The Demi-Plane of Dreams (Dreamland)
Whenever we sleep we enter the Demi-Plane of Dreams, but only our dream-selves and our oerthly bodies are untouched. It is possible to cross over with our physical forms but the Demi-Plane or Dreamland has its own laws which are not those of the Prime Material Plane. Physical traits such as Strength, Dexterity, Charisma and Constitution become meaningless, while Intelligence and Wisdom are paramount. Magic and the Divine power of the Gods in most ways function as normal but the Demi-Plane is so thick with illusion that the effects of spells are hard to judge. A mage, for example, might cast a fireball only to find that the distance judged by his senses is actually inches rather than feet and find himself consumed in his own spell. Material components become unnecessary as there is no physical world around him only a shifting dreamscape.
Travellers entering the Demi-Plane will find themselves adrift in a world of translucent spheres. Within each sphere is a unique dreamland created by a dreamer from the Prime Material Plane. The Demi-Plane has no existence in itself only in relation to its intersection with the Prime Material. The great power and the great danger in entering the Demi-Plane is the ability to cross into the dreamscape of others. A skilled traveller may enter into the dreams of others and injure or slay the dreamer, but what they may face in such a dreamscape might also consume the traveller. To die in Dreamland is to be lost forever.
Losing oneself or becoming trapped within the Demi-Plane is far too easy. Dreamscape may revolve from pleasant fantasy to hellish nightmare without warning. Dreamers may be children, the demented, the weak or feverish on the Prime Material Plane but their Dreamland may present them as nigh invincible, or a twisted land that makes no sense and have no exit for the traveller.
Those who deal in illusion find the greatest rewards from travelling through the Demi-Plane and the dreams of others. The experience they gain from such a journey is twice that of any other. They may discover new spells or ways to increase the power of spells that they already possess. Treasures and artifacts that might be taken from Dreamland normally fade upon leaving the Demi-Plane but there are said to realms within that belong to no single dreamer and items of great power within to be won within these dreams.
Some of these dreamscapes existing outside of the normal dreams of others are said to belong to creature which have taken form within the Demi-Plane. Others are said to be dreamscapes taken over by travellers who have become lost within Dreamland. Somewhere among all the spheres of dreams is said to be a land ruled by the Dreaming King and a species of beings native to the Demi-Plane, but no traveller who may have found this land of dreams that live has returned to confirm such a legend.
The land surrounding the steading is not quite the Demi-Plane and is no longer the Prime Material. It is as if a thick fog has descended upon the area and all within it is distorted. Some of the laws of the Prime Material still operate such as the physical attributes of creatures, but both time and distance have become greatly affected by the Demi-Plane of Dreams. Illusions have become real and the physical world has become illusion.
Without aid a creature trying to cross the physical landscape of the hills will become confused and lost. Time will speed by or slow. They will find themselves reliving moments, seeing themselves at distances, or fading from the land altogether and slipping into the Demi-Plane of Dreams completely. While it is possible to wander free of the hills and back to the Prime Material this becomes harder and harder the closer to the center of this distortion is reached. Once nearing the steading there is really no return for an unaided traveller.
Slivers of the Demi-Plane fill the landscape. They are impossible to avoid. They cannot be seen but once entered they are self-contained like the spheres in Dreamland. Crossing through these slivers is a matter of confronting the dreamer or dreamers who inhabit these areas. Unfortunately many of these creatures are the spirits of the dead returned to the Prime Material. Their dreams are mostly strange, distorted and nightmarish. Because of the merged nature between the Demi-Plane and the Prime Material these creatures are a combination of life, dream and undeath. They are similar in many ways to the undead of the Prime Material, mostly in appearance, but with different strengths and weaknesses. They also exist in a series of layers, their dreamselves, their memories of life and their undead form. They are the Unshriven.
Progress toward the steading even for those aided or guided is difficult. The slivers of dreamscape lead forward only with certain types of resolution in each encounter, but the party may slay those who seek to help and find they can flee from dangers without resolving conflicts. To reach the steading may require traversing only a few of these slivers or the party may find itself having to cross many more or even returning to the slivers of dreamscape they may have escaped previously.
A dozen encounters before the players reach the steading are provided. It is recommended that at minimum the players successfully resolve three to five of these encounters before they reach the steading.
(Some handy terms)
Dreamer - Within the Demi-Plane the various spheres are normally created by a single individual who may be the only real inhabitant of the sphere. Within the area around Nosnra's steading there is often more than a single dreamer creating the sliver of Dreamland that is encountered.
Dreamscape - the landscape within a particular dream created by the dreamer
Sliver - The area of land around Nosnra's steading has merged with the Demi-Plane of Dreams but in a fragmented way. The slivers are a combination of the Prime Material Plane and the Demi-Plane of Dreams and the physical laws within them are also a combination of both Planes.
Sphere - Within the Demi-Plane spheres are realms created by dreamers. They can be of any size and the nature of reality within is illusion. They normally are inhabited by a single dreamer.