Plane of Dreams
The Plane of Dreams is a minor plane within the various multiverses of Dungeons & Dragons. As the name suggests, it is the realm where the minds of sleepers go in order to experience dreams. The origin of nightmares, on the other hand, is usually ascribed to another plane called the Demiplane of Nightmares.
The Plane of Dreams, officially called the Region of Dreams in the Great Wheel, was introduced in the Planescape splatbook "Guide to the Ethereal Plane". Here, it is stated that when mortal minds dream, they enter a unique plane that can be observed from the Ethereal Plane, forming a "Wall of Color" that acts as a boundary between the Border Ethereal and the Deep Ethereal. Despite being observable, mortals can't enter the Region of Dreams except through sleep; attempts to breach the Wall of Color and enter the dreamscapes simply fail. This was pretty much the only information presented on the topic; the Ravenloft splatbook "The Nightmare Lands" would provide expanded rules for adventuring in dreamscapes, and even "Guide to the Ethereal Plane" literally says "go read that boxed set if you want to know how to adventure in dreams".
3e Region of Dreams Writeup
The Region of Dreams, usually simply called Dream, is where dreams cavort, heedless of the waking world. Dreams once dreamt fade into obscurity, but their echoes resonate forever throughout Dream. Carcasses of particularly vile dreams, charged with dark emotion, sometimes rampage from dreamscape to dreamscape, giving rise to terrible nightmares.
Into the Region of Dreams come dreamers, whether they will it or not, every time they fall asleep. Their minds take flight to the Region of Dreams. The edges of Dream expand and contract with temporary dreamscapes as dreamers on every plane sleep and wake. Dream would exist even if there were no dreamers, though. The many dreamscapes created by dreamers last but a short time, and they rarely impinge on each other accidentally. However, there are those who knowingly walk between dreamscapes, doing as they will. Sometimes such lucid dreamers pierce the very heart of Dream, where average dreams dare not roam.
DREAM TRAITS The Region of Dreams has the following traits.
- Subjective Directional Gravity: Within most dreamscapes, the strength of gravity is the same as on the Material Plane, but each dreamscape can pull in a different direction. The subjective gravity of most dreamscapes appears to conform to normal gravity, but other dreamscapes may have wildly different gravity traits. Visitors who master the skill of Lucid Dreaming can choose how the gravity of a particular dreamscape affects them.
- Flowing Time: For every 10 minutes in Dream, only 1 minute passes on the Material Plane. But the nature of the plane makes time spent on the plane less real. No matter what visitors experience, only memories remain when they leave Dream. Spells cannot truly be cast or learned, nor items won or lost, nor experience points earned when dreaming.
- Infinite Size: Dream is infinite, though individual dreamscapes are finite. Even a single dreamscape can seem quite large, however, depending on the nature of the individual dream.
- Highly Morphic Trait: Dreamscapes are born from wild dream-stuff the moment a dreamer's mind plunges into Dream. Left alone on Dream, wild dream-stuff is as ephemeral as thought. But once a dreamscape solidifies, it has the alterable morphic trait similar to the Material Plane. Visitors skilled in Lucid Dreaming may be able to morph a dreamscape more to their own liking.
- No Elemental or Energy Traits.
- Mildly Neutral-Aligned.
- Normal Magic: Spells can be cast normally, but travelers who leave Dream discover that any spells they used on the plane weren't really cast (they still have them as prepared spells or available spell slots). Similarly, any spells still in effect when a traveler leaves Dream are gone as if they were never cast.
DREAM LINKS The Region of Dreams is coterminous to the Material plane and whatever Transitive, Inner, or Outer Planes you desire. The easiest method of reaching Dream is through the Portal of Sleep, which living creatures the multiverse over access without conscious thought while they slumber.
When sleep claims a living mind, the consciousness of the sleeper comes to the Region of Dreams, and the dreamer enters into his or her own dreamscape. The body remains on the Material Plane, but the mind wanders as a discrete entity within a dreamscape. When the sleeper wakes, the mind returns to the body, and the dreamscape usually fades into undifferentiated dream-stuff. Sometimes dreamscapes linger and pass into the Dreamheart, taking on a more permanent reality.
Dreamwalkers—frequent visitors to the Region of Dream—can enter Dream through the Portal of Sleep like any dreamer, or they can pass bodily into dreams by finding rare physical portals into Dream or casting the dream travel spell
DREAM INHABITANTS All manner of creatures are found in Dream, ranging from small animals to abominable nightmares. Dreamers run the gamut as well, though dreamscapes of similar creatures are generally clustered together like archipelagoes in a sea of wild dream-stuff.
FEATURES OF THE REGION OF DREAMS In a cosmology with the Region of Dreams, your dreams can indeed hurt you. Of course, most mortals live out their lives without coming to any harm in the great untamed wildness of Dream, but some are not so lucky.
When an average dreamer enters Dream, she retains all her abilities and even gains dream-stuff equivalents of carried or worn items. Likewise, her hit points, ability scores, and all other values are exactly as they were before she fell asleep. For example, if she is a 5th-level wizard with a wand of lightning, she can use both her spells and her wand in Dream. When she wakes up, she'll find that she neither cast any prepared spells nor expended charges from her wand.
If a dreamer or dreamwalker dies in a dreamscape, she wakes immediately with a hammering heart but is otherwise unharmed. A dreamer or dreamwalker pulled slain in the Dreamheart also dies on the Material Plane. Worse, their spirits are snared forever at the heart of Dream, so raise dead and resurrection spells don't work.
Dreamscapes Many dreamscapes are small-no more than two or three rooms in a drab building, a small clearing in a stormwracked forest, or a mist-shrouded rural crossroads. Other dreamscapes extend for miles and contain all manner of oddities, architecture, and inhabitants. However, all dreamscapes share one feature: the dreamer.
The dreamer's unconscious mind forms the dreamscape, which the dreamer then moves through, usually unconscious of the fact that he is dreaming at all. The dreamer alters large or small aspects of his personal dreamscape, though he never does so consciously unless trained in Lucid Dreaming. Dreamscapes usually burst when the dreamer awakens, although occasionally dreamscapes linger or survive permanently under unusual circumstances or magic.
In extremely rare cases, a dreamscape ruptures, sending its pieces and visitors into other dreamscapes or onto the Material Plane. Objects from ruptured dreamscapes usually last 1d% hours on the Material Plane, but 1% of them achieve permanent reality.
The Dreamheart The dreamscapes, in all their infinite numbers, are only the edge of Dream. They border the Dreamheart, a realm where dreamers can die.
The Dreamheart is a roiling boil of dream-born landscapes that melt, burn, grow, and dissolve without any rhyme or reason. Balls of fire, pockets of air, chunks of earth, and waves of water battle against each other. Amid the chaos, half-melted dreamscapes drift—lakes, buildings, streets, strange creatures, and small islands. Some provide shelter against the tempest, but others are open to its deadly effects. These are dreamscapes that have been pulled into the Dreamheart, usually after their dreamers have awakened.
Waking up in the Dreamheart is more difficult, requiring a Wisdom check (DC 18).
In the Dreamheart, a random flare of fire, electricity, or flood can take the life of a dreamwalker at any moment. Likewise, a dream-born creature can swoop out of the chaos and eat an inexperienced traveler. When death comes in the Dreamheart, it affects the physical body as well.
Dreamheart Tempest: Unless sheltered by a solid dreamscape, exposure to the tempest deals 25 points of damage each round: 5 points each of sonic, electricity, cold, fire, and acid damage.
Like any storm, the tempest of the Dreamheart has an eye. If there is any mind, deity, or purpose in the Region of Dreams, it can be found in the Eye of the Dreamheart Tempest. But each character who visits it comes away with a completely different understanding of what lives in the eye—some meet deities, others find long-dead loved ones, and others achieve unparalleled personal power or insight. No one account can accurately encompass the Dreamheart, much as no dreamer can completely understand all dreams.
After the release of the Manual of the Planes for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, [[Dragon Magazine] #287 featured the article "Dreamlands: Variant Planes of Dream"... well you can probably guess what it was about from the title, can't you? This article added the Dreamtime (a Transitive plane), The Dream Energy Plane (Dream as one of the Inner Planes), The Divine Dream (Dream as one of the Outer Planes, ruled over by the goddess Hypnatia), and finally The Dream Demiplanes, where every individual's dream is its own mini demiplane in the Ethereal Plane, not connected to the dreams of other peoples.
In the World Axis, the Plane of Dreams is mentioned in passing in the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Manual of the Planes, which describes it in brief as an anomalous plane that is the center of all mortal dreaming. The entry reads as follows:
When a creature sleeps, the theory goes, its mind engages in the same sort of work deities performed when the world was new—an act of imaginative creation. Without the raw material of the Elemental Chaos to shape, though, these dreams exist only as thought-stuff, ideas given only the shadow of substance. To those few visitors who find their way to the Plane of Dreams, though, the environment is as real as any other world.
The Plane of Dreams (sometimes just called Dream) is a vast repository where dreams go when they are dreamt, a realm formed by millions of creative minds over the past ages of the world. The outer edges of the plane are where the newest dreams take shape, and the plane’s deepest heart holds the dreams of ancient beings. Some claim that visitors to the outer edges of the plane can influence the dreams of creatures who are sleeping at that moment.
The exact nature of the plane is a matter of some debate. Some claim that it’s a demiplane, standing outside the fabric of the cosmos and yet somehow connected to it all. Others argue that it’s an astral dominion, long abandoned by whatever ancient deity created it—and it seems true that most travelers who stumble into Dream reach it through the Astral Sea.
Because it is formed of dreams, much of the Plane of Dreams seems familiar and normal to visitors. Its natural laws display the whimsy of the sleeping mind, though, and both landscapes and creatures can change suddenly from one thing to another. Disparate terrain features lie in a jumble together, and a house might suddenly become an open desert—or a completely different house—without warning or reason.
Nightmare is a constant undercurrent in the Plane of Dreams. As often as not, a sudden transformation in the plane is a turn for the worse—a gentle rain turns to searing acid, an innocent child becomes a vampire or a tentacled monster. Events and creatures in Dream often induce fear out of proportion to their actual threat, imposing powers or effects with the fear keyword on visitors. Powers might also work in unexpected ways, and affinities for different power keywords might manifest randomly and change frequently in Dream.
Most creatures in the Plane of Dreams are formed from dreams, just like the terrain and environment are. However, many visitors are drawn to the plane because of the knowledge contained in its echoes of dreams. Servants of Vecna comb the plane for secrets, and spies from the information-brokers of Sigil sift through the most recent dreamscapes for information useful to their employers. Minions of Orcus search the ruins of ancient dreams for a hint of the Raven Queen’s long-forgotten name, and the githyanki particularly enjoy preying on visitors to the plane. Adventurers might seek a portal to Dream either to aid or to hinder such individuals.