The Gifts of Synthesis

Synthesis is shamanistic, animistic, spirit magic. It is not spells cast with casual ease. Synthesis is contact with another world, and should be approach with respect, caution, and a goodly portion of awe. A Dreamer is not a mage whose will is so strong she can break reality, or a wizard who has studied tomes of ancient lore and knows the secret workings of the world. A Dreamer is someone who is in contact with or can contact the world of dream and unlimited possibility, and can bring some of that possibility to the “real world,” the Physical Orb. The Dreamer is then a conduit, and while this role gives her some impact on the effects of Synthesis, she is not the origin of the power, and therefore never in complete control. Synthesis is also, to a great degree, not fully understood. Dreamers may know how to do things, but even they argue about why what they do works. When the stakes - your very soul - are so high, and you don't really know what you're doing, you might do well to be a little careful.

You are can always use the Protection of either of your Eminences; you don’t need to do anything except spend Spiritual Health for that. If you’re able to Apply your Eminences, this takes only five seconds of appropriate roleplaying to achieve. Synthesis requires you to be in something of a trance, and it takes at least thirty seconds to reach that state. If you use Synthesis without 30 seconds of appropriate trance-like roleplaying beforehand, all of its Spiritual Health costs are doubled.


Eminences are a way of seeing the world and an approach to interpreting and manipulating Dream. Each tribe has its own way of viewing the world and how they interact with it is often reflected through their eminences. The children of Agnes for example view the world in a very capricious way as children often do while their Obession with death is reflected in the Yagan eminence. The focus of Eva on birth and growth is shown in the eminence of Life.

When you fall, the way you see the world changes and this is reflected in the losing of one Eminence and the gaining of another. The Doomsayers for example probe the secrets of the world and so can access the eminences of Mystery or Shadow. The Jackers are more martial in their attitudes and so tend to see things through their new eminences of Vengeance or Bravery.

The river of dream has the capability of doing almost anything but is limited by the way you shape it and just as water takes the shape of the vessel it is in, so too does dream take shape from the Eminences of the wielder and limits what that individual can do even if the River of Dream its self is capable of so much more.


Aspects are a specific way of shaping the river of dream according to an Eminence but in a more powerful and formalised way than an improvised use of synthesis. Aspects were mostly developed and taught by the Fatimas. They harness the River of Dream in such a way that it can be taught from one person to another to get the same repeatable effect with more chance of success and far quicker than a ritual could manage. This allows rapid dreaming to provide powerful effects that would usually take a much longer ritual to obtain and that could not be done by standard intuitive synthesis. To start play with an Aspect you must be from the correct tribe or outlook associated with it. You may learn any Aspect in play but you must find a teacher who already knows it to agree to teach it to you. This can be done in downtime only.

These effects are tied tightly to the Tribe's attitudes and Eminences and are often only taught to the most accomplished and trusted members (although there are exceptions to every rule of course). Anima for example allows very rapid and reliable healing but is usually only taught to the Shamans of the Evan tribe. Other Aspects developed by the humans, such as the Doomsayers' “Shadowstepping” are taught more widely but it still requires a high degree of skill in Synthesis to be able to use them.

Freeform Synthesis

It’s also possible to combine Eminences and Dreamers together in a big ritual. Essentially, this needs to be roleplayed, needs to take at least five minutes (and no more than thirty minutes), needs to have a Guide present, and is a free-form ritual towards a specified aim. The result is determined by a bead draw which rewards performance and creativity, but always contains at least the possibility of success or failure. The River of Dream is a tricky beast.

Only one person can lead a given ritual, and it must be appropriate to one or both of their Eminences or those of other participants.

The outcome of such a ritual is determined by a bead draw. The bead bag is composed as follows:

  • Add two white beads if the ritual focuses on just one Eminence
  • Alternatively, add one white bead if the ritual combines multiple Eminences
  • Add one white bead in the presence of a Fatima or other Object of Dreaming
  • Add one white bead per set of ritual tools used in the ritual
  • Add one white bead if someone's life is at risk and the ritual is intended to help
  • Add one white bead if you are trying to adapt an Aspect you or another participant knows
  • Add one white bead per dose of Libs used
  • Add one black bead per Eminence involved in the ritual
  • Add one black bead in Tainted areas
  • Add one black bead if the ritual's target is touched by the Seed
  • Add one red bead per Spiritual Health spent by the ritualist
  • Add one red bead per minute the ritual takes (max thirty minutes)
  • Add one red bead per dose of Libs used

Stop drawing beads as soon as a white or black bead is pulled. A white bead indicates success, whereas a black bead indicates failure. The number of red beads indicates the degree of success or failure achieved. On a black bead , the ritualist and any participants lose one Spiritual Health per red bead drawn . Each additional red bead becomes an automatic Spiritual Critical Wound . On a white bead, the ritualist determines how the red beads are allocated, as follows:

Red Beads01234
Time1 minute15 minutes1 hour12 hours1 day
river_of_dream.txt · Last modified: 2014/11/18 23:36 by ellie
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