By Dr. Jeff Goins
Suggestions for orchestrating your campaign.
Coming from a time in which groups like Yes, Queen, and AC/DC were in their prime, I orchestrated a lot of games with some of the best music ever written. There is a specific method to my madness for choosing the song for the moment. I don’t. I let the song write the moment and put it in my game.
It may not be the best method, but it is the easiest for me. If you have ever listened to a song and gotten images in your head, then you are much like me when it comes to music. The soundscapes built in the mind with music like Tales from Topographic Oceans, or Relayer, give rise to mental images from which epics seem to construct themselves. I rarely ever use music like “Two Steps from Hell” or other generic epic music. This is because while those artists are actually quite excellent at what they do and the music is truly magnificent, the epic doesn’t always come through as being anything BUT generic background music.
There are a seemingly infinite number of “feel” pieces that can be applied to a good gaming session. Here they are and here’s why:
General feel of passion and action: A Perfect Circle – The Outsider. It has a generally good build and builds to an intense ambiance that can be great background music.
Yes – Tales from Topographic Oceans. There are so many wonderful moments in this collection, it can be applied to most game for most situations. There are wizard duels, massive battles, epic struggles, and a host of other types of events that occur within the confines of that composition. Anything by Yes is a great choice for fantasy and sci-fi gaming.
There are a number of contemporary artists that are included in my games. Tool, A perfect Circle, Korn, Marilyn Mason, and other groups often have snippets within their songs that apply to that perfect moment of plot point that occur or write themselves for your adventure. Don’t be afraid to let the music dictate the plot points for you and write them into your campaigns. Remember, it’s your campaign, so don’t hesitate to change it as you see fit.