Our gaming group uses music very much and I think it plays a really important part in the atmosphere. Without music, any game especially if the rhythm is wrong feels a bit "empty". For scifi games we often use ambient soundscapes, electronic music, synthesizer music like Vangelis (Blade Runner soundtrack is exceptionally good - Cliff Martinez does a great work on the modern Solaris etc)
But I have also fiddled around in my home studio for a few years now, mainly making orchestral soundtrack -pieces and ambient atmospheres. I have myself used the material as a background music in my pen&paper -roleplaying sessions so I thought it would be nice to offer the music for everyone to use. All of the stuff is free so you can copy, modify and use it as you like.
I'll update the projects as often I can, so feel free to check back every now and then.
Mikseri.net is finnish page, so some of the texts are probably not understandable, but I have written everything I can in english, so I hope the pages are browseable.
Here's one sample song from Essence -project, called Hope for rebirth
Essence is the main project which contains mostly orchestral soundtrack-pieces
Divinity is the ambient project, which contains mainly soundscapes and background atmospheres.
Frozen Silence contains improvised solo piano pieces.
So feel free to browse the material and if you find it useful, hopefully it will bring something new to your games also! Go to Comment
I'll find this helpful when I next look to expand my assortment of background music. I've found that once your players are used to which music you tend to cue for different scenes, they will react just to the music: "Oh, crap! It's Duel of the Fates! I start casting all my 'buff' spells!" Go to Comment
I definitely agree with the morrowind music. The oblivion soundtrack is superb too, and in both case, the pieces already have specific goals in mind, say adventuring or combat, so they can fit right in! Go to Comment
I love music. I often have background music going in the middle of a gaming session, however it rarely has to do with the adventure. The problem with me is, I feel I'm juggling enough as GM and have never taken the time and effort to really choose music to theme each event. Once I thought a "Sounds of Horror" CD I picked up one Halloween would make great background sounds. On occasion it did work out well but for the more part it was annoying. I'll try some of the suggestions here. Thanks. Go to Comment
Kept up by the Monks of Monthan the Montan Water Wheel is still working to this day.
On the water wheel, each bucket is created so that only a small sliced portion of it collects water. Each bucket is unique about the section of which it collects water. This water is then dumped into a corressponding gutter of water that takes it to one of many sections of free swinging bamboo. The water fills the top of the bamboo forcing it over dumping the water which allows the bamboo to swing back and strike another bamboo striker creating a hollow yet melodic quick series of tapping.
The water released from the buckets interacting with the bamboo creates a hypnotic, soothing pattern that many from all around venture to witness. It is used by some sick as therapeutic, by the holy as hypnotic and centering, and by the curious as, well, curious.
((In many Japanese gardens the bamboo waterfalls and striking of bamboo together is pretty popular and really does sound cool. A small sample of it is in Kill Bill....well, you know the part.)) Go to Comment
The Cliff of the Thousand Birds
In the Fourth Kingdom there is a cliff as tall as a cathedral. It is called the Cliff of the Thousand Birds, for here the birds nest in their thousands and such a terrible noise, a squawking mess, has never been heard anywhere else.
And so displeased was the Emperor with this unholy sound that he summoned to him his wisest mages, asking their advice. So it was that Relevi, wisest of the wisest mages, decided to cast his magics over the birds of the Cliff of the Thousand Birds and instil in them some sense of rhythm and melody.
He still stands there, conducting the birds as they sing their long symphony, as they will for as long as the Earth is here. Like a vast cathedral organ the Cliff of the Thousand Birds resounds to the mighty chorus of its denizens, and such a glorious sound has never been heard anywhere else. Go to Comment
Caatjun music is made with long, wooden staves called thraakartimeek, of various lengths, which the musicians thwack against the ground, trees, other staves, and such, to create a rythm.
It is sometimes accompanied by huge drums made from animal skins (aarp'raamjo) stretched over wide racks, which are kicked by the drummer.
Long wooden instruments much like an Australian aboriginal didgeridoo, called mjnaa'olee, are also played. Caatjun singing is considered pleasant; it is done by female children of the tribe, who warble fluting, quivering melodies sounding much like birdsong. Go to Comment
Colorful streamers are often attached to Dragon Saddles and Wing Clips on Kerren for special occasions and the introductory lap at tournies. To make them safer (for the dragon), they have slight weights at the end. These streamers are called Fire Tails.
These often become musical instruments because the slight weights are the ends are barrel whistles. These are small round items, with a central spinning piece that produces the whistle as air flows through it.
Well prepared wings can "sing" the first seven notes of a song as they fly back.
Some Ryders have bells along the lengths of Fire Tails just to add more noise. Go to Comment
These bowls are used for medatative purposes, rather than entertainment. These bowls should be made of traditional seven metals: gold, silver, mercury, copper, iron, tin, and lead. The bowls are normally six to seven inches wide and about five inches deep. A rod (of the same metals) is rolled around the lip of the bowl to create a sound. The bowl is normally empty It creates a harmonic, free-floating sound based on untuned vibration. Go to Comment
I could see this in Shadow Run, replacing or competing with a cyberguitar (plugged instrument) as "the instrument" of popular music.
Every decade or so, what people think of as a band changes. It used to be a five guys singing and a back up band. Then, it became drummer, two guitarists, and a singer. Then it was a drummer, a guitarist, a keyboardist, a lead singer, and a back up group.. possibly with sax or flue player added. Then in the early 80s it was two guys with synthesizers. Today, it is a lead singer and a bunch of players including two drummers (one for beat, one for accent), a guitarist, and a keyboardist. The changing trend continues. In Shadow Run, the current "band" is a singer, with cybervox, a plugged guitarist, and a plugged drummer. Perhaps a magical version would rise up, with a spell jamming set of guitarists, a drummer, and one of the guitarist doing double duty as a vocalist. Go to Comment
I have heard it before. "So, I'm not a bard. Why do I care about musical instruments?"
Sigh. This is not for you. It is for a GM.
There are many things people can be playing and ways they can play them.
A writer, or GM, only has so much "brain time" to create and research for their game. They are going to spend their time on TBTs (edit: The Big Things). They are spending time on campaign defining and dependent NPCs, Places, Plots, and Setting. They don't have time (and effort) to spare to do the little things. Those little things help make a setting more real and a game more engaging.
In addition, most people really don't know much about the medieval period, even though most games are set in worlds that roughly match them. This is a painless bit of research that will work for them to create a "cool" setting.
So the joy and power of this site is that you can go and "pick something up" off the shelf here and plop it in your game with a minimum of fuss. Sometimes you use the things here as raw ingredients to make your own, but most people want little things to grab and go with.
And players will think you are incredibly smart being able to pull "real musical things" out of your memory. Go to Comment