think I’ve mentioned a time or ten about how music is an integral part of the RPG process for me, both as a game designer and as a player.
I ran a Geist IRC campaign a long, long time ago. Close to back when the book came out. I knew Geist had some mechanical issues and I wasn’t sure about the setting yet, but then a song came up on shuffle:
The Desert Is On Fire
Who Will Survive, And What Will Be Left Of Them? is an album by Murder By Death. It’s kind of a country-rock Old West concept album about someone shooting the devil in the back, the devil bleeding crude oil, and a town keeping the devil just barely alive so they can bleed him dry and profit from his pain. The devil gets kind of pissed and unleashes infernal retribution on the town.
It’s fantastic. The whole album tells a story.
Once I heard it, I couldn’t stop myself from running Geist. I came up with an entire town situated outside San Antonio, TX and pulled from a lot of local ghost stories and had a bunch of plot hooks ready to go.
I ran Jornada Del Muerto on IRC for a while with other folks on the Trad Games forum and I think it went well. I still have the logs for a few of the games.
For me, music and RPGs are inseparable. Geist didn’t click at all until Until Morale Improves, The Beatings Will Continue popped up on my mp3 player. I’ve created entire game systems based on a song (Last Stand) and I can’t prepare for a campaign without just the right soundtrack. A good 75% of my prep is just creating a playlist.
More importantly, a key part of my process involves a variety of music. I was baffled by the “RPG = Classic Rock” thing when I first encountered it and it didn’t do anything for me. My RPG background had Zeppelin, sure, but it had a lot of rap and pop and country. One of the reasons I want to design RPGs is I feel like I’m coming it at from a different angle than a lot of other people, and a creative hobby can only get better as a result of having more and varied voices contribute.
Music is how I communicate with my creativity.