My playlist – fantasy RPGs and the music I queue up for atmosphere

Setting the mood for your gaming session can be very important.  Are you playing a light, fun game like Paranoia in an airy room with lots of Python quotes and character sheets full of smudged pencil?  Or are you in your dungeon like basement in a morally heavy, high fantasy setting working on freeing the slaves of Arundel while simultaneously battling your party’s Elven nemesis?  Music, if done well, can do a lot to add to the mood.  Just like a date, but with nachos, dice bags and no bad movies.

I happen to love music and I think if done appropriately (and sufficiently in the background so as not to disturb the session) it can add great atmosphere.  I’ve been setting up my playlist for my high fantasy zombie apocalypse (HFZA) scenario, Aruneus.   Here’s what it looks like so far.  I’d welcome suggestions.

The playlist will be set to randomly select songs throughout the session and is large enough that we should get no repeats.


  • Akira Soundtrack
  • Black Sabbath – Heaven & Hell
  • Holst – The Planets
  • Jethro Tull – The Minstrel in the Gallery
  • Jethro Tull – Songs from the Wood
  • Medieval Baebes – The Rose
  • Medieval Baebes – Worldes Blysse
  • Medieval Baebes – Miseltoe & Wine (yes, I know it’s a holiday album.)
  • Wagner – Ride of the Valkyries (cliched, yes.  Effective?  Certainly.)

Singles (or multiples that aren’t entire albums)

  • Alice in Chains – Lesson Learned, Rooster
  • Anthrax – Among the Living, Armed and Dangerous, I am the Law, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
  • ColdPlay – Viva La Vida, Lost!
  • Days of the New – Flight Response, Weapon and the Wound
  • Diamond Head – Am I Evil?, The Prince
  • Dweezil Zappa with Ozzy Osborne – Staying Alive (head turner).
  • Europe – The Final Countdown
  • Iron Maiden – Alexander the Great, Die with your Boots On, The Duelist, Flight of Icarus, Heaven can Wait, Kill me Ce Soir, Paschendale, Powerslave, Rainbow’s Gold, Back in the Villiage, Run to the Hills.
  • Led Zeppelin – Battle for Evermore
  • Metallica – The Call of Ktulu, Orion, To Live is to Die, Suicide & Redemption
  • Monster Magnet – Space Lord, Bummer, 19 Witches
  • Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party, Weird Science
  • Pantera – Cowboys from Hell, I’ll Cast a Shadow
  • A Perfect Circle – Let’s Have a War
  • Queensryche – Queen of the Ryche, Gonna Get Close to You, Take Hold of the Flame, Walk in the Shadows, Electric Requiem.
  • Stevie Wonder – Superstitious
  • Suicidal Tendencies – Join the Army
  • System of a Down – Innervsion
  • Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London, Lawyers, Guns & Money, Leave my Monkey Alone.
  • Whitesnake – Still of the Night

Everything here may not be for you but personally I’m enjoying it.  There are enough classical and/or medieval feeling tracks to keep mindsets in the high fantasy realm, while also enough metal to be okay with plate armor and broadswords, with just a bit of cheese added for lunch.

[tags]rpg, role playing games, music[/tags]

6 thoughts on “My playlist – fantasy RPGs and the music I queue up for atmosphere

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  1. I use playlists similiarly, but generally lists of 15 tracks or so that are selected per gaming session, so there are some repeats in the atmosphere. The reason for this is because I want to force an association between the music and the content of the game.

    I try to steer away from music with vocal content myself as I can find it incredibly distracting, as well as songs that are well known by the gaming group – it prevents ‘singalongs’. 🙂

    I’m currently running an A|State game with a heavy emphasis on the Victorian setting. Certainly there are a few classical tracks, but I like to use post-rock bands. The vocal-less music and the guitars have an impending sense of loneliness and doom. 🙂

    Bands like: Red Sparrowes, Russian Circles, This Will Destroy You, Mono.
    For fantasy games, you can’t go past: Dead Can Dance, Triarii, and Peter Gaberiel’s “Passion” soundtrack.


  2. Zoinks! I forgot Mono. They’ve got some very mood inducing tracks.

    I don’t mind the lyrics so much. The music tends to be lower and in the background. When gaming gets really intense, it isn’t noticed at all except perhaps subliminally.

    Which reminds me, I need to record “The GM is ALWAYS right” in a soft voice over all of these songs.


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