Monday, January 23, 2017

Metal Monster Manual Monday - Volume 3

Continuing a weekly series of posts wherein I share several album covers (mostly by death metal bands!) as brainfood for encounters in your tabletop RPG. Expect this every Monday!

Great surreal atmosphere on this one, with the red sky and blue ice. (Why is the sky red? The smoke of distant fires? The aurora borealis? The setting sun struggling to pierce clouds of ash and gas?)
Man, that ice looks lethal, though. Don't slip. (So, the terrain functions as a trap, where clumsy characters fall and take piercing damage.)
On the left, a strange, strange city. Notice the ice encroaching upon it - was this area once warm and habitable,  but now being threatened by glaciers and the long winter?
The city itself is kind of how I imagine Charn to look. What magics and treasures may be found in its ruinous mazes?
On the right, some black silhouettes on a hill above the ice. (My imagination immediately pictures them as ants on an anthill.) Do they live underground for shelter now? Are they former inhabitants of the city, or new arrivals on the wings of winter? Are they hostile or neutral?
There really is a story behind this scene. But it's up to you to tell it.

"The tree is withered; its roots are rotted and weak -
they grow through the skulls and the ribs of the children murdered at its feet!"

This has a BEAUTIFULLY psychedelic atmosphere. It's tough to tell whether the location is underground or merely in a deep, dank wood - though I lean toward the latter. (It reminds me of the Weald locations from Darkest Dungeon - a HIGHLY recommended game, BTW.)
Obviously this is a very old, very autotrophic forest - one that has even gained the malevolence to feed upon civilization and its denizens. What magics or supernatural forces have given it such ravenous life?
I shudder to think that the skull on the upper right might speak. What would it say to a party of adventurers?
(The album itself is also highly recommended - it was in my top 3 albums from 2015!)

Alright, time for the BOSS BATTLE:

DEPRIVE (Disfiguring the Goddess)
So, obviously this could be the object of a "go kill this quest," which would work fine. To slay this... THING, you'd need to destroy or disable those spires or pylons on either side, which are obviously feeding some sort of energy to the... THING. (And then, probably venture WITHIN its maw and KILL IT DEAD from there.)
What would be even COOLER is if that maw were actually a gateway or an entrance to some deeper, darker region - then, player options would include: 1) killing the... THING as normal, 2) negotiating with it (in which safe passage would be accomplished by... bringing it something it wishes to devour? Accomplishing a task beyond the reach of its writhing tentacles?) or 3) running REALLY fast past those spiky tentacles and massive teeth!
It's worth considering what this area looked like BEFORE the... THING grew or emerged or otherwise got there. Those curving objects in the foreground seem to be warped and ruined pillars or totem-poles, and some of the objects in the background could be massive dead trees. Was this once a mighty forest? Did the... THING poison the earth and blacken the sky with dark energies? Did devour until it could move no more? WHAT LIES BELOW?

How would YOU use any/all of these monsters, encounters, and scenes in your game, Reader?
(Let me know how it goes if you do!)

Previous volumes:
Volume 1
Volume 2

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