In Rêve, “Magicians are called High Dreamers because they perceive the complexities of reality differently from other creatures.” Magic is accomplished by using the Draconic language to influence the Dragons' dreams. However...
Draconic is...not a language in the common sense. It cannot be spoken, phonetically uttered, and no syllable can express it. It cannot be written, and no symbol, rune, hieroglyph, or ideogram can transmit it.Low Dreaming “is the common reality which all creatures perceive.” High Dreaming “is the realm of those beings referred to as the Dragons.” Between the Low and High Dreaming are the Dreamlands, representing “a mental state, a sort of trance which allows the casting of magic.” Only High Dreamers can visit the Dreamlands; they do so via astral projection. In the Dreamlands...
...the slightest error can have catastrophic results. Such a mental state, which places the High Dreamer's consciousness close to the Dragons', demands great discipline and is fraught with peril. The high Dreamer may confront his own doubts, failings, dreams of past incarnations, vortices which may lose him, monsters which he must defeat or repress.Projecting into the Dreamlands is called trancing and requires concentration, “takes a full round, costs one Fatigue point, and requires a Dreamlands encounter check.” There are various types of 'terrain' in the Dreamlands, some examples of which are: swamps, wastes, mountains, sanctuaries, cities, and necropolii. The Dreamlands are represented in game terms “as a symbolic map divided into hexagons.” A corner of this map is displayed below.
When entering the Dreamlands (and every round spent therein), there is a one-in-seven chance that the High Dreamer will have an encounter. The Such encounters “usually represent the High Dreamer's own internal psychological problems, as well as the terrifying proximity of the Dragons' consciousness – but they can also offer assistance.” With an encounter, a High Dreamer must attempt mastery, disengagement, or suppression. In the event of an encounter, percentile dice are rolled to determine the specific encounter in a given terrain.
Some of the possible encounters include: Violet Lotus (if mastered, can increase dream points), Steed (if mastered, transports the astral body to a chosen Dreamland), Whirlwind (if not mastered, transports the astral body to a random Dreamland) and Breaker (if not mastered, breaks the High Dreamer's concentration). It is also possible to encounter a Dragon; mastery of such an encounter can result in a 'Dragon Gift' while failure to master it will result in one or two 'Dragon Tails'.
“Dragon Gifts are extraordinary benefits magicians sometimes gain in the pursuit [of] their calling,” the rules state. They remain with the character for life and can include: characteristic increase, the ability to detect lies, animal empathy, limited poison resistance, et al. Dragon Tails represent “the mental perturbations High Dreamers sometimes experience as a result of bad magical experiences.” If not repressed, Dragon Tails can cause selective amnesia, obsessions (including “only speak in animal noises,” “carry around rocks,” “blacken one's face with ashes,” or “crawl about on all fours”), or mad whims (including “dance naked in the rain,” “kiss a pig on the snout,” “break a glass object,” or “urinate in a violin”).
The High Dreamer must travel to a particular terrain type in order to cast a given spell. For example, a Light spell can only be cast from a Plains hex and a Sleep spell can only be cast from a Swamp hex. Normally, moving to an adjacent hex takes one round.
There are four Draconic skills (or 'Draconic Ways'), each representing a distinct interpretation of the language of Dragons and each reflecting a different 'type' of magic. The Way of Onerios affects the physical world and its spells “include the ability to create heat or light, or transform wood to metal or air to fire.” The Way of Hypnos represents sleep and permits the High Dreamer to affect the minds of others. With Hypnos, a High Dreamer may “cast a spell of sleeping, or seem to be invisible, or conjure a powerful warrior.” The Way of Narcos “represents torpor, inertia...[and] is the way of enchantments...” Finally, the Way of Thanatos is “of nightmare and necromancy: curses, metamorphoses, and animation of the dead are the tools of the practitioners of this dark art.”