Dreamscape of the Endless Hunt
Winter Magnitude 30
Performing the Ritual
This effect is a curse. A target may be under more than one curse at a time.
This ritual creates a curse that is delivered to a target with a pronouncement of doom: one of the contributors is chosen to deliver the curse, and they must do so within fifteen minutes or it falls on their own head.
While under the curse the target cannot recover hero points or personal mana naturally, or through the use of a Dragonbone Symbol, or an enchanted aura such as The Chamber of Delights. They recover any used mana and hero points at the start of each month and other effects that restore hero points or mana points such as the Philtres of War, Philtres of the High Peaks and Crystaltender's Vestment work normally.
In addition they experience a powerful roleplaying effect; whenever they sleep they suffer nightmares of being hunted through a dark wasteland by an implacable, inescapable foe or foes. Whenever they are alone, they feel as if something unspeakable is closing in on them, especially if it is night time.
The effect of the ritual lasts for a year (until the start of the Profound Decisions Empire event four events from now).
Removing the Curse
Effects that allow a character to experience a dreamless sleep prevent the nightmares, but do not allow the character to regain hero points or personal mana. They let the character roleplay that their sleep has been untroubled, but they do not protect from the other roleplaying effects.
The curse can be removed by certain powerful creatures or items. It can also be alleviated by powerful effects that remove supernatural fear. While an anointing may help the target endure the effects, it cannot remove the curse.
This curse effectively makes hero points and personal mana into event resources rather than daily resources. While the ritual indicates that resources recover at the start of the month, it is the intention that they are always available at the start of a player event.
This dreadful curse can leave its victim on the verge of insanity. Night after night they are hunted in their dreams, unable to rest properly, and unable to face their pursuer (should it even exist). They often become pale and withdrawn .. but they also crave the company of others because the oppressive power of the curse quickly makes them afraid to be alone.
Some elements of the constant nightmares are common between victims. The chase takes place through a wasteland - through a twisted forest, across a frozen plain, among the maze-like streets of a crumbling city or through the rooms of a cyclopean citadel. The pursuer is never seen, although it is frequently heard - its breath is felt on the back of the neck, its claws or weapons may be felt grabbing at the hair or cloak, its thundering hooves or mournful howling may be heard distantly... or right behind. The dreamer themself is almost always weakened or crippled in some way - reduced to childhood, horribly injured, unarmed, unarmoured and alone, bereft of strength and magic alike. Courage is insufficient; challenges to the phantom pursuer merely seem to bring with them a mounting sense of unease that turns into dread and finally a supernatural compulsion to flee.
Magical scholars believe that this curse is more than just a phantasm, that it creates a connection between the target and some horrible predatory creature, possibly the eternal known as the Wendigo, perhaps some other primaeval force of terror. Some victims claim to have been hunted by massive, emaciated wolves reminiscent of the Hounds of Sorin.
(OOC Note: You should feel free to create details of your vivid, lucid dream using the information presented here as a starting point. A referee will not provide additional specific information about the dream beyond what is presented here.)
As with many curses this ritual often involves a recitation of the grievances against the target or invocations to fearful and mysterious agents of paranoia and dread. Ritualists may cowl themselves or use fearsome masks - Winterfolk ritualists often wear the headdresses of predatory beasts and call on their totems when they perform the ritual.
The rune Kyrop is often evoked, symbolising the weakness that the curse will bring.