Zentlan Part Two (or What Dreams May Come)

I have long “dreamt” of running a campaign that uses dreams as its core.  I ran a short playtest game with James and Christina wherein I attempted to set up dream campaign, but circumstances prevented us from continuing it.  A may have been setting up a “dream campaign” with Thom and Christina, when I was devising the Skype Campaign, but I was more focused on elementals and lost memories when I was working on that one.  Now, I try again.  Here are some the persons, places, and things that the PCs may encounter.

Doresh, Lord of the Fading Dream (Ebberon Campaign Guide PP 143-4), is my main villain all three of my PCs have a reason to end him.  Christina’s druid Malowyn Marshroot wants to stop him from expanding Shae Lorlyndra by dissolving the barriers between Reality (the Mundane World, the Shadowfell, and the Fey Realm) and Dreaming (any number of Dream realms that exist across the multiverse).  Clint’s warlock Kathar is under the commands of his balor patron Errtu to keep a library of books out of Doresh’s hands.  Spencer’s ranger Desmoxan escaped from Shae Lorlyndra and Doresh after being held as a slave for “a hundred years,” so he plans on revenge.  All three have a reason to fight Doresh, but they’ve got a long way to go before they can bring the fight to him.

The Isle of Celestia is the dream realm of the Isle of Argothus (The Campaign Book Volume One Fantasy PP 11-6).  Argothi and Celestia first appeared in my Namori campaign.  The Isle of Celestia was “colonized” by five High Wizards from another reality who sought to save their race from a hungry elder god.  The High Wizards did so by weaving their surviving peoples’ souls into magical garments and fled to a distant reality.  After they crafted themselves a sanctuary, the five High Wizards entered into an enchanted sleep, became the “Dreamers,” and “built” the dream realm of Celstia.  The Dreamers planned on giving their people an eternity of happiness within their dream realm.  I didn’t happen and the PCs came to defeat Nevil-Kethis, the elder god, and save their own world in the process.  In the course of the story, two the Dreamers were killed, but not all the souls in their magic robes were slain by Nevil-Kethis.  A PC, Veska – a human wizard reincarnated as a dryad, became a “Dreamer” these tainted souls as her people.  Veska, the Staff of the Five Elements, the Keep on the Borderlands, and other dream related artifacts and relics from Celestia have seen appeared in my Rhylmori campaign, my Sanderzani campaign, my Spellguard campaign, and my playtest one-offs.  It will be fun to see what happens if the Zentlan PCs travel Celestia and encounter Veska and the others who have affected the Dreamers’ Isle.  (Just a side note: Veska may be making an appearance in my Pellham campaign.)

The PCs in my Rhilmori got to encounter multiple dream realms and artifacts: the Isle of Celestia, Tholl’s Realm (Citybook IV: On the Road PP 53-8), and Silkies (The Dragon: Vol. V, No. 3, “Dragon’s Bestiary” PP 57-8) from the City of Glass (The Vortex of Madness and other planar perils PP 65-96) using Dream Magic (Dragon Magazine: Vol. XX, no. 4 “In Dreams” PP 10-7).  I could easily lift any of those from games past and update them for Zentlan.

The Divlos campaign used the dream realm of Sommonus, which I adapted from a friend’s copy of Chaosium’s H.P. Lovecraft’s Dreamlands to fit my desert-style campaign.  I don’t see this one as having much use in the Zentlan setting, but I may find a use for it.

Io-Vol the Dreamwrath Dragon appeared in my Spellguard campaign.  She is a dragon that can only appear when a “dragon of her blood” sleeps.  Io-Vol is a great potential villain in the Zentlan campaign.

A Nightmare Collector (Denizens of Avadnu PP 117-8) is a construct designed to catch nightmares from a local area providing the inhabitants with a peaceful sleep.  The magic used in the construction of the nightmre collector and the collected nightmares give the nightmare collector the semblance of life and can make it a threat.  I’ve thought up, but never used, a couple of ideas using nightmare collectors.  They could easily be pulled into Zentlan.

White Wolf’s Scarred Lands setting included dream monsters and a demigod of dreams.  I may steal and adapt these for this campaign.

It appears that I have plenty of Dreams from my collection of resources.  Now, I just need to decide which ones to use first.  Do you any of you, my dear readers, have any dream monsters or settings that just call to you?  What fears would you have about running a “dream” campaign?

Game on!

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4 thoughts on “Zentlan Part Two (or What Dreams May Come)

  1. I’m a huge fan of Lovecraft’s Dreamlands, there was also an old “Dreamer” class from Dragon Magazine that provided an alternate to psionics.

    I also backed the “Faces of the Tarnished Souk: An NPC Collection” Kickstarter by Rite Publishing and have the PDF now, I think it’s available for purchase – and it is explicitly Dreamlandish (that’s where the Tarnished Souk is). It’s for Pathfinder, but I’m not anticipating having any troubles with converting creatures over.

    If you want an absolutely *excellent* example of a Dreamlands campaign from H.P. Lovecraft you should look at “The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man” by Dennis Detwiller of Pagan Publishing. It’s statted for Call of Cthulhu and a 1920’s campaign but takes place in the Dreamlands and has some fascinating ideas for running games in the Dreamlands. The characters get trapped in the Dreamlands and have to escape, all with suitable strange and often horrific twists. It would very easy to adapt to a fantasy game, and CoC is generally pretty easy to convert in my experience.

    Also from John Tynes and the Pagan Publishing crew is their interpretation of Hastur and the King In Yellow as a entropic meme. There’s a handful of great scenarios by Pagan Publishing dealing with this that are worth looking at. Players in all of my games fear the Yellow Sign and finding themselves in lost Carcosa on the shores of Lake Hali…

    Lastly, Gaiman’s Sandman comic series, including the very irregular but currently being published “prequel” is worth looking at as well. Lots of good things to steal from there if you are so inclined.

    D.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had forgotten about “Sandman.” That was a great comic and I may be able to lift a lot of good stuff from it. I look into the “The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man.” Thanks for reading and posting.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Jonathan, sorry it has taken me so long to reply. A Nightmare Collector stores the nightmares it grabs. The Adventure Idea in the monster entry suggests that night hags and similar beings can retrieve nightmares from a slain nightmare collector.

      Like

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