Saturday, 19 May 2018

Spell: Dream Quest

Philippe Druillet

Dream Quest (Alteration)

level: 7 (I), 9 (MU) Components: V, S, M
Range: Personal Casting Time: 6 turns
Duration: Special Saving Throw: None
Area of Effect: Personal  

Explanation/Description: The illusionist prepares for this spell by burning incense (costing 100gp) and meditating before going to sleep. During the course of the casting, any familiar within 12“ will also fall into a deep sleep. The spell may only be cast on a plane which touches the Ethereal Plane - the various material planes, the elemental planes, and any demi-plane created within the ethereal plane.

Once asleep (at the end of the casting time), the caster will find themselves lying on their bed (or whatever) on the ethereal plane and will be able to rise and move about on that plane. The only possessions they will have will be the equivalent of what they were wearing when the spell was cast. The spell can not be cast while wearing or holding enough to encumber the caster at all.

If a familiar was within range, it too will be active on the plane so long as it remains within 12“ at all times thereafter.

Magical items taken to the ether in this way are unlikely to work unless they originate from one of the Inner Planes. For each item not so sourced, the caster must make a saving throw against spells modified by their wisdom Magical Attack adjustment. Artefacts and relics will always work, although their characteristics may alter (perhaps radically) at the DM’s discretion.

Magical weapons and armour will normally operate at one plus less than normal unless cursed. Again, items from the Inner Planes will not lose their enchantment and may even gain.

The spellcaster must choose a destination as part of the casting process and the spell will take them there using the normal procedure for ethereal travel (i.e., check three times for encounters at start, middle, and end portions of the journey). However, the chance of actually arriving in the correct location depends, like teleport on the familiarity of that location:

Familiarity Illusionist Magic User
Very Familiar 5 5
Studied Carefully 6 6
Seen Casually 7 8
Viewed Once 8 10
Never Seen 12 16

The number indicated or higher must be rolled (by the DM) on 1d20, modified by magical attack adjustment. If a lower score is produced, then the traveller arrives in some other location. It is not possible to give exact details since the intended destination could be anywhere on any world or plane which touches the Ethereal Plane but in general the longer the journey from the caster’s location and the larger the margin of failing the roll, then the greater the error. Thus, if the spell was cast in an inn near a castle the user was intending to spy on, and which they had studied carefully on a previous occasion, a score of 3 might indicate only that they arrived in a forest near the castle. If the castle had been in an alternative reality, then s/he may have arrived on a different parallel world where it might not be initially obvious that anything had gone awry. Similarly, if the destination had never been seen by the caster, such a roll could indicate arrival almost anywhere.

Additionally, travel on the ethereal plane is akin to travelling quickly through a fog; it is not teleportation. Barriers may be erected on the plane itself to prevent “normal” ethereal travel. This may create additional, non-random, encounters, particularly at pylons or similar structures around domains if the caster's destination is within an area dominated by some powerful entity.

The caster’s perception of any plane, including their own, from the Ethereal will be of psychic impressions only - living things will appear like ghosts, with higher intellects being more life-like and animals as little more than shades of colours with little form. Spells like wizard eye or clairvoyance can be cast from the dream form to allow perception of an adjacent plane. Notice that most normal types of shielding against such spells (metal sheeting, for example) will not prevent entry of the ethereal caster.

Contact other plane may be cast from the ether, in which case any appeal to the elemental planes has half the normal chance of insanity (after Int modifiers).

By and large, however, the sights of the ethereal plane for the dreamer will be those native to it, with the addition that other dreams will be visible when near creatures engaged in sleeping and dreaming. These dream-forms may be interacted with but they will generally exhibit dream-logic and only the most intelligent such dreamer will be able to act sensibly and with planning. Even these, however, will seem insubstantial and ghostly. The only exceptions to this will be other users of the spell, certain psionic individuals, and the insane.

The dreams of the insane will always manifest in a substantial form on the ethereal. This does not apply to mild forms of insanity (see DMG p83).

Once the character has reached his or her intended destination, s/he may choose to awaken at any point or continue on to a new destination on the ethereal realm. In any other case, return from the dream state may be difficult or impossible. Any attack on the dream-self which causes damage or results in a failed saving throw (such failure may not be deliberate) will allow the character to make a roll of 3d6 to attempt to awaken - if the result is less than their intelligence score, then they succeed.

The only other way to wake up is to “die” in the dream state, but this is dangerous to the character’s mind. Being reduced to exactly zero hit points will awaken the dreamer with only a mild shock requiring bed rest for a day. Being reduced below zero causes shock akin to a psionic blast. The character must save as if the blast was at short range (with the usual modifiers, and +3 for illusionists), and if that fails they must roll for the effect as normal. However, both save and effect are made as if the character’s wisdom and intelligence total was reduced by the amount by which they went below zero hit points.

In any case, being taken below zero hit points increases the amount of bed rest needed by days equal to the excess damage, i.e., a character struck by a fireball and reduced to -6 will require a full week before being able to do anything more strenuous than walking to the privy and back (initially they will need help even with that).

No dream-damage will otherwise be reflected on the character’s real body.

Marvan the Miraculous (Int 17, Wis 13) has entered the dreamlands and there encountered a rakshasa. In the resulting fracas he is reduced to -5 hit points. His saving throw is made as if his combined score was 25, although he gets +3 to the die due to being an illusionist. On rolling a 6, he must roll on the effects table. A score of 98 causes him to awaken in a panic state for 2d4 rounds, at the end of which he collapses in a state of exhaustion and will require 6 days rest.

Any normal attempt to awaken the sleeper on their home plane will be futile, although any damage done there will be reflected in the dream-state and that may have the desired effect.

However, time on the Ethereal Plane passes differently - roll d100 each time the spell is used to find the ratio between the planes. Thus, a roll of 34 means that every 34 minutes, hours, days or whatever in the ether will represent only one such unit on the original material plane of the sleeping body.

Finally, each full (real-world) day spent in the dream state will reduce the character’s level by one (until rested) and at level zero there is a 10% chance per day, cumulative, that the physical body will die, and the dreamer with it.

The Dream Lands

The ethereal plane is inhabited by many strange beings, demons, devils, druids, forgotten or shunned gods, and travellers from unknown worlds and alternative realities. Although it is influenced by the material planes where they are close by, the nature of reality in the ether means that it may contain many strange things unbound by any material physics. Although many who pass through it view it only as a means of transport, it truely is the realm of dreams and, of course, nightmares.

Some inhabitants are entirely disinterested in the material realms, as most denizens of they are of it, and some such as the nighthags use it as a fishing hole for prey. Dream empires exist which defy comprehension, while a few insane or gifted poets have woven new hells and paradises to explore.

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