The Sirens: Nightmare Realm [Season 3, Episode 8]

Remember that Twilight Zone episode where a child is able to shape reality? Or most X-Men plots where parents freak out about their kids developing powers? Let’s flip the script and imagine an over protective mother who is a master mask maker—and clearly the old Genesis spell.

It all begins when innocent ol’ Girasol visits Padma and attempts to speak within the mask. Read below for an exploration on Planes in Faerun and a recap of Episode 8!

The Out-Of-Game recap:

The Bag of Holding is a mysterious place… Inside rests a near limitless expansion of places to put your hard earned loot. The old legend of putting a Bag of Holding within a Bag of Holding still rings true for many D&D tables. So it’s no surprise that inside Ghost’s mask, which lives inside a Bag of Holding… has some crazy messed up stuff going on when the party gets sucked into the Nightmare Realm. If you’re unfamiliar with Planar Travel in Faerun or D&D in general, here’s a primer.

The Material Planes are where everything really awesome takes place (basically nearly every game ever). It’s a ball of rock, and occasionally, people live on it… maybe some Elves, Dwarves, and other races too. Yet with the cunning use of spellcraft, players can cast Plane Shift, Gates, Wishes, and more to hop from one plane to another. The Feywild, and Shadowfell are two sides of the same coin, both are mirror reflections of the Material Plane. Surrounding those planes, we have a nice bubble called the Ethereal Plane where anyone who casts Blur, or Ethereal Jaunt ends up. A little further out, we have the Elemental Planes, and Elemental Chaos.

This entire batch makes up the the Inner Planes. These planes are close, and actually affect the player characters. After all, many creatures summoned come from the Inner Planes. Once you reach the Outer Planes, each becomes it’s own world with a unique ecosphere. The Beastlands will always differ from Elysium or Hades. In these Outer Realms, entire campaigns can happen without ever referencing another world. A Devil based chronicle could take place on each lair of the Nine Hells where players jockey for a position between the Archdukes of Hell. We highly encourage you to look at the Outer Planes as full planets with their own political agenda—doing so gives them gravitas to the characters who may be simple farmers.

Beyond even the Outer Planes you run into the Astral Plane (pictured below) which is a lovely place. It’s where minds, thoughts, and dreams are all that’s left. We often think of the Astral Realm as a place for human thoughts - but remember that in the Faerun setting, Beholders are born from their own dreams. Tack on a Positive Plane of creative energy, and slap some entropic Negative Plane and you’ve reached the end of the magically known universe.

Or have we?

Wizards, creatures of great power, Djinn, and probably a handful of things from the Monsters Manual can fiddle with this by creating their own mini-realms. Like portable Bag’s of Holding. Each realm is nestled somewhere in the infinite address’s of these planes. Since near every wizard wants to be a god of their realms (even if they don’t know it yet), this at least gives storytellers a place to put over powered and retired characters. “Here you go, you’ve made your own personal heaven. You win. The end.”

Based off Episode 8, I do see a few opportunities for the Emerald Cabal. If the Sirens keep foiling their business plans, they should open up an exclusive club in another Plane, and store their monsters there.

The Astral Plane is a pleasant place for vacations. You should check out the hot tubs.

The Astral Plane is a pleasant place for vacations. You should check out the hot tubs.

The Story Thus Far:

Every plane has its own rules. In the Nightmare Realm, the thoughts of characters become reality. For everyone involved, this is a massive shock once they are put into this horrid realm. For Ghost…She’s been trapped here the entire time, barely able to escape when needed. This is where Girasol starts the party’s descent into utter chaos. Rolling on the wrong side of the d20, the entire group is sucked into the mask, and become dream-like versions of themselves. The first hint that something more is wrong; comes when the realm pulls negative memories from Girasol to create a beach beside a jungle (the realm also offers doughnuts on a plate to them, which then crumble to ash).

Truly a terrible place.

Each character goes through their own journey in this realm, though they end up together at times, and then split again. Paultin ends up in an overcast castle with everything around him being dead, and Driebus finds an abandoned party house in town. After taking the time to get their bearings, they finally discover masks that help them navigate and face their fears. Sometimes together, sometimes apart in a search for Ghost.

Ghosts backstory is featured prominently in this episode as she’s had to survive in this realm by living in her own pocket memories. Her mother, a master mask maker, the birth of Thistle, how she got her name Ghost, and when she named her own pet Dragon are all covered in their journey. Until it’s Orisha’s turn to showcase how her partner was murdered due to their plans to escape captivity. This adventure, is a way to showcase each characters backstory to the rest of the party in a method that is showing, rather than telling. Everyone gets to live the horrible nightmares of each other, until Ghost remembers how to get the entire party out of the realm.

Now if only a member of the Emerald Cabal had been along for the ride to learn the groups wonderful secrets.

Have the Sirens been betrayed? Will the Emerald Cabal finally get the upper hand they deserve?