Rock and Role-Playing


The group's assembled, but you don't have an adventure prepared for them. What to do? Rather than ripping off the plot of some movie or book that everyone has already seen, turn away from the bookshelf and head over to your CD shelf. It's time for a little Rock and Role-Playing.

The group's assembled, but you don't have an adventure prepared for them. What to do? Rather than ripping off the plot of some movie or book that everyone has already seen, turn away from the bookshelf and head over to your CD shelf. It's time for a little Rock and Role-Playing.

The Rules:

1. Select a CD. Try to avoid obvious concept albums and rock operas, which already have a storyline. (e.g., The Who's "Tommy", Pink Floyd's "The Wall", etc.) The goal is to suggest story where it does not exist, and not to lift one already suggested.

2. You must use every song on the album, in the order they appear on the album. Track 1 will be Chapter 1, and Track 10 will be Chapter 10. This includes hidden tracks.

3. You must use the lyrics of each song to describe the action in that Chapter. If the song in question is Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" then the chapter might introduce a musician named Tommy and Gina the waitress. If the lyrics are more vague then you can interpret as you deem appropriate.

4. You must try to work the actual titles of the songs, the name of the album, and the name of the band, somewhere into the overall story. For example, if the album is Def Leppard's "Pyromania," then the adventure might feature a pyromaniac were-leopard named Rakof Ajeez who is hard of hearing, or it might feature a deaf leper named Pirro Manya, who's desperately searching for the mystical Aegis Stone (aka the Rock of Aegis), which can cure him.

5. Subtlety reigns supreme. The goal is to provide a workable adventure that players won't recognize as being based on an album until maybe halfway through, when they suddenly get the joke and start trying to guess what comes next. Under no circumstances should you ever feature "Lord Metallica, the Master of Puppets," but you might work in an Evil Puppeteer who wears a giant metallic A around his neck, in tribute to his lord Asmodeus.

The Album:

Title: nine inch nails, "Pretty Hate Machine"


Summary: Released in 1989, this album put industrial music on the map despite being overshadowed by Nirvana's Nevermind. The album features ten tracks which record an individual's seeming descent into madness and melancholy after a bad breakup, but the lyrics are open to interpretation. I'm going to turn this album into a dark, vaguely Cthulhoid fantasy adventure set in a sort of Underdark or mining scenario. This seems appropriate for mid-level characters and probably wouldn't work for newbies.

The Adventure:

1. Head Like A Hole

The player characters are contacted by the head of a dwarven mining company, who would like them to investigate the disappearance of several of their miners. Time is of the essence -- the other miners have refused to enter the mine shaft, and the mine has been shut down, resulting in a mounting loss of income for the wealthy owner. The owner is vague on the rewards, but insists that "I'll do anything for you. Just tell me what you want when you get back and it's yours." Money is all that matters to him. He practically worships it. He will lead the characters into the tunnels himself, knowing that the upper levels are safe since the problem (at least as he describes it) lies deep in the shafts, many hours journey into the bowels of the earth.

Almost immediately upon entering the abandoned mine the characters stumble across signs of violence. One of the miners, or what's left of him, has been nailed to the wall with railroad spikes. The center of his head is gone, leaving but a halo of skull and tissue, as if something exploded out from inside. It quickly becomes obvious what this was, as a beast resembling a bloody brain with legs drops from the ceiling and attacks the smartest character, attempting to control them by taking over their brain. The beast will not stop until it or the character is dead. If it takes over a character, it will appear haughty and presumptuous, demanding that others "bow down before your master", and if challenged it will fight all attempts at removal, shouting "You can't take it away from me, I'd rather die."

After the beast is defeated, the characters will discover that the exit from the room is stacked with the decaying bodies of other deceased miners, apparently dead of some disease or plague that has caused their bodies to break out in blue and purple bruises. The head of the company will wave off any concerns about this -- he's not worried about this apparent sickness at the moment. If his mine is not re-opened, he won't have the money to deal with it anyway. The characters can look for a cure if they want, but he's got no time for it. They have their job and will be paid for it. That's all. He will then head out of the mine, leaving the characters to clamber over the bruised backs of the miners, descending deeper into the mine.

2. Terrible Lie

The dwarf obviously knows more than he's sharing. In fact, what he's told the characters is all a terrible lie. He knows exactly what has caused the disappearance of his miners, because he's the one who sent them to their doom. The dwarf has fallen victim to the same fate as the first dead dwarf the characters saw -- he has been taken over by one of the strange parasitic brain beasts. He's been sending his men down to their deaths over the course of weeks, but unfortunately along the way they stumbled across something that caused a number of them to develop this strange, fatal bruising illness, making them unfit for parasitic takeover. The characters are just fresh meat for the pot.

Hints of the truth will come out as the characters move along over the next several hours. About halfway down the main shaft, they stumble across another pile of bruised dwarven bodies, apparently all dead. One of the bodies, however, is moving. Face purpled beyond recognition, the obviously insane dwarf stumbles about talking to himself, screaming up at the ceiling "why are you doing this to me?" Noting the characters, he will beg and plead for sleep, sweet sleep, which he has not had in days, for his salvation only comes in his dreams, when he can escape the pain and confusion he lives in. As he speaks, his emotions will flip-flop between true sadness and pure hatred for all living things, as he battles with the beast within his head. He, too, is a victim of the parasitic brain beasts.

If the characters realize this, and attempt to cure him in some way, he will shove off any assistance, begging them "don't take it away from me." He is all alone and his only friend now is the beast in his head. He's been betrayed. Everything has been taken from him, and he was left down here to decay. Now his head is filled with this disease. He alternately begs for mercy and sweet release, and when approached, insanely rages against any who come near. Ultimately the only cure for him is death.

3. Down In It

As they move on down the shaft, which will take several hours to descend, each character has a random chance to contract the strange illness that fills the mine -- a 50% chance for any dwarf or gnome characters, increasing by 10% for every day spent belowgrounds and a flat 25% chance for anyone else. Anyone getting the bruising plague will feel lightheaded and strange, as if they were floating on clouds, and may notice (variable chances, GM discretion) tiny little dots on their skin, almost too small to see. This is the start of the bruising, which will gradually spread across their entire bodies.

The disease also causes the strange raging confusion that they just witnessed, causing characters to gradually go partly insane. They will alternately crawl like babies on the ground, rage against their friends, and laugh uncontrollably, having to battle with their own minds to regain control. This is a gradual process -- characters do not go immediately insane, but very slowly and subtly lose control. They will question their sense of right and wrong, doubt their own strength, run in fear from shadows and verge on suicide, over time. It is this loss of control, caused by the bruising illness affecting their brains, which is why the brain parasites do not attempt to enter those affected by the disease. The strange fate of the dwarf the characters met in chapter 2 is evidence of why.

As has been alluded to earlier, no cure is possible from any means the characters might possess. Here with "the world's weight on their backs" there's little to do but move onward, as any afflicted characters battle with fading memories and an increasing loss of control.

4. Sanctified

After several hours journey, the characters will reach the bottom of the main shaft, where a mound of dwarven bodies can be found, heads ruptured in a manner similar to that seen before. None of the bodies bear any sign of the strange bruising disease -- these are pristine specimens, used as fertile breeding grounds for whatever the strange brain parasites are. Those who've contracted the illness are not so lucky. It's still getting worse no matter what they try.

At the back of the central cavern, a strange translucent ichor coats the walls around one of the tunnels, slimy and somewhat sticky to the touch. The tunnel seems to resonate with a strange energy, intangible physically yet somehow inviting. Any characters who have managed to stave off the plague thus far will get a strange, inviting tickle at the edge of their consciousness, a fiery beckoning, an alien female voice. "Come inside. Give all to me." Any who enter the tunnel or touch the strange slime will get a sense of purification,

cleanliness. In fact, any suffering from the plague who touch it will also feel as if they are more clear-headed than they were before, almost as if cured, somehow sanctified. This sense grows the further into the slimy tunnel they proceed, as if the edges of the cave entrance were giant lips, the characters proceeding down a giant throat towards the belly of some strange beast.

The truth of the matter is that the slime does not cure the plague; it only dampens the mental confusion by allowing the afflicted to focus on the voice in their heads, a mind-control spell that is gradually warping their own thought processes, promising purification and an end to their suffering if only they will proceed. The call will be hard to resist, and the further down the characters go, the harder it will become to leave.

5. Something I Can Never Have

The slimy cavern leads straight ahead for several hours, heading slightly down, and eventually opening up into a large, dank cavern. Stalactites hang from overhead, dripping a thin milky substance (merely mineral-saturated water) down from above into pools below, the noise of each little drop echoed and amplified throughout the cavern. Although as salty as tears and quite warm, the water is harmless to drink. The area seems quite safe, and seems to be a safe place to rest for the "night," since characters will have been wandering for many hours at this point. However, sleep will be difficult -- everyone who tries to sleep will be plagued by dreams of the ever-present female voice, beckoning them onward "before it's too late," pushing everyone even to the point of physical exhaustion. Spellcasters, if any are present, will be unable to get enough rest to regain spells. Everyone's head is gradually filled with just one thing, that voice promising to make this all go away. The one thing they want is the one thing they can never have -- at least not until they find the source of this and destroy it.

About this time, any who are afflicted with the plague will begin to notice new symptoms. The purplish bruises begin to enlarge and combine, turning their skin grayish-blue. Characters will also notice that they are somehow stronger than they were before, as if the same disease that was ravaging their minds was giving them renewed vigor and physical capacity. The very thing that's slowly taking them apart mentally seems to have an unforeseen benefit as well.

However, their mental destruction is also increasing as well. Characters will grow increasingly paranoid, being angered and frightened by those around them. And in this place, surrounded by pools of water, even the milky reflections of themselves will seem threatening, reminders of who they used to be before they were afflicted. But through it all, the message from below beckons them on.

6. Kinda I Want To

Only one tunnel leads out of this milky stomach of a cave, spiraling down, corkscrewing madly as it heads into the bowels of the earth, a dank, musty odor pervading everything. Approximately an hour into this journey, the characters will hear a deep rumbling noise from around a nearby bend, almost as if someone were snoring. Unless they are particularly noisy or stupid, they will be able to sneak up on a large, scaly being, snoring fitfully in the middle of the tunnel. The beast is several dozen feet in height, and massively proportioned. At first it will appear to be staring right at the characters, but it becomes clear after a moment that it is merely sleeping with its eyes open, as it has no eyelids.

Attacking and killing the beast before them will be necessary, as there's no way around the creature -- it fills the tunnel end to end -- and ever-present in everyone's mind is the beckoning call, pulling them onward, deeper and deeper. Even if characters know it's not the right thing, they want to proceed. It seems the only option, the only thing they are capable of thinking of.

One way to more easily dispose of the threat before them is to attack the godlike beast's eyes, either covering them up or somehow stabbing them out so that the creature cannot see them clearly. Robbed of its sense of sight, and unable to either hear or smell clearly due to the surroundings, the beast will merely flail about wildly, allowing characters to more easily take it out. Those who focus on the voice from below will find it easier to fight and focus on other activities. The price they pay for sanity seems to be giving themselves over to the voice, despite what other characters may say.

7. Sin

The source of all the sins that have befallen the characters thus far will be found after another hour's journey through the twisting, snaking passages, passing other fallen bodies, some plague-ridden, some not, many not humanoid by any stretch of the imagination. At the center of a tall, narrow cavern is a gigantic, metallic construct, roughly carved into the shape of a prettty, angry four-armed woman (a close inspection will reveal that one of her twenty fingers is missing). Gouts of steam erupt from her "nostrils" and "ears" periodically, and her eyes flash red with flame, a humming, buzzing noise filling the air and making conversation difficult. All who enter realize that this is somehow the source of the strange beckoning voice in their heads, the voice that promises them purity in exchange for giving up control.

The entire cavern is filled with the smell of old worship, stale incense and old sweat, crawling under the skin and making everyone itchy and uncomfortable. Ringing the edges of the cavern are many small altars, some mere piles of rocks, others more elaborate constructions of marble, wood and iron. Some are coated in blood, most of it dried and old, but some contain offerings of fruit, gemstones, coins and other valuables. It is as if a wide assortment of primitive creatures were trying to somehow appease the figure before them in various ways. None of them seems to have been successful thus far.

Weaker-willed characters might be inclined to attempt construction of their own altar, sacrificing their belongings, or their compatriots, to the figure of the goddess before them, kissing its feet and bowing before it in servitude. However, those who are affflicted by plague, or the stronger willed, will see now that this figure is not divine, but merely an effigy to be defaced and disgraced. And it is somehow this figure that is the source of the plague, and thus their anger as well as their resolve to follow the voice to this spot. And so it comes to this -- characters can offer their kiss, in the form of love and worship, or their fist, by attempting to destroy the altar.

8. That's What I Get

Whether through construction of an altar, chanting and praying, or attempting to destroy the effigy before them, characters will at some point make a great deal of noise, at which point, just when everything was making sense, the true nature of the beast is revealed. Suddenly, the cavern falls silent, as the humming noise reverberating from the statue is cut off, the flame and smoke disappearing. And from between the legs of the giant, crouching effigy, a hatch descends, and a strange creature walks forth, followed by a group of the four-legged brain parasites (at least one per character, but no fewer than six).

The creature's head is purplish and bald, as of a bare brain without benefit of a skull, with a mass of waving tentacles where its mouth would be. Its fingers are long and slender, moving delicately as it gestures for the brain parasites around it to maneuver to surround the characters. It speaks with a strange gurgling noise, unintelligible to all. But along with the gurgle, heard within their minds, the characters perceive the female voice that had been beckoning them onward. This is her. This is what they get.

For those who are not plague-ridden, it will be a struggle to resist the call of the beast before them, which encourages them to lie down and accept the brain parasite takeover. For those inflicted with disease, the beast has no further use, and it will attack them, giving them a fatal kiss with its tentacles and attempting to suck their brains out of their skulls. All throughout, the voice in their heads persists, beckoning, calling. Only with the death of the strange beast will the voice suddenly, abruptly, die off. The sudden absence of focus for those who'd given themselves over to the call will be harsh. Having been their everything, it's now taken away from them. Characters suddenly bereft of the comforting voice inside will be fully stricken with the horror of their situation, and may break down in tears or run frantically in a panic.

9. The Only Time

However, the sudden loss of the voice in their heads will suddenly be replaced by an overwhelming, drunken attraction to the female effigy before them. All sense of right or wrong will be replaced by a desire to enter the statue, clambering up the plank that the tentacled beast descended.

Inside the massive construct it becomes clear that this is no ordinary statue. Characters will find themselves surrounded by strange metal walls, lined with tubes of light that flicked and pulse in succession. Following the pulse, or randomly wandering the halls, will gradually lead the characters up several ramps to the "head" of the statue, within which they find a desklike console covered with runes and symbols. Characters with knowledge of religion, spells or astrology will recognize these as icons for various planets, deities, constellations and the like. This is a navigation panel, and the characters are in a flying craft of some sort which has crashed into the bowels of the earth ages ago, and has been stranded here ever since.

The ship itself is all messed up, but it is really alive, and is attempting to communicate with the characters by appealing to their baser instincts, unable to directly speak with them through their minds as the tentacled beast, the ship's last surviving pilot, was once able to. It is currently using the power of lust to drive characters with desire, giving them urgings to press certain of the control icons - characters placing their hands on the symbols for "heaven", "sun", "moon" and "stars" will activate the ship's main drives. The ventilation system will kick on, the ship's skin will drip condensation like sweat as it preps for takeoff, and fluids will pulse through its veinlike tubules like blood. But after a moment, the pulsing will stop, and the ship will fall silent once again. Something is wrong. The source of the problem is outside the ship.

10. Ringfinger

When the ship crashed here, (carved in stone, deeper than the sea) and the pilot began to summon beings to it as a source of food, those creatures gradually came to worship the ship itself as a god, modifying it's already humanoid features to more closely resemble a beautiful woman. Now that they are no longer under the control of the tentacled beast, the details are more clearly mechanical. The ship is not a pretty, hateful woman, but rather a pretty, hateful machine. Her eyes and ears are exhaust ports, her face the forward control console, and her fingers are fuel rods, glowing with dissipating heat. Her hands worked so hard that they literally bled -- one of those twenty rods is broken off and missing, and the ship cannot leave without it. It is one of the ship's ring fingers.

Characters will be led to discover this by the ship itself, playing upon their desires to lead them in certain directions. They will come to understand that if they do this one thing, this one act of consecration, then all their problems will be solved. In fact, the chemical leaking from the fuel rod is what is causing the strange plague that pervades the area, and putting the rod back in place will clear up the plague in the area.

A lengthy search of the area around the ship will ultimately reveal the broken rod, which is approximately 27 inches of dull gray metal covered on one end with a thin glassy layer which reveals the fuel within, approximately nine inches in length. The rod itself was used by one of the many groups of worshipping creatures as a primitive sort of cross, to which they literally nailed one of their own kind as a sacrifice to their goddess. The leaking fuel from the puncture wound has been causing all who approached the area to become sick ever since. Once the creature's decaying body is removed from the fuel rod, and the metal shards removed from it, the skin of the rod will heal itself over, and the plague symptoms will gradually diminish in the area, although it would normally be too late for any afflicted characters. However, with the fuel rod attached once again, and the ship at full power, any sickened characters will be led along by lust to the ship's infirmary, where they will be washed clean in a chemical bath that will remove all traces of the plague from their skins, their minds clearing up a few days later.

With the ship fully healed, characters will be given equal choices by the ship. Fear will beckon them to leave the ship, but desire will lure them with equal passion towards the control room. Characters can decide on their own what they wish to do. In either case, once all have decided, the ship will power itself up and blast off towards the surface, following the long crater it plummeted through aeons ago to exit from the surface in a dormant volcano, heading on from there towards its final destination. For those aboard, this can be the start of a great, terrifying adventure.

For those who remain behind, they can return to the surface in safety to deal with the dwarf who got them into this mess. A victim of one of the brain parasites, he will be found dead, the parasite dead beside him. Characters with fewer scruples might wish to clean out his safe, which is full of gems and coinage, or even take over his mining operation, which is now safe to operate. Perhaps.

Creative, dude. That's definitely oen of the most interesting things I've heard in a while.

The idea is geat ... had something like that brewing in the back of my head for a while (or is it a brain parasite?) ... but this one special plot has a severe free will - issue. The players will not want ot give up so much control.

Still, the musical idea is what I will try next. Actually, even each song on its own might work out nicely.

it's actually very similar to the plot from an adventure in the Call of Cthulhu campaign Day of the Beast, which i modified to be a dwarven mine to use in my own D&D campaign. the music adventure idea is very good and i've based a campaign off Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar.

i agree with echomirage that the players are giving up a lot of free will to follow this plot. however, i think that can be recitified with some hard mechanics, such as sanity checks and fortitude and will saves. that way there is a clearly defined chance for the players to resist and thus they will not feel railroaded. if one or two players fail the save, the others will probably want to go along cautiously to see what's up.

Excellent article! It actually addresses an area of GM theory that I think is very useful, but undertreated: namely, finding inspiration. I've had problems before with having people who want to play, but no real ideas for how to jump-start a plot. This sort of idea works great!

The best thing about this idea (one of the great things, anyway) is the incredibly interesting ideas that some songs inspire...imagine how twisted a scenario inspired by "The Baby Trees" or "The Abandoned Hospital Ship" could be...or some are wonderfully intriguing, like "Glass Candle Grenades," or just beautiful (a la "How to Bring a Blush to the Snow").

Okay, so even if your music collection isn't as weird as mine, this can still be fun and intriguing...and it helps cut away from the all-too-common idea of having EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of a campaign world be related to the plot, because it's a broader approach (I am irked by worlds that have this happen, especially because it's so hard to keep mine from falling into the exact same trap).

A couple albums which I might use this trick for:
OK Computer (almost a concept album, but OH WELL)
Highway 61 Revisited (probably a downer ending game, what with the last track being "Desolation Row" and all...)
Face the Music (Anything that starts with "Fire On High"...)
The Yes Album (probably use this one as a start for a longer game...but I'm sure that in six chapters, enough plot hooks would develop on their own to get the game beyond "Perpetual Change")

So, yeah...I liked the article. How'd you guess?

Try Nightwish's Wishmaster...

1. She's My Sin: about forbidden love, discovery of dark lust and the repercussions ... the plot.

2. Kinslayer: Due to unreasonable love, he has neglected and harmed his family, slaying his brother out of jealousy, refused his faith and now stands before hard times...

3, Come Cover Me: she is also in deep peril, and needs all help she can get. How do the PCs defend a forbidden love against all ods.

4, Wanderlust: driven by the cicumstances behind and the promise of redemption before them they wander, and their journey may lead them where none have gone before.

5, Two for Tragedy: can their love defeat all differences the uncommon pair is faced with? Can their honor, needs and wishes be brought to match, or will all sacrifices so far be in vain?

6, Wishmaster: if I had a wish ... he embarks on a journey seeking the master of dreams to grant him that one wish.

7, Bare Grace Misery: while she who cannot follow is left to face her needs of a fallen angel, her nature, doubt and fears gnawing at her. Can she resist her urges and temptations, or will she ruin all they have labored so hard to reach?

8, Crownless: him returned, they must sacrifice even more. He his claim to the throne, and she her crown of immortality, to be ...

9, Deep Silent Complete: Happy End?

10, Dead Boy's Poem: but his bother's spirit cannot rest, and must be appeased. Last obstacle to be overcome: make amends, regret all misdeeds and learn to accept their new selves.

11, Fantasmic: While this seems to be a happy end, they still have much ahead - discovering the other, walking the fields of dream together... and perhaps BOTH earning their wings...

Just one question... you suggested mostly popular music with lyrics and such. Shouldn't you also be able to do it by taking inspiration from classical or jazz pieces? The Planets by Gustav Holst come to mind.

Brilliant idea, aeon.

Grep: There's nothing to stop you from using any particular kind of music. He used commonly known music for examples because more people will get the concept he's laying out.
I would advise sticking to more popular stuff... unless you know the bulk of your players are familiar with the source music. Otherwise, they're not going to get the joke.
Granted, if you design the adventure well enough, it shouldn't matter if they "get it," but they might end up feeling left out.

Wow. Truly excellent.

I think a lot of experienced GMs end up giving sessions/adventures titles that wrap things up, but *starting* at that point is novel.

I am impressed.

I just tried this. Nice technique, it got me a pretty interesting adventure out of 10 random songs from my playlist. Not quite as...defined, but it gave me lots of room for interpretation. After the second or third song, I knew where it was going to go...the next songs just gave me ideas for neat twists.

I've used this method in the past, and it works very very well. Tracks on CDs tend to be arranged to work together by the artists, so themes, etc on any given CD will USUALLY mesh well.

I suggest Shadowzone by Static X as it could lead to different "worlds" and such. :o)


This is the list of songs from Shadowzone, sorry for not posting them last comment.

Destroy All
Control It
New Pain
Shadow Zone
Dead World
The Only
Kill Your Idols
All In Wait


Awesome! I'll have to try this!

Alright here's one from Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix.

This inovlves some of the stories behind the songs as well as the lyrics.

1. Purple Haze. In a nice semi-tropical port town, a strange rumor of unusual coast dwelling creatures is overheard in where ever your chracters are to be found. They seem to emit a strange hallucinogen that creates a sensation fo flying, ('scuse me while I kiss the sky...). The chracters attempt to capture the creature, only to be hit with the hallucinogen (sanity check time!) and then washed ashore somewhere else.

2.Fire. Your noble heroes find themselves washed upon the shore of a barren, fairly, desolate waste land. They take shelter at a nearby inn and are forced to huddle for warmth by the fire, seeing as this place is much colder than the last area they were in.

3. The Wind Cries Mary. It turns out that a series of peculiar murders have occurred recently. Most notably the death of a psychic/mystic named Mary, known for holding seances to reach the dead. The heroes investigate the murder, either because it's the right thing to do or because they need the bounty on the murderer's head to pay off their tab at the inn. Her spsirit sometimes seems to howl with the wind....

4. Hey Joe. Most interestingly, Mary's husband, Joe, (Joseph if you need a more antiquated name) is considered the prime suspect. He and Mary lived at an observatory together. After Mary's corpse was found, Joe was considered the main criminal, due to the fact that there were rumors of Mary's unfaithfulness. he ran into the large observatory and has not come out since. You're heores will mostly run around town finding out things in this mission. they will then head to the observatory.

5. All Along the Watch Tower. After your band of players pick the lock or break the door to get in, a new door slams down, one as hard as rock and with no normal lock. "There must be some kind of way out of here!" an NPC will exclaim. If there's no NPC to say it, then let them find a diary, telling of thwe madness the last fool trapped in here will succmb to. Either way, the theif must be the one to find or hear this message. they must now wnader the halls, tyring to find out more.

6. Stone Free. After they lands in the observatory, and explores sufficiently, they will find an anicent manuscript with numerous bizarre phrases, that when translated will sound rather odd, inclduing strange such phrases as "free to fly" and "the fallen star rebels." They will fidn no trace of Joe but some blood, water and a piece of clothing, and become trapped in the same deathtrap that they think killed him. After they break free and solve many more bizarre puzzles and mind boggling weirdness, they will eventually fine the Gimmi He'an Dre'ix, a gem of ancient wisdom that acts as a key to the door to the obeservatory.

7. Crosstown traffic. After escaping the observatory, you will wander the town, searching for more answers and ending up with more questions. At this point a local female, red-headed street musician who seems to know something but refuses to talk will be sighted here and there. The strange creatures who emanate the purple hallucinogen mist will also be sighted, and slashed to bits if your heroes attack them. They will not attack or even emit the mist at this point. If anyone attempts to pursue the musician, lightning will strike nearby starting a small fire but harming no one. When/if the creatures die, they will let outa sound of sighing then emit a pale white smoke.

8. Manic depression. Defeated, and finding no answers, they will they go to the tavern to relate what they found to each other, basically nothing. they will proceed to get slightly drunk as the street musician from part seven gets on stage and sings a slow dirge that makes everyone feel a little sadder than usual. She proceeds to walk off the stage and dissappear in the crowd before anyone gets up to try and talk to her. This one's pretty short, but so's the song.

9. Little Wing. Your patrons pay for the tab and now walk out the door, only to the see stragne woman who keeps disappearing wlaking down the street humming a little tune. She will run away, and as your folks chase her, they will run towards her--and off a cliff. they will land safely in a bed of heather in a sunny meadow(which they think fairly weird, as it's been raining since they've been here). They will arrive at the tome of the sorceror James, master of the blue flames. This sorcereor will begin to speak to them....

10. If 6 was 9. The sorceror will tell them about a time where the land they are in was peaceful, but then an evil, a great evil came across the continent, one that turned the world inside out. That the founatin of ether itself inverted, the source of all good in the continent became posessed by a great evil known only as "Kahn Tahm Ihn Anht." It caused madness to reign throughout, and caused the previously peaceful people to now worry and fear all others. The players now decide rather that the creatures or the woman is the main problem. It's their choice. Let them make up whatever theory sounds most reasonable, since they'll probably be wrong. They will then walk out of the house, and watch it collapse,. when they atttempt to extract the old mage, they will find nothing but a pile of bone's in the sorceror's clothing, indicating it was all just an illusion...or a lost soul reaching out to the heroes, pleading for rest...?

11. Foxey Lady. Your heroes will now see the girl again, only to have her run into a forest. She will appear and reappear only to disapear before a challenge or question can be even be made. Occasionally, wild animals will leap out at heroes when they try to approach her. She'll giggle and run off. A wild fox will occasionallly bite someone on the foot and run away. If they have thrown away the Gemmi He'an Dre'ix, it will be found again. No one will be able to capture the girl, and it will drive them crazy. Some of the males may have strange dreams involving this girl, which will drive them even more to desperation and madness.

12. Bold as love. The creatures appears again, this time with more than one color. Green one's inflict greed, making material gain override common sense. Purple inflictd rage, making the opponenet go berserk. The blue ones will heal themselves and other ones. After a long fight they will ask why your heroes are attacking them. The creatures true motive is that they and their master Fri' An Cis the all knowing, were commissioned to maintain the order of the mana fountain to bring men into a new age of prosperity. However, they couldn't combat the great evil, and therefore sent out emissaries to help them. Tha'ts why you were knocked out and summoned here. Your flying wasn't a halluciation, you were carried here in the sky by these strange creatures.

13.Castles Made of Sand. Guided by the creatures, the heroes then proceed to wander into the halls of the temple where this great evil is supposed to live. You seee the murals of time,where all of man's history is recorded. You then see the infamous images of catatrophes such as Atlantis and Pompei--both thought to be myths. You then begin to hear a chant coming form within the temple "All castles are naught but sand to be washed on to the sea." The chants repeats and gets louder as you move forward.

14. Red House. As you enter into what you think to be the chant's source, you end up in a giant water cistern filled with dark murky waters. Atop the cistern you see a red house from the oppostie side of the cistern. the msuican comes out with blonde hair this itme. She walks out clamly and slowly looks at the best male magic-user in the group and smiles, saying "I haven't seen you in a while." she then jumps off the cistern and into the blackness below....

15. Voodoo Child (slight return). Your heroes go into the house to investigate the back story of this girl. The only thing that seems evident are several mystic rites, and a now-empty box that held a dagger. Any magic users will recognize a few of the books as being noteworthy, as will bards, albeit looking at different books. The initials D.D. will be founde on various articles. Somene will set off a trap by pulling a book that they find interesting. A door will open....

16. Freedom. Out of the door will emerge a few strange, unworldly creatures, looking like rather mangled versions of the creatures you combatted previously. They will surround you and attempt to ensnare you in a strange web-like mutation. the heroes will break free, but they cannot attack the creatures, for they are immune to everything thrown at them. Their only chance is to escape. They run out of the house and continue running out of the temple, creatures on their tail. whwen they escape into the sunlight, the strange creatures run away, afraid of the light.

17. Night Bird Flying. The creatures tell you that the cistern was actually the Fountain, and that throwing the Gemmi He'An Dre'Ix into the pool of the cistern would purify the blackness. As night falls, your plan is to sneak into the temple and insert the gem before being noticed by any, and then the cursed Kahn Tam Ihn Ahnt shall be removed. When attempting to sneak in, you follow the chanting again,and are strangely led to the roof of this temple there yoiu find the same woman yet again. This time, her hair is black and she is wearing much darker clothing. She screams out, "leave while you can," and then she runs off the roof and sends herself into the trees, laughing madly all the way down.

18. Angel. After a small battle with some monsters who had come into the tunnel for shelter, the woman comes again, this time she's blonde and in white robes. She hands out potions after the battle. She then warns you come to back another day, that you are not ready. She then seems to fly away, but can you be certain of anything, in this maddening land?

19. Dolly Dagger. Your heroes go down back into the temple to land at an altar. nearby they see Joe--excpet his body has been turned into ice! You then see the woman, now with red-and-white hair, and glowing eyes. She excalims that she is Dolitia of the order of the dark Dagger, the cult's leader. She started when she was fifteen, and she wields a dagger with an ominous aura. This dagger can suck the soul and wamrth and lifeforce from the body until it becomes nohting but a block of ice. She then uses this lifeorce to stengthen her own pwoers. Now the real fight. The strongest male magic user in the party will become completeley enchanted, and lsowly heads over to the altar. If he makes it to the altar ad lies down, then he is sacrificed and unable to combat until you defeat the leader. She then gains the strongest spell of said magic-user. All males in the party will suffer from weakness, unless they are castrated. Celibate monks will suffer even more as they have an even stronger temptation to resist. Women will obviously not be so adversely affected. If you wish, they may be persuaded after failing a check and hcange sides. Add other cultists, undead or other evil entities. The deformed versions of the creatures may or may not arrive, but will attack both parties when they do. At the end of the fight, the blonde brunnette and redheaded versions of the girl walk in. and they grab their fallen sister. They seem to ascend up the temple, clearing out all the memebers of the cult.

20. Star-Spangled Banner. After the hard-won battle, the cretures reveal that Kahn Tahm Ihn Ahnt came from the sky as a shooting star. Joe will be de-iced, and explain that he had found the shooting star in the sky at his observatory. He had come here, to the landing site, and was attacked by the cult. He mamnaged to escape but was later attack at his home, as well as hi wife mary, who had now died becuase of his carelessness. Jow will then explain that Kahn Tahm Ihn Ahnt is not a live, it's jsut a strange dark poision. You will then have to stall the creatures(who claim the will of the Kahn Tahn Ihn Ahnt is to destroy all things) and throw the stone into the cistern and pray to the sun god to smite the stone and cleanse the land. And thus it shall be cleansed.....the end.

Whaddya think?

Lyrically yours,

I love this idea and wish I still played D&D becase of it! Gwar albums would make for some wildly fun scifi/cthulu hackand slash adventures. Carnival of Chaos or America Must Be Destroyed would be a lot of fun. Now I'm going to waste a day at work...

Cool idea. Echomage's suggestion of Nighwish, I like (Very cool album). I would also suggest using albums by bands such as Dragonforce (well... name says i all, really?), a great power metal band from the UK. THey have 2 albums out: Valley of the Damned, and Sonic Firestorm, both of which are inspiring and filled with images of battles and fantasy settings, with extra cheese! Rockin'!


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I think it's kind of neat that this topic got rezo'd. I have done this to plan for a campaign before. I used to have to listen to ridiculous death metal just to get into the frame of mind to run a campaign for some evil PCs. I had my fill of Deicide and the campaign at about the same time, so I don't know which came first.

I recently started planning an entire campaign (rather than just an adventure) around the album Ithyphallic by Nile. If you don't like death metal, then just read the lyrics on the interweb. Very inspiring stuff for the right group.

I realize I'm replying very late, but I just discovered this post and wanted to reaffirm that this method works. While I wasn't as structured as the original poster, I have created an entire Vampire campaign based on the collected works of Steely Dan. No shortage of interesting characters there...

My current campaign I've just started is based around the album Prevail by Kataklysm. Google that.