Writer’s Block? Use Songs for Inspiration

I participated in a writing series for Boccob’s Blessed Blog, which is a site with useful resources for role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. I wrote 20 Cleric Quest Ideas that can be used to spark the interest of players who are holier than thou. The individual behind Boccob’s Blessed Blog is Andy Hand, and he previously agreed to an interview with me in 2016 and joined me on a podcast last year after we collaborated on a book of monsters for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, which has raised a substantial amount of money for suicide prevention.

Cleric

“Maybe heaven’s got a back door too?”

I was happy to contribute to Andy’s article series, though I struggled to get started on the quest ideas – the kind of struggle when an open document is starring you in the face and the blinking cursor is simply taunting you with every repetitive blink. I considered using some of the random tables from the Dungeon Master’s Guide, which I’ve put to great use when designing a delve for my players. The “been there, done that” vibe got in the way, so the cursor continued to blink with nary a word written.

I was scrolling through earlier articles in Andy’s Quest Ideas series, and noted that the Ranger quests started with a brief title. I considered the option of using song titles as a starting place for each Cleric Quest Idea, and from that point – I was cooking with gas! I briefly considered Pearl Jam songs (as they remain my favorite band), though I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to reach new eyeballs to persuade readers to listen to a band they may not have heard of, Dead Sara.

I listed each Dead Sara song in my blank document and vanquished the blinking cursor! I deleted some songs to get down to 20 tracks, which now functioned as quest ideas for a Cleric. From there, it was a matter of writing a few sentences for each song title to create a quest that would relate to a Cleric in D&D. It was enjoyable to write once I unlocked a way to get the article started.

Check out the 20 Cleric Quest Ideas at Boccob’s Blessed Blog, and be sure to read through to the end of the article as I linked to a Spotify playlist of Dead Sara songs arranged in the same order as the quests; this wrinkle may delight only me, though I’m sharing that delight with everyone!

Also, experiment with this device when preparing sessions. Start with song titles – or even movies titles – and use those as a jumping-off point for ideas for characters and quests in the campaign. For example, what would the NPCs in the next important location be like if the starting point for each NPC’s backstory were a title from the last five films that won the Academy Award for Best Picture?

  • The Shape of Water
  • Moonlight
  • Spotlight
  • Birdman
  • 12 Years a Slave

Fun little puzzle to sort out, right?!

Quick note, I’ll be appearing on and episode of Dragon Talk next Friday, February 8th at 1PM PST. The show is hosted by staff with Wizards of the Coast, and you can watch live on Twitch or the show will appear as a podcast later in the month.

Finally, it has been quite some time since I openly plugged my Patreon site. If you enjoy the content including the articles and podcasts I’ve been posting and would like to support my creative efforts, then please visit my Patreon to consider getting involved for as little as $1/month. Every little bit helps with improving the articles and podcasts that I put out into the world for free, and there are some fun ways to get involved with the content.

3 thoughts on “Writer’s Block? Use Songs for Inspiration

  1. I love this idea! I find that every now and then a song’s title or lyrics will trigger a burst of inspiration, and I try to capture that when I can. But it’s neat to think about this as a way to structure a brainstorming session.

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