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31

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 ...


28

The scope of "types of instrument" is illustrated by the PHB The full text of the passage you quote from says: Musical Instrument. Several of the most common types of musical instruments are shown on the table as examples. If you have proficiency with a given musical instrument you can add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to play ...


18

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 ...


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 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 ...


10

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 ...


10

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

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

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


5

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

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. ...


5

Pan flutes vary in size, as a simple Google image search reveals. Depending on the style, it might require one or two hands. A simple 4 or 5 pipe flute is certainly designed for single hand use, while a 20 pipe flute may not be reasonable to use in a single hand. In extreme circumstances, you might even argue it occupies a shield slot.


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

(Added an important edit in 2015, please see below. :)) We've tried this and occasionally still use it. It needs preparation, for which you don't always have time, but it's worth it, in our experience. Just aim for the right balance - you don't need to provide an effect for all and every sound. Add a sound to major and/or lasting events/phenomena only. If ...


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

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 ...


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 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 ...


4

The two Pipe magic items require the following. You must be proficient with wind instruments to use these pipes Since Wind instruments are not defined as a game term we have to look to what it means in English. I recommend looking at the the following Wikipedia article on Wind Instruments. Along with the Woodwind article due to D&D 5e's focus on ...


3

Consider not using background music. Using background sounds like a great idea, after all it works wonderful in movies. However there are few key issues: Music is added to music after. During the editing. In a game, to have the right music for a scene, means someone has to find it, and put it on. and it will never fit as a well as a movie, which has a ...


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

We created an iOS application just for that, called DMDJ. DMDJ features a sophisticated audio engine, as well as a number of environmental presets and music themes, aimed at improving the experience of a pen&paper session, by allowing DMs to create audio environments for their players. In short, main features include: An audio engine, with complete ...



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