"Those who agree with us may not be right, but we admire their astuteness." - Cullen Hightower
Question #93174 posted on 06/16/2020 11:58 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I was originally only going to ask part of this question, but since it's alumni week I'm just going to ask the whole darn thing! Answer however much or little you'd like :)

So! I'm soon going to be taking over as the DM for my Dungeons & Dragons group, and I have a unique style that I would really like to lean into as far as background music is concerned. Basically, rather than playing the typical instrumental music, I want to utilize more common/well-known/popular songs. Probably not exclusively, but at least for specific fun or climactic moments.

For example: if my players start fighting a dragon, rather than playing intense instrumental music, I could play "Holding Out for a Hero."

If a character dies, I might play "Say Something."

Do you kind of see what I'm going for here?

The biggest challenge I foresee is that if I only have a few songs to choose from, they're going to get really old really fast. Which leads to my question! What are some songs you think would work well for these playlists?

The most important scenarios I need playlists for are:
Stealth Missions

Other fun themes I'd like to have songs for:
Heartwarming/Turning Point (think cheesy teen movies)
Long Journey
Chase scenes (probably some overlap with "Battles" here)

So like I mentioned before, feel free to contribute as much or as little to this question as you are interested in. Also please interpret any of these themes any way you would like, the more variety the better! (The piano music from "Up" isn't pop and has no lyrics, but would still be fun a fun addition to multiple playlists). This is obviously not an exhaustive list, and if there's a specific theme you would like to make a playlist for, awesome! Or if you just have some songs that don't really fit anywhere but you think might be good to have on hand for random moments just in case, I'd love to have them.

Thank you!

-Philonius the Wizard


Dear Phil,

Why would you not play "Whatcha Say" when someone dies? Seems pretty obvious to me.

-The Entomophagist


Dear friend,

Best of luck with your campaign! I tried to add a mix of both popular songs and some ones that are less well-known but still have a good D&D aesthetic.

Long Journey

Wonderlust King (Gogol Bordello)

Follow My Feet (The Unlikely Candidates)

Soldier, Poet, King (The Oh Hellos)

Time to Run (Lord Huron)

Should I Stay or Should I Go (The Clash)


Any Other World (MIKA)

when the party's over (Billie Eilish)

Happier (Marshmello ft. Bastille)

Safe and Sound (Taylor Swift)

Running Up that Hill (Placebo cover)


Come Out and Play (The Offspring)

The Greatest (Sia)

Choke (I Don't Know How But They Found Me)

Seven Deadly Sins (Flogging Molly)

Victorious (Panic! At the Disco)

Turning Moment

My Blood (Twenty-One Pilots)

It's Alright (Mother Mother)

All Time Low (Jon Bellion)

everything i wanted (Billie Eilish)

I Want to Break Free (Queen)


Hugging You (Tom Rosenthal)

What a Heavenly Way to Die (Troye Sivan)

This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) (Kishi Bashi cover)

Work Song (Hozier)

Swing Life Away (Rise Against)

Chase Scenes

Aha! (Imogen Heap)

Time is Running Out (Muse)


Who Are You, Really? (Mikky Ekko)

The World Ender (Lord Huron)

-Van Goff


Dear Philonius,

My adventurers once visited a town celebrating a tulip festival. Turns out there's lot of flower songs! While you're unlikely to do that, you could focus your music around some theme, and then search for songs with the given keyword.



Dear jimpanzee,

For battles, I'd recommend the oddly-titled but bumping "Last Resort & Spa" by Battle Tapes and "Stronger" by Mystery Skulls, and What's Up Danger by Blackway & Black Caviar, from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. More predictably, there's "Battle" from the Gladiator soundtrack. I love that song.

For sneaking and stealth, I'd recommend the excellent "Peril" from the Halo 2 soundtrack.

For long journeys, I'd suggest "Stepping Stone" by Lemaitre and Mark Johns, and perhaps "BOOM" by X Ambassadors.


--Ardilla Feroz


Dear Wiz,

Many of my suggestions come from video games, so hopefully you're ok with that.

Stealth moments: The Pink Panther Theme.

I can't think of a good reason but I'm sure you could find a reason to play the Flash Gordon theme (FLASH. AH AHHHHHH!)

Battle Music: Any Final Fantasy Battle Music or The Pirates of the Caribbean theme. Also FF victory fanfare when the battle is won.

When the group enters a church or holy site: Gregorian Chants

Entering Goblin camps: Where there's a whip there's a way

When the big bad finally shows themselves: The Imperial March

Hopefully there are enough well-known songs in these suggestions to be helpful.