Monday, June 23, 2014


I decided to do something a little different this week. Rather than link you to a couple Game Grumps remixes or brentalfloss's newest riff or videogamedunkey being... dunkey, I've decided to share the soundtrack I've been listening to every day for the past week.

I've been working very hard on my newest Pathfinder setting; I've done a lot of research in the form of art and mythology, written out millennia worth of histories, written up new stat blocks, lore, and details for at least six new, revised, and/or reimagined races, and have been slowly working out the geography of the realm. While I love world-building, this can be slow, plodding and rather technical work at times. For one, compared to my knowledge of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, my knowledge of 3.5 and Pathfinder are rather amateurish. So, a lot of this process has been about learning the books and learning to use their systems in conjunction with my own ideas, which often stretch beyond the boundaries of what the systems or my own knowledge of them can handle. This work has actually been rather mentally taxing and I've been spending a couple hours, minimum, per day just to eek out a few pages of solid content at  a time. 

One of things that helps me survive the process of writing, especially after such a long period of writer's block, is to drown all exterior distractions and distracting thoughts with music. My favorite soundtrack of all time, not only for this purpose but play in the background of D & D sessions, is Conan the Barbarian. It is one of my favorite film soundtracks of all time and I think it evokes all of the notes you want to hit for a game involving sword and sorcery, from the thrill of high adventure to mystical mystery, and when I listen to it, emotion swells in my heart and spurs me onto take on my quest-- whether that be doing dishes or finishing up a particularly difficult encounter write-up.But even I can get a little weary of listening the same soundtrack. What's a man to do?

 I turned to Joe Hisashi, a composer and sound director of over 100 films, including 25 years worth of Studio Ghibli's animated films, for a familiar but refreshing experience.

Studio Ghibli, of course, are the makers of such classic films as My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997), and Spirited Away (2001). While not quite as nostalgic as Disney, taking a journey through a filmography very close to my heart definitely helps clear my head, warm my heart, and free myself to write. The unique and distinctive mix of themes and techniques provide an experience that, in the 25th Anniv. concert linked at the head of the article, provide me with an appropriate soundtrack for my writing process.

And so, rather than share a silly parody song, please take some time and enjoy this lovely performance of some of the greatest film tracks of all time from some of the greatest animated films of all time from one of the greatest animated film composers of all time. 

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