Lyrics can inspire you in creating an adventure, and in some cases the lyrics can be used directly in the adventure. Below are three examples to show you how you can draw upon lyrics from songs.

Example 1 – Spoken section from Thriller (Michael Jackson)

‘Darkness falls across the land, The midnight hour is close at hand.
Creatures crawl in search of blood, To terrorize your neighbourhood.
And who shall ever shall be found, Without the soul for getting down.
Must stand and face the hounds of hell, And rot inside a corpse’s shell’.
‘The foulest stench is in the air, The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb, Are closing in to seal your doom.
And though you fight to stay alive, Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist, The evil of the thriller’.

You could use the words as part of a prophesy, that heroes find 2-3 lines each on tablets in scattered ruins. And like most prophesies there are several interpretations of what the words actually mean, especially if its written in an ancient language and then you can get translation errors.

Remember a Ghoul is a creature that feasts on flesh, which could make a ‘ghoul’ half the creatures in the monster manual/bestiary.

  • Interpretation 1; Darkness blotting out the sun and a bunch of Undead coming after that. Starts with an eclipse that doesn’t end, a moons orbit being altered by a vampire coven.
  • Interpretation 2; Aberrations led by Mind flayers – using rituals to block out the sun or even destroy it. Underdark invasion of the surface. The ‘forty thousand years’ could be a hint to records of the last time this happened.
  • Interpretation 3; Devils using this planet as a staging ground vs Demons in The Bloodwar. ‘Darkness’ is the lack of good clerics & churches, their healing and guidance.

Example 2 – Someone like you (Adele)

‘Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me, I beg
I’ll remember you said,
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead’. 

The words could be used by the Ghosts or Dopplegangers, or by a Bard in the tavern nearby when the creature is talking to the pc.

  • Interpretation 1; Ghosts are not passing over, they are trapped somewhere, and they are contacting people through whispers on the wind or odd children you’ve never met. The Ghosts need to be remembered or celebrated in some way in order to free them. Their numbers are growing.
  • Interpretation 2; Dopplegangers are replacing lost or missing family members, but they are being rejected. They are fleeing a dimensional beast that hunts the creatures without current emotional attachments. The Dopplegangers just need a good home.
  • Interpretation 3; An Arcane cabal has found a ritual to remove creatures from existence including all trace and memory of them. So a variety of creatures are approaching the vocal/public/passionate people like bards, adventurers & artists to spread their stories/lore about them.

 

Example 3 – Welcome to the Jungle (Guns’n’Roses)

‘Welcome to the jungle we got fun and games
We got everything you want, honey we know the names
We are the people that can find, whatever you may need
If you got the money honey we got your disease’.

  • Idea 1; Cults or Devils have corrupted everything. 90% of people is corrupt or actively indulging in vice. This is the time before the civilisation falls or is destroyed. Bribery, Gambling, all manner of sins are common and witnessed on an hourly basis. Who is fuelling it? who is making it worse? what will it take to change the area wholesale?
  • Idea 2; Circus near a jungle area run by lycanthropes of all kinds. They all have different vices, goals and enemies.
  • Idea 3; Maps to ancient city of gold deep in the jungle surface. Within is a Mummy with a seven different traps types in his ziggurat.

 

So you can get a variety of ideas from a wide range of songs. Checkout your favourite albums and let the thoughts flow.

Shares
  • Aaron Good

    Hey! Great post. I love finding D&D inspiration from music 😀

    Another great one that I plan on using is “The Last Unicorn” from the film of the same name.

    “When the first breath of winter through the flowers is icing
    And you look to the north and a pale moon is rising
    And it seems like all is dying and would leave the world to mourn
    In the distance hear the laughter of the last unicorn”

    I plan on using the lyrics as a prophecy that they players might try to figure out.

    • Blake Ryan

      cool! there is ice age coming, and as things get bad you need to find a unicorn in a sacred glade to the north, pale moon means maybe lycanthropes involved?

Shares