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About the use of BGM.

Canti

New member
Hello! I've read that sometimes, background music from videogame/movie OSTs is used on roleplaying sessions. I'd like to ask to anyone that makes use of this resource if they organize their OSTs somehow to be able to create a playlist for each session quickly.

Basically: any tips on how to classify background music? I've tried to use two systems, one based on the feeling the track evokes (happy, sad/melancholic/, goofy, grandiose, mysterious, ominous, etc.) and another complementary that classifies them if they're best suited for conversations, places, characters or situations (like combat or chases). That way whenever I wanted to pick a song for a certain kind of situation I'd be able to find one quicker.
I have some trouble listing all the possible emotions a track can suggest, since some of them don't seem to be suited to anything concrete enough to be reduced to an adjective.

Has anyone else tried to do something similar? If so, what's your method?
 

Starcrash

Registered User
Validated User
I used to try for something similar, but it ended up distracting. In the end I usually use one for general theme, and one for tension, and leave it at that.
 

Knaight

Registered User
Validated User
I tend to do the laziest thing possible, and just find some really long soundtrack, turn it on, and forget about it. What this is varies - I've used the Halo soundtrack for more than a few space opera games, I tend to use orchestral movie soundtracks for fantasy, etc.
 

Ilya

No creativity for titles
Validated User
The GM in my group made extensive use of soundtracks. It was pretty fun for the players. He usually created a selection of music for a given campaign that were basically theme songs. There were battle musics, town musics, NPC musics, even PCs had their individual "moment of glory" music.

You approach it as if you were designing a videogame soundtrack, pre-selecting a number of musics for a given area, an specific music for the big boss, a generic battle music for regular battles, etc. It may not be as flexible as a mood based system, but it enables you to quickly select the right songs during the session.
 

Octopus Prime

Retired User
I use a fair amount of music in my games, and I've found two different approaches:
The first, and I suspect more common, is background music. This is usually something instrumental and atmospheric that's played at a low volume during a scene, and loops for the duration of the scene. So if there's a scene of the heroes exploring a spooky castle, you might put on some spooky music in the background.
The second - and one that I find more fun - are musical stings. This is a recognized song being played once during a key moment of a scene to highlight it. Obviously, musical stings are going to fit some genres and games better than others, and tends to fit well with games that are more light-hearted or surreal in nature.
I ran a game of Mage: The Awakening set in the 1990's, and it was sort of a jukebox-musical of 90's pop music; when the heroes see through the veil of reality and Awaken as mages, "All Star" by Smash Mouth played.
 

Martin Ralya

60% coffee
Validated User
I used to try for something similar, but it ended up distracting. In the end I usually use one for general theme, and one for tension, and leave it at that.
Back when I used BGM, that's exactly where I landed (usually my two were "general" and "action"). For a specific game or genre, I might add something to my two usual playlists -- like a Star Trek opening theme for the recap in a Star Trek campaign.
 

Starcrash

Registered User
Validated User
Back when I used BGM, that's exactly where I landed (usually my two were "general" and "action"). For a specific game or genre, I might add something to my two usual playlists -- like a Star Trek opening theme for the recap in a Star Trek campaign.
For our TOS Trek game I did exactly that, had a clip for the intro and outro music. It was a neat little way to open and close each episode even if we all had to queue it individually (I'm not sure how to broadcast a sound clip on Discord).
 

HardKore Keltoid

RAW Cultist
Validated User
I've never had any use for it in face-to-face games, which are usually chaotic and unfocused enough without intentionally adding more distractions.

In online games, I have youtube playlists to link.
 
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