Editorial: Music in RPGs

d6ideas dice2Music in roleplaying games is one of those topics which surface time and time again in discussions among gamers (and not just on the net). Sometimes I get the impression like there are actually more opinions thrown around than there are participants in the discussions! The most important lines of thought seem to be the following though:

– I don’t need it / it’s distracting (if this is you, you can stop reading here – this editorial isn’t about you),
– I use it for the most dramatic moments only,
– It‘s always running in the background.

I went through phases alternately favouring all three of these and now I am currently going by the last one once again (this is after my players complained of the music being constantly switched on and off).

So, where to get the proper music? Movie scores are almost always the answer when you are not immediately jumping to the likes of Midnight Syndicate. After all, they are producing music directly meant for gaming and I think it’s quite good!

There is another option, though, which funnily enough never gets mention (at least not in the online discussions I am aware of!). Go directly for the source!

Go where the filmmakers get their music from. Because often, there are no mysterious exchanges between insiders involved, but rather completely normal publicly available commercial web pages.

On these pages, titles can be found perfectly ordered and tagged. You want a slowly rising, epic choral? Just enter “rising”, “choral” and “epic” into the site search mask and practically all the hits you get will be exactly what you were looking for. With some practice, you are going to be able to quickly and efficiently put together your rpg score. Many of those sites even offer ready-made playlists under headings like “action”, “inspirational”, “emotional” or “dramatic” which are usable as is for our purposes.

The biggest problem with these sites is that you usually cannot freely register on them and without a registered account you are not allowed to download from them (if you happen to get your hands on an account, though, downloading is free of charge, as these sites make their money from licensing their titles for films and not from selling to private listeners). On most of the sites you can listen to the music online, though. Now, I don’t want to encourage you to use some tool to record from the sites. Rather, I’d propose to just use the sites integrated functions to put together your playlist online and go from there.

Good sites in my opinion:
Killtertracks.com
extrememusic.com

Legally that shouldn’t be an issue. At least, I never came across a disclaimer when perusing the sites forbidding me to use them for non-filmmaking purposes. So, rock on!

Well… I am also bound to preview next week’s articles and before I try to cobble together some half-assed bridging paragraph going from the topic of music to the topics of our articles, I’d rather be direct. So, without further ado, here are our articles (2 of them – based on our obligatory d6 roll):

English articles
On Tuesday, we publish the last part in our series on Miranbrück, a fictious German town for use a setting for Changeling the Lost. This last article will feature possible plots and adventure hooks.
As an added bonus, we updated our last What is …? article with some additional entries.

German articles
On Tuesday, there will be the German original of the Miranbrück finale.

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