Tales of New Camelot
Each of the realms of New Camelot is connected to a realm in the Near Dreaming that reflects its essence: there is a Dreaming Cameliard, a Dreaming Broceliande and a Dreaming Gorre, for example. The exception is Listenoise; if there is a Dreaming Wasteland, it is in the Otherwhere or somewhere in the Deep Dreaming itself.
In some ways the dreaming realms are like gigantic Freeholds because they are relatively stable regions in the Near Dreaming accessed through Raths from various Freeholds or Founts within the Autumn realm that corresponds to it. This means a Rath in Cameliard will connect to a portal in Dreaming Cameliard. Within dreaming realms changelings do not need to stick to Trods for safety; effectively, the whole realm is part of the Silver Path. The Firchlis moves areas inside a dream realm about, so the geography is rarely quite the same each time a changeling visits it, but never blows a landmark out of the realm itself.
Natives of a particular realm gain advantages within its dreaming equivalent:
- Natives lose a point of Banality straightaway on entering their home realm (but this only happens once per day)
- Natives do not forget memories of their home realm so easily; if you use the Mist Revisited table (D&N p125 & 127) then do not deducted a native’s Banality from his Glamour when calculating the effects of the Mists; if you use the regular rules then allow natives to deduct their Remembrance from their Banality to calculate how clearly they remember their time in the Dreaming
- Natives who are killed within their home realm are not truly dead, but Undone. Their bodies appear in the nearest Rath or Freehold. When they recover, they will be mortals. However, their Fae soul still exists in the realm and might be recalled through a quest or powerful magic (Storyteller’s discretion); chimerical companions and items often survive their owner’s death in these circumstances and might be instrumental in reviving them
In other respects, the dreaming realms follow the same rules as the Near Dreaming:
- Changelings lose a point of Banality for each day they spend inside the realm (up to 9) and might lose Permanent Banality if they spend a year there
- Non-native changelings die utterly when killed in the dream realms and lose their memories when they leave
- The difficulty to cast cantrips is one lower and all cantrips are treated as Wyrd without needing to spend Glamour
Dreaming Bedegraine (Earth/Fire)
A world of canyons and caverns, marked by runic symbols and cave paintings. The upper canyons open out to a stormy dark sky and are densely filled with dark trees and cold rivers. The lower caverns are filled with hot springs, geysers and, lowest of all, lava flows. The whole realm is riddled with antique machinery on a gigantic scale: huge rusting pipes and ducts, looming mill wheels, pistons and pumps, all standing disused and decayed or else working episodically and noisily but to no clear purpose. This is an Unseelie realm with many Trods leading to Nightmare realms. It also lies close to the Far Dreaming. The inhabitants are dangerous goblins, ogres and other beasties, with toiling morlocks and dour dwarfs in the lower reaches and, they say, sleeping dragons. An ideal place for a ‘dungeon crawl’ because, besides the monsters, there are deep veins of fantastic metals – dreamsilver, sungold, mithral – and impossibly precious gems – firerubies, diamondests and steampearls.
The rival lords of Bedegraine fight constant battles and skirmishes throughout the caves and forests. King Lot of Orkady is pre-eminent when he visits this realm but Queen Morgause’s cannibal witches are more feared.
King Arthur won a great victory here over the Unseelie Fae, forcing them and the Seelie alike to submit to the Pendragon. Many places are contenders to be the battlefield itself, but none have conclusive proof. Nevertheless, burial mounds for fallen Fae, ancient weapons of war and haunted graveyards of war dead litter the dark reaches of this realm.
Dreaming Cameliard (Air/Water)
A world of woodlands, meadows and deep green valleys, bound together with winding trails and broad highways. At every junction is some form of sacred space or performance venue: wooden theatres or floating stages on barges, inn courtyards and village greens, circles of standing stones and natural amphitheaters, cavernous auditoriums and rings of toadstools. Every character ever presented on the London stage can be found in Dreaming Cameliard, performing or travelling between venues, crowding in audiences or brawling in roadside taverns. The whole mythic realm is in a perpetual pageant or high holiday, a realm of festive pilgrims moving from jousts and tourneys to tragedies and operas, enacting pantomimes and mystery plays or joining together in wild week-long dances. Many villages have grown up around the more popular venues, selling food, clothing, travelling goods and, most of all, opinions, because every citizen of Cameliard is a critic. Some of the finest food and wine in the Dreaming is served here during great wine festivals and bake-offs. This is a Seelie realm and monstrous or destructive creatures encountered here will be playing their part in a saga; they can still be dangerous to characters who stumble into an epic story and don’t realise how to behave.
Queen Guinevere makes a regular procession throughout her realm, attending performances and rites from the homeliest to the most grand. Usually great pavilions are erected for her and the entourage that gathers around her, but many wayside inns cash in on the prestige of claiming that Guinevere slept in one of their beds.
Cameliard was one of the first realms to declare for King Arthur and Arthur’s exploits are immortalized here in plays, tourneys and re-enactments; many of the tales told here are different from those remembered in the Autumn World or completely novel.
Dreaming Surluse (Fire/Water)
A world of islands, known to its inhabitants as the Isles Lointaines or Faraway Isles. Some are the size of small towns, others mere specks, and quite a few aren’t islands at all but floating platforms of rafts, boats, barges and bridges. Where the waters give way to the Otherwhere, the islands hang in midair above the great abyss. The whole archipelago is linked by rope bridges, suspension bridges, tunnels, stepping stones, cable cars, zip-lines and, of course, ferries, lots of ferry boats and river taxis and sea-steeds and paddle steamers. The world has a steampunk feel, with elegant and artistic technology in a collision of styles all mystically powered by water and steam. Houses, shops and factories pile on top of each other, crisscrossed with balaconies and walkways and riddled with aquaducts, water pipes, steam vents and cooling ducts. Every roof is a pond or garden, every staircase a waterfall. The inhabitants favour 18th or 19th century apparel, with mad science appendages, but the nautical theme means the realm is inhabited by steampunk mermaids, tritons and Atlanteans, pirates and buccaneers. This is the Seelie Surluse, but the Unseelie aspects of the realm are only every an alleyway away: underground sewers, canals, tunnels and lakes and vast subterranean factories belching steam, smoke and fire. If the titanic machinery of Bedegraine is rusting and redundant, in Surluse it is busy and frighteningly productive. Robots, marionettes, cybertoys and clockwork legions roll from the forges and are packed away and ferried out to markets in the Dreaming and (they say) the Umbrae.
Prince Gallehault travels his realm on a steamship palace, visiting one island after another; by night he hosts parties and festivals in the canals and lagoons, but by night he inspects the factories and workshops of his Unseelie subjects.
Surluse allied with King Arthur because of Prince Gallehault’s admiration for Lancelot and the great factories of Faraway were put into the service of the Pendragon’s cause. Many automatons and cog-people of Surluse claim to have fought in the Pendragon’s clockwork armies and it is said that the factories still exist, with arsenals of weapons and warriors, still waiting for Arthur’s return.
Dreaming Gorre (Earth/Air)
Gorre is a castle, a giant, bewildering, majestically fortified castle. Its style and apparent age range from early medieval (with earthworks, dykes and wooden palisades) through high medieval (with crenelated walls and great portcullises) to early modern (with palaces, ornamental gardens and echoing galleries). In the outer baileys the streets teem with craftsmen, peddlers, gypsies, merchants and shopkeepers, but everywhere are the signs of iron authority – prisoners groaning in stocks or rotting in gibbets, armed and armoured guards on sentry, the iron shod footfalls of patrols of the dreaded Watch. Passage to the higher inner baileys requires identification papers or bribes but within and above rise the walled gardens, orchards, chapels, tombs, barracks and arsenals of Gorre, with wide parade grounds and arenas fit for military manoeuvres or gladiatorial contests. Above all rises the Great Keep, a constellation of fortified towers vanishing into the heavy clouds. In this inner maze wizards toil in choking laboratories and dark acolytes dance macabre steps in lofty temples while warlords plot invasions against the realm’s enemies. Gorre is an Unseelie realm, but an organised one: every goblin, redcap, ogre and bogle is uniformed, badged and bears the livery or slave collar of a master or mistress. The peace here is oppressive and misleading, because murder and assassination are the order of the day and night as faction, kiths and noble houses vie for the upper hand.
Although Uriens of Gorre sits on a great throne in the heart of the Keep, in a mysterious tower overlooking the entire realm Queen Morgan La Fey is unrivalled mistress of the castle, privy to every plot, the puppetmaster and grey eminence behind every murder, betrayal or poisoning that goes on in the thronging streets, forts and households below. Her dark-robed raven priestesses are the most feared secret police of this realm.
Gorre was a hostile realm that submitted to King Arthur only after a devastating siege. Remnants of this siege still remain in shattered walls and sealed-up corridors and streets still blocked with bones and broken barricades, but it is a crime even to allude to them, so the inhabitants pretend they don’t exist. Parts of the Pendragon’s great war machine may survive here too, ancient weapons and monstrous siege equipment hidden in plain sight among a population cowed into ignoring them. Some of this equipment is put to use by the mysterious Resistance that defies Morgan’s rule and prepares for Arthur’s return, to complete once and for all the conquest of Gorre.
Dreaming Broceliande (Earth/Water)
A wilderness world of primeval forest, stinking fens, pine-clad mountains and tumbling waterfalls. There are no roads or trails in Broceliande, no bridges or villages, because this is the realm of the wild. The dreams of animals are strongest here and Broceliande teems with life: herds of deer, tribes of fierce boards, majestic bears, packs of enormous wolves, fowl and frog, serpent and stag. Their trails and the windings of forest streams mark out the only clear thoroughfares because, although the trees occasionally thin into birch woods and meadows, most of the realm is sealed of by dense bramble and thick hedge. The dreams of humanity manifest here occasionally as a hardy woodcutter, a band of desperate outlaws, a ragged hermit or mysterious wizard living in a remote tower. However, other beings live among the trees and pools: nymphs and dryads, treants and toadstool people, werefolk and centaurs. Many of these are quite hostile to non-natives, either fleeing from them (and leading them into brambles, bogs or precipices) or attacking. Some Fae dismiss Broceliande as a wilderness unworthy of exploration, yet its resources are its inhabitants, some of the most powerful Fae beings of the Near Dreaming exist here and the forest trails wind imperceptibly into the Far Dreaming and beyond, but also into realms of Nightmare.
There is no ruler of Broceliande, although one of the Great Merlins, Silvanus, described himself as Lord of the Forest. The Wild Huntsman haunts the forest and may be its guardian or god and the lords of many beasts can be found here, each as potent as a Faerie king or queen. The realm has both Seelie and Unseelie aspects, a place of sublime beauty and stark terror, sometimes both at once.
The last Great Merlin, Ambrosius, retreated to Broceliande and is said to be buried, or perhaps imprisoned or merely sleeping, in a crystal cave, or inside a tree, or at the bottom of a fountain. Fountains are common in Broceliande: many have magical properties, some descend into the Otherwhere or into the Umbrae. Tombs and prisons are common too, for ancient Fomorians and other horrors are trapped beneath mighty trees, in deep caves or behind dark hedges.