Thursday, May 29, 2008

Making your campaign METAL!

This came up on some time back... "How do I make my campaign METAL?"

Most people, of course, went for style over substance and went for the look that metal is known for, without capturing anything that will make it feel metal. I saw that awful Metalocalypse show for the first time yesterday, and when most people want to "metal up" their role-playing, it's kind of like that - stereotypical and fucking stupid.

Here's a reprint of my suggestions to make your campaign HEAVY fucking METAL:

Considering all of metal's concepts solidified in the 70s through mid-80s, the most metal thing you could do to your campaign is run it using AD&D 1E. ;)

But you want to make it metal...

War pigs.

Make the violence horrible. All of the ruling class - all of them - are despicable warmongers who sacrifice the well-being of their people to wage ever more senseless and destructive wars.

If it's rich, it's evil. If it's powerful, it's evil.

The PCs serve as Iron Hippies, fighting the power in the only way it understands... violence and force. The "points of light" are not physical locations, as the entire world is a dark, dark place. The points of light are in the hearts of the true, the unconquered, those that can see through the lies.

... until one day in the campaign... it's the PCs who are rich. And powerful. And even if they've always fought well for the cause, they're going to wake up one day and find that they're the enemy they've always been fighting against. Power always corrupts, always. If it's rich, it's evil. And the PCs have killed a lot of evil, and taken its stuff, and have gotten very rich. If it's powerful, it's evil. And the PCs have gained a lot of levels, and are very powerful. They've sold out, they've come too far to truly embody the spirit they've always championed, and it's up to the next generation of oppressed, angry warriors to be able to fight the good fight.

That's fucking metal.


  1. Anonymous said...
    Growing up, we always generated our characters while listening to 70s Rush. The list of stuff inspiring to the D&D player was seemingly endless back then: By-Tor & the Snow Dog, the Necromancer (what a solo by Lifeson!), Cygnus X-1, Hemishperes... I remember we did an adventure loosely based around the song Xanadu. Cool stuff.

  2. I always listen to metal when I work on D&D stuff. I haven't sat down and tried to make a campaign or scenario "metal," though. Cool concept.

    (As far as what we listened to, back in the day it was Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Dio, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Venom, Celtic Frost, Metallica, Megadeth, Mercyful Fate, Manowar, Fate's Warning, etc.)

  3. Good advice.

    (Blind Guardian and Summoning are my D&D Metal Bands of choice.)

  4. My band of choice these days is "The Sword". Hell they wrote a song called "The Frost Giant's Daughter" so you know where they draw their inspiration. (Heck most of their songs seem to be based on George R.R. Martin's work).

    Ok, enough band promotion. That sounds like a kick ass campaign idea.

    --Mike D.

  5. For the real current stuff...

    The Gates of Slumber
    Check out the Conquerer and Suffer No Guilt covers!

    Atlantean Kodex

    Isen Torr

  6. Check out this song:
    Farewell - Summoning

    All Summoning's songs are based on the work of JRR Tolkien and mix *Heavy* metal with epic and atmospheric sounds. \m/

  7. Hi there,

    In my mind there is one band who summons up a dark and gritty world - no wonder as their theme is "war" in all of their songs - in their songs:
    Bolt Thrower

    Just try to listen to their second album "Realms of Chaos". (They wrote this by contract of Games Workshop as far as I know)

  8. Only the artwork for Realms of Chaos was really attached to Games Workshop. When they re-released the album a couple of years back, they had to use new artwork since Games Workshop owned all the original stuff. They just got the same guy to make similar art.

  9. I doubt your expression that only the cover of RoC was attached to GW. Because the texts and the music wonderfully describe the old world (especially the Wh40k world).

    Okay, enough with that: This blog is about old D&D.

    Your description about how to make D&D more Metal hits in the middle of my ideas of my "Metal Chronicles", a collection of four dark, gritty settings - or better setting templates from which each GM can build up his special setting -. These setting rulebooks will be released for each Simulacrum RPG under a free license soon on DF - I am "implementing" them in GNU Texinfo now -.

    The "elevator pitches" for the Chronicles are:

    Power Metal Chronicles: A setting in which the characters are inhabitants of a big and vast city which is under siege since many, many years. The characters adventure to bring the impossible chance of breaking out of the siege to possibility.

    Black Metal Chronicles: A setting where the world is ruled by many churches and cults. The characters are "special troops" of these churches to widen the believe of their church.

    Death Metal Chronicles: Here every player has the control over a guild of gladiators. Every adventure is about the power control of these guilds.

    Doom Metal Chronicles: The characters live in a world controlled by mysterious, old and mighty beings. The day to day mission to survive is forming the adventure.

  10. I've been thinking for some time about writing a blog entry about the relationship between metal and role-playing games in the early days. This entry has only given me further inspiration.

    I don't know if you'd care to exchange links, because my blog is like a level 0 NPC to your 18th level fighter, but I added a link to you regardless. I think your writings are a thought-provoking breath of fresh air. I'm glad I found them.

    The Dwarf and the Basilisk