In Dreamescape you play as a dreaming spirit trapped behind the door of sleep by the Great Old Ones. You must explore the amorphous and ever-changing landscape, escape the clutches of Cthulhu’s minions and find a key and the linked gate that will lead you out of the nightmare back to the Waking World…and of course win you the game!
But Cthulhu and the Old Ones covet all that enter Dreamland and will not let you simply leave without a struggle. You must delve deep into the secrets of the land, survive encounters with dream denizens and piece together the story puzzles before you get the chance to escape.
Success means coming awake, but failure leads to insanity, locked forever in a dream within your own mind!
In each game, you will choose one of six unique and diverse Dreamers (Characters). Each character sheet presents a set of stats and roleplaying game style skills that you will use to guide the Dreamer through the game, exploring and encountering multiple plotlines and story arcs as you help the Dreamer escape from Cthulhu’s trap.
The focus of the game is your player dashboard that has a slot in the side for your chosen character sheet. The dashboard reveals the variable skills of each character and a set of 4 dials track your Dreamer’s stats (Vitality, Sanity, Deja Vu and Lucid Dreaming). This dashboard is the heart of your evolving tableau as you add Item, Lore, Condition and Story reward cards that you gain from story encounters.
The story is controlled by Story card Decks (similar to chapters in a book) and each story card within a deck is an encounter (like a scene) that offers two or three roleplay-like choices for you to choose from to advance your own unique story.
Choices require tests to be made against your character’s skills and abilities. Your chances of success (and survival through the nightmare) will be influenced by the artifacts and knowledge that you gain as you explore and importantly from your own previous memory of playing the game!
The image below shows an example of one of the story cards. It has a narrative text section in the centre (tan coloured background) and then three player reaction choices beneath that show which skill needs to be tested (test difficulty).
We all love the tactile and visual nature of gorgeously illustrated cards right?
What makes Dreamescape a unique story game is that we have thrown out the huge book format!!
Instead we’ve swapped it for more versatile cards that use our keycode puzzle system that open alternative plot directions for observant players.
How do the Keycodes work then?
Each story card has 6 key positions (the dark grey rectangles on the sample card shown). Sometimes these placements will have a number and an icon inside. If the player can match up an icon – both on the story card and on an Item or Lore card- the revealed number indicates a special locked card that can be revealed from a special locked story deck (like a hidden paragraph in a story).
Dreamescape is best experienced as a solo player experience (like the old fighting fantasy books) because of the way the narrative is written in the personal style (point of view) of the weird fiction stories of the 1920s. However the game allows you to play semi co-operatively with a friend if you wish.
Our story writers are all experienced gamemasters of Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying game and between us we have over 80 years of experience weaving tales of weirdness and horror! We are constantly re-reading Cthulhu mythos stories (not just Lovecraft but all the many past and current writers including Clark Ashton Smith, Henry Kuttner, C.L. Moore, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, August Derleth, Ramsey Campbell, Lin Carter, Brian Lumley… the list goes on and on) – and yes, we do regularly dream of monsters !
We want Dreamescape and the subsequent Dreamquest titles in the series, to be deep dives into the weird and fantastical creations of these amazing writers. A central part of the game therefore is the Lore cards that act both as your victory point ‘Score’ at the end of the game, but also reveal background about the world you are exploring and provide keycode puzzle links that will open up new story lines and plots for you to experience.
6 Character sheets
5 Initial Scenarios
1 Player dashboard
~400+ story cards
~100+ Item/Artifact cards
~100+ Lore cards
~15+ Condition cards
~18+ Trait tiles
~a heap of tokens
~1 Elder dice
More information on the game will be released over the coming months including many behind the scenes blogs about the design process and the amazing art we are working on. To stay in touch with updates, make sure you join our email list here -> Badcat Newsfeed and join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Box Cover Illustration by Mario (Magolobo) Romero. Copyright 2021, BadCatGames Ltd.