View Full Version : Background Music for Game Nights

2007-02-06, 10:53 PM
Do you have a favorite CD or collection that provides good adventurous background music for your DnD nights? We would like to know!

I'll get it started - I have a mix of some Kodo and movies like Braveheart and Spider Man and such, but the songs are getting a little stale.

2007-02-06, 11:04 PM
Braveheart's a classic, I also have the LotR soundtracks and the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtracks.

Good adventurous stuff.

I also try to have a certain song picked out for every tavern they visit. Some rowdy Dwarvish bar might have some Flogging Molly softly in the background, while a mellow human bar might throw down some slower Zeppelin or something....

All of this is only possible because I have a DMPC...A dungeon master personal computer. (laptops for teh win.)

2007-02-06, 11:53 PM
heh Flogging Molly rock the Hard.

I tend not to run background music because i find it takes more from the game immersion than it gives.

2007-02-07, 01:01 AM
When I was in England, a guy in my group always brought native (I guess that's what you'd call it) music. Celtic, Scottish ect. It was scary how the music would up the tempo as we were getting into fights. It always seemed to have the right music for what were doing. However in retrospect, we probaly only noticed the times it did fit. Was cool anyway you look at it though.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-07, 01:03 AM
Normally, music distracts my already-far-from-serious group.

2007-02-07, 01:05 AM
My friend is good at coordinating music. Some of it includes the Advent Children soundtrack and Oblivion. It's mostly mixes of single songs he's found through the years.

2007-02-07, 01:17 AM
The cd wotc released recently isn't too bad. Master and Commander stuff isn't shabby either (for battles, anyway).

It does make everything kinda interesting and more tense, but doesn't get in the way either (especially when its just on single-track repeat).

2007-02-07, 01:24 AM
Tubular Bells 2 by Mike Oldfield
The Soundtrack to .hack// The 1st anime
Vampire Hunter D Soundtrack
Midnight Syndicate for a gothic feel
the Trigun soundtrack

I use these a lot. Everything except Midnight syndicate has a variety of uses.
Good luck!

Renegade Paladin
2007-02-07, 01:52 AM
The album Triumph or Agony by Rhapsody of Fire works brilliantly.

I have a custom mix of Blind Guardian's acoustic tracks that I use.

The opening theme from The Hunt for Red October for sessions involving dwarven mines. To quote Monte Cook, "If dwarves sang in choirs, this is what it'd sound like."

A lot of Hammerfall's music works well.

The Firebird Suite, 1919 version, by Igor Stravinsky for dramatic moments.

There's an awful lot of movie soundtracks that do the trick.

2007-02-07, 02:01 AM
I have been trying to find a good way to implement music into my games, and I've only had marginal success.

Though I do have some suggestions. Instead of trying to group them by a type of scene you're setting (Fighting, Bar, King's Court), organizing by feel would work a lot easier (Chaos, Jubilation, Horror, Hopelessness).

Video game soundtracks seem better suited for a D&&D game, since they're written expressly as background music.

2007-02-07, 09:25 PM
The big thing to remember is to use vocals, or at least vocals your players can understand, very sparingly... and that while video game music is made to background, you're going to have to remember that your players are going to have images already associated with it. (You would not believe the number of times I got into arguments with the player who handles the music in my games about that: one of my most-repeated lines was "And I don't care how much you like One-Winged Angel, neither you nor the BBEG is Sephiroth! ...and even if we were going to use it, it would be the orchestral.") On the plus side, when you're "borrowing" a concept or trying to get a point across, this can be useful--the court music from Chrono Trigger during a blatantly rigged trial, for instance. But there's just something about the way it jars the setup, and I maintain that if it must be a soundtrack of any sort, it should be something obscure.

I do, however, agree with AngelSword on the mood-sorting. Being able to just stick on a playlist and let it cycle is useful, since after a while even the best music on loop can lead to your players trying to rummage up their torches and pitchforks.

Himekami's Moonwater has some good tracks; there's nothing like 7 O'Clock Rain when you're running through a seemingly endless labyrinth, and while it's not much for battle, it's excellent for feelings of awe and tranquility. For a more mystical or deep-foresty feel, Inca Dreams is a good CD, even if it is a bit tricky to get ahold of--for temples and festivals, a nice gamelan can do the job, and there's nothing like Silk Road for those endless landscapes.

Deus Mortus
2007-02-07, 09:27 PM
Switches around, but WoW soundtrack gets played often, it's just very very well done.

2007-02-07, 10:06 PM
For a truly surreal experience, play some early Johnny Cash during a big fight. It's like David Lynch was the GM.

Fax Celestis
2007-02-07, 10:19 PM
A variety of classical, ranging from Rhapsody in Blue to Hungarian Rhapsody to Danse Macabre to Carnival of the Animals to Fanfare for the Common Man to Night on Bald Mountain to In the Hall of the Mountain King to The Planets.

2007-02-07, 10:23 PM
Any of the above posts, plus quite a bit of Gregorian or Blind Guardian. Also, random audio clips from The Legend of Zelda series have proven useful in campaigns I've been in.

*Edit: The Bard's Song by Blind Guardian is especially d&desque.

2007-02-07, 10:38 PM
If you are searching for some good music for RPG I will recomend a small list here. These are mostly the ones I use during my sessions.

Orchestral and Classical Music for those "Entering the King's Castle" Moments.

and for other more "interesting" moments I'd recomend this:

.Rrapsody (c'mon, I know that they act a little odd sometimes, but their music is pure RPG... Every single song): Musics: Emerald Sword, Holy Thunderforce, and all musics from the Dawn of Victory CD.

.Blind Guardian and Iced Earth (aka. Demons and Wizards) (In my opinion it is better than Rhapsody for RPG sessions) Musics: Valhalla, The Crimson King. The Bard's Song is the most pure RPG song I've ever heard. The musics they made for the LoTR soundtracks are very good too.

.Hammerfall (Personaly my favourite band) Musics: Hearts on Fire, Renegade, Back to back... All the albuns are good.

If you like something different: Pirates of Caribean, Lord of the Rings and Fire Emblem (game; specialy "Together we Ride") soundtracks.

I think you'll find good musics there. Try finding some Melodic/Power metal tracks as the bands listed above and you'll be fine. Try www.metal-archives.com (http://www.metal-archives.com) to find some bands.

2007-02-07, 10:52 PM
We tend to mix up a good playlist for our Eberron game, since we tend to be the low-lifes of Sharn, it's a good mix of hip-hop like Wu-Tang, DMX or Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, metal like Tool, Metallica and Nine Inch Nails or grunge like Nirvana or Soundgarden.

Our Forgotten Realms takes the more normal Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, Gladiator sountrack route.

Then our martial arts Oriental Adventures goes with Crouching Tiger, House of Flying Daggers, Warriors of Heaven and Earth, and Princess Mononoke.

Naturally our d20 Star Wars goes with the soundtracks for all six movies.

2007-02-07, 11:56 PM
Nothing with vocals. Ambient or instrumental music all the way. Aside from that, anything goes; I find original movie soundtracks can be great. (The one for Conan especially...)

F.H. Zebedee
2007-02-08, 12:34 AM
Legend of Dragoon Soundtrack FTW. Perfect for a lot of moments in game, although you MAY need to use different songs for battle depending on the mood you're trying for. Great at giving a grand, ancient feel to a campaign.

2007-02-08, 06:53 AM
Oh yeah, its ALL about the original Legend of Zelda. Nothing says you found the BBEG's hideout like music straight from the depths of Death Mtn.. And its SO refreshing when you finally escape and get greeted with that upbeat adventuring melody of the outdoors.

2007-02-08, 07:02 AM
Like everyone says, non-vocaled is the way to go.

I have a playlist that I fiddle a bit with each time I'm GMing, and I pick out individual tracks depending on the campaign. My favourite sources:

Final Fantasy soundtracks (VIII especially)
Ecco the Dolphin (seriously - really good mood music, especially for mysterious places)
Lord of the Rings soundtracks (though they can feel overused)
Legend of Zelda
Secret of Mana
Suikoden tracks

. . . Yeah, you get the idea, I like CRPG music.

- Saph

2007-02-08, 11:26 AM
I use the BG 1 and BG 2 soundtrack, 120 tracks in total. I'm not very music-minded, however so I only bother with about 5 of them. A wfrp campaign I'm playing in uses these soundtracks as well.

Before we got hold of the bg soundtrack, we used the Neverwinter Nights soundtrack.

For WoD, the gm of that game has put together a cd of his own with a lot of different horroresque tracks on it (as well as some normal ambience tracks)

2007-02-08, 11:34 AM
Music distracts me (being the husband of a music major and a cello player until college) too much to play during D&D sessions.

2007-02-08, 12:07 PM
As usual, I'm gonna show some love for Blind Guardian here. They're wonderful. Although I don't think their LotR movie material is out yet, Fawsto. Could you be thinking of Nightfall in Middle Earth? It's a concept album based on the books. Later on when the movies were coming out there was talk that BG was going to do the music. I have no idea if any of it was legit talk, or just some fanboys' wishful thinking, but the band (or at least the signer) decided to do an orchestral album of the music he would have composed for the movies had that actually taken place. As far as I'm aware, that album is nowhere near out yet, but I look forward to it immensely.

As usual, I'm also going to point out Sephiroth as a band that works pretty well for background ambience. They record the nightscape of germanic forests, and play tribal drums over that. It's not something to listen to all the time, but it's great for a dark and brooding feel. Some of it is more active than other bits. I'm quite fond of it for dungeon environments. Not so much for the trip back up to town.

2007-02-08, 12:52 PM
Some combination of world music, medieval/rennaissance music and classical music works OK to me. Soundtracks or classical pieces that are easily associated with a movie or game tend to be a distraction. I prefer it at a volume that relegates it to being background music rather than a soundtrack to the game.

2007-02-08, 01:09 PM
I stick with the classics. A nice blend of Queen and Alan Parson's Project is very suitable. Checkout the Ladyhawke soundtrack...

2007-02-08, 01:09 PM
Like everyone says, non-vocaled is the way to go.

I have a playlist that I fiddle a bit with each time I'm GMing, and I pick out individual tracks depending on the campaign. My favourite sources:

Final Fantasy soundtracks (VIII especially)
Ecco the Dolphin (seriously - really good mood music, especially for mysterious places)
Lord of the Rings soundtracks (though they can feel overused)
Legend of Zelda
Secret of Mana
Suikoden tracks

. . . Yeah, you get the idea, I like CRPG music.

- Saph

I love you.

In essence, I think that is one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time, and more than perfect for use in a D&D game (well, less so in my groups). It's varied, nuanced, and obscure enough that most people won't recognize it.

2007-02-10, 03:52 PM
The Myst III: Exile CD is an hour long instrumental track that stubtly builds up from chillingly creepy to a fantastic, heart-pounding crescendo.

Just skip the very last song, I think it's the one they used in the commercials and it's not terribly good. :)

2007-02-10, 06:24 PM
I game online, so everyone has their own playlists if they use music at all, but occasionally one of us will recommend a specific track for a scene.

Usually, I use the Okami OST due to the Oriental setting we're in, but most anything else on my standard everyday playlist fits well enough. Although it can be jarring to have something like the opening from Jungle Wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu or C Is For Lettuce (http://www.thefump.com/fump.php?id=20) come on.

2007-02-10, 06:54 PM
Metallica has long had a very close association with my D&D games. There were a whole bunch of adventures in the old Treasure Maps (A)D&D Accessory named after songs, such as Ride the Lightning, Enter Sandman, etc...

I like to use Film soundtracks, like Conan the Barbarian, or game soundtracks, such as Icewind Dale. People also often bring along music to play in the background.

2007-02-10, 07:03 PM
I don't use music, but I can safely say that the music from the Temple of Time in OOC is good for temples and such. and O Fortuna from Carmina Burana is good for BBEG fights.

2007-02-10, 07:38 PM
I haven't tried this yet myself, but it might be fun... the heresy album by Lustmord was recorded entirely in catacombs, caves, etc... it's been described as "a journey through hell" and its really quite spooky. more ambience than music, but might be worth a shot, if youre playing in caves at night.

2007-02-10, 08:16 PM
The Soundtrack to any and all Total War games, as well as to "The Mummy" if you have a desert campaign, or "Van Helsing" for gothic adventures.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-02-10, 08:22 PM
Just last game session I ran a soundtrack. I made it from a mishmash of different sources, but my top two were from the games Shin Megami Tensei: Nocture and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. I mixed in a lot of other music as well, including Dragon Force songs for some big fights, the theme song from Conan the Barbarian, and as my one "funny" track, Wonderboy. I used my laptop to play them so that I could quickly and dramatically change the music as needed from my long list of songs, loosely filed so that I could quickly pick from a handful of good ones (like the battle section, the exploration section, and the individual "character themes" that were so much fun to put together with the other players). It really made the game pop out for my guys, who suddenly started roleplaying even better then usual. Even our shyer players started getting in a groove when I pumped up their theme song when they were doing something cool.

The trick is to pick tracks that are either excellent in the background, great for incidentals, or particularly loved by the players. I found that some songs worked better then others, and sometimes a certain one would totally change the mood of the game at that moment. For instance, when I played Wonderboy, after an initial laugh around from hearing our favorite comedy band, started roleplaying in a much more lighthearted tone. Players that would ordinarily kill without mercy were suddenly taking prisoners and showing compassion that was completely unlike their entire style up to that point, which I found quite shocking and an interesting change of pace.

I would like to note, however, that Wonderboy will probably ruin 9/10ths of all serious games immediately.

2007-02-10, 08:29 PM
the song trogdor, yes some made it into a a song. It's in guitar hero I or II i forget.

Shadow of the Sun
2007-02-10, 09:13 PM
Sol Invictus. Ignore the fact that the singer has an odd voice, it is the most beautiful music I have ever heard.