Friday Night D&D – Dreamwalkers
You fall asleep and you’re in a world that you never thought was possible, and something is very wrong with it. This Dungeons and Dragons campaign idea takes you from the fantasy world of the waking into a dark world of sleep, dreams, and nightmares, will you survive to see the morning?
When thinking about this idea, I wanted to create something that was a little bit different and with dreamwalking, it felt like there was some interesting ways to handle it.
Firstly, you get to run two different types of games, I’d probably tie the two worlds together somehow, like there’s something in the real world that is causing this crazy dream and nightmare fueled reality to happen when you sleep and if you die while you sleep you die in both of the game worlds. I would build it in such a way that to figure out what or who is causing it in the real world, they need to defeat things and find clues in the nightmares and dreams so that is going to lead their quests in the waking world.
Next, and it depends on your group, if you wanted, you could have the players play two different characters. Dragoth the Dwarven Fighter in the real world might be Dragoth the Dwarven Bard in the dream world with different stats and character sheet. I think it would be fun and could work well for those players who get a little bit bored playing the same character for a longer period of time, they get to play the mix of two characters. While they have some overlap in personality, they would definitely play and be different. I’d have the two versions level at the same pace, it would just make tracking things easier.
So jumping into this you’d look to introduce the players to the BBEG (big bad evil guy/gal) in the dream world. This is the BBEG’s domain so they should be basically untouchable at the start, but they also shouldn’t care about the players because this is their world. Give them someone who they know they’re building up to face at the end of the campaign/at the end of the arc. As they get better and stronger both in the dream and real world, they should show up on the BBEG’s radar and they should see that the dream world turns slowly more into a nightmare world and things become more dangerous and dark. And in the real world when the players get closer to the BBEG’s lair, that should be another time when the dream world starts to double down on the nightmares and monsters, basically a corrupting force in the real world as they near the lair which manifests as more dangerous nightmares.
So, getting to the point where you fight the BBEG, I could see doing some fetch quests, or more so destruction quests, such as having to find amulets or something that weaken the pull of the dream world on the whole of the lands Something that has been set-up or sold by a peddler not knowing what wares they were peddling. So it can be a bit of a chase to find them and destroy them, but also a bit of a red herring because the peddler is going to look very guilty to the players, and while they are guilty of selling these amulets or whatever it might be, they aren’t the BBEG. They maybe would know who the BBEG is, but not where the BBEG is or how to get in contact with them. But the peddler would know where they got the wares so they’d be able to bring the players closer to the BBEG’s lair or at least tell them about it.
In the dream world leave larger clues, totems, visions, something that has to be puzzled through. So in the real world they can only find so many clues or so many people to get close to the lair, but in the dream world, it should be a series of clues that they can put together and come up with something that not only gives them a precise location of where to go but also probably some sort of hints for getting into the lair. Because whatever your BBEG is, they are extremely powerful and would have some sort protection on their lair so that the PC’s can’t just waltz right into it.
For the final battle, I think this should be a two part thing, either start it in the real world and have the finale in the dream world or vice-a-versa. Give both sets of PC’s a chance to shine, but also being the dream world is going to create a more cinematic story. Throw large, impossibly large objects at the players and do a contest of wills to see who can manipulate the dream objects, will they stay in existence and do damage to the players, create barriers, whatever the BBEG decides, or will the PC’s be able to push them away. It’s almost a force battle that you can do for the finale in the dream world. Then in the real world, that’s going to be a bit more standard in terms of the fight, not great illusionary fighting like in the dream world, but this is where I’d have minions and traps and things to wear down the players first. If I were to do this, I’d do get through lair fighting minions and dealing with puzzles and traps, that leads up to the start of the fight in the real world, the players get the BBEG down in health so the BBEG throws them all into the dream world where they have to fight a more powerful version of the BBEG, when/if the BBEG is about ready to die in the dream world, then they drop back into the real world. Give the BBEG a chance to have used a few hit dice but to still be done some hit points and have used up magic. So the final battle then takes place in the real world. Another option would be to divide up the party, especially if you have 4 PC’s, because you could have two fighting in the dream world and two in the real world and have them each fighting the respective version of the BBEG.
So what do you think about this idea, is it a campaign that you’d want to play in or run?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!