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A Primer

OOC/Meta Note: The information contained here relates to the Dreaming, primarily as marshaled by Carrie Dolph. Other plot marshals may handle the Dreaming differently.


This is a work in progress, but it has been so for quite some time, so I figured I should share what I have for now. Some sections are barely more than outline notes, while others are fairly filled out. Any or all sections are potentially subject to elaboration in the future. If there are any questions or specific requests for more detail, leave comments and I will try to address them.

The basis for this work was originally penned in response to a general request for some instruction on the Dreaming, and also to answer the question: “Why is a madman more ‘powerful’ in the Dreaming than one with a disciplined mind?”

I have expanded on (and continue to expand) the original summary I created, and this document is mainly addressing the request for instruction, and in the process, answers the specific question. This will include the way the Dreaming works, and ways to practice interacting with it. It is impossible to completely document the Dreaming, but I hope this will be a good start.

It is often said that the Dreaming is mainly about ‘force of will,’ or ‘belief.’ This is intended to shed some light on what that really means. In order to gain an understanding of the Dreaming, one must first understand...

The Structure of the Dreaming:

The Dreaming is the name of the collective unconscious of most (if not all) sentient beings on many (if not most or all) planes. The Dreaming has its own native inhabitants, but is mostly populated by sentient beings who are sleeping and dreaming normally. These will be referred to as those who are dreaming. Another portion of the population at any given time are beings who live in the various material planes, but have deliberately projected into the Dreaming, and have full control and awareness of their actions. This state can also be thought of as Lucid Dreaming. These beings will be referred to as those who are Dreaming. If one is simply dreaming, then there is generally no need to be concerned with the rest of the discussion here. However, if one finds themselves to be Dreaming (as some of the denizens of the Dreaming can pull the conscious mind into the Dreaming once the subconscious is already there), the information contained here would be beneficial to at least be aware of.

The Dreaming is divided into Skerries (singular: Skerry; pronounced ‘scairy’). Generally, each individual creates their own skerry upon entering the Dreaming. When one is dreaming, their skerry is where the dream takes place, and upon leaving the Dreaming (waking up) the skerry generally dissipates. Typical exceptions include particularly vivid dreams and nightmares. These skerries can be strong enough to last until the dreamer falls back asleep, and so returns to their skerry, where the dream can resume. The old trick of flipping your pillow over after waking from a nightmare, actually serves to wake yourself up enough and take that bit of extra time to go back to sleep, so that your nightmare skerry has time to weaken, if not dissipate entirely.

Denizens of the Dreaming:

(Incomplete Section)
The main categories of native inhabitants of the Dreaming are Dream Lords and Dream Demons. The former can range from friendly to indifferent to hostile. Dream Demons are likely to not be too friendly in general, though I have (fortunately) never encountered one.

Entering the Dreaming:

(Lucid Dreaming) (Incomplete Section)
To enter the Dreaming, one can meditate and/or fall asleep focusing on entering the Dreaming. Appropriate magic that might assist could include (but not necessarily limited to, also I have not tested all of these): Dream, Seance, Intervention, etc. Another way to enter the dreaming with the aid of an entity inside the Dreaming. This is most often a Dream Lord. From this point on, it will be assumed that one has begun Lucid Dreaming, one way or another, and is fully aware of themselves and their surroundings in the Dreaming.

Travel within the Dreaming:

(Incomplete Section)
By ‘default’ when one enters the Dreaming on their own (naturally during sleep, or deliberately) with no particular destination in mind, other than simply ‘the Dreaming,’ they create and enter their own skerry. It will likely be small, and one will most often be alone. It is possible, however, to travel between skerries.

The Rules of the Dreaming:

Rule 1: There are no rules. Seriously.

This means that, yes it is largely about force of will, and belief in what is happening, or rather, what *should* be happening. This is why there are often the 'normal rules' of the waking world in dreams. We believe in things like Gravity so strongly on a subconscious level that it usually manifests in the dream. That is why you stop flying as soon as you really realize you are flying. Deep down, you believe that there should be gravity, and so there is.

This is both a boon and a hindrance to the 'Disciplined Mind' versus the 'Madman.' By exercising your strong subconscious beliefs, you can limit what others can do with their conscious efforts and beliefs. For example, you opponent tries to turn the solid rock you are standing on into quicksand. Clearly, the rock is solid, and cannot suddenly become quicksand. It goes against the laws of the world. There is a good chance that you believe in the laws of the world strongly enough that you will enforce them in the dream, and thus prevent your opponent's 'impossible' actions. The hindrance is that your conscious efforts are limited by those same laws, and so you cannot take full advantage of the power of your imagination. There *is* gravity, so try as you might, you can't fly, because you innately believe that you cannot due to gravity.

The 'Madman' has the advantage of honestly believing in his own set of rules, and has an incredibly dangerous 'imagination.' Thus he is not limiting himself by any reasonable convention, and can honestly believe in some crazy and dangerous things.

On Interactions with the Dreaming:

There are effectively two 'paths' to take, or 'methods' to use for interacting with the Dreaming. These will be termed here the ‘Solid path’ and the ‘Fluid path.’ With the Solid path, you cling ever stronger to you beliefs in the way the world works, and thus defend yourself from 'supernatural' actions/effects in the Dreaming. Alternatively, to follow the Fluid path, you try to 'free your mind' as it were, and embrace the First Rule of the Dreaming, thereby becoming able to wield 'supernatural' actions/effects yourself. The latter would likely be more difficult to accomplish, but has its merits if achieved.

In pursuing the Fluid path, I have had some success exerting ideas on skerries. Examples of things I have done include: overriding control of a hostile undead in a nightmare skerry, and creating and wielding balls of fire. The latter came more easily for me, because I believe strongly in my influence over fire, so the former was more of an accomplishment, especially as I typically have nothing to do with necromancy.

Perception of the Dreaming:

The first step toward becoming comfortable in the Dreaming will be to decide on how you want to approach the concept of the Dreaming. You could treat it as just another place you have traveled to, as 'real' as any other plane, though truly only you consciousness is there (and while it is possible, it is *never* a good idea to go bodily into the Dreaming). This approach could help you on the Solid path of believing in and enforcing the 'natural laws.' For the Fluid path, you could work on embracing what the Dreaming really is: a 'world' of feeling and belief, rather than of matter and rules. It is not entirely accurate to say that the Dreaming is a place of Thought... That is really more The Between, which is very similar to the Dreaming, but has a somewhat different focus. The Between is really the Realm of Thought and Ideas, and there are certain things that can be accomplished there. The method of arriving there deliberately is similar to that of entering the Dreaming, but with somewhat different intent. It is also possible that, in the same way your mind goes to the Dreaming when you dream at night, your mind goes to the Between when you get 'lost in thought'... but that is speculation and I digress...

Author’s Note:
At this point the reader should be reminded that I am but a mortal. One with reasonable experience regarding the Dreaming, but a mortal none the less. I have learned a bit from my own experience, and a bit more from some good teachers, but I am far from the level of mastery that the Dream Lords have over their domain, and I’m sure there is much that I do not know or understand about the place. Most of what is presented in the remaining sections is untested by me, but the concepts and processes presented here fit within the framework of what I understand of the Dreaming, and have a reasonable chance of accomplishing some effect if practiced. Such practice will take time, and progress may be slow, but I believe something can be achieved in this manner.

Walking the Paths:

Once you have the appropriate mindset, and have decided which ‘path’ to follow, you can begin to work on walking the path. This means 'practicing' your chosen method of interaction whenever you are in the Dreaming.

The Solid path is likely the easiest one to walk, as we naturally have more ‘skill’ or affinity with this path, but the more difficult to practice or work on implementing. This is because it is difficult to test the strength of your beliefs without something to test them against. If working by yourself in the Dreaming, there are no forces opposing your beliefs in the natural laws, and so you cannot determine their initial strength, nor work to strengthen them further. Progressing on the Solid path will be addressed again further on.

The Fluid path, while more difficult to accomplish, is easier to approach and also to measure progress on. This is because, as mentioned above, most are already squarely on the Solid path, and so we have an innate ‘opponent’ to test ourselves against. The goal of the Fluid path is to move beyond the limitations of the natural laws, in one manner or another. There are surely many ways to go about this, but only two will be discussed here. One approach is to work towards releasing your belief or expectation of the natural laws. Another is to adjust your perception of the natural laws, and work within them in ways that you are not normally capable of.

To practice walking the Fluid path, and freeing you mind of the world's beliefs, you could likely just go into the Dreaming, in your own skerry, and work on breaking conventional rules. Let go of gravity until you can fly around and walk on walls. Ignore mass and friction until you can move boulders with a breath. Summon or create things that you do not normally possess. Alter the world around you in ways that are not normally possible, such as transmuting matter. It might be difficult to release the ingrained beliefs you have, but start small, stretch only to the known and accepted limits, and then push beyond, bit by bit.

For example, to begin to let go of gravity, and to fly: Jump. Jump as high as you can. How high can you jump? A little bit higher. You can jump higher than that. You can really jump. In fact, there really isn't that much holding you down. You can jump as high as you want. Do you really need to come back down, once you have jumped that high? Oh look. Gravity does not hold you down, if you don’t want it to.

Once you can let go of some conventional rules, I think it would then be time to strengthen you influence. This might be best accomplished in conjunction with someone pursuing the Solid path. Travel to (or create) the same skerry. One person should believe in and enforce normal rules, and the other should work on breaking the rule(s) they are practiced in. That is the true test of usefulness in the Dreaming: how strongly you believe in your definition of how things should work vs. the dominant presence in the skerry.

I cannot think of a way for one to practice reenforcing their belief in the natural laws, other than in competition with one who tries to oppose those laws. It seems that there is nothing to test your beliefs against, since you are only strengthening what you already believe. All alone, believing harder in normal gravity is not going to do anything different. But if your friend does not believe in gravity and is flying and around, you can believe in gravity enough for both of you, and see this effect in that he stops flying.

I think a key thing to keep in mind in any of this interaction with the Dreaming is this: Do, or do not. There is no try. Approaching an action with the mindset of 'trying' implies to yourself (and the Dreaming, I suspect), that you do not fully believe you can do it. If you approach with: <I am going to make a ball of fire in my hand and throw it>, you bring the full force of your will against the opposing forces, and believe that you can do what you mean to. Let them try to stop you. This is not to say that with this you *will* succeed, but I believe it will better your chances if you remove one doubting party from the scene.


This is the what I have so far. I hope it is useful to any who wish to ‘dabble’ in the Dreaming, or those who find themselves there anyway. As I stated, I am by no means an ‘expert,’ and I welcome others’ thoughts, ideas, opinions, experiences, etc. I hope to fill out this document further in the future, but I feel this is a sufficient starting point to get people thinking.

Presented by Baledor, Petitioner to Rua Thar Cinn of Chimeron,
on this 14th of September, Year of the Realm 1011
Created by Baledor (Brendan Turcotte) at 09-14-11 12:57 PM
Last Modified by Baledor (Brendan Turcotte) at 09-21-11 09:58 AM