Everyone once in a while I like to challenge myself to come up with interesting and cohesive game material based on seemingly random sources of inspiration. Previous examples of this include most prominently my Sunday Hooks, but the root of much of my gaming inspiration is just observing the things around me and reinterpreting it as game material. In this vein, I was watching some music videos on YouTube earlier this week and thought man, this would make a baller campaign setting. And voilà, this post was born; below, I have five music videos for your viewing pleasure (I hope), and accompanying each is a campaign setting seed. Let's jump right in:
1) Be Your Own Pet - Adventure
Setting Seed: There is no peace between the races. Humans dominate the material plane, and hunting the "lesser" races for sport (and, in the more savage parts of the world, food) is relatively commonplace. Kindly nobles drink from dwarf-skull goblets, and women spend exorbitant sums on supple elf-skin boots and bodices. In this world, non-humans live like animals, fleeing the advance of man.
2) Beck - E-Pro
Setting Seed: The material plane is long gone, destroyed by some forgotten power. The remains of civilization roam the abstract planes, their minds never completely capable of comprehending the strange geometries and consciousnesses that seep around and often through them. Still, they live on, carving out areas of cognizant stability from the vast chaos of the planes.
3) Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
Setting Seed: The surface world is a rotten, industrialized carcass, a ghost of its long-gone pristine beauty. The rich live in hedonistic pleasure palaces at the tops of towers that reach past the clouds, filling themselves with the food and drink and material goods still produced by their slave legions below. The only true beauty, however, remains in chunks of clean earth rent from the surface long ago by mages, who hold them aloft still, keeping them from the corruption below.
4) Black Eyed Peas - Meet Me Halfway
Setting Seed: There are many worlds, and the races have spread themselves thin across them. The power inherent in the world is always present as well, and it is a strange day when one doesn't encounter natural magic, though this throws an eldritch veil one's path as well, and once a step forward is taken, it is difficult to take it back. It is a lonely life, but one is showered in constant ephemeral beauty.
5) Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
Setting Seed: A powerful guild of oneiromancers have gathered and combined their magics to divine the every want and need of the populace. They outclass every other guild quickly, and amass such a wealth so suddenly that they are able to oust the kings and lords that rule their consumers. Once this is accomplished, they put a stranglehold on the population by sending fatal nightmares to dissenters and reading every secret desire of their dream-slaves. Only the barbarous fringe of civilization has not yet succumbed to this control.
Alright, that was fun, right? Well, here's the real challenge: Use all five to come up with a cohesive setting seed. This challenge I give to you DMs out there, but here's mine: The oneiromancers still control much of the population through their dream-reading, they have captured many of the numerous worlds. In addition, they've nearly eradicated the other, stronger-willed races in brutal genocide. Most of those who are still free wander alone, seeking out others to spend their meager existence with. The few places where the free dare to gather are usually no better than the dream kingdom, as powerful autocrats rule from their sequestered thrones, living in disgusting hedonism. Those with magical talent often even tune into the distant wavelengths of the dream kingdom, escaping their blasé existence by terrorizing the helpless dream slaves. The universe is a terrifying place where the free rarely remain so for long.
Anyone else want to take a crack at it? Feel free to choose your own videos to base you setting seed on.