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Best bands/music for getting in the mood for campaigning


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Here's what's in my playlist:

Dead Can Dance

Trio Mediaeval

Corvus Corax

Gunnar Madsen (Fall of Troy)

Vangelis (El Greco, Mask)

Glass Hammer

St. George's Canzona

Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition)

Stephan Michael Sechi

Jocelyn Pook

Assorted Enya, Clannad, Brian Eno, etc.

Soundtracks from: Myst, Riven, Myst III, Uru, Myst IV, Myst V, Beyond Good and Evil, Eternal Darkness, Assassin's Creed, Xenosaga, Skies of Arcadia, Conan, Spirited Away, The Black Hole, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Alexander, Dragonheart, Gladiator, The LOTR series, The Navigator, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Princess Bride, Russia: Land of the Tsars, Vertigo

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I am always glad for threads like this where I can get ideas for new tracks to add to the mix.

My main criteria is: no lyrics. A lot of players and especially DMs complain about background music with words. They find it distracting. So my background music must be 100% instrumental.

It seems to me there are 4 categories of source material:

Movie soundtracks. This is the most obvious choice. It is designed to be background music, and you can tell if it is good if you saw the movie.

Videogame soundtracks. Also designed for background, but usually just not as good. There are a few exceptions with great music: The Total War series, Diablo... The other problem is that anyone who has played the game has already become sick of the music. Whenever the diablo town theme starts playing, one of the players in my group chimes in with "What can I do for you?" as the shopkeeper from the game.

Classical music: The quieter type of classical will put most groups to sleep, so you are most likely to use orchestral music, opera overtures, etc. This may be discouraging to find, because most people aren't that familiar with classical music. You are probably OK with anything that says "overture." Some of my favorites:

Borodin, Polovtsian Dance

Grieg: Hall of the Mt King

Mussorgsy: Night on Bald Mt

Prokofiev: The Alien God and the Dance of the Evil Spirits

Respighi: Circuses aka Feste Romane

Sibelius: Finlandia

Suppe: Light Cavalry Overture

Wagner: Siegfried's Funeral March, Parsival

Heavy Metal: A lot of gamers are metalheads, but it is tricky to find stuff without lyrics. Here are a few I know, and I would love to find more:

Faith No More: Woodpecker from Mars

Iron Maiden: Genghis Khan, Ides of March

Metallica: Call of Ktulu, Orion

The Police: Behind my Camel

Dredj, I don't know Bal-Sagoth or Man of War. Is any of their stuff instrumental?

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Hardcore acid techno, for all genres turned up so loud that nobody can speak and if you stand up theres a good chance that you'll shit yourself. :D

But seriously I hate music at games its just annoying and distracting plus most of what gamers tend to like played is boring generic rock and metal (or even worse unutterably bad death metal) which isn't something Ive been interested in since I fancied goth chicks back in the early 90's

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Iron Maiden




Demons and Wizards

Blind Guardian

For my Dark Heresy campaign I mix Harry Manfridinni's Friday the 13th Part VI soundtrack in as stingers and during those 20 or so seconds, the bad guys get +10 on combat skills and +1 damage.

Then if any of the Indiana Jones/Batman soundtrack stingers come up the players get the same benefits.

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A Few to add to the List.

Movie music: The Mission, 1492 Conquest of Paradise, 300, Troy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Last of the Mohecans, Black Hawk Down, Robin Hood, Stargate, The Hulk (This soundtrack is much better than you would think), Braveheart, Rob Roy, Henry V. Starship Troopers Robocop, Dune,

Classical: Hanson’s: Lament for Beowulf, Holst: The Planets

For my Dark Heresy campaign....

There is free music almost made for this here:

Inquisition: Daemonhunt Music - FileFront.com

It was composed for the Inquisition mod for the game Dawn of War.


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Whenever I use music for a fantasy campaign, which it seems is the genre I usually run, I mostly use movie soundtracks...

Lord of the Rings, all 3

Masters and Commanders

Conan, both movies

but you could also use...

Midnight Syndicate's Dungeons & Dragons cd or Loreena McKennitt's music.

Midnight Syndicate also has some good music for survival horror from what I understand, though I don't own any other cds except the DnD one.

Mostly I'd say try and use music that fits the genre!:)

Skunk - 285/420 BRP book

You wanna be alright you gotta walk tall

Long Beach Dub Allstars & Black Eyed Peas

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I have a collection of ultra-spooky classical pieces I use for COC games. For Celtic, I'll use the Braveheart soundtrack and similar stuff.

Music that I like for my own pleasure doesn't necessarily make good background for games, generally. Classical, soundtracks, etc. I might use other things, depending on need or mood - there's a 2-CD set called "Crime Jazz" that's all noir-ish jazzy pieces that'd be good if you were doing a crime thriller type thing, say "Pulp Cthulhu." I've never used it, but have thought of it.

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I don't always use music but I have used...

Holst: The Planets

Star Wars when I ran my Star Wars campaign (it was a no brainer)

Conan (soundtrack)

Planet of the Apes (The theme for the forbidden zone is awesomely spooky)


Join my Mythras/RuneQuest 6: Classic Fantasy Yahoo Group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/RQCF/info

"D100 - Exactly 5 times better than D20"

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Dredj, I don't know Bal-Sagoth or Man of War. Is any of their stuff instrumental?

Mostly, their stuff has lyrics. Bal-Sagoth seems to be all lyrics because their music deals with a very long epic poem they came up with as a band that now runs for 6 full-length albums. Man-O-War is also primarily lyric-based metal.

Are you interested in Death Metal? Morbid Angel has tons of instrumentals between all their albums. It seems like they add more instrumentals per new album. Most of them seem like stuff the band were planning to add to a song or just trying out for a song but dropped. They term that stuff "Lavas". However, Morbid Angel isn't for everyone's taste.

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Midnight Syndicate's Dungeons & Dragons cd or Loreena McKennitt's music.

Midnight Syndicate also has some good music for survival horror from what I understand, though I don't own any other cds except the DnD one.


How did I forget Midnight Syndicate? I have a few of their albums I listen to at least once a week.

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Dredj, I don't know Man of War. Is any of their stuff instrumental?

Sting of the Bumblebee on Kings of Metal

Drums of War on Fighting the World

Today is a Good Day to Die on Louder Then Hell

I beleive they have a few instumental only on Gods of War, but that entire album rocks.

Achilles Agony and Ecstacy on Triumph of Steel has along musical interlude.

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If you don't want lyrics, try some of Mortiis' early stuff. The guy looks pretty ridiculous but his music is awesome, especially for darker, Call of Cthulhu type stuff. Also Danzig's Black Aria is pretty good for this sort of thing.

If you don't mind lyrics, especially foreign lyrics, then Therion is absolutely the best for evoking a mystical, sword-wielding type of music. Especially the albums Theli, Lemuria and Sirius B. They are mixture of operatic, progressive, power, and sometimes death metal.

One typical power metal band I hadn't seen mentioned yet is Iron Fire. Very much influenced by Iron Maiden (the best band EVER!) but are much more obssessed with dragons, swords, and magic.

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I use music in-game constantly. Not in the sense of "here's a battle scene, I'll put on track X," but just having continuous low-level ambience. I gravitate towards darker and/or more "organic" ambient music for this-- Rapoon, O Yuki Conjugate, Lustmord, Tuu, Robert Rich, and Oophoi are musicians whose work seems to work especially well for creating atmospheres of mystery, dread, foreboding, and phantasie.

I don't do a whole lot of prep, and when I do I generally don't make any efforts to listen to a certain kind of music.

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