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Nightmares & Dreamscapes: Incursions from the Primordial Dream

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  • Nightmares & Dreamscapes: Incursions from the Primordial Dream

    The title is pretty much self-explainatory: this is a thread I made to post all sorts of critters and oddities born from the Primordial Dream. Think Intruders: Encounters with the Abyss. There's not exactly a schedule behind this, I have many ideas in mind but nothing too definite. I'll simply post stuff when I feel like I have something decent to share.

    Entry #1: The Night Terrors





    (Guess who has read Innocents again)

    The Primordial Dream is a dark ocean given shape by the collective fears of mankind. Within it, the Chambers and Burrows of infinite Lairs give home to countless Horrors, echoes of traumatized minds that merged with fundamental narratives and the souls of Beasts. Beast themselves are atavistic nightmares incarnate, something that reaches deep into the psyche of man and shakes it from its foundation. In the Primordial Dream Beasts are apex predators, something so powerful that their mere presence alters the oniric landscape around them and bleeds into the dreams of others.

    There are smaller things out there.

    One kind of minor inhabitants of the Primordial Being are the so-called Night Terrors. Night Terrors embody smaller fears. It's not like those fears count less, it's just that the Night Terrors are smaller. They're limited, superficial. The Night Terrors don't reflect those fears in the same deep, primordial way a Horror does. A Horror's nature covers broad concepts and the nightmares it manifests reach the roots of the human experience,. A Night Terror's nature does not. They're are simpler creatures, a cluster of immediate reactions and phobias that has gained a semblance of sentience. There's no lesson to be learned from the Night Terrors, they just are. Night Terrors don't have a Lair, their soul is what they bring with themselves, not something they can externalize. Most of them die soon after their birth, reabsorbed by the Primordial Dream or devoured by Horrors and other entities. Their limited power, though, allows them to move furtively across the Dream and even slip into Lairs. Night Terrors see Horrors as the major predators of their nightmarish ecosystem and istinctively surrend themselves to them. Since Night Terrors cannot feed as easily as Horrors do, they aim to create a relationship with them not much different from that between a pilot fish and a shark. Night Terrors help Horrors feed and keep the Lairs clean while at the same time they gain protection, a home, access to the Primordial Pathways that lead the material world and, obviously, the chance to feed on the snippets left by the Horror or go hunting in the surrounding area.

    The mind of Night Terrors is an extremely basic conglomerate of primary reactions. Their personality is not a proper answer to a humand mind but rather a web of fragmented fears, distorted emotions and elementary impulses.Many Night Horrors find easier to feed on children, as they are more vulnerable to their tricks, but also because they find them easier to understand, their way to react to the world more immediate and clear than that of adults. According to most scholars of the Primordial Dream, Night Terrors are a natural occurrence, little parasites born out the ripples in the darkness. Others think that the seeds of what will grow into a Night Terror are sowed whenever a Beast breaks a mind while using its powers. Whatever the case, Beasts as a whole don't see them as a problem. There's not a huge amount of them and don't breed as parasites do. They happen and that's about it. If a Beasts adopts them, Night Terrors can be helpful and loyal. If that's not the case, they're easily dispatched. Without a Beast that offers them protection, Night Terrors are practically powerless.

    Traits

    Legend: Night Terrors have Legend, but not Life, and regain Willpower as normal. They don't need to sleep and they do not refresh Willpower through rest. Acting according to their Legend is the only way they can regain Willpower
    Attributes: Night Terrors use the ephemeral beings attributes
    Speed: as usual, with many adding some sort of “species factor” to it
    Size: Varies; some are small as rats, some are larger than adults
    Corpus: Varies by Size
    Rank: Most Night Terrors are Rank 1, sometimes 2, with a few extremely rare ones reaching Rank 3
    Common Manifestation: Nightmare Apparition
    Common Numina: Emotional Aura, Hallucination, Sign
    Nightmares: Most Night Terrors can replicate the effects of a Nightmare or two
    Ban: Different Night Terrors have different Bans, based on the fears they incarnate. A Terror Under The Bed might not hurt those hidden under the sheets, The Thing In The Closet has no Defense if there's a light in the room (even a nightlight), The Creepy Clown flees from those who laugh...
    Bane: The Bane of Night Terrors is related to their nature, like their Ban
    Symbiotic Relationship: Night Terrors are strange and disconcerting. Most Beasts do not enjoy their presence and simply throw them away from their Lair or eliminate them in the same way one would do with pests. For those who tolerate them, though, Night Terrors can prove useful. When a Night Terror enters a Lair, the Beast istinctively notices it. The Horror reacts immediately to this intrusion and moves inside the Chambers to meet the unexpected visitor. It's at this point that the Beast can decide whether she agrees to accept this symbiotic relationship or not. If that's the case, the Night Terror gains immunity to the Lair Traits, adapting to its new home. When inside it, Night Terrors protect the Lair from hostile intruders and fight fiercely to defend the Horror and the Heart. Curiously, Night Terrors don't attack other Night Terrors: they recognize them as Family, and hope that the Horror will accept them as well. Truth be told, a Lair which holds a Night Terror seem to attract others of its kind. Additionally, when a Ravenous Horror goes on rampage, the Night Terrors help it. Whenever a Horror inflicts nightmares, roll the Night Terror's Power + Finesse. The Horror gains a number of bonus dices equal to the successes obtained. This bonus is cumulative among multiple Night Terrors, which mean the chances of Exceptional Success can get dangerously high. If a Lair collapses or merges with the Beast, Night Terrors will attempt to flee before it's too late.
    Satiety: Night Terrors are simple beings, their personality a conglomeration of basic desires, an almost childlike approach to the world and traces of little fears and nightmares, but they retain enough free will to have a Satiety score. There's not much they want to do outside feeding, but they are naturally curious and some Beasts train them as some sort of twisted pet, perhaps hoping they could be eventually used as scouts or spies. The Night Terrors Satiety's score is slightly different from that of a Beast, ranging from 0 to 5 (1-2 Low, 3 Medium, 4 High, 5 Maximum). Night Terrors use Satiety to activate powers and heal when inside a Lair. They also loose a Satiety point each week.
    Regaining Satiety: Night Terrors regain the same amount of Satiety the Horror gains when inflicting nightmares (that's why they help the Horror, an exceptional success means feeding a lot). When bonded with a Beast, they can also go hunting on their own. They roll Power + Rank – Composure to do so, sometimes adding a dice or two when the Beast they're bonded with is really strong (Lair 8+). On an Exceptional Success, they drag the victim to their Beast's Lair and the Horror hunts them as if it took them there in the first place. High and Maximum Satiety Horrors simply ignore those preys, with no additional result: no extra Satiety, no Soul Shocked Condition. Heroes can still attempt to track it, though.
    Under the Bed: Night Terrors are way less mobile than Beasts, but can use Under the Bed in the same way a Beast does, rolling Power + Satiety instead of Presence + Satiety. They have no way to get the bonus from blood relatives, obviously.
    Invade Dreams: Night Terrors can invade dreams just as Unfettered Beasts do.
    Heroic Tracking: Night Terrors can help the Horror feed, but they also disturb the Primordial Dream to a degree, meaning that Heroes can perceive their actions. Heroes who sense Night Terrors are not attracted to them, not exactly, but rather to the Horror they gravitate around. Night Terrors are too metaphysically small to be noticed on a long distance, but they can lead a Hero after their masters. The ripple created by Night Terrors is weaker (some sort of tracking malus is appropriate when going after them instead of a proper Beast), the only exception being when the Night Terrors obtain an Exceptional Success when inflicting nightmares. On those occasion, the Horror comes into play and the nightmares are so strong that Heroes can sense them as usual.

    Sample Night Terrors

    Twisted Rabbit
    "Come out, come out, wherever you are!"
    Twisted Rabbit is a nasty little thing that loves to haunt the rooms of children. He is a creature born from the cold, dead eyes of toys and the sinister appearance they take once the lights go out and you try to sleep. Twisted Rabbit itself resembles a pink rabbit doll who never blinks, his clothes covered in blood and a rusty knife in a hand. His favourite tactic is to take possession of a toy and wander in the room while the child is inside the bed. He hides some toys, damages others and changes position when nobody is watching, always getting closer. Twisted Rabbit never physically hurts kids, and sees what it does as the thing he's supposed to do. He's a creepy puppet who wants to play, scaring the crap out of children is part of the game.

    Legend: Uncanny
    Attributes: Power 2, Finesse 4, Resistance 1
    Willpower: 5
    Speed: 7
    Size: 1
    Corpus: 2
    Rank: 1
    Manifestations: Nightmare Apparition, Fetter (Open Condition related to toys), Unfetter
    Numina: Emotional Aura, Innocuous, Sign
    Nightmares: They Are All Around You (The Toys Are Watching)
    Ban: Twisted Rabbit cannot use any Numina or Power as long as the victim is holding another puppet.
    Bane: Hunting rifles

    The Disembodied Brain
    "Look at them, mere ants waiting to be enslaved by our superior intellects. So simple and yet so fascinating"

    As its name suggests, the Disembodied Brain is a brain, eyeballs attached, that flies around nonchalantly, a peculiar sight indeed. It was spawned by a combination of visceral fears, phobia of surgery and clinical anxiety. The Brain is a prideful creature that loves to scare others and impose its will upon them. This Night Terror acts with malice and enjoys hurting others or forcing them to cut themselves. For all his arrogance, it is also a coward, and retreats hastily if menaced. The Disembodied Brain mostly targets the weak or those who can't defend themselves, seeing them as an easy prey and a funny way to satisfy its ego.

    Legend: Arrogant
    Attributes: Power 5, Finesse 4, Resistance 3
    Willpower: 7
    Speed: 11 (flying)
    Size: 2
    Corpus: 5
    Rank: 2
    Manifestations: Nightmare Apparition, Discorporate, Reaching, Image
    Numina: Blast, Dement, Hallucination, Telekinesis
    Nightmares: Bugs Everywhere! (Viscera Everywhere!), You Must Obey (Obey the Brain!)
    Ban: The Brain is deathly afraid of surgeons and doctors. It will flee immediately if it recognizes one of them.
    Bane: Any jar big enough to trap it
    Last edited by Cinder; 02-02-2016, 05:11 PM.


    Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
    Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps".

    Hopes to write about monsters, shapeshifters and soulless abominations someday. If you have criticism that can help me improve, I'm always here

  • #2
    Would you be OK with other people posting creature ideas on this thread? Because if so, I have few ideas. One of which would be Protogenoi, the gods of the Dark Dream. These would be as far beyond Horrors as they are beyond Night terrors and embody primordial fears in their entirety, as opposed to Horrors, which represent a facet of those fears.
    Last edited by ajf115; 02-02-2016, 03:47 PM.


    Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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    • #3
      This is really excellent Cinder, and the exact sort of thing that I was thinking Beast needed. I like the concept of the Primordial Dream, especially with how it fits into the Astral, but wish there was more information about the things that are there. I love the symbiotic relationship of these lesser terrors. Kudos!


      Leetsepeak's Ex3 Homebrew Hub - Hub of homebrew for Exalted 3rd Edition that I've made.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
        Would you mind at all if other people posted dream-creatures on this thread?
        Oh, not at all. Just promise me they won't be that much better than mine, my already lacking self-esteem and ever present need for acknowledgement would not endure it.

        Seriously though, go for it


        Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
        Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps".

        Hopes to write about monsters, shapeshifters and soulless abominations someday. If you have criticism that can help me improve, I'm always here

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
          This is really excellent Cinder, and the exact sort of thing that I was thinking Beast needed. I like the concept of the Primordial Dream, especially with how it fits into the Astral, but wish there was more information about the things that are there. I love the symbiotic relationship of these lesser terrors. Kudos!
          Sorry, I was so caught up in my own idea that I forgot to say what I thought of the Night Terrors. I agree with leetsepeak on this. I'll have a lot of fun coming up with weird little critters to infest the Dark Dream now. I've an idea for a relatively powerful Terror (that's Rank 3) who comes to the Brood and asks them to help it evolve into a Horror. I think you could have fun trying to symbolically change its fear from something relatively trivial to something that can resonate in the deepest, darkest parts of the soul of humanity.


          Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Cinder View Post
            Oh, not at all. Just promise me they won't be that much better than mine, my already lacking self-esteem and ever present need for acknowledgement would not endure it.

            Seriously, though, go for it
            Thanks. And I'm not sure I could do any better. Yours are really good.

            In relation to the Protogenoi, they could easily start off a plot. I see them as very much 'sleeping gods'. Waking them would require a vast amount of their attendant fear. Like, on the level of the Protogenoi of drowning requiring millions to drown within a relatively small area (like, for example, a coastal city) in order to wake.

            What do you think?
            Last edited by ajf115; 02-02-2016, 05:06 PM.


            Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ajf115 View Post

              Thanks. And I'm not sure I could do any better. Yours are really good.
              Nonsense. You write good stuff. I know. I'm watching.

              Anyways, if we want to make this a community thread like the Idigam one in the Werewolf forum so we all have a place to post our creatures from the Primordial Dream I won't have anything to object

              Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
              In relation to the Protogenoi, they could easily start off a plot. I see them as very much 'sleeping gods'. Waking them would require a vast amount of their attendant fear. Like, on the level of the Protogenoi of drowning requiring millions to drown within a relatively small area (like, for example, a coastal city) in order to wake.

              What do you think?
              I'll be honest, I think I get what you're aiming for. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they're like some sort of Maeljin of nightmare, top-of-chain creatures that resonate with fear on the broadest possible level. It's a rough comparison, but gives the idea. The thing is, where the Shadow has the Maeljin and the Abyss has the Annunaki, I feel like these guys come dangerously close to a thematic space that should belong to the Dark Mother. I'm probably seeing it in an uncorrect way and you'll have a clear niche for them in mind but, if that's not the case, I do think it's better to avoid stepping on the Dark Mother's toes.
              Last edited by Cinder; 02-03-2016, 07:13 AM.


              Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
              Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps".

              Hopes to write about monsters, shapeshifters and soulless abominations someday. If you have criticism that can help me improve, I'm always here

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Cinder View Post

                I'll be honest, I think I get what you're aiming for. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they're like some sort of Maeljin of nightmare, top-of-chain creatures that resonate with fear on the broadest possible level. It's a rough comparison, but gives the idea. The thing is, where the Shadow has the Maeljin and the Abyss has the Annunaki, I feel like these guys come dangerously close to a thematic space that should belong to the Dark Mother. I'm probably seeing it in an uncorrect way and you'll have a clear niche for them in mind but, if that's not the case, I do think it's better to avoid stepping on the Dark Mother's toes.
                That closeness to the Dark Mother was intentional. They're meant to be the intermediaries between Her and the Begotten, creatures of godlike power, so much that they require enormous sacrifice to wake for a short while, let alone remain awake. If the creatures of the Primordial Dream were compared to the descent from the original Chaos of Greek mythology, the Horrors would be the Titans and the Protogenoi would be the Primordials, beings which not only ruled over but actually embodied aspects of reality. The line between the fear of drowning and the Protogenos of drowning is so fine that it's essentially semantics. The idea of them was that they could serve to impress upon the Begotten the sheer power of the Dark Mother. If her Firstborn were this mighty, how great was She? The Dark mother does not represent fear, She is fear.


                Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ajf115 View Post

                  That closeness to the Dark Mother was intentional. They're meant to be the intermediaries between Her and the Begotten, creatures of godlike power, so much that they require enormous sacrifice to wake for a short while, let alone remain awake. If the creatures of the Primordial Dream were compared to the descent from the original Chaos of Greek mythology, the Horrors would be the Titans and the Protogenoi would be the Primordials, beings which not only ruled over but actually embodied aspects of reality. The line between the fear of drowning and the Protogenos of drowning is so fine that it's essentially semantics. The idea of them was that they could serve to impress upon the Begotten the sheer power of the Dark Mother. If her Firstborn were this mighty, how great was She? The Dark mother does not represent fear, She is fear.
                  Oh, now I understand. Well, that's a greater scheme of things I can be intrigued about. I still have some small reservations, but color me interested.

                  Last edited by Cinder; 02-03-2016, 07:15 AM.


                  Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
                  Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps".

                  Hopes to write about monsters, shapeshifters and soulless abominations someday. If you have criticism that can help me improve, I'm always here

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cinder View Post
                    Oh, now I understand. Well, that's a greater scheme of things I can be intrigued about. I still have some small reservations, but color me interested.
                    You said you had reservations. Do you think you could give me some constructive criticism about this?


                    Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ajf115 View Post

                      You said you had reservations. Do you think you could give me some constructive criticism about this?
                      Nothing major. It's more a matter of personal taste, my own headcanon about the Dark Mother and my perception of how she was presented in the corebook. Silly things that only make me think it would be difficult to pull the Progenoi off in way that does not clash with my own subjective intepretation of the setting. All in all, not the sort of stuff that should influence your idea, which is solid and has plenty of potential.

                      I reserve myself the right to be pleasantly surprised, though.


                      Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
                      Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps".

                      Hopes to write about monsters, shapeshifters and soulless abominations someday. If you have criticism that can help me improve, I'm always here

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ajf115 View Post

                        That closeness to the Dark Mother was intentional. They're meant to be the intermediaries between Her and the Begotten, creatures of godlike power, so much that they require enormous sacrifice to wake for a short while, let alone remain awake. If the creatures of the Primordial Dream were compared to the descent from the original Chaos of Greek mythology, the Horrors would be the Titans and the Protogenoi would be the Primordials, beings which not only ruled over but actually embodied aspects of reality. The line between the fear of drowning and the Protogenos of drowning is so fine that it's essentially semantics. The idea of them was that they could serve to impress upon the Begotten the sheer power of the Dark Mother. If her Firstborn were this mighty, how great was She? The Dark mother does not represent fear, She is fear.
                        So, you're talking about the idea that these guys ARE Anakim, Makara, Namtaru and the like? Interesting...

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ZealousChristian24 View Post
                          So, you're talking about the idea that these guys ARE Anakim, Makara, Namtaru and the like? Interesting...
                          Yes, sort of. There are greater and lesser Protogenoi. The greater are Anakim, Makara and Namtaru. The lesser are fears within those. For example, within Anakim there is The Mighty, the embodiment of unstoppable strength, there is Judgement, the manifestation of inescapable consequences and there is the Triad, the three women who represent inevitable Fate. There are more than just these of course, but you get the idea I hope.


                          Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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                          • #14
                            The Protogenos of drowning would be a Lesser Protogenos.


                            Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ajf115 View Post

                              You said you had reservations. Do you think you could give me some constructive criticism about this?
                              I can't speak for Cinder, but I'm not really seeing a niche for "protogenoi". For example, the idea that they act as intermediaries to the Dark Mother - considering how active she is, is that really necessary? Each chapter of the corebook has her dropping in one of the Begotten, offering encouragement . . . or making an example out of some poor arrogant schmuck. When your goddess can (and does) show up whenever she wants, a priesthood is a bit redundant. . . . unless they can help keep her away.

                              Going with too regimented a hierarchy also seems to undermine the inchoate nature of the Primordial Dream. If there are clear power rankings . . . I don't know, its just that if you can catalog the denizens of the Dream, making sense of (and thus bringing order to) what's inherently irrational and surreal . . . It seems to violate the core premise of the place.

                              I do like the idea of a thread of various creatures, Chambers, and nightmares people have come up with, though.

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