Impractical Applications (Dreaming)

Dreamscapes. Such lovely things, when you want to try something new. This week, I got to apply them to my own game.

It had been coming for a while, after all. The group’s old worst enemy had cropped up in the head of a friend of theirs, something a lot stronger than a memory. He was useful, sure, but dangerous. So one of the players got the bright idea of extracting him from his host’s mind and making him into a talking paperweight, so they could still ask for advice but wouldn’t have to deal with him engaging in underhanded politics through his host when they weren’t looking.

Having discovered the joys of battle in dreamscapes in a game not long before (and driven my GM crazy in the process), I had but one solution to this: Get them into the host’s dreams and let them battle it out. So my group found themselves trekking through the mind of their young friend Nandin on the way to beat his passenger into a coherent and hopefully singular state.

The first thing I decided was that Nandin, being originally from a rather Sahara-esque desert, would have a desert for a dreamscape. Under the houserules we’d used in the other game, temperament determined dreamscape; Nandin’s would be comfortable, for a desert, reflecting his kind personality. So it was an expanse of white sand, glittering in the sun which shone down from a brilliant blue sky. There were landmarks, though not too many of them: the mountain which housed his dreamscape’s guardian, the oasis in which Nandin himself was hanging out, and the wall of haze that separated the Nandin!dreamscape from the Jalil!Dreamscape. It didn’t matter how far away they were, though; if the group intended to go somewhere, the group would get there: instantly in the case of the place that were Nandin’s, in five minutes to reach Jalil’s side. The guardian herself, whom the group visited first, ended up being a roc/phoenix/something blend with the voice of someone the group had never met and the mannerisms and text color of Nandin’s closest friend (and, for that matter, Luath’s older sister), Irayo.

Jalil’s, on the other hand, was different. It wasn’t just the terrain, though going from glittering white sand to a brownish-reddish sandstone can’t have hurt the contrast. It wasn’t just the occupants, though the sand-fleas and “cute innocent vicious rats” (basically what happened when I gave the little critters the outward appearance of kangaroo rats and the diet and tactics of piranhas) certainly made it seem more hostile. It was also the metaphysics. Nandin was pretty normal, and his dreamscape behaved about as one expected dreams to. Jalil, on the other hand…. messed with the laws of metaphysics a little. After all, when I’d designed him, he’d broken one of the Cardinal Laws of Endgame Bosses by having just about everything better than his physical stats. In life, this caused him issues. In existence as a dream figment in a place where people aimed with their manipulative ability, powered blows with their charisma, and resisted damage by being pretty, particularly where most of the group had been hamstrung by this little aspect of the dreamworld, he could be deadly.

Though I’d had some fun with some of the ideas I’d had for Jalil’s architecture, they didn’t get there. Last I saw them, they were being swarmed by the same rat-piranhas and another creature, and between one of them turning into a rolling ball of DOOM, another creating small-scale novas with his fist and not much else, my getting to have some fun with my own crazy dream action concepts…. I think I am remembering how to run a fight that I love to pieces. We had to end early, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it ends.

(As a side note: Happy Halloween to everyone! It finishes off a pretty exciting week; this blog hit the 500-post mark two days ago, and my birthday was four days past. Party!)

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