So, I recently joined a Spelljammer (I love Spelljammer and its total weirdness) group on FB and I was scrolling through the posts and I find this post featuring the band Stary Olsa, who apparently remake contemporary music with medieval instruments. In the videos they even dress the part. I’ve never heard of Stary Olsa as my musical tastes remain basically unchanged for the last 25 years (I know that sounds closed-minded, because it is). After listening to a couple songs I kept imagining I was in a tavern and this group was playing and how adventure was just outside the door. Then I thought about how we use music in our gaming group to set ambience and background. Not only can music create a more visual scene, it can add an element of drama, humor, or sadness (which is rare in our group) to what is taking place around the PCs. It also adds that extra layer to the gaming memory – which I really love.
Recently we had an adventure where we went into a bar and we had to fight a drunken dwarf werebear (I think it was a werebear). Meanwhile, the bar’s music is Richard Cheese. The music was perfect for the scene because the bar is rowdy and full of drunks and our PCs are in the middle, in this freaking thunderdome-like arena fighting a werebear naked dwarf. Add in the Cheese version of Gin and Juice and you have a hilarious scene unfold. I enjoyed it thoroughly and here’s why…
I told my GM the other day that I remember our gaming sessions as visual scenes of the PCs doing stuff, not as dice rolls (unless it was a great/really bad dice roll) or rules or really even as the players making decisions. I remember things cinematically and I'm guessing most people do. Our d20 GM is really good at creating a visual scene and mapping out the ambiance of the place where shit’s going down. The reason I really like music in a game is because it adds that extra cinematic element to the scene. No longer do I simply have the visual/dialogue element of the scene but I also have a soundtrack to accompany the whole thing. I’m sure too much music or the wrong kind of music or too loud of music could ruin game play, but that is a pretty easy fix.
If you haven’t heard of Stary Olsa or Richard Cheese, check out the videos below, they are totally worth it.
Also, if you use music/effects in your games, I’d like to hear about it.
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