Ever since my youth, I’ve been a fan of the electric folk band, Steeleye Span. My brother had collected a number of their early albums and I enjoyed listening to their music as much as he did. Both of us liked incorporating their songs into our RPG campaigns either as environment fluff or as the basis of characters or adventures.
As an adult, I’ve managed to collect all of Steeleye Span’s studio albums in CD format, and I still enjoy their music – – despite the fact that no one else around me does. So when I’m driving alone in the car, I set my IPod playlist to Steeleye Span and folk-jam away.
A little over two years ago, some friends wanted to start a Tunnels and Trolls group. I volunteered to be the game master. We were starting this group pretty quickly so I needed an adventure. I’m not a huge fan of pre-published adventures, and the only ones available at the time were written a long time ago. I wanted something fresh and new, because the T&T developer just published a new version of the rules.
In my car, listening to the music, the song, The Heir of Linne, played. Before this, I never paid close attention to the lyrics, but this time, it clicked. Here’s a song that tells the tale of a lord who foolishly lost his title and fortune and now wanted to get it all back. Here’s the lyrics as performed by Steeleye Span: https://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/heiroflinne.html
This is based upon an old English ballad, as collected by Francis James Child. Here’s how the story is told: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Child%27s_Ballads/267
Now, all I had to do was build an adventure around it, add or change a few names, and we’re ready to go! We played through the adventure and when it was done, one of the players wanted to move on to other games so the group broke up.
A few months later, some co-workers were intrigued by the newly published version of Dungeons and Dragons. Fifth Edition promised to be a refreshing take on the original game where the best aspects of “old-school” role-playing were melded with the best components of modern RPG. Admittedly, they didn’t get everything perfect, but the system is usable without feeling like you’re playing a MMORPG translated to the tabletop. I, being the ultimate victim, volunteered to DM. With only a couple weeks to prepare, I needed something to go with. Still no fan of pre-published adventures, I took on the challenge of building my own setting.
Which started with The Heir of Linne adventure I had just run a few months before.
Next up… The Twelve Witches.