5e Monster Monday: Hound of Dreams, an Astral Tracking Magical Beast for D&D 5e
Neil Gaiman is probably my favorite author. The man just has a way with drawing you into these weird faerie-tale realms that feel familiar and beautiful and magical and terrifying that you can’t help but feel nostalgic for the fears and joys of your younger years. Anyway, he has a short story in his back catalogue called the “Sweeper of Dreams.” It’s probably in Fragile Things, but it might be in Smoke and Mirrors. Despite how many times I’ve read both of those anthologies, they blur together into one long, unbroken stream of awesome. Anyway, the titular Sweeper of Dreams is in charge of cleaning up after your dreams, just an unassuming man with a pushbroom who keeps your dreams from piling up.
Now, in true Mr. Gaiman fashion, he leaves the story with the advice to never upset the sweeper, lest he never visit you again. This would be a bad idea.
Now, I think I’m not alone in believing that we owe it to ourselves to use the rich compost of all of the things we’ve read and heard and watched to make interesting denizens of our game worlds. If I am, I think you can probably disregard me entirely. I’m a product of my tastes, and I think that there’s very little new under the sun.
With that firmly in mind, let me introduce you to the Hounds of Dreams:
The Hounds of Dreams
Running through the places where the Near Astral Plane brushes against the Prime Material Plane the Hounds of Dreams come like a parabolic streak of black lightning. Moving at the speed of thought, they pause over the remnants of the dreams of mortals, picking at the choice morsels, clearing the way for the next night’s travel through the realm of Dream.
The Astral Plane is an alien landscape, grey motes of solid ground in a shifting haze of light and color. Where it touches the Feywild, sentient creatures go to dream. This is the place of the Hounds of Dreams. Should your journeys take you to their hunting grounds, you may understand why dreams, remembered only in tattered snippets, are so fleeting.
Eaters of Dreams. Hounds of Dreams exist to clean the detritus from the landscape of dreams. Their diet of raw astral energy given shape and form by the minds of intelligent creatures sustains their unearthly metabolism and powers their constant motion through the shifting chaos. While anything called an Eater of Dreams might be considered a malignant entity, the truth is rather far from the supposition. The Hounds are a force of nature, working to keep the Astral Plane free of cast-off dreams, returning the astral energy to the swirling kaleidoscope of the Plane.
Lost Fey. Sages and arcanists have wondered at the provenance of Hounds of Dreams. The Astral Sea is not a kind realm and very few creatures are truly native to the space. It is posited that the Hounds arose from Fey hounds that crossed the permeable gates of the Feywild into the raw seething chaos of the realm of Dream. There is no sustenance in the Astral Plane, though none is necessary with the strange passage of time. How or why they came to devour dreams, however, is still very much obscure.
Unerring Trackers. What is perfectly well-known is that the Hounds of Dream are unceasingly drawn toward intelligent beings traveling the Astral Plane. This may be an effect of the “reality” of non-native travelers creating a weight in the Astral, like a bar of iron on a stretched sheet, that pulls the Hounds from their unceasing patrol. It may also be that intelligent beings bring their hopes and dreams along with them, and the smell of dreams is as appealing to the Hounds as the smell of fresh meat to a starving wolf. Whatever the case, they will follow at a distance, assaying whether or not the stranger to the plane means ill. If judged friendly, the Hounds may approach and exchange knowledge of the shifting terrain for cast-off dreams. If judged hostile, the Hounds will harry with tooth and claw and stolen nightmares.
If you travel too long the realm of Dream, you may realize that it is a mercy that the Hounds visit each night. The things we forget when we wake are often best forgotten.
Hound of Dreams
Large Animal, unaligned
- Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
- Hit Points 74 (12d8 + 20)
- Speed 60ft.
|15 (+2)||16 (+0)||14 (+2)||8 (-1)||15 (+2)||18 (+4)|
- Condition Immunities Charmed, Paralyzed, Exhaustion
- Damage Immunities Psychic
- Senses passive Perception 15
- Languages Telepathy
- Challenge 6 (4469 XP)
Dream-wise. This creature is immune to psychic damage and recieves advantage on saving throws against Illusion spells. The Hound knows its precise location on the Astral Plane at all times and cannot get lost.
Cacophony of Whispers.(Recharge 5-6) Each creature in a 30′ cone must make a DC 15 Charisma check or take 21 (6d6) psychic damage, or half as much damage on a successful save.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. 10 (2d6+2) Piercing damage. A target bitten must make a DC 16 Strength saving throw or be dragged prone.
Half-Remembered Horror. One Creature within sight of the Hound is tormented by visions of previous nightmares. The creature must make a DC 15 Charisma Saving throw or take 15 (3d8+3) Psychic damage and be Frightened for 1 minute.