2
\$\begingroup\$

This is purely flavor for the game and holds no real impact on the overall story, but I thought it could be kind of fun. My character is currently only a few weeks pregnant so I don't think it would work yet, but when she gets further along, say 30 weeks or so, could it work? What would happen if my character cast dream on her unborn baby?

\$\endgroup\$
4
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to our site! Please take our tour to see how things work here. I suspect most of the downvotes have to do with the controversial nature of the topic; they aren't (or shouldn't be) a slight against you or your curiosity. I hope you stick around, and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 20:18
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ For the close voters, I don't see this as opinion based. There is certainly a rules answer we can provide. The real world controversy surrounding this topic need not interfere with rules answers. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 20:23
  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ Just because a question is unanswerable does not mean it is inappropriate for the stack. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 23:46
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ the homebrew tag does not apply here \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 20:55

1 Answer 1

18
\$\begingroup\$

There are three questions at play and they all must be answered by your DM.

A creature?

Choose a creature known to you as the target of this spell. The target must be on the same plane of existence as you. Creatures that don't sleep... can't be contacted by this spell.

The first element is at what point a fetus becomes a creature. This is most certainly not explained in the rules. The youngest creatures we have in official content are as early as birth as illustrated by dragon wyrmlings.

That being said, there is no example of a pre-birth entity being labelled a creature.

You will have to ask your DM since there are no rules regarding this.

Can they sleep?

Choose a creature known to you as the target of this spell. The target must be on the same plane of existence as you. Creatures that don't sleep... can't be contacted by this spell.

From what I've gathered from some cursory research, it is not clear whether or when a fetus begins to "sleep" rather than simply "resting". In fact, it seems like the relevant literature often refers to "activity-rest cycles" for fetuses rather "sleep cycles".

A fetus, therefore, may not be able to sleep meaning it could not be targeted by dream.

Since this doesn't seem settled in our world, let alone incorporating the discrepancies of a D&D world and fantasy races, you will have to ask your DM if a fetus can sleep.

Can they dream?

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.

Along the same vein as sleep, it is unclear whether fetuses dream. Again, this doesn't seem settled, and I've only skimmed a handful of research articles, but the consensus seems to lean towards fetuses not dreaming.

Even so, the D&D world and fantasy races clause still applies. Ask your DM if fetuses dream in their world.


If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then a fetus could be targeted by dream. However, there propensity for communication would still be limited by their capacity.

\$\endgroup\$
5
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Some thoughts: while there is no in-game definition of what is and is not a creature, there is likely a diagetic answer and it would be known by any PC's familiar with magic. If unborn children are creatures, then expectant mothers need to be very careful about interacting with spells that have creature limits, such as rope trick, tiny hut, and teleport circle. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 0:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, apparently MToF says "From birth, elves don't sleep but instead enter a trance when they need to rest". This could mean that before birth, elves do sleep, which might imply that other creatures also sleep before birth. Of course, it could also mean, 'After birth, elves don't sleep, and before birth, we don't know what they do.' \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 0:44
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Finally, even if the baby is a creature, can sleep, and can dream, there is another limit to the Dream spell - when it says "the messenger...can converse with the target" that is almost certainly presuming that the two share a language, while the unborn child may as yet have no language proficiencies. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 0:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ After finally, DM's wishing to have a pseudo-medieval feel to their world might wish to learn more about the quickening. One might rule that babies are not creatures up until the quickening, but after that they are. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 0:49
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @TieflingDragon84 Let's try to keep the discussion to the rules. D&D treats humans differently from our world. For example, a corpse may or may not be a creature, but we still treat dead people with dignity despite this. Let's not extend discussions on the rules to the ethical framework of the real world. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 17:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .