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More Awesome RPG Background Music: 58 Reader Favorites and New Discoveries
Posted By Martin Ralya On April 25, 2011 @ 1:04 am In GMing Advice | 18 Comments
Gnome Stew readers posted so many great suggestions for RPG background music in the comments on RPG Background Music: 41 Awesome Soundtracks that I decided to make a “reader tips” edition as a follow-up article. Combined, there are 99 recommendations between these two pieces.
I’ve already picked up one album based on your comments (the BSG Season One soundtrack, which is amazing — and also great music to prep to), and wishlisted many others. Many thanks to the fine folks who suggested these albums!
In the weeks since I posted that list, I’ve also discovered some new stuff I wanted to share. I’m a background music fiend, so this is something of an obsession for me — one I hope you can benefit from!
(These are all Amazon links, and Gnome Stew earns a small percentage when you buy something after following one of them; that revenue helps pay for our new server. I mentioned in the comments on the previous article that I’d be posting reader tips with links here, but if you shared an idea and you’re not comfortable with your soundtrack suggestion potentially earning money for the Stew, please let me know and I’ll be happy to remove your suggestion(s) immediately.)
Many thanks to steamcrow, Rafe, Sporkchop, JohnnyBravo, BryanB, Donogh, Iomythica, kossowankenobi, ouzelum, Volcarthe, Squeejee, rednightmare, Necrognomicon, and Ravenbow for recommending these albums!
There are some non-soundtracks mixed into this list — in general, if there’s a comma in the entry (like “Apocalyptica, 7th Symphony”), it’s a band; if not, it’s a soundtrack.
Battlestar Galactica: Season One (CD) — I picked this up and it’s amazing. Awesome for writing/prep music, too.
The Dark Knight — “Intense, remember?”
Fable 2 — “Danny Elfman. ’nuff said.”
King Arthur — “I find obscure music far more useful. Never saw King Arthur? Perfect. Never played Lord of the Rings Online? Excellent. Every time someone recognizes a song I take it out of the rotation and find something else.”
Moon — “Good for any intense sci-fi adventure… but also still respectable for a spooky c’thulu or fantasy adventure. Subtle, intense, unique.”
Sherlock Holmes — “Solid. Nice range.”
300 — “Pretty powerful stuff, if you don’t mind the guitars.”
I keep a running wishlist of RPG background music, and this is what’s on it right now. I haven’t picked any of these soundtracks up yet, but they’re all on my radar and sound excellent based on samples and reviews:
Battle: Los Angeles — I haven’t seen the movie or picked up this soundtrack yet, but based on the samples it’s packed with solid action music. I find that many soundtracks are light on good action music, so I’m always on the lookout for more.
Epic Score, Epic Action & Adventure Vol. 1 — I could do a whole article just on their stuff — it’s amazing. They basically write music for use in movie scores, often including both vocal (mainly choral) and vocal-free versions of their tracks. As the band’s name suggests, it’s mostly big, epic, Hollywood awesomeness that will wind up in your Action playlist (if you use my palylist system). Here are several of their albums in one place.
Splinter Cell Conviction — Also under $5, this is good, tense spy music. I don’t own the soundtrack (yet), but I’ve played the game.
These excellent reader comments didn’t break out into MP3 links, but are well worth sharing:
“I typically crawl the classics and RPG soundtracks (Jeremy Soule’s stuff is brilliant and typically obscure enough) and then rename them to fit a given mood (tension, surprise, pastoral, traveling, combat). When the mood strikes, stick to the same song – building your own soundtrack (especially useful for suspense). Let it run out and then let it go (or fade out when appropriate). Don’t fiddle with the song, tell the story. Don’t worry about timing the music to your tale, it will never fit properly.” (kossowankenobi)
“Contemporary, lyrical music can do things instrumentals can’t. My brother’s managed to do some REALLY great foreshadowing with songs like “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, and I used “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead for a character who later discovered he was a spy invented by a smithing god.” (ouzelum)
(From Necrognomicon) “For Deadlands (or other Wild West games):
- Various Pray for Rain songs, including ‘The Killers’ from Straight to Hell and the Roadside Prophets Soundtrack
- Various airs and marches (eg ‘Garryowen’) performed by the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus
- The ‘official’ Deadlands soundtrack CDs aren’t too bad either…
“A little late to the party, but I use Pandora. I made a “Howard Shore” station and just let it do its thing.” (Ravenbow)
Thanks for checking out this article, and I hope you discovered some killer music!
If you have more RPG background music suggestions, share away in the comments — there’s a huge catalog of great BGM out there, and we’ve barely scratched the surface.
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