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The leaves are starting to change and the air’s getting crisp. While others are already talking about the comeback of their pumpkin spice lattes, the arrival of fall means something a bit different to me.
The Rage of Demons storyline season is here, and I’ve got to start planning. I mean, what snacks does one make when running a campaign about demon lords, anyway? So if you’re also looking forward to cozy, long nights with the fireplace on and the dice rolling freely, I’ve got nine ways to kick off your Rage of Demons campaign, based on nine demons featured in this storyline season.
1. PUT TOGETHER AN EPIC SOUNDTRACK
Let Demogorgon and his ability to provoke insanity be the DJ for the evening. Select instrumental pieces from horror movie soundtracks and Halloween party albums, or pick out some dubstep where the drop never comes. For something a little more esoteric, Godspeed You! Black Emperor is a great band to get you started. If you have the ability to do so, have your music tracks backed up with recordings of faint, nonsensical whispers. Play this throughout the campaign to keep your players on edge.
2. COOK UP A ZUGGTMOY-APPROVED APPETIZER
What do you make your players to introduce them to the Demon Queen of Fungi? Zuggtmoy stuffed mushrooms, of course!
3. MAKE A “BODY PART” KEBAB
When not killing and eating everything around him, the demon lord Yeenoghu gets a little crafty by making armor, masks, costumes, and necklaces out of body parts. For a slightly more appetizing take on this pastime, pick up some “Body Parts” gummy Halloween candies. Then stack them onto kebab sticks or thread them onto string to form a necklace. Set them out so that each player attending your game session is greeted by this creepy and delicious snack. It will definitely set the mood for the campaign!
4. CREATE ENTICING INVITATIONS
The demon lord Graz’zt is a creature of lust and desire, and his followers crave power and prestige. Invite your players to a session of Rage of Demons as Graz’zt would: with flowery, romantic invitations. Sign them from the Dark Prince and see if your players can resist him. Don’t be afraid to get humorous with your wording and go overboard with the lettering. Use calligraphy or a flowery font, call your players pet names Graz’zt might use for them, and spray the invitations with a strong and musky cologne.
5. KEEP YOURSELF (AND YOUR PLAYERS) HEALTHY
Germs seem to run rampant in the fall, so keep your game on track by keeping everyone in good health. Just as the characters in your campaign must resist disease when crossing Orcus’s path, you can help your players resist disease before they come into your house. Make your sick friends stay home and sleep it off instead of playing in the campaign, and be willing to reschedule or cancel your session if you’re feeling under the weather. At the table, encourage your players to use their own sets of dice and keep things like hand sanitizer and tissues available for anyone who might be showing signs of illness.
6. LEARN A MAGIC TRICK
Belaphoss might not be a demon lord yet, but this villain from the new D&D game Sword Coast Legends is doing everything he can to remedy this oversight. He loves tricking mortals in civilized and cunning ways, and is an obsessive student of demonic magic. Take a note from him and teach yourself a trick that will impress your players! Incorporate cards or some sleight of hand into your campaign for a bit of added flair. Check out youtube.com/magictricks to get you started.
7. ORGANIZE A QUICK BAPHOMET-APPROVED GAME BEFORE YOUR SESSION
Baphomet wants to reduce all creatures to their basest, most animalistic desires, and the Horned Lord encourages risky — and often deadly — games among his followers. You obviously don’t want to do anything that might put your players in harm’s way in real life, but there are some fun ways to safely bring a bit of that risk-taking spirit to your game. Have a variety of unmarked envelopes, plastic Easter eggs, or small wrapped packages on the table when your players arrive. Tell them that many of these packages contain information on fun and helpful items their characters will receive at the start of the campaign. However, one or two of the packages instead contains a note that will reduce a character’s starting hit points. Let the players decide if they want to participate, and take turns opening up the packages until everyone receives their helpful items or hit point penalty.
8. MAKE A GELATIN MOLD IN JUIBLEX’S LIKENESS
Juiblex, the gelatinous, glutinous Faceless Lord, is the perfect inspiration for an appetizing dessert. Right? Use a Bundt cake pan as a base, and fill it with green Jell-O mix. Place candy eyeballs throughout the Jell-O, then let it solidify. When the Jell-O is set, turn the mold over on a plate, carefully lift the cake pan off, and serve.
9. DRESS UP IN COSTUME
Fraz-Urb’luu is all about stepping out of reality and trying on a new personality — or an actual person — for size. Encourage your players to dress up as their characters, and to stay in character the whole time they’re at your place. And yes, the bard better be prepared to entertain everyone with a song during your dinner break!
These are just a few ideas you can play with while exploring the madness and wonders of the Underdark. What will you be doing to make your Rage of Demons campaign unique?
About the Author
Tara Theoharis is the creator of The Geeky Hostess, a geek party and recipe site and brand. When she's not coming up with weird cupcake flavors and punny foods, she spends her time playing tabletop games, attending cons, and binge-watching TV.