Today my friends and I will meet again to continue the adventure of the three men that went to Dunnsmouth, and I just made my self familiar with my soundtrack playlist again. I prefer to have a list that offers different options but is less than twenty tracks large (after all, one needs to navigate it in the midst of the game). For those who are interested, I will share the ten core pieces of my Dark-Fantasy-Soundtrack with you. I tend to use titles from Bailey Records, Black Goat Games, Plate Mail Games and movie/television sound tracks I own, but this time it is only Plate Mail Games (and no, I am not affiliated and I don´t get money for this).
While it is always helpful to have sound loops that mimic the environment, the main part of my list is made up of tracks that are meant to be played in a certain kind of scene. There are some scenes that will usually happen over the course of a session, like battles, travels, tense moments of silence, etc. Having a good set for those ready will always proof helpful:
Confusion is a „pushing” track with a quick heart beat and lots of ghostly wails and screams to it. Personally, I think this one should have been labeled „Madness“ by Plate Mail Games (see below). I only have it in my list for events where dark magic or the otherworld forces itself upon the PC, or when they are confronted with illusions that assault the senses, or a Madness spell.
Dark Ambience is true to its title: a slow, droning track with hollow sounds and rings. It is good for a quiet and uneasy scene and perfect for when the heroes enter a dark dungeon. This one and „Darkness“ are tracks I use as a substitute for another, so that I do not repeat the same track all over again.
Darkness is a more thrilling track that is good for moments where the PC enter a tense, quiet scene where they expect trouble. The track is more „active“ than “Dark Ambience”.
Dread is slow and looming, with an undertone of imminent danger. There is something in the background of it that reminds of a monster that prowls in the dark.
Dreadful Moments is a slow and melodic piece that is good for both the beginning and the aftermath of a situation with a sorrowful note to it. It may be used for night watches, scenes of uneasy rest or journeys.
Fantasy Tavern is a „location track“ that generates a generic tavern ambient. It is my „pre-start track“ where I have the characters sit in a tavern and discuss their shopping list, their approach to the situation that was explained to the players, etc. It actually encourages the players to do all of this shop-talk “in character”.
For battles, I use For Blood. It is a pumping track with a relentless drum and has obviously been created with violent conflict in mind (and works very well).
Night of the Ebon Star is one that I use as an „alarm track“ for strange, foreboding or „dark“ events that begin to unfold themselves. I used it few times in the previous session of „Scenic Dunnsmouth“ and it did not failed to underpin that something is not right about the situation.
Terror is a track with a literal heart beat, but a slow and menacing one: good for „danger is about to happen“ or „tight/stealth“ situations. Something where the danger is there and the PC know it.
Madness is an unsettling but non-chaotic, rather melodic arrangement of different tunes that form a melodic-disturbed background piece. I use it to add some „un-realism“ to a scene and as a „fade-out“ track after one that featured gruesome or disturbing events (as a kind of „after glow“, so to speak).
Pulp Music Villian´s Theme is a track I would NEVER use according to its title. It is a good, solid music theme for general things, set off´s and narrative events as well as for the closure of an adventure. I would use it for royal courts as well, at least in a Dark-Fantasy setting.
I hope this was worth your while. If you would like to read more suggestions for game soundtracks from me, please leave a like.