There are two different worlds: One is the realm of flesh and blood and bone. The other is that of pure spirit. The world of spirit is a strange one, hardly comprehensible to the mortal human mind. It is the land of both the dead and the supernatural and the place where all dreamers go when they sleep. No mortal mind may touch upon it outside of either death or dreams.
The World of Dreams setting is fantasy, yet the only magic is that which can be accessed while in that space outside of our normal reality. The priest must commune through meditative prayer and the wizard must enter the deep trance. Special dream witches ply the darker realms while asleep. Once in the dream world it is possible to rework the mortal one. This is a skill requiring many years of study and countless hours of learning deep concentration. For entering the dream world is one thing; maintaining awareness while there is something else.
Many exist who do not trust the World of Dreams. Some of these act in direct opposition to this power, either because of belief or out of a deep fear of what they do not understand and cannot control. To such it seems that the physical realm should be enough for the needs of mortal men.
More than a few have joined together into what is called the Order of Lightning and Shield. To those who follow this order, the World of Dreams is only meant for the natural dreamer, the dead, and the gods. They strongly believe that living men should never consciously meddle in such a realm.
Membership in this order varies by region and community. Entire nations have turned to this philosophy, though these are few in number. Other groups of the Order are mere rumors in nations which value highly the connection between this world and that of Dreams. In such places the followers of the Order of Lightning and Shield must tread lightly.
Despite the rank and file of the Order coming from those who have never been to the World of Dreams (outside of the normal way), its founder was once an accomplished weaver of dreams. Once night long ago this wizard, the great Tarothian, accidentally entered a place in the World of Dreams which forever altered his outlook upon his life and the lives of others. During this particular foray into the other realms, Tarothian found himself in a place of complete and total darkness. Within this great blackness he began to fear, for he could not find his way out of it. After a great deal of time desperately searching and lost to a blind panic, he heard a loud voice calling out. This voice hold him many things, few of which he has ever been willing to share with others. Mainly, though, his eyes were opened up to the real dangers which lurked within the Dream realms, places which the curious risked disturbing whilst blindly poking around.
Armed with this knowledge, Tarothian began a crusade to warn others about what he had learned. He met with little success and much ridicule for his crazed mutterings about these dark forces. Eventually he found an unexpected ally in those who lived in ignorance of the Dream World. Playing upon their fears, he was able to spread the word about his discovery and obtain the help of many. However, since the founding of the Order, his only success has been in the fracturing of humanity.
All dream magic is based on ritual. There are no quick spells as in most fantasy worlds. There is only the World of Dreams and what may be accomplished within. In order to practice this magic the wielder must enter through some form of sleep, whether that be a deep trance, meditative prayer, or controlled unconsciousness (as in lucid dreaming.) Once within that state it is vitally necessary to maintain focus; without this focus it possible that the dreamer may never wake (although often this simply means that the dreamer wakes either without success or with negative results.) With the correct focus, the dreamer must then go to work creating just the right dream. The spell is accomplished by making a symbolic representation of the change which is desired within the real world. There are many different ways to do this and each dream weaver will use their own symbols. The detail and success of the task is directly related to the dreamer's skill and patience. The effects can vary widely depending on the skill of the weaver. The wounded may be healed, truths may be revealed, enchantments may be cast.
There are three types of entities in the World of Dreams: Dwellers, Demons, and Lords.
Dwellers make up the majority; they tend to be representative of their role or where in the dream world they dwell. Some are elemental in nature while others are tied to the land, a people, or an idea. There is much variety amongst the Dwellers. Whole libraries are dedicated to describing the many types and their abilities and aspects.
Demons are the most like man and also the most interested in their wants and needs. A Demon is always ready to provide information or assistance but this also always comes with a price. The demons know that their skills are highly valued and charge accordingly, though never in real-world goods.
Lords are the true power amongst their realm and demand to be treated with respect by any visitors. They command great forces and should never be underestimated.
Man is not the only being who dreams. There are many beasts of the wilds who are also able to walk the World of Dreams, though their wants and needs are not as that of mortal men. Many are the potential effects of such creatures.Go to Comment
This is simple, straightforward, and elegantly done. It makes me wonder what other sorts of wonders exist in such a world.
If I ever had cause to send the players out on a scavenger hunt, I would include a shard of the sun and/or the moon and then make them work to discover this place. And, perhaps, by having them go to both places they might learn something by what each says about the other. (Not that they'd want them to stop their rivalry! That would be apocalyptic :P )Go to Comment
A lot of nice touches with this one:
Using the runes as a way of marking time shows the importance of the runes to the Dwarven mindset. Breaking the assumption that folk living underground would have the same way of measuring time that we do. Using the length of days as a way to illustrate the Dwarven culture.
Creative and thought-provoking.
While this does fit somewhat into the usual ideal of a Dwarf, it doesn't feel stereotypical to me. The stories told to keep good little Dwarves in line is a nice touch, especially since it has real life analogues. The tankard-axe is pure awesomeness. And even though this is more "real" Dwarf than some of your most recent subs, it still sticks its metaphorical tongue at Dwarven society; despite the stories and the failures of others, Stout has managed to cross the line and live the life he wants.
Even before the end, I had a feeling this was a character you had played. The offhand references to past events had that nostalgic scent to me. Sounds like fun times.Go to Comment
I like that it's focused and pretty straightforward. A section rebutting alternative interpretations could have added a little depth to it, but it is fine as-is. Showing Dwarves through the lens of a scholar gives it a nice, readable tone.
I find myself wanting to know more about the author of the poem. Was it common for one of the lower caste to be able to read and write? Or to be able to write poetry? Was this an individual not representative of the Dwarva caste? Was this someone who felt trapped by their role in Dwarven society but wished for more? These are questions that the sub raises but can't answer because Matteus Carter doesn't know them. I like it when a sub gets me pondering like this.
How has this not been voted on yet?
I guessed at the origins, which, since it wasn't outright stated until the end, made me enjoy this a little more. Despite adapting from an outside source, this still feels like full-fledged Cosmic Era to me. Good work.Go to Comment