[Let's Read] The Nightmares Underneath

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
General question, because it is not entirely clear to me from the text of the main book... I understand that specific nightmare incursion dungeons collapse when their anchors are either destroyed or removed. However, if they are removed to be either hoarded or sold on as treasure, how often is it intended that they go on to spawn new incursions where they are now housed, e.g., in the treasure vaults of the esteemed caliph? As far as I can tell, if not destroyed, all the same factors which allowed them to serve as anchors in the first place would remain...
You missed the part where they need to be stolen by nightmares first. Spawning an incursion requires explicitly more than just the existence of a valuable item with a dark history, it requires magical accidents, rituals, or true magic items that have the quality of summoning nightmares. The aforementioned Glass Knives are an example of a magic item with that quality; it's part of the items themselves, not something that just happens due to greed.

That being said, I imagine grand larceny in the Kingdom of Dreams is harshly punished; after all, you're never quite sure if the person who took such a valuable item is just a thief or an agent of the nightmare realm looking for an anchor.
 

vitruvian

Registered User
Validated User
Yeah, I tried to leave stuff for individual GMs to fill in, but mostly I assume that there is either some kind of instigating event or a special circumstance that allows the Nightmare Realm to attach itself to an anchor, rather than just the power of the emotions attached to the object itself. This is probably a good subject for a random table, so I should give it some more thought.

So like a tragic accident or some extreme violence that separates an object from its owner, or if a treasure has been lost in a dungeon for a long time, nightmares can creep up on it. Or the more obvious situation where a wizard messed around with powerful magics and the nightmares contaminated something / anything / everything nearby.

It would be kind of weird, and super dangerous, if they could just randomly snatch an expensive painting owned by the sultan, and bam! now his foyer drives people mad. But sure, some items could pull in strands of nightmare wherever they go, even after those strands are brushed away (for example, the knives of the Glass Thieves on page 337).
Until I actually read through the book, and saw the description of how anchors tended to be created, I had a thought in the back of my mind that maybe the incursions were a little bit along the lines of the invading reality in "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", so that any treasure or artifacts removed from the dungeon were potential vectors for furthering the infection - i.e., a trap. Partly because that was how I was going to treat at least magical items if I ever got a Project Long Stair - https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/setting-riff-voices-from-below-and-the-long-stairs.391379/ - campaign off the ground, and going along with ancient folklore along the lines of Fafnir's gold/Ring of the Nibelungs. But of course it would be possible to go too far with this - difficult to do a dungeon delving campaign if looting the dungeon for treasure were always a bad idea.
 

Johnstone

Registered User
Validated User
If you use the optional mission-based advancement on page 374, you don't need to worry about screwing players out of their XP with dangerous treasure.

It's kind of a funny idea to me, just considering I first developed the Kingdoms of Dreams for a game where PCs raid the demon-haunted tombs of ancient sorcerer-kings from the Age of Chaos, and then they have to convince society that it is okay for them to use the magic items they recover, otherwise the people turn against them. But making it so that they have a reason to be distrustful of anything the PCs bring out of the dungeon is a good way to keep them on their toes.
 

wheloc

He's trying real hard to be one of the good guys.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
So, what does Psychic Armor do?
"Psychic Armour" is like hit points for your mind ;)
(much like "Disposition" is hit points for your body, in this game)

Non-physical sources of damage have to deplete your Psychic Armor before they can effect you. Stuff like insanity, life drain, mind control, or torture.
 
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Arbane the Terrible

11th-level Minion
Validated User
"Psychic Armor" is like hit points for your mind ;)
(much like "Disposition" is hit points for your body, in this game)

Non-physical sources of damage have to deplete your Psychic Armor before they can effect you. Stuff like insanity, life drain, mind control, or torture.
Ah, makes sense. Is there a way for non-spellcasters to get it? (Seems like a useful thing to have...)
 

wheloc

He's trying real hard to be one of the good guys.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
What I'm wondering is...

Many of the spells and effects that are blocked by Psychic Armour have a "damage" associated with them (usually stat-point damage), and so I assume that you just take that damage to your Psychic Armour first. I'm not sure what to do with effects that don't have an associated damage die, however. Maybe roll the Hit Die of the character? That would mean that Fighters and the like can deplete Psychic Armour faster than Wizards and Scholars, which doesn't seem right. Or maybe a spell like Confusion (no damage listed) just can't affect someone with Psychic Armour unless some other effect depletes it?
 
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