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Nightmares are abilities of a Beast that allow them to inspire supernatural terror and fear into their target.
Unlike Atavisms, which are instinctual representations of the Horror, Nightmares have to be learned by the Begotten, either by traveling the Primordial Dream, or by being a witness to another Beast, or even another supernatural. Certain Families are drawn instinctively toward specific Nightmares, but the fears called up by these powers are deep and fundamental enough that any Beast can manifest any Nightmare with equal facility. Familial differences are more apparent in the hallucinations and sense-images the victims suffer.
Nightmares are expressions of deep-buried fears that go deeper even than the subconscious mind, straight to the collective soul of humanity. These fears are not always debiliating - someone in the grip of terror runs faster than an unfrightened person. While Nightmares are “all in your head” in the sense that only the victim experiences the effects and sees the hallucinations, that’s not the same thing as Nightmares being “illusionary” or somehow “not real.” The effects of Nightmares are very real and are quite capable of inflicting somatic injury or even death.
To activate a Nightmare, the Begotten has to either touch the victim or meet its gaze. Afterwards, the Begotten speaks a few words that invoke the terror. The victim needs not to understand the language in which the words are spoken. Nightmares are a product of the Beast’s Satiety and connection to the physical world; a well-fed Beast is closer to the human world, and thus better able to tap into the more cerebral side of the Primordial Dream.
Nightmares come in various forms, depending on what instance the Beast based them off. Below are a few examples how specific Nightmares could work. By expending Satiety, the Beast can furthermore enhance these effects.
- "Your Teeth are Falling Out": Visions of old age and infirmity wrack the victim. High Satiety expand it to physical actions taken against the target.
- "Bugs Everywhere": Visions of millions of bugs crawling upon one's skin. High Satiety allows the bugs to bite and inject a non-traceable poison into the target.
- "Run Away": The victim flees instinctively. High Satiety allows the Beast to direct where to exactly the victim has to flee.
- "You Must Obey": The victim has to acquiesce a specific demand of the Begotten. High Satiety raises the complexity of this demand.
- "You will Never Rest": The victim feels as if it hadn't sleep for several weeks. High Satiety allows to twist any sleep the victim might get into a tormented coma.
- , p.132-134