Like all Kithain, Pooka have an odd relationship with the Dreaming. They are a part of it, and it calls to them in their fae souls. Yet, their mortal seemings prevent them from permanently returning and not going in Bedlam. It is a fantastic place, where any Pooka can find innumerous wonders to satisfy curiosity, create pranks impossible in the mundane world, and frolic with animals long extinct.
When Kithain enter the Dreaming, their fae nature becomes stronger. Cantrips are easier to cast and Banality starts to burn away. The deeper into the Dreaming they go, the "more fae" they become. This is known as the Augmen. It happens slowly, over hours or days ass they traverse the Dreaming, as what makes them Kithain exaggerates and their Mortal Seemings fade and are buried deep beneath. Pooka are no exception. Half animal already, the changes the Augmen brings to Pooka are never subtle.
The Near Dreaming
This close to the Autumn World, Pooka are no more affected than any other Kithain in the Near Dreaming. As mentioned, Arts become easier to perform, and Banality starts to fade away, but this is true of all Changelings.
The Far Dreaming
Now we start to see changes. Big changes. Appearance-wise, the Pooka's animal nature takes over the body more than ever. Bones alter structure, skin and hair change color, fur or feathers or scales sprout everywhere. Pooka, normally human with a few animalistic features, now appear as a more even melding of the two. A cat pooka in the Autumn World may have been just a young woman with feline ears and a tail before, but now she has cat eyes, fur all over her body and claws that mean business.
Personalities change as well. Pooka become more secretive, more charming and more annoying (somehow all at once). The urge for jokes and pranks becomes practically uncontrollable and constant. Any oppotunity for a laugh is too good to pass up. Their lies lose all subtlty, becoming outrageous and very obvious. Energy levels seem to shoot up in the Far Dreaming, like a hyperactive child on a sugar rush. Yet, despite how overboard the Pooka become, everyone else has trouble taking offense. Pooka are cuter than ever now. The Birthrights and Frailty of the Pooka also increase in interesting ways....
Shapeshifting: First, a Pooka can now change shape in front of witnesses. No longer must the be alone and out of sight. Second, the Pooka's Animal Mien can change size as well. Anywhere from three times as large to three times as small as normal. Giant insects or tiny horses are hardly an odd sight in the Far Dreaming.
Confidant: The ability to get others to spill their guts only gets easier here. The "victim's" resistance is not what it used to be as the undeniable charm of the Pooka grows stronger. Where before the difficulty was the target's Willpower, it is now only half their Willpower.
Lies: Sometimes, the trouble with being a habitual liar is you have trouble believing what anyone else says as well. This is what the Pooka find when they come to the Far Dreaming. They cannot believe what others say. Even if the Pooka knows he hears the truth, he cannot accept it as such. Everyone lies to you now.
The Deep Dreaming
In the furthest reaches of the Dreaming, Birthrights and Frailties grow yet stronger. What happens in the Far Dreaming is nothing compared to the wildness of the Deep. It is not the strangest and most dangerous part of the Dreaming for nothing.
Shapeshifting: Just one form? Forget it. In the Deep Dreaming, Pooka can now shapechange into any animal you can imagine! Size is no consequence now, and even fantastic "animals" are possible. Pooka can become dragons with just a thought.
As incredibly cool as that is, there is an inherent danger. With such metamorphic power at their disposal, many Pooka find they don't want to leave. The body of a dragon or a unicorn or a phoenix is too good to pass up, and more than one Pooka has headed off into the Deep, to live new lives in their new bodies, never to be seen again.
Confidant: This power has become so great, that it is automatic. No roll is required. Others will just start telling all their secrets with the Pooka having to do nothing more that say hello. The "victims" can only stop speaking by spending a Willpower point, once they relaize they should shut up. By then, however, it is usally too late to get the cat back in the bag.
Lies: Pooka now lie so much even they don't understand what they are saying. Even if a lie is already complex and intricate, the Pooka cannot resist expanding on it, tangling their web of lies more and more.
And forget about trusting anyone. It goes beyond not believing what anyone says, Pooka simply cannot trust anyone at all. They kept their distance from everyone and become the essence of paranoia. This is part of the reason many Pooka take fantastic shapes and stay in the Deep Dreaming. They just don't trust their motleys any more.
Places of Import in the Dreaming
There are many "stable" points in the Dreaming in which Pooka can be found. The nature of some of these places attract the shapeshifters, appearing far more preferable than the Autumn World.
The Forest of Sighs
The only rainforest in North America, the woods of the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest are known as the Forest of Sighs in the Near Dreaming. Great trees permanently shrouded in fog, these woods are gentle and quiet most of the time, making a peaceful retreat for Pooka (not to mention Nunnehi). The eternal mists make it easy to hide from enemies here.
The Seas of Dream
Here, the oceans of the Near Dreaming are ripe with aquatic Pooka (not to mention Selkies and Merfolk). There are water trods to travel and sunken cities to explore and slumbering leviathans to peak curiosity.
The Resting Place
This tranquil place in the Great Forest of the Far Dreaming is a paradise for any Kithain, but most especially the Pooka. Here, they can live wild, play and hunt and sleep, and all without fear of danger. No one may attack another here, a law that all obey. Only animals may be hunted for food. Thus, the Pooka can let their guard down and experience the joy of being a beast without worrying about being eaten.
The Low Dukedoms: Quox and Mux
These paired dukedoms are confusing and wild, filled with liars and practical jokers. In other words, it is perfect for Pooka. That the places were founded by a hare named Quox and a coyote named Mux who engaged in a powerful lifelong rivalry to become the Great Trickster makes most Pooka beleive that it was their kith that created the realms. But it is actual Animal chimera, not Pooka, that founded the joint. Today, it is filled with Childlings and Pooka of all ages, along woth the members of the Animal Courts.
Pooka are a natural fit for the chaos that reigns here. Some fae scholars think the pooka may have originated here, where pranks and animals rule the day.
The Pooka Home Realm (one of only three still around, with those of the Sluagh and Boggans), Balloon will only allow in those deemed "fun" by the myriad tests and puzzles at the border. Pooka almost always get through with ease, since the place is made for them, though other Kithain can enter if they prove themselves fun and have no violent or power-hungry intentions. The realm is largely lush and wild, with buildings here and there but no cities (Pooka don't like cities, ya know) and is run like a commune, with status being given to those who play great jokes and pranks.
The Pooka Exodus. When many Pooka retreated into the Dreaming during the Interregnum. They were far too late to follow the Sidhe into Arcadia (like everyone else), so they did the next best thing; they dug into the Near Dreaming, creating their own hidden homesteads. These bolt holes became realms into their own right, known as the Dream Burrows, where these Pooka rode out the advance of human civilization.
When the Resurgance hit and that huge wave of Glamour swept into the Dreaming, blasting open the doors of Arcadia and expelling the Sidhe, it also washed into the Dream Burrows. These formerly idyllic homes were struck by Bedlam. Crazed Pooka turned on each other, or engaged in insane behavior that got themselves killed. Hundreds of Pooka souls were reincarnated back into the Autumn World, rejoining their brethren who had stayed there.
Yet, today, there are still many Dream Burrows to be found. Dozens, if not hundreds, are hidden throughout the Near Dreaming, still filled with Pooka (not all of whom have recovered from the Bedlam of 30 years ago). They are as varied as the Pooka themselves, in size, terrain and society. Some even have non-Pooka in them! From a small nest of a blue jay Pooka family to a huge mountain realm filled with many different species of Pooka, you can find it all here.
The trick is usually in finding the Dream Burrows. The Pooka, with an animals survival instincts, are masters of concealing their homes from discovery. Add the fact that 700 years of disuse has caused most of the trods to fade away, anyone wanting to find a Dream Burrow is better off relying on blind luck than tracking skill.
What follows are three Dream Burrows given as examples in the Pooka Kithbook, followed by more of my own creation. If you have an interesting and original idea for a Dream Burrow, send it to me!
The Forest Beyond Forever
In a great and creepy forest, Pooka in the throws of Bedlam run wild in packs, fighting and killing one another and providing a chimerical example of Darwinism. These Pooka live in a primal, tribal society, doing what they must to survive....including eating each other. "Lord of the Flies" doesn't begin to describe this anarchy.
A series of twisting underground tunnels and warrens filled with Pooka of subterranean animal affinities. Rats, bats, snakes, moles, badgers, groundhogs, worms, beetles and more. It is the snake pooka who have the best position here, feeding on the other shapechangers in the spooky caverns. While more civilized than the Forest Beyond Forever, this Burrow is still dangerous and frightening.
Named after the silver-watered river than runs through this idyllic bowl in the mountains, the Pooka here are of all affinities, and live in a peacful court system like that of the Kithain on Earth. But not all is as perfect as it seems. The Pooka here live in a paranoid fear of Bedlam seeping into their community, and they keep a careful watch of each other for any signs of it. Anyone showing even a single sign of Bedlam is stoned to death in the Town Square.
This fantastic Burrow is unique in that it has no ground. Everything is sky here, blue skies with small, passing white clouds in the day, and a clear, star-filled sky at night. If there is a ground, no one has ever flown down far enough to see it. The natives here are all aerial Pooka; birds, bats and flying insects. These Pooka live in great stone spires that rise up out of nowhere. Like the ground, the bottoms of these spires have never been found. They just keep going down and down and down. When Bedlam came here, the different Pooka split into three factions and have been in a 'race war' ever since. The bird pooka have the strongest faction, with the bird of prey affinities living like nobles. The insect faction are their dire eneimes, ruled by queen bees. The bat faction tries to stay neutral and out of the way, despite attempts by both other factions to recruit them (or prevent them from being recruited). The aerial battles that take place here are a wild spectacle to behold.
The Big House
A haven for mouse Pooka, this Burrow is a suburban house of gigantic proportions, where those who enter are comparitively the size of, well, mice. The small group of mouse and rat Pooka here live in the walls, coming out to scrounge for food in the huge kitchen. While there appears to be no giant humans in the house, there is a giant cat.....a giant, hungry cat.
The Pookahana Islands
So far out at sea that no sign of mainland can ever be seen, this tiny chain of islands is a tropical paradise. Fish, seal, dolphin and whale pooka play in the waters, while monkey and tropical bird pooka inhabit the jungled islands and bask in the bright sunshine. On the Pookahana Islands (a Polynesian-sounding name the residents just made up), food is plentiful and the inhabitants are peaceful. But this haven has recently been invaded by some unexpected guests....Merfolk. These arrogant sea-going fae have somehow found their way into this Burrow and found it to their liking. So much so that they have started setting up their own court beneath the waves. The only blemish on this paradise, to the Merfolk, are those Pooka, who must be subjugated...or else.