The Dreaming World
by Havard, from the Mystara Mailing List posted 28 October 1997.
The Dreaming World is the place where souls venture when the bodies of mortals sleep. It can also be visited by physically travelling there through the use of gate spells or similar means.
The Dreaming is Primarily divided into two areas:
The Slumbering lands and the Nightmare lands. Dreamers are people who's bodies are sleeping. They exist only in their own landscape called a dreamscape, primarily constructed by their own subconsciousness. A dreamer cannot normally leave his own dreamscape. Dreamcreatures, the creations and servants of the Dreamlord can enter other people's dreamscapes at will.
Dreamers in the Slumbering lands perceive their dremscape as a friendly and happy place, depending on their personality of course. Memories of their journey will be that of a good dream. However, during sleep a dreamer can suddenly be transported into the Nightmare lands. This transportation is not detectable by the dreamer, but the nature of his dreamscape is changed into a twisted and apparently evil place.
Heartlands. These are places that exist outside the dreamscape. They are sometimes referred to as True Places. Visitors entering the Dreaming World Physically enter one of these places. Dreamers don't normally enter the heartlands, but it happens from time to time. Certain Wizards and other strong-willed people have learned to leave their dreamscapes at will.
The Dreamlord is a being shrouded with mystery. It is believed that he is a conscience formed by the collective minds of sleeping people. Others suspect that he is the Dreaming itself, an intelligent Plane if there is such a thing. In any case he is powerful enough to be ranked among the immortals. In fact he is a very powerful immortal, but he has very little to do with the immortal community. To communicate with others, the Dreamlord uses avatars. His prime avatar is called Oneiros. Although it is unclear whether that is the name of the avatar or the Dreamlord himself. He uses the form of Oneiros to appear on the prime plane as well, to hunt dreams who've escaped or fix problems with dreamers. It is Oneiros who manages the dreaming on a daily basis with the help of dreamcreatures.
There are rumours that there are other avatars of the Dreamlord as well who are living in the Nightmare Lands. (See more on this in the Ravenloft Accessory; The Nightmare lands.)
The Wallaran Dreamworld is a special case of Heartland. This place exists both in the Dreaming World and in the Spirit World. There are many other links between these worlds. For more information on the inhabitants of this area, see the Savage Coast Monstrous Compendium. (Available from TSRs Red Steel Website.)
Inhabitants: Dreamcreatures, Malfera, Dreamspirits, Dreamshades, Dreamers.
The Nightmare Dimension:
Some Nightmare Dreamcreatures have found a gate into the Nightmare Dimension where they have gained true existence, beyond harm from Oneiros. The Malfera is one example of such creature.
Marco Dalmonte on creation of Nightmares:
How Nightmares Were Created
Oneiros once was the Ruler of the Heartlands and of the Slumbering Lands, while the Nightmare Lands didn't exist. But one fateful day the worst thing happened to him: he fell asleep and dreamt. And in his dreaming he generated a nightmare. When he awoke, he discovered he had created the Nightmare Lands and that he had also created Nightmares that polluted the dreams of every sleeping creature. He tried to gain control of this land and to destroy it, but he found out he could not, for the lord of the NL was his dream-self that had come to life: the Nightmare Man. He then started fighting a battle he could not won, a battle against himself.
The Dreamwar raged for many centuries (millennia?) and finally came to an end when the Nightmare Lands vanished from the Dreaming... almost. They became surrounded by a strange opaque mist, and from then on, nothing ever came out of that land.. but many were drawn into. The Nightmare Man had been noticed by the Dark Powers and trapped halfway between Ravenloft and the Dreaming, still able to influence the sleeping creatures but unable to enter again the Dreaming. Only the dream-selves of the sleepers can strangely come back and forth from the two lands, but given the fact that none of the Nightmare Court members can dream and that Oneiros doesn't want to risk another rift of his realm, they cannot interact any more.
Marco Dalmonte on the location of the Dreaming:
Just to clarify things a bit, here's what it's written in the Nightmare Lands set about the NL location (from Book 2: The Rules of Dreams and Nightmares, pages 5-6-7-8):
NOTE: the following text is copyright material of TSR Inc. The use made here is only referential and not lucrous in any way, so please TSR guys don't sue me, OK?
"Surrounding the Prime Material Plane are the mists of the Ethereal Plane. The Ethereal Plane consists of 3 distinct parts: the Border Ethereal, the Wall of Colour and the Deep Ethereal.
The Border Ethereal touches the Prime, but it's really a place of both dimensions. When someone is in the Border, he's here and there at the same time. [like Ghosts, for example -My Note]
The Deep Ethereal is like a vast ocean, with islands of Matter called demiplanes floating in its endless mists. [this is where the Nightmare Lands are located. The concept of Deep Ethereal is absent in D&D Multiverse -My Note]
Between the Border and the Deep, a shimmering wall of colour stretches to separate one part from the other. It's a two dimensional boundary, having width and length but no discernible depth. [this is the Wall of Colour, also called the Dream Plane -My Note]
The Dream Plane exists in the extradimensional, infinitesimal width of the Wall of Colour. It is not a solid, travel-inhibiting barrier, but a translucent expanse of bright patterns of harmless energy.
When a person dreams, a portion of his inner being interacts with this plane. This dream-self maintains a connection with the physical body but also passes into the dream plane in order to participate I normal dream scenes.
The exterior of the Wall of Colour, the true boundary between the waking world and the dream plane, is known as the Veil of Sleep. In common dreams, only a dream-self can cross it and enter the extradimensional space of the dream plane. (Planar travellers simply pass through the Wall of Colour and enter the Deep Ethereal. They cannot get to the extradimensional space that exists between one side of the wall and the other.) [inside the dream plane, each dreamer has his own dream to experience, even though it can happen that two dreamers share the same dream, a rare occurrence -My Note]
Ethereal travellers wandering near the Wall of Colour can't see the multitude of dreams playing out within its shimmering surface. For one thing, those who are awake cannot cross or see through the Veil of Sleep.
Individual dreamers provide the energy that keeps dreamscapes coherent. Once a dream ends and the dream-self returns to the waking world, the dreamscape he occupied dissipates back into the mists. All of this usually occurs without any conscious knowledge or action on the part of the dreamer.
While each sphere [dreamscapes occurs inside spheres -My Note] has a certain size when viewed from outside, the inside of a dreamscape is as large or as small as it needs to be to contain the dream scene. Time also flows differently within a dreamscape. Hours, months or years may pass over the course of a dream, but the dreamer only dreams for seconds or minutes."
So that's it. The Dreaming should lie within this extradimensional Veil of Sleep inside the Ethereal Plane: a fascinating hypothesis that could hold also in the D&D Multiverse IMHO (just make the Veil of Sleep/Wall of Colour lie between the Ethereal and the Astral et voilà!)
Marco Dalmonte writes:
>Dreamers are the souls of sleeping people. They seem very confused, so communicating with them is hard.<
In this scenario, how would you use a Potion of Dreams then? Which could be its potential for let's say Dream Mages?
A: The potion you refer to is probably Potion of Dreamspeech which allows free communication with dreamers. If a dream mage uses such a potion, I'd say he could get meaningful answers from the dreamer, but, would not be able to lead a meaningful conversation.
DM: You said however that Oneiros has the ability to "generate" dreams: does this mean that he can "plant" them into people's mind, or better that he can use the dreamselves of people as "actors" in his dreams? Or does he need somebody able to dream in order to influence his dreams (as I think the NC does)?
A: The person must be dreaming to be affected by the Dreamlord. Of course, Oneiros can appear on the Prime and cast a sleep spell on the person.