain secret the dream spell has a very specific set of immutable powers and abilities. Even so, if a creature learns to manipulate their own dreams to the point at which they realize they are dreaming, they can take control of their own dreamscape and could, in theory, bridge into the dreamscapes of other beings.

Entering via Divine Power. The gods have locked away the dreamscape, and for good reason—its proximity to the Far Realm represents a clear and present danger to all things, across all times, and in all locations. Yet there may be time or reason for a deity to require an agent to enter the dreamscape. Perhaps one of the god’s guardians has gone missing, or perhaps the god has become aware of the Eater of Dreams plots and machinations to escape the dreamscape by turning inside out, thereby causing all realities to become dreamscape where it has utter control. Whatever the reason, a god may transport creatures and objects of its choosing directly to the dreamscape. This is a taxing effort, though, as it requires the god to bypass the divine wards that prevent most transportations and so a suitably epic quest for lost spellbooks, ancient talismans, and rare monsters may be required.

Entering via Lost Portals. In some distant and hostile places across the many worlds, forgotten portals to the dreamscape linger. Long ago, cultists and wizards alike searched for energy sources and tore holes between their reality and that of the dreamscape. The events that then transpired have caused the portals to remain untended, but the divine wards (in most cases) have limited the portals to one-way traffic from the “real” world into the dreamscape. These portals may be found atop lost mountaintops where the barrier between reality and dreams is thin, or in some rare cases they could be located in densely populated cities where the combined willpower of the population has itself torn a hole open. In any case, the portal can take any form desired by the creator; this is commonly that of a simple wooden door (such as would be found on a closet) or a closeable container that is just wide enough for a humanoid’s shoulders to fit through, such as a large urn or waste bin.

Exiting the Dreamscape

Leaving the dreamscape is a much larger challenge than entering. Even if someone has grasped control of their own dreamscape, they must contend with the divine wards that limit traffic to one-way.

  • Bargain with the Eater of Dreams. There are ancient texts beholden to certain warlock sects that claim the Eater of Dreams has the power to leave the dreamscape at its whim but it simply chooses not to. The Eater could potentially be bargained with, but what price might it claim?
  • Divine Favor. If a creature was sent to the dreamscape as part of a divine quest, the deities may well pull that creature out immediately upon completion of that task.
  • Forget the Past. The natural order for creatures is that they must sleep, and while sleeping they are capable of dreaming.

A creature that is dreaming and knows that they are dreaming may assume control of their dreamscape, but this does not inherently permit them the ability to escape. To do this, they must then legitimately forget that they are dreaming. This inverted task is a convolution of established order, such as it is, within the dreamscape and likely stems from that place’s intersection with the otherworldly fey. Once a creature has forgotten that they are dreaming, they are then subject to being awoken in the real world as is any other creature.

Defeating the Eater of Dreams

While within the dreamscape, the Eater of Dreams is nigh-unkillable. It asserts complete control over all dreamscapes and enjoys several significant powers while it remains there; this is both the blessing of its role in the divine (or eternal) hierarchy as well as the curse it is subject to thanks to the divine wards that have been placed upon the dreamscape by the gods. The Eater of Dreams quickly heals any damage or resolves other effects, often immediately, but there are some potential methods by which a creature may have a more lasting impression upon the Eater of Dreams.

  • The Eater’s Dreamscape. If a creature were to find a way to enter the Eater of Dream’s personal dreamscape, it would likely be vulnerable to assault.
  • Drawn into the Real World. The Eater of Dreams cannot survive for long outside of the dreamscape, as it has learned to rely heavily upon its protective powers in that place. When drawn into the real world, it is stuck in its last form and can’t change again until it returns once more to the dreamscape. It is aware of this, and rails against efforts to draw it out unless it believes that it has an unassailable advantage.

The Eater of Dreams

The Eater of Dreams can appear as anyone or anything, as it sees fit, though it prefers to take the role of a bystander or watcher if possible.

No matter the form it takes, its alignment is always neutral and has the following additional traits:

  • Dreaming Polymorph. The Eater of Dreams can spend its reaction to change its form. When it does, it adopts a new stat block of its choosing, including all hit points, traits, and so on. Its form can’t be changed without its consent.
  • Endless Renewal. If the Eater of Dreams is reduced to 0 hit points or killed, it adopts a new, random form somewhere within 100 feet of its current location 1d20 minutes later.
  • Master of the Dreamscape. While within the dreamscape, the Eater of Dreams is immune to spells and attacks unless it chooses to be affected.
  • Prisoner of the Dreamscape. If the Eater of Dreams is not within the dreamscape, its Dreaming Polymorph, Endless Renewal, and Master of the Dreamscape features do not function.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Potbellied Kobold’s Guide to Villains & Lairs Copyright 2022 Jeff Stevens Games LLC. Author Jeff C. Stevens

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