May 17, 2011

Gaming with Music, on Ezzin

I'm writing this in response to a question I saw over at Jeff's Gameblog.

My Dreaming Gods campaign is still in the brainstorming stage.  I'm planning to experiment with a lot things in the land of Ezzin, but making more use of music is one that I am particularly excited about.  You see, I want music to influence magic in strange ways, but I'm still tinkering with the magic system too.  Maybe groups of singing monsters can produce magical effects?  I also want to tie music to the alignment system and the various beliefs about Dreaming Gods themselves, like this...

Law - Sing soothing music and lullabies to the Dreaming Gods, because life is easier when They slumber peacefully. These people believe that their world will cease to exist if the Dreaming Gods wake up.

Neutral - Some might make music to mimic the sounds of nature.  Others might be attempting to raise the awareness of the Dreaming Gods so that They become lucid dreamers.  Some zealots might even demand silence at all times, perhaps even attacking anyone who speaks above a whisper.  Still others might not care one way or another, or refuse to believe in the Dreaming Gods at all.

Chaos - Sing loud, and/or badly.  Metal music goes here, as do most of the Dwarves of Ezzin.  These people attempt to awaken the Dreaming Gods with high volume, a lot of percussion, disjointed rhythms, dissonant chords, and the sounds of war.  They believe that Ezzin will become a paradise once the Dreaming Gods wake up.

Along this train of thought, some of the "magical artifacts" brought from the dreamlands will be things like boomboxes and ipods, which some people will interpret as having religious significance.  So, you might have a cult dedicated to Dio the Metal Lord or some such.

I was also thinking of having a troupe of NPC Dwarven bards called "Zed Leppzin".  They have learned songs from one of these artifacts, and play them on magically enhanced instruments/tools of destruction.  Their renown is legendary.  They are on a neverending tour of the lands, leaving a string of shattered and liquor-less Dwarven cities in their wake.  I giggle uncontrollably at the thought of the party of PC's defending a city full of drunken, partying Dwarves besieged by an army of orcs while the notes of the Immigrant Song ring throughout the city.

However, I still have concerns about music lyrics being too distracting during games. So I am considering equating racial languages to real-world languages...

Common = English
Elvish = Portuguese
Dwarvish = German

Then I could use music sung in those languages to represent folk music of different races.  This might work if everyone at the table is a dummy like me who only knows how to speak English.  Then I could get away with having an elvish singer named Seu Jorge join the party, just so that I have an excuse to play some David Bowie songs sung in Portuguese (this one too).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not entirely convinced that using so much music at the gaming table is wise.  However, I feel that the potential for awesome is too great to ignore.  I'll be posting on this topic again, once I have something substantial nailed down.

What do you think?

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