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Todays Date
22 February 2018

Tabletop Gaming Music

Those of us who play tabletop games really tend to get into the action and story and enjoyment of the whole experience. One aspect of this enjoyment that is often overlooked is music. Many gamers play in a silent room with the only noise being generated by the players themselves and the dice they are rolling. I find in many of my campaigns that a touch of music can go along way towards setting the tone of the adventure and the mood of the story.

Finding good gaming music can be difficult if you are not familiar with multiple genres of music. I myself am a complete novice when it comes to music. I rarely have an interest in seeking out new tunes and if not for my wife, I would rarely listen to music. This makes finding good game a music a problem for me. I tend to gravitate towards movie and television sound tracks when picking stuff for my games but I know I am missing a whole universe of other good musical sources.

This brings me to an Obsidian Portal page run by my friend Dark Magus. He has run the page for over three years now and in that time the page has become my go to source for all things musical in relation to gaming. On the page he not only lists the source of the music but also gives a nice musical description which can help you decide if it is the right music for your campaign. Here are a few examples:

The 13th Warrior (Jerry Goldsmith)- A variety of sounds including traditional middle eastern, suspense, and Conan style typical fantasy brass section heavy battle tracks.

Braveheart (James Horner)- A nice mix between traditional orchestra and bagpipes to give a scottish feel to a romantic album.

The Last Samurai (Hans Zimmer)- Not a particularly Japanese sounding album. Also, it is not uncommon for tracks to have 2 or 3 thematic changes in them.

Planet of the Apes (Danny Elfman)- Wasn’t crazy about the movie, but Danny Elfman has created some great music, this album is amazing for battles.

Unbreakable (James Newton Howard)- incredibly quiet, equally good. There’s one track that’s very good for scaring players, its quiet so you have to have it up loud and at some point there this loud bang that will make them jump GUARANTEED, try to find the perfect scene for this.

As you can see his descriptions are basic but quite helpful for the novice seeker of all things musical. Just remember that the right choice of music can make or break a scene you are building in a campaign. Listen to the music you are considering, multiple times prior to the game. Make sure it really does have the right feel and not too many changes in tempo or style. Once you have accomplished this you can sit back and watch as your games go from good to great.

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