Dream and the Skein
NOTE: The below document is a work in progress and will be updated in line with the Lost addenda when published.
The Skein is an intensive resource available to Changelings, with a wide variety of applications and potential for a light touch or horrific abuses.
As all Lost are Lucid Dreamers, the Skein is a resource that all have access to, although some are better prepared than others to make use of it to its full potential.
The Skein holds opportunities for personal development, for highly difficult to trace attacks against enemies, for information gathering, as well as for Glamour harvesting and mental recuperation.
Much like the Hedge, it also holds its own unique dangers to those attempting to exploit it.
Means to access Dreams or to act within them are outlined in the Changeling: The Lost core book (p193-5) and Dancers in the Dusk (p16). These are essentially:
- All Lost are Lucid Dreamers, who can control their own dreams
- All Lost can access the dreams of their Fetch
- A Pledge which grants access to the other person’s dreams (this can be with another Lost, or with a mortal/other supernatural)
- The Contracts of Dream, Clause 2 (Forging the Dream)
These actions are covered in full in the core rulebook for Changeling: The Lost (p194-5).
Forging the Dream (Clause 2 of the Contracts of Dream) is not required to undertake Dream Riding or Dreamscaping actions in a dream – these are actions which all Lost can perform (with a greater or lesser degree of skill depending on the Lost involved).
Forging the Dream operates as if the Changeling is the director of a film – they may edit the subject’s dreams, giving nightmares or idyllic scenes as preferred. The use of this Contract does not grant access to the dream directly (i.e. cannot be used to then undertake Dream Riding, Dreamscaping, or oneiromancy/machy actions). If another fae is within the subject’s dream (or using this Clause as well), the changeling must vie for control of the dream.
If you are in an Untasked Dream (i.e. the dreams of someone you do not have a Pledge with), you are unable to undertake Dreamscaping actions. Dream Riding and dream combat actions suffer a -2 dice penalty.
Contracts of Dream: Forging the Dream can be used in an Untasked Dream.
A Lost can forge a Pledge permitting access to another’s dreams via use of the Dreaming Task. With such a Pledge, the Lost is at no penalties for actions taken while in the other’s dreamscape, and can make full use of the Dream Contract clause: Forging the Dream, Dream Riding or Dreamscaping rules (p194-5 Changeling the Lost core book).
The Lost must bear in mind the terms of their Pledge regarding permitted actions while operating within the dreams of those they are Pledged to, or risk becoming Oathbroken.
Skein-walking is a means to access the wider dreamscape. All Lost have the ability to access the Skein, though some changelings have advantages that others do not. There are three basic ways to access the Skein. The penalties for entering Untasked Dreams via the Skein remain the same as outlined under “Untasked Dreams”.
The art of Oneiroscopy, known and guarded by the Autumn Court, is a useful means of navigating the Skein effectively.
The Autumn Court rarely teaches this skill to others without securing a Pledge in return first.
The changeling casting the scope selects a particular dreamer as the subject of enquiry, and a target dream as their final destination. The oneiroscope, if successful, will tell the changeling when the target will have a suitable dream that lines up with others and could be used to travel across the Skein to their final desired destination.
If the changeling lacks the skill with Oneiroscopy, or is simply impatient, they can engage in a method of dreamscaping that twists the target’s dreams into a form that will line up with their desired final destination.
The example given is to force the target’s dreams into a military bent, if the final destination desired is a distant general.
Gate-shaping can be fairly brutal, and can result in nightmares for the target used in this manner.
Any Incubus can act as a Guide in the Skein, though most will only consent to doing so if they have been significantly paid in Glamour, or beaten to within an inch of their existences.
A Guide can lead a changeling all the way to their destination, but the further a guide agrees to take you, the higher the price.
There are vast arrays of Goblin Contracts related to dream working, though not to bypass any of the restrictions previously outlined on accessing dreams. (Swords at Dawn, p109-111) The two primary Contracts of most immediate use to an oneiromancer (without direct Clarity-impacting downsides) are Sandman’s Bargain and Sleepwalker.
This Contract is particularly useful to ensure that the oneiromancer’s activities in amending the dreams of their target do not undermine the dream’s integrity to the point that it shatters.
This Contract can be used to provide a range of impressive boosts to a changeling for a limited duration. A dream must be prepared in advance using the Dreamweaving rules, which is then consumed as part of the activation of the Goblin Contract.
There are a number of useful tokens available to changelings for working with dreams also.
Of these, only Tenebrous Mirror and Drowsing Coil provide a means to access dreams without a Pledge or Skein walking (though that access is limited).
This token can be used in one of two ways. If activated while awake, it can be used to peek into the dreams of others, even without a Pledge. However, the changeling cannot make any changes to the dreams accessed in this manner, only analyse, learn about the dreamer, or search for dream poison (Changeling the Lost core book, p194).
It can also be used from inside dreams. If used in such a manner, the mirror allows the changeling to look into the waking world and see what is happening near a dreamer.
Wearing this token means that the changeling does not have to enter the Hedge or bind themselves into a Pledge to enter the dreams of a human. They must have line-of-sight to their target before entering into sleep to enter their dreams.
This token does not remove the usual penalties for entering an Untasked dream.
Exiting personal dreams, fetch dreams, or tasked dreams
An oneiromancer can choose to exit a dream at any time with a successful Resolve + Composure roll, and an instant action.
Those who are not lucid dreamers are unable to make this roll to wake up, regardless of how dark their dreams might turn.
If multiple oneiromancers are present in a dream, the roll to wake up can be opposed using Wits + Empathy + Wyrd to keep the individual asleep.
It should also be noted that, if something disturbs the body of an oneiromancer, they make a reflexive Resolve + Composure roll to remain in their dreaming state. If they fail, they immediately awaken.
Exiting Untasked Dreams
Exiting an Untasked Dream is more problematic than any other type of dream – they cannot be abandoned simply by deciding to wake up, or by the body of the changeling being disturbed. Even losing all Willpower does not knock a changeling back to wakefulness or their personal dreamscape. The further the journey through the Skein, the longer it will take the changeling to travel back and wake up.
The changeling must take an hour of rest for each untasked/foreign dream they have crossed on their journey. They can move around, speak, and even evade pursuit in the dreamscape during this period of rest, but she can’t perform actions that cost Glamour, Willpower points (they can endure attacks that drain Willpower or Glamour, but can’t intentionally spend them), or involve dream combat. Once the required time has passed the changeling can either wake up or relax in their personal dreams.
Alternatively, the changeling can attempt to retrace their steps back through the dreams along their route – however, if any of the dreamers in that route has awoken, or has moved on to a new dream, the trail is lost and the changeling cannot return to their personal dreams in this manner.
If the changeling loses all willpower while in an untasked/foreign dream, they cannot leave their current dream until they have regained at least one willpower point, leaving them in a very dangerous situation (and at risk of starving to death in the material world if there is no-one to care for them through their dream-coma.
The Oneirophysics (Lords of Summer, p157) have a particular privilege that non-Entitled dreamworkers do not have. The Plunge can be used to access the dream of anyone they are in physical skin-to-skin contact with, and if the roll to undertake the Plunge is successful, the Oneirophysic can undertake any of the normal dream riding, dreamscaping, or their Entitlement-specific privilege of dreamhealing.
Aetherwine is highly prized by Oneirophysics for its ability to induce almost immediate unconsciousness in its consumer. Aetherwine is not an Entitlement secret, and can be produced by any Lost – indeed, the production of aetherwine can be a useful means of trade and negotiation between different Lost with different skills-sets.
The Family of Silent Nights (Dancers in the Dusk, p147) have the ability to craft a dream prison, using Dreamweaving.
Instead of crafting a dream, they are crafting a hole into which a dream can fall. When crafting the dream-prison, the changeling can be as specific or vague as they wish on what sort of dream will be trapped by this prison (whether “a nightmare” or a particular breed of Incubi). The dreamer has only to sleep next to the prison in order for the prison to be activated by an applicable dream, should one take place.
A member of the Family is instantly alerted if one of their dream-prisons is activated, and may enter it, and interact with the dream trapped within the prison as though they had a Pledge with the original dreamer (i.e. full access to all dream riding and dreamscaping abilities, and no penalties on their dream-combat rolls).
The dream-prisons are capable of capturing dreams which contain dream poison.
This is the basic classification of dream types pioneered by Rowena of the Autumn Court.
The broad classification of different dream types, and the assistance or boons they can provide if properly accessed are covered in more depth in Dancers in the Dusk, p18-24.
There are a variety of dream locales which are accessible to the accomplished oneiromancer.
The Door is a dream locale to the realm of elements, in their primal, raw form. In this locale, a visiting changeling can commune and experience the untrammelled power of the elements, and gain wisdom from this.
The location can provide practical knowledge of the Contracts of Elements, or make it easier to learn more if they already possess the Contract of Elements.
The Well of Dreams provides a unique opportunity for any searching for it – it allows an oneiromancer to experience significant dreams from any figure, whether still alive or dead. With effort, an oneiromancer can draw upon a dream from a specific individual, pulling the thread clear of the swirling mass of all dreams.
While no changes can be made to this dream, the oneiromancer can still analyse the dream, and learn about the dreamer, or even search for dream poison.