Great Music for your Tabletop RPG

Found this beautiful artwork at: http://simonfetscher.deviantart.com/art/Fantasy-Village-451723526

Found this beautiful artwork at: http://simonfetscher.deviantart.com/art/Fantasy-Village-451723526

Hey all…Jinx here.

I’ve been playing Tabletop RPG’s for over 26 years and curiously, playing music for ambiance was never a staple in my games.  Whether I was the dungeon master (DM) or was a player in another game DM’ed by one my friends, it just never seemed to be part of the package.  I think one of the main reasons for this is partially because of all the BS’ing and banter that goes on when friends get together for game day, which can make it difficult to really hammer home the ambiance.  My group especially, which at times have people driving from as far as 1 1/2 hours away to make the game, has a lot of catching up to do.  Not to say there is anything wrong with that, but it’s hard to get a real serious feeling of the setting, drawing in your audience and investing them in their surroundings, when everyone is shooting the breeze and catching up.  Sure, as a DM, you can set controls, but I personally feel that we’re there to have a good time.  I’m lucky, because when my group gets together, of course we have the bantering, but when it’s time to get the game going, we hunker down and get to it.

Couldn't find the exact source for this one, but it is beautiful and not my own work.

Couldn’t find the exact source for this one, but it is beautiful and not my own work.

Regardless, it’s something I’ve never brought to the table before, but I’ve decided to utilize it  in my upcoming campaign.  I wanted to share with you some of the sources of music that I feel warrant some great merit and can be used in just about any campaign.

  1. First I wanted to start with Tabletop Audio.  Just their fantasy section alone gives you twenty nine, ten minute audio recordings that are really well done.  Plus, you can put them on loop and forget about it until it’s time to pull up the next recording or set up a play list, so that it easily transitions from one to the next.  On top of that, there is a whole section for horror and nature, which can be easily placed in any tabletop RPG session.  A worthwhile choice.
  2. Midnight Syndicate is a great resource for music as well.  They have a bunch of horror themed music that is dark and magical, without the screamy halloween feel.  You can find a lot of their stuff on YouTube too.  I really liked the feel of their music, as at times it even was insightful, providing me with an ideas for an adventure that went with the music, instead of the other way around.  Quite interesting.
  3. The one I’m most excited about though, is that of Jeremy Soule.  For what seems like forever, he’s been making music for games I’ve fallen in love with (mostly due to the fantastic soundtracks), especially the Elder Scrolls series which included Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim.  I’ve played these games for more hours than I could even admit and the music draws you in seamlessly.  The scenes where you are being chased or followed, build the tension so quickly as the music kicks in even before you’ve seen what’s coming for you.  You can find a beautiful compilation of all three games here.
Found this at: http://desktop-wallpapers.net/fantasy/Fantasy-City-wallpaper.html

Found this at: http://desktop-wallpapers.net/fantasy/Fantasy-City-wallpaper.html

Jeremy Soule has also done soundtracks for Icewind Dale and Guild Wars as well and both are truly amazing.  He often throws up beautiful soundtracks on his Facebook page and are a must hear.  His music is not only stunning, it is breathtaking as it brings you to a completely different world that you never want to leave.  If you are looking for great music for your tabletop game, Jeremy Soule is your man.  You can purchase his music here.

I’d love to hear how and if using music for ambiance works for your group and whether of not it’s been sustainable.  Also, if there are any other places to find great tabletop RPG music, I’d love you to share with our community.

Thanks!

Jinx

About jinx_the_bard

Longtime Dungeon Master, tabletop and video gamer. Been playing D&D and Shadowrun on and off most recently. Ran a post apocalyptic, paragon, 4th edition D&D campaign for a couple years. Running a 5th edition campaign now called “The Fall of Astia”. Enjoy Borderlands 1, 2 and even the Pre-sequel (which I tend to play with fellow author Ness), Fallout 3 and 4, Bioshock and Skyrim. (Games this good never get boring) I also indulge in Magic The Gathering, mostly in the Legacy and Modern formats. Please feel free to contact me at dungeonmaster.bm@gmail.com for any questions, thoughts or things you’d like to see featured on our site.

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