So, I have run into a bit of a problem. You see, I am currently creating a magic system for a second fantasy world I'm working on, and I am unable to figure out how to solve some of the problems posed by how the system itself functions. My question is: If a magic user has to enter into a dream-state, meaning they have to be asleep to use their magic, how would they protect themselves from harm? A few notes on how the system works:

  • These magic users, called Dreamers, are able to enter the "dreamworld" and shape reality around them when they are asleep.

  • They use powdered magic crystals called dreamdust to fall asleep whenever they need to use their powers.

  • When they are in the dreamworld, they inhabit a "spirit" body separate from their own.

  • Dreamers can "possess" golems made of dreamdust crystals using their spirit bodies, but do not always have access to these due to them being expensive and difficult to produce.

  • A Dreamer who is unusually powerful can control their physical body as well as their spirit bodies at the same time while awake, but magic users capable of this are extremely rare.

  • Lastly, Dreamers are responsible in most places for fighting the "nightmares", which are basically demons that inhabit the dreamworld.

Sorry for the information overload, but basically my question boils down to this: considering the factors listed above, how would a Dreamer defend their physical bodies while they are asleep without using their spirit forms to guard themselves?

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    $\begingroup$ Same way I do: Lock the door at night. Use a smoke detector. Wear snugly PJs. Check for monsters under the bed. $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2017 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ I am upvoting this idea because I like CandiedOrange's comment so much. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jun 28, 2017 at 1:58
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    $\begingroup$ guard themselves against what? And what's different from normal mortal sleeping? $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Jun 28, 2017 at 7:45
  • $\begingroup$ Congratulations, you just described mages and deckers from PnP Shadowrun (5). While they are in the spirit world/matrix, their body is unconsciousness. Sadly, to be effective, they need to be close to the physical position where their skills are needed. The usual solution is that the rest of the players protect the bodies, moving them in more or less make-shift ways. The only difference is that they cannot awake (their mind is absent, forcing it to return causes damage). They are like very deep sleepers. $\endgroup$
    – JFBM
    Jun 28, 2017 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_sequence_induction $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Dec 26, 2018 at 4:15

6 Answers 6



How do you protect yourself while you sleep now? Most people lock their doors and windows. At the advanced end, you might have a security system that calls the police in case of break-in.


You may be able to locate your sleeping place where no one can find it.


If dreamers are protecting normal people while dreaming, won't normal people be willing to protect the dreamers?


Perhaps one dreamer can't afford guards, great locks, or even a secret hideaway. So group together. One or two dreamers might animate golems or their own physical bodies and hang back to protect the underground lair in the volcano. The others can be out fighting the nightmares.

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    $\begingroup$ Within the "share" category, there's also sleeping in shifts. $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2017 at 6:17

Mages are usually pretty defenseless anyway, I don't see how being asleep changes much. If anything, they will be less of a target and possibly safer anyway.

So really you are asking how do weak, defenseless mages protect themselves. And the answer is always the same:

Lots of big tough friends.


Perhaps they have some creature from the dreamworld defend them? Something that comes through when they go in, like a familiar or an elemental.

A simpler solution would be to simply have hired guards.

Would a protective spell work? Perhaps something illusionary to hide them or some sort of force-field.

Perhaps it is widely known in this world that disturbing (or killing) a Dreamer wakes them or causes rifts between the physical world and the dreamworld. This could have hazardous consequences for everyone involved, such as 'dream monsters' coming through, or surges of violent energy.


The most obvious solution is to have guards protecting the magic user while he's asleep. Or have him only use magic in a secure room.

Alternatively he you could find some way to use their powers against anyone who might try to harm the physical body without knowing more details on how their powers work I can't keep you much of a suggestion but perhaps they can somehow produce their own version of nightmares and use them to attack anyone trying to hurt their sleeping body.


Fear of the Dreamers' Pact

Ordinary folk are terrified of harming any Dreamer when they are asleep, because they fear revenge. All Dreamers, good or evil, participate in a common Pact, that an attack on any of them is an attack on all of them, if such an attacker dare make his move while his victim dreams. Fear of this arrangement has led to a reality where nobody has dared harm a sleeping Dreamer for hundreds of years. It is unthinkable. If such an attack were to occur, every Dreamer would be obligated to respond, whether the attacker be friend or foe, even if it were to split their family, or even if it were to unite old enemies.


A psychic works together

It's unmentioned in your description so I write some preconditions here:

  • Spirits from dreamworld are invisible to normal people. But there could be some d evices or talented ones who can communicate with spirits.

  • Nightmares can also alter the real world and harm citizens in this manner. (So dreamers need an efficient way to protect or warn them.)

  • In the spirit state dreamers' vision is dim and limited because they're literally dreaming. (So they need someone to inform them how is everything going on.) And this powerful magic may be equally dangerous, If you don't stay concentrated you may lost connection to the mundane world and wandering in dreamworld for eternity.

A psychic has no power to actually deal with a spiritual entity but he can grasp the whole picture of current situation and tell the dreamer what happened or what to do, and vice versa. Basically, psychic is there to make sure nothing's going wrong and dreamer's here make things done.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, Egois. Please note that the Worldbuilding SE is dedicated to providing detailed answers to specific questions. Your answer appears to add constraints to the question, which may alter what the OP intends or already has developed and simply hasn't shared. Please refrain from doing this in the future and try to answer only using the material provided in the question. Feel free to take the tour to get a better understanding of the site. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jun 28, 2017 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre yeah, you're right. My whole point is that the character don't have to work alone but two specialists deal with different part of the job.(a guard is not enough) But I made it too detailed and complicated. Thanks for your reply. $\endgroup$
    – Egois
    Jun 28, 2017 at 13:28

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