Musical Inspiration for Games

With all the games on the Gauntlet, and with the release of Once Again We Return, I have been wondering about how other people approach music and their games. Personally I love “theme songs” for characters or just inspirational pieces to listen to while creating game ideas.

Most recently I found a song that has a video that really goes with the feel of Monsterhearts.

CW: People dancing in underwear, may be slightly NSFW. Better safe than sorry.

Sir Babygirl - Haunted House

To me this feels like the anthem of a Ghost in Monsterhearts, someone who died at a party and was dumped in the woods and never found.

So, what has been inspiring you lately or was a favorite theme for a character of yours?


I will never not associate “A Song to Say Goodbye” by Placebo with my doomed, drug-addicted, devil-haunted genius violinist Ash. I only played him once, but he was so sad and hopeful and desperate and loving that I’ll never forget him.

Otherwise, I often have songs that I occassionally associate with a character of mine, but they usually do not encompass them. Like Asian Dub Foundation’s “La Haine” was a good representation for my character’s cold, murderous side, but it didn’t adress anything else. But I was able to weave that into a game where the monster hunters were after a siren and he needed something to plug his ears with.

…also, I once ran a “Star Wars Bollywood Musical”, where the players actually sang (or rapped) for their characters, and it was just as epic as you’d think. Palpatine stole every scene!


I’ve never picked a specific theme song for any of my characters, but I put an inordinate amount of effort into making soundtracks for my games. I’ll make custom playlists on Spotify for encounters I’ve set up and stress out way too much over having appropriate music playing during scenes. The most fun I had was pulling together all the soundscapes for a game of Dread that I ran, there is a wealth of ambient sound generators with outrageous amounts of customization for what stuff plays in them and with what frequency.

I often listen to Hans Zimmer soundtracks for the DC Comics movies when writing plots and events.

But awhile ago I wrote some articles about using song lyrics and plot ideas.


For years, I’ve been noodling over writing a series of adventures based on songs by a band… Particularly a band with a long discography, such as the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, Rush, or Jethro Tull.

I have a hard time picking one specific theme song a lot of the time, because I’m awful about making definitive decisions like that, but I absolutely make playlists for just about every game or character I get really into. They often end up turning into pseudo-soundtracks, where each song will make me think of a montage or theme for that character. Alternatively, I’ll get a lot of ideas from hearing a song and some lyric or vibe sparks something for me.

I’ll try to avoid totally geeking out and going too overboard, so I’ll just name a couple for my favorite characters =P

Venetian Snares - Kétsarkú Mozgalom : one of many themes for the pair of messed up cyber ninja supervillains my friend and I made for our game of The Sprawl

Sylvan Esso - Sound : and the song that plays as one of them dies after their big final mission T-T

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I’ve often used background music while gaming to set a the mood for a particular game. Some examples would be:

A couple of times I’ve made mixes to send to people to listen to before games, although I’m not sure that anyone but me actually listened to them.

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Blackmore’s Night: A World of Stone

This has inspired an Ars Magic Faerie adventure with a world of wide meadows, flying illuminate fae and far horizons that slowly was consumed by stone.

(It went down the rabbit hole a bit, with Earth Kings, the Wild Hunt, the Black Delving and the Llwellyn Song … )

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Good topic, even though I don’t really do it at all. I should!

When I ran Golden Sky Stories previously, I did send around this playlist to the players, just to give them an idea of the right tone and theme. It was pretty fun hunting through the soundtrack songs I knew.

i listened to a ton of Blackmore’s Night back in the 90’s, i consider them spot on for fantasy tavern music.


Not quite music, but check out for some outstanding customizable background soundscapes: modern, fantasy, sci-fi, etc.

This past Sunday I played a 5e DnD one shot called Poop Bird, Poop Fight and my GM used this hastily Googled YouTube video of one hour of dramatic organ music during the boss fight.