View Full Version : The Day the Music Died - 1001 Music-themed Plot hooks

2011-07-16, 02:14 AM
The idea of a music-themed campaign is pretty popular around these parts, so I figured we could build one of these threads. I plan to incorporate at least some of them into my own game!

You know the drill by now.

1. The Dwarves of Death Metal Mountain have dug too deep in their search for Heavy Mithril. When the Balor awoke, they challenged it to a Rock-off, but the uncharismatic dwarves cannot possibly win on their own.

2. The Metalocalypse has begun.

3. Elves have been assembling from all across the world for a “music festival,” and are becoming insufferable.

4. An Orchestra from the far-off plateau of Leng is in town, and will be performing the infamous Pnakotic Symphony. It is a piece of music sages say must not be performed to completion, though they are mysteriously silent on why this is. Those same sages say, if anyone ever did hear the whole thing, they're not around anymore to warn us about what happens. Naturally, the local nobles regard this as silly superstition, and wish the show to go on.

Mr. Anon Omys
2011-07-16, 08:26 AM
5. A band of heavy metal warforged have been terrorizing the countryside with the subwoofers built into their chests. Can you withstand the bass and approach their lead singer?

2011-07-16, 09:06 AM
6. Bardic Rangers!

A team of five color coded bards with different specialization travels the countrysides and fights evil with the power of music. A Literal Five Man Band!

2011-07-16, 10:29 AM
7. Since ancient times, a special group of musicians used magical music to keep the borders between worlds strong. They died out long ago, and are now the borders are becoming thinner. The party must recover the ancient music and use it before the material plane is overrun with horrific monstrosities.

8. A necromancer has found a way of singing towns to sleep, and then to undeath.

9. A scholar discovers that subtly embedded in the songs of all the world's different cultures are the fragments of an ancient message. But what is the full message and where does it come from?

10. The party must secure a magical violin before it is used for evil.

11. Something is killing all the musically talented people in a city.

12. A king announces a tournament of bards.

13. In a certain village, late at night, people start to hear eerie music.

2011-07-16, 01:32 PM
14. Across the country musicians are having their souls taken after losing a duel to a devil. Can you stop the devil before the country is only filled with the sounds of dispair. The savior gets a Golden Fiddle as a reward for saving the country.

2011-07-16, 01:40 PM
Chapter titles in my PbP pirates game tend to follow themes. Sometimes, I create a streak of music-themed titles, othertimes it's shakespeare quotes (my last batch were all from Macbeth), othertimes it's other famous literary or television/movie quotes. Musical ones so far:

I see a little silhouetto of a man - Where the crew is breaking their gnomish captain out of death row.
You'll find a god in every golden cloister - Upon entering the grand Basillica of Burning Passions.
The Summit of Beauty and Love - The receipt of their quest from the high priestess of Sune.
The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound - Their first act of high-piracy, stealing their enemy's ship.
No, we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it - epilogue after raiding Memnon's Lost Elemental Vault of Fire.
Strangers making the most of the dark - Brothel business.
She ain't heavy - A subplot surrounding the captain's stated "Sworn Brother" (actually a woman.)

2011-07-16, 01:44 PM
15. When the drow lash out again, this is pretty much par for the course, and a small army is dispatched. Not one of them returns. So the adventurers are sent. They find the soldiers fighting alongside the drow, and musicians on every street corner playing the same ethereal tune with the voices of a thousand different instruments....

16. Long ago, a piece of music lived. It was powerful and dangerous, and so it was sealed in a tomb where no one could hear it. All copies of the sheet music were destroyed, and over time, the song that lived was forgotten. But exploration never ceases. Perhaps the party finds the music, or perhaps someone dug too deep. Perhaps some other party found it. But the tune is loose, and removing it once more will hardly be a simple task...

2011-07-16, 02:09 PM
17. A seer has composed a song that prophesies how the world will end. The pcs must prevent the song from getting to wrong ears.

18. Pcs must help a seer compose a song about end of an Age so that new age can follow the old one. Failure would herald the end of the world.

2011-07-16, 04:08 PM
19. In a city with many bards, something is killing them off. Everyone who dies is aged 27.

20. A song passed down through generations, maybe a nursery rhyme, is actually a riddle that holds to key to the location of a lich's phylactery.

21. An evil Dwarven sorcerer has enchanted a lute so that young men and women who hear it played are twisted to perform acts of violence and debauchery. Can the PCs stop this evil Stone Music before it corrupts our youth entirely?

22. A good Dwarven craftsmen has discovered a way to record music, using a primitive phonograph and wax cylinders. It's discovered that if you reverse the recorded words of a shapechanged being, you hear their original voice and clues to their true identity. Naturally, the shapechangers are up to no good.

23. The greatest elven bard ever, whose singing was famous throughout the land, has died. Or has he? People keep sighting him all over the land. His greatest admirer, a young princess, orders the PCs to find him, and discover what's going on.

24. The elves had a prophecy of The Day the Music Died; now it seems to have come true. Elves are slowly losing the power to hear music. The PCs must discover the cause and fix the problem.

25. Your party bard is cursed. His music draws followers in huge numbers wherever he goes, who have become fanatical devotees. They are not actually useful for anything, however, and are a nuisance at best and dangerous at worst. They also won't let him stop playing it for long on pain of death.

26. A mediocre bard made a pact with a devil to improve his playing. Now the devil is out to collect his soul. Can the PCs defeat it?



2011-07-16, 04:33 PM
27. One of the PC's receives an unsigned note which says:

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you

2011-07-16, 06:11 PM
28. At the turning of the 23rd century, mankind receives its first contact with intelligent life from beyond their world. A broadcast from a distant solar system, consisting of haunting music: terrifying in its familiarity. The lyrics appear, against all logic, to be in a heavily stylized form of English, and speak of an alien culture receiving signals from Earth hundreds of years prior. It would seem that, in a relatively nearby star system, these broadcasts were heard, and an entire alien world's civilization developed around the culture of popular 1990's American musical stylings. This alien world, abundant in resources beyond imagining, worked towards a singular planetary goal of achieving long-distance space travel, and now they are coming. What do they want? What should we do when they get here? And what lasting impression will contact with a world of rabid, zealous fans of Green Day, Metallica, Britney Spears, and Garth Brooks (and so many others) leave on us all?

29. (Especially for something like Dogs in the Vineyard) The frontier town of Sunset Ridge has had an inordinate influx of migrants from Back East. Folks looking for a new start ain't nothin' to worry about, but they seem to have brought with them a lot of their troubling customs. In particular, the youth of Sunset Ridge are becoming corrupted by all this big city music. Young boys are beginning to question their elders and seek avenues of employment based on their hopes and dreams rather than their duty to the community. Young girls are exposing their necks and turning down marriage proposals from men they don't like. What's worse - their parents aren't doing anything to stop it! Ride into town with all fury and straighten out this blasphemous blight on the face of the world. And try not to kill anyone this time. Folks are starting to head for the hills when they hear your posse is delivering the mail.

2011-07-16, 08:04 PM
30. The music is gone. All of it. Even things tangentially related to music, such as rhythm are no longer functional. Boats can't sail when they should be bobbing in the waves. Carpenters can't saw wood or hammer nails. People can hardly even walk without their rhythm. The end times have come.

2011-07-17, 08:47 AM
A troupe of entertainers, all girls, puts on a show in the heart of town. They're really good, and very inspirational. VERY inspirational. Too inspirational. All who attend the show are mesmerized and suddenly filled with a desperate urge to drop their whole lives and pursue new ones as bards of various sorts. Odder still, it looks as if they just might be successful at it, for everyone suddenly has no small amount of talent!! The few in the audience who already had a bit of talent are now utterly phenomenal.

This is all fine and dandy, and maybe this town can become this land's answer to Vegas or Branson, but in the meantime everything else if falling completely apart as no one seems interested in doing any actual work.

Those pesky Muses. Why'd they have to pick this town for their little jam session?

2011-07-17, 11:41 AM
Those pesky Muses. Why'd they have to pick this town for their little jam session?

Oh yes, so much winz.

And of course there has to be nine of them, specializing in the following skills:

Perform (oratory) Calliope
Knowledge (history) Clio
Perform (string instruments) Erato
Perform (wind instruments) Euterpe
Perform (act) Melpomnene
Perform (sing) and Knowledge (religion) Polyhymnia
Perform (dance) Terpischore
Perform (comedy) Thalia
Profession (astrologer) Urania

For bonus points, the singer should be a Bard/Cleric with Initiate of Milil and the astrologer has to be a Sublime Chord.

2011-07-17, 12:45 PM
32. The party finds themselves transported to a mysterious realm filled with giant cellophane flowers, rocking horse people, newspaper taxis, and all manner of other strange things. Their only hope of escape is to find a woman named Lucy, but in the meantime, they're stalked by a strange girl with kaleidascope eyes. Is this odd child Lucy? If so, will she really help them escape, or are her motives more sinister? If not, then who is she, and what interest does she have in the party?

2011-07-17, 01:53 PM
I had a surprising amount of good, scary ideas while reading this. Ideas that will make my players cry, give them goosebumps and nightmares. :xykon:

Thanks, good luck and keep up the good work!

Morph Bark
2011-07-17, 06:13 PM
The thread title amuses me greatly for a specific reason (http://morpholomewy.deviantart.com/#/d3g1nvt).

33. The party runs into a bard who claims that the world is going to be plunged into darkness within the next 7 years. He knows this only after playing a specific tune that sent him 7 years forward in time.

2011-07-17, 07:32 PM
34. The. Show. Must. Go. On. Things are going badly in an opera house. But the very power of the show itself puts a Geas on the performers. The. Show. Must. Go. On. Find a way to save the performers... either by finishing the show or breaking the spell.

35. Death has taken a vacation to become a concert pianist. Suddenly, things aren't dying. (Or if they are, they're immediately becoming undead)

35.b. Death has taken a vacation to become a concert xylophonist using his own ribcage. Same as 35.

36. A 'bardbarian' charges the PCs with finding his missing magical 'axe'

37. "Get Back. Get Back. Get Back to Where You Once Belonged." The PCs are trapped in a strange universe where magic is defunct, deities aren't answering prayers (at the very least, not in the form of spells), and people travel around in these strange metal boxes on wheels. They must find a way to return to their own world.

38. A group of 4 Thri-Kreen bards are taking the world by storm! Either aid or stop these 'Beatles' from taking over the known world and ushering in an era of peace (and possibly drugs)

39. A Polka-Powered Zombie Tyrannosaurus Rex is rampaging through Chicago. Stop it before it causes any more collateral damage. Dresden Files Reference

40. An epic, permanent, scaled version of the Mage's Magnificent Mansion traps the PCs inside. They are given all manners of physical pleasures, but will soon find out that the night men are programmed to receive. You can check out any time you like, you can never leave. They must find a way out of this cursed Hotel.

I think that should be enough for now.

2011-07-17, 09:47 PM
Ya'll have made my day considering I am moving for the 20th time (give or take 5) and I HATE TO MOVE. I and lets see...

41. Some of the bards are feeling "Numb" to the music. Can you get them back into the music for at least an "Encore". Do you want more.

2011-07-17, 10:09 PM
42. A curse has been cast on the party so that a mental wall is being built around them, they must find meaning in the world outside again, all the while fighting their greatest fears and memories or be isolated forever

43. The end of everything has come. To reverse this the party must enter the sacred garden and speak to an ancient seven mile snake and ride it to find the answer in the west

44. A mad bard simply know as Donovan leaps in the tree tops of a haunted forest at night endlessly singing to beware the jabberwock find this creature.

45. The celebration of the lizard king must not be disturbed or a mysterious man simply known as Mr. Mojo will rise and who knows what he will do?

46. You must stop and chaotic bard Hendrexel for he has a lute called voodoo child which can control minds with it's awesome music

47. "I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we ate all together." find the meaning of this ancient riddle and discover the forgotten dirty who created it to make the sun reappear

48. There is a house in New Orleans. They call it The rising sun. Find out why it's been the ruin of many poor boys.

2011-07-17, 11:50 PM
49. One of the PCs begins hearing music no one else can even detect, faint, ethereal singing punctured by soft sobs from a young maiden. He doesn't seem to be under a spell, but the music keeps getting more and more insistent; he can't concentrate, can't sleep at night, won't eat, barely drinks. Can the party find the source of the message - or curse?

2011-07-18, 05:23 AM
50. A dirgesinger is terrorizing the countryside with his troupe of dancing zombies! The PCs must stop this thrilling madness.

2011-07-18, 08:49 AM
51. A group of evil Druids have decided these forest destroyers have gotten out of hand, and are taking extreme steps to rid the world of their unnatural influence. They're calling the plan the Festival of Burning Man.

2011-07-19, 11:41 AM
32. The party finds themselves transported to a mysterious realm filled with giant cellophane flowers, rocking horse people, newspaper taxis, and all manner of other strange things. Their only hope of escape is to find a woman named Lucy, but in the meantime, they're stalked by a strange girl with kaleidascope eyes. Is this odd child Lucy? If so, will she really help them escape, or are her motives more sinister? If not, then who is she, and what interest does she have in the party?
She's in the sky with dimonds.

Variation on Pratchett's Soul Music:
52. The universe was created in a spectacular jam session of The Creators, who fell into discord after sudden rise to fame and promptly disbanded. The instruments used in their most famous performance still contain a glimmer of world-changing power. One of them fell into hands of Death itself, who used it to play a single tone of Silence.
Life is fading away - the universe itself is withering. Will someone menage to gather all the musicians and their instruments for a world-saving come back?

The Tygre
2011-07-19, 04:02 PM
53. A gate to the Lower Planes has opened, unleashing a plague of demonic bats and worse. Can the PCs follow a lone rider to safety away from the bloodthirsty horde?

54. Young men and women have been disappearing all across the Realm. A mysterious island has appeared in the Western Wyld, though none may land on it. And just what does Ma-Ha-Suchi have connected to all of this?

55. In an odd twist, it is up to the PCs to separate an eternally bound vampire and lich couple, who have apparently been entangled since they were both youths.

2011-07-19, 07:52 PM
OMG! How can you forget the Peruvian flute bands that hold back the great evil....giant guinea pigs.

That's from south park. And I'm only half kidding. It's a good idea, no? To have music making some mega-beast/demi-god sleep.

2011-07-20, 12:36 PM
56: A bard with no name travels the desert on a horse with no name the PC's must uncover his identity and how all who hear the melody lose there names.

57: A bard travels from town to town playing songs 3days after visiting a town a terrible event occurs.
All the people hunt the cats of the village, devils rise from the abyss, the clerics and priests charm children, or a red flood of blood covers the town.

58: Everything the PC's know is wrong up is down and short is long why is this and what is this of a dare to be stupid?

59: A bard is searching for a cheeseburger in paradise he travels by boat being a son of a son of a sailor

60: A bard knows of lady luck and can invoke her powers but she might give him the brush, help ensure they stay happily together

2011-07-20, 01:11 PM
Not really a plot hook, but if it's a 3.5 game, living Lullaby or Otto's Irresistible Dance or similar could add to the good times.

61. A new breed of goblinoids (or similar fodder) has been terrorizing people, and as far as anyone can tell they are completely invincible, or at least too strong to handle in their numbers. Behind the scenes (no one has realized it yet) music keeps these creatures at bay.

62. (Possibly can be used in concert with 61.) The new king has issued a ban on all music. Instruments and sheet music are being burned, people who sing or play are being sent to the prisons, even a child humming or a workman tapping his foot can set off the king's guard.

63. A sailor named Old Fred begs the PC's for help. His home of Pepperland has been taken over by music-hating blues (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/monsters/blue.htm), who captured the musician guardians of the place and enslaved the populace.

64. As the PC's are walking, they encounter a pit fiend who tells them that they must play the best song in the world, or he'll eat their souls.

2011-07-20, 02:10 PM
65. The PC's manage to book passage on a strange underwater apparatus called a "Submarine" in a shockingly yellow color. After taking to the seas, the captain asks "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" and says that the PC's are going on a "Magical Mystery Tour" to a land ruled by "The Sheik of Araby."
(I'm sorry, i crack myself up.)

66. The PC's are told of an ancient monster simply known as "The Behemoth." They must find out where it strides.

2011-07-20, 05:02 PM
Not a plot hook per se, but I've wanted for a long time to run a mini-campaign loosely based on TMWSIY (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamehendge).

2011-07-21, 09:10 PM
67. Immigrant warriors from a land of ice and snow are coming from the east to conquer; without any hope of stopping them, the PCs must secure a moral victory through the power of friendship.

2011-07-21, 10:14 PM
68. The PCs meet a man who is looking for his father, who walked out on him and his mother years ago, so that he may kill him. He's not blaming him because he ran and hid, he just wants revenge for the awful, embarrassing name his father gave him.

Sleepy Shade
2011-07-24, 02:19 PM
69. The bard is not considered a full fledged bard until he takes the last test. He must acquire a instrument and play it in front of a crowd and do it well.

70. The party's bard never took the final test and is now summoned before a group of highly critical bards to hear his playing. If he fails he must take his apprenticeship all over again.

71. A ancient castle on an Island was the site of a terrible battle. A lone bagpiper ghost rises on certain nights and his bag pipes sound over the forgotten castle and the rest of the island. His bagpipes have recently been summoning monsters and undead that are tearing up the island and its villages.

Kris Strife
2011-07-24, 09:36 PM
72. A group of nobles are competing to see which of them throws the biggest balls. They've asked the PCs to be the judge.

73. The balls held by several nobles have ended in bloody massacres. Survivors have claimed to see a man in the back with eyes red as the sun. Can the PCs stop him before their patron's event?

2011-07-24, 11:22 PM
74: One day near a week ago the princess met a group of bards and is infatuated with there leader bring him back to her

75: A commoner was taught as a bard seeks the hand of a noble women who loves him help them to finally meet.

76: A bard that plays a piano sings of a fire that was always burning since the worlds been turning. This is of course false because the material plane is a disc prove him incorrect and find this 'fire' that is always burning.

77: A bard in the local tavern is singing of Mack the Knife a man soon to be in town. Who is this man and why is he so dangerous?

2011-07-25, 02:58 AM
Nightwish edition!

78, Dark Chest of Wonders: The players hear of a fantastic box that when opened contains not what the person wants, but what they need most. For an additional lyrical bent to it, however, instead of a conventional key, the chest can only be opened by the proper song. Can the PC's even open the box, and what will they learn of themselves when they do?

79, Slaying the Dreamer: A sorcerer's force of personality grows so powerful that reality begins to shift around him to better suit his desires. However, recently his dreams have also been manifesting, and worse yet he has been having increasingly intense, and disturbing nightmares.

80, Where Were You Last Night?: The party has been invited to a meeting of the One and the Five on the Plane of Shadows. However, the note explicitly states that they are not allowed to carry weapons while in their sanctum. While they are at the meeting, though, several murders happen back in the city they left behind for the night with wounds seemingly inflicted by the party's weaponry. Can the party vindicate themselves, when they can't prove where they were without revealing the meeting as well?

81, The Siren: A preternaturally beautiful nymph discovers her love of song, and decides to forsake the forest in favor of singing in towns. However, one night an unruly drunk gets too familiar with her, and in her anger she blinds every man in the town! Can the party help with this towns problems?

2011-07-25, 05:04 AM
82. The union between the four supreme gods of Metal has broken, for one of the gods, The Prince of Darkness, has gotten into a disagreement with the other three: He of the Eight Fingers, The Great Ward, and The Geezer.

83. A powerful Cleric leaves on an unknown quest, using his magic to travel beneath the depths of the mysterious Midnight Sea. A long time has passed since then, and the Cleric has yet to return. The players must journey below the waves on the back of a mystical tiger in order to find him.

84. Every large city with a restrictive set of laws in the land has experienced, at some time or another, the same thing. At night, a group of mysterious Bards in black leather appear in the center of town, and play "'til the dawn of light" when the sky turns red. Rumors say that their music has the power to set the halls of parliaments and nobles ablaze with supernatural fire that leaves the inhabitants scorched, but alive. Some claim that they are impervious to all ammunition. Although those in power see this as a problem, many individuals find it totally awesome (which it is).

85. A strange prophet with a skin disease travels from town to town, convincing more and more people to follow him. These individuals seem suspiciously loyal to the stranger, almost as if they are under some sort of spell.

86. A wealthy and charismatic lady hires the PCs to assist her in opening a gate to Heaven atop a massive flight of stairs.

87. The time has come once again for the annual fair. At a stand selling parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, an old Bard tells the PCs of how he fell in love at this very fair many years ago. Unfortunately, the two lovers had never seen each other since, and the old man longs to reunite with his counterpart.

88. During a rainstorm, the PCs "pass the cemetery gates" and see a lone man wondering aloud.

89. The PCs hear a rumor about a man "sitting on a park bench" and watching "nine little girls with bad intent."