The Mountains of Morpheus
The Mountains of Morpheus
Even in other parts of the world, the Mountains of Morpheus are fabled as a mystical realm, where sleep brings strange, enchanted dreams that can unlock the mind’s potential and drive mad the bravest of souls. When they’re feeling poetic, the people of Drau Mura call this dreaming Morpheus’s Grip.
Gnolls are the hyena-headed monsters that are, in this campaign, unique to the Mountains of Morpheus. When a person spends too much time in the Mountains, she eventually transforms into a gnoll, losing her identity and becoming a bloodthirsty, sadistic monster. While wicked in the extreme, gnolls demonstrate a small-group cooperation that rivals that of any well-trained military squad. One can only speculate what their motives are, if any, but they attack travelers through the Mountains, and peridiocally raid villages within a day or two’s travel from the Mountains. Facing gnolls is terrible; joining them is worse. Though wantonly violent in combat, they capture the survivors, forcing their transformation into gnolls themselves. Occasionally, a person transforms instead into a powerful minotaur, though apparently remains a gnoll in mindset and behavior.
Specters are wrathful ghosts (or, some say, demons masquerading as ghosts), among the most feared of monsters in Drau Mura. Although they are insubstantial and physically harmless, they can invade the body of a dreaming person, taking possession of it immediately — or at a later opportunity. They are patient, intelligent, and insidious; a person may not realize she is possessed until she returns to her village and “blacks out.” Despite their intellect and substantial knowledge of the arcane, specters seem to be singularly consumed with causing violence and gore.
Wyverns and giant spiders dwell throughout the Mountains, though they are motivated by appetite and territory more than anything else. They have no qualms about attacking humans for food. Undead and elementals hold vigil in caverns and ruins in the Mountains; sages speculate they are long-standing guardians.
Malkavians are not monsters, but simply humans and other people whose minds have been broken by Morpheus’s Grip: Usually, they are travelers who stayed too long in the Mountains, but managed to leave before becoming gnolls. Their variety of madness varies a lot: Most suffer from a spate of phobias, anxiety, and depression, but some are severely psychotic or violent. Malkavians are pariahs, and rarely fare well for both mental and social reasons. Their dreams are constantly intense and chaotic, and are believed by some to be prophetic and oracular.
Very little is known about the Orvahii (which literally means “absent”), since they have thought to be extinct for many ages. They were some kind of intelligent race that once dwelled in the Mountains of Morpheus, and built vast, subterranean labyrinths and temples (some of which are not all that inaccessible, and have been thoroughly looted for centuries). When adventurers talk about seeking out the treasures of a lost dungeon in the Mountains of Morpheus, they are probably talking about something the Orvahii built.
Immunities to Morpheus’s Grip
Because they don’t truly sleep, elves are partially immune to the effects of the Mountains. They ignore all results from Mild Dreaming (see below), but eventually fall to Intense and Extreme Dreaming like anyone else. These dreams are just like anyone else’s, which is probably disturbing to them because they don’t technically dream in the first place. In Intense and Extreme Dreaming, elves are fully unconscious, not semi-conscious, and cannot respond to outside stimuli as they normally would.
Animals, wyverns, gnolls, undead, and all other manner of lucky creatures seem to be entirely immune to any degree of dreaming.
Storytelling Morpheus’s Grip
Once per session, the DM will use the following three tables to generate the PCs’ dreams. PCs start using the Mild Dreaming table, but in time “upgrade” to the Intense Dreaming, and eventually the Extreme Dreaming tables. It takes three full days of rest outside the Mountains of Morpheus to fully reset the timer that determines the severity of dreaming. Dreaming only happens within the Mountains — you can’t carry the effect of Morpheus’s Grip with you. So for example, if you’ve traveled 10 days in the Mountains, you would eventually go from Mild Dreaming to Intense Dreaming. Three days of rest at a local village outside the Mountains would return you to a normal state, and you would have Mild Dreaming on your next sleep in the Mountains.
These tables are just a game device, to be used once per session. They don’t fully describe or confine the full range of what can happen in Morpheus’s Grip.
Use if you have been traveling in the Mountains of Morpheus for sevem days or less. After seven days of mild dreaming, use the Intense Dreaming table.
1-33: “Normal” sleep, where your dreams are more intense and colorful versions of your normal dreams. (“Normal” sleep accompanies table results that don’t describe your dreams.)
34-35: Surreal dreams that endow you with a marvelous, but temporary, creativity. When you next have a few days of free time, you may create a small (or brief) work of art that surpasses your usual quality. Make an Intelligence roll to determine its worth and/or popularity.
36-37: You talk in your sleep. It is all glossolalia.
38-39: You talk in your sleep, revealing your Ideals and Bonds.†
40-41: You talk in your sleep, revealing your Flaws and background.†
42-43: You talk in your sleep, revealing your Ideals, Bonds, Flaws, background, and deep secrets.†
44-45: You levitate while sleeping.
46-47: You sleep with eyes wide open and unblinking. They glow with an intense light.
48-49: You sleepwalk, performing some harmless, repetitive action, e.g. washing your hands.
50-51: You sleepwalk, wandering aimlessly for the next hour.
52-53: As you sleep, lightweight objects around you levitate, slowly orbiting a point above your head.
54-56: Vibrant, invigorating dreams: The next day, you have advantage on one Strength-, Dexterity-, or Constitution-related d20 roll of your choice.
57-59: Harmonious, peaceful dreams: The next day, you have advantage on one Intelligence-, Wisdom-, or Charisma-related d20 roll of your choice.
60-62: Restless, exhausting dreams: The next day, you have disadvantage on one Strength-, Dexterity-, or Constitution-related d20 roll of the DM’s choice.
63-65: Dreams full of a terrible psychic din: The next day, you have disadvantage on one Intelligence-, Wisdom-, or Charisma-related d20 roll of the DM’s choice.
66-68: Blood-soaked, violent dreams. You wake ready to pick a fight, and have advantage on your next Initiative roll.
69-71: Paranoid, violent dreams that make you want to hurt strangers and enemies; you feel like you can still trust your allies. You have a -2 on all Skill and Ability rolls dealing with strangers and enemies not related to combat. You have advantage on your next Initiative roll.
72-75: “Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care …” You gain 5 temporary hit points. These last until your next long rest.
76-77: No dreams at all. Upon waking, without knowing why, you utter a prophetic statement.
78-79: Morbid dreams. The next day, when you next look at a corpse, you learn some information about the person.
80-81: Morbid, violent dreams. Whenever you defeat an enemy, it takes willpower not to simply slay them (as opposed to letting them go, capturing them, etc.). If you stay your hand against a defeated enemy, you do not regain half your Hit Dice in healing during your next long rest.
82-85: Dreams exploring your own psyche, traveling through hallways of memories and landscapes of emotions and labyrinths of ideas. When you wake, you gain some insight about yourself. Gain XP equal to (25 x your level).
86-87: Dreams that you are different people in the past, present, and possibly future. You may recall details of these lives with a successful Insight check (DC 15).
88-89: Dreams exploring another person’s psyche. It takes a Charisma check (DC 15) to select a specific person.†
90-91: Dreams of your past, but viewed from outside your body. You may learn things from your past that you didn’t know (and couldn’t have known) before. Make various Skill checks (e.g. Insight, History, etc.; at DC 15) to gain information, continuing until you fail one.
92-93: Dreams of living another person’s life. The dream feels real, and some confusion of identity upon waking is likely. Gain proficiency in a Skill of your choice until the end of the game session, as long as you roleplay accordingly.
94-95: Very intense dreams that chip away at your sanity. Begin using the Intense Dreaming table when you next rest.
96-97: As above, but then reroll on the Intense Dreaming Table.
98-100: Your dreams are linked. If anyone gets this result, ignore all other results (except an Intense or Extreme Dreaming result with linked dreams). Then roll again; the result affects everyone with whom you’re traveling.
† The content of dreams, of course, is phantasmagorical and very symbolic. You may need to make skill rolls (DC 10 to DC 20) to fully understand the meaning of another’s dreams. Usually, this is the Insight skill, but Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion may be relevant too.
Characters in Intense Dreaming are walking a dangerous line. The psychic benefits and hazards are both greater. After thirteen days of Intense Dreaming, use the Extreme Dreaming table.
1-19: Roll twice on Mild Dreaming table; take the result of your choice.
20-22: Hazy premonitions of danger. In reality, monsters are lured to attack you. You cannot wake from this dream unless forced by someone else.
23-24: Your dreams you with a marvelous , but temporary, creativity. When you wake, you may spend 10-20 minutes magically creating an object of worth of up to 20 lbs. in weight and up to about 50 gp in worth. You can’t create life or magical items.
25-27: You sleepwalk for 1d6 hours. Being forced awake psychically disturbs you; you do not regain half your Hit Dice in healing during your next long rest.
28-29: You levitate while sleeping, surrounded by a halo of intense light, both equivalent to a campfire’s.
30-39: Dreams of attaining great magical power. The next time you benefit from a long rest, you can add an additional spell slot for your highest spell level. If you aren’t a spellcaster, you may gain the Magical Spellcasting feat, which lasts for a day. Alternately, if you are a bard, ranger, or sorcerer, you may, permanently, forget one spell or cantrip you know, and learn a new one.
40-48: Dreams of spiritual transcendence, oneness with nature, or encountering gods and otherworldly beings of vast and unknowable power. You may pay 100 XP to gain information. Treat as the commune, commune with nature, or contact other plane spell (your choice).
49-54: Dreams full of premonitions, auguries, and omens. You may gain information, as if you benefited from the divination spell.
55-58: Invigorating, empowering dreams. You may choose to have advantage on any one roll the next day.
59-62: Dreams exploring your own psyche. When you wake, you gain some insight about yourself. Gain XP equal to (40 x your level).
63-70: Clairvoyant dreams. Choose a result from the Mild Dreaming table that is 78-93.
71-78: Dreams exploring your own psyche. You may exert change over it. Choose one: (1) Lose proficiency in a skill, and gain proficiency in another; (2) If you have a feat, lose a feat, then gain a new feat; (3) If you are a bard, ranger, sorcerer, or wizard, lose one spell known, then learn a new spell; (4) Erase old memories and/or create about a month’s worth of new ones.
79-82: Dreams exploring your own psyche. You can exert temporary change over it. Gain proficiency in one skill, lasting until the end of the session. Or, if you are a bard, ranger, or sorcerer, learn a new spell until the end of the session.
83-84: Terrible nightmares. You do not regain half your Hit Dice in healing during your next long rest.
85-87: Vigorous, lycanthropic dreams, experiencing a wild animal’s hunt. In reality, you sleepwalk and attack anyone near you; you have advantage on all attack rolls. The dream ends when you take over half your hit points in damage.
88-90: Paranoid, violent dreams that make you want to hurt strangers and enemies; you feel like you can still trust your allies. The next day, you have disadvantage on all Skill and Ability rolls dealing with strangers and enemies not related to combat. You have advantage on your next Initiative roll.
91-93: Morbid, violent dreams. Whenever you defeat an enemy, it takes willpower not to simply slay them (as opposed to letting them go, capturing them, etc.). If you stay your hand against a defeated enemy, you do not regain half your Hit Dice in healing during your next long rest.
94-97: Terrible nightmares. The DM may choose to give you disadvantage on any two rolls the next day.
98-100: Your dreams are linked. If anyone gets this result, ignore all other results (except an Extreme Dreaming result with linked dreams). Then roll again; the result affects everyone with whom you’re traveling.
Characters in Extreme Dreaming sleep at their own mortal peril, and risk their companions’ well-being. The rewards are potentially great, but dream alone may incur a fate worse than death.
1-25: Empowering dreams and visions. You gain a benefit related to your class. See the table below for details.
26: Your dreams endow you with a marvelous , but temporary, creativity. When you wake, you may spend 10-20 minutes shaping matter to your will, magically creating an object of worth of up to 100 lbs. in weight and up to about 250 gp in worth. You can create crude, non-original life (e.g., tadpoles, flies). You can cause plants to sprout or wither. You can even shape stone to create statues, reliefs, and small caves.
27: Your dreams link to those of another, through which you may shape that person’s dreams. Treat as the dream spell, but without the option to cause nightmares.
27-35: Dreams of spiritual transcendence, oneness with nature, or encountering gods and otherworldly beings of vast and unknowable power. Treat as the commune, commune with nature, contact other plane, or divination spell (your choice).
36-38: Choose any option from the Mild Dreaming Table.
39-42: Choose any option from the Mild or Intense Dreaming Tables.
43-50: Psychically traumatizing nightmares. Reduce Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma (your choice) by 6 points.††
51-52: Exhausting nightmares. You no longer regain your hit points after a long rest.††
53-57: Nightmares that erode your sanity. Upon waking, you find it difficult to distinguish fantasy from reality. You have disadvantage on Insight, Perception, and Persuasion checks, and may experience basic struggles to live a normal life.††
58-62: Paranoid, violent dreams that make you want to hurt strangers and enemies; you feel like you can still trust your allies. You have disadvantage on all Skill and Ability rolls dealing with strangers and enemies not related to combat.†† You have advantage on your next Initiative roll.
62-66: Vigorous, lycanthropic dreams, experiencing a wild animal’s hunt. In reality, you sleepwalk and attack anyone near you; you have advantage on all attack rolls and saving throws. The dream ends when you reach 0 hit points.
67-90: Strangely peaceful dreams, ending with the feeling of being seized by an outside force. Your transformation into a gnoll begins. Make a Constitution saving throw (DC 20), and make one saving throw every 24 hours that you are within the Mountains of Morpheus. When you fail three of these saving throws, the transformation is complete, and your previous identity is lost.
91-97: Strangely peaceful dreams, ending with the feeling that something has “attached” itself to your soul. You are possessed by a specter, a ghostly monster that sporadically seizes control of your body, driving you to great acts of violence. You may make a Charisma saving throw (DC 20) every 24 hours to cast out the specter.
98-100: Your dreams are linked. If anyone gets this result, ignore all other results. Then roll again; the result affects everyone with whom you’re traveling.
†† This effect ends when you rest for a week outside the Mountains of Morpheus, or upon receiving a greater restoration.
Class benefits (from Extreme Dreaming table):
- Barbarian: A barbarian experiences primal, empowering dreams, where she comes face-to-face with a personification of her emotions and battle-rage, becoming able to wield them without taming them. Increase your number of rages by 1, and your rage duration lasts to 2 minutes.
- Bard: A bard wakes from musical dreams with newfound talents, suddenly capable of playing tunes of which he had never heard before. You gain proficiency in an additional musical instrument. Add a plus-1 to all Bardic Inspiration dice you provide; or your list of spells known increases by 1.
- Cleric: A cleric is met with visions of her deity. Your list of prepared spells increases by 2. You may change your Divine Domain (possibly signifying a religious epiphany or conversion experience); this change is immediately permanent.
- Druid: A druid receives harmonious, transcendent dreams of oneness with the primal world. Your list of prepared spells increases by 2; or you can use Wild Shape four times before a short or long rest.
- Fighter: A fighter dreams of fighting for days and nights on an endless, furious battlefield; the experience can be full of terror and clarity, leaving her with new insights about her talents at killing people. Your Second Wind result increases by your Constitution modifier; or any one weapon you wield is a plus-1 weapon as long as you wield it. You may change your Fighting Style; this change is immediately permanent.
- Monk: A monk’s dreams are peaceful, orderly, disciplined — the experience is almost like a lucid dreaming of nigh-perfect focus. Your maximum number of Ki Points increases by 1.
- Paladin: A paladin dreams of righteous angels and oaths, scouring her of doubt and fear. Depending on the person, this can turn her into a selfless champion or a merciless fanatic. Your Lay on Hands healing pool is now equal to your paladin level x 6; or the bonus conferred by your Aura of Protection is now equal to your Charisma modifier plus 1.
- Ranger: Rangers have dreams similar to those of barbarians and druids, entering unfamiliar landscapes of great beauty and danger. Gain another Favored Terrain; or your list of spells known increases by 1.
- Sorcerer: Sorcerers have intense, wild dreams, their veins brimming with magical power; they may even dream they that are the mighty wyrms from which they reputedly descend. Your pool of Sorcery Points increases by 1; or your list of spells known increases by 1. You may also forget one spell and learn a new one; this change is immediately permanent.
- Warlocks: Warlocks perhaps have the most nightmarish dreams of all, for coming into direct with one’s patron is rarely a pleasant experience. Even more the patron may make demands of him — though what warlock could refuse the lure of even greater power? Your list of spells known increases by 1.
- Wizard: A wizard dreams of arcane omniscience and omnipotence, wielding the orbit of planets in his palm and fashioning cities and mountains per his whim. The experience is fleeting, but the power it confers is real enough. Upon waking, you may add 4 levels of new spells into your spellbook (e.g., a 4th-level spell; or a 2nd-level spell and two 1st-level spells).
Alternately, you may choose an appropriate blessing (see Dungeon Master’s Guide, p. 228), using one of the examples or coming up with one of your own.
These benefits are temporary, and last to the end of the next game session. However, when you reach 4th level, or are 4th level or above, you may spend 2,000 XP to make the benefit permanent (even if it has already expired).