This week, let’s talk about the intersection of music and RPGs! Hällas, an “adventure rock” band from Sweden, seems like a good place to start. If you flip through the pics, that’s basically the cover of each of their releases. That’s the three full lengths: Excerpts from a Future Past (2017), Conundrum (2020) and Isle of Wisdom (2022); the self-titled EP (2015), the Tear of a Traitor/Carry On 7” (2020) and the Star Rider flexi (2018). Looking through those covers should give you a glimmer of an idea of how the band sounds. Which is unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, honestly. They cite a bunch of 70s prog bands like Uriah Heep and Rush as influences, but I don’t hear it. To these ears, the crisp, clean and bright science fantasy sounds of Hällas are entirely unique.

Which isn’t to say there isn’t some roleplaying nostalgia at play in their music, which for at least two albums chronicles the adventures of a heroic knight against the tyrants of his realm — there definitely is! But it’s a strange variety, a sort of nostalgia for nostalgia. It doesn’t conjure the feeling of actually playing a RPG at a table in a wood-paneled basement, or some similar specific retro gaming experience. Rather, it makes me nostalgic for WANTING to play RPGs, when it was all new and exciting and I just wanted to play all the time but couldn’t (that last bit hasn’t changed, I’ve just swapped newness out for deep familiarity).

Start with “Star Rider” and work out in either direction from there, and see if you don’t find yourself yearning to yearn adventure.

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