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Changeling House Rules
According to some older changelings, the arts of oneiromachy — or "dream battle" — are an ancient tradition among the Fae. Simply altering dreams and cleansing the psyche of a dreamer of the presence of the Fae is not enough when the True Fae itself is within the dreams, and changelings often bring battles to the slumber of their hated fetches (and vice versa).
The oneiromancer's ability to transform the reality of the dream is the basis for the ability to engage in oneiromachy. Normally, violence that happens within the context of a dream exists solely to serve some other, often symbolic, purpose. Therefore, violence that does not serve the psyche of the dreamer is somewhat traumatic — the sleeper whose dreamscape serves as a battlefield automatically loses a point of Willpower due to the psychic trauma of the event, whether it is simply a single blow or a vast and terrible battle waged between a motley and one of the Others.
War may be waged in one of two ways within the context of a dream: personally and environmentally.
Personal attacks involve the creation of a dream-form (per dream riding) and attacking as though in reality. The weapon the dreamer envisions himself wielding doesn't matter — his own connection with the Wyrd is all that matters. Thus, dream attacks are made using the character's best Power Trait (Intelligence, Strength or Presence) + his combat skill of choice: Athletics for thrown attacks, Brawl for unarmed combat, Firearms for guns and bows and Weaponry for handheld weapons. This attack receives an "equipment bonus" equal to the attacking character's Wyrd.
In dreams, a skilled oneiromancer truly shines, reflected by the use of his highest Traits in both the attacks above, and in his defenses. A physically skilled character is likely to rely on what some refer to as "body memory," a reliance on subconscious memory of how the body reacts in a given situation. A mentally skilled character is capable of applying tremendous imagination and quick-thinking to situations in a dreamscape, while a socially skilled character exudes sheer force of will and personality, sufficient to turn aside lesser assaults and deliver grievous attacks of his own.
Other oneiromancers prefer to use the environment of the dreamscape itself against their opponents. These attacks, similar to those of personal attacks, receive an equipment bonus equal to the oneiropomp's Wyrd, but they do not necessarily rely on typical combat skills. The fluid nature of the dreamscape waits to be summoned and put to use by the skilled oneiromancer, who may use any of the following skills as weapons.
Using normal dream riding techniques, the oneiromancer can effectively make Wits + Empathy + Wyrd attacks. These changes are quick and flash, relying on a stunning imagination on the part of the oneiropomp. The sudden appearance of wild animals, storms, terrible and ancient sorceries and curses that descend on a foe — all of these forms of attack are the auspice of environmental attacks.
Though the environment is used as a weapon, and the oneiromancer may describe huge, epic devastation as part of his attack, such attacks do almost nothing to anyone save the target himself. Regardless of the "special effects" involved, these are still techniques of oneiromachy, attacking the dream-self of one foe at a time.
Damage inflicted in dream-combat is not real. Instead of taking points of Health as damage, oneiromachic damage is inflicted as Willpower points of damage. When an attack scores an exceptional success, however, the target does take a single point of bashing damage, often waking bruised, or bleeding from mouth or ears afterwards.
The final blow to a foe in oneiromachic combat can do more than drain the psyche — the final blow can actively wound the psyche for a short time. If an opponent is dropped to 0 Willpower exactly, he simply awakens, gasping for breath. If, however, the damage dropped the defeated foes' Willpower by one to four points below 0, the target awakens with a mild derangement for a single day, or has an already-extant derangement upgraded to a severe derangement for one day. If the damage was sufficient to reduce him to an effective -5 points of Willpower, the duration of the derangement (or the derangement upgrade) is extended to a full week.
Creativity and quick thinking are the key to winning oneiromachy. The combatant who takes advantage of his own Wyrd connections, who uses knowledge of the dreamscape he is in to his benefit and who applies wicked creativity that overwhelms his foes will emerge victorious. To reflect this, oneiromachy attacks can gain between one and three bonus dice at ST discretion for interesting and fascinating descriptions.
These bonus dice can apply to offensive or defensive actions. Simply add the bonus directly to the Defense of the target in the case of defensive stunts. It should be noted, however, that a given stunt is really only worth dice once — swinging from a vine in a jungle nightmare is great the first time it happens, especially if it ends in a kick to the villain's jaw, but after that becomes old hat. Each stunt must be interesting and innovative.
- Interesting Description (+1 die): An attack that uses an interesting description is worth a single extra die. An oneiromancer is capable of changing the "laws" of the dreamscape he is in by simply willing it so. The ability to run along a wall, leap tremendous heights and strike with such force that the resounding blow cracks the masonry and shatters glass within a 10-foot radius are all appropriate descriptors. None of these descriptions will grant a mechanical benefit other than this bonus die without performing an actual dream riding roll to truly manipulate the dreamscape. These stunts are the actions of epic heroes, feats impossible to normal people -- but in the world of dreams, the most lavish dreamers are the epic heroes.
- Using Thematic Qualities (+2 dice): Going a step beyond an interesting description, using thematic qualities involves tapping into the symbolic themes already present in the fight. These could be the themes of the dream the battle is taking place in, the themes that surround either of the combatants or the themes that are meaningful to the dreamer himself. A Fairest of the Winter Court might describe the strikes of his fists leaving behind hoarfrost-bite where they strike, or embellish his charge across the courtyard at his foe as ending in a slide across a patch of frost, the beauty that emanates from within him gleaming off the ice to blind his foe. A battle going on in the mind of fan of musicals might incorporate a falling chandelier, Phantom-style, or one of its foes might arm himself with the impressive headsman's blade from the Mikado. The combatant who takes advantage of his foes' fiery elemental nature by plunging him into a lake of icy water might likewise benefit from two additional dice.
- Maestro's Performance (+3 dice): Finally, a three-dice stunt is the rarest of them all, because it isn't sufficient that the stunt be described well. Instead, a three-dice stunt is any two-dice stunt that forces the gaming group to concede that the stunt is not only appropriate and impressive but actively adds to the fun of the group. Therefore, it is entirely subjective -- what may constitute a three-dice stunt to one group might only warrant a pair of dice as a bonus in another.