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Do you play music during your RPG sessions? Does the public location you meet play music during your game sessions? What are your thoughts about music playing during the game?


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Mario Silva
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No vocals, not too loud, mostly electro minimal progressive, sometimes synth-wave and the like...
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Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
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No. I find it distracting. I also think it inhibits spontaneity by channeling a specific mood, making it harder for the group to create its own mood as things develop.
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3rik de πrik
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I'll pick an opening theme to play in advance but I won't play music during the game unless the characters can actually hear it in the setting.

OOC background music during play is distracting.
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Ryan Ahr
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I started to before my laptop died, particularly in conjunction with an editing program called Soft Rope. Then I got a netbook cuz I was broke and and needed something to fill in until I could another proper laptop and I broke that just recently. I miss it. The mood music added a lot.
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Harry Lee
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Eh, we almost always have the local classical station playing quietly at our house, so that’s usually in the background, but I don’t curate music specifically for game sessions, no.
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Frank Eisenhauer
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I do. I own a collection of movie & game soundtracks and classical music that can be unobtrusively played in the background. I also have a lot of different soundscapes that I just audibly play to set the mood. I even use music for my board game sessions to get people in the right mood.
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DMSamuel
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No, never. It creates an auditory distraction that I find very difficult to overcome.

If music is on in the background I have a hard time hearing anything, no matter how low the music is. My brain picks it up and tries to make it important, and it ends up getting my attention and distracting me in a way not intended (I'm positive) by the GM or player putting on the music.

This is the same reason I don't like crowded areas (sporting evens, pubs, restaurants, parties) - because if there is a bit of background noise I cannot hear the people I am talking to very well due to the very distracting background.

As a professor this serves me well, at times, because I can pick up on things the students are saying to each other that they think no one can hear - I hear it! It's not because my hearing is all that great, it's because the background gets picked up and becomes the forefront in my brain. In short - sometimes it is a bug and sometimes a feature.
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Mark Wilson
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I do, pretty much every time I DM (in non-public settings). My players don't mind. I usually have 3-5 hour-long or longer tracks queued up on my tablet, and will play whichever is appropriate. It's mostly ambient stuff - like this session happening today, they're on a ship at sea, so I have a "harbor sounds" ambient track and a "captain's cabin" ambient track. We all forget it's playing most times, but it does provide nice atmosphere.

I'll also have generic, non-boisterous fantasy soundtracks occasionally. The Forgotten Realms VG soundtracks are generally pretty good. The only time I'll let it get a bit more rowdy is for "battle" music. But it's again entirely instrumental.

So in practice, it's a very passive thing. Usually something is playing, but it's low-volume and ambient, and I'll switch tracks 1-2 times per session. So it's not something I have to actively manage.

I've also gone without, which is fine too. But I prefer to run with something light in the background.
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Mark Wilson
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Oh, also, as 3rik mentioned, I try to have something fantasy-esque playing as the players arrive. It will continue to play while we get set up, chat and review what happened last session. That's usually when I switch to the first ambient track, which is comparatively softer and allows us to settle into play. Managing transitions like that can do wonders for productive sessions, imo.
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Always....From Basil Poledouris to Black Sabbath.
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Hans Messersmith
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Ontario
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I've tried it, but it really has only ever worked in one campaign I ran, a kind of rock and roll post-apocalyptic Dust Devils game. It worked there, but every other time I have found I agree with Steffan...

sos1 wrote:
No. I find it distracting. I also think it inhibits spontaneity by channeling a specific mood, making it harder for the group to create its own mood as things develop.
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Mavis
England
A Fine City
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Always. It fills the awkward silences.
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3rik de πrik
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MWChapel wrote:
(...) Black Sabbath.

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Geoffrey Burrell
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
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My group hasn't played music during sessions lately but when we do, we ply LOTR soundtrack for D & D and Star Wars music for Star Wars Saga Edition.
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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Plymouth
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GeoffreyB wrote:
... Star Wars music for Star Wars Saga Edition.

I admit this makes sense. Likewise LOTR soundtrack for any game set in Middle Earth. And other licensed games with decent soundtracks in the source material.
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We never do for RPGs. I suggested trying it, but Joe nixed it.

That's ironic. When we play board games at Joe's house, 80's alternative music is always playing at a background+ level.
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Clark Timmins
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West Jordan
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Nope. I find it very distracting and quite irritating, in fact. I freely admit this is personal taste and I got nothin' against those who like it. But, for me, no way.

Perhaps has more to do with my hearing (or lack of it) than anything else.
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Doug Hook
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Yes, like background music. Play mostly John Williams movie tracks interspersed with selections from The Starlit Jewel: Songs From J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" & The Hobbit .
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Phil Dutré
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Sometimes, but very hard to get right for the entire group. Even with fairly neutral easy-listening music that fits the game period, it usually gets on someone’s nerves.
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Bob Smith
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Fukuoka
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Our main GM usually plays instrumental music in the background at a fairly low volume. I believe he gets most of the music from video game soundtracks, but I could be wrong. I'm kind of used to it now and it can add an extra dimension to certain scenes. Other times it just fades into the background.

I'm going to start running a side campaign soon, initially running The Dragon's Demand next week. So, I picked up the Syrinscape sound pack for the module, more out of curiosity than anything else. It provides ambient sound, music and key events in the module prerecorded. It looks simple to use and the sounds/music seem pretty cool and very well done. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes.

This product (Syrinscape) seems to have thus far evaded the data entry savants of RPGGeek? It's free to download the app and a selection of basic sound packs. I recommend checking it out to anyone keen to add sound to their sessions. It has a wide variety generic packs and supports specific adventure paths/modules from Pathfinder, Starfinder, Dungeons & Dragons 5e, and other major systems.
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Benj Davis
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Summer Hill
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Used to. I have two solid days of 80s music that I'd put on shuffle.
But these days we don't run at my place, so I don't.
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Joseph Hellar
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I keep a shortcut to marvin gaye's "let's get it on" on my gameing laptop for nymphs, succubi and for when thing get awkwardly weird

other songs include yakady sax, the jeopardy theme, the jaws music, the imperial march, sandford and son ( for when they get to looting EVERYTHING), mission impossible, the jackass theme and go go godzilla

should get the twilight zone them for wierd temples and such
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Douglas Bailey
United States
Waltham
Massachusetts
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“I would have made this instrumental, but the words got in the way...” —XTC, “No Language in Our Lungs”
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Only in the very rare case that it's diagetic (as it was at one point in our Horror on the Orient Express campaign). Otherwise it steps on the game, distracting the players and requiring too much mental monitoring and effort from me.
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Paolo Robino
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Dueville
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pdzoch wrote:
Do you play music during your RPG sessions?

During our current STA sessions over Discord, I'm using a music bot to play this guy's stuff. In the past, playing in person, I've used Tabletop Audio. Would love to find a way to use TTA over Discord.

pdzoch wrote:
Does the public location you meet play music during your game sessions?

Never played in public locations (except for gaming cons – already too loud to have background music on top of the general noise).

pdzoch wrote:
What are your thoughts about music playing during the game?

Love it, as long as the music is right for the genre of the game.
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