It’s been a while but it time for a fourth foray into the Dreamscape. This part provides a map of the dreamscape with regions, the permanent locations within them and the routes between. Descriptions of each of the ten regions are provided with some suggestions for adventures there. Each has a unique flavour and hints about key sites within them. The next part in the series will provide more detail about the 50 odd locations on the map. I spent some good time here trying to make the map cool, the locations evocative sounding, the routes allowing for interesting travel and giving the regions cosmologically relevant flavours. I hope you enjoy it.
The other parts of this series are listed below and will be linked when they are complete:
- Part 1 – Background and Entrances
- Part 2 – Adventuring
- Part 3 – Journeys, Environs and Hazards
- Part 4 – Map and Regions
- Part 5 – Key Locations: A-D, E-J, K-S, T-Z
- Part 6 – Inhabitants
- Part 7 – Items and Objects
- Part 8 – Appendix of useful tables
Map of the Dreamscape
Provided below is a conventional map of the Dreamscape. The map represents the plane’s and locations’ most common alignment. However, strange astrological conjunctions can move locations around and push and pull them apart. This can make travel between otherwise connected locations more difficult or even impossible for a time. Some routes may require additional means to access such as a dreamguide, magic item, portal etc. You are encouraged to formulate your own map or even change the map over the course of a campaign. This can be a good excuse for PCs to investigate the local surroundings or have to pass through an unexpected area. The link below the map is a version of the map with the names removed. You can print it out and write in any of your own locations or rearrange the ones provided in the next part of this series. The next part covers the locations and the routes between them are assigned a Duration and Danger rating, which can be used with the Travel Rules in part 3.
Regions of the Dreamscape
In the Dreamscape, sleeping dwarves create labyrinthine underground fortresses uninhibited by the laws of gravity. In the Dreamscape, Lords of Slumber rule palaces of endless pleasure that touch the sky. In the Dreamscape, terrified children birth nightmare realms of hideous beasts and primeval fear. When enough shared will or resonant thought coalesces, it can create a veneer of stability, an island of permanence in a sea of change. Eventually these permanent locations, and the Lands Between them, come into each other’s orbit and form undulating, resonant regions of shared character. At the edges of the Dreamscape, its proximity to other planes gently shapes it, fusing their planar energy with the dreamweave. Oneiromancers, experienced dream travellers, contraband traders and sages have roughly divided the dreamscape into ten regions. Each region is indicated by the coloured areas and numbers on the map above. Whilst these regions are the most commonly visited and understood, you should feel free to invent your own or replace the ones provided here.
1. Fae Coast
“Should we trust the Dream Court? Absolutely not. Should we trade with the Dream Court? Of course we should. We are not philistines or boorish prudes and others would certainly unload their ships. Despite their wealth, do not be fooled by their claims of controlling the coast. Nothing truly controls the Figmentary Plane. The Dream Court can barely control itself.”The Kelp Queen, bearer of the Finned Sceptre and master of the Court of Waves
At the edge of the fae moon’s influence, it overlaps the plane of dreams and forms the Sea of Emotion. Running around the moonshine edge of the dreamscape, the sea facilitates trade and communication between distant locations. A relatively narrow and safe crossing to the fae realm lies at the dreamscape’s apex. Here, where the sea’s sentimental waters lap the dreamscape’s shore, lies the Fae Coast. Glossy sands and shale, deep clear bays, striated luminous clouds, verdant beauty and a deep emotional tinge run through and round the region. The close proximity to the fae realm mutes the effects of wanderlost and provides a safe haven for easily lost fae creatures. As a result, many settlements and trade posts have sprung up to handle trade and travellers. The most significant of these trade hubs is the great and glistening port of Vanikarukam. A powerful but mercurial alliance of Fae, known as the Dream Court, controls much of the region. Far from the Nightmare Nests, the land is relatively safe from the most dangerous of terrors. However, trade caravans moving to its ports are frequently lost and the coast is tended by all manners of pirates.
Adventures in the Fae Coast: Adventurers in the Fae Coast may become embroiled in the machinations of the Fae courts, particularly the Dream Court and the Court of Waves. Adventures may require or seek transit here to and from the Dreamscape and the Fae Moon. Merchant caravans and ships often need guards and pirate ships often need crew. The bazaars of Vanikarukam are filled with wonders that may be useful or required for the party’s quest. Buried arcana salvaged from Teth can be traded in Xenxerin but the Dream Court is suspicious of those who aid the city’s rulers. The Privateers of Xenxerin also plunder the waking realm and can be encountered there or petitioned for transit. The Fae Coast can also serve as a useful base for further exploration into the Dreamscape or simply for the rest, respite and leisure found on the Idle Isle or Wylderhalt.
Permanent Locations in the Fae Coast Region:
- Idle Isle
2. Bandren Range
“I wish I could roam there still, far from my cursed, crystal, dying frame. It took me years to gain acceptance among them and mere moments to lose it all to the Witch of the Wolde.”Tor Dentih, chronicler of the Maidstone Court
The Bandren Range is the common name given to the hunting grounds of the nomadic Bandren people. It is characterised by its generally flat topology and the many unusual wild creatures and plants found there. Some sparse, elevated areas are still present, such as the strange glacial peaks and nunataks of Hsiun or the undulating landscape of Wolde. Intricate tribal alliances and rituals govern the land and these are often difficult to navigate for outsiders. Whilst the Hsiunites are generally aloof towards outsiders, the Bandren provide guidance for a fee or to those they deem worthy. Much of the Range is marked by unusual anomalies in the dreamweaver and dangerous hazards. These are well understood by the locals but for the unwary they can prematurely end a life or dream. Tensions between the Hsiunites and Bandren rarely break out into large scale conflicts but disputes over territory, ritual sites and trade are common. The many well established trade routes traffic curious creatures, meats and produce, often to the fae realm. For reasons unknown, the region is more prone to the formation of Archeptons, which the Bandren warily worship or treat as blessings and good omens.
Adventures in the Bandren Range: The Range is a great area for hunting dangerous creatures but PCs must be careful not to upset or impinge on local hunting grounds. Adventurers who have not received blessings of the Hsiun or Bandren may find transit through the Range difficult. They will certainly be treated with suspicion. Tests of prowess may be called for, often the hunting of a great beast. There is high likelihood of becoming embroiled in tribal politics, some may try and draw the party into it unwittingly. Travel to and from the Glass Temple is generally tolerated. Perhaps a god’s servants require the destruction or capture of an archepton who threatens to usurp their lord if it gains too much power. A rival god may wish this to occur.
Permanent Locations in the Bandren Range Region:
3. The Nightmare Nests
“Our forebears built a home in their dreams and in it they lived with their forebears. It was great and good for a time with all lives past and present together. In time, they looked to the sky, gazed too long into […several indecipherable lines…] and all turned to folly, all met their fear, the home was left empty. For our mistakes, horrors come to those who sleep and new souls for our people are hard to come by. To seek that home of our forebears is to seek primal fear, is to seek true death.”Controversial translation of Analect 9.2.11 from Rune Songs and Sayings of Talask-Mul
These terrifying and dangerous lands have been the undoing of many unwary dreamers. The Nightmare Nests are usually depicted as lying on either side of the Dreamscape however, they actually form a continuous region. The region touches faintly on the ethereal and passes tendril-like dreamways across it allowing difficult passage to there. The Nests are shaped by the energies of nightmares, the ethereal and the shadowy powers of the Black Sun. Whilst much of the lands are nightmarish, there are outposts of civilisation even if they are unusual. The lands are travelled by clans of various humanoids who eke out livings beset by voracious predators. Those who stay longer, or are native to the region, tend to become hardened survivalists and/or predators themselves. Many ancient, well built and well-defended settlements are testament to the inhabitant’s ability to keep the horrors at bay. Some settlements are truly ancient, dark and hidden. The Fortress of Flesh, the strange structures of the Desert of the Dreamless and the Dead Cities of Valnoth all attest to strange civilisations from before the dawn of history. All are entered only by the greedy or foolish and are given a wide berth even by the hardy inhabitants of this region. The creatures who are encountered here are likely to be hostile or have malicious intentions towards adventures. However, some may simply be lost, tough survivalists or more rarely, seeking the lost knowledge and treasures available to the foolhardy.
Adventures in the Nightmare Nests: The Nests are a good area for dangerous conclusions or challenging tasks of retrieval. As well as dangerous inhabitants, the locations here are replete with secrets, forgotten lore and powerful items. The region can also provide transit, although difficult, to the ethereal plane. Many evil creatures use the the Nests as a base of operation or refuge as do those who simply wish not to be disturbed.
Permanent Locations in the Nightmare Nests Region:
4. Draconic Bleed
“I have seen dragons in my dreams. Not once has such a dream been pleasurable. I do not wish to see what they dream of.”Dechok Manir, he who commited Valdemar Nightbone to final and permanent death
The dreams of dragons are strong and may remain after waking or beyond the grave. Millenia of dreamcraft by these slumbering titans has shaped the Draconic Bleed. Scattered throughout are ruinous mountains, lustrous swamps, golden deserts and other habitats that match the variety of the great wurms. The region is also believed to be where the Wardens Chithallakatevar and Komada travelled after they were wed and this has led some to claim it as the original birth place of dragon kind. Certainly, the heavenly bodies associated with those Wardens shine bright in the sky here, where others do not. The Figmentary Dragons‘ hold on order is a thing of the mythic past that left power vacuums waiting to be filled. Many subsequent wars have been fought by the servants of dreaming dragons, impelled to action by their latent whims. Some dragons on the material, and peoples who reside here, await the crystallisation of a great egg. It is said that this drake yet to hatch will wrestle the region from disorder and reinstate the ancient right of dragons to dominate the material plane. A variety of peoples inhabit the Draconic Bleed but most numerous are draconic and lizard folk: the Kadalaki, Kanvupalka and Zweinerod. Of these, the most numerous are the Kanvupalka, the dreamscape Kobolds, born from the raw materials of great draconic dreams.
Present in this region are two great centres of knowledge: the Bibliok na Pantapiaku and Kunashra. There they cut latent thoughts and memories from the sleeping minds of great wyrms and keep their hewn revelations to themselves. Many of the most powerful settlements in the dreamscape are also found here, both in the draconic heartlands and at their edges. The region is riven with tensions and pressure from within and without. Flanriene and Meathabher hold each other in contempt whilst Alvathakparui, the Kobold heart city, tries to trade with both and keep tensions from flaring over. Peace currently holds but resent is breeding in Meathbher. Not enough aid flows to the city as it attempts to stave off the Absent Fort‘s encroachment. Flanriene, for their part, is paranoid of an alliance between Meathbher and the nearby Vile Brundekarst that will leave them isolated and weak. Meanwhile, incursions from the Nightmare Nests grow stronger.
Adventures in the Draconic Bleed: PCs may come to Flanriene seeking a cure to an affliction in the mortal realm. That fetid city may even be its source. Adventurers may seek to uncover the plan of a dangerous dragon by observing their manifestation in the region or the movement of their dreamed servants. Perhaps they seek artefacts from before the birth of dragons or echoes given form sounding out from memories of their mightiest days. Codes of chivalry remain strong here but to others they are a simple relic of the regions past. Adventurers will be expected to take up quests or face dishonour and disrespect.
Permanent Locations in the Draconic Bleed Region:
- Vision of Tooth and Wing
- Almauvre Wastes
5. Astral Encroachment
“The gods, their servants and their outcasts all play their own games. You think they will stop playing with us simply because we meet them on neutral ground?”Dobhlain, High Notary of the Temple of the Scribe
At the Astral Edge of the Plane lies a region of epic mountains that stretch infinitely high and wide, the Spiritus Mons. Before time and turmoil, the gods raised these peaks to shield their realm from the creeping warp of the dreamscape and the dangers of the Archeptons. In the lowlands of Spiritus Mons lies the Astral Encroachment, a region where divine creatures can travel and live free from the danger of becoming wanderlost. As a result, the land is replete with embassies and exiles and is ostensibly neutral territory for the divine. It is often here in the Astral Encroachment that treaties are signed between gods and their servants. Still from time to time, it is still wracked by proxy conflicts between willing or unwitting servants of divine powers. Occasionally, vestigial or weak gods will choose to reside here rather than be absorbed back into the Astral Plane. In the taverns of Sanmukod, celestial, devil, demon and dream drink side-by-side, bargaining, gambling and hiding. Nearby, the Shattered Expanse stands as testament to the gods’ folly of treating the dreamscape too lightly. Occasionally, sailors on the astral sea find their vessels tossed off course and smashed against the Spiritus Mons suddenly looming in front of them. These unlucky sailors are cast adrift down the great rivers that spring from the mountains, floating through the dreamscape on the Andvalach or alighting on its banks.
Adventures in the Astral Encroachment: The region provides a potential means of transit to the Astral Plane and is embroiled in the machinations there. Adventurers may travel here at the behest of gods and their clerics. They may bring knowledge or treasure from the dreamscape to exchange with their god’s servants at Sanmukod. Perhaps they must facilitate a truce or challenge the terms of one. Adventurers might also seek treasure or weaponry left buried in the Shattered Expanse or guidance at the Three Trees. Exiled and hiding astral creatures can also be found in the Astral Encroachment.
Permanent Locations in the Astral Encroachment Region:
- Pass of Mythal
- Three Trees
- Shattered Expanse
6. The Brink
“You think that your servants of a long dead warden can deter me? Your piteous wolves and dogs? The Brink is mine and mine alone. I, Menlin, the greatest wizard of his age, will rule these lands, will bring them to heel with fist and flame…What you call arrogance I call ambition. It is your arrogance that blinds you to this. I pity you and your like, Wolfson. You are slaves to a master who will never call even if he lives. Your quest is folly. You will leave my court.”Menlin, to the Dreamwalker Nkrez
Separating the horrors of the nightmare realms from the Astral Encroachment is the hinterland of the Brink. Both sides of the region are marked by soaring cliffs, deep chasms, churning rivers. These, and other more intangible barriers, help to keep the brink separate and safe from grasping tendrils of fear and the powerful whims of the divine. The Brink’s relative isolation has bred many unique flora and fauna here. Of particular note are the many forms of Akue, or nightmare eaters, that appear only in this realm. Lithe, chromatic wolves and mottled coated dogs grow to enormous size after feeding on heavy nightmares. A glowing long grass with edible seeds, known as Agla, grows across large portions of the landscape. The flour from its seeds is used to produce Bright Moon Bread and the quixotic brew called G’tella by the inhabitants of Tornor-Vulitar. The rare Fanu plant, with its much desired berries, is also found in the region. The land is divided by strong tributaries of the Andavalach, many of which are inhabited by dangerous sentient creatures such as the Ampheto Electric Horned Fish. Despite this, the tributaries are filled with laden barges transporting the regions much sought after foodstuffs across the dreamscape.
It would be a grave mistake to think of the Brink as an idyllic breadbasket. As well as its dangerous wildlife and the nightmares that stalk its borders, political tensions run high. The Court of Menlin and Tornor Vulitar are frequently at odds. Despite the Court’s millennial long presence in the dreamscape, the elemental Vulitarians consider it an invader of its territory. Worse still, the court has begun to throttle access into the deeper Realm of Reverie and the trade that flows through it. Rumours also abound of stirrings in the Mourning Mounds, ancient things best left buried may be beginning to rise and the howls of the Akue echo loud and piercing.
Adventures in the Brink: The Brink serves as a good base for forays into the Nightmare Nests. It lies close to the most forbidden secrets and powers housed in the Dead Cities of Valnoth. Adventurers in this region are also likely to get embroiled in the machinations of Menlin and his servants. Menlin’s access to the material plane may serve as a means to return or reason to try to prevent his meddling there. PCs may also come to explore the tombs under the Mourning Mounds or return something stolen from there before it causes too much harm. The wondrous food stuffs and magical fauna may also drive exploration.
Permanent Locations in the Brink Region:
7. Deep Earth Sculpts
“Why do you wake me? I must return. We were so close, it was nearly finished, the great work of our people, the great fortress our ancestors requested! I saw the Mirror Mound spew glass into the sky, I collected fire with my hands and made stone from the sorrows of our past. What if I cannot find it again…? What if I never see it, never see the shining capstone lifted high…? What have you done?! You have robbed me and I will have you life in recompense!”Last coherent words of Mad King Grondrin, as recounted in the annals of Clan Dwervin
Beneath the earth lie creatures who live their whole lives in the primordial dark. Their rhythms of sleep and wake bear little resemblance to those of sun washed surface dwellers. The deeper they lie in the earth the less the dreamscape lies on them, the less the moon pulls upon their sleep. Some, of those who dwell deepest, create their own dreamscape of darkness beneath the earth. The Deep Earth Sculpts are shaped by the mind’s wander of creatures who rarely dream of the surface. Darklings, Derro, Deep Dwarves, Troglodytes, Giants, Grimlocks and other, more nameless things. Great rolling hills, mountains, underground tunnels, caverns and chasms cut through the landscape at obscene angles. Dreams of uncountable riches of the earth form deep seams of gemstones, metal, minerals and secrets.
At the region’s heart are the realms dreamt by dwarves. Here, the Golvor clans, the strongest and longest dreaming of the dwarves, have an outsized influence on the surroundings. Those ancient Deep Dwarves made good use of their long hibernations under the earth. The massive structural edifice of the Great Vaults lies in testament to their dreamcraft, its smooth hewn black stone covered with wild religious carvings. The surrounding areas are pocked with decayed remains constructed by long dead dwarven kings and craftsmen. Hills and mountains are topped with ruined fortresses and architectural wonders, now often inhabited by dangerous creatures. The Sea of Emotion laps at the Deep Mountain Sculpts, crashing against sheer cliffs made of black glass that run jagged and harsh to the waters. Here, ancient tribes of Kontur and Piqu raid passing ships from fortified enclaves cut into the cliff face, their vestigial wings given new power by winds of slumber. Excepting the deepest Nightmare Nests, the Black Sun shines darkest here, drawing Wanderlost Darklings to the region, its rays crystallising below the earth.
Adventurers in the Deep Earth Sculpts: When exploring the underdark or deep earth of the material plane, adventurers may unwittingly arrive here. Those who seek Shadow Diamonds may wish to try trading with the avaricious miners of the Black Sun Seams. Things that are lost can sometimes be found in the tumultuous surrounds of the Gyre. Those seeking to locate or awaken slumbering Golvor or dream sick dwarves are likely to find them amongst the workers in the Great Vaults. Convincing them to wake or reveal their location in the deep earth of the material will be no easy task.
Permanent Locations in the Deep Earth Sculpts:
8. Pilgrim Paths
“Hah! I’d bet two crowns you’d run from a borin’, regular giant. Just wait ’till yer see one with black diamond eyes and a bloody shadow as dangerous as he is, you’d soil yer breeches. Oh, fight ’em in the night ye say, then they won’t have no shadow. Good thinkin’ that, real smart. Only problem being, the night’s when they grow twice as big and their claws come out.”Tekah Deep-sound-echo, Neren explorer and scholar
The Pilgrim Paths are a common point of entrance to dreamscape and its deeper regions. These ancient paths contains the remains of the advanced, fallen civilisation of Teth, the reason for their disappearance largely unknown. If the mysterious inhabitants of the Seven Palaces know anything, they keep it to themselves, aloof in their crystal realm. The region takes its name from the well travelled and wide dreamways that lead to Dornilathat. Pilgrims and wanderlost worship and sing along that route to the Inscape but few manage to travel the whole of it. Dangers on the paths are similar to anywhere else in the dreamscape but banditry is particularly common. The processions of pilgrims provide easy and sometimes rich prey. As a whole, the region is the closest realm to a standard dreamscape area, if anything can be considered so. Almost anything found elsewhere in the dreamscape occasionally manifests in the Lands Between here. What unique character the region had was mostly spread to the scenic winds with the fall of the Tethi. However, in scattered areas one can still find remnants of strange devices and giant machinery from their age. One who travels the path in search of their secrets, should still be wary of the giant Grorn. Whilst rarely found outside of Grorn Wound, a powerful elder called Mrotucate has lately made clear her dream to reclaim those ancient behemoth’s previous glories. How she is controlling the rebellious ‘afflicted’ members of her race is currently unknown. Perhaps the Ruins of Teth have provided her some of their secrets.
Adventures in the Pilgrim Paths: Adventurers in the Pilgrim Paths are likely transitting to elsewhere. The great city of Dornilathat can provide guides or guidance for adventure into the Realm of Reverie. Alternatively, they may investigate the Ruins of Teth in search of an Oneiric Compass, parts of one or to activate or train it onto a location they desire to find. When dealing with other giants or shadows, the Grorn could prove to be useful allies or advisors. However, they are just as likely to be foes, following their own whims and the ‘afflicted’ of their race have been known to raid the material.
Permanent Locations in the Pilgrim Paths:
9. Realm of Reverie
“In all my years, I have yet to see one of greater spirit and ken than Jamok Nomother. She bested the Realm of Reverie and travelled there again and again. She brought to us knowledge, revelation and guidance. She brought to herself power and the madness inside her to use it. You asked why we have the Rule? The self professed ‘Archwitch of the Weave’ is why. Her curses echo still from the Diamond Prison, and they reminds us that the Rule is to be kept.”Klax Orkolrodak, Five Ring Oneiromancer of the Hidden Moon
The tumultuous and primordial inner realm of the dreamscape contains many strange potentialities and dangerous psychic landscapes. It is here that the currents of memory and prophecy intermingle. In the Realm of Reverie are areas of great power and pull that threaten unwary travellers with deep wanderlost and disappearance of the self. However, there is also great knowledge to be found here at the Academy, Fields of Memory and the Prophel. Mages, Seers and Wisemen often seek these locations to expand their craft through the potential revelations available. Few creatures of right mind intentionally make the region their home except perhaps the isolationist Zhozin who shape and spin the dreamweave for their inscrutable purposes. Travel in this region is dangerous and difficult but it would be a mistake to take respite in serene surrounds of the Soft Estate. Despite the dangers, the region provides transit to those who need to cross the dreamscape efficiently from edge to edge. The Andavalach flows strong through this central realm and facilitate much of this transit but those who sail along it are often changed by the experience. Uktoma trade caravans frequently pass through and the region is dotted with their hidden, and safe Still Forts. Smart adventurers should seek the aid of an oneiric compass or Dreamguide before travelling through these fickle lands.
Adventures in the Realms of Reverie: Passing through this region is often the fastest route between the edges. Adventurers may also come seeking knowledge, aid or to rescue the Wanderlost who frequently end up here. The Rulers of many of the locations often have need of those who can transit freely to and from the dreamscape. Adventurers may also come seeking prophetic or historical insights or perhaps pursuing those who seek them. Many entrants to the dreamscape arrive here accidentally but the region itself provides few direct exits from the plane.
Permanent Locations in the Realm of Reverie:
“What is inside the Inscape? What is inside of any of us?”Sarutae, priest-lord of the Tenchuwha of Eastern Tiroeth
At the centre of the Dreamscape lies a region even more illusory and illusive than the others that circle around it. The clearest route of access is via Dornilathat and then onwards to the Guardian Fields. However, the guardians deem few worthy to pass beyond their gaze. Many ancient texts, sages, wisemen, lunatics and frauds claim to know other means to access this evasive region. Often they claim that one can only get there by travelling through yourself, confronting one’s own dreams and their source in different areas of the dreamscape. Few who physically enter the Inscape ever return and those who dream walk there are generally incapable of relating what they found. As a result, rumours abound of what is contained at the heart of the Inscape. The most consistent of these rumours is that it is the Dream King’s Demense. The land of the one who dreams in the dreamscape. Who or what his realm might be and the nature of its master is yet another mystery.
Adventures in the Inscape: The contents of the Inscape are unknown so journeying there should provide a dramatic conclusion. Adventurers may experience time-travel, meet gods, be transported to other worlds and more. However, they can never be sure what is real and what is not. Those who return should be more powerful but changed forever.
So that’s it for part four. I hope it gives you a taste for more and a feel for the different parts of the dreamscape. Feel free to make your own or your own connections that take into account the nature of your world. As usual, the next part will come out when I scavenge time to finish it up. Many things got in the way of completing this part. Also, during writing this post the locations kinda ballooned out a bit but it definitely helped give character to the regions. As a result, the next post on them will be a little long…Not every location will have a substantial write up but with over 50 locations it will still be a big bit of work. Foolhardy it may have been. I am interested to know what people think and if you find these inspirational for putting dreamscape journeys into your games.