Great D&D music for any table
D&D is at is best when you’re fully immersed in the game, whether that means truly getting into character, using physical miniatures and terrain or using great descriptions for the player’s imagination. One thing that really adds another level of immersion is the use of music in D&D. It’s hard to imagine a great film or video game without music because it helps viewers understand the mood of the moment. Great music can evoke a sense of joy, fear or even fury and the same is true in D&D.
Of course, the hard thing is knowing what music to use and having a playlist that’s long enough that you don’t have to keep changing track (you’ve got enough to worry about as a Dungeon Master). No need to fear, we’ve done the hard work for you. Below we’ve provided all you need to know about picking the right music as well as highlighting some of the great soundtracks we love to use and have even supplied a load of embedded videos from Youtube for you to use. If you want to, you’re even welcome to just load up this page every session and just play directly from here.
How to choose the right music
First off, it’s important to make sure you use the right music. When my players enter a creepy building, I love to play some creepy or scary music, it makes them feel like something bad’s going to happen and they start to do all sorts of paranoid things like checking for traps every minute (to be fair, that’s not a bad idea). Other times, I want to evoke a different mood, like the serenity of an elven forest. No matter the situation, the right music can really enhance the mood. Below is some advice for picking the right music for the right moment.
- Make sure the music matches the mood – Nothing will take you more out of the moment than the wrong music for the moment!
- Put your playlist on repeat – Sometimes you’ll find that if you’ve got the same music playing for a while, you might end up moving onto another playlist or some suggested music which can really throw the mood off.
- Quality is important – The better the music, the better the experience. It’s always worth curating your playlists before you play them (even if we’re doing the curating for you).
- Have different music ready for different moments – Have playlists that can be used for peaceful moments as well as epic fights and other moments too.
- Sometimes less is more – Your music doesn’t need to be a film soundtrack, sometimes the spookiest moments can be created best just with some ambient sounds. Think dripping water, echoing footsteps or a whistling wind.
- Avoid Ads – It might cost you a bit, but it’s worth not having ads ruin your music experience. Youtube, Spotify and other music and video streaming services all have a huge variety of appropriate music. You can also use specially made apps for the effect too.
Best music for D&D
We’ve curated some of the best music we’ve come across to provide different moods. These are tried and tested in my own sessions and they definitely enhance what’s happening in the game. We have found that some video games and films just have some of the best music for D&D. Below are some of the best media we find for this:
- Lord of the Rings
- The Witcher 3
- The Witcher Netflix TV Series
- God of War
- The Batman (2022 film)
- Stranger Things
- Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
I’ve embedded the videos from Youtube so you can play a great playlist or soundtrack straight from this page. I don’t own the rights and have not created the music for any of the below. Obviously the great work by the musicians and compilers of this music deserve the credit for putting together such great arrangements.
Nothing evokes quite such a great feeling of intense combat as music from the Witcher 3. Below is some perfect battle music compiled with smooth transitions:
In case the Witcher isn’t scary enough for you and you have something really terrifying for your players to face, Tormented by Horror Music World is absolutely dread inducing!
Looking for something a little more classic fantasy, then Lord of the Rings has you covered, especially if you’re playing epic battles and sieges.
God of War (unsurprisingly) has some excellent combat music (and some great serene melodies as well). Want to get a bit of a Norse feel to your combat, then there’s no soundtrack better.
Nothing beats Lord of the Rings for some real epic fantasy music, but some of the most evocative music comes when in the elven city of Rivendell. This playlist brings all those elven themed songs together to give a very peaceful, forest-like fantasy realm to exist in.
Looking for something a bit more urban, the Witcher’s great for that too! Below is a mix of some of the best Witcher 3 music when you’re not busy fighting monsters.
Or for some even more relaxing Witcher music, you could try this playlist.
Not had enough Witcher yet? The Netflix series also has great music for grubby towns and cities filled with pickpockets, thugs and cults.
If you’re after something more sombre with some serious religious undertones (maybe you’re in the temple of some god), then Everybody’s gone to the Rapture has some hauntingly beautiful choral music you can use.
Skyrim has music with an epic fantasy vibe, it also has some incredibly peaceful music to boot too. Much of it is nice and subtle too so almost feels ambient like in this playlist, they’ve even added in some nighttime ambient sounds too.
The Batman, the 2022 film, has an incredible score. The whole thing oozes with creepy, terrifying vibes. I used this music when a party investigated an old, abandoned orphanage once and completely spooked them!
Less can often be more when you’re trying to give a spooky, chilling vibe. Imagine an abandoned dungeon and not knowing when or where something’s going to jump out at you. In that case, some ambience from Stranger Things’ upside down may be just what you’re after.
We’re also fans of this dungeon ambient music from Cryo Chamber. It kind of gives off an ethereal, other-worldliness too.
You may not want to rely on Youtube or Spotify for your music. Perhaps you don’t want to pay to have ads removed or maybe you want the flexibility to overlay over sounds on top of each other. Whatever the reason, there is another solution. You can use an app. These may not have the licensed music from your favourite games and shows, but they do provide some great options for music, ambient sounds, sound effects and the ability to overlay multiple sounds on top of one another in a single interface making them a great (and to some, even superior) alternative.
Below we’ve listed some of the best ones out there:
Probably our favourite on the list, this particular platform is online only with no app. This does mean no downloads and you can use it on a laptop if you want to or your phone. It’s dedicated to tabletop gaming, unlike some others on this list so the options all feel appropriate and specially curated for something like D&D. Looking for sounds for sea combat, a deadly dungeon or a mysterious village, it’s all here and easy to find.
Most of what you’ll get on Tabletop Audio is music and the quality is great but it is a shame it doesn’t mix in any sound effects like a lot of the other apps on this list. We found the user interface really easy to use and navigate around. The base version is free which gives you a lot of great sounds, but to access variations of the main sounds and music, you will need to pay. We found the base version to have plenty of quality and there’s an option for those that want to get more to pay. Either way, we think this is a great option.
RPG Master is more of a sound effects app though it does have some music effects too. Generally, the sound effects are good and the music is decent but there’s so little of the music, that you’re likely to get fed up of hearing the same tune over and over again. There’s some simple mixing options which we appreciated but it doesn’t tend to be the easiest to use on a phone with scrolling often meaning you pressed something you didn’t mean to or having to try and select the same thing a couple of times to make sure you actually played it.
It’s OK but not the best app on the list.
Ambient Mixer is all about user generated audio. Users can create their own sounds and music and submit it to the app. All this comes for free for us which is great, but does mean the quality varies wildly. For every great tavern set of noises, there’s also a ‘Sleeping next to Bucky Barnes’… Presumably for those that want to drift off next to the winter soldier himself… He’s very fidgety apparently.
There’s a big variety but there tends to be less music and much more in the way of ambient sounds. As the content is user generated, the quality varies wildly so you may have to spend a fair bit of time finding the good stuff. We also felt the user interface wasn’t as easy to use as others but it does have some nice sound mixing options for those that really want to tailor their noises.
MyNoise is perhaps the most unique option on this list. It’s not specifically made for TTRPGs, but has a bunch of the noises you might want from forest sounds to rain. There’s not a lot of options here, you want get tavern revelry or siege sounds but you do have a lot of editing options. Want your forest to be peaceful, just move the slider to make bird sounds. Want the players to feel conscious of someone making footsteps somewhere, put on the sound for footsteps crunching leaves and twigs. What MyNoise does, it does very well with high quality sounds but it does lack the breadth of options that other apps have.
We tend to prefer the epic options of soundtrack music we get from Youtube as well as the more curated and high quality sounds of Tabletop Audio but you may prefer something different (like Bucky Barnes sleeping next to you). Either way, please use this page to help you add more music and sounds into your games and we’ll keep updating this page as we discover more great playlists and apps.