Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Happy Hunt

There is a spell, The Happy Hunt, that comes and goes in waves of cultish aristocratic fancy. "I am so bored" a foppish noble youth exclaims in some den of decadence, and some figure or another smirks and says, "Well, I have something fun in mind you've yet to try, I guarantee" and after some simple rituals, they dream of going off to dream of murdering someone and take a bit of their soul if successful, and the rumors and dreams of murder spread and spread until eventually the cult  grows too large and self destructs as they attack each others nightmare realms over imagined and real wrongs, or some moral authority shuts the whole thing down via torch and pitchfork. But copies of the ritual always escape or are dug up elsewhere, and anyone with literacy and perhaps some body paint can pull it off.

The Happy Hunt
Target- One individual. Part of their body must be in the possession of the caster, and it must be eaten
Duration- [sum] hours. The caster will remain asleep for the duration.
Range- [sum] miles

Effect-The caster falls into slumber for the duration. Once the target goes to sleep, the caster's psyche will enter the mind-palace of the target, and in so doing, taint the normally safe bubble of dream into a shallow nightmare realm. Once in this nightmare realm (usually manifesting as a dark and foreboding version of the target's surroundings) the caster is to hunt and 'kill' the target, and take a trophy from them

  1. Vigor- The caster rerolls their HP with advantage upon awakening. The target may not heal or reroll HP.
  2. Secrets- The caster acquires a skill, or class perk or trait the target knew for [sum] hours after waking. The target loses access to whatever this is until the duration is up. Specific secrets and knowledge may be stolen in this way as well.
  3. Spell- The caster learns a spell from the target, and keeps it until it is cast and returned to the target.
  4. Essence- Single Stats may be stolen for [sum] hours as well
  5. Reflection- Rooms, items, people, sunsets, etc, may be stolen from memory, though they will exist only in the mind-palace of the caster.
  6. Other, perhaps
Once complete, the caster returns to their own mind-palace for the remainder of the duration. As this can be a frightfully dull few hours, it is common for Happy Hunters to bedeck their mind-palace with stolen beauties to make this part of the experience more pleasurable. And the more they hunt, the more attractive their palace becomes, until they behave much like any addict, waking from their dreams of pleasure only long enough to secure another target and another stay in their assembled paradise.

But dreaming happy hunters are quite susceptible to being targeted by OTHER happy hunters, who snag bits of hair and target their oft-sleeping rivals for their beautiful Reflection trophies. And so Hunters must hunt not just for happiness, but to acquire traps and mazes to bamboozle invaders. There are even participants who, rather than hunt, hire themselves out to guard the dreaming clients from rival happy hunters.

And though the nightmare realms are shallow and death only causes waking... they cause the usual nightmare afflictions from trauma. NPCs rapidly acquire nightmare curses and insanity, while players are of slightly sterner stuff and only acquire such maladies upon taking grievous stat damage. These cycles of predation, paranoia, and pain only ever get worse and worse, but as it happens on an alternate plane of thought than the mortal authorities are accustomed to dealing with, these vicious cycles are only terminated once a great deal of damage has already been done.

This spell is excellent for espionage and as such most rulers who understand the implications of the Happy Hunt ban it on pain of death (but may secretly employ users of it). In conjunction with the spell Borehole, some happy hunters forsake the kingdoms of day altogether and live on in their nightmare realm physically as well.

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