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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Why some Game Masters use music?

    I don't see why would you use music, many say that it makes everything more immersive but it actually does not. It makes you feel like you are playing a video game, and table top roleplaying games should not have that feel. Most of the times Game Masters will use the same music for similar areas, like all taverns have the same music, all caves, all fights and so forth . . .

    It occasionally happens that music gets in the way of understanding the players, not everyone has good diction skills also not everyone is good at hearing. By having a background noise with melody it can happen that people whom lack said skills will be unable to properly play the game . . .

    What is your opinion on this?

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I think it's great, as long as you make sure of the following:

    • background music should generally be background music. If people become too aware of its presence, it's gonna suck. If it ever becomes obtrusive and too loud, you definitely need to turn the volume down a little.
    • you need a good variety of music, understand which ones to use when and have the self-control not to switch tracks constantly. After all, switching music can break immersion, so you should avoid doing it unless you're transitioning to another scene or somesuch.
    • you need to have a proper understanding of time. The idea of music is to put people in a certain mood. Especially the ones that are meant to evoke stronger emotional feelings can only do so for a few minutes at most. (or: why putting on epic trailer music during a fight will only get your players excited for 3 minutes, before it stops being epic and just becomes pure bombast).
    • for the love of God, never use music your players can instantly recognize. This overlaps with your players becoming too aware of the music's presence. It instantly breaks immersion. Not to mention the unwanted connotations. Playing the Imperial March during a villain's entrance, for example, gets people thinking about Darth Vader, not your BBEG. Plus it's just plain lazy and on-the-nose.

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    Spamalot in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Echoing Freemason Than's note about variety. With my old local group, every campaign I ran had over a 100 different music tracks to pick from, all organized into nice situational categories so I can switch quickly without slowing things down. It's also important that the selection fits the setting of the game too. When I ran my Shadowrun campaign, I had located tracks from The Matrix, Blade Runner, Robocop, Total Recall, etc. and then reached out to a couple friends who were big into similar styled music for additional bands. No Final Fantasy chip-tunes in that playlist.

    Like anything else when building a campaign, the quality of the experience will be based on how much time you invest into it.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Traziremus View Post
    I don't see why would you use music, many say that it makes everything more immersive but it actually does not.
    This is the problem I have with threads like these. Your very first sentence immediately disqualifies rational conversation, because you're invalidating the primary response for no good reason beyond "it actually does not."

    This is merely a point of divergence between your opinion and the opinion of others. You have provided no logical explanation for others to either support or refute, so this thread has a very good chance of devolving into unnecessary flaming.

    That being said, my group uses music all the time. However, it is likely very different for us because we use Roll 20 to play and rarely use voice chat, so don't have much in the way of interaction beyond text and tokens. The music therefore creates a break in the monotony that speech normally would.

    For everyone else, I would hazard a guess that their reasoning is similar to mine, or it's for immersive purposes. Which, as I've noted, you have refuted without basis - being your opinion and not necessarily a truism of everyone else.

    That's all I have to say on the matter. I apologise if I've been blunt, but I see far too many of these kinds of self-defeating premises on the forums.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Eno said what I was going to say, better, and faster, too.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    In a recent session I had my first play-about with music - although in this case it was a more specific reason than general immersion. The party came across a small town where a man had made a deal with Infernal powers, requiring him to play a piece of organ music (from a never-ending set of sheet music, never trust a bargain). Anyone able to hear the music was put to sleep and subjected to a vivid hallucination to trick them into signing over their souls. So in this case I used the music (Toccata & Fugue in D Minor for those curious), to indicate to players that their characters could hear it and that fatigue rolls would be required every few in-game minutes until they were clear of it.
    Similarly the organ-player was being protected by a servant of the Infernal who had his own music playing to denote a separate area-effect during their battle with him (One-Winged Angel this time).

    So in this case the use of music worked out great and the guys loved it, but I don't think it's something I'd plan on using again unless music (or something similar) was as important a plot-element.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    d20 Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Occasionally I've used background music… though I rarely been attentive enough to change tracks when necessary; typically I just let the whole track play as-is quietly.

    At the moment the only appropriate music I have is from a CRPG DOOM-clone called Strife: Quest for the Sigil—obscure enough that I highly doubt anyone at the table would recognize the music, let alone even know the game exists. Otherwise my choices would be… SimCity 2000 or Street Fighter IV (and the occasional use of the Final Fantasy victory theme).

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eno Remnant View Post
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I use background music very sparingly. Melody, at low volume, fills some of the dead spaces, and helps to set mood. But I mostly pick "generic theme music" rather than "teh awesome song."
    What I use more of is background sound. Ambient noises, crowd rutabegas, wind and birdsong, creepy echoes - something to fit the situation. Set the environment (town, forest), set the mood (busy, quiet, spooky). I have seen people use fight music when combat starts, but I'm usually too busy shuffling to switch up.

    The key is quiet. Loud enough to be heard, quiet enough to be forgotten. Unless there are clues in the music, it should be filler, not front row.

    I also will have sound effects cued up for where sound effects are appropriate: ritual chanting, buzzing, banging, gobblini chatter - audio clues to the environment. If they get closer to the temple, the chanting gets louder. I will occasionally use it instead of listen/perception for early detection. It's interesting to see who amongst the talking heads will notice the clicky-scrapy noises getting louder as they stand in the middle of an echoing hall having loud conversations.

    I also have sad trombone and yackety sax permanently cued up, because that's the nature of my group.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

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    Post Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I love the idea of using music, as my rather eclectic iTunes actually becomes useful. I don't usually have background music per se, as I have enough to keep track of between the urgent action, future actions, and ensuring I can hit the music I want to for plot reasons.

    I recommend having a wide variety of music with plot attached to them. I like to use "The Day was Breaking" (a Russian folk song) to show a culture's acknowledgement of new beginnings. Sending soldiers to war, holding funerals, the works. Whenever the players hear the long, flowing syllables of that song, they can identify that something big is happening with that particular group. A similar song would be Taps, where it is a recognizable melody that has created an association with death, injury, and dignified defeat.

    For playing the same songs in pubs or similar areas, I only do it for plot purposes. After the seventh tavern that all play a ballad folk song, they should hopefully start noticing the entranced faces of the other tavern occupants, or else they are going to start rolling to be enchanted too...

    Basically, music should be either innocuous or plot-relevant.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe the Rat View Post
    crowd rutabegas,

    I am very puzzled.
    The only sound I've known rutabegas to make - either singular or in a group ('crowd'?) is a slight crunching if eaten raw. Or a thumping sound if dropped on the floor.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Walla is the (regional) usual name for it. I just think of it as rutabega.
    Last edited by Joe the Rat; 2016-07-21 at 08:44 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by obryn View Post
    Active Abilities are great because you - the player - are demonstrating your Dwarvenness or Elfishness. You're not passively a dwarf, you're actively dwarfing your way through obstacles.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I generally used music when I played 4e because the combats moved too slowly. It took music to keep the game interesting and engaging enough for people to not get bored. Since I made the switch to Savage Worlds, though, music hasn't been that important, though I still use it for some dramatic cues. My games tend to work like plays that way.
    Last edited by Cealocanth; 2016-07-21 at 08:47 AM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I am not a huge fan of background music, but my table is usually 6 players+GM so we don't really need excess noise.

    As a GM, I tend to use music to add to a situation where the sound is a key aspect of the encounter/scenario. For example, I was DM'img a game and the party was running through a burial ground catacomb style dungeon. One of the enemies in the catacomb was a Danse Macabre, which is basically a ghostly grim reaper playing a violin surrounded by dancing spirits. The sound can cause a player character to be drawn in and to their deaths. For this battle, I had the song of the same name, Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens in the background. The players said it added a lot of texture to the battle and made the encounter memorable. Any enemy bard, siren, gibbering mouther, or other creature known for a sound effect gets a big boost from some theme music or sound effects.

    Sometimes as a player(particularly as a bard, but I once played a music based sorcerer) I will have a few dozen songs of my character's repertoire on standby for particularly important performances or displays of musical showmanship. I try to keep these short and reserve them for key moments, or have innocuous background if the rest of the table wants.
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I tried adding music to games to add to the "atmosphere", but the pacing of an RPG just doesn't lend itself to that.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I like using music in my campaigns, but I more often use it for things that I want to have stand out or things where the audio is important. So it's usually ambient sounds or music rather than theme songs. Things like star trek bridge ambient sounds for being on a spaceship and a hollow, dripping cavern ambience for caves.

    But I don't get fancy with it too often.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eno Remnant View Post
    This is the problem I have with threads like these. Your very first sentence immediately disqualifies rational conversation, because you're invalidating the primary response for no good reason beyond "it actually does not.".
    Offtopic: Whatever I say is my opinion, i started the topic stating my opinion as short as possible and then "expanded" on that and said why I think it does not add up to the immersion, if that offended you i apologize.

    Ontopic:
    I have never considered using music for lore purposes, I will consider it next time I am writing adventures who knows I might like it :D.

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Does music make a movie feel like a video game?

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I have used music in a few specific situations. Of course, this was in the days before ipods and mp3s in general, tablets didn't exist and games weren't in digital form yet, so it wasn't really possible to have hundreds of tracks available at a click.

    In a Star Wars game, I'd put the Rebel theme, attacking the death star or the Return of the Jedi space battle music on repeat during a big battle, or call up the imperial march or emperor's theme when a star destroyer or bad guys showed up.

    In a World of Darkness game, I put on a CD of industrial and techno music when the characters went into a nightclub, and turned up the volume to try and evoke the scene. The players were into it (yes, we had all seen Blade).

    At other times, we would just play an appropriate movie score for ambiance during D&D, like the score to Thirteenth Warrior or Gladiator or things like that. When the battle music happened to sync up with the start of a battle in the game, we all got a kick out of it and turned up the volume a little.

    Nowadays, I can see using ambiance tracks for certain situations. I'd like to use some creepy sound effects tracks the next time I do a dungeon crawl, or anything really, which could be more effective than making the sound effects myself, like I used to.

    Midnight Syndicate has some cool stuff that I've used for ambiance at Halloween haunts which might work for some RPG's, too.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    Does music make a movie feel like a video game?
    Yes, as a matter of fact it does. Music also makes music itself feel like a video game.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Traziremus View Post
    Yes, as a matter of fact it does. Music also makes music itself feel like a video game.
    I do hope that was sarcasm, or methinks that you might have a mental association thing going on that no amount of forum-going can solve.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I use music sparingly and mostly for atmosphere and have been doing that since computer games had ****ty 8bit peeping sounds as music.

    I've sometimes used music as a starter for sessions, for example during one vampire campaign I used Bring me to life with Evanescence as a cue that we were starting play.

    But mostly I've used music when GMing horror sessions where everyone is on edge.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I'll actually agree with one thing-music rarely helps with immersion, in my experience. What it does is help set a mood appropriate for the scene, which can help players get into character, and it's very easy for that music to miss the mark and just feel...off. So I can see where the OP is coming from-a few bad music choices can make one think 'Why bother?'

    That said, I also tend to use video game music pretty heavily, especially Final Fantasy. It's music without vocals that is already meant to be used in the background.

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Traziremus View Post
    Yes, as a matter of fact it does. Music also makes music itself feel like a video game.
    Might I suggest less MIDI in your life?
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I agree with using music sparingly during play. Mostly for setting the scene or perhaps during a Cutscene, playing music during the entire session might wear thin. I do however love to use music when I'm brainstorming either a campaign, a character, whether pc or npc.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eno Remnant View Post
    This is the problem I have with threads like these. Your very first sentence immediately disqualifies rational conversation, because you're invalidating the primary response for no good reason beyond "it actually does not."
    This, opening post is essentially 'why do people do a bad thing and say it's a good thing?'
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Might I suggest less MIDI in your life?
    Made me laugh.

    On topic:
    And here I thought most people used music regularly, but it seems I am part of a minority. My players tend to like it as well. It helps to establish a certain atmosphere and thereby improves the quality of the game. Of course you have to pick the right volume and appropriate tracks. Usually music from video games and movies of a similar genre. Oh, and if you play Star Wars, you use Star Wars music, obviously.
    I don't see the problem of using similar tracks for similar places because a different place is discribed differently. Music is just a fraction of the scene, words are much more important.
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrawn4 View Post
    It helps to establish a certain atmosphere and thereby improves the quality of the game. Of course you have to pick the right volume and appropriate tracks.

    -snip-

    Music is just a fraction of the scene, words are much more important.
    These two things bear repeating. I use music frequently, and these are the key things to understand when doing so. When it comes to appropriate tracks, just sit back and listen to a piece and think about the impressions it gives you. Chances are your players will feel something similar.

    As for using music from popular things, you can actually use the preconceived associations to your advantage. Use the music to give hints, or subvert expectations entirely. It's fun!
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    Default Re: Why some Game Masters use music?

    I use music as a cue that something's happening. Table talk eventually drifts from the game at hand, and a subtle fade-in of music will direct players back to the situation at hand. One of the earliest table rules at my games is "The DM is not your jukebox. Do NOT request music of him."

    Additionally, I use an "intro theme" to indicate to players that the game is about to begin, to put away any distractions and focus on the incoming session recap.

    On the other hand, I have had players who are distracted by music - if your players can't focus while music is playing, don't push it. (In particular, a player who couldn't focus because she couldn't fathom anyone listening to anything other than top 40 stuff, who would actively complain every time music began and drag everyone out of any immersion they were experiencing)
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