Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > Roleplaying in General

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-06-2008, 03:24 AM   #1
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default The RPG Soundtrack

Music is a big part of my RPG experience and I try to score my sessions so that the appropriate music is playing during each scene. This is admittedly made easier by the fact that I usually sit by my laptop, even though I rarely use it during gameplay, and choosing another song on my iTunes is trivially easy.

The specific music appropriate for each genre varies enough so that I've found that it pays to have one playlist for fantasy role-playing and one for modern action (if I play other genres often enough, I might make special lists just for them, but so far, it hasn't happened). In these playlists, then, I have themed parts for combat, social encounters, suspense and other stuff.

I start each game session with Steven Lynch's 'Dungeons and Dragons'. Nothing like a bit of self-deprecating mockery to avoid taking oneself too seriously.

For generic background, I like Celtic music and classical music. Loreena McKennit has a lot of songs on my playlist, as well as Enya and pretty much every classical composer. Bach and Mozart are good for social interaction, especially if there's wealth and sophistication on display. Strauss's 'Blue Danube Waltz' has become a staple of our 'talky' scenes. Phillip Glass also has a solid place during those moments of role-play when little direct action is going on.

Then there's Uriah Heap, Procul Harum, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. All good for scenes which are neither exceptionally quiet nor loud and exciting. Uriah Heap's 'The Wizard' usually plays when my players need to hire a magician's services for their merchant company, Deep Purple's 'Soldier of Fortune' is the theme of their head armsmaster, Led Zeppelin's 'Battle of Evermore', 'Moby Dick', 'No Quarter', 'Achilles Last Stand' and a host of others should be dear to every geek's heart and so on.

More suspenseful backround often turns to Western movie themes. Ennio Moricone stands head and shoulders over the rest, with his brilliant 'Fistful of Dollars', 'For a Few Dollars More', 'Once Upon a Time in the West' and a host of others; but old TV shows can often conceal gems as well.

For when it's raining, I've got several good nature sounds tracks, the foremost called 'Thunderstorm'. That one puts my players on edge when they hear it, since they know it means a penalty on Per checks.

The strains of Tchaikovsky's '1812 Overture' signal to them that there might be something building up and in a similar manner, Phillip Glass's 'Koyaanisqatsi' suggests some lurking menace. 'The Blood of Cuchulain', from the movie Boondock Saints is a good song to play during travel, especially if riding to war (gathering the clans, even). Black Sabbath's 'Iron Man' triggers immediate macho posturing and brandishing of weapons, sometimes sharpening them and fastening armour straps. Iron Maiden's 'Fear of the Dark' has them certain that not only is there a monster in the darkness, it's also going to attack them really soon.

For some reason, almost every single time a clear moral dilemma confronts our brave PCs, some version of Ennio Moricone's 'Ecstacy of Gold' has been playing. Metallica has a good tribute version of it.

Jetro Tull's 'Broadsword' is the first part of three songs that are always played in series and always when combat starts. The other two are Iron Maiden's 'Flash of the Blade' and Manowar's 'Power of Thy Sword'. Stirring stuff. Other notable battle music is Carl Orff's 'O Fortuna' from 'Carmina Burana', Holst's 'Mars -The Bringer of War', Iron Maiden's 'The Duellists', Verdi's 'Dies Irae' movement from the 'Requiem Mass', Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries', Lordi's 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' and many other Iron Maiden, Manowar, Black Sabbath, Lordi and other songs.

Recently, I started using music by the Finnish cello quartet Apocapalyptica. Great stuff for background and suspense that isn't quite all out battle, although at least some of their songs will do for all out brawls. 'Requiem of the Gods' is especially good for aftermaths.

Speaking of aftermaths, I find music to be especially powerful during the bloody aftermaths of battles, when the bone tired survivors take stock of themselves and note who is not there. The main theme for Saving Private Ryan was written for just this, of course. The main theme from the movies Gladiator and Braveheart are both somewhat tragic, but yet stirring, so I like them for pauses in the action. The songs 'Now We Are Free' from Gladiator and the love theme from Braveheart are heart-rendingly sad. So's 'Lux Aeterna', the theme song for the film Requiem for a Dream.

Military songs work well for honouring the gallant fallen. I like 'Taps', 'Amazing Grace' and the '23rd Psalm' performed by military bands. I also like modern or nearly so Celtic warrior tributes, such as 'Sgt. McKenzie' and 'An Irish Airman Foresees His Death'. And 'The Minstrel Boy'.

My players also select theme music for their PCs. Well, actually, their fellow players have a lot of input and sometimes overrule them.

Young and brash Highlander from the Thunder Peak Mountains, inside Cormyr: 'Blood of Cuchulain'
Devious Sembian thief and now suddenly respectable merchant taking saber lessens to fit with nobility: Los Lobos' 'Cancion del Mariachi' (Desperado's Guitar solo)
Young and annoying wizard prodigy: Harry Potter theme
Crusader of Tyr, armed with mighty hammer and of Turmic ancestry (black skin): MC Hammer's 'Hammertime'

Now, what music do you like with your games, for what reason and what would you suggest be added to my incomplete list? Any situations missing theme music?

Edit: I have raised this thread from its grave to add some links and thoughts about the Game Soundtrack for our Superhero/Technothriller campaign, Jade Serenity. See Post #26.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 01-25-2018 at 09:56 AM.
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 05:13 AM   #2
Anders
Banned
 
Anders's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Default Re: The RPG Soundtrack

For horror themes, I usually use the themes of either Halloween or Re-animator.. For epiphanies I use the "Gods enter Valhalla" from "Rheingold".
Anders is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 05:39 AM   #3
Anders
Banned
 
Anders's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Default Re: The RPG Soundtrack

And of course, there's only one possible theme for a Reign of Steel campaign.
Anders is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 05:42 AM   #4
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: The RPG Soundtrack

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asta Kask
And of course, there's only one possible theme for a Reign of Steel campaign.
Granted.

That and anything by Rage Against the Machine, for obvious reasons.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 07:10 AM   #5
Azinctus
 
Azinctus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Lyon, France
Default Re: The RPG Soundtrack

Great stuff Icelander: I like the variety of sources you use. I am far less imaginative. Dead Can Dance, The Lord of the Rings movies' soundtracks, Conan films soundtrack, Vangelis 1492 soundtrack, plus classical music for medieval fantasy.

I found a nice CD of reconstructed 17th century tunes for my Pirate campaign, combined with reggae, Buena Vista Social club for the Caribbean feel.

Changing the music for each scene is a nice touch, but I haven't attempted that often, I usually forget about the music when I am GMing. I do pick an opening credits song for each campaign though.

We once played a Shadowrun campaign with a professional DJ mixing club tunes to the action. But he struggled to do the music and roll his dice. The best moment was when the GM had him primed to put on a record of wailing sirens to warn the PCs it was time to bug out before the fuzz arrived.
__________________
"wars and storms are best to be read of, but peace and calms are better to endure" Jeremy Bentham
Azinctus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 09:39 AM   #6
GhostInTheMachine
 
GhostInTheMachine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: A Singularity At The Ends Of The Universe
Default Re: The RPG Soundtrack

I've found some music by Free Radical Design (freebies too). They make video games (Timesplitters Series, Second Sight, etc). They are a splinter group of the RARE development team (Goldeneye 007 notably).

The music provided is some good ambience. The Timesplitters ones can match just about any genre (it's timetravel). Second Sight is good for Horror, Paranoia, or Conspiracy games. I hope to use the horror ones for an upcoming 1940's Zombie game.

Heres the link.

Vigilante- {Song->} Answers. A very good 30 second techno/guitar blitz for those end of campaign victory fights.
__________________
Odds are after this is posted the thread will stop right here and stay that way for weeks until I lose track of it and it starts up again.... Thrender?

Last edited by GhostInTheMachine; 01-06-2008 at 09:52 AM.
GhostInTheMachine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 09:46 AM   #7
GhostInTheMachine
 
GhostInTheMachine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: A Singularity At The Ends Of The Universe
Default Re: The RPG Soundtrack

Does anyone have advice on using music during campaigns? I mean you could easily just throw up a mix, but how do you use X song during a specific action at an unplanned time w/o screwing things up continuity wise?
__________________
Odds are after this is posted the thread will stop right here and stay that way for weeks until I lose track of it and it starts up again.... Thrender?
GhostInTheMachine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 02:26 PM   #8
Rocket Man
Petitioner: Word of IN Filk
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Longmont, CO
Default Re: The RPG Soundtrack

A lot of the soundtrack from the first "Elizabeth" movie was tailor-made for a horror campaign. Dark, mysterious, threatening ... ooo, perfect. I've relied a lot on my "Classical Thunder" CDs too, especially the Russian composers or the more obscure ones.

I try to avoid the better-known themes. "Flight of the Valkyries" is very dramatic, but all too likely to get the group singing "Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit ..."

As far as using a given song at its "Perfect Moment": I usually do just use a mix. However, if you want something more precise, that's the sort of thing that laptops and sound files were just made for. Have a selection cued up and click when needed.
__________________
“It's not railroading if you offer the PCs tickets and they stampede to the box office, waving their money. Metaphorically speaking”
--Elizabeth McCoy, In Nomine Line Editor

Author: "What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger"
Rocket Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 08:40 PM   #9
OneSeventeen
 
OneSeventeen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: The RPG Soundtrack

I love the main theme from Escape From New York. I fired it up to start off a session once (we're playing Shadowrun). However, I didn't realize that two of my players hated that movie and once it was recognized, they just made comments, so it sort of had the opposite effect as desired. Ah well. I tried.


117
OneSeventeen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 10:31 PM   #10
Tommi_Kovala
 
Tommi_Kovala's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Default Re: The RPG Soundtrack

I don't have a habit of using music. My current campaign has a very clearly defined flavour to it (that my group has an agreement on), so any soundtrack would have to fit it perfectly.
In D&D, I once ran some sessions in an underground Goblin city. For that, I used United States of Islam by Muslimgauze and Music for Bondage Performance by Merzbow.
__________________
Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced
Tommi_Kovala is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
gaming soundtrack, jade serenity, music

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:24 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.