What happens when you cross Metal with gaming? You get The Red Opera. This is going to be one exciting ride to come, devised by the brilliant minds of Rick Heinz, Drake Mefestta (DiAmorte) and Paul Allender (Cradle of Filth), this 5E campaign is ultimately going to bring the metalheads of the gaming world and the gamers into the metal world as the two come clashing together, simply into one mesmerising and excitable game. Rick divulges into what is going into this mind-blowing masterpiece:-
Metal, Gaming, and the Rise of the Red Opera: Last Days of the Warlock
Do you remember Satanic Panic? That troubled period of US culture that raged from the 1980s into the early 1990s. It spread to other parts of the world and weaved its way into culture at an important time in history—when gamers were just being born. In the ’80s; ‘Stranger Danger’ was all the rage, and fundamentalist preachers like Jerry Falwell had picked up steam. Geraldo Rivera’s made a documentary Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground that told metal fans everywhere: Ozzy Osborne will lead your children to the devil. Alongside this, anti-occult crusader Pat Pulling led an organization called BADD, which stood for ‘Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons.’
If you’re a fan of metal, this might sound either familiar or wickedly cool. After all, witches and warlocks are part of our regular medium today. If you’re a gamer, then you might remember the cheesy anti Dungeons and Dragons comics. Naturally, for a large portion of us; we saw both sides. When BADD published ‘The Devil’s Web: Who Is Stalking Your Children For Satan?’ (Published in August 1989); it asked police officers to openly interrogate teenagers about the Necronomicon. H.P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon. At that moment, there was nothing that could stop me from listening to Nine Inch Nails or Black Sabbath while rolling D20s in my basement. After all, a South Side Calumet City Police Officer just asked a 12-year old boy if he was in league with the devil—because his mom was listening to Metallica.
Now let’s fast forward to 2020. The year of murder hornets, riots, COVID-19, and who can say what is yet to come. Music and Gaming both serve as an important cultural means of escapism and bonding. With the concert industry taking a massive hit; it is going to become undoubtedly harder for bands to get noticed. Tabletop RPG’s faded from view for some time, but have made a recent resurgence in popularity thanks to shows like Critical Role. However, the Comic Con or gaming circuit is in the same struggling boat as the concerts are. Once again, I find myself having both my fandoms pinched by events outside of anybody’s control. Fortunately for me, I’m a writer who happens to enjoy a fair bit of escapism, healthy doses of Diablo, and the fine arts of Folk Metal.
One year ago, Drake Mefestta (DiAmorte) and Paul Allender (Cradle of Filth) were in my kitchen talking about their live production: ‘The Red Opera’. They already had the music done and they were going to shoot a video in the upcoming months. They were excited and filled with enthusiasm over how wickedly cool it was going to be. A metal-rock opera with drama, symphony, actors, a stage show, and friggin’ vampires (because why not). After hearing the instrumental version of the music, I made a simple comment: “I could run a game to this music. You should turn this into a 5E campaign.”
A year of writing, filling in holes, and battling with the coolest inverted dungeon: Joseph Asphahani (The Animal in Man), Pat Edwards (Space Tripping), and Myself (Rick Heinz) finished! Right as 2020 got off to a start, DiAmorte and us joined forces with Apotheosis Studios to bring the project to life. A merging of metal and gaming, inspired by warlocks and witches, and a twelve-year-old kid who was told that we should never make deals with the devil. The Red Opera: Last Days of the Warlock is an extensive, player-driven campaign book designed for 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons using the open gaming license. Drawing inspiration from the heavy metal DiAmorte album ‘The Red Opera’, we centred upon the often- overlooked and much-misunderstood class: Warlocks. A class that rules a setting called the Shadelands, where the veil between worlds runs thin, and anybody (warlock or not) can cut deals with the elusive hidden Patrons that exist there. Bring along your existing higher-tier campaign and characters following a mysterious trail, or wander the Shadelands as entirely fresh characters experiencing adventure for the first time.
But be assured, whether Warlock or no, the pacts these mad magicians strike for power with their mysterious patrons will be at the centre of the experience, and players will find many opportunities to peak beyond the veils separating realms and pledge to these beings if they so choose. The very foundations of the Shadelands are built upon the forces that fuel Warlock magic, for it is a place unlike any other where all the pacts of all the patrons converge. And its ruler, Dorian The Accursed King, binds them together. He once envisioned a realm where Warlocks would not have to hide who they were or who they served, a place where they would not be shunned by other professions. And by his will, Dorian made it so, although lately his hold on sanity has been strained…
In order to bring this project to life, Apotheosis Studios has chosen Kickstarter as our medium. It’s where most bands and gamebooks go these days. Simply search www.theredopera.com and the internet will whisk you right there. The band DiAmorte has grown and evolved to feature a vicious cast: James McClellan Dorton III (Black Crown Initiate and Doom Eternal), and Colin Parks (Devilment / Ghosts of Atlantis) have recently joined Drake Mefestta and Paul Allender. Everyone from the writers to Apotheosis Studios, to DiAmorte is itching to bring this project to life. A full metal album and a full-length campaign adventure with a wicked cool setting.
By helping us with the Kickstarter, you can even bring your world to life in the book and collaborate on this project with us! Come take part in The Last Days of the Warlock with us at
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