Monday, February 6, 2017

Metal Monster Manual Monday - Volume 5

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!

DANS LA JOIE (Au Champ des Mortis)
Okay, personally, if I see a skull just lying around, I ask myself "what did it come from?" So, here's this giant skull; probably came from a giant, eh?
Then, of course, you ask how this giant('s) skull got here. Like, where is the rest of the body? Is there an entire giant('s) skeleton somewhere nearby? I'd expect so. Giants don't tend to get very far without a head.
But here it is. A lonely skull.
Is there some headless, undead giant roaming about these dank woods, searching for his head? What if he came crashing through the trees AT THIS VERY MOMENT?
The other way to approach dead stuff is in the mindset of a necromancer. What could some wicked necromage do with a massive giant('s) skull? Probably a lot. Probably a lot more if they had the giant('s) skeleton.
What if some necromancer has already gotten to the skull? What if it rose from the earth and made a massive bite attack? Or, what if the necromancer's attempts only succeeded partially, and the skull simply lays there, able to speak in a voice of grinding teeth and bone, but unable to do much else?
What would it say?
(I just wanted to note that this image has a FANTASTIC atmosphere. Great texture, object placement, and use of contrast.)

From the perspective on this image, this thing looks fairly massive. Like, a dude standing on the ground probably couldn't reach its knee.
Anyway, probably the first thing one notices is that this dude (statue?) has no face. Two obvious possibilities why: 1) it was created that way or 2) it was created with a face but now that face is gone.

So, why would 1) come about?
It is perhaps telling that the statue looks up toward a swirling void in the sky. What if this monolithic guardian was created to defend from otherworldly horrors come down from between the stars, incomprehensible in a way that would destroy eyes that look upon them or minds that dwell on them? This statue was created without eyes or mind - just limbs of cold, unyielding stone, the bones of the earth animated to defend against incursions from Beyond.
Perhaps its foes never came. Perhaps it still waits, watching the void between the stars.
What if it was one day needed elsewhere? Who would arouse it and convince it to leave its throne to find its foe in far lands? (Cue a party of intrepid adventurers..,)

Okay, but what about 2)? What if it had a face, but no longer does?
I imagine this statue as able to speak, a deep, grinding voice echoing from its open cranium.
What would it say?
Would it tell of how its face was lost - greedy dwarf vandal-thieves, striding giants, catapults, mages? (What did its tormentors want to accomplish?)
Would it mourn the loss of its face? Would it ask passing adventurers if they had found it? What would it do if its face were returned?
(WHAT IF the skull from the previous album cover was all that were left of its face, torn from its stony skin and left to rot in a swamp?)

Alright, time for the BOSS BATTLE:

So, obviously this chap is a mage of some kind. (The arcane sigil carved into his flesh and the eldritch fire from his eyes are a pretty good clue.)
Also, he doesn't look dead, despite having his entrails draped across the surrounding foliage.
Then, I notice his fingers. They look like they are becoming twigs or tree branches.
What if his entrails CONNECT HIM TO THE FOREST?
Is he a mad wizard who masochistically plugged himself into the trees to steal their power?
What can his burning eyes now see - all that occurs within the woods?
What vengeance would he unleash upon trespassing adventurers - lashing trunks and roots? Burning fire from his eyes?
What if his grisly connections to the forest were severed - would he die like a mere man?

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
Volume 3
Volume 4

No comments:

Post a Comment