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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.

  • Vent0
    replied
    Originally posted by FallenEco View Post

    And special merits and Nightmares. Those can really alter the balance.
    Merits, yeah. Kinship Nightmares assume access to Nightmares, which are their own thing. Grouping them together is fine, though.

    Leave a comment:


  • FallenEco
    replied
    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

    Well, what is "Kinship"? Family Ties Condition, Thicker Than Water social impression, Family Resemblance detection, Mother's Kiss supernatural power boost, Passing Resemblance disguise effect, Family Dinner Satiety gain.

    Humans-with-Kinship wouldn't gain that many advantages, especially Kinship with other humans.
    And special merits and Nightmares. Those can really alter the balance.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vent0
    replied
    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
    A stray thought breaking my own promise of not accessing the internet until the weekend; I wonder what non-Beast Primordial shenanigans we could get out of Kinship? Specifically, I was thinking of Persona Users again (yes, still at it), and then got the idea of people who gained the ability to form Kinship. And not with just monsters, but normal people too - something Beasts thought would be impossible. I wonder how that would look like?
    Well, what is "Kinship"? Family Ties Condition, Thicker Than Water social impression, Family Resemblance detection, Mother's Kiss supernatural power boost, Passing Resemblance disguise effect, Family Dinner Satiety gain.

    Humans-with-Kinship wouldn't gain that many advantages, especially Kinship with other humans.

    Leave a comment:


  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    A stray thought breaking my own promise of not accessing the internet until the weekend; I wonder what non-Beast Primordial shenanigans we could get out of Kinship? Specifically, I was thinking of Persona Users again (yes, still at it), and then got the idea of people who gained the ability to form Kinship. And not with just monsters, but normal people too - something Beasts thought would be impossible. I wonder how that would look like?

    Leave a comment:


  • FallenEco
    replied
    Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post


    During the time of the inciting incident to be specific.
    Agreed, but that is oddly easy to achieve. Someone walks in on a vamp having a snack in a Poorly Lit allyway and fails that Integrity roll? Chamber. Or no one walks in and the leech drains a person dry and fails the Humanity roll, again Chamber. Iron Master werewolf hunt gone wrong can easily create a Chamber. A Promethean enters torment and a crowd ends up lynching them in the throws of Disquiet and someone doesn't make the roll. It is not hard to have a supernatural present and only slightly harder to tie them directly to the loss of Integrity.

    Heck, winter and summer can provide Lair trait tilts depending on where you live.

    Leave a comment:


  • Master Aquatosic
    replied
    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
    The only Chambers that form in this way require the presence of a supernatural being and a Lair Trait.

    During the time of the inciting incident to be specific.

    Leave a comment:


  • Satchel
    replied
    Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
    Beasts don't actually have to be there when the breaking point occured,as along as they have sufficently researched the event and internalized the fear. Chambers form easily. Claiming them is much, much harder.
    The only Chambers that form in this way require the presence of a supernatural being and a Lair Trait.

    Leave a comment:


  • Master Aquatosic
    replied
    Originally posted by Cinder View Post
    These days between work and college stuff getting to a critical point I don't have any spare time, but I just wanted to pop in and say I'm liking what you're doing here, everyone. Both as a Beast and a Persona fan.

    Sorry I can't contribute more, but all I'm doing lately is a repeating cycle of "wake up, go to work, study and go to bed".

    Don't worry. Positive affirmation is greatly appreciated. Sending positive vibes your way that all your hard work doing unfun stuff pays off in a way you like.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    \0.0/ \0.0/ \0.0/ \0.0/ \0.0/ \0.0/

    EDIT: 1 Like = 1 prayer to Nightmare Mom for the destruction of all obstacles in his path
    Last edited by Master Aquatosic; 05-30-2018, 08:33 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cinder
    replied
    These days between work and college stuff getting to a critical point I don't have any spare time, but I just wanted to pop in and say I'm liking what you're doing here, everyone. Both as a Beast and a Persona fan.

    Sorry I can't contribute more, but all I'm doing lately is a repeating cycle of "wake up, go to work, study and go to bed".

    Leave a comment:


  • Master Aquatosic
    replied
    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post

    Yeah, the focus on Desire as the driving force sounds better now that you mention it. For bonus points, it pairs nicely with Fear as another Primordial emotion.

    “Treasure” (or Crown, I think someone said it) could replace the Heart Chamber. As in, instead of their Lair/Palace/Principality’s lynchpin being an entire Chamber, it’s just an object that can be snatched or destroyed with relative ease. Emphasizes both them being ‘lords,’ how they’re more vulnerable than Beasts.


    EDIT: How well would the ability to impose Lair Traits on single victims without having to leverage environmental resonance, instead of an area, work as these guys base powers?


    I think Leliel's fluff already mentioned they have a Treasure-esque lynchpin object in their Principality, so we're in agreement there. i think though that their permanent Lair is all one really big Chamber, maybe even with a variant of Maze by default, with new Chambers either fading away at the normal rate, being stolen by Beasts, becoming a second area of power if enough of them are in close physical and narrative proximity or merging with the main Principality if close enough.

    I'm still invested in the idea that they largely leverage invisible minor Lair Traits, but if we're building these guys as a full merit-template, having the ability to bring down a major lair trait as a desperation move could be a merit. The reason I want it to be minor Lair traits is because they do things like penalize perception or resolve or make you sick or lost. These are useful for keeping foes and victims off-balance in social combat, where these guys should be king. Of course, Nightmares would be even better for that, but I'm liking the idea of these guys as Lords of the palace (not sure if this is sunk cost fallacy though).

    As for single victim Lair traits, I'd like to see what other people think on that.

    Leave a comment:


  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post


    I don't want to fully replace their ability to have a Virtue. For all the despicableness of the Persona 5 villains, each of them had recognizable human backstories for why they became so despicable. Not that these absolved them, but they weren't literal monsters with blue and orange morality. Legend as Aspiration then sounds good. that also ties into the idea of Persona 5 villains being defined by twisted desires and ambitions that drive them towards immoral behavior and their humanity reasserting itself when someone takes away their desire.

    EDIT: If we want to get really into Persona-esque stuff, we could even call it a Treasure Aspiration, or maybe a Twisted Aspiration.
    Yeah, the focus on Desire as the driving force sounds better now that you mention it. For bonus points, it pairs nicely with Fear as another Primordial emotion.

    “Treasure” (or Crown, I think someone said it) could replace the Heart Chamber. As in, instead of their Lair/Palace/Principality’s lynchpin being an entire Chamber, it’s just an object that can be snatched or destroyed with relative ease. Emphasizes both them being ‘lords,’ how they’re more vulnerable than Beasts.


    EDIT: How well would the ability to impose Lair Traits on single victims without having to leverage environmental resonance, instead of an area, work as these guys base powers?
    Last edited by 21C Hermit; 05-30-2018, 07:38 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Master Aquatosic
    replied
    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post

    Voting for outright replacing the Vice & Virtue pair with Legend & Life, or Legend-as-Aspiration. Not sure about a second Vice.

    Oh, maybe they have a Vice and Legend, no Virtue nor Life? Emphasizes their villain-ness, especially if we’re keeping the Persona 5 bosses as main inspiration. “Blooming Villain” indeed.

    I don't want to fully replace their ability to have a Virtue. For all the despicableness of the Persona 5 villains, each of them had recognizable human backstories for why they became so despicable. Not that these absolved them, but they weren't literal monsters with blue and orange morality. Legend as Aspiration then sounds good. that also ties into the idea of Persona 5 villains being defined by twisted desires and ambitions that drive them towards immoral behavior, with their humanity reasserting itself when someone takes away their desire.

    EDIT: If we want to get really into Persona-esque stuff, we could even call it a Treasure Aspiration, or maybe a Twisted Aspiration.
    Last edited by Master Aquatosic; 05-30-2018, 07:32 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
    Speaking of which, would giving the Dark Lords a Legend as a second Vice, instead of a Vice, or as a special Long-term Aspiration be too much?
    Voting for outright replacing the Vice & Virtue pair with Legend & Life, or Legend-as-Aspiration. Not sure about a second Vice.

    Oh, maybe they have a Vice and Legend, no Virtue nor Life? Emphasizes their villain-ness, especially if we’re keeping the Persona 5 bosses as main inspiration. “Blooming Villain” indeed.

    Leave a comment:


  • Master Aquatosic
    replied
    Speaking of which, would giving the Dark Lords a Legend as a second Vice, instead of a Vice, or as a special Long-term Aspiration be too much?

    Leave a comment:

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