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[DRYH] Don't Fear Your Dreams


Registered User
Validated User
I’ve been looking at the Dreamhounds of Paris book for Trail of Cthulhu and I was struck with inspiration. Don’t Rest Your Head is one of my favourite systems, fast and streamlined but with buckets of character. It’s also eminently hackable (as can be seen in this excellent thread and others like it). So here are my thoughts on a version of DRYH focusing on the antics of the Surrealist Society

Don’t Fear Your Dreams

The psychic revolution is here! The artists, poets and writers of the Surrealist Society have succeeded in breaking down the barriers between reality and Dream, and unlocking strange new powers. Now they run amok in Paris, and in the utterly bizarre Mad City that lies just beyond the veil of sleep. But the Surrealists weren’t the first people to cross the boundary. The Mad City holds Nightmares as well as Dreams, and every power has a price…

Pain Dice remain the same
Discipline dice become Skill dice
Exhaustion dice become Passion dice
Madness dice become Dream dice

When Passion dominates emotional, decadent and over the top results colour the scene.

When Dream dominates the results are coloured by surreal goings on and the breakdown of real world laws in favour of dream logic.

Your Response boxes are Laugh or Cry instead of Fight or Flight. Laugh responses involve reckless and flamboyant behaviour, absurd or nonsensical declarations, and uncontrollable laughter. Cry responses involve teary monologues, inopportune bouts of regret and forgiveness and, of course, weeping.

As their Skill Dice get replaced with Dream dice a character becomes gradually less grounded and substantial, slipping further into the world of Dream and shedding their concern for worldly matters. A character whose Skill dice all become Dream dice completely loses their grip on reality and becomes a bizarre Nightmare, a psychic embodiment of terror and fevered imagination.

A character whose Passion rating goes over 6 is Overcome with Passion. This may involve going on a drunken bender until they pass out, instigating a massive brawl in a Café and getting glassed, or descending into a long depression and refusing to leave the house, depending on the particular passion they are susceptible to. Whatever the exact reason, the character disappears for several days. When they return they are totally burned out and uninspired (their Skill is reduced to 1 and their Passion to 0). They are incapable of Dreaming, and thus powerless to defend themselves from the Nightmares of the Mad City, until they rediscover their muse (which will take a number of days equal to the number of days they spent Overcome with Passion, at least) .

Despair/Hope are renamed Ennui/Inspiration

Scars definitely stay, what’s a Surrealist without a few scars to tell stories about? :p

So that’s the idea. I’m still working on rejigging the questions, so any suggestions on that front would be welcome. Please let me know your thoughts on what I have so far, and share any of your own DRYH modifications. I always love seeing what other people have done with the system!

P.s. The idea of a showdown between Officer Tock and Salvador Dali fills me with malicious glee :p
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Registered User
Validated User
I've had a think about the five questions. Initially I was considering replacing 'why can't you sleep?' with 'what do you dream about?'. But I felt that overlapped with 'what lies beneath?' too much. So now I'm thinking that 'what's your Passion?' is a better fit, tying it into the Passion mechanic.

So that leaves me with:

What's your Passion?
What just happened to you?
What's on the surface?
What lies beneath?
What's your path?

I'm still not sure I'm entirely happy with those, I feel like I could do more to tie the questions to the specific setting. Any thoughts on this, or on anything from my first post, are welcome :)


Nowhere Man
Validated User
The Laugh/Cry bit reminds me of the Jovial/Glum results from Swords Without Master. Anyhow, it's always nice to see hacks for these rules, and yours look really cool.
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White Knight
Validated User
This reminds me of JAGS Wonderland for some reason, with levels of surreality under our own level of reality.
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