Ruyasuluk's Nightmare Realm

Ruasuluk, Eater of Dreams
Ruyasuluk, Eater of Dreams
Ruyasuluk, Eater of Dreams, is a demon who steals power from mortals by pulling them into his nightmare realm and feeding off the strong emotions that the dreams provoke. Ruyasuluk can pull the PCs into his Nightmare Realm whenever they're sleeping, but they could also get there (intentionally or unintentionally) through Soulfaring, a magical spell or portal, or even as the result of partaking in a contaminated batch of Hulya's Breath. Accessing Ruyasuluk's domain is easy--it's getting out that's the hard part.

The Dream Keys

Short of convincing Ruyasuluk to release them or obtaining assistance from someone outside of the dream world, the only way to exit the Nightmare Realm is through a magical portal in the Chimerical Citadel, Ruyasuluk's stronghold. Opening the gate to the citidel requires nine Dream Keys, copies of which can be found throughout the Nightmare Realm due to a quirk in the magic that holds the pocket dimension together.   In addition to opening the gate to Ruyasuluk's citadel, Dream Keys can be used to open any mundane lock in the Nightmare Realm, but a key used in this way vanishes once the lock is opened.

Using the Map

The Nightmare Realm, being a dreamland, has unpredictable geography. Only the Dream Bazaar, the Chimerical Citadel, and the Blue Moon Bathhouse have fixed locations. Other locations move around frequently as the dreamscape shifts. In order to allow for this shifting, the map contains 10 empty spaces that are filled with different tiles as the game progresses. The lines connecting the different locations show what other locations can be reached from a particular spot, but it's up to the GM whether a particular line represents a direct connection (the door exiting the Tower of Mystery leads out into Speakers' Grove) or a journey through less plot-relevant--but not necessarily less weird--sections of the dreamscape (the PCs must follow a series of winding streets to move form the Tower of Mystery to the Dragon's Altar). In the latter case, the GM also decides how to handle travel between the locations: They can move by red line at the speed of plot or the GM can introduce additional locations, characters, side-quests, challenges, and other encounters along the way.

Initial Set-Up

Cut out the tiles form the tile sheet, shuffle them, and place them face-down in a stack on the table. Fill the blank spots on the map with the first 10 cards in the stack, keeping them face-down. When the PCs move to one of the lines leading directly to the location (no other locations between it and the PCs), turn the tile face-up to reveal which location currently occupies that space.

Replacing Tiles

Locations remain stable while the PCs are on the tile itself and when they move to an adjacent (directly connected) line or tile. In the example below, the Mines of Madness tile (#10) remains stable as long as the characters are on one of the tiles or lines outlined in green. In contrast, the Dragon's Altar (#5) only remains stable while the PCs are on the tile itself, the Black Iron Prison tile (#1), or the line that connects the two.


Nightmare Realm Adjacency Example

Each time the party moves to a new location (line or tile), flip a coin (or roll even/odd) for each face-up tile (tiles remain stable while face-down) that has become unstable (no longer adjacent to the party's current location). On heads/even, the tile remains in place. On tails/odds, the tile is replaced with the top tile from the stack (face-down). After you've checked all the unstable tiles (or when the stack runs out), shuffle the tiles that were removed back into the stack.

Removing Tiles

A few tiles are removed from play when certain conditions are met. When this happens, replace the tile with one from the stack and place the removed tile somewhere away from the other tiles so it doesn't get shuffled back into the stack. If there are no cards left in the stack to replace a tile, the tile is still moved to the stack (which now consists of one card), but the space it occupied remains empty. Players can still move through empty spaces normally.

Nightmare Realm Maps

Ruyasuluk's Nightmare Realm
Ruyasuluk's Nightmare Realm by Steve Johnson
Ruyasuluk's Nightmare Realm
Ruyasuluk's Nightmare Realm Tiles

Dream Pools

Upon entering the Nighmare Realm, each character acquires a Dream Pool. In most cases each PC begins the dream with 1d6 Dream Points, but the GM may rule that characters with relevant skills or backgrounds start with a different amount. Players can use these points to manipulate the dream realm. Players will get the chance to earn addition Dream Points as the game plays out.

Using Dream Points

PCs can use Dream Points to do just about anything the GM will let them get away with, as long as the effect is something that would make sense in a dream. The only stipulation is that the effects of Dream Point expenditure only last as long as the character remains on the current tile. They do not travel with the party when they move to another location and will no longer be in effect if the PCs return to the same tile later. Dream Point expenditures are broken down into 3 cost categories, based on how radically they alter the course of the current scene:
  • Minor (1 Point) : The manipulation is helpful but is not likely to fundamentally affect how the scene plays out. Using Dream Points to improve a character's fighting abilities or gain the power to see in the dark, for example.
  • Moderate (3 Points): The manipulation significantly shifts the scene in the party's favor, but does not guarantee victory. Forcing an adversary to operate at a significant disadvantage or summoning a gang of henchmen to fight alongside the party are examples of moderate dream manipulation.
  • Major (5 Points): Major dream manipulations all but resolve the characters' current dilemma. Using dream manipulation to summon a map of the Labyrinth of Bone or turn an adversary into a sea monkey would be major manipulations.
A few common examples of ways characters can use Dream Points include:
  • Dream Powers: A PC discovers that they have a power or ability they don't possess in the waking world, or that some of their normal abilities are enhanced in this section of the Nightmare Realm. Enhanced speed that gives a character extra attacks would be a minor use of this power, shapeshifting into a dragon would be a major manipulation.
  • Manipulate NPC Perception and Emotions: The character uses dream logic and the power of suggestion to put an NPC at a disadvantage. Examples include convincing an NPC that a house cat is a vicious tiger (minor), forcing an NPC to serve the character or perform a task due to some (preferably wildly nonsensical) "ancient custom" that has been fulfilled (moderate), or inspiring terror that causes an adversary to flee in panic (major).
  • Scene Alteration: Players can use Dream Points to change the geography, design, and contents of a scene. Creating a wall to take cover behind costs 1 point, a door that leads to a specific location in the same tile (or the line outside the tile) costs 3 points. For 5 points, the PCs can part seas, boil oceans, and destroy buildings.
  • Summoning: Spending dream points to bring objects, people, or places into being. Creating a sword out of thin air would cost 1 point, turning the corner to find a healer's shack where wounded characters can be patched up is 3 points, and summoning The Plot Device of Resolves The Current Problem is a 5-point manipulation. Players cannot create Dream Keys using this ability.
  • Dream Movement: The character can effectively teleport. Moving to another location in the current scene is 1 point, moving to another spot on the same tile is 3 points, and moving to another tile is 5 points. In the last instance, players can only move to tiles they have visited that are currently face-up on the map.
  • Time Manipulation: This causes time to jump ahead. Spending 1 Dream Point takes the characters to a point where the characters have survived the current scene with an unfavorable resolution (they've retreated from the battle, but the troll is still guarding the bridge). A mixed resolution to the scene costs 3 points (the PCs make it over the bridge, but the troll will be there waiting when they return). For 5 points, the characters get to chalk up a win (the troll is dead).

Earning Dream Points

Most tiles provide specific ways that characters can earn Dream Points. The GM can also award Dream Points to players whose actions and suggestions make the game feel more dreamlike.

Death in the Nightmare Realm

Characters who die while in the Nightmare Realm are transported to Ruyasuluk's dungeon in a hell dimension where they will be tortured at the demon's leisure. In the real world, the character's body falls into a coma. Reviving them will require either powerful magic or a trip to hell to break them out of the demon's dungeon. Ruyasuluk will keep the character alive 1d20 years before tiring of them and letting them die (at which point their real body dies as well).

Nightmare Realm Locations

The descriptions here provide only a vague overall description of what the characters will find on each tile. The details are left up to the GM. Tailor them to fit the tone, play style, and setting of the game you're running. In addition to a brief description, each entry describes how characters can earn Dream Points on the tile, where Dream Keys can be found there, and how the tile may change based on previous PC actions and other factors. These include conditions for removing the tile from play, if applicable.

A. The Dream Bazaar

This is a sprawling marketplace where players can find nearly anything they can imagine, including some goods that aren't native to the world of Khezvaros. The bazaar is a little like The Invisible Market, but more colorful and brightly lit and less seedy and gratuitously mysterious. Overall, it's a much more inviting marketplace.

The First Visit

Characters who enter the Nightmare Realm begin in the Dream Bazaar, where they immediately realize that the people moving through the crowded streets are staring and giving them a wide berth. The reason for this, which will quickly become obvious, is that the PCs are all completely naked. Until the PCs put some clothes on, shoppers will avoid them and merchants (who know from experience that naked people rarely have gold) will refuse to speak to them. If the party causes too much of a ruckus, some of the clothed may even be moved to violence. Once the characters are clothed, the people of the marketplace will seemingly forget their recent nudity.

Dream Points

There are no Dream Keys available here.

Dream Points

Players do not earn Dream Points in the marketplace, but they can buy or barter for equipment, food, and other goods and may be able to obtain valuable information about the dream realm from its shoppers and vendors.

B. The Chimerical Citadel

The gates to this foreboding estate are locked with 9 ornate locks. Each lock can be opened with any Dream Key, but all 9 locks must be unlocked in order to open the gates and there's no way to remove the key without re-locking the lock (so opening the gate requires 9 keys; you can't just use one key 9 times). As a relatively minor demon, Ruyasuluk is only able to maintain the powerful magic that holds the demi-plane together because of concessions he made when constructing the realm: rules that must be followed, loopholes that can be exploited, and other unfortunate but unavoidable design flaws that allow dreamers a chance to escape. The prevalence of Dream Keys throughout the realm is one of these concessions. Another is that Ruyasuluk cannot directly interfere with dreamers who enter the Citadel using the Dream Keys. He can, however, set traps and populate the estate with guests and pets who have a predisposition to violence and mayhem.   The inner sanctum of the citadel contains the portal that will allow the PCs to escape the nightmare. The portal room has a magical sigil inscribed on the floor and one wall contains a large archway of horn and bone embedded in the wall. An ornately carved cabinet along the opposite wall holds a collection of seemingly random junk: old coins, stone arrowheads, books, bottles and jars containing unidentifiable substances and specimens, children's toys, and anything else the GM wants to include. Another wall contains a cluttered work table with an assortment of magical implements.   When the portal is dormant, the archway is filled with a section of wall. When activated, the stone turns into a glowing curtain of light that can be passed through into another world. In order to activate the portal, one must place an object charged with dream energy in the magic circle, which causes the portal to open to the world of the object's origin. The items in the cabinet are magically charged "keys" to dozens of worlds, including an item that will open the portal to the party's home world. Figuring out which item is the key home may take some trial and error, but the portal stays open as long as the key remains in the circle, so PCs should have a chance to return to the portal room if they wind up in the wrong dimension.   A book on the work table is open to a page containing the ritual needed to turn a mundane object into a portal key. The instructions appear in whatever written language the reader is most comfortable reading. Illiterate characters will see a series of drawings illustrating the process. If the party has obtained an item from their world on their travels through the dreamscape, they can charge it with dream energy by spending 25 Dream Points. The portal only remains open while the object remains in the circle, so turning a PC into a key is not an option unless the others are willing to leave them behind.   Ruyasuluk will leave the Nightmare Realm as soon as the PCs unlock the gates to the citadel, but will watch events unfold using a scrying device. He can project his voice to any room in the citadel and there's a good chance that he'll use this ability to taunt or mislead the characters (which he can do without breaking the rule about direct interference).

Dream Points

There are no Dream Keys available here.

Dream Points

Characters do not earn dream points in the Chimerical Citadel.

C. The Blue Moon Bathhouse

Hulya the Dream Weaver
Hulya the Dream Weaver by Stev
One of the conditions of the Nightmare Realm's enchantment required Ruyasuluk to give control of a section of the dreamscape to Hulya the Dreamweaver, the imperial goddess of dreams. Hulya turned this section into a tranquil public bath where dreamers can come to rest and recuperate. While mortal dreamers can freely come and go, Ruyasuluk and his dream minions are forbidden from entering Hulya's domain. Unlike the rest of the Nighmare Realm, where time moves much more swiftly than in the real world, time in the Blue Moon moves at the same rate as it does on the visitor's home world. Characters who spend too much time enjoying the peace of the baths may exit the nightmare to find that days or weeks have passed.   In addition to the baths themselves, the Blue Moon contains a small shrine to Hulya and employs healers who can treat dreamers who have been wounded. There are also dressing rooms where naked characters can find clothing.   Characters who pray at the shrine and spend 3 Dream Points can ask Hulya one question and receive a vision providing the answer. If a character prays at the Shrine and spends 5 Dream Points, Hulya will appear to them and answer their questions for 5 minutes. Hulya will only visit the characters once during the adventure. After that, they'll have to pray for a vision if they need her advice.

Dream Points

There are no Dream Keys available here.

Dream Points

  • Naked characters who steal clothes from the dressing room receive 1 Dream Point.
  • Naked characters who ask the priests of Hulya for clothes receive 2 Dream Points.
  • Characters who think to ask the priests for Hulya's blessing receive 1d4 Dream Points. Each character can only benefit from the blessing once.

1. The Black Iron Prison

This large, foreboding structure is surrounded by a high stone wall with guard towers at the main gate and each of the four corners. Inside, prisoners are locked away under horrible conditions and subjected to all sorts of torture, hard labor, and other abuse.

First Visit

The first time the characters enter this tile, they find themselves transported to a prison cell within the Black Iron Prison. Their stay will not be a pleasant one.

Return Visits

On return visits, the PCs arrive in the tile outside of the prison. If characters who have escaped from the prison are spotted by the guards, a group of guards will rush out of the guard towers to pursue the prisoners. Those who are caught will be sentenced to execution at dawn, giving them precious little time to orchestrate another escape attempt.

Dream Keys

The warden of the prison and the executioner both have Dream Keys.

Dream Points

  • Characters who escape the prison earn 1 Dream Point
  • If the PCs orchestrate an uprising or riot that allows other prisoners a chance to escape along with them, they earn 2 Dream Points.

Removing the Tile

If the PCs orchestrate a prison riot or uprising, have them roll a d10 and give them a chance to spend Dream Points to increase the roll. Once the player total is set, roll 4d6. If the result is less than the players' total, the prisoners destroy the place and the tile is removed from play.

2. The Cave of Secrets

When characters enter this tile, they are transported to a small cave hidden behind a waterfall. An old woman welcomes them to the Cave of Secrets and explains that the only way to leave is to whisper a secret into her ear. The waterfall is large enough that the players can't see what lies on the other side. If a PC jumps through the water, they will learn that the cave is in a cliff face extremely high above the ground shortly before they die. Characters who attempt to climb out of the cave must make a very hard climbing check to get clear of the falling water, followed by 4 hard climbing rolls to reach the ground and an average swimming roll to make it to shore. A short walk from the banks will return them to the line the Dream Bazaar.   The old woman will be cordial to the characters, responding to their questions and offering them stew if they ask for food, but will not take much interest in her visitors unless they're ready to tell her a secret. If the PCs kill the old woman, she will wake-up (or reappear, if they tossed her body from the cave entrance) 1d6 hours later.   Characters who agree to tell the old woman a secret should write it down on a piece of paper and hand it to the GM. As long as the secret is something that could plausibly be true, the character will be instantly transported to the Dream Bazaar. If the secret is clearly false, the PC remains in the cave.

Dream Keys

If all of the PCs tell the woman a secret, one of the characters will be holding a Dream Key when they reappear in the bazaar.

Dream Points

  • Characters who exit the cave without telling the old woman a secret earn no points.
  • If a character shares a secret that is nakedly self-serving or advantageous for the player, they do not earn any points.
  • Characters who offer a secret that is sincere but not particularly interesting or gameable get 1 point.
  • Characters who share a (non-self-serving) secret that the GM can build a future story or subplot around get 2 points

Removing the Tile

Once all the characters have exited the cave, the tile is removed from play.

3. The Corpse Swamp

A swamp full of zo
Corpse Swamp 2 by Steve Jo
This tile consists of a dismal swamp infested by zombies. In order to cross the swamp, the PCs will have to fight their way through 2d3 packs of zombies with 3d4 zombies in each group. They may also have to overcome natural obstacles and other swamp inhabitants at the GM's discretion. There is a 10% chance that the first group of zombies that the characters fight includes the corpse of someone they recognize (first-hand or by reputation) from their own world. The chance increases by 1% with each new group of zombies defeated, but drops by 5% each time the roll succeeds. This percentage does not reset when the characters leave the tile. Home-grown zombies will each have an object on them that can be used as a key to open the portal in the Chimerical Citadel.

Dream Keys

A crazy old hermit who lives in the swamp has a Dream Key. Each time the PCs defeat a group of zombies, roll d23 (2d12-1). On a result of 5, the PCs will encounter the hermit before they meet the next group of zombies.

Dream Points

  • The party can leave the swamp by the same line they entered without defeating the requisite number of zombie packs, but receive no Dream Points.
  • If the party defeats the required number of zombies, they receive 1 Dream Point each.

4. Nightmare Alley

As soon as the characters enter the cramped, twisting alleys of this city slum, they realize that someone or something is chasing them and they can't go back the way they came. Choose one player randomly to be the pursued (characters who have previously been pursued on this tile are not eligible). Take that player aside and ask them who or what is chasing them. Then run the scene as a chase scene through a city slum. Each round, the party may choose to either run, hide, or confront their pursuers.
  • If the players run, the GM should make all the appropriate rolls but ignore the results. The pursuers will never catch up if the party keeps running.
  • If the players hide, the GM should have the players make the appropriate rolls. However, instead of determining whether the pursuers spot their prey, the roll determines how many rounds the players have before the pursuers realize they've been tricked and circle back to continue the chase. Hiding players may get a glimpse of the pursuers that hints at their identity.
  • After 10 rounds of running or hiding (rest rounds after a hide attempt don't count), the party finds and exit to the alley. The GM randomly determines the line by which the party exits the tile.
  • Only the pursued character can choose to confront the pursuers. If any other character decides to stand and fight, they will be attacked by a mundane group of ruffians and temporarily separated from the pursued an any PCs who choose to hide or run with them.
  • If the pursued chooses to confront their pursuers, their identity is revealed and a fight ensues. If the PCs win, they can exit the tile using a the line of their choice without any further excitement.

Dream Keys

The pursuers have a Dream Key that can only be obtained by defeating them.

Dream Points

  • Each character receives 1 Dream Point for surviving the tile.
  • If the pursued character confronts their pursuers, they earn between 1 and 3 additional Dream Points. The amount of the award should be based on how much the pursuer's identity reveals or confirms about the character being pursued.
  • Removing the Tile

    Once every character has taken on the role of the pursued, this tile is removed from play.

    5. The Dragon's Altar

    The road to this tile takes the characters out into the countryside and eventually to the village of Harm's Way.

    The First Visit

    The first time the PCs enter the village of Harm's Way, they find that the locals are preparing a large feast for the community. The people will invite the party to join them and are welcoming enough, but the mood is somber rather than celebratory and the villagers seem preoccupied. If asked, the villager will reveal that tonight is the night when the village must pay tribute to the dragon who lives nearby. Once the meal is over, lots will be drawn to determine who will be offered as sacrifice.   When the time comes for the drawing of lots, the PCs will be surprised to find that one of their names (chosen randomly) has been drawn.
      If the PCs refuse to go along with offering one of their own as sacrifice, the villagers will attempt to overpower them and chain one of the characters (they don't care which one) to the dragon's altar by force. If the party manages to evade capture and flee, they'll leave the tile by a randomly determined line. The villagers will choose another sacrifice once the party escapes.
    • If the PCs pretend to go along with the sacrifice and attempt to confront the dragon, they will quickly come to understand just how powerful dragons were. The party can escape (again by a randomly determined line), but not before the village is destroyed.
    • If the PC who was chosen decides to sacrifice themself for the village, they will be carried off to the dragon's lair but, to their surprise, will not be eaten. Instead, they will be trained by the dragon's previous tributes to act as spies an agents for the dragon. They will be then be sent to monitor their former allies for reasons that the dragon does not reveal. Although months will pass for the character, they will rejoin the rest of the part just as the exit the tile that they visit immediately after this one.

    Return Visits/Dream Keys

    If the party returns to the village after escaping the mob, they will be met with anger and derision an attacked by the family of the villager was chosen as sacrifice in their stead.   If the party returns to the village after sacrificing one of their own, they will be welcomed as saviors and given a Dream Key as a reward. If the character who was "sacrificed" slips away to report to the dragon, they will receive an additional Dream Key.

    Removing the Tile

    If the party provokes the dragon's ire and it destroys the village, remove it from play immediately. Otherwise, remove the tile from play after the party visits it a second time.

    6. The Foreboding Forest

    This tile works exactly like Nightmare Alley, but takes place in a spooky forest instead of a slum.

    7. The Burning Place

    Entering this tile takes the characters into a forest clearing where people are gathered around a funeral pyre. When the party enters, choose one player to be the deceased and ask that player to leave the room. Then explain to the others that the character whose player has just left has died and this is their funeral. Their characters cannot see or hear the deceased and should act accordingly when the player returns. When the player of the dearly departed returns, play out the scene and see how long it takes them to catch on. Continue playing until the scene reaches a natural conclusion.

    Dream Keys

    If the player of the departed realizes that their character is the body on the pyre, the character returns from the land of the dead a Dream Key. If the player somehow fails to discover the obvious, they rejoin the party empty-handed.

    Dream Points

    • Each character earns between 1 and 3 Dream Points depending on how well they role-play the scene.
    • The player of the departed gets an additional Dream Point for returning from the land of the dead with a Dream Key.
    • When the players leave the tile, the deceased character will immediately rejoin them. Players who react in an appropriate manner (for either comedic or dramatic purposes) to the character's return get an additional Dream Point.

    Removing the Tile

    This tile is removed from play as soon as the party exits.

    8. Last Home Cemetery

    Necro Klepto Graverobber
    Necro Klepto Graverobber by Steve Johnson
    The gates to this graveyard are locked, but can be opened with an average lockpick roll, a hard strength roll, or a Dream Key. The characters can also climb over the wall by making an average athletics or climbing roll. As soon as the party enters the graveyard, they are approached by a disheveled old man with crazy eyes. He welcomes them the the graveyard and explains that he, too, was once an aspiring young grave robber, but had to retire due to the ravages of age (it's a young man's game). If the characters ask the old man about the art grave robbing, or just let him keep talking, he'll explain about the four tools that form the cornerstone of the trade: A key to enter the cemetery (which he concedes the party did just fine without), a torch to locate the right grave, a shovel to dig, and a crowbar for opening the coffin. If the players are still listening, he'll also mention that he knows of a recent burial who took a Dream Key to their grave.   The players may be able to find a way to locate and dig up the grave without the tools the old man mentioned, but those tools can be found int he graveyard if the players look around. A couple of shovels are stuck in the dirt next to a freshly-dug grave, there's a crowbar in the caretaker's shed, and several of the mausoleums incorporate torches into their design. The grave that the old man told them about does in fact contain a corpse around whose neck hangs a Dream Key.   If the players obtain the key, the character carrying it will get the sense that something just darted past them as they move toward the entrance. Within seconds, the party will hear a cackle of "Necro Klepto!" followed by insane laughter. The PCs don't even need to make a perception check to spot the old man hiding inexpertly behind a statue giggling maniacally as he holds a Dream Key up to examine it in the moonlight. The PCs can just as quickly confirm that the Dream Key the old man holds is the one they just dug up. The old man will fight tooth and nail to keep the party from taking his key away, but is almost guaranteed to lose.

    Return Visits

    If the party kills the old man, he uses his dying breaths to awaken the dead. If the players return, the tile works just like the Corpse Swamp, but with a wider variety of undead and no key-toting hermit or bodies from the character's homeland.

    Dream Keys

    The Dream Key in the grave identified by the old man is the only one here, though some of the mausoleums here may hold other treasures (or undead abominations).

    Dream Points

    • The players each get 1 Dream Point for acquiring the key
    • If the old man raises the dead, players earn Dream Points on subsequent visits as describe int eh Corpse Swamp description.

    Removing the Tile

    If the party exits the graveyard with the key and without killing the old man, remove the tile from play.

    9. The Labyrinth of Bone

    As the name suggests, this is a labyrinth made of bone. The GM should draw up the labyrinth before the game begins. Include a spot where an exit can be placed on each side of the labyrinth and mark the spot within the maze where the PCs will find the Dream Key it holds.   Each time the players turn a corner in the labyrinth, roll 1d20. On a roll of 1, the characters encounter 2d4 skeletons. If there are 8 skeletons in the group, they will be accompanied by a skeletal minotaur who is much tougher than the normal skeletons.

    Dream Keys

    There is one Dream Key in the labyrinth. If the labyrinth tile returns to the map after being shuffled into the stack, a new key appears in a different location.

    Dream Points

    The characters earn 1 Dream Point each for exiting the labyrinth onto a different line than the one they used to enter.

    10. The Mines of Madness

    The mines of madness are an underground system of tunnels that just ain't right. Before play begins, the GM should draw up a dungeon and include lots of crazy locations where reality is broken: anti-gravity areas, wild magic zones, places where the furniture does elaborate song and dance routines, whatever you like. Alternately, you can just run the player through the Castle Greyhawk AD&D module. Whatever you do, make sure to identify a spot where the PCs can find a Dream Key.   The characters cannot leave the mines until they find the Dream Key. When the characters find the key, bells start ringing and balloons and confetti fall from the ceiling. A washed-up but gregarious bard surrounded by sexy models of both genders enter the room. While the models swoon over the characters, the bard sings a song in their honor. When he's done, he hands them each a giant novelty bank note worth 1 Dream Point and a map of the Mines of Madness with each room clearly marked. One of these rooms, the Hall of Too Many Doors, can be used to exit the mines to any face-up tile on the map that the party wants to visit.

    Return Visits

    PCs may return to the mines to use the Hall of Doors to move around the Dreamscape. Locations that the characters have previously visited remain in whatever state the party left them in, while unexplored locations contain whatever they would have contained the first time around.

    Dream Keys

    The Dream Key described above is the only one the players will find here.

    Dream Points

    PCs earn 1 Dream Point each for finding the key, but do not earn Dream Points on subsequent visits.

    11. The Shattered Valley

    This lush green valley is littered with ruins and debris from a thousand fallen civilizations. Use the template provided to created a Hex Crawl adventure using whatever format and techniques bring you joy. Make sure to mark the spaces where 3 Dream Keys can be found. Identify another space where the PCs can find a legendary artifact from their own world. Then add in whatever other monster lairs, treasures, and other points of interest you want to include.   The grey areas of the map are inaccessible due to impassible terrain. The white "tunnels" that go off the edge of the page lead to exits from the valley if there's a line on that side of the tile. Otherwise they end in more impassible terrain.

    Dream Keys

    As mentioned previously, there are 3 Dream Keys here for the party to find.

    Dream Points

    PCs get 1 Dream Point for each Dream Key they find and an additional Dream Point if they find the artifact from their home.

    Removing the Tile

    Mark each hex as the party moves through it. If the PCs explore every hex on the map, remove the tile from play the next time they leave it.

    12. Speaker's Grove

    This is a pleasant park containing a gazebo-like stage where a small crowd of denizens of the nightmare realm have gathered. When the party enters, randomly select one PC (who has not already done so) to be the speaker. A person who is clearly harried but at least moderately in charge rushes to the speaker and informs them that a previous speaker cancelled and they need to deliver their speech now. If the player asks what they are supposed toe be speaking about, the organizer will look exasperated and annoyed as he reminds them of their topic, which will be something the character is at least reasonably qualified to speak about. If the player doesn't ask, they can give a speech about anything they want.   Winning over the crowd requires 3 consecutive persuasion or performance rolls. Three consecutive failed rolls results in the crowd turning on the speaker and chasing them out of the grove (randomly determine where they exit). If the player makes 10 rolls without winning over or angering the crowd, the speech ends and gets polite but unenthusiastic applause.

    Dream Keys

    If the speaker manages to win over the crowd, they are presented with a Key to the City, which of course is a Dream Key.

    Dream Points

    The speaker gets 1 point for not angering the crowd, 2 points for winning them over.

    Removing the Tile

    Once all the PCs have given a speech, remove the tile from play.

    13. Summoner's Arcanum

    This tile is occupied by the home of a demonologist, who is in her summoning chamber calling forth a demon when the PCs arrive. The party finds the summoning chamber just as the spell reaches its completion. As the demon manifests, a flashy display of soul transference energy occurs between the demon and a randomly-selected PC. That character finds themself occupying the powerful body of demon, but soon realizes that the demon is under the sway of an evil sorceress whose fist order is for the demon to kill the intruders. Meanwhile, the character's body is possessed by a demon who is very angry and even more confused.   The character in the demon body can stave off the compulsion to attack the other PCs each round by winning a battle of wills against the sorceress. If the character leaves the arcanum, they remain in the demon body but are no longer under the wizard's control.   On the first round after the body swap, the demon will attack a random character (include the sorceress and her apprentice in the list of potential victims, but not the character in the demon body). Unless the PCs find a way to stop the demon, he will continue to attack his chosen victim until they're dead, then choose another victim and do the same. If permitted, the demon will continue killing people until only he and the character occupying his body are left alive.  

    Dream Keys

    The sorceress has a Dream Key on a chain around her neck, and there's another in the study if the PCs get a chance to search that room.  

    Dream Points

    • If the character in the demon's body kills the rest of the party, they receive 5 Dream Points.
    • If the party escapes the arcanum without the PC in the demon's body or the demon in the PCs's body, they each get 1 point.
    • If the party escapes the arcnanum with either the PC in the demon's body or the demon in the PC's body in tow, they each get 3 points.
    • If the party escapes the arcanum with both PC in the demon's body and the demon in the PC's body, they each get 5 points.
    • If the party escapes the arcanum with the affected PC back in their own body, they each get 5 points.
    • If at any point (before or after leaving the tile) the PCs come up with a way to swap the souls back to the bodies they belong in, they each get 5 points.

    Removing the Tile

    This tile is removed from play as soon as the party leaves it. If the demon in the PC's body and/or the PC in the demon's body are still in the arcanum when the tile disappears, they die in the dream and find themselves trapped in Ruyasuluk's dungeon while their body lays comatose on their home plane.  

    14. Tower of Mystery

    Whatever's going on in the Tower of Mystery is so mysterious that the GM will have to determine the details on their own. The tower should probably include at least 1 Dream Key and some ways in which the party can earn Dream Points.  

    15. The Well of Lost Souls

    This small plaza contains a well from which emanates an unearthly red glow. As the players enter, a spectral entity floats up out of the well and and hangs just above its center. The sad-looking, one-legged spirit introduces himself as Limpy the Rod Rider, tells them that he needs to make sure Jeremiah Wheatback finds out about Cult of Leviathan's plan to summon a demon train, and asks if they can help him. Since the man's request sounds like insane nonsense, the only honest answer the PCs can give him is "no," but even if they lie the spirit is unceremoniously pulled up into the sky and out of sight with tremendous speed.   A few more spirits with equally nonsensical requests follow Limpy out of the well and into the heavens, but eventually one floats up with a request that includes a reference to something or someone that the PCs actually recognize and might be able to assist with when they return to the waking world. If the PCs answer that they will help the spirit, it floats down to the ground and provides them with more information about the request, then hands them a spectral object related to the request that becomes solid once a PC takes it (this counts as an item from the PCs' home world for portal-opening purposes). After giving he PC the item, the spirit turns to mist and gently scatters on the wind.  

    Dream Keys

    If a player throws something of value into the well, a Dream Key appears in their hand. This only works once.  

    Dream Points

    If the PCs agree to help the spirit, they each get 1 Dream Point. They are under no obligation to honor the promise.  

    Removing the Tile

    Remove this tile as soon as the party exits it.  

    The Morning After

    When the party walks through the portal in the Chimerical Citadel, they awaken in their beds as healthy as when they went to sleep and devoid of any demon bodies, special powers, or other unusual traits they acquired in the dream world. If the PCs acquired any items native to their world during the dream and didn't use them to open the portal, those objects will turn up in unexpected places over the next few days. Other items acquired in the Nightmare Realm remain in the dreamscape when the party leaves.   If any PCs died during the adventure, they do not wake from the dream and remain comatose until the party finds a way to save them or Ruyasuluk tires for torturing them and lets them die.

    Cover image: Main Header Banner City of Ten Thousand Daggers by Steve Johnson


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