WILD - A Roleplaying Game of Dreamshare


WILD stands for Wake Initiated Lucid Dreaming, a real world technique for meditating into a dream while maintaining a lucid state. Within a lucid dream you can control your actions, and with practice do just about anything.

The dreaming in the WILD RPG is slightly different as the technology that allows the characters to dreamshare makes the dream experience more coherent, more logical, and (more importantly) more playable as a roleplaying game. That's not to say you can't create incredibly weird fantasy worlds, but we'll come to the strange stuff in a moment.


The background setting of the waking world in WILD is basically the same as we experience every day. The same technology, entertainment and events. The major difference is the existence of dreamshare technology. 

Pioneered by Carter Henderson, the dreamshare technology began life as an advanced BCI (Brain-Computer Interface) designed to allow users to access computers when their hands were occupied (such as pilots, divers or astronauts) or when physically impaired. It was due to revolutionise how we use computers. As he was presenting this new technology at the Electronic Media Expo, he received word that something had happened to his daughter, Clarity. There was an accident, and she remained in a coma with above average brain activity. Carter spent every moment working on adapting his new BCI to allow him to communicate with Clarity within her comatose state.

And so the dreamshare device was born.

The dreamshare device, nicknamed ALIS (Augmented Lucidity Induction System) - or PALIS for its Portable equivalent - uses a feedback loop, taking the dream imagery the subject is experiencing, enhancing it and sending it back into the mind of the dreamer. The result is an extremely clear and detailed environment that is almost indistinguishable from the waking world. The device takes this information and can link additional users into this loop, allowing multiple dreamers to experience the same environment together, diving into the same dream, interacting with each other while simultaneously enhancing the setting.

While multiple dreamers are sharing the experience, there is a primary dreamer - the user whose mind, and dreams, the others are dropped into. The primary dreamer can change in a single dive but we'll come to that later. 

The ALIS device itself as been refined, developed and condensed since its first working version. The initial device used to aid in the waking of Clarity Henderson was the size of a room, while the current commercial device is a portable unit about the size of a large, wheeled suitcase. Access to a device this intrusive into the minds of the users is limited and monitored by Carter’s company, ClareIT, and not available to the general public.

The first commercial use was for psychiatric research and treatment. Devices have been made available to a number of hospitals and research centres worldwide to allow subjects suffering from sleep disorders, night terrors, emotional or psychological problems, effects from trauma or stress, or other debilitating conditions, to seek direct treatment with a trained psychiatrist, therapist or counsellor, allowing them to confront their issues, reveal hidden problems and overcome their worries and fears. A trained specialist will go into the dreaming mind of the patient and witness the problems firsthand, offering advice and support both while dreaming and awake. [WILD RPG sessions can be run with these themes for players who want an experience like The Sleepwalker Project, Reverie, Legion, Dreamscape, Paprika, Suckerpunch or Maniac]

The military was quick to see the potential of the device, allowing groups to train in a controlled environment that realistically simulates any encounter with little risk to the personnel. Squads could be hooked up to the device and sent into prerendered missions, sometimes based on advance intelligence, to allow teams to prepare for what may lay ahead of them. There have been reports of anomalies, troops becoming trapped, while others have seen the freedom of their dream reality and gone mad with power. There are rumours of enemy forces using reverse engineered devices from stolen technology to extract intelligence from captured personnel. [Campaigns can be played with these elements for players who want an experience like Harsh Realm.]

Police and investigators have discovered that, with the suspect/victim's consent, detectives can enter their dreams and memories to experience a scene as the crime was occurring, to locate physical evidence, establish motive, and identify witnesses. Some investigators have been researching the use of the device to enter the unconscious of suspects to establish intent for possible future crimes, or into the minds of the very recently deceased - though the risks involved in this are incredibly high. [This would allow players to enact games that feel like Extraction, Stitchers, or Minority Report].

Some major companies have started using the device, not only to monitor the mental wellbeing of their staff, but also to run simulations and create architectural constructions in a recorded dreamscape. However, some companies have taken to using the device to steal ideas and concepts, or learn what their competitors have planned through less than legal means. [Corporate espionage through dreamshare is the obvious Inception theme].

A few companies have recently launched offering the ultimate holiday - shared dream realities with predesigned environments where the vacationer can experience holiday destinations and entertainments that could not be experienced in the waking world. From a holiday in a world of fantasy and magic, to a starship caught in the middle of a civil war, anything can be sampled for the right price. However, this is relatively new and there have been some side-effects… [Players wanting a game experience that captures the twisting reality of Westworld, Total Recall, Larry Niven’s Dream Park, or Ready Player One can find it here.]

Devices have made it onto the black market, with the technology being reverse engineered to make substandard and less reliable units. Along with corporate espionage, these units have been found in underground fight clubs, black market trading of dream recordings, and an unsettling rise in people becoming addicted to using the devices. [Think elements of Strange Days, Dollhouse, and Until the End of the World].

But, further below the surface, strange things are happening. The researchers at ClareIT have been experimenting with multiple levels of dreamstates - dreams within dreams. They discovered what Jung called the Collective Unconscious - a state at the deepest level of dreaming. An endless domain of dreaming where anything is possible. However, residing in this level are dream creatures and powerful archetypes - manifestations of concepts and types. They are sentient, and they are curious about the world above.

It’s not the first time that researchers have ventured into this area. Oneironauts discovered the Collective Unconscious decades before, exploring its strange sights and encountering the bizarre denizens. [Something gamers who have played in H.P. Lovecraft’s Dreamlands, or readers of Neil Gaiman’s comic series The Sandman and The Dreaming will be familiar with.] In the past, some of these creatures, and some of the archetypes, have connected to the oneironaut and travelled back into the waking world, almost possessing the dreamer while they are awake. Some of their dreaming abilities have manifested, and researchers have thought these are behind many reports of paranormal activity - hauntings, poltergeists and possessions - over the years. [Recently paranormal investigators have taken dreamshare devices with them to dive into the dreams and nightmares of those affected by these “hauntings”. Ideal for gamers who want a spookier horror game along the lines of The Conjuring, Insidious, or A Nightmare on Elm St.]

More recently, in the early 1970s as part of the US Government’s top secret MKULTRA projects, a group of scientists at a facility in rural Maine managed to punch a direct hole from the waking world into the deepest level of the dreaming. This dream door released a handful of the strangest explorers from their realm into our world. The researchers vanished, and the door has been physically sealed, but strange things have continued to manifest in the area. The nearby town of Oakstown Mill suffered the most from these incursions, and was quickly abandoned to become another in a long line of ghost towns. The population relocated and, with government subsidies, formed New Oakstown twenty miles away. Kids have been known to dare each other to go into the old town’s abandoned remains. [The weirdness that leaks from the old MKULTRA facility, and the ghost town, is a perfect setting both in the past and the present, for gamers who wish to run sessions inspired by Twin Peaks, Silent Hill or Stranger Things.]

WILD can be run in multiple settings and themes, with the only connecting factor being the weird, the surreal, and the dreamlike.

[More info, and to purchase, on wildrpg.com]