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Kismet's Oneironautics, Part II

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The dream

"The dream" by DesigningLua, resized, is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0




One talent unique to the fae is the ability to embed a dream into an object, to be released when someone sleeps with or near it. The item must appear in the dream that's placed into it; this creates a sympathetic link (and might get the dreamer's attention after waking). Once the object is chosen, it can be woven into a dream of the oneiromancer's design while that dream is embedded inside it. This requires expending a Glamour point and making a Resolve + Occult or Empathy + Wyrd roll to determine the dream's Intensity.

An oneiromancer can improve the Intensity of an imbued dream if they find it disappointing, but only after regaining a point of Willpower and trying again, as per an extended roll. An unwitting sleeper's psyche will resist the effects; roll their current Willpower before the dream starts to see how degraded the Intensity becomes, since each success reduces the Intensity.

The oneiromancer must conceive of everything in their own imagination first, so they need a number of hours equal to 10-Wyrd to concentrate for each imbuing attempt. Penalties for loud noises and similar distractions apply, and any vigorous activity, like combat, means that focus is broken and all successes are lost. But in the end, anyone who dreams can benefit from an imbued object, including the creator.

An imbued object can also be imbued with one special ability, as outlined below.

Analyze Item: By examining an object with an Understanding roll, an oneiromancer can try to sense if there is a dream inside it. They need as many successes as the Intensity; each roll requires 10 minutes of concentrated study.

Bewitched Dream: Contracts that affect others can be imbued once their costs are paid and a successful roll is made for activation. An extra cost of 1 Glamour point per Contract level is also required. If the roll is disappointing, the oneiromancer can dispel the Contract and try again, with due penalty. Any resistance to the Contract applies as it would normally. An imbued vessel's Intensity must be equal to or greater than a Contract's activation, and the dream will come to reflect the Contract imbued within it, in one way or another.

Crafted Dream: Any Protecting powers can be imbued into a vessel, as can all Compelling powers except for Siphon Glamour. Nightmares can be embedded without difficulty. However, Dismantle Influence and Undo Memory Alteration can only take effect if the work has already begun in a live dream and ends in one. Degrade Intensity only works if a sleeper is trapped in a dream (see The Rulers of Dreams below). A Glamour point is required for imbuing dreamcrafting powers into a vessel, and the appropriate roll must then be made. Understanding powers require a live two-way connection so they can't be imbued.

Dream Combat

Violence in dreams is normally metaphorical, but purposeful battles are disturbing and disorienting to the dreamer whose mind serves as the battlefield. While combat actions don't count as dreamcrafting maneuvers, fighting will interrupt efforts to perform any extended dream maneuvers.

Any prior successful Understanding rolls grant a +1 bonus to maneuvers made during combat in that dream.

A successful Protection roll can also grant armor equal to the higher of Resolve or Composure during dream combat. For fae, this roll is reflexive upon being attacked. This can also be used to take a blow meant for someone else.

Defense is determined by the highest of Wits or Manipulation.

Using the environment to make an attack calls for a Compelling roll, and any damage is done to the target, even if it appears to affect a wide area.

Personal attacks with a dream form or weapons use Destroying rolls.

Damage is done to current Willpower (with bonus "health levels" for every point a combatant has in dream Contracts, Mind Arcanum, or a related power).

Since every two rounds of combat drains one Willpower point from the dreamer, it doesn't take long for the dream to collapse under the strain. Anyone left with 0 Willpower or less will gain an appropriate Condition that lasts until they are at full again.

Appendix I: Other Dreamers

Lucid Dreamers

Lucid Dreaming (2 point Merit): The character can shape their own dreams by using Alter Dream or Force to Stay Asleep rolls. They can also try to force themselves awake at any time using the roll above; in their own dreams, such as during a nightmare, it's uncontested. Lastly, they can engage in dream combat with intruders, if they would rather stay and fight.

Mages can also induce lucid dreaming as a temporary state through Sleep of the Just (Mind 3).

Other Supernaturals

Mindwalkers (mages who interact with dreams through the Mind Arcanum) can use Gnosis and/or Mind for rolls, if systems here are desired. However, since mages can physically enter dreams, they face physical damage there, in addition to everything else.

Beasts lair in pockets of primordial dreams and can venture above and below them (see the Cosmology Appendix below), but suffer a cumulative -1 penalty to all rolls with each traversing check that takes them further away from the primordial. However, that penalty doesn't occur when and if they encounter nightmares. They gain a +2 bonus to craft nightmares. They are often mistaken for other kinds of dream creatures but are referred to as mora by most dream sages.

Those who specialize in tracking, inciting, and studying prophetic dreams are called oneiropomps (and they may or may not be members of The Oneiroscope Guild); this rare secret society has members of many types.

The Rulers of Dreams

The True Fae can enter mortal dreams without pledges through imbuing or physical contact, but supernatural minds are immune (unless they enter into a pledge). Keepers can't use Empathy for rolls because it's the one skill they can't possess, but other social skills will do the trick. The dreams they craft are always sublime experiences in the most awe-inspiring and frightening ways, regardless of their type. But they can condition the minds of as many mortals as they can reach and they damage every psyche they touch.

It's important to note that symbols and patterns tied to the Other infest every dream they partake in; this can help visiting dreamworkers identify which enemy they are trying to save a dreamer from. However, these signs can be quite subtle and strange, leading to penalties to recognize them (unless the dreamworker is already familiar with that Keeper). If a Keeper has not altered a target's dreams much or has not done so recently, for instance, fewer signs of their presence will be left behind. On the flip side, if a mortal has been visited often and saddled with Conditions, the Keeper's calling cards will be everywhere, giving bonuses to rolls to identify them.

An Other's mere presence risks doing harm every time they enter a mortal's dreams. Before waking, roll the mortal's current Willpower rating; failure results in developing an appropriate Condition. If they gain an exceptional success while manipulating the target's dream, another roll to avoid a Condition must be made. It doesn't take long for cracks in the psyche to spread and signs of instability to show.

Dream Conditioning: Mortal minds are too rigid for the Others to enter easily, so they must be conditioned to allow an alien invasion. This can be done with a Compelling roll invested into an imbued object, or while the Fae touches the sleeper. The target number is the Fae's Wyrd rating. Since this is an extended roll, falling short means the effort must continue until completion. If too much time passes, the conditioning doesn't take hold and must be started anew. The Other has as many days as their Wyrd rating to finish their work. If another Keeper has conditioned the target already, the Other has to trick them into a pledge to enter their dreams.

But once the conditioning is delivered, the mortal's dreams are unlocked until the conditioning wears off (in as many days as the Other's Wyrd). The Keeper can perform any dreamcrafting maneuvers, including the special ones below. After the manipulation fades, the target's dreams slowly return to normal (in a number of weeks equal to the Other's Wyrd; different durations will apply to Conditions gained by being the subject of a Keeper's personal attention). If the Other attempts to reestablish the conditioning while the mortal is healing, they gain a bonus to do so (+1 for each week before healing would be complete).

Enchanted Anointment: Instilling Glamour into a mortal sleeper ensorcells them. Further Glamour can be invested as one use of a Contract is given to them to hold until the mortal chooses a target.

Dream Virus: A Keeper can unleash a contagious nightmare. After suffering through it, a conditioned mortal can pass it onto anyone who sleeps in the same bed and fails a current Willpower roll. Whoever fails to regain Willpower due to the nightmare is revealed to the Keeper, who can then judge if they are worth abducting or using. This is a prime hunting method of the Fae. If it is not passed onto a new dreamer within the next 24 hours, the virus dies out - but there is no limit to how many people can be infected by sleeping with an infested dreamer.

Sleeping Puppet: A dreamer can be forced to sleepwalk. With a successful Compelling roll, they can get a mortal to obey a simple command. The Keeper can imagine the mortal world around the sleeper, which helps them to maneuver their puppet. Loud noises and damage have a chance to wake the dreamer but they're at a -2 penalty to wake and in the turn after waking.

Wyrd Dream: A Keeper can compel a conditioned dreamer to have a prophetic dream but cannot interfere as it unfolds.

Appendix II: Cosmology

The Realms of Thought

Dream sages often use the metaphor of the ocean when discussing how dreams work in a mystical sense. Abstract concepts reside in the sky above, stirring the tides of imagination below; this is the Anima Mundi that mages strong in the Mind arcanum can access. On the surface of the water, ideas that move humanity coalesce, from myths to gods to a nation's worst fears; beast lairs form in the sargasso of the Temenos. Within the water of the Oneiros, common themes and fears form currents and rocks. Bubbles of personal dreams journey between them; these are the dreamscapes changelings visit.

High concepts in the Anima Mundi are moved by the winds of probability: Only those concepts most likely to be comprehended tend to be revealed to human thought. The water itself is made up of imagination, an element in which everything is weighed, mixed, and moved. Each layer has strange native creatures of various kinds, but humans were not born to fly or swim. Dream explorers are those who have the means to visit these realms with some modicum of safety. They are not natives to the elements, however, and must learn to read them to navigate well.

All of this is based on and in reaction to human thought and emotion. The surface of the ocean is where high concepts and imagination meet, forming the most common human experiences. The further away from the surface one goes in either "direction" - up into the sky of ideas or down into the depths of fantasy, the more alien and dangerous the experience becomes. The upper reaches of the air lack the "oxygen" of emotions mortal psyches require to comprehend and remain intact. On the other hand, the lowest depths of the water crush the psyche with the weight of all the stories that have moved humans to feel. In fact, dream sages posit that raw human emotion forms the ocean floor; currents of imagination dredge up silt that washes over concepts from above. A few sages even believe that at the highest and lowest points, doorways to the Abyss can be found - that the human experience begins and ends with what we are not ready to think or feel.

The vast majority of dreamers are trapped in the bubbles of their own dreams. Some supernaturals, like changelings, may learn to form connections and visit other bubbles in the ocean. But only those with a magical power (Arcanum, Contract, etc.) at a rating of 4 or above can usually sail the slumbrous realms. (The Storyteller may choose to use the above cosmology without allowing player characters to traverse it.) Those who engage in such dream exploration are called wayfarers, regardless of their supernatural type.

Sailing the Ocean of Dreams

It takes powerful magic to detect doorways into the air of thought or ocean of fantasy; they are embedded but hidden in all dreams. One point of the relevant magical fuel (such as Glamour for an oneiromancer or Mana for a mindwalker) must be spent, followed by an Understanding roll to find the entrance. Then, the door must be coaxed open with the use of a power (clause of a contract, spell, and so forth). In this way, wayfarers can guide other dreamworkers into the wilds. Gateways also pop up in the Hedge from time to time, but they often lead to more harm than good as hapless changelings become lost at sea. Creatures born in the realm of dreams can lead others there, if they can be convinced to do so.

Wayfarers who travel together and are of the same type can use teamwork rolls to assist in exploration, but one must be chosen to lead the action. Those who are not powerful enough can only be passengers, although they can become combatants, if need be.

Wayfaring rolls are extended actions, and the target number of successes depends on distance and specificity. Ordinarily, the closer and less specific the goal is, the easier the task becomes. For instance, it's far less difficult to look for a wave of fun than the current that will lead to the dream of a secret agent in another country. The number of tries is limited to the lead wayfarer's Power Stat trait, +1 for every other wayfarer in the party.

The duration that passes between each roll is rarely the same each time; some parts of the journey will be longer or shorter. In any event, a wayfarer won't find out how much time has passed in the real world while they've been exploring until they return. When in doubt, assume the character has been gone for 1 hour per roll and add an hour for each combat or major complication, or roll a d10 for each traversing roll the party makes.

A character's Power Stat trait should be added to non-combat rolls (or may be substituted for their rating in a dream-related power, like the Mind Arcanum; whichever is higher).

Navigation: Understanding rolls determine a wayfarer's position relative to where they wish to be, whether they are seeking a particular dreamer, a theme, or a way out.

Fortification: Protection rolls are needed to establish a traveling party and keep them together when dangers threaten to separate them. They are also used to stay on course during squalls and other unnatural "weather."

Movement: Compelling rolls are made to traverse the element (air, water, or surface) in a desired direction. With each traversing roll, wayfarers are pulled into and through a series of features that exist between their current position and their goal. These are based on the realm in question:

  • Air: Particular concepts

  • Surface: Specific emotions

  • Water: Personal dreams

You can get more ideas for these kinds of features by reading the cosmology section above. If the target successes are not reached, the wayfarer founders and must choose a new goal.

Usually, a wayfarer encounters a number of features equal to 6 - successes before the next traversing roll can be made. These features have more in common with her target destination as she gets closer to it. A wayfarer can choose to pause and engage a feature if it seems interesting, but the next traversing roll will suffer a cumulative -1 penalty. If the lead wayfarer decides to pause, the entire party with them must also wait or make a new roll to continue without the old leader (this is done at a -2 penalty).

Handling Obstacles: Destroying rolls are made to bypass or disperse impersonal obstacles like rogue angles (in the air realm), waves (on the surface), and icebergs of dread (in the water of dreams).

Personal Attacks: This works as per dream combat, except that wayfarers and their guests cannot compel the environment to attack for them.

One of the main dangers of wayfaring is that visitors can't significantly change the environment they're in. A changeling who moves through dreams she isn't pledgebound to enter can only use Understanding dreamcrafting rolls on them. She can engage in combat, but at a -2 penalty.

Another major complication is that losing all Willpower points doesn't wake someone from these realms or toss them back into their own dreams. In such a case, at least one party member must make a successful meditation roll, which will grant them 1 Willpower point. Then, they can lead the charge forward or back home. In the meantime, nothing will wake them, not even damage or being moved bodily from one location to another.

Finally, a wayfarer must find a way back to their own dreamspace after they are done with their destination. They can retrace their route, in which case their target number of successes is reduced by their Power Stat or relevant power (like the Mind Arcanum), whichever is higher. This is the easiest option, but if they fall short in the allotted number of tries, they must chart a new course. If something major has changed, like a dreamer has woken up, then the old route is cut off and a new one must be determined. A Storyteller can roll a d10; if it rolls 1-3, a change has occurred.

So, for instance, a changeling wayfarer wants to reach the dreams of her favorite television star, Lucifer's Tom Ellis. The Storyteller determines that it will require 15 successes and because the character has a Wyrd of 4, she only has 4 tries. The character attempts to do this on her own. She succeeds in her navigation roll, so she knows which direction to head in and is told how many successes are needed. She gains 5, 3, 2, and 3 successes on traversing rolls, spending Willpower on her first roll but only achieving 13 successes in total. Between these rolls, she passes through 1, 3, and 4 other dreams but refuses to linger in any of them. She almost reaches Tom's psyche but founders and has to make her way back (which happens in 11 successes). She rolls 3, 5, and 3, getting back faster. She finds out she's been asleep for 10 hours (7 rolls + 3 for foundering). She might need to enlist their help to get there...

Appendix III: Conditions

Dream Addict Sickness

We've all heard about the terrible things that can happen when people don't sleep for a long time. Dream-hoppers can learn what happens when they don't experience enough natural sleep. Having your own dreams every so often is necessary, as are the unscripted fantasies that fulfill different subtle functions. If a dreamworker doesn't spend at least one night a week in their own mindspace in an unchanged dream, they'll suffer from the faint Condition (see below).

Enchanted Slumber (Persistent)

Your character has been reduced to below 0 Willpower while suffering a Condition due to a Keeper's conditioning and manipulation. Due to this, your character becomes stuck in a magical sleep from which they cannot easily wake. They will not be able to tend their own needs and will continue to age, thus requiring long-term care.
Resolution: Your character will remain asleep until the Keeper sees fit to use them further, they are awakened through magical intervention, they find a way out of the dream, or they die of natural causes.
Beat: Your character undergoes a dream journey and finds a way back to the waking world on their own. Lucid dreamers will find this easier to do, but ordinary mortals with this Condition can do so by spending Willpower equal to the Keeper's Wyrd to begin the odyssey.


Your character has ignored sleep and refused to dream for too long, leading to sudden fits of wooziness and passing out. At a moment of notable stress or calm, the Storyteller can call for a reflexive Stamina + Resolve roll. Failure results in fully losing consciousness, which puts an end to any other actions your character is doing. Attempts to awaken your character suffer a -3 penalty. If possible, your character will sleep for 8 hours. Only 1 or 2 successes results in dizzyness, which levies a -2 penalty to all rolls until your character rests.
Resolution: Your character must sleep uninterrupted for a full normal cycle and allow for natural dreams to take place without any tampering by anyone.
Beat: n/a

Appendix IV: Glossary

Dreamcraft: Techniques employed to analyze and manipulate dreams and dreamers.

Dreamworker: Any supernatural who can enter and manipulate personal dreams.

Mindwalker: A mage who can access dreams through the Mind Arcanum.

Mora: A beast who often engages in the dreams of sleepers (as opposed to the waking nightmares they create).

Oneiromancy: The magical arts which the fae use to influence dreams.

Oneiromancer: A changeling who makes use of their natural dreamworking abilities.

Oneiropomp: An oneiromancer who specializes in tracking, inciting, and studying prophetic dreams.

Power Stat: The main trait that represents a supernatural's power, such as Wyrd for changelings and Blood Potency for vampires. Use the rating in dots or, if it isn't measured in dots, use the Attribute or Trait which activates it. In any other circumstances, use the highest resistance Attribute.

Wayfarer: A dreamworker capable of accessing and exploring the realms of dreams, regardless of their supernatural type.

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