Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Making Your Campaign METAL!

A couple years ago there was a thread over on about how to make one's campaign METAL. So I gave my own response, and put it here as well.

Recently another such thread has popped up, same thing happening, so here I repost my May 29, 2010 blog entry.

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 were 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.

Seems a lot more genuine than SPIKES, LEATHER, and SKULLS. I challenge you to name one quality album that has a skull on the cover. Yeah, there are a few, but you're going to have to think to name any. Skulls = Suck as a general rule.


  1. Skulls = Suck as a general rule.

    Would it help if they were flaming skulls?


  2. Beneath the Remains by Sepultura and Scream Bloody Gore by Death. The Sepultura cover is pretty weak though compared to the actual track list on the album. And the Death cover is awesome, but Leprosy looked way cooler.

    This post is cool though. When I was in high school we made a short film called "the quest for metal." After making the film I really wanted to make a death metal influenced D&D game. Never came up with anything cool though. This post has kinda rekindled that feeling. Even though the concept of good desroying evil, only to become evil itself, is awesome, I'd probably stick with some more of the hilarious metal stuff. Maybe a campaign about Finntroll? I wonder if Blind Guardian games? Thanks for the post.

  3. I got into Death with Individual Thought Patterns so I have a real time dealing with Scream Bloody Gore. :)

    I'll have to grant Beneath the Remains though.

    Candlemass has at least two, arguably three good albums with skulls on the cover. That's got to be a world record.

  4. Well said.

    re: Candlemass, Dactylis Glomerata doesn't count, but Epicus Doomicus Metallicus probably counts for 10 records' worth.

    I'm thinking on other covers with skulls... Melissa by Mercyful Fate, of course.

  5. Yeah, I didn't have to think too hard to come up with Motorhead, and South of Heaven.

    Your campaign scenario sounds almost ... punk ...

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  7. OK, OK, find me a good skull cover on an album less than twenty years old then. :P

  8. "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."

    Also amazing and hilarious. Maybe he was offended by the oh-so-gentle ribbing of metalheads as stupid, ugly sociopaths incompetent at absolutely everything in life except playing their instruments.

    I can't imagine why.

  9. Eyehategod

    Southern Discomfort

    Released: Jan 2000

  10. I will never run a metal campaign. Not knowledgeable enough.

    And that said, my PCs are corrupt from the beginning, tending towards playing stupid chaotic greedies anyway, and they veer towards evil unwittingly with temptations I throw them all the time.

  11. Overkill puts out some good metal, and most of their covers have the winged skull feller. SOD's Bigger Than the Devil was a cool record, if you count Sgt. D as a skull.

  12. Hah. All Death is good Death though. And too much of a good thing, is good.

    Organic Hallucinosis by Decapitated has a mechano-skull thing on the front. Definitely not a good looking album, but the music is great.

  13. Oh yea I forgot about SOD! Good call on that one. Even on the back of the SOD Live at Budokan VHS tape Billy Milano is wearing a skull mask. Ofcourse, if you've seen it, he comes out on stage with the mask on and leaps onto the crowd.

  14. Gorgoroth - Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt

    Arch Enemy - Doomsday Machine

    Entombed - Entombed

  15. Hmm...I was going to say Motorhead. But less than 20 years old? Has there been any good metal in the last 20 years?

    I guess Eddie looks fairly skull-like in his Grim Reaper garb on Iron Maiden's Dance of Death...that's a guilty pleasure I've been listening to a lot lately...
    ; )

  16. Well, Massive Killing Capacity by Dismember has piles of skulls and even a winged skull logo, it also has giant robot with chainsaws and iron cross (nazi lumberjack robot?) and a tank.
    I think it's good album.

  17. Great metal albums with skulls on the cover? Off the top of my head ... LOUDNESS, The Birthday Eve ... SAVATAGE, Dungeons Are Calling ... CRIMSON GLORY, Strange And Beautiful.

    Ben/Phantom Isle