The Collective Conscious
The unifying force of the Dreamscape is the Collective Conscious. It is the shared memories and experience of all creatures capable of dreaming or imagination.
Ordinarily, the Collective Conscious is the province of divine powers, as it is the knowledge of the multiverse, but even gods may be unable to fully tap it as it would take infinite lifetimes to learn all within the Collective Conscious. When a creature queries the Collective Conscious, it probes select portions to find the relevant memory or thought, a process that can take days or years depending on whether the creature has a direction on where to search.
Some creatures have tapped portions of the Collective Conscious to share their memories among each other and through the generations. The aboleth are known to have their own avenues within the Collective Conscious in which they share the pathways with their descendents.
Querying the Consciousness
A creature with the means to do so, can explore the Collective Conscious. Often, this means opening its perception to the Dreamscape and allowing dream logic to shape its investigation.
The knowledge within the Collective Conscious is connected through pathways, like fibers of the brain, intertwining and branching every which way. Memories are connected by temporal links, by the creatures that experience them, and by locations that they occurred upon. This is the fundamental principle behind psychometry, back-tracing the memories connected to a location or object.
In order to successfully probe the Collective Conscious, the information seeker needs a starting point, and then must find pathways that connect that point to the desired information. A skilled delver will see fleeting images as it rapidly bypasses irrelevant information, while an unskilled delver can spend hours, days, or more observing garbled images and half stories while navigating to the desired knowledge.
Unraveling the Mind
Delving within the Collective Conscious is not without risks. Prolonged probing takes its toll on the mind of a creature. When attempting to seek information without normal means (spells, powers, etc.), such as using forbidden artifacts, reaching within the Far Realm, or twisting the Dreamscape to probe the Collective Conscious, many such delvers lose their minds.
For each hour a creature taps the Collective Conscious, it must succeed on a DC 20 Intelligence saving throw or its Charisma score is reduced by 1. Each consecutive hour spent tapping the Collective Conscious increases the save DC by 5. If the creature’s Charisma reaches 0, the creature becomes insane. An insane creature adopts a long-term madness permanently. This madness can’t be removed, even by the wish spell or divine intervention. Finishing a long rest restores 1 points of Charisma lost from exploring the Collective Consciousness.