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 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 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).
What makes Dreamescape a unique story game is the use of keycode puzzles that open alternative plot directions for observant players. 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 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. Our writers are all long standing gamemasters of the Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying game and between us we have over 80 years of experience weaving tales of weirdness and horror!
Here is an example of the narrative style we are using:
“I wandered aimlessly in those dank tunnels of twisted wood, lit only dimly with the phosphorescent effulgeance of leaking fungi, that putrefied slowly before my eyes. The air was still, cloying and oppressive and I shuddered, thinking of the fungal spores that I was inhaling with every intake of breath. I felt that the surrounding prodigious trees were forcing me onwards towards unknown boreal depths, their groping boughs entwined, shutting off any possible retreat.
Seeing a gap ahead promising better light, I plunged in, squeezing past the suppurating bark of gnarly oaks, so ancient in aspect that they seemed like one single mutated organism, clutching for the distant sky…”
6 Character sheets
5 Starting Scenarios
1 Player dashboard
~350 story cards
~75 Item/Artifact cards
~75 Lore cards
~15 Condition cards
~18 Trait tiles
~a heap of tokens
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 2020, BadCatGames Ltd.