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ronin

Another Dreamlands Question: Bringing a Dreamlands NPC into the Waking World?

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ronin

In my campaign an NPC was recently killed, I decided he was able to live on in the Dreamlands. I used this NPC to introduce two investigators to the land of dreams. He came to them in their dreams individually and guided both of them separately to the seventy steps. One of the investigators feels responsible for his death, she is trying to figure out if it’s possible to bring him back to the waking world. 

 

Is this possible? I’ve been looking through the Grand Grimoire to see if there’s a spell to do this, I’m only at the Ms and haven’t seen anything yet. I have read about the various items associated with the Dreamlands, none of them seem to fit the bill. The Crystallizers come pretty close, but have strings attached which may be the point I guess. If it’s possible at all, there should obviously be a cost involved. 

 

What do do you think, possible or not, and what would be an appropriate cost?

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andreroy

IIRC, if a Dreamer dies in the real world while travelling the Dreamlands, he will live on in the Dreamlands but can never return as he has no living body to return too.

 

If your PC can find the body, revive/restore it, it could maybe be done....for a small Sanity cost. Barring that it would be a Keeper's fiat.

 

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yronimoswhateley

A lot depends on what you and your group feel feel would make a good story. 

 

There's really nothing in the actual literature that prevents it, and now that I've seen a lot more of the sort of Theosophical mysticism that would have informed Lovecraft and/or many of his influences, I'd say that, technically, it's a possibility (more on that later).  BUT - it's not really made it into the fiction before, and you won't have much to go on for a tried-and-true storytelling model.

 

So, first of all, you'd want to try out for yourself some possibilities, and decide whether they'd make a good story:  it might be more satisfying from a storytelling perspective to just rule that the NPC's time in this world is over.  The Theosophists would have regarded the Dreamlands as a form of the "Summerlands" of the Astral Plane - a sort of heavenly reward on the next level of life, for a well-lived life on the material plane, and a place to prepare for the next step in one's spiritual journey - eventually "evolving" to higher planes beyond Dream.  Perhaps the NPC's journey lay forward into the next life, rather than backwards into this one, and your investigators can be of greater assistance in helping and guiding the NPC forward into the next life.

 

Then again, maybe there's more to this NPC's story to be told in the waking, material world, and helping the NPC to return to the material world will help you and your group to tell a great story about the investigators' role in making that happen.  From a Theosophical (mystical) point of view, it is desirable to gather spiritual enlightenment on each plane, starting at the lowest, and eventually rising up to the highest planes beyond the Astral, into Nirvana, but, sometimes, it is also desirable for spirits to stop their progress upward, and return from (say) the Astral Plane to the Material Plane, for example for the purpose of learning a vital lesson that was missed the first time, or atoning for a mistake made in an earlier life, or to act as guru to guide less evolved spirits to enlightenment as part of a greater work.  And, when that happens, there are many common options:  your NPC may choose to reincarnate into the form of a newly-born/conceived infant, for example.  Or, the NPC might arrange with an occultist or other person who has reached the end of his time in the material plane to "walk in" to that person's body following what is, effectively, that living character's suicide, allowing the other character to to escape the limits of this world and retreat into the world of Dreams in his/her afterlife, while the NPC, as a walk-in spirit in the abandoned body, seems to turn over a new leaf, changing personality for the better with a fresh chance to live a better life this time in new shoes, completing the journey to enlightenment anew in the new body.  And then, there's always the option of Lovecraftian magic (which, like Theosophy, allows for a skilled magician to essentially manufacture an artificial, magical body to inhabit on the Material Plane... these are, effectively, the vampires, liches, werewolves, and other horrors of the night!)

 

Whatever the case, if you think your group could enjoy a story that ends with this NPC being able to reincarnate in one of those ways, or in some other way that appeals to you more, then there's no reason you can't do so, and certainly no reason to just let it happen as something mundane, matter-of-fact, and simple!  Make a real story of it:  let the investigators know that there may be options, but they'll need to go on a Dream Quest to learn more about those options, traveling to strange and distant lands and facing strange and alien horrors, so that they can speak to wise sages and weird high priests, and research in peculiar Dreamlands libraries, venture by bizarre roads and surreal sailing ships into Nightmare Countries orbiting alien planets and into the fractured Summerland afterlives of madmen who had revealed one too many mysteries in their times as investigators....  Until, at last, they discover the secrets to guiding the NPC back to his life on Earth.  And maybe the secrets reveal more than just an easy way back to the Material Plane for the NPC:  maybe they reveal that the choice will not be so easy, perhaps there is an ominous catch, maybe there is a high price, or a dreadful risk.  Give the investigators some tough choices to make about whether to share what they have learned with the NPC and possibly lead him/her into temptation and danger, or keep the terrible secrets to themselves for the benefit of their friend, or to give the NPC all the details and trust him/her to make the right decision for him/herself....  That could be a very emotional, powerful, and memorable scene, something that your players may really enjoy and remember....

 

And of course, being a Lovecraftian game, you don't have to take much of anything the Theosophical optimists might believe at face value:  maybe the "next plane of existence" is no paradise after all, but a place teeming with monsters from beyond... or, maybe the investigators can help the NPC to regain life, but, like similar tales of characters who have unnaturally prolonged their lives ("The Thing on the Doorstep", "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", etc.), helping a dear friend back to life on the Material Plane is not a happy reunion, but the beginning of a tale of cosmic horror!  (See, for example, how Stephen King handled a similar idea of someone trying to restore a loved one to life in "Pet Semetary"....)  This option might not be for everyone, but, you know your group best, and if it seems like they'll appreciate a good horror story being made from this well-meaning desire to help, let 'em have it :)

 

Whatever you choose to do with it, it's a great opportunity, when a player discovers a goal within the game that they are really invested in achieving.  I'm kind of jealous about it, I think I'd love to roll with that Dream Quest, and see where it leads!  :)

 

Also, if it helps:  In Dunsany's original Dreamlands stories, our "reality" is just a dream to the people of the Dreamlands, who regularly dream of their strange adventures in such weird, outlandish places as London, but are under no illusion that London, Arkham, or wherever are "real" places.  If characters from our world can dream their way to the Dreamlands, then people in Dunsany's Dreamlands can dream their way to our world, and the "reality" of a death in the Daylands is just as subjective as the reality of a death in the Dreamlands, where skilled and powerful Dreamers are concerned.  As the old song says, "Life is but a Dream...."  (Or, as Abdul Al-Hazrad might say, "And, with strange aeons, even Death may die....")

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