Dreams can be many things to many different people. They can be good happy things where everything is perfect. They can be terrible nightmares that hell couldn’t hold a candle too. And, then they can make absolutely no sense at all with the world seeming to be skewed this way and that. Then, you can also look at dreams as ambition; the thing you want to do with your life and the heights you want to rise too. A dream can be something you want.
My dream—at the moment—is to find something to say about dreams that doesn’t sound ridiculous. Lol.
I was talking to Cupcake about it, and we were basically talking about how I could use dreams in the story. She mentioned using mindflayers (psychic mini Cthulhus that eat brains) as antagonists who create perfect dreams for the PCs, with the downside being the PCs could never escape from their dreams when they realized it was a nightmare. The problem with that comes from the OGL. Mindflayers, also called Illithids, are not considered Open Game content. They are part of the Product Identity of Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons brand. Therefore, if I use them, then publish the adventure (as I plan to do with all of the adventures I write), then I will get a nice fat lawsuit dropped right on my head. And, that would just suck.
So, there won’t be any mindflayers in my game. That doesn’t mean I don’t have equally nasty monsters to take the place of those critters. But, talking about them here would give away the big surprise I’ve got planned for the PCs. (Please note that said surprise has something to do with the campaign as a whole and not just the current adventure.) That should leave them guessing for a while, lol.
Anyway, this surprise beastie has psychic powers far beyond the capabilities of any being the PCs have run into yet, and parts of it have the wicked urge to infiltrate an enemy’s dreams; a sort of psychological warfare, and, yes, they can easily take control of those dreams by tapping into the subconscious and finding the things the subject desires most in life and the things the subject fears the most. Then it would bend those things to get the subject to act the way it desires. If it wants to keep it from resting, it will give the subject the most terrifying nightmares possible. If it wants the subject to be overconfident in their actions, it will give the subject dreams about what it wants most.
Then if the beastie is pissed off at the subject it can put the subject through hell by subjecting it to a dream that it can never escape from. The body would wither and die slowly as the conscious and subconscious minds were tormented, even killed, time and time again so long as their bodies draw breath. Escaping from that sort of nightmare would be a helluva feat, and it would certainly be something entertaining to throw at the PCs. The first obstacle they’d have to overcome would be realizing they’re in a dream. The second would be communicating with one another. The third would be finding a way to break the beasties hold on them. All the while, the beastie would be watching them, knowing their moves before they’re made, and it would be entertained. Maybe it’s something that can’t be beaten.
Not I said the fly.
I guess it’s just going to have to be one of those adventures I write and play with my group to find the answer.
Now I bet Cupcake wishes she hadn’t made that suggestion about mindflayers. Lol.