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ID: 1982


August 17, 2007, 1:03 pm

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Music during a game


Although it can be a distraction, it can also add atmosphere to an adventure to have music playing in the background. Here are some pieces I’d recommend for different situations.

Although it can be a distraction, it can also add atmosphere to an adventure to have music playing in the background. Here are some pieces I’d recommend for different situations.

The interpretations are probably not what the composers intended or what everyone would think, but it’s what I hear when I listen to these pieces. Post up replies about what pieces you listen to when you’re playing or thinking up plots.

The five star ratings relate to how appropriate the music is for adventuring, not how I rate it musically (if ‘twere so Mahler would never get a mere *!). The symbol ##   means "warning, your neighbours might not appreciate you playing this piece of music too loud late at night".

My especial recommendations are the Rach’ Symphonic Dances, Prokofiev Symphony 3 and Stravinsky’s Firebird.

Additional Ideas (37)

My especial recommendations are the Rach' Symphonic Dances, Prokofiev Symphony 3 and Stravinsky's Firebird.

Dvorak: Legends: (No. 3) Elvish dance.***

Dvorak: Symphony 7: (1st mvmt) Dramatic introduction to adventure.****

Dvorak: Symphony 9 From the New World: This is so good it can be used for anything.*****

Khachaturian: Spartacus:(Suite No 2: Entrance of the Merchants) This is just Khachaturian being Khachaturian.*
(Suite No 2: Dance of the Pirates) Exactly what it says it is.****
(Suite No 3: Dance of a Greek Slave) Fast, furious combat music.**

Liszt: Totentanz: Anything demonic and death-related.*** ##

Mahler: Symphony 1: (1st mvmt) For all Star-Trek roleplayers: TNG must have ripped off the first minute of this symphony.*

Mahler: Symphony 5: (1st mvmt) Funeral march doesn't begin to sum it up. Mahler's music is so varied and contrasting that if you're looking for a particular atmospheric effect it'll be in one of his symphonies.***

Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave): Vast sea-cave filled with crashing waves, the home of the giant Fingal.*****

Mussorgsky: Night on a Bare Mountain: The best known musical portrayal of a Witches' Sabbath aside from Berlioz's Symphony Fantastique.

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition: (Bydlo) Slave camp or march of orcish warriors,****
(Catacombae, Con mortuis in lingua mortua) Candlelit, silent dungeon,***
(The Hut on Fowl's Legs) The appearance of any large monster.*****
(The Great Gate at Kiev) Heroic ending to an adventure.*****

Orff: Carmina Burana: Anything satanic (it's actually an ominous-sounding choral setting of some rude latin poems).****

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto 2: (2nd mvmt) Anything manic.**** ##
(3rd mvmt) Oppressive regime or prison camp.**** ##
(4th mvmt) Anything manic.***!!! ##

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto 5: (2nd mvmt) March of the ungainly gnolls.*** ##
(3rd mvmt) Anything manic.*** ##
(5th mvmt) Revenge of the leprechaun legions.****

Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet: (Dance of the Knights) The best known part of the piece. Suitable for combat scenes. ***** ##
(Tybalt meets Mercutio & they fight) Any combat scene.***
Other extracts could be used for any purpose (it's a very wide-ranging piece).

Prokofiev: Symphony 3: (1st mvmt) The Abyss - you'll see what I mean. Just when you thought this was the man who wrote Peter & the Wolf, you find out he wrote this.***
(2nd mvmt) Mourning a dead PC.****
(3rd mvmt) Chase/combat music.****
(4th mvmt) The Abyss, generally evil combat music (even more so than the beginning of the 1st movement).***** ## ##

Rachmaninoff: Isle of the Dead: Atmospheric forest or sea at night.*****

Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances: (1st) Conjures up images of rangers riding through dark forests away from the clouds of blackness.*****
(2) Weird evil woodfolk dancing in the dells and waterfalls,****
(3) Generally eldritch and Dungeon and Dragonsy.****

Rachmaninoff: Caprice Bohemien: Ominous fantasy on folk themes. Good backing for a poverty-stricken peasant-village or for adding weight to a prophesy or explication of a scenario. Dramatic introduction to an adventure.****

Rachmaninoff: Etudes Tableaux (No. 6): Fiendish, tense chase music.****

Rimsky-Korsakov: Le coq d'or (Suite): (King Dodon on the Battlefield) The assembly of a goblin army.***

Rimsky-Korsakov: Mlada (Suite): (Lithuanian Dance): Medieval cavalry assemble in dark, misty torchlight.***
(Cortege): Medieval victory parade.***

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherezade: Ocean voyages and general adventure soundtrack.*****

Saint-Saens: Danse macabre: Anything demonic or eldritch.****

Sibelius: Symphony 5: (3rd mvmt) Rousing nostalgic finale to a good campaign.*****

Stravinsky: Firebird: (The firebird and his dance) Entrance of roc or strange flying creature - this lasts about 18 seconds.****
(King Kastchei's Infernal Dance) Any combat or demonic event.***** ##

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring: Extracts could be used for almost any purpose.**** ##

Tchaikovsky: Symphony 1 (Winter Reveries): A village in the middle of winter, surrounded by wolves and ice.*****

Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony: I had to put this one in, just for manfred It's also a good piece of music. The second movement is an evil fairy dance a bit like the Rach' Symphonic Dances.***

Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet: Extracts suitable for almost any purpose.***

2005-12-08 11:12 AM » Link: [1982#9285|text]
Most of the music we listened to (when we did, which wasn't as often as we should of) was the Sound of Nature series. The best one that I remember was the one that was the recordings of the sounds that a whale makes. Call it silly, but that is an eerie sound. Have it just loud enough to hear and when the shrill cry of the whale sounds it is just enough to make you look around.

The Conan soundtracks are a somewhat obvious one. Just a good old fantasy sounding romp with plenty of bass and drums to get the blood flowing.

You can tell I am not too deep into the classical. Although I think the favorite that I own is Beethoven Symphony Number 9 Choral. I like that one mucho. Been looking for others but never know what to I have a shopping list.

2005-12-08 11:13 AM » Link: [1982#9286|text]
Whalesong is a great noise. I hadn't thought of using for an adventure, but it's so eldritch it's bound to send shivers up your spine in the silences between combats. It was actually incorporated into a piece of symphonic music by Alan Hovhaness (called "And God Created Great Whales").

2005-12-08 11:13 AM » Link: [1982#9287|text]
Most of the music from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack would fit any fantasy campaign because, well, that's what it is. I would also recommend some of the tracks from Labyrinth, and some of the Harry Potter soundtrack (maybe).

2005-12-08 11:14 AM » Link: [1982#9288|text]
I actually didn't really like the soundtrack for LOTR. The only song I liked was the first one for the hobbits. Had a nice little melody.

I listen to this type of music all the time. I love the music in a lot of movies and use them for background for coding, studying etc. Depending on my mood of course. I don't know enough classical (now I do a little thanks to eph) to be able to choose it. Beethoven's 6th is the only one I know I like...anyway.

Soundtracks I listen to (a few are in my CD changer as we speak):
Braveheart (no explanation needed)

Gladiator (haunting melodies. I love the main theme and there is that one part that maintains the theme throughout most of it that I love hearing)

Conan - any movie (downloaded from the net. love the drums and evil sounding stuff)

Diablo video game (sounds sort of silly, but I love some of the tracks)

Robin Hood (except I hate the mood break when Bryan Adams actually sings at the end of the CD. What a downer)

Matrix (oops, how did that get in there. Love this for good hardcore coding. Gets my fingers going and keeps me motivated. Hey, I can pretend. Maybe one day I will fall asleep and wake up to "Wake up Strolen" on my computer screen. You don't know it won't happen.)

Anybody know of some good drum banging oriental type music. I love the stuff at the begining of Rising Sun. Have no idea how to go about finding that type of music.

2005-12-08 11:14 AM » Link: [1982#9289|text]
Shostakovitch, Symphony No. 4 **** ## ## ##

We've just started playing* this piece in an orchestra and it's amazing. Shostakovitch withdrew it before it was ever performed because it would have been perceived by the Stalinists as being anti-regime and it wasn't performed for another 25 years. It could be used primarily for battles/combats/to indicate great suffering and anguish, or any other common roleplaying scene. Especially the fast fugal section in the 1st movement.

*When I say "playing" I mean "trying unsuccessfully to play" on my part anyway.

WARNING: Do not attempt to listen to this piece of music if you are of a nervous disposition. Do not attempt to listen to it if you don't like modern music. Do not attempt to listen to it if you have delicate ear-drums.

2005-12-08 11:16 AM » Link: [1982#9290|text]
I like most of the music from the Castlevania: Symphony of the night for PS1. If you have the game, ono of the fan sites has a utility to grab the music from it and some other PS1 games. Crystal Teardrops is absolutly a great track for dungeon crawling, since thats where it's used in Castlevaina.

2005-12-08 11:16 AM » Link: [1982#9291|text]
Just found something. It's a cd called Sojourn, and it's REALLY GOOD instrumental music, created with RPGs specifically in mind. I found it at a local gaming store, but you can order it from It's great.

2005-12-08 11:17 AM » Link: [1982#9292|text]
You should try to listen to
"The Benedictine Monks Of Santo Domingo De Silos : The Mystery Of Santo Domingo de Silos"
It's some the real medieval-sounding monk song, might be a little to much in the long run, but I really like it, though.

Yes, the LOTR soundtracks are very good also, but there's also "The Tolkien Ensemble" who are some danes (yes, of all people) who has made music for all the poems and songs in LOTR. It's really good.
And then, of course, there's Era, that's also really good.

2005-12-08 11:17 AM » Link: [1982#9293|text]
Monkish chants! Definitely. Very atmospheric. The Tallis Scholars do lots of good monky stuff too (or should I say monky business?).

Also Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite was a major omission from the list! Hall of the Mountain King is great!

2005-12-08 11:17 AM » Link: [1982#9294|text]
Believe it or not, the Diablo 2 soundtrack is a good source of general background music. Last few games I've played have had most of the playlist running in the background to great effect. IIRC, you can download them from the Blizzard website, too.

2005-12-08 11:18 AM » Link: [1982#9295|text]
True. I already downloaded them when I went througha Diablo 2 phase, and have used them for listening. I never really thought about that.... Good idea.

2005-12-08 11:18 AM » Link: [1982#9296|text]
Though I wouldn't really buy the game just for the soundtrack, a cd of amazingly good music for roleplaying comes with the computer game Icewind Dale. The Morrowind soundtrack is good, too.

2005-12-08 11:19 AM » Link: [1982#9297|text]
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!

2007-01-15 07:43 PM » Link: [1982#24209|text]
For those who dip into occasionaly technological settings... What music do you favor? Personally, I've found a few nonlyrical songs by Kansas that work - and surprisingly, quite a few anime songs work rather well. I'm still trying to track down the music that plays in Bubblegum Crisis 2032 when Largo uses his little black box to bring down satstrikes everywhere... It's truly a grand moment of background music for the moment when a truly technological monstrosity is unleashed...

2005-12-08 11:19 AM » Link: [1982#9298|text]
Actually for a modern setting, we tune in the radio.

When I run cyberpunk, it is nothing but what ever J-Pop and Techno I can cheaply download. Some of it is very good, some of it is just interesting.

If you are playing shadowrun, there is a variety of celtic synthesizer pieces out there. They fit the magical/ fantasy, techno components quite nicely.

Superhero games tend to be instrumental and super hero movie soundtracks.

However, I allow certain players to have theme songs, so we work with those as we can.

2005-12-08 11:22 AM » Link: [1982#9299|text]
I don't usually like background music myself. I either end up listening to music or I turning it off. But as far as the genre goes
The Matrix the soundtrack is good
Johnny Mnemonic the soundtrack is good too
Anything from Ramstein
And on a softer side
Enya is good for anything

2005-12-08 11:22 AM » Link: [1982#9300|text]
we use midis form all the castlevanias
and midis form other games too is more cool than music

2005-12-08 11:23 AM » Link: [1982#9301|text]
While an entertaining idea, I have to say that I don't care for most MIDI files; sound that runs at 8 bits tends to have a rather highly artificial feel o it that can demolish most game moods...

And I have to say that Mahler's symphonies do, indeed, have some rather interesting background music potential...

2005-12-08 11:23 AM » Link: [1982#9302|text]
Mahler definitely! And I've been listening to Dvorak's Vodnik (Water Goblin) which is also very good for fantasy music. Also try Stravinsky's Chant du Rossignol, based on one of Hans Christian Andersen's stories about a nightingale. It's very weird, but atmospheric.

2005-12-08 11:24 AM » Link: [1982#9303|text]
In truth, I'll admit that a fair chunk of my background music, when played, originates in video game RPGs. Specifically, I own every Final Fantasy soundtrack from 3 through 10, as well as both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. All of them together provide a wonderful selection of music...

2005-12-08 11:24 AM » Link: [1982#9304|text]
On that note:

Music can be used to set and reinforce a mood or a setting in a game. However, music must be set at a background level. Any louder than that and it becomes a distraction. If players are spending more time focusing on the music than playing the game, something is wrong.

Music is another voice of the game. Just like the GM needs to present information in the right way to preserve the game's feel, music should be selected to reflect the "feel" or ethos of the game. The specific music being played must fit the campaign, the setting, or the action. Music that fits the setting should reflect the kind of game and the environment like any non-player character. Drumming and traditional Japanese folk music were the soundtrack for my Nippon game. The soundtracks for Mortal Kombat were played when we were having combat in a martial arts game. We played chamber music for a Victorian game. Environmental sounds were great when we were in forests or out in the wilds. For a fantasy campaign, classical, celtic folk, or even Beatles could be applicable. During a huge street brawl in a modern-day game Marilyn Manson, Stabbing Westward, or Rage Against the Machine were all in the background. Find the mood you want, choose music to complement it, and play it.

To keep the disruption of maintaining music to a minimum. designate one player as "keeper of the music". It is that player's job to play DJ, with some input from the GM. This allows the GM to keep attention on the game, and to add music to the gaming experience. A keeper maintains a constant flow of music that fits the setting and mood at a low volume level. To assist this, most keepers create a "playlist" of what songs/ tracks on what albums were good for what kind of situations/ moments. The keeper is rewarded with extra experience or karma points because their efforts enhance the game.

So you are all hyped about music in your game. However, you complain that you don't have all this music. Where do you get "gaming music"? You would be surprised on how much "gaming" music you already have, from movie sound tracks and your troop's music collections. You can pick up more in any music or video store, and most local libraries. The internet is still a great source for free music, if you are careful. Just do not spend too much money on your music. It is just another game prop. If you need help finding appropriate music, music store clerks, media librarians, and some internet user groups, are great sources of information.

I would like to mention my favorite sources of music. Movie soundtracks are great sources of game music. The pieces all follow the same feel and have pieces for a variety of mood. (The compilation albums for a given time period or TV show themes also work well.) If the game is set in a historical period, use traditional music for that area. If the game is fantasy or sci fi, pick a musical feel and stick with it. Over the years, we have used Celtic, bluegrass, techno/dance, Native American/ tribal music, and Beatles tunes, to great effect. Environmental music/ sounds CDs, Fresh Aire, and classical/ opera music, round out the field.

Music is one of those you need to "gather" over time, rather than just grab in one bunch. The tool to facilitate that is the little black book. As a GM, you function much like an author. Like an author, keep a notebook with you. Record interesting things, observations, or ideas as you encounter them. Don't trust your memory. Trust your pen. Record descriptions (scenery, interesting people, the name of stores, music lyrics, turns of phrase) that can be used as little nuggets of descriptive goodness in your campaign. Record plot and story ideas and use them as springboards for future game plots. The little book will help you improve your game craft and your campaign.

2005-12-08 11:25 AM » Link: [1982#9305|text]
I wholeheartedly agree! Despite the fact that I actually started this thread I often don't use music during games, because it can be too much of a distraction. I like the idea of designating a player to run the music, because it takes the stress away from us DMs!

2005-12-08 11:25 AM » Link: [1982#9306|text]
With a CD-R and a CD player, much of the trouble just goes away... Custom-burned CDs are useful when paired with repeat-1 or Random...

2005-12-08 11:25 AM » Link: [1982#9307|text]
well i think mp3 is better but thats just my point of view

2005-12-08 11:26 AM » Link: [1982#9308|text]
MP3s are simply songfiles like the ones found on CDs, in a more compressed format to save on space. After all, the WAV format takes up a fair bit of room...

2005-12-08 11:27 AM » Link: [1982#9310|text]
I put in my wife's belly dancing music for the near East campaigns. For the old europa type campaigns I ran, I would put in monk chants and such.

2005-12-08 11:26 AM » Link: [1982#9309|text]
Originally on Monte Cook's Site. It may not be up forever, so I copy it here.

A Soundtrack for Your Game

For me, music is extremely important during a game. I almost hate to game without it. It's like watching a movie without the soundtrack -- because that's really what music is, a soundtrack for your game.

Following is a list of music that I use or have used. The list is in no particular order and is by no means exhaustive. I've included links to Amazon if you want to go there to listen to tracks.

D&D Adventure
I'll grant you, these are the obvious ones, but they need to be pointed out.

Gladiator Soundtrack: Gladiator: Music from the Motion Picture is my new favorite. A nice mix of rousing combat music and moody, slower pieces. Don't buy the "more music from the movie Gladiator" CD, however, unless you want to hear lots of dialogue snippets.

The 13th Warrior Soundtrack: Until Gladiator came out, The 13th Warrior: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was my favorite gaming CD. Great, emotional music.

Conan the Barbarian Soundtrack: Conan the Barbarian: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is probably the D&D album to have playing during a game.

Conan the Destroyer Soundtrack: More of the same, but that's a good thing. Conan the Destroyer: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack isn't quite as cool as Conan the Barbarian's, but it's still Basil Poledouris, so it's still pretty good.

Aliens Soundtrack: The Aliens: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is creepy mixed with action. A good way to describe a great D&D session.

Braveheart Soundtrack: If you don't mind the decidedly Scottish feel (that is to say, if bagpipes won't ruin the mood of your game), Braveheart: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is a great CD.

Holst: The Planets: Probably my favorite classical music CD, Holst: The Planets is mystical and otherworldly, while powerful at the same time.

Dune Soundtrack: This is a bit of a guilty pleasure. I like the dialogue snippets in the Dune: Original Soundtrack Recording.

Dragonheart Soundtrack: The movie had its flaws, but the music's good on the Dragonheart: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.

Planet of the Apes Soundtrack: Planet of the Apes: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is from the original 1968 movie. I have no idea what the 2001 version will sound like (although actually, most Tim Burton movies have pretty good soundtracks).

Stargate and Independence Day Soundtracks: The Stargate: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, as well as the Independence Day: Original Soundtrack, are both good efforts by the same composer, David Arnold. These are not in my CD player every week, but they're good once in a while.

More D&D Adventure
These titles are a less obvious selections. They should pleasantly surprise you.

Henry V Soundtrack: I forget how I stumbled upon the Henry V: Original Soundtrack Recording, but it's great gaming music.

Elizabeth Soundtrack: Surprisingly good. The Elizabeth Soundtrack has some great medieval vocal bits mixed in with good fight music.

Paul Savanet, Nomad: Nomad is great travel music.

Dead Can Dance, Aion: Look for Aion, but really, practically anything by Dead Can Dance is good. It's pseudo-medieval, sort-of-Arabic music. Most of it has vocals, but they are usually moody and not distracting (most are not in English).

Vas, In the Garden of Souls: If you like Dead Can Dance, you'll like Vas. Try In the Garden of Souls.

Mediaeval Baebes, Salva Nos: Sung mostly by an a capella all-female choir, Salva Nos (Save Us) creates some interesting, flavorful background music for your medieval fantasy game.

Jean-Luc Ponty, Mystical Adventures: This one is an old favorite. Ponty is an electric violinist and creates some interesting instrumental music on Mystical Adventures and other albums.

Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen: Lots of bits that you'll recognize from the movie Excalibur, if you're not already familiar with Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Steve Roach, Well of Souls: Very primal sort of ambient music. Well of Souls has lots of drums and primitive instruments.

Classical Thunder: Classical Thunder has all the great gaming classical music you need in one big collection. Very cool.

Replacement Killers Soundtrack: I bought the Replacement Killers Soundtrack on sale and was pleasantly surprised. Great action music. No annoying modern stuff stuck in at the end like so many of today's soundtracks, either.

These titles all work for D&D as well, but they are more creepy than adventure-oriented.

The Ninth Gate Soundtrack: The Ninth Gate Soundtrack is a spooky, slow-moving album. There's an import version too, but I don't know if it's any different.

The Devil Rides Out: The Devil Rides Out: Film Music is a great collection of classic horror movie music.

George Crumb Works: Really, anything by George Crumb is sure to be creepy and disturbing while you game. He's a modern classical composer with a real dark feel. In addition to Works By George Crumb, look for Black Angels, 11 Echoes of Autumn, and Four Nocturnes as well.

The Thing Soundtrack: Ennio Morricone is great. Just about any soundtrack by him is guaranteed to be a good addition for your collection. Definitely pick up The Thing: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.

Horror Movie Madness: Horror Movie Madness is a nice collection of various modern horror movie themes like Halloween, Hellraiser, and The Exorcist.

The Omen Soundtrack: You'll find classic, creepy stuff on The Omen: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Omen IV also has a good soundtrack. I don't know about the other sequels.

What music do you play during your games? Share your recommendations with everyone in the DMs Only Message Board.

2005-12-08 11:29 AM » Link: [1982#9311|text]
I just found a great list of marvellous music for gaming. It is from Monte Cook, whos website has grown and expanded to a marvelous place to visit since the last time I was there, oh so long ago. The link is...

D&D Adventure

Bram Stoker's Dracula Soundtrack: I didn't put Dracula on the list last time because it has a cheesy pop song at the end (that's the problem with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and a number of others as well). The rest of the CD is so good, though, that I just had to recommend it. Just stop the CD before you get to the Annie Lennox song, or buy it and then burn your own version without the pop song on the end.

Vas Offerings: I recommended Vas last time. Here's another solid album, Offerings. Moody, fantasy stuff a la Dead Can Dance.

Clannad The Legend: This is a soundtrack for Robin of Sherwood. It's very Celtic, sweeping, atmospheric stuff. Good for about any fantasy session.

Arlington Road Soundtrack: You might be a little surprised to find this terrorist-in-the-suburbs movie soundtrack on the list, but mostly it's for the opening track. The whole of Arlington Road is good, but you won't find a more intense piece of music than the first track of this CD. It's composed by Angelo Badalamenti, the guy who did the Twin Peaks soundtrack. But where that was creepy, this one is driving and intense.

Leviathan Soundtrack: Jerry Goldsmith may do a lot of music for mediocre movies, but that doesn't mean that the soundtracks are bad. You can probably find this one kinda cheap, and it's great gaming music.

Dan Gibson's Solitudes: Thunderstorm in the Wilderness: This is almost an hour of an actual thunderstorm, but you can't beat it for atmosphere.

Douglas Irvine, Ambient Egypt: This is atmospheric background music for any game with an exotic or Middle Eastern flair -- or just a session in the desert.

Hunt for Red October Soundtrack: Yes, The Hunt for Red October is a submarine movie. But it's got a good, albeit short, soundtrack. The first track has a Russian choir singing, but you know, if dwarves sang in choirs, it would probably sound just like this.

Glen Danzig Black Aria: You might have heard others recommend Black Aria. They were right. Despite what you might think, it's not metal -- it's, well, an aria. Creepy and moody and exciting, it covers a lot of ground. But then, so do most D&D sessions....

The Count of Monte Cristo Soundtrack: This rollicking good, swashbuckler movie has a rollicking good, swashbuckling soundtrack.

First Knight Soundtrack: First Knight is not a great movie, but it has a good Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack.

Willow Soundtrack: Willow is another so-so movie (in my opinion) but a good soundtrack. (James Horner strikes again!)

Event Horizon Soundtrack: I was almost tempted to list this under "Horror," but you know, it's more intense than it is creepy. Great fight or chase music.


Just in time for Halloween, here are some spooky or disturbing CDs for a horror game:

Signs Soundtrack: Signs is good and chilling, just like the movie.

The Sixth Sense Soundtrack: While we're on the topic of M. Night Shyamalan's movies, this soundtrack is very quiet, and very creepy.

The Cell Soundtrack: The Cell is good, chilling stuff. Untraditional in the "Vincent Price movie soundtrack" sense, but good game music.

Final Conflict Soundtrack: Last time, I recommended The Omen. This sequel's soundtrack is just as good.

The Silence of the Lambs Soundtrack: I'll sometimes use this for fantasy games as well, although it's got a real sinister mood.

The Shroud, A Dark Moon Night: Okay, I don't want to get all goth on you, but A Dark Moon Night is soft, moody stuff. Kind of dark, but mostly just subdued. Good for exploring the woods at night or something.

Current 93 Faust: Okay, seriously. No messing around now. This is just freaky stuff. You can also look for a CD of theirs called Live at Bar Maldoror, although it is hard to find. Some of my players don't let me play this stuff while they're there. It's that freaky. While on the topic of hard to find, there's a French group called Tribe of Circle that's almost as disturbing, but difficult to track down. If you try Faust, and you're not mad at me afterward, try looking for Tribe of Circle, The Advent of Redemption.

2005-12-08 11:30 AM » Link: [1982#9312|text]
Tech Note

You can work music without interfering with your GM duties easily, if you are a techno GM, with a computer/ laptop by your side. By creating a bunch of launches for various tunes you will need (no fumbling for them) and setting up a set of real speakers for real sound, your computer familiar can provide musical accompaniment to perfectly match the mood you want.

2005-12-08 11:30 AM » Link: [1982#9313|text]
Personally, I love music in a game (especially as a GM). I feel it relaxes me and it helps to ease the pressuse that sometimes arises. Most important of all... when your busy trying to work something out the players will listen to it instead of talking to each other and then arguing (at least my players to) and distracting you. We dont use music much but when we do its a much better experience.

Some of my favorites are:
Blue Oyster Cult -Dancing in the Ruins
Blue Oyster Cult -Astrology
Blue Oyster Cult -Ballroom Blitz (for a barfight)
a few other b.o.c. songs
some Anthrax
Aerosmith -Kings and Queens
and Enya works well

Heh... I was just reminded of the time all we had to listen to was Adam Sandler. To say the least, we had to turn it off.

2005-12-08 11:31 AM » Link: [1982#9314|text]
A Barbarian Horde Post - Luvander

Greetings. I have just spent three days searching for just the right song to put on a website for an Everquest Guild. The feeling is simple. They are a clan of noble Knights who represent all that is good, Holy, and Just. I am searching for a song to evoke Nobility and Honor, pride of ones clan. I searched under many different fields and found nothing but hard rock remixes or Classical tunes that were just way to dead. Maybe something befitting an epic battle of good against evil. I found a song on a different website and loved it, but i am not down for robbing from other websites. It was found in the intro of the guild called The White Cross. I am looking for something similar to that if possible. I have exhausted my efforts and do not know under what search parameters i can look under to find such songs. Please help. Thank you.

2005-12-08 11:32 AM » Link: [1982#9315|text]
You could always try Nimrod by Elgar or Holst's Jupiter. Many people find these pieces patriotic and noble, I just think they're good pieces of music.

2005-12-08 11:32 AM » Link: [1982#9316|text]
Some of the music i think is awsome is
The sorow song from grandia II
For the dragons from breath of fire III
Renas theme song from star ocean II
The battle music from all star oceans
the big boss music from grandia II
lockes theme from final fantasy III
The boss music from legend of mana
fighting spirit from tales of phantasia
darts theme from legend of the dragoon
the chapter II world map music from legend of the dragoon
Most of the music from gundam wing endless duel

By the way, captain penguin, i want my soundtrack from icewind dale back.

2005-12-08 11:32 AM » Link: [1982#9317|text]
Barbarian Horde - Kooba

Hmm, guess that I'm not gonna' be to original, but I use a lot of soundtracks: 13th Warrior (Jerry Goldsmith), Children of Dune (Brian Tyler), Lord of the Rings of course (but It's a little bit to known and generally it already suggests the Lord of the Rings storyline to the players...)... Yeah, and one thing amongst them all: if You have a good extraction program (I think that the best one available would be Nova Software Extractor 2.4) always try to ripp music from Your favorite games! I have a wild variety of such kind of music, just the examples: Divine Divinity (the file named "bitva" is just great, all other are good too), War of the Ring (this one is one of my all-time favourites), Warcraft III (You don't need the ripper - there's a special option in the map editor to extract music), Vampire: the Masquerade - Redemption (the music is unpacked somewhere in the game's folder), Ultima IX, Blair Witch Project series, Medal of Honor (not all of its wonderful tracks suit the fantasy setting, but some of them can), Majesty (another great one), Heroes of Might & Magic III (not to particulary good, but if You insist You can use it as a background...), Heroes of Might & Magic II CD (extract the cd audio - nice vocals I must say), Diablo and many, many others... You can also look for some music in the internet ( , - a lot of mp3 for starters). If You want some names to search the Kazaa, try: Jerry Goldsmith, Sergei Prokofiev, James Horner, James Newton Howard, Elliot Goldenthal and Basil Poledouris. Have fun! ))) Greets from Poland to ya' all! )

2005-12-08 11:33 AM » Link: [1982#9318|text]
hey guys, go to for pretty much every final fantasy mp3 from 6-11, kingdom hearts, and fft advance. (some of the mp3s will only work if you have a relatively good mp3 player)

2005-12-08 11:33 AM » Link: [1982#9319|text]
They also have the Chrono Trigger soundtrack, which in my opinion is one of the best game soundtracks ever. That probably why the game was such an awesome one. There's usable stuff across the entire CD. Horror, heroic, love, sorrow, action, all of it is there. I know that when I run a Tyren game, it'll use some of those songs as background music.

2007-08-25 06:15 PM » Link: [1982#29562|text]
Personaly I go with ephemeralstability and select clasical music very often.

Prokofiev, Scjostakovich, Dvorak, Rachmaninov, Tsjakovski, but also Grieg and Field.

Besides that various irish and scotisch folk music. My current favorite is a album by magna carta. This album is relased but a few months ago in the netherlands and I keep forgetting the name. Otherwise, the "lord of the ages" album remains a favorite in our group.

2005-12-08 11:34 AM » Link: [1982#9320|text]
I recommend The Pipar at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd. Excellent instrumental work, very moody. Shipped as the Dungeon Keeper soundtrack.

I also find Rammstein very good at a low level, especially the songs that focus more on vocals. They can be very, very haunting if played just right.

The Longest Journey soundtrack is excellent.

2005-12-08 11:34 AM » Link: [1982#9321|text]
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. 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!

2005-12-08 11:35 AM » Link: [1982#9322|text]
Lessee... music that fits my gaming styles

Midnight Syndicate. Just about all of it's instrumental, and each different album has a theme (Gates of Delirium, Vampyre, Born of the Night, etc. Hell, they even have the official D&D soundtrack).

I have a cd called Devil's Dance, which is classical pieces for violin. Most of them are downright creepy, but since I tend to run horror...

Uncountable tracks from various anime and video games, half of which I've never even seen or played.

Some of Emerald Rose is good, particularly "The Castle of Eringaro" (I actually have no clue what that last word is. Something Gaelic, and I can't manage to get the phonetics out of it). Still, good, if you keep it low enough.

E Nomine, when I feel the need to run a religious scene.

2006-01-30 04:24 AM » Link: [1982#11617|text]
Mozart's Requiem Mass is great for dramatic moments. I especially like Dies Irae; I believe it was used in X-2 in the opening fight scene.

I also like Japanese taiko drums for Asian settings, though you could make them work for plenty of other stuff, too.

2006-06-04 02:22 PM » Link: [1982#16177|text]
For Firefly/ Serenity

Firefly Soundtrack
Serenity Soundtrack

"Dueling Banjos" From The Original Soundtrack: Deliverance
- Dueling Banjos
- Pony Express
- Old Joe Clark
- Fire On The Mountain
- Bugle Call Rag
- Hard Ain't It Hard

Any number of classic western's soundtracks if you can find them
Also including
"Dancing with Wolves"
"A Gun for Ringo"
"Hang 'em High"
"A Fistful of Dollars"
"My Name is Nobody"
"Once Upon A Time in the West"
"A Silhoutte of Doom"
"Bullets Don't Argue" for tense scenes
"Death Rides a Horse" and "The Big Gundown" for battle sequences.
"Young Guns 2" and at times "Young Guns 1"

***"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" soundtrack it has a wealth of music spanning moods from sad to contemplative to rousing enough that you're ready to start a gunfight in a bar.

"Outland" has a space/ western feel to it.
"Time Rider"
"Quigley down under"
"Shanghai Noon" Which works better than you might expect

Johnny Cash: Highway Man" "Don't Take Your Guns to Town" "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and "A Boy Named Sue"

Willie Nelson: "Poncho and Lefty" "Me and Paul" and "Whiskey River."

Bela Fleck - Tales from the Accoustic Planet Volumes 1 & 2

Anything by Nickel Creek

Much of the Charles Daniels Band Decade of Hits has a nuber of them

"Old Time Hammered Dulcimer Favorites" It just has the right sound.

Soundtrack for the PBS series The Civil War

"The Wild West- The Essential Western Film Music Collection"
"Songs of the West"

Speaking of TV series: Deadwood soundtrack as well.
The Lonesome Dove soundtrack by Basil Poledouris.

The Irish volunteer is a great collection of civil war music.
Doc Watson is a master banjo player and worth looking in to for more folksy sounding stuff.
Appalachian Stomp: Bluegrass Classics

Shine from Bond (
'Vale Of Plenty' from the "Black Hawk Down" soundtrack sounds very appropriate
'Prometory' from the soundtrack to "Last Of The Mohicans".

Any number of chamber music CDs for cheap (1.99) are available for when you want to be "cultured".

For Companion-y music
Natasha Atlas give the perfect Eastern feel.

For Asian Feel
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
"House of the Flying Daggers"
some of the hong kong action movies.

Rel Fexive of waves in the black @ aimoo board posts these two CDs he has burned
01. Sonny Rhodes - Ballad Of Serenity
02. Natacha Atlas - The Righteous Path
03. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Il Tramonto
04. Jelly Roll Morton - Stars And Stripes Forever (from Deadwood)
05. Firefly - Ready For Battle
06. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Il Treno Militare
07. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - A Wedding Interrupted
08. Last Of The Mohians - Promentory Part 1
09. Firefly - Leaving
10. Natacha Atlas - Ashwa
11. A Fistful Of Dollars - Square Dance
12. Serenity - Going For A Ride
13. Kate Rusby - Underneath The Stars
14. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - La Storia Di Un Soldato
15. Firefly - Mal Fights Niska
16. Macross Plus - Welcome To Sparefish
17. Firefly - Big Bar Fight
18. Bruce Springsteen - Devils And Dust
19. Firefly - Caper
20. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - The Encounter
21. June Carter Cash - Will The Circle Be Unbroken (from Deadwood)
22. Last Of The Mohicans - Promentory Part 2
23. Firefly - Out Of Gas/Empty Derelict

01. Serenity - Serenity
02. Michael Hurley - Hog Of The Forsaken (from Deadwood)
03. Juno Reactor - Pistolero
04. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - To The South
05. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - La Carrozza Dei Fantasmi
06. Serenity - River Goes Wild
07. Natacha Atlas - Iskanderia
08. A Fistful Of Dollars - Without Pity
09. David Schwartz - Theme From Deadwood (from Deadwood)
10. Firefly - Saffron
11. For A Few Dollars More - Il Colpo
12. Natacha Atlas - Kidda
13. Firefly - Back Home
14. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Il Forte
15. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Night Fight
16. Natacha Atlas - Leysh Nat'Arak
17. Michael Brook - Arriving In Deadwood (from Deadwood)
18. Firefly - Inara's Suite
19. Gustavo Santaolalla - Iguazu (from Deadwood)
20. Hans Zimmer - Vale Of Plenty (from Black Hawk Down)
21. Firefly - River's Dance
22. Serenity - Love
23. Firefly - End Credits

2006-09-24 04:21 PM » Link: [1982#19776|text]
Donnie Darko(Movie) has a seriously spooky and supernatural soundtrack, good for ghost hunt, whether as hunter or hunted!

2007-01-15 07:58 PM » Link: [1982#24210|text]
Mike Oldfield's Killing Fields soundtrack.
Dead Can Dance
Midnight Syndicate
If you want a pretty creepy cultist's rantings, check out Null by Copernicus.

2010-01-03 09:32 PM » Link: [1982#73162|text]
Youtube has a tremendous selection of game accessible music - many in 1 hour, 2 hour, 10 hour blocks. Find them to your own taste (but most come from video games).


2014-10-24 01:35 PM » Link: [1982#92439|text]
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Comments ( 22 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted MoonHunter
December 8, 2005, 18:23
Anything with this many comments must be popular.
Barbarian Horde
March 19, 2006, 8:43
The Emerald Rose song is called, "The Castle of Arianrhod". Arianrhod was a goddess of teaching and initiation.
Voted Ancient Gamer
March 19, 2006, 16:42
Only voted
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
June 4, 2006, 13:58
Very useful.
Voted Wulfhere
September 24, 2006, 18:45
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!"
Voted Chaosmark
August 25, 2007, 18:21
I love this thread. There's so much variety, I'm shocked we don't have more and more scroll entries. I myself can't push much of an opinion, since I haven't run a table-top game. Ever. Lots of ideas for one though...

Give it some love people!
Voted Redgre
March 27, 2010, 12:07
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.
Michael Jotne Slayer
October 7, 2010, 10:05
A bump and HoH for this useful pile of advice. Its not organised well and the music appears to be very random in ambience and uses. But still, if you look trough it you will find something useful.

Note: An organised version of this would be very nice. Explaining what the different pieces of music can be used for. Themes would be nice.

*Combat, action, suspense music.

*Underground, ominous, ambient.

*Forest, daytime, majestic, happy

And so on and so forth..
October 7, 2010, 10:15
Good idea, Mike!

Just want to add, an all-time favorite of mine, that never gets old, for swords and sorcery or dark fantasy...

Basil Polidouris--Conan The Barbarian Soundtrack

1."Prologue/Anvil of Crom" - 3:39
2."Riddle of Steel" / "Riders of Doom" - 5:38
3."Gift of Fury" - 3:50
4."Column of Sadness / Wheel of Pain" - 4:09
5."Atlantean Sword" 3:51
6."Theology" / "Civilization" - 3:14
7."Wifeing (Love Theme)" - 2:10
8."The Search" - 3:09
9."The Orgy" - 4:14
10."Funeral Pyre" - 4:29
11."Battle of the Mounds (Part 1)" - 4:53
12."Orphans of Doom" / "The Awakening" -5:32

Michael Jotne Slayer
October 28, 2010, 13:03
I concur, the Conan soundtrack rocks. I often use it as background music when I write.
Voted axlerowes
October 28, 2010, 22:03
this is an excellent approach to simple topic, and the scroll takes the idea and add real content.

I thought the Conan sound was almost an homage to Wagner.
Voted valadaar
December 6, 2012, 14:45
Wow, this one is very, very awesome.

Yet another thing to add to.
February 28, 2013, 15:20
Out of votes, but would like to highlight this thread.

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       By: Scrasamax

After a long night of reveling and merriment celebrating their latest victory, one of the PCs awakens with his/her head shaved and a large ornate tattoo on top of their head. Tacky, yes but also a painstaking work of art that has left them with a headache to beat their hangover. The kicker? It is a huge symbol of the god of Evil, Assassins, the Drow, Munchkins, something really really offensive

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