"Dreams are real, and real are dreams
!" - Timothae the Awakened Dreamer, somnambul psion
Somnambuls are dream affected beings born to human parents. Sometimes a child is born to a mother in a coma or whom suffers terrible nightmares during their pregnancy. This somehow alters the mental and physical state of the child which forms partially within the region of dreams. This phantasmagorical womb never seems to give birth, continuing to both curse and gift the individual their entire lives.
The first sign of the difference in the child is its extensive sleeping time. They slumber so often and so deep that they are often malnourished, resulting in thin, weak adults. As they grow their oddness increases as they develop advanced somnambulism, the condition known as sleepwalking. Parents tend to spend much of their nights sleeping nearby their child after locking doors and windows in an attempt to prevent their child from wandering off and possibly injuring themselves. As they reach adulthood many teach themselves to remain still, or develop subconscious instincts that keep them from harm.
Somnambul's are known for their incredible creativity and imagination, and many become famous painters or writers. A large minority however suffer more and intense dreams as they age until they finally succumb to insanity. Either way somnambuls are always fascinating individuals with a unique view of the world, though a bit odd and often exceedingly absent minded. In fact, many Somnambuls consider themselves to have two lives, the waking and the dreaming, each state seeming as real to them as the other.
Generally only Somnambul woman give birth to other somnambuls, otherwise the child is often quite normal.
Somnambul's resemble their human parents in most respects, including the familial similarity that any human child would share with his or her parents. The one exception to this is that a somnambul tends to have red-rimmed eyes even when completely rested that possess a strangely unnerving gaze.
* -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence: Though quick learners and imaginative, a somnambul is in a constant state of mild fatigue.
* Medium: As Medium Creatures, somnambuls have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
* Somnambul's land speed is 30 feet.
* Humanoid (Human): Somnambuls are of human descent and are affected by spells and the like as if they were purely human.
* Unstable: Somnambuls are not known for the stability of their minds and take a -2 penalty to saves against confusion and insanity.
* Naturally Psionic: Somnambuls gain 1 bonus power point at 1st level. This benefit does not grant them the ability to manifest powers unless they gain that ability through another source, such as levels in a psionic class.
* Dream Telling: A Somnambul with 5 or more hit dice has acquired extensive insight into their subconscious and Dream, gaining the benefits of the Dreamtelling feat (Heroes of Horror).
* Lucid Dreamer: A Somnambul may always use Lucid Dreaming (Manual of the Planes, p. 203) as a trained skill and gains a +4 bonus on such checks.
* Gentle Mind (Su): A Somnambul's mind-affecting powers or spells do not automatically awaken unconscious beings they are directed at unless they deal damage.
* Sleepwalker: A somnambul's subconscious mind becomes so hyperactive while unconscious that its body responds to the cerebral activity. Before going to sleep each night a somnambul must make a DC 20 Autohypnosis check or spend the night sleepwalking. A sleepwalker can take simple actions such as moving his base speed in a random direction or picking up objects. He is considered flat-footed, and takes a -20 penalty on spot checks so that though he is unlikely to walk off a cliff, he may not be able to find a doorknob to let himself out of a room. He is not consciously aware of his actions. The sleepwalker can be awakened with a swift shaking or sudden loud noise, though awakes automatically if he sustains any damage.
* Up the Walls (Su): Somnambul's difficulty in distinguishing between dream and reality allow them to move in strange, surreal ways. They gain the benefits of the Up the Walls feat while psionically focused.
* Psi-Like Abilities: 1/day Demoralize or Empathy. Manifester level is equal to 1/2 Hit Dice (minimum 1st). The save DC is Charisma-based.
* Automatic Language: Common. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).
* Favored Class: Psion.
* Level Adjustment: +0
The Somnambul Paragon
Somnambul paragons are often wonderous folk, though all the more strange for this. They learn to accept and use their link to both states of consciousness for their own advantage and gain mental stability. Thus they combine human potential with the inpiration of Dream.
Somnambul paragons tend to be the most famous, or infamous, of somnambuls, producing some of the the greatest works of art, be it in story and song or on canvas and crafts. Others go another route, seeking to learn of their link to dream and what awaits them in the land of the unwaking, thus becoming powerful psionicists.
Alignment: Somnambul paragons are as varied in their alignments as normal humans, some finding the underlying law of dreams, others embracing the chaos of the unexpected.
Religion: Somnambul paragons tend to not be particularly religious unless they come to revere the godminds of Dream.
Background: Often having to flee from their homes, or asylums as is not uncommon, most somnambul paragons are feared for their strangeness of mind, many thinking they are nothing short of mad, and indeed this is not without precedent. They must thus find themselves, often in hiding which brings their special potential to the surface. Though sharing humanity's traits, they also represent the depths of the human psyche. Its dreamselves so to speak.
Other Classes: Psionicists are best able to share similiar experiences and desires of the somnambul paragon, though most other classes cannot help but feel extremely uncomfortable around their madcap ways.
1st|+0|+0|+0|+2|Human Soul, Steadied Mind|+1 level of existing manifesting class
3rd|+1|+1|+1|+3|Ability Boost (Int, Wis, or Cha +2)|+1 level of existing manifesting class.
A vestle of imagination and inspiration, somnambuls tend to have high intelligence and charisma scores. They also learn many a discipline to steady themselves and gain insight into the combined nature of Dream and Waking, and benefit from Wisdom as well.
The somnambul paragon's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Autohypnosis (Wis), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (any) (Int), Lucid Dreaming (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Psicraft (Int), Sense Motive (Wis).
Skill Points at Each Level
4 + Int modifier.
Human Soul (Ex):
Unlike other racial paragons, somnambuls can take levels in more than one racial paragon class. After gaining at least one level as a somnambul paragon, a character can take human paragon levels.
Steadied Mind (Ex):
A somnambul paragon loses his race's instability at 1st level.
Dream Innured (Ex):
At 2nd level a somnambul comes to terms and hardens himself to the nightmares of dreaming and can apply this discipline to the waking, gaining immunity to any kind of fear effect.
Ability Boost (Ex):
At 3rd level, one of the somnambul paragon's mental scores (Int, Wis, or Cha) increases by 2 points.
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Timothae, the Awakened Dreamer
That music... it was wrong, it was EVIL. He had to stop that music!
A young woman quickly sat up in bed, and cocked her head to the side, listening. The soft pattering of bare footsteps and the thud of the closing door. She quickly rolled out of bed, and grabbed a shawl off its hook and ran outside. There, in the distance was her five year old jogging down the sandy street, heedless to the tiny pebbles that must have been badly bruising him. She herself winced as she took after him, the salty breeze blowing her slightly to the side.
"Timothae!" she cried. "Come back!"
Something coming in from the woods... going for the music. It was that girl again... 'Who is she?' he wondered.
"Come back!" he shouted and took off after her, to warn her away from the music.
The watchman started in surprise as the little figure ran past him for the shore.
"Whoa there lad, where you headin'?" he called. When no answer was forthcoming he ran forward and stepped before the child. The boy stopped abruptly and stood there, his eyes staring blankly ahead. The watchmen lifted his lantern to shine into the boy's face and laid a hand on his shoulder.
"Are you alright there?" he asked a touch confused, and if it wasn't for his old eyes he could have sworn that mists were coming off the little one. He raised the lantern up as the form of his mother came panting down the road.
"Thank you so much Mr. Brody!" she breathed and reached down to take the boy's arm, "I can't imagine what would bring him to do..." she gasped as the watchmen grabbed her arm.
"No lass, no!" he said in an urgent whisper. "He's asleep walkin'. Ye must never awaken those as do that. 'orrible things are a'said to happen. Just lead'em quiet like back."
The woman smiled slightly and nodded. She gently turned him around, and he went along with her gentle pressure. He instinctively climbed back into bed. She went about locking the doors and windows in the house.
He chased after her but could never catch up. Suddenly a wind picked him up and blew him over the treetops and away....
For the next six years Timothae's mother was kept busy everynight, sometimes sleeping at the foot of his door to be awakened by his walks. The night watchmen were always on the alert for his passing, for despite the mother's efforts, she would fall into a deep sleep or walk off, inexplicably forgetting her vigil and he would unlock doors or unlatch windows with subconscious zeal.
Of his late wanderings his father was never told, and being away for months at a time on voyages across the great lake the Captain was rarely home for very long. When he was the young boy was overjoyed and oddly enough his walkabouts ceased, but the following days after his father's usual departures his treks would start once more.
The father was never told of his, for he resented weakness in any form, and to find anything odd about his son would be a blow to his pride. His first attempt at halting these wanderings would be a solid thrashing with a belt. Timothae's mother could not bear the thought of her quiet, gentle son being treated thus and so it was kept a secret.
Eight years later...
Timothae looked about in astonishment as he strolled down the street of his home. The smith he knew had been dead for years looked up from his shop and waved. All about him, people he had once known but had died walked around him.
Suddenly a movement caught his eye and he saw the girl. She grew as he did he realized. As always he caught nothing of her face as she walked into an alley. However, as he turned within, he stopped dead in his tracks for she was turned towards him. Her face was almost elven in its beauty, and for the first time he looked upon the kind but worried gaze of her green, almond eyes. She reached out her hand and in sweet tones she urged, "You must come with me quickly!"
Still staring deep into her eye he took the hand, and the world dimmed. His intake of breath brought to him the smell of burning wood... and flesh. She pulled him back out of the alley and he saw dust and fog in a great cloud that blocked the sun for as far as he could see. What was dimly illuminated struck to his heart. Nearly the entire town was reduced to rubble. Moans and screams of pain and fear reverberated about the wreckage. The ground suddenly rumbled and shook, nearly knocking him off balance, only by leaning together were the girl and he able to maintain their footing.
"This way!"she shouted urgently and half dragged him down the path. Instead of taking him down to the seaside he found himself in a forest. As she took him they seemed to become larger and taller, many seeming to have been uprooted and twisted by a great force.
As he went along they became larger and eventually she stopped before the largest of them all, a tree so high that only the lowermost branches were visible, the top being lost to sight. At the base of the twisted and gnarled trunk sat an ancient looking man, bent with age. He stood up from his contemplation with a look of deep sadness and beckoned.
He turned about and like a fly started to clamber up the trunk. The girl gave him an affectionate smile and followed suit. Together they soon came to a ledge and pulled themselves above it. Timothae blinked in astonishment, for the trunk of the tree has split off and formed many, many small trunks that held up the top. They were formed in the shape of living arches and the middle was left bare leaving plenty of room to move about. In each arch were the standing forms of mummified remains, their parchment-like skin weather beaten and spider webs were woven about the exposed bones. Pieces of torn fabric blew about in the breeze. They all were turned face outwards, looking towards the horizon, each one with an expression of utter sorrow upon their dried features.
The old man reaches over and took him by the shoulders and turned him to look around. The beauty of the forest and seas of grass shocked Timothae to inner stillness. The view was shortlived though as the sun dipped below the distant mountains and the land took on the color of blood.
Timothae felt himself suddenly shoved from behind and staggered off the ledge of the tree. Though the ground rushed at him no fear did he feel. He landed softly on his feet which somehow took the shock easily. The girl and man land beside you and start to run. With great speed they dash and before they are out of site you hear the aged one shout, "Up and over, faster, faster! Do not be left behind!"
Obeying his urgent commant Timothae started to run and was soon leaving the wind behind in his wake. In moments he was back at the town but now, though it wass dark, it was no longer in rubble. He saw the man and girl turn around a strange building and so he head for it as well.
Around the curve he came to a stop. A great multitude of everyone he knew stood before him. The ancient man nods to you and and the girl squeezes your arm. From the center of the crowd stepped his mother, who handed him an odd silver dagger...
"Timothae... Timoathe!"; his mother said loudly, shaking him. She knew him to sleep deeply, almost in death would he appear when he did not wander, but never before had it been this difficult. Only the rise and fall of his chest told her he was alive.
"You father sailed in early, Timothae!" she said still shaking.
He sat up suddenly and she felt a piercing pain in her knee she was leaning forward upon. Through the blanket a shining glint caught the morning sun coming in through the window. She fell backwards, and a tall, burly man with skin as dark as wet sand jumped forward and caught her.
"TIMOTHAE!" she gasped. "Why are you sleeping with a knife?"
"Wha' kni..." he asked groggily but his eyes widened in shock at the blade within his hand. "You gave it to me... but that was only a dream!" he whispered.
Timothae's father set her down in a chair and took a step forward and siezed the boy's wrist. "Where did you get this?" he demanded, but for a moment even he was memorized by the weapon, though he rallied and said sternly. "None of us could afford such a blade."
"Mother..." Timothae started.
His mother shook her head in bewilderment, "I have never seen it before, Locklane!"
Locklane shook the boy arm.
"Did you steal this?" he hissed in fury.
"Then how did you come to have it? I have been far too negligent of late." he turned and looked to Timothae's mother. "Feleen, you have that scratch looked at. Never know what might be on this."
"Locklane, no..." she started.
"Feleen, leave us." he said in tones that brooked no argument.
He quickly closed the door as she walked out, limping slightly. He turned back to Timothae, "Our family has had a tradition of honor and integrity. You will tell me from whom you took it."
"Father, I did not..."
"LIES!" he fairly roared. "No mark on my family will be tolerated, and theft of arms is a black smudge. You will learn what the price of dishonor is." and pulled from around his pant a thick, wide leather belt.
Feleen buried her head in her hands at the sounds of Timothee's agonized cries, and her tears leaked between her clenched fingers.
Timothae did not come forth from his room once that day and Locklane forbade her to enter to comfort him. That night she sat up and with a sick certainty knew that he had gone wandering. She tried to get out of bed quietly, but Locklane unlike his son slept light and questioned after her. She trembled slightly as she responded, "He walks at night, asleep." she grabbed his arm as he swung his legs out of bed. "He doesn't know what he does, Locklane!" she implored.
"Thats what he tell you is it?" Locklane said darkly. "This is when he goes out to steal! Apparently his flogging wasn't enough. He'll learn this time. Oh, how he'll learn!" he quickly pulled on his boots and walked out the door. Down the road, heading towards the beach walked Timothae, a shattered lamp held in the hand of a crumpled figure at his feet. Going around the figure, Timothae continued walking. Locklane's fists bunched in fury and shame and he ran down, his boots sending gravel scattering.
"Timothae, oh Timothae!" he heard the girl shout. He looked out the window and rising from the sea was the moon, the color of blood. Timothae quickly squeezed through the window frame and jumped lightly to the ground. Shadows oozed out of nearby doorways and from chimneys and under window sills. He ran all the faster but skidded to a stop as one stepped before him. In its hand shone a bright fire that it drew back to throw. Timothae's anger filled him at the obstacles keeping him from the girl to whom he had fallen in love with. His head seemed filled with light, and he hurled it at the shadow to destroy it. The dark shape staggered back and fell to the ground where a dark puddle formed. The fire hit the puddle and sizzled out.
He did not have a moment of satisfaction however as her voice echoed from the waves ever more urgently. He walked around the puddle and dashed for the waters. He screamed in pain though as he stepped upon the pebbly shore, for no longer was it covered in pebbles. Tiny figures were standing up from their prone positions, some several inches tall, thousands of others only the size of grains of sand. Each one though had glinting claws coming from their tiny hands and their faces contorted and rotten. With these claws they tore into his foot. Farther out upon the waters the pleading tones continued. Timothae leaped into the water and flicked his foot, washing off the dead men. The salt stung his wounds viciously, but he couldn't return to the beach. Specially because out on the lake was a small boat, with the girl standing upon it. A dark arm was around her throat which connected to a demonic form wrapped about in a black cloak. He laughed horribly and lifted the other arm alike to a bat's wing. The wind quickly took the membrane and the girl's screams disapeared in the distance.
'This is a dream...' he said to himself in realization. 'This is MY dream... AND I CONTROL IT! and started to wade outwards when something took his shoulder. He felt a great ripping of something deep within his being, but it was not he that tore, but something that had come along. For several dark moments, an unbearable weight clung to him...
Locklane dashed over the pebbles when a swirl of fabric flapped behind him and a slim hand wrapped around his arm.
"Locklane, you must listen to me!" Feleen pleaded. "He mustn't be awakened. He mustn't!"
Locklear shrugged away her grip. "You've been listening to those old wives tales. If he's really sleep walking, and I doubt this, he'll be woken up. It may take some time, but anything can be beaten out of you if its caught early!" and grabbed Timothae's shoulder and spun him brutally around.
A silent explosion seemed to pass through Locklear and Feleen's minds and the sky turned a horrible shade of dark ochre. Rising from the ocean was a bloated moon far too large, casting the hideous light. Most horrifying of all though was the figure that turned to them shrieking, "This is MY dream!".
Though still bearing a resemblance to Timothae, the being before them was out of their worst inner fears. His skin, a horrible pale shade, literally CRAWLED, like maggots unable to quite push through from beneath. His eyes were missing, and in their place were pulsing orbs of light, chasing and roating about one another. His hair were tentacles that went down to his back and rose into the air. His arms and legs were obscenely thickened and bloated, and from his fingers and toes grew viciously curved talons. He opened an unhinged mouth that showed a veritable forest of never ending needled teeth and his barbed tongue snaked out, "Dare you take their form, demons? No more... NO MORE!" and stomping forward he reached down and gripped the ankles of Locklane.
Whipping the man around and around his head, Timothae released him. Locklane sailed far over the waters towards the rocky reefs. There was an audible 'CRACK' as his body met the unyielding stone, and he slid down into the turbulent waves. Timothae then turned to the second cowering figure, her mouth opened in a silent scream too fearful to have sound.
"Return to the nothingness of defeated nightmare and plague me no more!" he screamed and reached out a hand. From her body a thick, roiling substance streamed. He bound it within his palms and rearing back, hurled it into the sky, where it sailed higher... and higher. The figure collapsed to the ground.
He turned back to the waves and was preparing to fly for the boating demon when suddenly he felt dizzy.
The water far out to see parted and a dark, monstrous figure rose up and laughed humorlessly, shaking the land. "You have finally released me from my prison after all these years, and so I will alow you to live. May we never meet again..." and he wafted a hand at Timothae as if to dismiss him.
As he fell to the sand he abruptly noticed that the beach was no longer anything but pale pebbles and sand, and no red moon hung in the sky...
When Timothae awoke he felt light headed, and couldn't quite remember how to open his eyes. Voices were around him, whispering, but quickly became louder. Eventually feeling came to his arm and he reached to find why his eyes were so heavy and felt a damp cloth. A voice responded above him, "Why he awakes!"
The cloth was pulled from his head and he slowly opened his eyes. It was several moments before he could focus, but when he could he saw that he was within the apothecary. The healer's elderly face was looking into his. He glanced over and saw his mother lying still on a cot nearby and said with a croak, "What happened?"
"Well lad..." the healer responded slowly, "I've got some bad news...."
No one quite understood why Timothae ran out of the apothecary screaming, "Dreams are real, and real is dreams!" and locked himself in his home. Over the next eight days many tried to get in to check on him, but he ignored their calls. Finally, after several days had passed a couple of Locklear's mates hoisted up another of the sailors, and peering through Timothae's window, saw him rocking back and forth on his bed, his eyes wide and unseeing and his mouth saying something over and over.
During this time Timothae slept not one wink. He would pinch himself or dash himself against the wall along with a wide variety of things to keep from sleeping. Upon hearing about his parents he refused to sleep, for to sleep was to dream, and to dream was to kill! He must never sleep again, for he could not know what might happen once more. By the eighth day he had been seeing hallucinations and was sure that his dreams were out to get him. It was on that eighth day that his mother died, unable to stay alive any longer within a coma. He watched blearily as her coffin was carried to the graveyards by Lacklear's crew, followed by Feleen's friends. The madness that was building within him from shock and sleep deprivation finally took hold as his lids grew droopy. He could not sleep if he could not close his eyes! This was the only thought in his mind as he walked out of his room and went to the stand where Locklear kept his things. Timothae rooted around and pulled out his silver knife. In the kitchen he brought forth a bowl of water and looked within to see his reflection. He then brought the knife to his eye...
Several days later the neighbors were shocked to finally see a figure with a hooded cloak pulled over his head emerge from the house...