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Crafting the Ambience: Audio tools for your next RPG game
Wednesday , 23 March 2016 , 01 : 19 PM

RPG Audio Tools for your next game

Ever played a role-playing game and felt something missing? What about getting fed up at making the noises yourself? Well, let’s step up your game (see what I did there). You may be missing out on the audio you need to really bring your players into the game. So here’s a few ideas to help you out.

Soundtracks

Soundtracks can give you the background music you need to amp up the roleplaying by your players. Whether they’re trying to negotiate their way through a solid game of dice at the local tavern, or exploring a long-abandoned station in a decaying orbit around a binary star pair, the right soundtrack and change the mood in the room immensely.  Here’s a few ideas:

Looking for something dark and tense? The soundtracks for Alien: Isolation and Dredd (2012) are great for those Sci-Fi environments or have a look through the soundtracks for Game of Thrones and Vikings for fantasy games.

What about a general fantasy setting? Then the go-to soundtracks would be from The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit films. The Skyrim and Thor soundtracks are also great for a mix and there is a whole soundtrack dedicated to just the taverns from World of Warcraft so you have no excuse for being without pub music.

Screw fantasy, I want to go to space. Any soundtracks for sci-fi settings? Now this is a hard one based on what world you’re playing in. If you’re using a cyberpunk setting like Shadowrun, then you cannot go past the soundtracks from the Shadowrun games. If it’s a more epic experience, then the Mass Effect or the Man of Steel soundtrack are my go-tos. And, of course, if you’re playing Star Wars, you cannot go past the music of John Williams from the films. My only problem with the Star Wars soundtracks is they are built specifically for the movie scenes they were used in so you’ll probably need to devote some time to splitting up the songs into themes or emotions you want to convey.

Audio Tools

Now we’re getting advanced. Audio tools and mixers are great apps that can change the feel of the room on a dime. I started off using the Natural and Industrial noise generators from myNoise.net. They’re straightforward to use and can create a multitude of environments. I remember my players getting a little tense when I slowly moved a storm over them while they were trapped in some unknown planet’s jungle using the Natural Noise generator.

If you’re looking for something with range though, then the best tool to get is Syrinscape.Syrinscape is an app that you can download to your tablet or run off your computer that can generate repetitive sound environments that you can piece together through your own mix. If you’re a serial dungeon/game master, I highly recommend this tool.