The Gassy Gnoll: Long Strange (Musical) Trip to a Religious War

The Gassy Gnoll has one heck of an eclectic taste in music. And sometimes those tunes lead to bizarre ideas for stories I can use in games. I often wind my way through Spotify on wild journeys through various musical realms.

Yesterday I checked out the soundtrack for rel="imdb">Guillermo Del Toro‘s latest film Pacific Rim, which was fun. (So was the movie by the way, but leave your brain at the door when watching giant robots battle giant monsters from the bottom of the sea.) Good background music with a rise and fall.

ancient-greece-mapToday, I was wondering about the day’s playlist and had a conversation with a coworker, which led to my discovery of Real Synthetic Audio, which offers an intriguing mix of electronica and industrial music via a hosted podcast you can stream or download. Though I’m not a huge industrial fan, I plan on exploring that landscape to discover some newer players in the electronic arena and potentially find some workout music.

That led me back to Depeche Mode’s latest album – Delta Machine – which is awesome if you like DM. From there the conversation steered me to some music from the Art of Noise ((Who’s Afraid Of) The Art of Noise?), Information Society (Information Society), and then Wang Chung (20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection)…

Why am I telling you how I got here? Because I’ve played “Praying To A New God” about three times so far and it’s got me itching to create a new story. (Here are the lyrics.) Perhaps it’s just the title which has me thinking about a religious war in a fantasy world. Perhaps it’s the lyrics “It’s another second coming, like it or not; You better start praying to a new God…”

So if I was running a campaign around the concept of this religious war, how would I go about it?

First, I’d set up a world with a well-established pantheon of gods. Perhaps take the good old Greek pantheon, dust it off, and do a fantasy campaign set in and around Ancient Greece. That solves two problems right away by offering a map with cities and some clearly defined boundaries as well as providing a common framework most folks might be familiar with as far as a collection of deities.

Second, I’d introduce an outside influence working its way in. Perhaps something Lovecraftian. Perhaps missionaries claiming to be from a certain island kingdom thought lost beneath the waves spreading the word of their Old Ones. Perhaps these Old Ones are the Titans, but more likely they’re even older vestiges of an even more ancient world.

It would begin with a cult, and as the cult gains followers through philosophical persuasion there is a subtle shift in power. Imagine the PCs as characters in this world facing an incursion of a new religion and choosing how to react. Would they join the new faction or fight for the old?

Eventually I could see a battle in the heavens taking place with Cthulhu taking on Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. With losses starting to pile up, the gods may eventually ask a group of heroes to go free the Titans – the only beings potentially powerful enough to take on the Old Ones.

Could this potentially get wildly out of control? YES! Could it be fun? Heck yeah!

So welcome to my world… born of a wild musical conversation and exploration today. :)

What sorts of wild musical journeys do you take to get into your campaigns? How do songs influence your stories, plots, and characters?

Gassy Gnoll

Gassy Gnoll

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