Friday Favourite: What Music Is Playing During Your Battle?

by Wimwick (Neil Ellis) on October 24, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From May 21, 2010, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: What Music Is Playing During Your Battle?

In grade 5 my teacher asked the class if we could only have one song playing as our theme song, what would it be?

For the life of me I don’t recall what song I selected. However, John Arcadian’s post at Gnome Stew got me thinking about this again. John highlights the tool Pandora. Now, because I live in Canada I don’t have access to this nice tool. I do however have access to my ipod and all the CDs I still haven’t copied over to a digital format.

John’s article brought me back to that question my grade 5 teacher asked, only this time it was what songs would compose my D&D soundtrack?

Now, there are a multitude of songs that would be relevant to a D&D session. I’d gladly attack any number of monsters while one of the songs listed below was playing in the background.

  1. By The Sword– Slash & Andrew Stockdale: I’m not sure if it’s the name, the guitar solo or the way Andrew Stockdale wails on this song, but it really inspires me to roll some crits.
  2. Perfect In Between – Champion: It could just be the bass, or the fact that 8 guitars are working in such harmony. This song instills thoughts of action.
  3. We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions: Queen – I couldn’t in good faith leave this selection off the list. Everyone needs a little Queen.
  4. Heads Will Roll – Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Zombies + Critical Hits = Heads Will Roll
  5. The Royal We– Silversun Pickups: “We are ready for the siege, we are armed up to the teeth” Sounds like D&D to me.
  6. Knights of Cydonia – Muse: Guitar Hero might have made the song popular, but the guitar riff is one you know want cranked as you destroy the enemy.
  7. This Is War – 30 Seconds To Mars: I admit the Dragon Age: Origins trailers hooked me on this one.
  8. Blaze Of Glory– Bon Jovi: All battle is glorious and if there needs to be a TPK, you might as well go down swinging.
  9. Clubbed To Death– Rob Dougan: You’ve seen Neo and company fight to this tune and you know you want to as well.
  10. Furious Angels(Instrumental): Rob Dougan – See above.
  11. Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2: My gaming group plays on Sunday nights, it seemed appropriate.
  12. Burn – The Cure (Crow Soundtrack): Regret, loss, violence, vengeance, this song brings it all out.
  13. Mad World – Gary Jules (cover): “The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.” Nothing defines a D&D character or campaign like an epic death.

There are undoubtedly many other songs that I would include on this list. A great many of them being classical pieces. Unfortunately, I’m not very well educated in classical music and I don’t own any of it. So for the time being it must remain off my list. If you have some recommendations, please let me know.

What songs would be included in your play list?


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1 Bupp October 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

My group like metal, so a mix of Slayer, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden is used during battles. Sometimes at high volume to make it difficult to communicate. Helps create the “fog of war”.

AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” is usually cued up for when thunderwave is cast.

2 Dan October 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

We recently had a battle against waves of animals in a circus setting, and as part of the psychological warfare, we had circus music playing in the background. It was wonderful.

3 PhDnD November 2, 2014 at 10:47 am

My group uses trailer music from artists like Two Steps From Hell, Zack Hemsey, Audiomachine, Epic Score, Jo Blankenburg, Thomas Bergesen, and John Dreamer. We have probably close to 2000 songs between these artists and they are amazingly immersive.

4 Hollow Wanderer November 3, 2014 at 12:17 am

I love using music all throughout my adventures and campaigns.

It’s surprising how hard it is to find instrumental music to play in the background of the game while conveying theme/mood/atmosphere you’re going for.

I’ve found a few really good group of instrumentals that I use. There’s something about using modern ie: country, pop, metal, rap ect. that just doesn’t fit the kind of games I run.

What I recommend are Midnight Syndicate and Nox Arcana, who focus on creepy horror neo-classical music.

Two Steps From Hell have a couple really good albums, their newest, All Drones (not drums that’s an old album) go to hell has a very good assortment of mystical somber pieces that have an almost Inca style vibe going on.

Balls to the Wall is another great album and it is what I use for basic combat encounters as it is largely percussion, get’s the blood flowing.

The next one I can recommend whole heartedly and cannot stress how underrated these guys are is Erdenstern. They are a german group that pretty well makes music solely for tabletop RPG’s. Each album they make is thematic. Here’s a list of their work so far: Into the Green (forests, stereotypical adventuring stuff), Into the Blue (seafaring adventures), Into the Red (Castles, fighting dragons), Into the Gold (Desert, Eastern style music with an almost Indiana Jones quality), Into the Grey (Sci-fi, cyberpunk techno neuromancer firefly shadowrun feel), Into the Dark (Horror, general sense of unease great), Into the White (Artic, Inuit primal music).

Erdensterns music is hard to find, but if there’s one I’d have to highly recommend it would be them. Real instrumentation, excellent composition, high quality pieces.

Hopefully this helps someone out!

5 Fappy November 5, 2014 at 7:37 am

I was on stumbleupon and came across a cool ambient music site for gamers. If anyone’s interested I’m posting the link…
http://tabletopaudio.com/
Enjoy 🙂

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