The Playlist Helper
Eventually, this might shape up into preferred track selection by us, and by you, but for now, this is just to give helpful suggestions for making playlists. Below are the various playlists I’ve made for general and specific events in my games, as well as why I’ve split them up this way. For suggestions, please feel free to comment!
Arena – Several sessions took place while my players were held as slaves, so i felt that the standard battle music needed a face lift, to give it a more Colosseum-ish (that’s a word!) tone.
Battle – Every game needs good battle music, and this is where mine goes. I try to keep this playlist fairly full, as combat is a central theme, and we don’t want our players getting bored of the music on repeat.
Crypts/Tombs/Gloomy – Dark, scary music work in pretty much every place with evil creature that you need a torch to see it. That’s where this playlist comes in.
Epic Battles – This is the playlist that “Duel of the Fates” belongs on. If you are not familiar with that song, go listen to it and then come back to our site.
Evil Lairs – Sometimes the standard spooky crypt music just isn’t enough, that’s when you need msuic befitting the evil lair of the BBEG.
Fanfare – Are you’re heroes being praised by the mayor for saving their children from the hags? Perhaps they are preparing to ride out to battle with the king’s men? You need uplifting, brass heavy music, and here is where you find it.
Loss/Tragedy – Every movie soundtrack just about has at least one slow sad song in a minor key, maybe for a funeral, maybe an epic slow-motion sequence where the hero sacrifices himself to save everyone he loves? Either way, you’ll find most of these songs are in a melancholy, minor key.
Specific Events – This is where you organize your songs that you want cued up for a specific event. Maybe just when the gates are breached, you want to switch to a drum and brass heavy number. Just make notes like “gate crashers” and you’ll have it right at your finger tips.
Suspense – This could probably be broken up into a couple different sections, but for now, I have it all together on my list. I use this when they party is mulling over a heavy decision, or when they don’t know what’s going to be around the next corner.
Temples – Sort of a catch all for any kind of music befitting a good, holy place, temples of the good gods being the most common. These tend to have a lot of wordless vocals.
The Far Realms/Horror – These are some creepy crazy tracks that use dissonance and discord to set the players teeth on edge. Have they delved too deep into the underdark, and found something that time has forgotten? Perhaps the ancient ones have returned, and people are turning into nightmarish creatures.
Theme Songs – Another catch all, my players thought it was pretty awesome when they had their own theme songs, and I found that for these, sticking to the fantasy, sci-fi, or whatever genre is not required.
Town/Tavern/Market – Some good tavern or marketplace music can really set the feel for a medieval setting. If it makes you think of a bard with a lute, then it probably fits here.
Tranquil/Peaceful – Have the PCs stumbled upon a unicorn’s glade? Maybe the spring of summer fairies? This should be some wispy, effervescent music that makes you think of dancing fireflies at night (well, i suppose it doesn’t have to be that specifically, but you get the idea).
Victory – It’s always fun the first time when your players finish the BBEG and all of the sudden the Final Fantasy victory fanfare starts playing. If your players wouldn’t appreciate that, then any sort of “Hooray, we did it!” music will work.
Villains – This is kind of like the theme songs section, except they’re for your villains. If it’s not to distracting for your group, then modern music will work well for this, but if you want to be safe, many villains have their own entries on movie soundtracks for your convenience.
Wilderness/Overland Travel – This music generally indicates the passage of time (though not quite as obviously as the jeopardy theme). If you have separate wildernesses, some dangerous, and some not, then a second list could be made with more suspenseful tracks for those places where attack is imminent.