Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

Mystaran Songs - A Game of Thrones style

by John Arendt

Hey there, is anyone out here a fan of George RR Martin's "A Game of Thrones" (books, not the games). His world has a lot of bards and singers in it as background figures and songs immortalising great (or more typically, notorious) moments of history. (And there are always new songs that pop up, bawdy and comical songs about current events). Mystara has so much history, I've been considering how this (overlooked) game element could apply to Mystara. So here is an example of how this could be enrich a game session...

Suppose there is a famous song about the betrayal of Zendrolion (in Thyatian history, he is the man who betrays his friend Lucinius and names himself Emperor). "The Feast of Zendrolion" has come to signify the man who will stop at nothing to achieve great power, betraying all his friends if necessary. Perhaps it is a haunting melody that calls to mind condemning one's soul for temporal gain or whatnot.

Now when your players are bodyguards at those important guild talks with the representative of the Vorloi, and Lord Radu steps out for a bit, and the hired musicians in the corner begin playing opening strains of "The Feast of Zendrolion"... it'll add more depth and significance when they realise Radu has barred the door to the feast hall and his archers are on the balcony trying to kill the guild representative! (Or perhaps Radu would choose a song that glorified the Marilenev Rebellion? But you get the idea).

I fully plan on having some of the player's own escapades make their way into various songs (both heroic and bawdy) - but here's my question: what other important events in Mystaran History would make for great songs that could be used by savvy characters (or villains with a melodramatic flair) at different points in the game? Think how important theme songs, anthems, epics of history are to regular people.

Here are some events that jump to mind for me, that could have interesting songs developed:

The victory of Alexander Glantri / Defeat of Halzunthram
--A song that reinforces Glantrian superiority over the arrogant Alphatians

The return of Stephen Amber (assuming X2 is in your campaign's past)
--A reminder to the rest of his philosophy

The Feast of Zendrolian
--One of the most infamous betrayals of all time?

The Rebellion of Marilenev
--One day the Traladarans will be free!

The founding of Fort Doom (heard only in the Black Eagle Barony)

The Song of Halav (of course!)

Let me know your favourite events / moments of Mystaran history, maybe we can incorporate a song! (No, I don't intend to actually write any, but maybe just describe the content...)