I'm about to run my D&D 3.P (Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 / Pathfinder) group through a "dream game" while they're on a journey between the Material Plane and the plane of Mechanus on the equivalent of a spelljammer.

The material I could "easily" find on Dream is very limited... I have been able to find only a couple of pages on it in Manual of the Planes... Are there any other materials that have any information on Dream?

Some background on what's going on: a couple of my players have multiple characters. As my group has grown, they have had to pick which one is their "main" character for that game session and can, within reason, switch them out 'in town'. Two of the players have another set of characters for when the rest of the group doesn't make it and they want to play anyway... No big deal, other than they're fun monstrosities that shouldn't be allowed to exist (one being a half-marilith kasatha, and the other being a half-balor illithid), but they're fun anyway.

So one guy's "mains" are the half-marilith kasatha, and a melee oriented Goliath. The Goliath has some Unarmed Strike ability, while the half-marilith kasatha is unarmed but untrained in unarmed combat.

Long story short, the goliath was knocked very unconscious on the outer hull of the spelljammer...

In this game, the "phlogiston" is more akin to the 40K warp in that 'strange' things happen, especially if you use magic for anything other than spelljamming...

So, while the two are being healed, and it's between games, I'm going to have the goliath be stuck in the Dream realm, forcing at least some of the group to learn Dreamwalking (not a big deal in my system to learn something on the fly, within reason for my system).

My primary question is: Do the PCs gain any experience for their experiences within Dream?


3 Answers 3


Combat is not the only way that XP is earned in 3.5 and pathfinder. Why would you not be able to have events in the dream world also award XP based on some difficulty rating?


Experience is awarded for a number of things:

  • Combat: the most well known method
  • Bypassing a trap: finding it, and bypassing or disabling it
  • Surviving a trap: yes, you get XP in this case too.
  • Story awards: meeting goals, or discovering plot related things.
  • Ad hoc: actually the LARGEST category of XP awards, this category covers literally EVERYTHING ELSE that you should be giving out XP for. Find a hidden room? Exploration ad hoc award! Change an NPCs mind on a difficult subject through excellent role play? RP ad hoc award! Make the tough choice your character would do, even though you, the player, know it's a bad idea? Another RP ad hoc award! Clever use of non standard tactics the DM didn't see coming? You-Got-Me-This-Time ad hoc award! Made 20 saving throws in a row in 20 rounds? You're-Lucky ad hoc award!

(This actually happened to one of my players, he made all the saving throws against poison for his character and the horse... craziest streak of luck I've ever seen. I awarded his character (and horse) immunity to that particular poison, just for fun.

Have a crazy dream that you can't tell apart from reality? Ad hoc XP award!

Go for it, and have fun!

(Awarding XP, including ad hoc XP is covered in the DMG. )

  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with XP for pure luck streaks. While I would give them immunity or at least bonus against that particular poison, pretty much as a keepsake, I don't believe players or characters should be awarded for simply having lucky rolls. It is basically randomly awarding XP to some players and not others. Players should have equal chances to earn XP, not win it on a kind of lottery. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Aug 4, 2020 at 22:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's like fate points, you get them because, because. It wasn't much XP, like a hundred points or something. Just to commemorate, basically. Like the Chinese saying, luck is also a power or skill if you can take advantage of the moment. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Aug 5, 2020 at 13:33

I will give an answer related to 2e because it is a very good source of information and can be adapted to 3e with some effort.

Dreams are linked to the Ethereal Plane in 2e, so we have some rules about dreams in the Planescape Campaign Extension Book, 'The Inner Planes'. But the real jewel is the Ravenloft Campaign Extension Box, 'The Nightmare Lands', since it use the Planescape rules and expand them with a lot of details.

In 'Book Two: The Rules of Dreams and Nightmares', Chapter II: Dream Rules, we have rules about the dreamselves and the different levels of reality, dreams belonging to level 1, dreamscapes to level 2, reality itself to level 3 and hyper-reality to level 4. Experience is related to the degree of danger a character is exposed and level 1 does not offers any XP. Level 2 does:

experience points in level 2 reality

Level 3 also does as normal reality.

And Level 4 also does:

experience points in level 4 reality

I found these rules after a long search to use in an adventure I was writing in my own campaign using 2e P.O. rules. I used it with some adaptation for my beholder villian and I do think valid to share.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Very impressive nice find! Any chance of a page number quote? \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Nov 10, 2023 at 15:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Dream Rules begin at page 10 from book II. The grey boxes are at pages 29 and 30. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lucas
    Nov 10, 2023 at 16:12

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