Tuesday 13 June 2017

'The Heads of the Headless': Penny Dreadful titles as scenario seeds

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'Penny dreadfuls' - the cheap serial novels which were sold to children and the working poor in early Victorian Britain for one penny per installment - didn't acquire their name by accident. They featured plenty of blood and thunder, devious crimes, nonsensical plot twists, and authors who sometimes lost track of which century their stories were supposed to be set in, but the quality of the writing was... not high. Bombast, melodrama, and aggressive incoherence were pretty much the order of the day.

Their titles, however, were fabulous. 

Here are fifty, all of which I think would make fantastic titles for D&D scenarios. Roll 1d100, halve it, and use that as the title for your next adventure!
  1. Ada the Betrayed, or the Murder at the Old Smithy
  2. Adeline, or the Grave of the Forsaken
  3. Alice Home, or the Revenge of the Blighted One
  4. Alice Leighton, or the Murder at the Druid's Stones
  5. Almira's Curse, or the Black Tower of Bransdorf
  6. Angela the Orphan, or the Bandit Monk of Italy
  7. Anselmo the Accursed, or the Skeleton Hand!
  8. Bellgrove Castle, or the Hour of Retribution
  9. The Black Mantle, or the Murder at the Old Ferry
  10. The Black Monk, or the Secret of the Grey Turret
  11. The Black Pirate, or the Phantom Ship
  12. Captain Hawk, or the Shadow of Death
  13. Captain Kyd, or the Wizard of the Sea
  14. The Castle Fiend, or the Fate of the Loved and the Lost
  15. The Companions of Silence, or the Knights of the Iron Ring
  16. The Death Ship, or the Pirate's Bride and the Maniac of the Deep (This is probably one of the greatest titles in the history of publishing.)
  17. The Death Touch, or the Terrors of the Wilderness
  18. Deeds of Guilt! Or the Desolate House on the Waste
  19. The Demon Dwarf, or the Bond of Blood
  20. The Demon Huntsman; a Romance of Diablerie 
  21. The Destroyer, or the Sorcerers of the Domdaniel
  22. The Dice of Death
  23. The Fate of Gaspar, or the Mystic Caverns
  24. Fate, or the Avenger's Doom
  25. Geraldine, or the Secret Assassins of the Old Stone Cross
  26. Giralda, or the Invisible Husband
  27. The Goldsmith of Paris, or the Invisible Assassin
  28. Guy of Aulstone, or the Secret of the Iron Chamber
  29. The Heads of the Headless
  30. The House of Doom, or Love, Pride, and the Pest.
  31. Julian, or the Dead Man Come to Life Again.
  32. Kabaosa, or the Warriors of the West
  33. The Kinsmen, or the Black Riders of Congaree
  34. The Lady of the Fell House
  35. The Man With the Huge Umbrella
  36. The Mountain Fiend, or the Victim of Tyranny!
  37. The Mysterious Dagger, or the Avengers!
  38. The Mysterious Freebooters, or the Bride of Mystery (The more mystery the better, right?)
  39. The Oath, or the Buried Treasure
  40. One O'Clock, or the Knight and the Wood Demon
  41. The Phantom Voice, or the Doomed One of the Hulk
  42. The Ranger of the Tomb, or the Gypsy's Prophecy
  43. The Red Cross Warrior, or the Spirit of the Night
  44. The Rivals, or the Spectre of the Hall
  45. The Sea-Fiend, or the Abbot of St Mark's
  46. The Skeleton Lover 
  47. The Wild Witch of the Heath, or the Demon of the Glen
  48. The Witch of the Wave
  49. The Wood Devil, or the Vampire Pirate of the Deep Dell 
  50. Two Dead Bodies
(Many more can be found here, which is where I got all these from in the first place!)

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1 comment:

  1. "The House of Doom, or Love, Pride, and the Pest"

    I smell a murder mystery involving magical rats.