What music enhances your game?
This is an interesting question, especially since I’m a musician & love music in general.
I have vivid memories of reading my old AD&D books & coming up with ideas for campaigns & such while the headphones were blaring Rush. Iron Maiden, Sabbath, and other bands also made the cut, but it was always Rush. Caress of Steel, 2112, Hemispheres, A Farewell to kings, All the World’s a Stage ~ great stuff.
Somehow RPGs and Rush got paired up in my head like chocolate & peanut butter.
The funny thing is, I don’t know a lot of the words to a good deal of my favorite music. I’ve just never internalized most of them. For me music is more of a feeling. Tone and dynamics move me far more than lyrics ever will. I couldn’t tell you why, it’s just how it is. That said, there are some great songs which inspire the desire to play or which suggest certain themes or moods. ~ Sometimes it’s the lyrics, but often its the emotions that the music stirs up. Every once in a while I read an RPG while listening to music & the two get connected in my head. Circle of Hands & ‘On my way to the cage” by Rollins are stuck that way now. ~ Go figure.
But we’re not talking about inspiration ~ that was yesterday’s question about art. Today’s question asks us what music enhances our game.
For me, the simple answer is ~ it doesn’t.
I have friends that love theme music and soundtracks for game sessions. Those just don’t appeal to me. Often they simply prove to be distracting. ~ This doens’t mean that I don’t enjoy listening to some favorite music prior to a game, but during the game itself I don’t want any outside distractions if I can help it. ~ If a song is suggested by the events of the game, trust me, it will start playing in my head. (Yes, I admit, I totally had fun playing Star Trek TOS fight music during a combat in our Star Trek Adventures game, but I was goofing around & us old guys were bonding over the way things used to be before the Federation got so stuffy & proper).
A favorite moment of mine concerning theme music and other plans gone awry can be found in my video The Sword is Mine!. I can still picture that music from Conan in the background, but things didn’t go as planned.
So, oddly enough, despite the fact that I love music and find it to be incredibly evocative and moving, I don’t find that it enhances my RPG experience. ~ It could be that when I pay attention to something that I really pay attention to it, & having two strong contenders for my attention can be overwhelming. It could also be that at any given moment the song that my internal jukebox decides to cue up doesn’t match what someone else has decided that the “theme music” should be.
Pre or post game is a different story. ~ Sometimes I’ll think about Phillipe’s Journey in All For One and “Naveed” from Our Lady Peace will cue up. ~ Strange….