The Transitive Planes: Dream

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The general properties of the Plane of Dreams were already covered in a previous post, but there’s a lot more to this unusual plane than mentioned there.

Layout and Connections

The connections of the Plane of Dreams to other planes is a little fluid. It is always coexistent with the Astral Plane, though there is no one-to-one mapping between locations in the Dream and locations in the Astral Plane. If two people start side-by-side in the Dream, facing the same direction, and one exits into the Astral Plane, and they both travel for five minutes in the direction they’re facing, re-entering the Dream will never reunite the two people; in fact, they may now be separated by an enormous distance within the Dream.

The Plane of Dreams does not connect to any Ethereal or Shadow Planes, but spells relying on these planes function more or less as you’d expect, by forming a local temporary patch of Ethereal or Shadow Plane. In the case of a local Shadow Plane within the dream, however, it lacks the link to the Deep Shadow and as such cannot be used for interplanar travel.

Connections to other planes are based on the presence of beings that are dreaming. This means the Plane of Dreams is pretty much permanently connected to the Material Plane, since it’s hard to find a moment when no-one on the entire plane is dreaming. It also connects to any other plane that contains dreaming beings, which means that as long as there’s someone in your party who dreams, you can access the Plane of Dreams, even if you’re deep in the Far Realms where even the Astral Plane is inaccessible, or on a Plane of Mirrors where there are no planar connections at all.

The general structure of the Plane of Dreams is a network of dreamscapes surrounding the central Dreamheart, all set within a fluid landscape. Outside of a dreamscape, the landscape looks like a reflection of the nearest nontransitive plane (for example, the Material Plane or an outer plane). The landscape is indistinct and blurry, but recognizable. From the outside, a dreamscape appears to be a huge bubble. People outside the dreamscape can see in as if looking through translucent glass, but those inside cannot see out.

A few deities prefer the Plane of Dreams to the Outer Planes for their demesnes. In the eye of the Dreamheart lies the divine realm of Desna, Lady of Hope, the goddess of dreams, stars, travellers, and luck. Orbiting just outside the Dreamheart is the divine realm of Lamashtu, Destroyer of Hope, Desna’s direct nemesis and the goddess of madness, monsters, and nightmares. A third divine realm floats through the Plane of Dreams, avoiding dreamscapes but never straying far from the Dreamheart; this belongs to Aranei, the Dreamweaver, a neutral spider goddess worshipped mainly by the drow.


There are two completely different ways to enter the Plane of Dreams. You can enter while sleeping, which functions similarly to Astral Projection, except without the weakness of a silver cord. Such people are called dreamers or sometimes dreamwalkers. (More precisely, dreamwalker refers to someone who has realized they are dreaming; everyone enters the Plane of Dreams when sleeping, but only a few can make use of this.) Unlike an astral projection, a dreamer does not appear silvery and indistinct. They appear as real as the landscape around them.

The other way to enter the Plane of Dreams is physically. The spell Dreamscape and the psionic power Dream Travel both transfer a creature physically into the dream. In addition, someone skilled in lucid dreaming may use the spells Plane Shift or Gate (or the psionic equivalents) to step into the Plane of Dreams1. Someone who has physically entered the Plane of Dreams appears to be more sharply defined than the terrain or the dreamers. They are, in a sense, more real than anything else there. Desna, Lamashtu, Aranei, and their servants generally enter the dream physically. A dreamwalker who dies in the dream wakes with a hammering heart (treat them as shaken), but someone who enters the dream physically and dies there is truly dead. After a few minutes2, their corpse dissolves into the substance of the dream, and only true resurrection, wish, reality revision, or miracle can restore them; however, if their corpse is removed from the dream before this happens, it’s only subject to normal decay processes. The decay of a corpse within the dream is not affected by Gentle Repose.


The Plane of Dreams responds to sentient thought, but the ease of controlling the landscape depends on whether you are dreaming or physically present. For a dreamer to alter the landscape, they must first realize they are dreaming; only a skilled lucid dreamer can do this3. However, if you enter physically, controlling the landscape is far simpler4. You still need skill in lucid dreaming for more complex tasks, but simple tasks can be accomplished by sheer force of will.

The Plane of Dreams consists of innumerable dreamscapes surrounding a central heart. Typically, dreamwalkers step from one dreamscape to the next, but there is also space between dreamscapes. Dreamwalkers inside a dreamscape may entirely skip over the space between the dreamscapes with an application of lucid dreaming5.

A common environmental hazard in the Plane of Dreams is nightmares. When a sentient being first has a nightmare, it often leaves behind a mark in the form of a dark blotch on the landscape. A nightmare typically stays near its point of origin, meaning the original dreamer is likely to get caught in it again. From outside, a nightmare looks like a bubble similar to a dreamscape, but dark and sinister. It sucks in anyone who touches it and attempts to engulf them in the terror of its scenario. It’s impossible to escape a nightmare if you give into the fear, but if you manage to stay relatively calm and collected, it can be defeated by force of will from inside.

Some dreamscapes become persistent, either because the host dreamer has been asleep for a very long time, or because the host dreamer was so powerful that their dreamscape survived their awakening, taking on a sort of life of its own. The latter type of dreamscape tends to eventually slip into the Dreamheart where it’s torn apart by the forces there, but a few manage to evade that fate. These persistent dreamscapes can be a hazard for unwary dreamers, sucking them in similar to how a nightmare does, though they’re usually not quite as dangerous as a true nightmare.

The Dreamheart itself is a maelstrom of broken dreamscapes, swirling in towards the eye that is Desna’s demesne. Travel here is difficult even for a skilled dreamer; the planar fabric is a little less receptive here, and the nature of the broken dreamscapes makes it resemble the shifting chaos of Errata in some ways. It doesn’t change suddenly like the plane of chaos does, but the terrain is inconsistent; at one point it might be an idyllic plain under moonlight, and just metres ahead it suddenly changes to a pit of lava in the depths of a cave. The fragments of dreamscapes move and shift relative to each other, and slowly break up around the edges, which can be dangerous if a dreamer happens to be walking along that edge at the time.

Dream Power

The Dream is even more manipulable than Errata, though it’s also more stable in the absence of sentient thought. There’s something of a hierarchy of dreamers, based on the part of the dream you’re in, the relative skill of the dreamers, and whether they are physically present. This can get somewhat complicated, but in general, when two dreamers attempt contradictory actions, the more skilled person wins.

A highly skilled dreamer can alter the landscape according to their will, compress space to speed travel across the landscape, force themselves to wake up and exit the dream (only if not physically present), change their physical form or that of another dreamer, counter spells and psionic powers (even if they’re not a mage or psion), and produce the effect of almost any spell or power they know of (even if they’re not a mage or psion) without expending a spell slot or psionic power points.

Although being physically present is an advantage for an unskilled dreamer, allowing them to do some of the simpler tasks (minor self or terrain modifications) without training, it’s actually a disadvantage for a skilled dreamer. If a physically present dreamer comes up against a dreamwalker with equal or greater skill, and contradictory actions are attempted, the dreamwalker easily overrules the physically present dreamer. Even if the physically present dreamer is more skilled, they will have great difficulty overruling the dreamwalker.

When in a dreamscape belonging to a skilled dreamwalker, it’s especially difficult to alter the terrain. If the dreamwalker is more skilled than you, it’s impossible unless they specifically allow it. Even if you’re more skilled, you’ll have great difficulty with even the smallest tasks.

A dreamer in a dreamscape can jump directly to the dreamscape of a specific person, as long as the person is close to them (either physically or emotionally). More specifically, if the person is sleeping within a mile or two of the dreamer, or the dreamer knows the person well, the dreamer can instantly jump from the boundary of any other dreamscape to the boundary of that person’s dreamscape, provided that person is currently dreaming. If they fail the jump (or don’t attempt it), they exit the dreamscape into the indistinct spaces between the dreamscapes.

The spaces between dreamscapes are as easy to manipulate as a dreamer’s own dreamscape6, though if two dreamers attempt contradictory things, they must engage in a struggle of wills to see who wins. In the case of a tie, both attempts fail.

A powerful enough dreamer can even alter the planar traits within their own dreamscape, effectively turning it into a realm of their own, like a deity’s demesne. Within such a dreamscape, the host dreamer has complete control of the surroundings, and the power of the dream usually can’t be used by anyone else other than the host dreamer. No dreamer can alter planar traits in another’s dreamscape or in the spaces between dreamscapes; only a deity can accomplish this.

The Nightmare spell is far more powerful in the Plane of Dreams, as the visions produced by it manifest physically in the dream, often creating a nightmare that threatens to suck the caster in as well.


There are a few creatures native to the Plane of Dreams. These are animate dreams, which are formed when a particular powerful dreamer wakes, leaving behind an imprint that lives on, and lengizens, bizarre humanoid creatures that wander the dreamscapes and sometimes visit the Material Plane. The bakus (bizarre creatures that feed on dreams) make their home here, but travel to the Material Plane to do their actual hunting. They cannot feed on a person’s dreams from within the Plane of Dreams.

Mechanical Stuff

Tarosir is a D&D-based world, so of course there’s various mechanics to go along with all this. The main one is the Lucid Dreaming skill, which is used to control the dreamscape as described under Dream Power above. There’s also a Dream domain for clerics and some related spells; I won’t describe the new spells here, though, but I’ll mark them with an asterisk. Finally, I was trying to make a class built around the dreamwalking concept, though I’m not sure how well that’ll go.

Dream Domain

A cleric may choose the Dream domain if their deity offers it; the deities that offer the Dream domain are Desna, Lamashtu, and Aranei. (No surprise there, right?) Lucid Dreaming is a class skill for clerics with the Dream domain, and they also get the following ability.

Quick Sleep (Sp) - Twice a day, a cleric with the Dream domain may put themselves to sleep (as the Sleep spell, no saving throw or HD limit). Sleep induced by this ability counts for half towards resting. (For example, if you use this ability, you need to sleep 2 hours to stave off exhaustion or 16 hours to stave off fatigue or become rested enough to prepare spells anew.) The maximum duration of this sleep is 30 minutes per caster level. Since the ability is meant to assist in dreamwalking, a cleric using this ability can take 20 on their Lucid Dreaming check to realize they’re dreaming. (They still need to have at least one rank of Lucid Dreaming to make the check in the first place.)

Races that cannot sleep can still use this ability. It doesn’t put them to sleep (instead placing them in a trance), but all other effects of the ability are as described above.

Spell List

  1. Sleep - Puts 4 HD of creatures into magical slumber.
  2. Darkness - 20-ft. radius of supernatural shadow.
  3. Deep Slumber - Puts 10 HD of creatures to sleep.
  4. Restless* - Plagues a sleeper with unsettling dreams, dealing 1d6 damage and a chance of fatigue. (A weaker form of Nightmare, without the Evil descriptor)
  5. Dream - Sends message to anyone sleeping.
  6. Wake - Wakes up any sleeping creature.
  7. Dreamwalk* - Puts creature to sleep and grants it a bonus to Lucid Dreaming skill and the ability to use it untrained.
  8. Dreamspike* - Puts creature into a deep sleep and locks them into the dream. (Could be used to emulate Sleeping Beauty.)
  9. Dreamscape - Travel physically to the Plane of Dreams. (as the epic spell in the SRD)
Lucid Dreaming

Use this skill to realize that you are dreaming, consciously direct elements of a dream, and move into other dreamscapes.

Check - Making a Lucid Dreaming check is usually a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity. However, altering terrain or a being’s physical form is a full-round action, and imitating a spell effect takes the same amount of time as the imitated spell.

Retry - You can make a Lucid Dreaming check once per round.

Untrained - Normally the only action you can attempt untrained with Lucid Dreaming is waking up, with a Wisdom check. However, if you’re under the effect of the Dreamwalk spell, you can attempt any action untrained, and if you physically enter the dream, you can attempt any action with a DC of 20 or less untrained.

Task DC
Realize you are dreaming 5
Change one aspect of your personal dreamscape 15
Change one aspect of another’s dreamscape 20
Change your personal appearance 20
Depart one dreamscape for another 15
Enter the Dreamheart 25
Pull another with you into the Dreamheart 25*
Leave the Dreamheart 20
Wake up from a dreamscape (can attempt untrained) 10
Wake up from the Dreamheart (can attempt untrained) 18
Change your personal form 20 or more
Change the form or appearance of someone else varies†
Alter terrain in your personal dreamscape 30 or more
Alter terrain in someone else’s dreamscape varies†
Counter a spell or similar effect 30 + spell level
Imitate a spell effect 40 + spell level
Collapse space 30 + distance in miles
Enter the Plane of Dreams with Plane Shift 25‡
Open a Gate to the Plane of Dreams 35‡
Alter a planar trait in your personal dreamscape 50 or more
Escape a nightmare 20

* You must first successfully grapple your opponent and make the Lucid Dreaming check on your next action in place of an attempt to pin your opponent. If you succeed, you both tumble into the Dreamheart. You may pull a willing person into the Dreamheart without requiring a grapple, simply by holding their hand, but if they turn out not to be willing, they’ll be left behind when you enter the Dreamheart.

† For this task, make a check as if you were applying the same task to yourself or your personal dreamscape. If you succeed, your target (whose form, appearance, or dreamscape you are attempting to alter) makes an opposed check. If you beat their result by at least 5, the change is successful. (To change their form, you need to beat their check by 10.) If successful, the change occurs exactly as if they had done it to themselves.

‡ In order to do this, you need to have some means of casting the spell or or manifesting the psionic power. Any way is permissible, provided that you’re the one activating it - casting a spell or manifesting a power that you know, using a scroll or power stone, or even using a magic item such as an Amulet of the Planes. You can’t get someone else to do the casting for you.

Change Aspect
An aspect of a dreamscape includes background features such as lighting, terrain, architecture of a given building, vegetation (or lack thereof), and other relatively innocuous characteristics of a dreamscape. You can’t use the change aspect action to make a bolt of lightning strike a foe or open a pit below an enemy.
Change Appearance
You can adopt the outward appearance of another creature within two size categories of your own. None of your abilities change, just your appearance.
Alter Terrain
You can make any sort of dramatic change to a dreamscape’s terrain, such as adding or removing a significant structure, opening a pit below an enemy, altering weather conditions, or even replacing the entire dreamscape with a new one. For really dramatic changes, you must also succeed on an appropriate Craft (Dreamweaving) check. Altering terrain is a full-round action rather than a standard action.
Change Form
You can change your personal form as if using one of the spells Alter Self (DC 20), Polymorph (DC 22), Polymorph Any Object (DC 25), or Shapechange (DC 28). You can also completely alter your race, similar to the effect of the Reincarnate spell (DC 32, see below for more details). Finally, you can reassume your normal form (DC 15). If you choose one of the first four options, the change occurs exactly as the associated spell, with the exception that it is permanent. More specifically, it ends when you wake up.
If you choose the fifth option, you lose all racial bonus to skills and ability scores other than Intelligence and Wisdom, and gain instead the racial bonuses of the new form to skills and ability scores other than Intelligence and Wisdom. You lose all your racial bonus feats and power points and gain any racial bonus feats and power points of your new form, if you didn’t already have them. You lose all extraordinary abilities, supernatural abilities, and spell-like abilities of your normal race, and gain instead all the extraordinary abilities, supernatural abilities, and spell-like abilities of your new form, but you keep all class features. You gain the new form’s size, movement types and speeds, natural armour, and natural weapons in place of your own. You gain the type of the new form in place of your own, and you lose all subtypes of your base form but gain the subtypes of your new form.
In short, your new race completely replaces your old race, with the exception of Intelligence and Wisdom bonuses. You retain all languages that you know, but you can speak them only if the new form is capable of speaking them, and write them only if the new form is capable of writing (ie, has hands with digits capable of fine manipulation). Any items that cannot be wielded or worn by the new form meld into your body and become non-functional for the duration of the change (ie, until you apply a second change or until you revert the change). If the new form is incorporeal, all your items also become incorporeal.
You can choose the form of any creature imaginable. In theory, you could assume the form of an imaginary creature, though the DM’s discretion is required for this, and it might increase the DC. Changing your form is a full-round action rather than a standard action.
Counter a Spell
This works exactly like counterspelling normally does, except that you don’t need to have a spell ready or even have the ability to cast spells. You can counter a spell as an immediate action. If you beat the DC, the caster may attempt a Lucid Dreaming check of their own; if it beats your result, the counter fails. Higher-level spells are harder to counter.
In addition to countering spells, you can counter psionic powers, spell-like or psi-like abilities, and supernatural abilities (for supernatural abilities, the DC is 30 + creature HD). You cannot counter extraordinary abilities with this action.
Imitate a Spell Effect
Someone exceptionally skilled in lucid dreaming can effectively cast spells without being a spellcaster. Even if they are a spellcaster, they can cast spells without expending any spell slots, including spells that they would not be able to cast otherwise, such as spells from a domain they have not chosen, spells from a prohibited school, or spells from a different class’s spell list. No spell components (somatic, verbal, material, or focus) are required to do this, but the casting time is the same as the imitated spell.
They do need to know the spell exists. If they know the spell themselves, or they have seen the spell cast by anyone, or have a scroll of the spell, this is sufficient. If you’re uncertain whether they’d know a spell, make a Knowledge (arcana, psionics, or religion) check (DC set by DM).
The spell is cast as if your caster level is equal to your ranks in Lucid Dreaming, plus your class level in any classes that have the spell on their the spell list at a level that you could cast in that class. If the class can’t cast spells higher than level 4, use half the class level in place of the class level; if the class can’t cast spells higher than level 6, use one less than the class level in place of the class level. You can only imitate spells of a level up to half this effective caster level (rounding down). You can apply any metamagic effects you know to the spell, as long as it doesn’t make the spell’s effective level greater than half your effective caster level. If you are a spontaneous spellcaster, you can apply the Quicken Spell effect to the spell to shorten its casting time. You can’t apply a metamagic effect from a rod, however, as doing so relies on standard spellcasting process which this ability largely bypasses.
For example, a Ranger4/Sorcerer1 with 2 ranks of Lucid Dreaming would mimic the Endure Elements spell as if at a caster level of 5 (2 from Lucid Dreaming, 1 from Sorcerer levels, 2 from Ranger levels), higher than they could get by casting it normally. A Bard6/Wizard3 with 4 ranks of Lucid Dreaming would mimic the Fireball spell as if at a caster level of 12 (4 from Lucid Dreaming, 3 from Wizard levels, 5 from Bard levels).
You can also mimic a psionic power, though this may require a Knowledge (psionics) check if the power has never been witnessed and they lack a power stone containing the power. Levels in spellcasting classes don’t count towards power mimicry, nor do levels in psionic classes count towards spell mimicry. The rules about power levels count the same as for spell levels.
For example, a Psion3/PsychicWarrior4/Bard6 with 2 levels of Lucid Dreaming could mimic the Elfsight power as if at a manifester level of 8 (2 from Lucid Dreaming, 3 from Psion levels, 3 from Psychic Warrior levels) but could only mimic the Shield spell as if at a caster level of 7 (2 from Lucid Dreaming, 5 from Bard levels).
Collapse Space
You can collapse distance within the Plane of Dreams, such that moving an apparent distance of 5ft in fact carries you much further. You decide how far you want to move, then make the check (a distance of a mile or more increases the DC); if it succeeds, you take a couple of steps forward and find yourself much further away. You can continue to travel in this manner, with every apparent 5ft travelled taking you a much further actual distance, until your concentration on the effect is disrupted. While the effect is active, you can’t do anything other than move and concentrate on the effect, though others with you can act normally.
As the instigator of the effect, you have absolute control over who else can travel with you, though you can’t force them to; if they choose, they can travel without being subject to the effect. An onlooker would see you disappear from one location and reappear in another. You can use this ability to perform either short-range or long-range teleportation within the Plane of Dreams.

  1. Doing this requires success on a Lucid Dreaming check - DC 25 for Plane Shift or the psionic equivalent; DC 35 for Gate or the psionic equivalent. 

  2. A corpse in the dream lasts for 1d10 minutes before dissolving. 

  3. Requires success on a DC 5 Lucid Dreaming check, which requires at least one rank in Lucid Dreaming. 

  4. Someone physically in the dream can make a Wisdom check to attempt any Lucid Dreaming action with a DC of 20 or less. If you fail, you can retry as often as you want, receiving a cumulative +1 bonus on the check for each time you retry (up to a maximum +6 bonus). Any task that bends your will against a dreamer with more ranks in Lucid Dreaming than you (such as attempting to alter their dreamscape) automatically fails. If you have more ranks than them, an opposed check is made to see if you succeed. 

  5. This can be done with a DC 15 Lucid Dreaming check. Even if the check is successful, you might not actually succeed in skipping to the target dreamscape; there are various other factors that determine your chance of success. If the owner of the target dreamscape is physically close to you (within 2 miles), you succeed. If not, your chance of success depends on how well you know the person; this is similar to the Teleport spell, except it applies to the person, and there’s only two possible outcomes - success (arriving at their dreamscape) or failure (exiting into the space between dreamscapes). 

  6. The space between dreamscapes is always treated as if it is the dreamwalker’s own dreamscape for the purpose of Lucid Dreaming checks, unless two dreamwalkers attempt contradictory actions. In this case, the one with the higher Lucid Dreaming check wins. If they tie, make opposed Charisma checks; if it’s still a tie, both attempts fail. 

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