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(The) Dead Dreamer
By Silver Dreams
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Worshippers' Alignment: Any Evil
Clerics' Alignment: Within one step of Chaotic Evil
Priest Alignment: Neutral Evil – most shreds or morality of the priests are blown away by the strange visions they experience every night in their sleep. Some wish to inflict the blessing/curse of the Dreams to unwilling victims. Fortunately, this rarely works.
Clerical Domains: Dead Dreamer provides its followers with following clerical domains. A typical follower has one of the first three and one of the last three domains:
- Evil: The beast's essence is inherently evil.
- Magic: The Dreamer's alien powers warp reality at will.
- Knowledge: Cult searches constantly for lost secrets.
- Death: The Dreamer is half-dead, half-alive.
- Animal: Mainly for the ability to polymorph into an aberration.
The Dreamer itself is now a huge bowl of aberrant flesh deep at the bottom of the lake. It roughly resembles a giant Illithid elder brain. However, on top of it there is a fanged mouth. Huge tentacles sprout from the brain matter at random, and each ends in a beholder-like eye. This is only known through the Dream-visions, since no cultist actually knows where the lake is.
The Path of Ascendant Dreams is a cult whose beginnings lie in the endless war fought deep in the caverns of Avlissian Underdark. After the Demonspawn Wars, in the time known as Invader Period, races of otherworldy aberrations begun to make inroads on the populations of Adomkuro and Kharakuro. Illithids and Eye Tyrants brought their eldritch powers to the battle of supremacy, and their presence was noted.
The near-god demon king Kimonictinus understood the power and threat the alien beings presented, and he conceived an experimental weapon to harness that power. He fused a piece of his own flesh to a captive mind flayer and beholder and sought to create a being that would serve him while possessing the powers of both races. Thus was born the being now known simply as the Dead Dreamer.
Kimonictinus' experiment was both a failure and a success. The demonic aberrant being he created possessed great power, but its mind was warped from beginning. It proved too unstable for even Kimonictinus to control, and so he secretly made sure it would fall in a battle against the demon king's enemies. In a cataclysmic confrontation between the hybrid monster and some powerful spawn of Alifanitax, a part of the Underdark collapsed. The dying Dreamer crawled into bottom of an underground lake, and there it stayed.
However, the demonic spark of Kimonictinus would not die so easily. In the deep darkness of the lake, the monster lie halfway between life and death. It dreamed of alien visions, of battle, and still it remained faithful to its 'father' Kimonictinus. It grew in the lake, and unable to move, it sent out mental probes to whoever would hear them.
The first to hear the silent call of the monster started the cult now known as the Path of Ascendant Dreams. A lone Adomkuro whose name is unimportant found the lake, drank its waters, and slept by its shore. He saw the dreams of the Dreamer, and was immediately driven insane. His sanity could not cope with the alien visions of the hybrid monster's sleep. However, before he died, he wrote the six stone tablets that would begin the cult of the Dreamer. Stumbling to a Adomkuro village, he left the tablets for the people to read, and shambled off to die.
Now that the monster knew how to reach the minds of those nearby, it reached out and grasped receptive minds around it. Now and then a lone kharakuro or Adomkuro would be touched the dreams and become and cleric of the beast. For some, it was a result of voluntary meditation. For some, it was simply bad luck.
The clerics of the Dreamer cult have only one goal. They wish to find the lost lake where their god sleeps and awaken it. It is their belief that the awakening of the Dead Dreamer will bring about a new golden age where Kimonictinus and his kin will cast out the gods of Avlis and rule in their stead. Of course, the chosen of the Dreamer will be honored and elevated for bringing this enlightenment to the world. This is why the cult of Kimonictinus tolerates the Dreamer cult, and even finds it useful.
The cult, however, has many problems. The location of the Lake is not known to anyone. There are rumors of secret priests who tend the dreaming demigod, and some even say the original writer of the Six Tablets of Dreaming still lives somewhere. Nobody knows how to awaken the god even if he could be found. The Tablets are supposed to provide the answer, but there are as many interpretations of them as there are worshipers. The most common one is that the one who finds the true name of the beast will be able to awaken it.
It is also not easy to walk on the Path of Ascendant Dreams. Every night in their sleep the clerics dream the Dreams of their god. Visions of glorious battles and strange creatures fill their minds. For weaker ones, this is too much. Suicides are not unusual for novice priests. Those who are strong enough seem often quiet and thoughtful, even philosophical.
However, the benefits of service are real. The Dreamer provides his clerics with divine magic. The small cult draws both Adomkuro, Kharakuro and even some aberration clerics. The cult is almost unknown outside Underdark. The Dreamer simply cannot reach through all the rock and soil except on some especially unholy nights.
The question remains: Are those who walk the Path of Ascendant Dreams harbingers of demonic apocalypse on Avlis, or merely deluded victims of an elder horror that refuses to die – and which should never have even existed?