Mini-Settings and Music

Hello friends of Marlowe House! Thanks to your amazing support Andrew and I are writing a Patreon blog once a week and this week I lost the arm wrestling match. Who knew typing so much built up your biceps and triceps?

This week I have the pleasure of introducing a new semi-regular theme we’re going to revisit as a team – inspired settings (with a possible rebranding later on). If you watch our Friday Night Hangouts you know we have been using on the fly setting creation by taking a few words, themes, movies, or other things that catch our fancy, picking them apart, teasing out the bits we like, throwing them in a casserole dish and into the oven for a few minutes to heat it all up so it tastes yummy and then we game! It’s pretty chaotic but so far we’ve had some fun with it. 

After a very brief discussion, we decided we’d like to do that more often and cook up some setting frameworks for lots of settings. One of the techniques I frequently use when I am writing or designing is to make a soundtrack to quick start a specific mental space that promotes and supports the time and opportunity to explore and create. I use other tricks as well, but this one is the easiest for us to both use and share directly with our readers. 

How this is going to work – we’re going to choose a few songs for a (sort of) short play list and then see where those similarly themed songs take us as Andrew and I take turns writing alternating blogs. We will attempt to explore different aspects of the tone that we take from the play list, perhaps create NPCs, monsters, or something completely different. These will be largely system agnostic settings that you can use with any system, but some of them will have a more defined system feel and we’ll share those thoughts as well.

Our premise: Hard Sci-fi, space travelers, space truckers. Humans have expanded to all corners of the solar system and possibly beyond. In the wake of this expansion hauler crews brave the perils of the space lanes and close confines aboard ship to get necessary supplies to all the human colonies.

The first inspired setting playlist includes, in no particular order:

1. The King Knows How – Over the Rhine

2. End of the Line – Traveling Wilburys

3. Lost My Driving Wheel – Cowboy Junkies

4. Theme from Battlestar Galactica, 2003 - Bear McCreary and Richard Gibbs

5. Graceland – Paul Simon

6. Take It Easy – Eagles

7. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity – Holst

8. Radar Love – Golden Earring

9. I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash

10. Desert Rose – Sting

11. Born to Be Wild – Steppenwolf

12. Cluster One – Pink Floyd

13. Marco Polo – Loreena McKennitt

14. Turn the Page – Metallica 

15. Night Ride Across the Caucasus – Loreena McKennitt

16. Ramblin’ Man – The Allman Brothers Band

17. How Far I’ll Go – Auli’i Cravalho, Moana Soundtrack

18. Die Walkure: Ride of the Valkyries – Wagner

19. Opening Theme from Cowboy Bebop - Tank!

As mentioned the songs are in no particular order, however I do recommend listening to “The King Knows How” by Over the Rhine first, as it is the song that started this journey for Marlowe House, I will let Andrew explain that bit next week. I put together a YouTube playlist so you can find everything in one place, I did tweak the order a little bit, after listening through once I recommend shuffling it so your imagination is challenged differently every time you listen. And yes, there is a Disney musical song on this list - “How Far I’ll Go” is a song of longing and personal call to action song, if there is one thing that a space traveler would need it is a deep seated internal drive to go beyond the next “horizon”. You will definitely see all genres of music represented at some point or another in this endeavor.

Our initial list was only seven songs, I rounded it out with other songs that speak of distant lands, the feel of freedom you get on the open road, dreaming of a distant home, the excitement of new places, missing loved ones, traveling, adventure, or that feeling of loneliness that can occur on the road. There are dozens if not hundreds of songs that could be on this list, but we chose these because they speak to us on some deep level through familiarity and our list had to be manageable. For those who are able to hear and smell, scientific study shows that familiar songs and fragrances can open up areas of our mind more quickly. We are using this known shortcut to help jumpstart our creativity. I would like to note that these are songs that speak to us, Andrew and Monica, if these songs are new to you, they may not have the same initial results. 

Our goal is to do this once every few months for the entire month of blogs and then move on to another setting idea in the future. As always, we love to hear your ideas and input.

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