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spookymizu

Christmas in Kingsport (Keeper Questions - There be spoilers ahead)

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spookymizu

Hello my dear fiends,

 

I'm running Christmas in Kingsport with my group.  We started this evening, and will finish it up later this week. 

 

A few questions came up about the Dreaming skill. 

 

  1. If an investigator is forcibly awakened (failing the Idea roll to stay asleep), and then fails the Idea roll to remember what happened, do they forget everything they learned about the Dreaming skill while in the Dreamlands? 
    Spoiler

    Since Melba teaches them about how to use the Dreaming skill during their trip to her castle, I'm not sure if the investigator that was forced awake will remember how to get back to the Dreamlands.

     

  2. Does it cost Magic Points to use the Dreaming skill to return to the Dreamlands?
  3. Can an investigator (who has been abruptly awakened by another investigator) use the Dreaming skill to immediately return? 
    Spoiler

    If so, can they just return to the place they left, or do they have to do the whole journey across the sea again?

     

My group has really been enjoying the group of young cousins.  Halloween in Dunwich was a lot of fun. 

Spoiler

Sadly, Donald and Simon were both beaten to death by an enraged George, who now is having to live with consequences of his actions from the rest of the cousins.  It has made for some wonderful roleplaying.

 

Thank you for any help with my questions.

 

Spooky Mizu

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yronimoswhateley

Great questions!

  1. I'd say let the investigator keep the skill - I'd treat the situation like a dream that is only half-remembered, leaving the investigator with a certain hazy mood after the fact, but only bits of the plot and none of the details... I'd leave any skills improved during the dream alone and leave any key clues alone, and only use this "dream amnesia" to obscure details of the dream that might help the investigator out more than the minimum needed to move forward.  Then again, it might depend on the situation (and I've not seen this scenario yet) - Lovecraft managed to make a hell of a great story out of recovering something lost in dream for "Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath", and I suppose there's no reason that you couldn't use forgotten things from the Dreamlands as an opportunity to write an exciting adventure to run after this.
  2. I've never charged magic points for normal use of the Dreaming skill to enter the Dreamlands... magic spells for opening gates to the Dreamlands or for transporting a group of investigators there in dream or physically will likely cost magic points, but those are (to me) special cases.
  3. I'd generally treat this as if the character were suddenly awakened from a dream in "real life", and wanted to resume it:  the character might be able to fall asleep and might be able to resume dreaming, but maybe something about the dream is a bit different:  they awaken in a strange place or at a different point in time, or the plastic nature of the dream means that things look and feel different than they did before - maybe the same cast of characters is there, but in different roles, or the same set and props are there, but arranged differently.  THAT said, I'd make exceptions for narrative purposes:  if I need the characters to get right to business, and there's nothing really to be gained by adding twists and turns to the Dreaming experience, then sure, why not have the Dreamer just resume the dream where he/she left off, as long as everyone in the group's on board with it?  I'd only complicate things by having the characters start over with a new dream experience if it adds something to the story - dramatic tension if time is running out for the investigators to accomplish something in the Dreamlands, for example, or setting the tone and atmosphere of the Dreamlands if the story has plenty of room for the complications to be added and do their thing.  (In short, it's up to you and your group:  do what serves your story best!)

 

I've loved what I've seen from "Halloween in Dunwich", and the pre-gen investigators were especially memorable - I'll have to check out "Christmas in Kingsport", and find an opportunity to run these scenarios sometime!

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spookymizu

yronimoswhateley,     Thank you for your suggestions.  They are perfectly sensible and will work!  😁

 

One more questions for everybody:

 

What do you do about the Dreaming skill in 7th Edition?  According to the scenario, the initial base skill level is equal to the investigator's power.  For 7th Edition, should I just use 1/5 of the investigator's power? 

 

 

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yronimoswhateley

Exactly so - 1/5 Power.  Every time the investigators spend any significant amount of time Dreaming, they should add a checkmark to the box for the Dreaming skill, so that they get a chance to improve it. 

 

Also:

 

There's an accompanying skill, Dreamlands Lore, that is 1/2 of the Cthulhu Mythos skill.  (It's used to represent what the characters know about the lands, people, history, and creatures of the Dreamlands.)

 

There are two or three pages of details about 7th Edition Dreamlands in Chaosium's "Cthulhu Through the Ages" (mostly detailing rules for creating and shaping dream objects using the Dreaming skill).

 

Chaosium does have some free autocalc Dreamlands Character Sheets available to download, which may prove very helpful; these are designed more for characters that were born in and lived their lives in the Dreamlands, but might also be useful in other ways (such as creating character sheets for your investigators' dream personas, which need not correspond identically to the waking versions of the investigators:  perhaps the mild-mannered librarian dreams she is a charismatic merchant princess in the Dreamlands, a ruthless gang leader might dream he is an humble slave from Parg, the rational accountant dreams he is a wise priest of Ulthar, the crazy-prepared gun-guy might dream he is a simple wandering poet-beggar, etc.- it can be a fun opportunity to encourage the players to roleplay a different side of their investigator characters!)

 

The old Dreamlands supplement (published for the older editions of CoC) isn't perfect (I don't think it quite catches the breathless wonder and eerie mystery and beauty of the setting), but it is a nice resource anyway, and mostly compatible with 7th Edition with minor conversion ( the Conversion Guidelines are a free download).  It's most useful for a very dry and encyclopaedic description of the setting (which I feel might have benefited from a more poetic treatment), along with a collection of Dreamlands monsters, characters, gods, spells, and such, and a more detailed (but still frustratingly vague and incomplete) treatment of how the worlds of Dream and day interact in a practical/rules context.

 

Alternatively, you can find detailed descriptions of Dreamlands monsters in the 7th Edition version of Petersen's Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors. (which makes for a great collection of detailed descriptions of the most well-known Lovecraftian monsters in general.)

 

If you're new to Lovecraft's Dreamlands and are curious about how some of the most influential fiction handle the setting:

 

Spoiler

Some of the most detailed Dreamlands tales include Lovecraft's novelette The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, and short stories "The Cats of Ulthar", "The Other Gods", "The Strange High House in the Mist", "The White Ship", "Ex Oblivione", "The Silver Key", and "Through the Gates of the Silver Key".  These tend to be a bit lighter and more delicate in tone than Lovecraft's usual fiction, and some (especially Dream Quest) even have a more active adventure element that doesn't usually appear in Lovecraft's stories.

 

Many readers prefer the original Dreamlands stories written by Dunsany, one of Lovecraft's favorite authors, whom Lovecraft admired and imitated; see "Idle Days on the Yann", "A Shop in Go-By Street", and "The Avenger of Perdondaris", and perhaps "The Gods of Pegana" and "Time and the Gods".)   Dunsany's Dreamlands stories are similar to Lovecraft's, but with less emphasis on the horror and adventure, and Dunsany's command of mood and atmosphere rivals and perhaps exceeds Lovecraft's.

 

I highly recommend both authors' dream stories, and these have largely entered the public domain and are easily available on the internet for free these days - try Project Gutenberg for Dunsany's stories, and hplovecraft.com for Lovecraft's stories.

 

Brian Lumley and August Derleth have apparently written their own imitation Dreamlands tales, each with their own flavor - I understand that these are not regarded as highly as Lovecraft's or Dunsany's, but I've never read them, and cannot really comment on them.  They apparently emphasize much more of an action/adventure element than Lovecraft's stories did.

 

Roger Zelazny's short novel A Night in the Lonesome October is a nice, easy read which pastiches a range of gothic and weird horror, and includes a nice imitation of Lovecraft's Dreamlands stories, in addition to being a wonderful work in its own right - I read it as a youngster, and found it a memorable, entertaining, and easy story to read through, and when I reread it a couple years ago, I found that it still stands up well reading it as an adult, so this might be a great place to start for anyone new to Lovecraftian fiction.

 

And, thank you very much - I'm glad you found the answers helpful :)

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cjearkham
On 19/12/2018 at 05:21, yronimoswhateley said:

Brian Lumley and August Derleth have apparently written their own imitation Dreamlands tales, each with their own flavor

 

While there are dreams in Derleth's stories, the Dreamlands itself is not visited.

 

Lumley, on the other hand, ran with the Dreamlands. He started with straight horror-fantasy ("Dylath-Leen") but then began his "Hero and Eldin" cycle, about a pair of dreamers who are now permanent Dreamlands residents. These have been described as "Hope and Crosby in 'The Road to Ulthar'", but they're not as jokey as that might imply. The two main characters banter quite a bit, but they also encounter Mythos monsters. They're more sword-and-sorcery than cosmic horror, like Fafrhd and the Grey Mouser.

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yronimoswhateley

Thank you for the correction!   I've not read much of Lumley, but the little bit I did read was entertaining enough that one of these days I'll try to get around to reading a bit more. 

 

As for Derleth, I think I must have gotten some vague impression that Derleth's Trail of Cthulhu had been Dreamlands based, while researching something totally different - I never was good at multi-tasking!  :)  Maybe I'll get around to reading that (non-Dreamlands, I'll remind myself) work one day, too, though I don't remember Derleth's stories quite so fondly.

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