Friday, March 25, 2011

Have Evil, Will Travel

One of my favorite They Might Be Giants songs is 'The Mesopotamians,' a song about a band of ancient Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Sumerian emperors who drive around in their Econoline van and play gigs.  If you have somehow missed out on this gem, go watch it here.  There.  Aren't you better person now for having watched it?

I love ideas like that - and they are so fun to implement in a game.  Imagine the looks on the PCs faces when they discover that the bards who have been playing innocuously in the back corner of the local tavern for the last year are actually undead emperors from a bygone era with a desire to make music?  Then the band discovers that the PCs have been looting their tombs!  Talk about awkward.

Themed traveling groups are fun.  During one campaign, I created a traveling circus called Cirque Noir.  This circus was run by evil monsters.  The citizens of the towns and villages that the circus visited never really caught on that the evil monsters were really evil.  They just figured that the monsters were people dressed up in costume and makeup. 

The ring-mistress of the circus was a drow - who also did acrobats and used her drow-y powers to startle and confuse the crowd.  There was a strong-man ogre, a knife-throwing dark-stalker, and lesser demon who did fake magic tricks.  One of my favorites was Manny the Minotaur, who dressed in sparkly sequined clothes and carried an equally sparkly red cape.  Manny was a minotaur matador.  I was very pleased with myself for coming up with the idea, and woud laugh for hours thinking aobut it.  The party immediately began calling him Liberace.

My absolute favorite circus members were the clowns.  These were creepy two foot tall clowns with white skin, red noses, pointed hats, and fangs.  They were not wearing makeup or costumes.  They were undead.  They would throw paralysis pies at people, and squirt them with acid from flowers on their lapels.   

The clowns had a self-propelled carriage that they would travel around in.  The carriage would appear to fit an infinite amount of clowns.  The vehicle was actually a portal to another plane of existence where the undead horror clowns lived. 

The PCs stole the carriage at one point and kept in on their ship.  Later, while traveling in another plane of existence, they found where the clowns lived by accident - in a flop-house above a tavern with a portal on the wall leading back to the carriage.  Talk about awkward.

So, anyway, I enjoy themed traveling groups - and akward situations in RPGs. Feel free to use any of these idea any way you wish.

- Ark

PS - I'm inspired by events to remember the exits in back of me.

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