I have a very interesting task with this playlist, as I have not one single character I can flesh out with a variety of songs to touch on their every facet… but a whole WORLD of characters, many of which I’ve layered very deeply. To top this off, many of these characters have only shown but a few facets to the players, so this also proved an interesting challenge! A fun and exciting one, but a challenge nonetheless.
With this task before me, I’ve listed a number of memorable NPCs that the players, and the community, have taken into their hearts (or rage lists). Below you’ll find a single song chosen per character that I feel represents some strong elements to their personality, their drive, and their story. Some many even hint a bit behind their own curtain… 😉
MATT MERCER – DM Soundtrack
Clarota, the Exiled Illithid
Trust In Me – Siouxsie and the Banshees (Through the Looking Glass)
This wonderfully alluring, yet creepy cover of the Jungle Book classic really represents the dubious nature of our favorite Mind Flayer arcanist. An outcast himself with a seemingly noble intent, the question always remained… could you truly trust this creature born of an evil and aberrant nature. Was he playing Vox Machina the entire time, or could he himself have been saved?
Shaun Gilmore of Gilmore’s Glorious Goods
The Creation of Man – Douglas Sills (The Scarlet Pimpernel Original Broadway Soundtrack)
Oh Gilmore, you lovely, lovely man. Inspired by a dear friend I did a bunch of theater with back in the day, Gilmore is a man of great power, charisma, and flair for the flourish! Loud (in both volume and attire), he’s known for his love of conversation and innuendo. I find this song greatly represents his joyful belief that, in some cases, proper presentation is worth more than the sharpest sword. Even so, fans of this musical might find some additional insight to the character…
Arcanist Allura Vysoren
Northern Sky – Nick Drake
An incredibly powerful figure in Tal’Dorei, Allura is widely respected. A member of the Arcana Pansophical, she has lived under the constant banner of responsibility for her talents, her people, and the realm she wishes to protect. This lonely life breeds yearning for connection, and for a time she found it. An unexpected union that changed her forever… and then she had to let them go, destinies drawing them apart. This piece expresses the vibrant joy Allura rediscovered in the arms of this person and the memory of it she still holds dear to this day, as bittersweet as it may be. So long as protecting the realm means protecting this one person, then all the toil and challenge is worth it.
Lady Kima of Vord
Forgiven – Alanis Morissette
While small in stature, this beast of a Halfling wasn’t picked on for long in her youth. Having broken the nose of any bully in Westruun who dared spit towards her, she gained a reputation for being an unruly child and was taken in by a traveling Scalebearer of Bahamut. Under Vord’s teachings in Vasselheim, she blossomed into a valiant warrior of pious heart… but even then, she’d seen enough hate in the world to leave a visible crack in her faith. This doubt only grew as she encountered the falsehoods of man on every level of society, yet her teacher chided her for striking out recklessly and without permission. Her fervor to fight these injustices is only matched by her internal battles over where her strength really comes from: her faith in the platinum dragon, or her faith in herself… which is the real truth for her?
Lord Sylas Briarwood and Lady Delilah Briarwood
We’re Not Alone: Remix (feat. Dub Trio) – Peeping Tom
Love is a complicated thing. It can drive people to do some terrible things. This wonderfully strange, epic song helmed by my vocalist idol, Mike Patton, really speaks to the Briarwood’s burning commitment to one another and their mutual obsession that builds to a violent passion to do whatever it takes to protect their union. Burn the world down, so long as it keeps them together. Take any chance, pay any debt, make any pact… and how drunk on power two lovers can become if they are allowed to relish it together.
Sovereign Uriel Tal’Dorei II
The Perfect Fit – The Dresden Dolls
Uriel didn’t choose this throne. That’s the thing about bloodlines in power. Your path is set the day you are born. Trepidation be damned, he grew to accept his responsibility, for who else could be trusted to take it? The tremulous hold of peace in wild, dangerous lands needs a good man to keep it. Then to nearly lose one’s family and one’s own mind because of weakness… how is that fit for a ruler? Power corrupts, that is the fear… but Uriel is a good man, is he not? This song guides the insecurities, the thoughts of inadequacy, and the fears of failure that any good man in power struggles with in those quiet moments.
Seeker Asum Emring
The Observer – The Flaming Lips
To be a Master of Secrets for any political power is a strange place to be. Survival means doubting everything you’re ever told. Every conversation has layers of intent, and every exchange is dissected. You steel your thoughts and stand removed from the world around you, becoming the single point of sanity in the sea of chaos you are perpetually trying to unravel. This instrumental piece sets the conflicting calm, intensity, and inherent paranoia that underline the ever-alert mind of this Halfling ranger…
World Coming Down – Type O Negative
Her whole life was torn from her, abandoned and left to die in the snow, yet she would not be allowed to die. Nursed from the brink, she found the fire to guide the others to freedom… and failed. Taken in by the source of her hatred, she was given a new life against her will, and in time found her memories fade into tarnished thoughts of being forsaken. Her sense of abandonment was filled with honeyed words, her existence colored with shadow long enough that light had no way in. Now that the light comes crashing through to save her, she realizes that she may be the one responsible for the remnants of her world coming down.
The Day I Tried to Live – Soundgarden
A young man, low born and motherless, dreaming of purpose and meaning to his existence. A father beaten by his own failures and loss, venting his own regrets on his son. The boy wakes to a burning drive to change his fortune, to make every step he takes count to saving this crumbling life that surrounds him. This is the day he rises above a butcher’s son to begin his own journey. He’s seen what heroes look like, what they can do. He will become one.
Victor the Black Powder Merchant
Chemical Marriage – Mr. Bungle
Enjoy the ride. I imagine this is the tune that’s perpetually going through his mind as he tirelessly works in his tiny hovel, enjoying experimenting with volatile compounds, completely unaware (or uncaring) of how close he may always be to blowing himself up.
Bangarang (feat. Sirah) – Skrillex
Whenever this band of heroes strolls into a dangerous situation, I see a cinematic reveal of each member exchanging knowing glances as they nod and deftly draw weapons, taking formation to wreak havoc on whatever poor creature decided to threaten this family. This track accompanies that build, then hits heavy as the assault begins, every well-timed strike devastating their foes in rapid succession. A maelstrom of blades, arrows, spells, and gunfire leaves behind broken fools and another notch on the Vox Machina legend.
Bonus Track – My Song for the World
Sing – The Dresden Dolls
This song has become a bit of a banner theme for me for years. A message so gentle yet so strong on the importance to just express who you are, how you feel, and share that emotion together through song. It matters not the quality of the voice, or poetry of the words, just the unifying power and love through shared song.
Featured image credit: eljore.deviantart.com