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30

Can you imagine watching your favorite movies without a soundtrack? Film directors use music to control audience expectation and trigger emotional responses. As a GM, you too can make use of these techniques at your gaming table. The simplest plan is to put an album on to play. Slip in a CD, get your iPod out, and press play. I once ran a Sci-Fi campaign ...


15

Sound is an integral part of my gaming sessions. I've always used music, but I didn't use sound effects very much until recently, when I wrote my own application for quickly choosing different sounds. It is controlled with the keyboard and also allows for displaying images along with the sound. I've put it up for download: RPG Ambience. As for your other ...


15

I am quiet fond of computer game music. It loops nicely, generally is quiet good, and has many themes similar to your game. You can get your travel, spooky, hide and sneak, and of course, combat. Examples would be Dragon Age (1 and 2), Assassin's Creed (2 and brotherhood), Europa Universalis 3 (although this one maybe a little more renaissance), Jade ...


13

I tried it. It helped, but wasn't worth the extra work. First of all, I had to find sounds. Usually I had something in my head and wanted a pretty close match. Long story short, there were better ways to prep than googling for audio samples. But even when I did have the audio I wanted, playing it was a distraction. I can only keep track of so many ...


11

There are some good posts on this at Gnome stew: RPG Background Music: 41 Awesome Soundtracks More Awesome RPG Background Music: 58 Reader Favorites and New Discoveries It mainly focuses on movie and game soundtracks which are often a good bet, as they are designed to evoke emotions of a certain type (chase, explore etc) and not overpower the action. ...


9

I will take the dissenting view. I never use music as part of a game, except for very specific narrow situations where it's a plot point or one time gimmick. It is distracting, both for players and for the GM - either you let whatever's on play and it isn't really appropriate to whatever's going on, or you waste GM time fiddling with it and losing momentum ...


8

A couple of years ago, D&D got it's own official soundtrack made by Midnight Syndicate, I think their music in general should fit your needs.


8

I have an iTunes D&D library that is broken up into playlist for several common settings or themes, Combat, Tavern, Caverns, Forest, in-town, etc. I have the playlist, which contains several songs for variety, set to continuous loop. During the beginning of the encounter or scene change, I can easily select the playlist and continue to describe the ...


7

Try using SceneSound. It is software specifically created exactly for tabletop RPG music/sounds. I also highly recommend Songs & Dragons for Android smart phones and little apps like some white noise generators also have ambient sounds like crackling fires, rain, etc that can serve as great ambiance on the fly if you keep a smartphone at your gaming ...


6

Selection The two factors I look for when choosing campaign music are mood and lack of disruption. Though mood is critical, but I won't delve into that here, because it depends so heavily on preference and situation. Lack of disruption: First, avoid music with vocals. Having another voice going on in the background makes it almost impossible for my ...


6

I would recommend starting with one or two tracks that you already know and like that you think are suitable, then use any of the number of music services such as Spotify, Last.Fm, Pandora or Musicovery that can provide further suggestions based on these tracks. The reason I suggest this rather than a specific playlist is that they provide you with the ...


6

add to your collection While I can't use them (any background music makes it hard for me to understand my players), I'll recommend several I've found useful for pre-game mood setting: Tangerine Dream's music is excellent; the best known piece is "Geometry of Shadows" - the main title for Babylon 5. The Bab5 sound track is a good start, but their other ...


5

The only success I had was with appropriate movie sound tracks or classic music played very, very quietly. I don't worry about the music fitting the scene as queueing up a new song takes time and disturbs the flow.


5

For my own games, I've found that the orchestral versions of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd work very well as baseline soundtracks. (High action fantasy and dreamy surrealism, respectively.) From there, I tend to go with ambient music like Scorn or C17H19NO3 for horror games, new age like David Arkenstone (fantasy), Dead Can Dance (fantasy horror), or Sheila ...


5

Looking for music really slows down the start of an encounter. I recommend outsourcing this to a player with a laptop -- they have a lot less to keep track of. Sounds like a job for the bard... If you have something specific -- like there's a pipe organ haunted by an invisible stalker in Castle Whiterock and you picked out some creepy pipe organ music -- ...


5

Our GM uses a program he wrote to play sounds and background music as well as show mood setting images and props on a computer screen. While changing the images and sounds takes some button presses, the result is well worth it. It takes some setting up, but once you get a hang of it, it's not too hard. The sounds he used were mostly ripped from games such ...


4

There's even dedicated software for this. An example (that a quick googling for "sound effects music rpg" also brings up, along with a number of other options) is The RPG Soundmixer, which seems to have a tryout demo - but I'm sure there are free alternatives as well. As for the specific questions: We've tried this and occasionally still use it. It needs ...


4

So the Order 66 Podcast has done a few episodes about using background music and sound effects in their games. Episode 103 has one of the audio guys from LucasArts talking about how to incorporate music into your games. I remember some earlier episodes that dealt with sound boards, sound software and sound effects... but can't remember what they are. ...


4

I played in a game where the GM used http://www.freesound.org/ for sound effects related to things like taverns/sewers/fight down the street/etc and it didn't seem to add anything to the game. to be fair, the game was heavily on rails to the point where we once found a way to & decided to go through a wall to get around a magical forcefield thing in a ...


4

I’ve never enjoyed soundtracks for the sake of soundtracks. But when the PCs ended up in 1969 San Francisco, I did create a soundtrack for them, of action-appropriate music (to the best of my ability) that was also music from the period. The difference between this and “mood music” is that this was music the player characters were hearing, if not at exactly ...


4

I wrote an application for doing this kind of thing: RPG Ambience. It's an HTML5 app that works in at least the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. At this point it's intended to be controlled with the keyboard, which is pretty handy and fast if you have a limited selection of sounds. I'm working on a visual playback interface that ...


4

Film scores can be great background or ambience music for role-playing sessions, for the same reasons that they work well in the film, and there are plenty of films with styles and settings that match those games - they don't even have to be good films, as you're interested in the soundtrack rather than the plot! Some film scores that come to mind are ...


3

Computer game sound tracks are great since they are designed to loop in most cases. There are plenty on-line that you can get cheap: Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Silent Hill, Resident Evil (aka Biohazard) and the Witcher just spring to mind as good to set moods. Finally, Two Steps From Hell are a treasure trove of awesome music. thier ...


3

I have used it before, but I don't commonly. IMHO, the three most common mistakes I've seen when people use music are that they turn the volume up too loud, that they choose songs that will distract themselves or other players, and they feel compelled to fiddle with the song selection during the session. I personally define "too loud" as anything that I ...


3

Has anyone tried this before, how did it turn out? Tried it once. Worked out amazingly, although don't underestimate the amount of work required. But if your players are wanting immersion or are very aural people, this will make the game that much more fun for them. When I did it, I didn't have a sound for everything - a few especially creaky doors, a ...


3

Full disclosure: I'm the creator of http://tabletopaudio.com - I created this site because I was having a hard time finding exactly the right type of audio for use in my RPG sessions with my kids. Plus, being a composer and a sound designer it was a fun break from client driven work! I designed Tabletop Audio to be a low-tech, low-maintenance audio solution. ...


2

Well, a lot depends on what you're trying to do. @Buccaneers Guild has pretty much nailed a lot of how to handle setup...the primary thing it to have it all queued up and ready beforehand, so you don't really have to take a break to do anything: if it can just flow completely natually, it can be great. Volume is important to consider as well: rpging is ...


2

Music can be a great addition to any RP session. However, keeping an appropriate choice and volume of the music is essential. One DM I've played with in some D&D sessions likes to keep his iPhone handy with various movie soundtracks. Of course, the music of John Williams (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc.) is a common and very effective feature.


2

Music, despite being a soundtrack to the story if You fit it well, reduces distractions as GM and players hear less sonds from the surrounding world. Music is for players ears what a candle is for the eyes. It keeps focus/attention and helps building the atmosphere. [I'm not a WoD kind of guy - the candles helped me while playing good old fantasy] ...


2

I haven't tried adding sounds to my games, but I certainly have tried adding background music. This means that I don't have to queue up each track separately, but I can instead throw it all in a playlist and leave it playing happily on its own. If I want different kinds of music for different atmospheres and places, I create separate playlists and swap them ...



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