View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Dream World mechanics (WIP)

2017-02-18, 07:47 PM
Warning, this is as much rambling as homebrew. Yes, the rules affect the balance between classes and builds in a small way - I'm ok with that as a different world should play differently.

This all started when my son expressed interest in playing a Mystic. Through all the editions, I've grown tired of psionics, the additional complications, and the often wonky rules. I didn't really want psionics in my main homebrew world. So what world would mind magic fit into. Dreamland. I've done dream settings before and and they're interesting.

For the stuff below, I'm picturing a world analogous to Lovecraft's Dreamlands. For most of the citizens, it's the only world they know. A key thing I like using is the balance between the mental and physical is different than in the waking world. Belief can change the physical world. If everyone believed that the river just stopped after it disappeared behind the mountain, that would become true. It works the other way, too. If everyone forgot about something, it would fade into nothingness over time. It's unlikely for a single person to have a strong effect as other minds might be working in the opposite direction, but a powerful and strong will can shape the world at times.

Dream Stat- used at times for determining strength of character in affecting the fabric of dreams. It is the max of your intelligence, wisdom, and charisma modifiers, a minimum of 0. If your two highest modifiers are the same, add 1. Add 1 more at levels 6, 11, and 16. Maybe if you have a level in one or more classes, you add 1 to your dream stat, as certain jobs make you more adept with dream fabric. Possibly on the list: Mystic, wild sorcerers, bards, maybe some clerics and some warlocks.

You can use an action to attempt to directly affect the world by making a dream stat roll with a DC of 15 to 30, depending on the details. Eamples include getting a new piece of equipment, a small change to the environment or weather, change in a social reaction. Attempts automatically add a level of exhaustion. Retries are possible but each attempt gives a level of ehaustion. Maybe there's a Reverie skill that adds proficiency to these rolls but not other uses of the Dream Stat.

Equipment: Non-magical items can be somewhat ephemeral; stop looking at them and they might disappear. The magic in magic items exerts its own reality so they never disappear. Dream economies are also weird. However, important items are almost a part of their character, like a duelist's rapier, or a wizard's wand, they help define the character. This is referred to items being Attached to a character - they are always in the character's mind so are constant without a risk of going away. A character can have a number of non-magical attached items equal to their Dream Stat + 1. Spellbooks must be attached to be kept. It's hard to keep a bunch of different material components present so most casters attach a focus item. Groups of items, such as a quiver of arrows or a bag of marbles, count as one item for purposes of being attached. Food and water rarely fade away, though they may alter over time to other foods and drinks.

Gold and gems So many people dream of wealth that gold and gems are more real than other items. They are never at risk of fading away. People have discovered that they can add wealth to an ordinary item keeps it around. To make an item permanent, you can add gold equal to at least 50% of it's original weight, a minimum of 10 gp. Gold costs 50 gp/lb. For example, a gold handled battle axe would wiegh 6 lb and cost 110 gp. You can achieve the same effect by adding gems equal to the value of the item, a minimum of 100 gp of gems. The added wealth has no benefits other than permanency. The net result is two classes of items: precious adorned items like something froma dream and very ordinary items that people place less stock in as they come and go. Gold is more inherently valuable but its frequency in dreams make it more common so its value is the same as in the waking world.

Starting Equipment At 1st level, characters start with a number of attached items equal to their Dream Stat + 1. The value of each item cannot exceed a gp value of Dream Stat * 100. In addition, each character starts with 2d4 items with a max combined value of 100 gp.

I'll add more in a day or two.

2017-02-18, 09:46 PM
Alternative Ability modifiers. If you wish, you can do any or all of the following:

use Intelligence modifier instead of Dexterity for Initiative rolls.
Use Wisdom modifier instead of Dexterity for AC bonus. A monk could have AC=10 + (Wisdom modifier * 2)
Use Charisma modifier instead of Constitution to calculate bonus hit points.

Dream Edit: As a reaction, you can add your dream stat to any roll that you just made or to your AC for one round. Each dream edit costs a level of exhaustion.

Dream Rewrite: Powers coalesce when you sleep in the realm of dreams. After a long rest, you can drop one thing about yourself to add one thing of the same type. Using this, you could change a skill proficiency, feat, known spell, a feature selection within a class or archetype, or a minor appearance change. If you choose to go into a catatonic slumber for a week, you can change race, class archetype, drop one level of a class to gain a level of another class, drop one ability score by one to raise another ability score by one, or a dramatic appearance change.

2017-02-19, 09:35 AM
I found my files from a failed project in 2001, called The Infinite Cave. I'm probably going to use some of the flavor text.

Think back to the Dream you had;
No sense of being good or bad.
Jump to the left, jump to the right
Think around corners into night
Letís go in wet corridors: dive down drains
Draw strength from machinery, itís all the same. Ė Jethro Tull, Thinking Around Corners

The Infinite Cave begins with the realm inside your mind. It the sum of all of your thoughts and memories, everything you ever wanted to do, everything you love or fear. The energy of these twisting mental pathways is unleashed in your dreams. The combined pathways of everyone's dreams create the Infinite Cave, a dream plane with connections to many dream realms and others' dreams. An exceptional few find their way to this realm of extremes of fantasy. The Infinite Cave is a place that residents of a fantasy world would find fantastic.

The Mouth
This is where most people find themselves when first entering the Infinite Cave. There is no actual opening, but as the mouth of a cave, it is an entry way that leads off in several directions. It is also called the mouth because there are always several residents helping confused visitors, people drinking and playing games, and generally a lot of chatting and carousing. People and things from every universe make their way here. Residents tend to be very cosmopolitan. Due to the wide variety of races, most have learned judge strangers by their behavior rather than their looks (never know when you might run into someone from a planet of orcish paladins).

Steve, the oldest resident, is almost always lying asleep on the floor near the front. Many of the stalagmites have been formed into tables and chairs. Some of the stalactites reach down low enough that cubby holes have been carved into them. One visitor pointed out that the Mouth is the same size as a Quiditch field, others say it is much bigger. Near the sides and back, the ceiling is low and there is a cozy darkness. In the middle, the ceiling is so high, all that can be seen are a few fluttering bats. The central area has the illumination of a cloudy day but there is no light source. The very back leads to the Tunnels. To the right are the Alleys. To the left is the Grove and the Valley of the Afternoon. Several Long Term Residents make their home in or near the Mouth.

The Infinite Cave appears indefinite but limited in size but is truly infinite in scope. The reason for this is the huge number of portals, known as doorways, that lead to other mini-planes, also created by dreams. These planes vary in size from closets to continents. Doorways are recognizable by a change in substance surrounding the opening, form a highly worked stone to a different type of wood to glowing fog. The view through the doorway is often quite different from the part of the Cave where it is located.

The Tunnels
At the back of the Infinite Cave are the Tunnels, a region of twisting passageways that interconnect and lead off in all directions. Many of the more unsavory residents and weirdest monsters live here. The tunnels are the largest region of the Cave and has the majority of the doorways.

The Alleys
This area looks like part of a medieval city except there are no main roads or big palaces, only numerous cramped huts and narrow passages. Less than half of the buildings are occupied but some have shops, inns, taverns, and the like. There are large numbers of cats, most slinking around but some living in cozy homes or running shops. The part of the Alley nearest the Mouth is a bazaar with lot of establishments run by long term residents. Most mundane and exotic items can be found here. The likelihood of finding what you want is largely unrelated to its rarity in the waking world. You might find three sources for unicorn urine but be unable to find any nails.

The Grove
At first glance, this is a huge, dimly lit, gray forest. Upon inspection, the trees are actually the roots of huge plants that sprout from the ceiling and fill most of the area. Most hang within a few feet of the floor, some actually burrow into the ground. It is not known what the roots are feeding off of or what plane the rest of the plants are in. The roots are fairly dense and inter-tangled. The Grove sports a large number of small furtive things including a large number of bats and faeries.

The Valley of the Afternoon
This area of forests and meadows has two main weather patterns. 60% of the Valley has warm summer sun. 30% has cool fall thunderstorms. 10% has all manner of weather. A given location varies seemingly randomly between weathers and seasons but those who live there seem to be able to predict what will happen. The meadows are full of cats laying about in the sun and gatherings of fair folk. The forests are full of faeries, unicorns, treants, as well as more mundane animals. Not all is friendly, there are occasional evil trees, displacer beasts, and unfriendly faeries. The warm atmosphere is very conducive to catnaps, daydreams, and wandering thoughts.

In the waking world (calling it the real world is a slight to the dreamlands) the physical rules over the mental. No matter how much you think or wish that something will work in a particular way, physical laws determine what happens. In the Infinite Cave, mental and physical are equal. An invention might work because it is clear in the inventorís mind even though it would never work in the waking world. Physical laws are approximately true since the Cave is shaped by the combined thoughts of thousands. But they are not hard and fast, more suggestions of how things often work. Physical laws also vary with time and place, just as something might seem perfectly normal in one dream but be impossible in another dream or in the waking world. Just because gravity is normal in the Mouth doesnít mean that gravity works the same in the Tunnels.

Euclidian geometry does not always apply in the Cave and almost never applies between doorways. If you were to walk 100 feet, turn right walk hundred feet, etc. tracing out a square, you may not wind up where you started. The realms beyond doorways would often seem to overlap but there are rarely passages that lead from one realm to the next.

Time is not the dull, consistent, linear thing it is in the waking world. It can go sideways and backwards as well as forwards. The most common phenomenon is that it doesnít progress at the same rate everywhere. A month in tunnel A might be an hour in tunnel B. Time in the Mouth is fairly stable and is the only reference used.

Inconsistent Idealism
Idealism, in a philosophical context, is the concept that physical objects do not exist independently of our perception of them. You know, the old tree in the forest idea. In the Cave, this is sometimes true. But as everything else in the Cave, it is not always true. Example: In dreams, one might be driving, get out and be on a beach and have the car no where in sight. The effect of the Caveís idealism is that things sometimes disappear if no one is paying attention to them and you cannot rely on a place to be the same as the last time you were there. You might go back to check a corpse and find that it is no longer there. You might kill all of the guards in a room and come back the next day to find that the guards are all alive again. Idealism is less likely to occur with magical items since their spark of magic gives them a life of their own. A magic item on or in a nonmagical item may or may not disappear with the nonmagical item. (In part, I wanted to have that odd inconsistency of dreams that never seems to bother you while in the dream.)

All sentient creatures can freely communicate with each other. Without generally realizing it, everyone here speaks a deeper language of thought. If one concentrates, they can speak other languages that they know and be understood only by others who know this language; however, this is generally considered rude by residents of the Cave.

Technology is often unreliable in the Cave; it is believed to be because the cave is shaped by many minds, most of whom do not understand the science involved. In any event, gunpowder and most electronic items do not function in the Mouth. Blasters donít function and spontaneously explode after a while. Just as other physical laws these items might function normally within some tunnels. Example: You might go through a doorway and be shot at by death rays but find that a captured death ray doesnít function in the Mouth. (I wanted the possibility of characters coming from all kinds of worlds with various tech levels and going on adventures in all sorts of high and low-tech worlds. But I didnít want things to get out of hand with high tech gadgets.)

Magic works largely normally but, as with everything else, it varies across regions of the Cave. The biggest difference is unwanted side effects, referred to as Incidents. The semi-magical essence of the dream world occasionally interacts with the magic of spells. Every time a spell (divine or arcane) is cast there is a chance of an Incident; if this happens, refer to the table in Incidents.doc. The probability of an Incident is a percentage equal to the spell level. Spell-like abilities may or may not trigger Incidents.

The Infinite cave is not strongly connected to other planes so spells that move things across planes have a chance of failing entirely. This includes all conjuration spells, divinatory spells that contact higher powers, and spells of inter-planar detection, communication, or travel. The percentage chance of failure is equal to the square of the spell level. Whether or not the spell works, it may cause an Incident.

Illusions are similar enough to dreams that illusions sometimes work too well. Occasionally, some part of an illusion spell (DMís choice) lingers beyond the spell duration, possibly even permanently. The percentage chance of this occurring is equal to the square of the spell level. Whether or not this happens, the spell may cause an Incident.

In contrast to magic, psionics works normally, at least within the Mouth. It is known to work strangely or not at all down some Tunnels.


Bats In the Infinite Cave

Also known as crazy bats or wild thoughts, these things are called bats because they resemble the bats of the waking world. They flit about on bat-like wings and tend to congregate on dark ceilings. Upon closer inspection, they are not bats at all. They have chaotic, often mismatched bodies and come in a variety of dark, undulating colors. Sometimes their face looks vaguely familiar, reminding you of someone you used to know.

Sometimes, a person has a weird thought or strange desire so strong that the thought (and the part of the mind it occupies) has an independent existence and a life of its own. Bats are the dream manifestations of these thoughts. They are most common in the Grove and the Tunnels. They rarely attack unless spooked but they can be annoying. Whenever there are bats flying close by, a concentration check (DC 10) is required to act normally. A failed check results in the person losing their action due to their attention being attracted to the weirdness of the bats; they still have their move and bonus action.

Other than their distraction ability, crazy bats have combat statistics identical to normal bats with the following exceptions. They are considered dream creatures rather than normal animals. On a successful attack, they cause a cumulative -1 penalty to Wisdom checks as part of their thoughts are transferred to the victim, to a ma of -20. Wisdom penalties heal at a rate of 1/hour.

In the Infinite Cave

Did you ever wonder why cats sleep so much? The fact is that they are such avid fans of the dream worlds that they spend more time there than in the waking world. They are also more adept in their dreams than in the waking world. In their dreams, they are smarter, can talk, have moderate grasping ability (especially those with extra fingers), and are often spell casters. Most dramatically, with time and effort (one minute of concentration and 1 hp of damage), they can switch back and forth between housecat size and roughly the size of a lion and unlimited number of times per day (or night, such things are vague in the dream lands). They tend to prefer their larger size except when being sneaky.

The majority of the cats in the Infinite Cave are the dream forms of domestic cats. Wild cats go to other lands when they dream. They are a large, respected minority in the Caves. They run businesses, socialize, and go on adventures just like the various humanish races. They are occasionally rambunctious but rarely dangerous. The big exception is that they can usually sense a person who hurts cats in the waking world. If you see a group of cats chasing down and slowly shredding a person, itís best to not get involved.

Features of Cat Characters (this is a quick edit of a 3.0 race, not finished.)

Cats are superior dreamers due to practice and natural ability.

Medium Size. Cats are a lot bigger in their minds than they are in the waking world. They can wear armor and clothing but it costs twice the norm.

Move 40í

+2 Charisma, +2/-2 Dexterity(record both numbers).
Cats are very agile but have poor manual dexterity due to paws instead of hands. For cases involving the whole body such as AC, attacks with natural weapons, balance, climb, and reflex saves, add two to their rolled dexterity. For things involving their hands, such as disable device, craft, and attacks with weapons, subtract two from their rolled dexterity.

Natural Attacks: Bite (1D6 + strength, normal melee roll) 2 claws (1D3 + strength/2, melee -5).

Scent Ė may detect presence of others within 30í feet by smell.

Size change. A cat may move change between medium size and small size an unlimited number of times. Each time takes one minute of concentration and 1 hit point of damage. When small their stats change some: strength -4, AC + 1, attack + 1, move 30í, bite does 1D3, claws do 1D2, + 4 to Hide rolls. Their clothing and equipment does not change size with them.

Proficiency in the Acrobatics skill.

The Obsessed
In the Infinite Cave

The obsessed are the dream world manifestations of people having a dream that is obsessed with a particular event or action. They are occasionally encountered throughout the Cave. They are recognizable as a person obsessively performing they same action. They are not within the Cave to the same extent as normal dreamers. They rarely notice others as they are too busy repeating an action and reacting to what only they can see. If their actions are interfered with, they usually react violently.

The Obsessed have variable stats as they manifest from all sorts of people. Most of them are commoners or other low level NPCs the majority of the population is low level. Subtract 4 from their intelligence, wisdom, and charisma due to their current state.


The standard undead appear in the Cave with the following exceptions. Corporeal undead are somewhat rare since there arenít a lot of bodies lying around waiting to be raised. The exception to this is that ghouls do occasionally appear in the tunnels. Incorporeal undead, such as ghosts and spectres, are more common than in the waking world. However, 75% of incorporeal undead are actually corporeal in the Cave, so they attack and are hit as normal creatures (reduce their challenge rating by 1). Shadows occur in the Grove and elsewhere with standard characteristics, including being incorporeal.

stats are 3.0, unedited, so far.

The Oldest Resident, also known as Steve, appears to be a 14 year old boy with shaggy brown hair dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. Most of the time, he is asleep in the Mouth with is his head resting on a stack of books. No one remembers a time when Steve was not in the Caves. It is believed that he died in an accident long ago and was reborn here; he doesnít like to talk about things before the Cave. In the dim past, he explored almost every square inch of the Cave. Now he spends most of his time sleeping.

Despite his unassuming appearance, Steve is quite powerful. He can change the very fabric of the Cave. He also is immune to the effects of any magic item not created in the Cave. Despite his godlike power, does not act as a god or ruler in any way; he does not grant power to anyone and does not administrate the caves in any real way. He will occasionally intervene in disputes to protect someone and he is known to have a strong hatred of bullies. People are hesitant to wake him except in extreme circumstances as he is quite grumpy when woken up. When he wakes on his own, he is a little shy but generally sociable and occasionally jovial. He likes to hear about events in the Cave and the appearance or disappearance of doorways.

Tom, aka that odd guy in his underwear. 5í6Ē tall, pudgy with dark hair, brown eyes, light olive skin, and quite a bit of body hair. Heís wearing briefs with no other equipment.

Tom started out wanting to be a mechanical engineer but dropped out of college. He knew a bit about computers so was able to land a helpdesk/tech support position. In this capacity, he learned that most managers are clueless and donít care. He learned to use bluff and diplomacy to get out of doing stupid assignments with a Dilbertesque flair. Recently he left The Big Stupid Company and became a freelance database developer.

Tom is basically a slacker. He does as little work is necessary to get by to maximize his goofing off time. In college, he hung out with people who liked to explore steam tunnels and perform breakins for the purpose of pranks. He is fairly agile but his laziness has made him out of shape and flabby. Since then, he has moved on to moving through abandoned buildings and city tunnel systems. The few times he got caught, he was able to talk his way out of trouble.

Tom frequently has dreams where he is in a strange place in his underwear. Heís having one of those dreams right now.

Exp2/Rog1 AC 12, hp 11, str 11, dex 15, con 9, int 16, wis 12, char 13.
Base attack +1, will +3, ref +2, feats: alertness, dodge, mobility.

Obsidian Sleekfur a.k.a. Sid the Sly

A domestic shorthair with black fur and green eyes, Obsidian has a lean, muscular appearance. In the waking world, he lives with a young couple and a baby in a townhouse in the suburbs. In the cave he started out as a young rogue in the Alleys. As he got older, he discovered the joy of sunbathing in the Valley of the Afternoon. In the valley, he practiced his hunting skills. Recently, he has been hanging out with mages in the Mouth trying to learn magic. He has also joined up with a raven familiar named Nightwing.

With the exception of bouts of temporary madness, Sid is generally good natured. He lounges around for days at a time interspersed with periods of hyperactivity. He is always on the lookout for baubles to collect or exciting hunts to participate in. He is an eternal rascal but usually plays the cuteness card to get out of trouble.

4th level Cat Rog2/Rng1/Sor1, Neutral, S13, D20/16, C12, I11, W10, Ch18
Skills include Balance 18, Hide 14, Move Silently 14, Tumble 10.
Feasts multi-attack, improved grab

Kirbobept, Bob for short, loves to dig. Heck, all umberhulks do. But for Bob, the artistry and the layout of the digging has always been important. As he rose into adulthood, he stopped rampaging as it scared others away. He wanted others to appreciate his skills. One day he tunneled through to a passageway that glowed and had no gravity. At the end of it, he found himself in the Mouth of the Infinite Cave. It was a dream come true. People didnít immediately run from him or attack him. He quickly joined up with a dwarven couple and formed the business Umber Tunneling. They carve out cave homes and buildings for residents. Bob does the bulk of the digging. The dwarves do the final smoothing and any needed magical work. Their work is highly sought for their quick, high quality work that never caves in.

Bob is 7í tall and 5í6Ē wide, somewhat short and stout for an umberhulk (He looks more like a 2nd ed. Umberhulk.) He has a dark red shell. One of his larger mandibles is broken, his bite attack does one less die of damage and is -2 to hit.

Celia Snapdragon

Celia has always been a very curious Pixie, especially when it comes to magic. She has studied the emanations of the Grove and the Valley of the Afternoon. In addition to her innate magical abilities, she has become a minor wizard. She enjoys the company of animals and fey (especially Match, her pseudodragon familiar) but is very shy around others. She tends to stay invisible and observe those she doesnít know. She used to be quite carefree and kept mainly to herself. Since the Dark Thing, she has become obsessed with rooting out evil and tracking down the Dark Thing. One night, she was flitting invisibly through the Grove when some evil shadow she calls the Dark Thing noticed her and gripped her mind. She struggled for what seemed like several minutes but failed to escape. She died not entirely sure what killed her. When she reformed, she warned others and started carefully prowling for the source of evil.

Appearance (when visible): light green skin, lavender hair, fuchsia eyes, lacy pearl colored wings. 2í3Ē tall, thin, dressed loose, knee length, sleeveless dress (color of which varies depending on which one she is wearing.

3rd level pixie resident wizard, Neutral Good, S
, D17, C11, I16, W12, Ch10, Feats: weapon finesse(dagger), dodge, scribe scroll, brew potion, silent spell. Main skills, alchemy, spellcraft, arcane knowledge, dreamlore, plus knowledge of nature and the planes.