Do you use music in your campaigns? If so, what genre and band?

GiantToenail

Gundarr wuz heer
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Do you use music to heighten the immersion at your sessions?

Thinking back to when I used to DM for my old junior high buddies, I remembered the first time I used one of the other five senses into my storytelling instead of the usual word-of-mouth and grabbing twigs/grass to signify a forest and using dice/change as placeholders for the in-game adventurers (But not playing music, I'll explain that later); It involved me tearing ass in the world-building type of way and is still one of my best/funniest memories DM'ing.

Do you use music in your games to complement the session's theme or what happens in the current scenario, if so what genre and band? Do you use any other cool effects or the five senses to enhance the game experience? I want to know! and take notes, but that's not important

Me and my buddies didn't have any portable music players, if I wanted to add music to the session I'd have to ask one of the better-off buddies I had to host the game at his parents place since his folks bought him a higher-end vinyl player and I had the money to buy killer fantasy vinyls but not a player, but playing anything other than a milktoast and "age-appropriate" game got us scolded even though we were upstairs and had the doors shut, so that was outta the question most sessions; as far as adding cool effects for my sessions went.

My go-to genres and bands

I usually go for instrumental power metal or dungeon synth for my sessions, sometimes 8-bit/orchestral/eurobeat/dark-synth covers of the metal if it's a killer one, My favorite dungeon synth band for my recent sessions has got to be Barak Tor and their album "March of The Triumphator" and Armsman Commander's "Obedience" is a close 2nd! As for powermetal Hammerfall, Falconer, Edguy, and Bloodbound make slick albums all-around!

For some different Power-metal, I look at NWOTHM's youtube library every so often.

For nautical/pirate campaigns I use everything from Blazon Stone; Alestorm's alright too.

For more light-hearted games I use Tales Under the Oak's "Swamp Kingdom", Ziggurath's "Jungle Majesty", Eternal Kerberus's "Dreams of Oblivion", and Hole Dweller's "With Dreams of Hereafter".

In sci-fi games I use psychedelic rock/metal, Yuri Gagarin's "At The Center Of All Infinity", Spaceslug's "Lemanis", Truck Fighters' "Gravity-X" and Frozen Planet 1969....'s "Meltdown on The Horizon" along with Northern Lights' "As Above" are my go-to's (And Chris Knight's "Highway Junkie", but that's because it's from a kickass movie)

Cyberpunk settings are really stylized and urban comapared to my usual sci-fi sessions, I use everything from Perturbator and Carpenter Brut to reflect that in those sessions.

More detail on the ass-rippage used to world-build
I used that ass-tearing stunt to emphasize how terrible and disgusting the Goblin treasure pit smelt as they entered; since the goblins used the treasure chamber as a refuse pit as well to deterr against "light-hearted adventurers and elves" to put it lightly, it being the deepest and final area of the cave and the end of their first quest when they managed to escape the traps along the escape route (I had the path they came through collapse by way of hidden goblins) filled with traps and muck, I thought it'd be a memorable way to end the first session that week! As you enter the deepest part of the Goblin Den, it starts to reek in a horrible, unimaginably gutwrenching way, in fact it kinda smells like this "Like what?" "This is what, [pfbfbflt]" "You Jackass!"

Edit: Added Hole Dweller's "With Dreams of Hereafter" to the light-hearted list. Also added YT links to the songs; If you like the music, most of these bands operate through Bandcamp or a Label, Look 'em up and Check 'em out! And if you're really needing something different, Here's a masterlist of metal bands!
 
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Back in the 90s, I picked up some sound effect CDs with the intent to use them in gaming. It turned out the effort to queue them up and play them was too much of an interruption of the game flow. Even with everything being digital these days, I think it would still be too much disruption. The best I could see is if you had integration into a VTT, you could set music to play when a particular location is visible or something but it might be tricky if you wanted one piece to play before opening a door and another to play once the door is open or something like that. Setting up the music would be a chore along with setting up dynamic lighting.
 
Sometimes a GM will do up a Spotify playlist of their own and sometimes open it up to players, or a set of players they think have appropriate tastes for some of our games. When we play in the Rainy City, we put some rain sounds in the background. When we did some Cities Without Number it was synthwave or some silly 80s soundtrack stuff, Repo Man, whatever seemed right at the time. When we did Worlds Without Number in a gonzo "anything goes" kind of He-Man world it was a playlist full of oddball tracks. A Feng Shui game aimed for something Tarantino might put on a soundtrack. They just run as some background noise so we don't notice the dialog of some movie kids are watching in the living room or whatever. Hell, back in the late '90s in a Street Fighter campaign I even personally wrote and recorded "Stage Music" for each of the PCs. In our short World Wide Wrestling game, of course we all had ring entrance music. This is all for in-person gaming though. Online, no way.
 
Do you use music to heighten the immersion at your sessions?

Thinking back to when I used to DM for my old junior high buddies, I remembered the first time I used one of the other five senses into my storytelling instead of the usual word-of-mouth and grabbing twigs/grass to signify a forest and using dice/change as placeholders for the in-game adventurers (But not playing music, I'll explain that later); It involved me tearing ass in the world-building type of way and is still one of my best/funniest memories DM'ing.

Do you use music in your games to complement the session's theme or what happens in the current scenario, if so what genre and band? Do you use any other cool effects or the five senses to enhance the game experience? I want to know! and take notes, but that's not important

Me and my buddies didn't have any portable music players, if I wanted to add music to the session I'd have to ask one of the better-off buddies I had to host the game at his parents place since his folks bought him a higher-end vinyl player and I had the money to buy killer fantasy vinyls but not a player, but playing anything other than a milktoast and "age-appropriate" game got us scolded even though we were upstairs and had the doors shut, so that was outta the question most sessions; as far as adding cool effects for my sessions went.

My go-to genres and bands

I usually go for instrumental power metal or dungeon synth for my sessions, sometimes 8-bit/orchestral/eurobeat/dark-synth covers of the metal if it's a killer one, My favorite dungeon synth band for my recent sessions has got to be Barak Torr and their album "March of the Triumphator" and Armsman Commander's "Obedience" is a close 2nd! As for powermetal Hammerfall, Falconer, Edguy, and Bloodbound make slick albums all-around!

For some different Power-metal, I look at NWOTHM's youtube library every so often.

For nautical/pirate campaigns I use everything from Blazon Stone; Alestorm's alright too.

For more light-hearted games I use Tales Under the Oak's "Frog Kingdom", Ziggurath's "Jungle Majesty", Eternal Kerberus's "Dream of oblivion", and Hole Dweller's "With Dreams of Hereafter".

In sci-fi games I use psychedelic rock/metal, Yuri Gagarin's "At the center of all Infinity", Spaceslug's "Lemanis", Truck Fighter's "Gravity-X" and Frozen Planet 1969....'s "Meltdown on The Horizon" along with Northern Light's "As Above" are my go-to's (And Chris Knight's cover of "Highway Junkie", but that's because it's from a kickass movie)

Cyberpunk settings are really stylized and urban comapared to my usual sci-fi sessions, I use everything from Perturbator and Carpenter Brut to reflect that in those sessions.

More detail on the ass-rippage used to world-build
I used that ass-tearing stunt to emphasize how terrible and disgusting the Goblin treasure pit smelt as they entered; since the goblins used the treasure chamber as a refuse pit as well to deterr against "light-hearted adventurers and elves" to put it lightly, it being the deepest and final area of the cave and the end of their first quest when they managed to escape the traps along the escape route (I had the path they came through collapse by way of hidden goblins) filled with traps and muck, I thought it'd be a memorable way to end the first session that week! As you enter the deepest part of the Goblin Den, it starts to reek in a horrible, unimaginably gutwrenching way, in fact it kinda smells like this "Like what?" "This is what, [pfbfbflt]" "You Jackass!"

Edit: Added Hole Dweller's "With Dreams of Hereafter" to the light-hearted list.
This is kind of funny. I do use sound during my games. One sound. Rain. That's it. Just a background of rainfall to provide some nice pink noise.

I do this because I found that with music, you would run into conflicting tastes and moods at times; but rainfall seems to focus everyone at the table, phones get set aside, and a type of focused calm falls upon the group.

The only downside is that my players always make fun of me because my campaign worlds are constantly raining. I eventually went with the joke and developed my own campaign world that is, indeed, always raining.
 
Lots of video game soundtracks. Stronghold is great for fantasy, for example.
 

Admittedly as my hearing goes, it is less of an issue lol. But I find if I have music on I just start listening to the music and lose track of what is going on (or worse I think I am concentrating on what I am doing but my attention isn't fully held by the present task and I am more inclined to make mistakes). This is why I also never write or design to music. I still incorporate music, but only during times when I am thinking about design, prep, writing etc (or if I am engaged in something related to prep that is essentially busywork)
 
None when I run. When I play, I still prefer none, but not my place to say unless asked.

I love music, but not during gaming.

Music is a private thing for me. I like to listen to it with my headphones on and let my mind go off tripping. But when I listen to it in a group setting (like a party or a bar) it's just noise to me and gets in the way of having or following a conversation.

I've never tried it during play, but I suspect it get in the way of me running the game effectively, or getting into RP in the rare instances I'm a player.
 
Admittedly as my hearing goes, it is less of an issue lol. But I find if I have music on I just start listening to the music and lose track of what is going on (or worse I think I am concentrating on what I am doing but my attention isn't fully held by the present task and I am more inclined to make mistakes). This is why I also never write or design to music. I still incorporate music, but only during times when I am thinking about design, prep, writing etc (or if I am engaged in something related to prep that is essentially busywork)

I can listen to music doing graphic design or similar work, but anything with lyrics interrupts my internal dialogue when writing. And even instrumental music sometimes gets in the way, except for binaural beats for focus, which can actually help sometimes.
 
I don't. It hampers my ability to understand people speaking, trying to listen to something while background music is playing can push me into a sensory overload. I listen to music pretty much 24/7 otherwise, and use it to protect myself from being startled by unexpected noises.
 
We use music only if its diegetic. And then quite deliberately.

I can't stand background noise. And if music is playing, I want to listen to the music and not talk or try to listen to someone over it. Silence--such as can be found in any populated area--can be quite powerful. In game, a hushed pregnant pause can give birth to so much more than background music or ambient sounds can offer.

But everybody's mileage differs.

All that said, I have run an entire Southern Gothic campaign based on the music of David Eugene Edwards. But not while his songs were actually playing... :shade:
 
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I used to use music in my games, during the entire session.

I had a musical theme for each PC at the table (evolving during the campaign), a musical theme for places (this particular town, this particular forest, etc.), some generic themes for some generic situations (battle, relaxing music during the PCs' journey, etc.), and a musical theme for specific moments in my campaign (the fall of Myth Drannor, the peasants' uprising, the battle against the duke, a scene in the boudoir with the duchess...)

All things considered, for a 10 hour session, I used to have something like 3 hours of discrete soundtracks. I used movies soundtracks. My players loved it.

Then I ceased doing that, and I cut my prep time for each session by about 8 times.

The problem was that I picked the habit of using music in RPGs from a friend of mine who was a true music lover - he could remember and memorize music themes, he collected them (he had a huge library of movie soundtracks), he mixed them with his audio software, and he could improvise with them. He could write papers on them and on music composers and he did.

I am not like that, and for each session I had to painstakingly assemble my musical ressources, and I was no good at improvising with them.

So I ceased doing that, and I played on my other strengths as a GM.

Know your strengths and limitations, I say.
 
For me, music is a distraction while gaming. Mostly because it NEVER syncs up to what's happening at the table.

Sound effects, on the other hand, can be intense.
I used a long-duration thunderstorm loop for MONTHS of 4-hour sessions while my campaign had an ongoing non-stop flooding rains. Took player "immersion" to a whole new level.
 
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Was put off music in games by old WoD GMs constantly playing the same tracks over and over again for "atmosphere". These days we';; sometimes put something inoffensive on in the background, and my players enjoy that. However I despise music during a session, as music leads to dancing, and dancing leads to impure thoughts and before you know it, FORNICATION!
 
Was put off music in games by old WoD GMs constantly playing the same tracks over and over again for "atmosphere". These days we';; sometimes put something inoffensive on in the background, and my players enjoy that. However I despise music during a session, as music leads to dancing, and dancing leads to impure thoughts and before you know it, FORNICATION!
I think I single handedly destroyed my player's affection for the soundtrack to the Francis Ford Coppola Dracula by playing it constantly during my Ravenloft sessions in the 90s (especially those blaring horns sections)
 
Not during the game but I do share play lists with people when we're setting a game up for inspiration/feel. It therefore varies greatly depending on the game and genre.
 
I am also in the "No music, thank you. It's distracting." camp.

However, when I play online via foundry vtt, I just start a playlist, mute it on my side, and if anyone else wants to listen to it, be my guest. Which reminds me, that I should probably check with my players whether they are still listening to that Mass Effect soundtrack that I put on few sessions ago...

When playing in person, I sometimes put on a single song, during the game preparation, to basically set the mood. When I GMed a post-apo scifi western game, I used the theme song from the Renegade TV show.




I am still waiting for the opportunity to use the Airwolf theme though.
 
There's usually some sort of ambient-ish music playing quietly in the background. I've tried getting more soundtrack-y, with special lists for combat, this NPC or that encounter, etc., but the return just hasn't been worth the effort.

For Dolmenwood, I have an "in town" list (Sharron Kraus' Pilgrim Chants & Pastoral Trails, Patrick Ball celtic harp music, etc.), underground (Lustmord's Heresy, Velehentor, other creepy dark ambient stuff), and "weird" (Fursaxa, Deathprod, Michael Stearns' Ancient Leaves, selections from the soundtrack to A Field in England, etc.)

For Blades in the Dark, I used a single playlist list of atmospheric tunes from the likes of Nik Bärtsch's Ronin, Böhren und der Club of Gore, and the soundtrack to the BBC spy drama The Game.

My Fading Suns playlist is all ambient music -- Lustmord (Dark Matter), Harold Budd (Abandoned Cities), Sleep Research Facility (Nostromo), Robert Rich, Thomas Köner, 70s Tangerine Dream, singing-bowl drone works by Klaus Wiese, and generative modular synth music by State Azure.
 
However I despise music during a session, as music leads to dancing, and dancing leads to impure thoughts and before you know it, FORNICATION!
It ain't called rock and roll because we want to stand on a hillside and drink Coca-Cola® while we sing about corporate capitalism!

Hm. Well... at least it used to not be about that.
 
When we were using music most often was my Kung Fu Drama and Nipponese Fantasy chronicles. It was always run low and in the background. I also had an "assistant GM" known as the Keeper of the Music handling all this for me. He made the mixes. I told him what would be fun/ useful or something I foresaw and he would try to prep something.

For the modern kung fu drama, we used action movie sound tracks. Mostly we used Mortal Combat (in various forms and by various artists/ DJs for remixes)... on a near endless loop during combat. We would occasionally pull out J-Pop and Japanese Jazz.

For Nipponese Fantasy, we used Chambara sound tracks occasionally. Most of the time it was traditional tunes with flutes or taiko drums. We also pulled out The Mortal Combat themes (in various forms and by various artists/ DJs for remixes).

At the time, when we played Superheroes... we could not get solid sound tracks that we liked. Even going with cartoons, pre-Avengera , we did not have enough theme music. We ended up playing "what was on the radio".
 
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Music is great when I’m prepping or trying to brainstorm ideas. In that case I usually find something moody or ambient, or music from a movie I know will evoke a certain emotion. During a game I would find it completely distracting and contrived I think.
 
I like the idea and would like to experiment with using some minimalist soundtracks and such but suspect I'd find it too distracting and if any players also found the same I'd worry they'd be too shy to say so.
 
No music in my games either, I pretty much listen to music only when I'm drunk. So once per moon these days. It's a bit weird, I know. I'm a weird person
 
None when I run. When I play, I still prefer none, but not my place to say unless asked.

I love music, but not during gaming.
I use music, but I play online, and the music comes through a bot that allows each player to adjust their own personal volume. So anyone who doesn't want the music and sound effects can mute it.

I never just leave a soundtrack playing; I put on specific background pieces for the surroundings or what's going on. Something like this for a bit of light-hearted breaking and entering, for example:



It's a bit on and off, as I don't always have something appropriate prepared or don't want to break the flow digging through my track library.
 
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