At the core of Yume-Do lies the Maelstrom. It is known by many names, and in many worlds. It is the Ginnungagap, the Sepiroth of Daath, the Gungawa point, and the Well of Worlds. It is the point where the timeless infinite is refracted into past and future, reality and phantasm, and all worlds past, present, and yet to be.
Here, where the ascended – or perhaps fallen – powers dwell, all things are mutable, and a dreamer may take a handful of the infinite and cast it into time, to call entire worlds into being.
Those who pass so deeply into the realms of dram rarely return – or return deeply changed.
Fortunately, one need not pass so deeply into the realms of dream to draw upon it’s power, to peer into the possibilities of the future and past, or two walk between the worlds. Sadly, the gossamer revelations of dream fade all too readily into the mists of sleep – unless one learns the art of Lucid Dreaming, the foundation of the Walking Dream.
The Nezumi are creatures of dream as much as they are creatures of Ningen-Do. Among their arts is the ability to bring dreams into reality – and to dissolve reality into the stuff of dreams. It is difficult to say if they are ever truly awake – a distinction which may go a long way towards explaining their usual mental state.
The easiest way to shape the stuff of dreams is to infuse an image, model, or other template with ectoplasm, giving it substance and even “life”. While this will be limited to simple things at first, a dedicated student of the Walking Dream will soon be able to summon forth items and creatures of considerable complexity and power – a pathway that will eventually lead to the adept of dream being able to call forth dream-tulpas in his or her own image. Secondarily, as the rising Master of Dreams finds the power of Dream infusing the waking world around him or her, he or she may learn to use it to make that world something more to his or her liking.
For generation upon generation, the Nezumi have fought an unending war against a foe that rises again within days of being struck down, in a land without natural reserves of food or water, where the ground itself quakes and dissolves into slime where it is infused with too much taint for the earth to endure. This is one way that they have accomplished such a feat.
The Walking Dream school has come into human hands through a series of accidents, chance encounters, and a single individuals curiosity and exploitation of some unique opportunities: finding himself with a link to the realm of Dreams, Asahina Ninsei began to experiment with pulling on the energies and ectoplasm he could call forth. Soon enough, he no longer needed a body in Yume-Do to access these energies.
Discussions with Nezumi shamans while dreaming lead to greater exploration of making the unreal real – and an analysis of the Rakasha, and the entity known as the Designer, provided many insights into the process of creating simulacra – will given form. It took a great deal of experimentation and many aborted attempts to adapt the Nezumi techniques for human use – and a hard-earned acceptance of the triune limits of the tulpa-creation process – but he eventually found that he could manifest three variant copies of himself – competent, loyal, and almost as powerful as he was… If he could augment them with gem magic and give them dedicated links to the Rokugani grid they might prove an answer to the problem of the Yodatai Emperor – a battle that, in one alternate future, had led to his death. This time, however, there would be the Obsidian Magistrates.
The Walking Dream Courtier (Nezumi) School:
Basic Modifiers: +1 Perception, Glory 1, Status 1, Wealth 2, Honor 2
School Skills: Acting, Athletics, Battle, Courtier, Defense, Divination, Etiquette, Lore/Dreams, Lucid Dreaming, Meditation, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth.
First Technique/Playing with Shadows: The student of dream may now open his or her personal gate of dreams into the waking world, infusing simple images with an ectoplasmic reality. (Conjures VI as an Self-Powered Innate Spell usable up to [Void] times daily. As usual, however, the user’s Void ring must be at least equal to the level of the effect to be produced, 18). As a minor side effect, he or she need only take short naps now and then to function normally (2).
Second Technique/The Citadel of Dreams: As the insights of dream begin to infuse the student’s waking life, enhancing his or her skills with the marvelous fluidity of dreams (gain [Meditation] free raises per day to use with school skills, 10), so they begin to infuse the world around him or her, subtly perfecting and enhancing the areas of the world under the dreamer’s control (gain +15 Political Position points – although these can only be used for Holding Assets and Army Enhancements, 15 – 5 = 10).
Third Technique/The Dream Walks: The adept of dream may now call forth a Tulpa spun of the ectoplasmic stuff of dreams, imbuing it with a mixture of his or her consciousness and of the infinite possibilities of Yume-Do – and with powers which may equal his or her own. For good or ill, such creations must be primarily based on the techniques user, rather than being entirely free designs (perhaps most importantly, they always have schools other than this one) – although there is always some fundamental, distinguishing, difference (sentient companion with XP equal to the technique user’s, may be run as a secondary character, 20, -5 for limited design options and -5 because they are necessarily vulnerable to spirit dismissals, attempts to force them back into the realms of dream, and are very vulnerable to illusions and misrepresentations of reality). If it is slain, or if the user opts to replace it, there is no XP cost – although creating or re-creating a Tulpa requires some weeks (Immunity to XP cost to replace lost companions, 5). In addition, with this increased control over how the stuff of dream manifests, you may slowly alter the allotment of the bonus Political Position points offered by this school (Major Immunity/the normally fixed expenditures of Political Position Points, 10, -5 for only being able to affect the bonus points from this school, 5).
Fourth Technique/The Wanderer in Shadows: The user may now call forth a second Tulpa from the stuff of dreams (as above, 10), and – as he or she gains more and more control over the borders between reality and dream, gains both more control over his or her dreams (double style bonuses for Lucid Dreaming, 5) and may call upon the services of the lesser powers of Yume-Do – allowing him or her to call forth nightmare beasts to attack his or her enemies, to send dream-messages and communications, and to inflict nightmares upon enemies. Sadly, such things are never entirely reliable (Rank+2 favors daily rated at Lucid Dreaming/2, plus Immunity to the Time Normally Required to Invoke Favors, 10 – 5 for unreliability = 5).
Fifth Technique/The Navigator of Dreams: The master of dreams may now call forth a third and final Tulpa (as above, 10), and has met many people and spirits in his or her dreams – allowing him or her to gain favors based on any four additional skills – although, sadly, they remain more than a bit unreliable. It is always hard to know if your dealings in dream are with one individual or an alternate version of them from another world (+10, -5 for unreliability). Finally, your control over the infusion of dream into the waking world is so great that you can now alter what its effects in mere minutes (Major Immunity/the time normally required to shift Political Position Points around, 10, -5 for only being able to affect the bonus points from this school, 5).
The Walking Dream is a fairly powerful school – but it’s only really at it’s most powerful in the hands of a character who has a lot of power already. If you start off in this school, you’ll wind up with relatively little in the way of personal power and “copies” who – since they’ll have other schools – will be more competent at most things than you are. This can get pretty weird.
On the game master side, this is a WONDERFUL school for that villain that you want to have keep coming back over and over and over again…