- “Of course I’m your mother Button, it’s not the sort of thing you forget.”
- You know this is a dream, but you’re starting to forget what wasn’t. Your quest to find the holy ace, and your friends Benny the Bear, Herick the Repentant Knight, and Cedric the Priest. That’s real and this is an illusion woven by the evil Lidia? Or is it your school and your friends Rachel, Amanda and Lacy. But how can anything so unrealistic as sending kids somewhere they hate every day be real? It’s starting to get scary, you hope your friends would rescue you soon (but which friends?)
- That’s not right either, you’re a heroine. You should be rescuing yourself. Why are you thinking like this? There aren’t any guards here, it should be easy to escape. You just need to get your... Your what? Why is it so hard to remember things?
When the Dreamlands Trap was formed its builders knew better than to rely on it lasting forever. They placed powerful guards to watch over their prisoners, endlessly adjusting the illusions and dreams to keep the souls of the kingdom in a satisfied slumber.
Upon the Release the Radiant Queens saw the Wardens for what they are. They summoned their armies and rode against them, slaughtering them in countless masses. Yet some Wardens survived, far too many Wardens survived. Fleeing to the wild regions of the Dreamlands they lie in wait for the opportunity to fulfill their dark purpose.
Today the Wardens are scattered far and wide upon the face of the Dreamlands, yet they are unbroken. They remember their purpose and yearn to fulfill it. When they see one carrying the Light walk the realms of sleep they will stop at nothing to imprison her in a blissful dream for all eternity.
The Wardens are members of the chorus, normally of Rank 2, though they can be of any Rank. They have Influence over the Gales - a Warden instinctively knows that its purpose is to keep people within the Dreamlands until they forget whatever life they had beyond them. The effects of this Influence at each level are as follows; as all of them control thoughts or emotions of sapient beings, every use of the Influence is contested.
• Strengthen: The Warden strengthens the Gales locally. Every dreamer who comes within Rank x 3 yards of the Warden and loses the contested roll during the Influence’s duration adds the Warden’s activation successes to the Gales’ next roll to inflict a Galemark on them. A dreamer subjected to this effect more than once in a day adds the highest modifier among the activations.
•• Manipulate: The Gales that blow through the Dreamlands change the memories of visitors, making them believe they have always been a part of the Dreamlands. From the perspective of the Wardens this is good, but it does not go far enough. The Gales give the visitors a past within the Dreamlands, the Wardens wish to give them a future, a reason to stay. The Warden uses its Influence against a Galemarked dreamer to alter the effects of the Galemarks in small ways.
For the duration, and while the dreamer remains within Rank x 3 yards, the Warden develops a situation out of the dreamer’s Gale-created history which will, it hopes, tempt the dreamer to stay or keep her from leaving. It does this by defining new truths about the people and places in that history - with a minute’s full concentration, the Warden establishes one new fact. At this level the Warden can’t introduce new characters or make radical changes in any existing characters, and it can’t invalidate any existing facts or events; but it can find plausible developments from what the Gales have already established, and declare a scenario to its advantage has taken place.
••• Control: The Warden is able to make drastic changes in a Gale-created history at this level. For the duration, and while the dreamer remains within Rank x 3 yards, the Warden introduces new people, places or objects into the dreamer’s imaginary past, or alters the existing people in radical ways.
The Warden still cannot contradict anything in the dreamer’s established Gale-marked history. If a Princess remembers that she ran away from the palace where she grew up to escape her cruel father then a Warden cannot add any fact that would make the Princess’ father nice. However, it could declare that her father has been overthrown by the Princess’ noble brother, who loves her dearly. It could do so with Manipulate only if the loving brother already exists; with Control, it can invent the brother whole-cloth and sketch a backstory for him that explains why he did nothing about the father’s cruelties before (say, he’d been sent to a boarding school for several years.)
•••• Create: The Warden summons the Gales for a psychic assault. It chooses a single dreamer, close enough for it to attack, to receive the force of the Gales. If the Warden wins the contest, the Gales roll to mark the dreamer once every minute, until the duration lapses, she gains a Galemark, or she escapes the Warden’s reach. A Galemark created by this level of Influence is controlled wholly by the Warden - it can create any events whatsoever, limited only by consistency with existing Galemarks.
••••• Mass Create: The Warden becomes the center of a reality-warping vortex. Every dreamer within Rank x 3 yards of the Warden who loses the contested roll is subjected to the effects of Create for the duration, unless they escape from the vortex. (Often the Warden combines all the Galemarks made by a Mass Creation into a single history involving every affected dreamer, so if one of them awakens the others will tend to pull her back into the illusion).
The Wardens have no interest in anything outside the Dreamlands, so they never learn Manifestations. Their favorite Numina are Innocuous and Mortal Mask; for them the latter is a near-perfect disguise, allowing them to shadow a dreaming traveler without raising suspicion. However, no Numina are barred to the Wardens except the ones that affect only the material world.
Prince Charming is a Warden who specializes in getting romantically entangled with his targets and making them choose between his love or their real life, if he can’t sweep them off their feet so fast they forget they have a real life at all. Prince Charming can appear in any form that his victim finds attractive, animal, mineral or vegetable, but usually he favors an ordinary man or woman. He has an instinctive knowledge of people’s romantic inclinations and preferences and prefers to set the mood before his first meeting. Depending on his victim’s preferences he may arrange for his own rescue, run an inn under a romantic moon or ride up in shining armor to recruit nobles to his quest.
As a Warden Prince Charming isn’t able to feel genuine romantic affection and so he pushes hard before his victims see through his shallow mask. If he’s on a quest the danger and post danger adrenaline fueled romance come one after another without time to rest. A more traditional royal romance swings from feast to parade to ball without pause. Even questioning this frantic pace is enough to make Prince Charming fear he is losing his latest victim, causing him to overcompensate either by creating emergencies or turning to emotional blackmail.
- Rank: 2
- Attributes: Power 2, Finesse 4, Resistance 2
- Derived Traits: Corpus 7, Willpower 6, Size 5 (usually), Defense 2, Initiative 6, Speed 11 (species factor 5) Influences: The Gales 3, Infatuation 1
- Numina:: Emotional Aura, Implant Mission, Mortal Mask, Rapture
- Ban: Prince Charming cannot allow his current victim to leave him of her own will. He pursues anyone who does so to the limits of his ability, until he suffers discorporation.
- Bane: Butterflies and butterfly wings.