Although Free RPG Day has long since come and gone, I have still decided to revisit the use of music in gaming sessions. Since I last discussed the subject, I have found that the amount of RPG tie-in music is much larger than previously thought. Some soundtrack albums seem to be inspired by games rather than intended for gaming use, while others are definitely meant for use during play. There’s also music designed without any particular role-playing game in mind. I even found a case where the RPG scenario and soundtrack were never released, a case where the planned RPG was never released, but the soundtrack was and a case where an RPG adventure was written around a preexisting CD!
In the past, I have reviewed numerous spooky music CDs under the banner “Music to Haunt By.” While my reviews focused on their use in haunted houses and Halloween displays, the albums they covered could also be used during RPG sessions. With that in mind, I am linking back to those articles here, in addition to making game-related suggestions and observations. Of course, your mileage may vary.
Midnight Syndicate – This group is a natural first for the list, given that they recorded the official Dungeons & Dragons soundtrack. The first of the albums reviewed in that link, The 13th Hour, is a collection of soundscapes and atmospheric music perfect for an adventure set in a haunted mansion in just about any roleplaying system (with the track “Return of the Ancient Ones” also allowing use with The Call of Cthulhu and other such RPGs). In fact, I would recommend playing the first two tracks prior to even letting players role-play setting foot in the house. Some purists might avoid using “Hand in Hand Again,” a track made using a real song from 1919, for games set before then, but I doubt most players will know or care (unless you’re playing such an adventure in a Dungeons & Dragons-type setting). Does your adventure have a haunted nursery, kid’s room or playroom? Then “Footsteps in the Dust” has you covered.