The Dream Avatar
With few exceptions, a creature encountered within the Plane of Dreams is a manifestation of a creature that exists outside of the dream. Mentally, a dreamer constructs an avatar of itself, or a representation of itself, from the fabric of the dream.
An avatar shares the same statistics as its dreamer’s except in cases where the avatar has been altered. When an avatar is a representation instead of a mirror of the dreamer, it can take on the statistics on another creature or animate object as if through a true polymorph spell, but its substance is subject to dream logic and features may be altered. The DM arbitrates what features and statistics a dream avatar possesses when the creature doesn’t possess a trait, feature, or a magical or psychic effect that determines the features of the dream avatar.
In all cases, the dream avatar uses its dreamer’s hit points, regardless of whether it is enhanced or a representation. When a dream avatar is reduced to 0 hit points, the dreamer simply enters normal sleep or awakens, exiting the dream, unless a feature, spell, or power indicates otherwise. The dreamer will still suffer any benefit or detriment from the dream type. If the creature is capable of dreaming without sleeping, it simply ceases dreaming.
All damage, except psychic damage, suffered by a dream avatar is removed from the dreamer when it exits the Dreamscape. Psychic damage remains, and if the creature is reduced to 0 hit points from psychic damage, it is rendered unconscious but stable, and gains one level of exhaustion. This exhaustion stacks with other sources of exhaustion, such as from a restless dream. Also, any condition suffered on the Dreamscape ends when the dreamer exits the Dreamscape. Dream avatars recover from non-psychic damage first. You should track psychic damage separately when tracking hit points on the Dreamscape.
A native of the Dreamscape, such a notion, is a creature is fully composed of the fabric of the plane. As such, it has no body in which to awaken when its dream self is slain.
A dream denizen is aware of the nature of the dream, but not every denizen is empowered to exert its will upon the dream. A denizen can be a dreamer, a dream actor, or a dream architect. For instance, the storyteller is a dream denizen which can act as a dream architect. When a dream denizen is reduced to 0 hit points, its form melts into the fabric of the dream. It can’t be restored to life through any means short of an act of divinity or similar extreme action such as completely rewriting the fabric and theme of the dream.
Most creatures enter the Dreamscape as a dreamer. A dreamer is unaware it is within a dream and accepts the theme without question. It perceives the dream in vague terms, with its mind filling in the details. Under normal circumstances, the dreamer is helpless against the dream’s theme and simply acts as a willing participant and voyeur.
As long as actions and events are consistent with dream logic, the dreamer will continue to remain unaware and accepting of the effects of these actions and events. However, should it be affected by an action against dream logic, the dreamer must make a DC 15 Wisdom check. If the check succeeds, the dreamer gains awareness that it is dreaming. Upon doing so, the dream avatar will transform into a mirror of the creature’s true form and the creature will be able to act normally, becoming a dream actor. A dreamer which attempts to do something it should be able to do, but is constrained by an alteration to its dream avatar, also makes a DC 15 Wisdom check, gaining awareness and becoming a dream actor on a success.
Vacant Dreamer. In most cases, the dreamer is a character within the confines of the dream. However, in some cases, the dreamer exists as a voyeur only, having no substance within the dream. A vacant dreamer can’t be targeted by another creature. A dream actor or architect can take the Search action to find the presence of a vacant dreamer and must succeed on a DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check to locate the dreamer. Once the dreamer has been located, the seeker can use its action to make a DC 15 Charisma check. On a successful check, the dreamer’s avatar takes form in accordance with the theme.
Intruder. An intruder is any creature that isn’t the dreamer of the dream space being occupied. If the space is shared by multiple dreamers, each dreamer isn’t an intruder, but if a creature is transplanted from one dream into another dream, it becomes an intruder. Mechanically, there is no difference between an intruder and the dreamer, but when the dream refers specifically to its dreamer, intruders are excluded. An intruder can also be a dream actor or architect.
A dream actor is a creature aware of the dream and is in control of its dream avatar. While within the Dreamscape, a dream actor can use any action normally available to it as well as the Alter Self, Dream Logic Attack, Exert Will, and Manifest Reality actions (detailed under “Interactions”).
Often, when a dreamer becomes aware as a dream actor, it isn’t in possession of dream constructs of its belongings and must use the Manifest Reality action to gear itself.
A dream actor’s statistics are the same as its real self. It can choose to substitute its Charisma score in place of its Strength score, its Intelligence score in place of its Dexterity score, and its Wisdom score in place of its Constitution score. The dream actor chooses for each ability score, often creating a stronger dream self.
In addition, a dream actor can employ dream logic to alter its actions. For instance, in a dream without gravity, a dream actor can move in any direction or walk upon any surface regardless of its orientation, or in a dream where voices are amplified to a dangerous level a dream actor could use its voice to make a ranged attack using its melee weapon’s statistics.
Certain creatures possess more power within the Dreamscape than a dream actor, whether by its nature or through a spell, power, or ability. Such a creature is called a dream architect for its ability to weave the fabric of the Dreamscape to change the dream and its occupants.
A dream architect has all the features of a dream actor and can take the Alter Other, Awaken Dreamer, Fabricate Dream Construct, Shift Theme, and Weave Dream actions. It adds its proficiency bonus on ability checks to perform dream actions.
A divine creature or a cosmic horror is generally a dream architect, as is a creature with extreme supernatural awareness or intellect. A creature with a trait allowing it to affect another creature’s dream, such as a night hag, is also a dream architect. Psychics capable of entering the Dreamscape are also architects when using their powers to do so.
A dream construct is a fabrication of the Dreamscape taking on some form. All surfaces and objects, including structures, are dream constructs. Certain creatures are also dream constructs, being made of the same fabric.
A dream construct is fully subservient to the logic of a dream, barring constructs created from the Manifest Reality power or part of the being of the avatar of a dream actor or architect. A dream construct’s nature is determined when it is first created (by the dream or by an architect) and can be altered by the nature of the dream’s theme or an ability that can change it.
An object is normally identical to its real equivalency, but dream logic may alter this, such as making an apparent wooden door as solid as a 10-foot cube of stone or a metal wall being completely intangible when approached from the west. A construct creature, however, is a less efficient imagining. It has only half the Hit Dice, hit points, and proficiency bonus of the creature it duplicates.
When a construct is destroyed or reduced to 0 hit points, it dissolves into the fabric of the dream. A construct always fails its saving throw against a dream architect’s spells, powers, and features, and it always succeeds on its saving throws against a dreamer’s spells, powers, and features unless dream logic dictates otherwise.
A construct’s appearance doesn’t have to be the same as its real world equivalent. An ancient red dragon could appear as a dog or a key could be a piece of fruit or a tangible song. In the Plane of Dreams normal is defined by the logic of the current dream.
Antithematic Construct. When a construct is made against the theme of the dream, it is aberrant and can defy dream logic. This can serve as an event to allow a dreamer to realize it is within a dream and can also disrupt the dream and cause it to dissolve.
Exiting the Dream
Exiting a dream is when a creature departs the Dreamscape. Transitioning to another dream is called dream shifting.
Typically a creature will exit a dream naturally when it cycles its sleep into deep sleep or awakens. It also exits the dream if its avatar is reduced to 0 hit points or slain. Certain spells and powers can also remove a creature from the dream, and in some cases will transport the creature to another plane or location based on the nature of the dream when it overlaps another plane.
In most cases a dreamer won’t recall events which transpired within the dream, see “Dream Types” for more information.
Normally, dream denizens and constructs can’t exit the dream, although the DM can certainly create a scenario where a dream can exist outside the Dreamscape if so desired. In these cases, either something within the Dreamscape is anchoring the creature or somehow the dream construct or denizen is being dreamed outside of the Dreamscape. In this event, it is fully at the mercy of reality and can’t interact with dream logic.