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5th level Dream! Its a fun and creative spell. Though how creative can one be?

What activities can the messenger and or the target of Dream do while under the affects of the spell? Can they cast spells? Use magical items?

My current idea is this: Cast Dream on a BBEG, whilst in the dream can I cast Detect Thoughts on said BBEG to gain insight and other information?

Also, what happens when one dies or is harmed in the Dream Spell?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I suggest you edit your question title to be a bit more descriptive of what you're actually asking. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Mar 1 '19 at 16:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ It looks like you have two questions packed into one post here: one about using magic in dream and a second about death in dream. Could you focus on just one (so answers can all be on the same topic), and post the other as its own question post? Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 1 '19 at 16:28
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It's all just a dream

You're asking a couple of questions, but they can all be answered with a single answer: the dream messenger isn't really going anywhere, and the person whose dream they are visiting is asleep. From the spell's text (emphasis mine):

You, or a willing creature you touch, enters a trance state, acting as a messenger. While in the trance, the messenger is aware of his or her surroundings, but can't take actions or move.

If the target is asleep, the messenger appears in the target's dreams and can converse with the target

So, by the time the messenger has entered the dream of the sleeping target, neither the messenger nor the target can take actions or move. The messenger can't take actions or move because the spell says so, and the target can't take actions or move because they are unconscious.

Since neither creature can take actions, this means no spellcasting, no attacking, no using items, or much of anything other than what the spell itself allows. Furthermore, the caster of dream isn't actually traveling anywhere, so the target of the spells wouldn't be in range even if you could cast the spell you want to cast. Lastly, since the dream isn't real and no one is physically present in it, no one can die or be harmed in the dream.

You can do anything you can dream of

So basically, the only mechanical effect that the dream spell can produce is the "spawn a nightmare" feature. However, beyond that, the messenger is free to shape the dream in whatever way they please. It won't let you directly read the target's thoughts, but if you're clever, you might be able to come up with a dream scenario that will fool the target into unwittingly revealing you want to know.

For example, suppose you're planning an invasion of the BBEG's fortress, and you want to know what defenses the BBEG has prepared. You might concoct a dream scenario where you pose as the BBEG's lieutenant. You report that the party has been sighted approaching the fortress and request orders. Hopefully, the BBEG will fall for it and start issuing orders like "man the cannons", "prepare the boiling oil trap", "release the basilisks", and so on, thus giving you valuable information on what defenses to expect when you invade for real.

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The Dream spell does what it says it does!

The spell states:

You, or a willing creature you touch, enters a trance state, acting as a messenger. While in the trance, the messenger is aware of his or her surroundings, but can't take Actions or move.

So the messenger, as in the 'real' physical person sitting in a trance state, cannot take actions or do anything in the real world while in this state.

The reason I say in the real world is because the spell description goes on to say:

If the target is asleep, the messenger appears in the target's dreams and can converse with the target as long as it remains asleep, through the duration of the spell. The messenger can also shape the environment of the dream, creating landscapes, objects, and other images

So you (or the messenger) can talk to the target and basically turn the target's dream into anything you like! But it must be remembered that this IS still a dream. It cannot do anything outside the bounds of what the spell description says (such as casting other spells 'through' the dream).

Bad Dreams

However, the spell does go on to say that you can make the messenger appear monstrous and horrifying to the target, force them to make a Wisdom save or lose the benefits of the rest and take 3d6 psychic damage. But that is the only external effect the dream can have.

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