PBF: The Dreaming Ward

The balding man stands up and ambles over to Jacobs, looking slightly embarrassed.

“Hello, Mr. Rowe. Can I get you another drink?”
“Harrumph. Yes, a coffee please. That one, er…” he pauses awkwardly.
“Of course, sir. Just a moment.” Tactfully ignoring the brimming cup of coffee Rowe has abandoned, the youth pours a fresh cup and hands it over.

On his way back to his seat, Rowe pauses as he passes Antonella, taking in her suit. “Didn’t expect so much waiting around. Puts me on edge. Still, I suppose it can’t be helped.”

Over in the storytime corner…

The brunette sits back in her chair as the anecdote comes to a close, smiling gently. “You seem to have a very interesting life, Mr McQueen.” The others nod appreciatively, with a slight air of surprise, as though they hadn’t quite noticed she was there.

McQueen: “well, you know how it is, when an opportunity comes by, grab it with both hands, always time to regret it later when the hangover’s worn off.”

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Here: Mr Duncan Howard stands in the corner of the room. The tall but haggard man is wearing a brown tweed suit that would have been fashionable a few years ago, were it clean. He cleans his spectacles and simply watches the other attendees,thinking over the list of drugs the group was prescribed.

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Lambert speaks up. “We ought to introduce ourselves, I suppose. I’m Lambert; we met once before, but you must meet a lot of people. Mrs Clairmont, it’s good to see you again, though perhaps not in these circumstances.” He looks around at the other two of you, who have drifted further away.

“Newton,” says the obvious policeman. “Welcome to the madhouse, I guess. Is that everyone at last? Where’s Thorne?”

“Mr. Newton-” the blonde girl rolls her eyes. “I’d be grateful if you wouldn’t be so melodramatic.”

“Who’s melodramatic? I just want to get this business over. Why, weren’t you saying you were sick of the place after a week, Miss James? I don’t mind giving them a fair shot, but all this hanging around is too much.”

She looks unimpressed, and turns to the rest of you. “Celia James. I’m the Oldest Inhabitant; almost two weeks now.”

“VIncent McQueen. Try anything once, eh? You’d think by now they could fix a mind the way they fix a body.”

[OOC: I’ll be stepping in as Aurora very shortly, ironically for a game about slepe, I have just slept for about 18 hours straight in my patented technique for fealing with jetlag (ignore it and pretend you’re okay for several days until your body rebels). Just catching up on the thread now…]


Here: Aurore Courbert, attractive and well-known socialite, is sitting in a chair opposite McQueen, and is ridiculously overdressed for the occasion, in a very fashionable and just slightly too short black dress. She’s one of those frustrating people that makes fashion appear simple. She isn’t saying very much, and sits leaning forward with her legs politely crossed, brown hair arranged in such a way that brings to mind adjectives such as ‘cascading’ or ‘effortless’. Despite her comparitive silence, she’s a generous and warm listener, making those who talk to her feel as if she thinks they’re the most important person in the room.

Right now she’s nodding and bestowing dazzling smiles, and trying very hard not to think about a week without alcohol. Thank heavens she brought along a small silver flask of courage (‘a gift from my dear fiancé, I always carry it with me to remind me of him’) in case things get too desperate.

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Antonella pauses in her reply, giving Rowe an apologetic smile before performing her civic duty to this room of strangers.

“Nice to meet you all, I am Antonella de la Cavallería, but as I suspect we will be seeing a lot of each other in the coming weeks, please feel free to call me Ant,” she says in louder tone before turning back to the man she had intended to speak with.

“I know what you mean,” she says warming her shoulders as a chill creeps up her spine, “Truth be told, head doctors make me quite anxious, I feel like we’re already being evaluated from the shadows. I do so wish they would get on with it.”

She scans the room looking for any obvious signs that they are being observed.

@Abubu asked for a die roll:
((Not sure if this should be search or perception))

Antonella rolls 3d6: 3 + 3 + 1 = 7 vs 10 (or 12)

((And a second attempt…))

‘I agree with Celia. We are perhaps all feeling a little vulnerable after so many disturbed nights, that’s all. “Sleep Centre” is what this place was billed as, so I’m sticking with that.’

‘Oh, I should’ve said - I’m Stella. And of course I remember you, Mr Lambert! I believe we discussed the brave choice of musical numbers at last year’s fundraiser.’

“Yes indeed, Stella. Please, call me Barry. It’s good to see familiar faces here; takes the edge off my nerves, I don’t mind telling you.” He gives a warm, slightly lopsided smile and sips a cup of chicory.

@Abubu perception here, search is a bit more literally searching something/someone.

Antonella gazes sharply into the corners and shadows. There’s no sign of anyone observing them; in fact, the two students are murmuring to each other and watching the door with a slightly awkward air. It looks like they’re simply waiting for Dr Thorne to arrive and get things started.

@EliScrubbs Duncan ponders the medical information he’s had from Thorne. Most of it is unremarkable. The soporifics he plans to use with hypnosis are pretty mild, especially at low doses - the sort of thing you might give a restless child who can’t quite drop off because of discomfort.

You’ll recognise one drug has a side effect of vivid dreams. Taken in daytime long before sleep, it shouldn’t have any lingering effects. From what you understood of Thorne’s approach, perhaps it’s intended to stimulate those same nerves under hypnosis to help with recalling the last night’s dreams.

The door opens and Thorne strides in, looking apologetic.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry to keep you waiting. One of my colleagues wanted to consult about a patient under his care. I hope my assistants here have made you all comfortable. The paperwork is all in hand, so I propose to show you around the ward and answer any questions you have. You are, of course, welcome to speak in private if you prefer. Afterwards, I and my colleague will take a few simple medical details - blood pressure, that sort of thing.”

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Vincent shifts, trying to conceal his impatience. Yes, these are pleasant enough people who don’t know they will end up in books, but there’s nothing to drink and let’s just get on with it shall we?


Aurora is normally very at home in a social situation, but the medical surroundings and her poor sleep of late have her on edge right now. She stands gracefully, not looking nearly as relieved as she feels, and smiles at Thorne. ‘A tour sounds delightful, doctor. Won’t you lead the way?’


Antonella takes another puff of her pipe to mask her inability to find something to do with her hands. She sends a jealous eye towards Aurora and the easy grace with which she carries herself. She might not care to display ideal femininity, but she knows a mover and a shaker when she sees one, and Aurora clearly knows how to handle a room. Without further ado, she crosses over to stand near Dr. Thorne and gives a curt nod so that they can be done with awkward pleasantries as soon as possible.

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Stella puts down her teacup and makes a mental note to get to the bottom of Barry Lambert’s noticeable decline since she last saw him in September (although she can hazard a guess why).

But right now is not the time, with everyone appearing somewhat on edge. And anyway, she is more than ready to have a look around the place. There is a growing need to get her compass bearings; she is feeling a little lost at sea, as it were.

Ready for the tour!

Thorne begins.

“Here, of course, is the common room. You are welcome to use it at any time, though we ask that you try to rest in bed at night even if sleep escapes you. We’ll have our group discussions here, but generally medical discussions will take place downstairs.”

“The north door leads to the bathrooms, as well as a small room set aside for anyone needing a quiet place to be alone. Some patients have found it helpful after a nightmare, or when the common room is a little busy. There is also a pantry if you find yourself needing a snack - please mention any overnight snacks in our private discussions the following day, as they may be relevant to your sleep.”

“If you’d follow me now… here are the bedrooms. Those of you who have been here for a while have already chosen a room; the newcomers can choose freely.”

The bedrooms have heavy doors, lined with metal. “As you can see, the guest rooms are a little Spartan. Dates back to a time when more primitive ideas about psychology prevailed, though I’m assured the metal is to protect patients in case of fire.”

“There has not-” he casts a quick glance at Dr Howard, “-been any fire on the premises, thankfully. On which note, if you wish to smoke, please do so in the common room or ask to stroll on the veranda downstairs. Some patients find the scent of tobacco disturbs their sleep.”

The rooms are - well, you get the feeling the architect had a sideline in prisons. An effort has clearly been made to transform them into comfortable study-bedrooms, with armchairs and small desks, as you might find in a modest hotel. The sash windows are a decent size, and can be opened to let in the air, though they are barred for safety. Iron radiators heat each room.

By the staircase there are storage closets, as well as a small room for a night nurse. “There will usually be someone on duty here at night, if you need anything. Ring the bell if not.”

Everything is in good order, if a little dusty in places; those of you with a nose for housekeeping may spot the odd cobweb on the ceiling. Floors and fittings are spotless, and there’s a faint smell of antiseptic.

Anyone can roll Body Language or Observation, whichever’s best

Downstairs are the medical rooms you’ve already seen. These are where private discussions will be held. There may be a few outpatients calling in for appointments, but they’ll be kept away from you. Upstairs are the nurses’ quarters and administrative offices - you aren’t meant to come up here, but Dr Thorne shows you briefly around. He introduces nurses Levine, Wilde, and Faber, as well as his secretary, Miss Baker. They give businesslike greetings and get on with their work.

“Here’s my colleague’s office. Dr Lewinsky, are you busy?” He knocks. After a moment, a short man with curly black hair emerges, and gives you all a gentle smile.

“Good afternoon. I’m glad you could make it. I’ve been preoccupied with paperwork and leaving Dr Thorne here to take care of you.” He has a warm voice. “My role, as I’m sure he has mentioned, is to instruct you in lucid dreaming - I’ll explain more about it when we meet. I hope you’ll all be comfortable here.”

Does anyone want to ask any questions, or take a closer look at anything/anyone I’ve described? Otherwise we’ll end the tour.

A map! Now corrected with link to the actual map, not the folder
The Dreaming Ward


@Suz asked for a die roll:
Stella has an annoying habit of noticing what isn’t being said. The worrying absence of a fire escape and the (less worrying) lack of dusting when most of the place is so well cleaned for example. Are the cobwebby, dusty bits only in certain, less trodden areas? Or are they in all the rooms?

Stella rolls against Observation 15 3d6: 6 + 1 + 1 = 8

@RogerBW asked for a die roll:
Vincent has no great preference about a room – closer to the common room end for the sake of noise, perhaps. Or if there’s one with loose bars, just in case; you’d think they could remove those…

Rolling against Body Language 13: 3d6: 4 + 1 + 2 = 7

@Lordof1 asked for a die roll:
Aurore raises a delicate eyebrow as Thorne says the word ‘comfortable’. ‘How very opulent, doctor. You shouldn’t have made such an effort for us.’ She winks at Stella and rolls her eyes with a grin. Might as well make some friends, however temporary.
At, she thinks, sleeping shouldn’t be too difficult. The place is about as thrilling as the cells in the drunk tank. What else is she going to do but sleep?

Rolling against body language 10: 3d6: 6 + 4 + 1 = 11