Our world is poisoned. Humanity is infected, blinded to the wonder around us, our will sapped. It’s easier to simply exist than to reach for the impossible. Even your dreams are laced with the insidious belief that you are “normal.”
“Just another face in the crowd.”
That whisper? That belief? It’s the Doubt; a dark sentience that infects our world, hiding the truth - hiding Magic. Centaurs, pixies, androids, and mutants, walk the streets. You even know a few. The Doubt twists their image, rendering them mundane or invisible to Sleepers. It tortures us in our dreams, robbing us of the source of our Magic. It wields Nightmares like a blade, keeping us in our place.
Except for you.
You’re different. You fought back. In your dreams, you became stronger, faster, or smarter. You brought your dreams into the world, because you are an Anima; you’ve broken free of the Doubt’s clutches. You are awake to things the Doubt was trying to hide. It will throw everything it has at you, so be ready. You have magic at your command, and friends in unlikely places.
So when your will begins to ebb, remember
Magic is real, and Dreams matter.
The Waking World is the second edition of the tabletop RPG Of Dreams and Magic.
The Waking World is about living in a world where anything is possible. When playing The Waking World, you will assume the role of Anima, magic wielders capable of making their Dreams real. Chief among their abilities is the Animus - the dream-self. They can take on the form and abilities of their Animus in the real world, whether their Animus is a wizard, space marine, or kleptomaniac ninja.
Anima use their powers to battle the Doubt, which turns their nightmares into Reavers. Horrible creatures from the depths of the human subconscious, Reavers torment Anima, targeting their loved ones, their goals, their jobs, and their lives, all to convince the Anima to give up their dreams, surrender their magic, and submit to its version of “reality.”
With a bit of Conviction and trustworthy friends, an Anima might survive, or even thrive in the middle of this war they didn’t sign up for.
In The Waking World, each player gets two characters for the price of one:
The Anima is a human capable of seeing past the Doubt and working minor magics. By spending Conviction, they might even enter dreams, chasing Nightmares or inspiring others to pursue their dreams. What makes them an Anima, though is the ability to channel their Animus.
The Animus is a dream identity that the Anima can take on, gaining their superhuman abilities in the real world. By spending Conviction, the player will turn their character sheet sideways, and will now be playing as a powered-up alternate character, capable of all sorts of superhuman and magical feats.
Your Animus acts as your sword and your shield against Nightmares, sent by the Doubt to ruin and destroy. Beware! This form can only be sustained for a limited time, so you must ration your Conviction wisely.
An Anima’s power extends far beyond the Waking World. Through a process called Dreamwalking, all Anima are capable of exiting their bodies in Animus form, and traveling both into their own dreams and the dreams of others.
In this way, Anima can visit entire new worlds. Alien planets, Fantasy kingdoms, even different versions of our own world. Some of these worlds are temporary, reflecting the dreamer’s consciousness. Others exist independently; these are Dreamscapes, like those found in our other gamelines, such as Dreamscape: Laruna. The Waking World is a nexus from which a multiverse may be accessed, and players can bring back skills and magic from their adventures into the unknown.
In dreams, anything is possible. You might have to play soccer against a team of elves, or defend your innocence in an ogre courtroom. You might have to chase a Reaver through a minotaur’s maze, or fight in a steampunk version of World War II. You may even find that your Anima has taken on a new form altogether, with new powers and abilities that fit the world you’ve entered.
The Doubt suppresses all magic, but particularly hates Anima. Every Anima who refuses to give in will eventually have to pay The Doubt’s toll. It sends Nightmares after all those who use magic, and reserves a special breed of Nightmare just for the hated Anima - Reavers.
Reavers are dredged up from the worst fears and dark desires of an Anima’s psyche. These monsters are driven to sow discord terror in an Anima’s life, attacking their sanity, livelihood, social circles, families, and even their life. Each Reaver uses its own method of causing terror, in its effort to convince the Anima that dreaming isn’t worth it.
The worst of these is your character’s Nemesis. The antithesis of your Animus, your Nemeses is an ultra-powerful Reaver custom built to take you down. It will exploit your weaknesses, it knows all your secrets, and it will never give up. Thematically opposed to your Animus (such as a Supervillain to your Superhero), you will have to rely on others if you want to survive.
Nightmares are a reminder of the price we pay for our dreams. If Dreams can be real, so can Nightmares.
When playing The Waking World, players create three separate but related characters: The Anima, the Animus, and the Nemesis. To guide players through this process,The Waking World has two forms of character generation.
Quick Character Creation is for players who wish to jump right into the action with a minimal of fuss. After creating their Anima, the player selects from one of our classic Archetypes, such as The Superhero, the Cybercop, the Valkyrie, or the Wizard, and by following a simple step-by-step flowchart, will make a unique and balanced character in just a few minutes.
Custom Character Creation is for players who want to create exactly the character they envision. This process is a bit more involved, and requires more time, but our plethora of gameplay options, including custom equipment, special powers, and passive benefits, will let you craft the Animus of your dreams!
Quick character creation offers a series of character templates that are then further personalized to better reflect how the player wants to customize their character.
Over/Under: All die rolls are made using two ten-sided dice. One die, referred to as the “Over” die, represents how far above (or Over) a character’s base level of ability they can perform. Similarly, the second die (the “Under” die) represents how far beneath (or Under) a character’s base level of ability they can perform. When rolling, the numbers on the face of the Over die are positive, and the numbers on the face of the Under die are negative.
When a roll is required, a player rolls their Over and Under dice simultaneously to achieve a result that ranges from -9 to +9 by adding the two values. This result is then added to the Ability score that is being tested (usually a skill + an attribute.)
Since the Over/Under die system produces a predictable range of results (-9 to +9,) success and failure hinge more on a character's skills and statistics rather than the player's dice rolling. While the dice still allow a character to perform above or below their ability, the greatest archer in the world will never suddenly miss the broad side of a barn. Unless, of course, his competition used-
CAP: The CAP system (Competitive Advantage Points) gives the player a degree of control over what kind of success they can achieve.
For every point above a set Difficulty a character rolls, they are awarded 1 CAP (one Competitive Advantage Point). These points can be spent to do extra damage, complete a task faster, change the way a Power works, and other effects. This reflects the character’s mastery (or luck) in the current situation.
As you can see in the above example, as a character gets better results when using Lay on Hands, they can customize their results by making the power stronger, altering it so it no longer requires touch, or even turn it into an attack. And of course, the CAP system is used no matter what your character is doing. Healing a partner, hitting a home run, and writing a love letter all use the mechanism: test your ability and skill versus a difficulty, gain CAP, and use that CAP to improve or change your results.
If you're already familiar with Of Dreams and Magic, here's a list of the major changes between the editions.
More detailed character customization. Animus creation now follows a process similar to Anima creation, making the Animus a more detailed character that can be handcrafted. For those who prefer a system closer to the original, Quick Builds are available to allow players to 'plug and play.'
Updated Magic and Anima Rank systems.
Combat diversity to allow many more powerful combat options.
'Lucidity,' allowing players to have different amounts of control or understanding of the dreams they're in.
The Dial System allows groups to 'dial up' or 'dial down' certain aspects of gameplay to finely tune their gaming experience. Sample dials include More/Less Deadly Combat, Costly/Accessible Magic, and Dream Death/Penalties.
A new class of enemy called Shadows allow Dreamweavers to challenge players with weaker enemies that are quicker to create during game prep and quicker to defeat during gameplay.
These are only some of the changes, but veteran Dreamers will find that this new edition is still recognizably Of Dreams and Magic, and newcomers will love watching their dreams come to life.
In order to help you dive into the setting of The Waking World, we're including PDF copies of some of our past RPG releases in every pledge! This will allow you to immediately have some story modules to help you run The Waking World, and even give you a whole Dreamscape to play in as well! Every pledge will include the following PDFS:
Of Dreams and Magic
Of Dreams and Magic An Evil Mind Story Module
Dreamscape: Laruna Creatures, Corruption, and Kreesh
Dreamscape: Laruna Legacy Tales
Dreamscape: Laruna A Desperate Plea Story Module
A PDF copy of The Waking World. Includes a PDF copy The Waking World and all PDF rewards and stretch goals. This full-color 256+ page hardbound book contains everything you need to play The Waking World! Includes a hardcover copy of The Waking World, a PDF copy of The Waking World, and all PDF rewards and stretch goals. Want to see your dream character in print? Work with the designers of The Waking World to make your favorite character into an Animus Archetype that will be published in The Waking World. We'll create custom abilities and aspects together and commission character artwork to ensure that your character comes to life in the pages of The Waking World. Share your favorite character with the world, and allow all of The Waking World's players to join in on your dream! Includes a signed copy of The Waking World, a PDF copy of The Waking World, a signed special edition of Dreamscape: Laruna, and all stretch goals and PDF rewards.
A PDF copy of The Waking World.
Includes a PDF copy The Waking World and all PDF rewards and stretch goals.
This full-color 256+ page hardbound book contains everything you need to play The Waking World!
Includes a hardcover copy of The Waking World, a PDF copy of The Waking World, and all PDF rewards and stretch goals.
Want to see your dream character in print? Work with the designers of The Waking World to make your favorite character into an Animus Archetype that will be published in The Waking World. We'll create custom abilities and aspects together and commission character artwork to ensure that your character comes to life in the pages of The Waking World. Share your favorite character with the world, and allow all of The Waking World's players to join in on your dream!
Includes a signed copy of The Waking World, a PDF copy of The Waking World, a signed special edition of Dreamscape: Laruna, and all stretch goals and PDF rewards.
One of the most common questions we've received about Of Dreams and Magic is "What kind of game is this? Is it a story game, or a 'roll playing game'?" Our experience over the past five years of playing the game, meeting with players, and going to conventions has lead us to a simple answer of 'Yes.' We've had groups of players come up to us at Origins to tell us tales of the mechnically interesting challenges the game system has put them through and the exciting new ways they've used CAP to confound their players. We've spent nights at Gen Con chatting about the stories players could create with this game, such as the tragic tale of Komrade Marx and his fight against capitalism, a medical student dreaming of becoming white blood cells to cure a friend's disease, or having a fuzzy fun romp in "Alley Cat: The Game!"
The beauty of using dreams as the subject matter of the game is that while everyone dreams, everyone's dreams are unique. Our goal has always been to give players the tools to create and play through their own unique stories. Of Dreams and Magic was the first step towards that goal, and we think that The Waking World is helping make it a reality. Clearer and more detailed mechanic descriptions and abilities allow the game to be easier to use, regardless of if your focus is on using the mechanics to create an intriguing gameplay situation or if it's on making the mechanics serve as your guide through your own unique dream story.
For those of you who have picked up Of Dreams and Magic at any point in the past five years, we say thank you for launching this dream. We hope that The Waking World honors the belief that you placed in us, and provides you with just as much (if not more) excitement as Of Dreams and Magic did. For those of you who are new to the series, we hope that we've inspired you to come aboard and dream alongside us.
The first draft for The Waking World was completed in January of 2019. We've spent this past year doing a lot of play testing and editing to the draft, so after the campaign we can move directly into final editing, and then layout. We've commissioned a lot of art in the past year, and even more new art will continue to be prepared as we format the final text.
When Of Dreams and Magic first launched, Kickstarter was a very different site. While we still love and use Kickstarter for certain projects, we felt that Game On was a better home for The Waking World. Game On Tabletop has a strong focus on independently produced RPGs, which makes The Waking World a great fit for the platform.
Since The Waking World is the spine of our RPG line, we wanted to create a hyper-focused crowdfunding campaign that allowed us to put all of our attention on the book's writing and production, rather than creating and fulfilling extras.
The most commonly requested additional content has been more story modules, which is why we've included 3 of them as stretch goals. These story modules have already been written and playtested, so they only need to be placed into format and be given artwork. While we did consider making these modules add-ons, we decided we'd rather provide them for free (provided the funds to produce them were raised) to give our supporters on Game On additional content right out of the box.
As the campaign goes on, if there is a high demand for a specific kind of add-on, we are open to adding it so long as we feel it will be a strong addition while not being a detriment to our main focus, the production of The Waking World.