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The Near Dreaming and the Mists - house rule time?

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  • The Near Dreaming and the Mists - house rule time?

    I've just been catching up on C20 and noticed that one of my least favourite rules from Dreams & Nightmares made it in. Not surprising and not a specific complaint because the whole point of C20 is to include everything! But I did think I'd check how many others agree and house rule this, and how many people think I'm wrong.

    Basically I think that the Mists shouldn't really kick in and take a changeling's memories unless they're returning from the Far or Deep Dreaming. The Near Dreaming is easily accessible if you have a Freehold (and most characters will have a local Freehold). Using the rules as presented in C20, most starting characters will forget anything that happened in the Dreaming in the space of a day.

    Now the Dreaming should always be weird. Ephemeral details fading - difficulty in making checks to remember specifics perhaps, sure! But wholesale unable to remember anything that happens in the Near Dreaming? I feel that goes beyond simulating the bittersweet notion that paradise is right there and beyond your grasp simultaneously. It just becomes frustrating and also difficult to play. It means that either you have to use even the Near Dreaming very sparsely (which given it's right there through the back door of your Freehold aspect of things feels...banal? Why wouldn't characters want to go there?) or you have to spend a lot of game time remembering what you currently remember and what you've currently forgotten.

    I dunno. I feel that the Near Dreaming mists effects should be more minimal, and the full effects should be reserved for the Far and Deep Dreaming.

    What are your thoughts?

  • #2
    For my personal games, I tend to take it a step farther and have characters still able to remember broad strokes about the Far Dreaming too

    Trips to the Deep Dreaming result in them being able to remember something profound happened and the results color their behavior and outlooks, but what actually happened eludes them.

    I have toyed with the thought of having a game session where the group heads off into the Dreaming, and the next session be them back with no memory of what happened, just the realization that things are different now. I think my players might revolt if I ever tried that though.

    Charlie Cantrell
    Onyx Path Freelancer
    Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition, Conquering Heroes, Book of Freeholds, Guide to the Night, C20 Players Guide


    • #3
      I've always ignored those rules for games that I've run over the span of years without a single complaint for doing so, as have almost all the Changeling games I've ever played in for any length of time. The importance of the Dreaming, and the degree to which the setting has nearly always treated it as a place changelings can go into and quest about in don't function with how impossible the rules make going into the Dreaming and quest about in. The risk of the Dreaming should be bedlam if you stay too long, not "go deep enough and you're a p-zombie eventually" or even just that a brief trip into its lightest layer is beyond you because you'll likely never remember it anyway.


      • #4
        Aww, yay guys, I feel vindicated. I knew I couldn't be the only one who thought that rule made things way less fun.

        I mean, just pages later it's discussing homesteading in the Near Dreaming, which would be completely unviable if you literally forgot your home life every time you visited the mortal plane. Unless you stayed in the Dreaming forever and, presumably, succumbed to Bedlam pretty quickly...

        I think my personal house rule would be that the Near Dreaming has no effect, the Far Dreaming's effect is calculated by doubling your glamour rating for the purposes of the calculation on the Mists Chart and the Deep Dreaming uses the chart as is.

        But, I have gotta say, Charlie - I kind of like your idea. I mean, yes, they might revolt, and I think it could be done in a cheap, frustrating way (for instance if it were skipping over the resolution of a major arc). But I think done right - sparsely, and maybe only after a trip to the very depths of the Deep Dreaming - it could be a really interesting way to give players an unusually immersive experience. And if it were used to spark the plot, and spur the players to action rather than resolve it, it could be a really interesting technique.


        • #5
          I've even been in a bunch of those huge sprawling online chat based fae games that used to be more of a thing, they almost all in my experience straight up ignored the Dreaming rules near completely (New Bremen was obviously RAW-land, but otherwise). You're very far from alone in this.

          They by and large ruin a lot of potential for storylines/adventures/fun otherwise. You basically only get one storyline out of them; "You went into the Dreaming, but then you forgot it." There are only so many times and so many ways you can tell that storyline, if your players even want to deal with that in the first place.


          • #6
            I think we've always allowed characters a roll, at least, to retain their memories. You could always represent the adventures as a Background. Perhaps Remembrance (Dreaming) or something brand new altogether, which the player can roll when they want to recall things that they otherwise wouldn't.