Carrion Crown: Music

Carrion Crown

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Whether in Rule of Fear or at some point during the course of the Carrion Crown AP I want to do a run down of suggestions for creepy background music to play during horror-themed adventures. We've already got a bunch of this in the reference section of the GameMastery Guide, but I want to expand beyond this.

So what do you use in your horror roleplaying to set the tone? I'm not looking for "Creepy Sounds XI" from Spencer's Gifts, but actual moody stuff subtle enough to play in the background of your game, but creepy enough to set a mood.

To get things rolling, I'll throw five out here that immediately come to mind:

Midnight Syndicate (Anything)
Michiru Yamane (Castlevania series)
From Hell Soundtrack
Dracula Soundtrack
Hannibal Soundtrack

So what works for you? As always, links are appreciated!

Liberty's Edge

All of the Silent Hill soundtracks, as well as the soundtracks to Forbidden Siren and its sequel, are fantastic music for a horror-oriented game. If you don't mind separating out the creepy tracks from the cheerful ones, the OSTs for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and Umineko no Naku Koro ni are excellent.

Jeremy Puckett

Dark Archive

Hellraiser - Christopher Young: some may be too electronic, but many pieces on the soundtrack work including the main title
main title

Lustmord - some of the tracks are not available on youtube, but here are some samples. A good cd to pick up:The Monstrous Soul

Black Star
Not my favorite tracks but gives you an idea.

If you like Danny Elfman's soundtracks Nightbreed and Sleepy Hollow are pretty good

Nox Arcana has some good stuff in the vein (heh) of Midnight Syndicate
Necronomicon, Transylvania being two good ones. Warning though, a few of their tracks do have some narration over the music -which IMO is lame and defeats the purpose but on any given CD there will be several tracks (most) that don't do this. Usually the opening track and a few others so they are still worth the buy.

The Omen (original Goldsmith) and Damien:Omen II are excellent but may have limited use.

Black Aria II by Glenn Danzig is good

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

When I ran The Skinsaw Murders, my playlist was loaded with tracks from the following:

Dracula (both the Philip Glass score and the score to "Bram Stoker's Dracula")
The Thing (rare, but available on YouTube)
The Village
Various Hitchcock soundtracks, courtesy Bernard Hermann (Vertigo, Psycho)

The opening theme was the Main Titles music from the Tim Burton Sweeney Todd movie. The Skinsaw Man's theme was "The Nightmare" from the soundtrack to The Elephant Man, which unfortunately is not on YouTube.

Dark Archive

I was going to mention JC "The Thing" (Morricone) and maybe "the Fog" but I thought they were too electronic.
The first one is great for sci-fi or post-apocalyptic horror, even modern horror just not sure if it would work in D&D, the second one is just too syth for D&D -IMO of course.

Both excellent soundtracks though.

Van helsing soundtrack
Silent hill game soundtracks (various)
Erdenstern-Into the dark (music made for roleplaying)
Various Nox arcana
Various Midnight syndicate
Allicorn music for Call of Cthulhu (check out this page for free samples)
Wolfman (new version) soundtrack
Various Lustmord (some of it may be a bit electronic though)
Various Atrium Carceri (again pretty industrial)
Four shadows soundtrack for Trail of Cthulhu (check out this free sample or go over to Pelgrane press to check out Four shadows)
Ulf soderberg (appropriate for ancient ruins and dark wilderness, his Sephiroth project is espescially recommended if you can find it)
Hellsing anime soundtrack
Devil may cry videogame soundtrack (some of it is very electronic though)
Shadow hearts video game soundtrack
Alone in the dark video game soundtracks
Castlevania video game soundtrack
Immediate music (these guys make various music for movies, television and trailers, they have an album called horror and sci-fi #1)
Pandorum soundtrack
Event horizon soundtrack
Two steps from hell (various orchestral scores for trailers and television)
X-ray dog (as two steps from hell and immediate music)

Liberty's Edge

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I've done a LOT of soundtrack research recently - I gathered together TONS of different soundtracks and then picked cool sounds from each one. I then made a 10 CD set of all cool soundtrack music for our group to game to ...

Anyway, one soundtrack I would also very much add for creepy atmosphere and cool music is The Cell.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My secret weapon for setting a creepy, haunted mood is the soundtrack to the Farscape episode "Eat Me" by Guy Gross.
It's out of print now, but I notice Amazon has a couple used copies for sale. Farscape Classics

The disc contains music from two episodes, and they couldn't be more different thematically. The first is from a comedic episode that sounds like Looney Tunes. The second, though, is what I use it for.

The music is low, dark, and dissonant. It's unnerving, without being intrusive. There are no recognizable themes (except for the opening/closing credits music) and lasts for about 45 minutes. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Toccata- for a vampire's castle, of course! ;-)

Bach, not for creepiness, but because it's good stuff.

Emilie Autumn - Laced/Unlaced: a lot of violin tracks (classical covers) for urban/tavern/inn scenarios and the few harder tracks (keyboard/elec. guitars) seem ideal for haunted castle encounters.

Sovereign Court

The Akira soundtrack (oddness), Fielding by Hala Strana (eerie, eastern european), Temple of Doom - song from Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom soundtrack used in temple scene.

Sovereign Court

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
So what works for you? As always, links are appreciated!

Type O Negative's Glass Walls of Limbo has moaning, incomprehensible chanting, chains, the works!

Also, slightly creepy song about Death and Fiddler's Green is Demons and Wizards' Fiddler on the Green. Not evil, just a touch unsettling.

Liberty's Edge

Lustmord - Heresy
Delerium - Spiritual Archives

I've always kept the Extreme Ghostbusters Score Music by Jim Latham handy ever since he released them as a free download on his website.

They're awesome short little discordantly creepy pieces of mood music which got a serious workout during my running of Skinsaw Murders.

I believe he's taken them down due to bandwidth reasons but they're now hosted HERE.


Ay ay ay! Keep 'em coming ya'll!

Dark Archive

Salem's Lot (2004)Christopher Gordon & Lisa Gerrard (DCD, many soundtracks)
Some action pieces and more melancholy stuff - good variety

One very good track (well, just a good band) which might fit -10 minutes out of 21
Godflesh - Pure II
Used to use it for my Chill games, excellent background music.
The album is heavy dark grind industrial - doesn't fit fantasy gaming, but if you can purchase the one track or pick up the cd for cheap it won't disappoint

I second/third/whatever the various Silent Hill video game soundtracks. I recently used them when I ran my first ever Call of Cthulhu game. The awesome horror music from those soundtracks really set the mood for the game.

I didn't play the spooky/creepy music the whole time, just when the players were in a situation where something "could" happen to them. It really put the players on the edge of their seats and brought the tension levels right up. You could literally see the fear in the players' eyes whenever I reached for the play button on my iPod.

It was the first time I've ever noticed that the background music has had such a big impact on my game.

Olaf the Stout

Great to see mentions of Akira Yamaoka's Silent Hill and Michiru Yamane's Castlevania.

No question I'll be using those soundtracks.

Liberty's Edge

Let me add onto this, since I've gone through my music files again recently:
*Saya no Uta: The soundtrack is short, but creepy as all get out.
*Bram Stoker's Dracula: The movie is excellent, the soundtrack is fantastic.
*Dark City: Heavy and oppressive at times, sharp and frantic at others; still a great pick.
*Jigoku Shoujo: The soundtracks to the three seasons of this anime (translated name: Hell Girl) are worth getting for the tracks called "Jigoku Rock" and "Jigoku Metal" alone.
*Ravenous: Get it. Love it.
*Vampire Princess Miyu: The OST to the TV series (not the OAV) is simply one of the best anime soundtracks ever produced.

Hope those help!

Jeremy Puckett

Hey, I just found this thread! Yay me.

Anyway, I actually have a playlist with about 300 songs called "Creepy Music," a lot of which comes from video games. You can find a lot of these soundtracks online for free. Here are some of my favorites:

-Resident Evil Remake
-Resident Evil 0
-Demento (aka Haunting Ground)
-Fatal Frame 1-3
-Siren 1 and 2

I'd also tentaviely reccomend Silent Hill soundtracks, but a lot of that stuff is more industrial/discordant, and not great as ambient music.

There's some good stuff on the Chrono Trigger soundtrack

From Resident Evil Remake (NSFW b/c of the caption on the screen): Rush of Horror

Also, some more games with creepy/tense music:

-Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 (especially the dungeon themes)
-Neverwinter Nights
-Diablo 1 & 2

It's not an easy CD to find, but Estimating the Time of Death by an obscure project called

is strange, haunting, and worthy of horror games. I used this album to great effect, during a horror-based adventure I ran for D&D several years back. The players were scared out of their minds the entire time.

Note: I do not endorse or share the beliefs/viewpoints of Rozz Williams, Chuck Collision, or any other members of that project.

Liberty's Edge

My current "Fright Night" playlist on my iPod includes:

- The Lacrimosa from Mozart's requiem
- The "Blink" suite and "Unicorn and the Wasp" from the Doctor Who soundtracks (Seasons two and four)

One thing I've found works well for making the players stop and stare is to throw a single song that has lyrics - right now I have "Valhalla's Feast" by Albannach, which gets bonus points for having a crow cawing.

I will definitely be checking out the many awesome suggestions to begin building a proper music library.

Dark Archive Contributor

I favour any Alien soundtrack and Red Priest's Nightmare in Venice when I'm running horror adventures.

I'm going to go a bit of a different route and suggest some good classical music.

Some of this isn't so much 'creepy and spine-tingling' suspenseful music. Some of it is more 'terrible apocalyptic things are happening' music.

Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain

Infernal Dance from Stravinsky's Firebird Suite

Dream of a Witches' Sabbath

Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

Carl Orff's O Fortuna

Mozart's Dies Irae

Liberty's Edge

Resident Evil theme by Marilyn Manson

The score to the video game Riven: The Sequel to Myst is creepy, unobtrusive, and full of mystery. Highly recommended, particularly for horror games. (All of the Myst STs are great for gaming background music, actually, but Riven's specifically has a slightly darker, creepier edge.)

For creepy stuff, I cannot go past the Thief: Deadly Shadows Offical Soundtrack.
It is atmospheric and ominous; working well when reading flavor text. I played Deadly Shadows some years ago, and memories of the Shalebridge Cradle still gives me chills.

The best thing is that the music is not intrusive.
Some of my favorites are:

  • The Blue Heron Inn
  • The Kurshok Citadel
  • Shalebridge Cradle --by far my *most* favorite.

    How to describe it? Ambient as most game music is, but very eldritch and dark; suitable for gothic horror or any driven-darkly campaign. It is something that you have to listen to yourself. Fans of Eric Brosius' work (Thief, Thief 2, Thief:Deadly Shadows and System Shock 2) will know what I mean. You can find most of the OST content here to get a better understanding.

  • Dark Archive

    Marc Radle wrote:
    Anyway, one soundtrack I would also very much add for creepy atmosphere and cool music is The Cell.

    I second The Cell and raise you The Descent soundtrack.

    I noticed there are the more traditional music scores which is cool. However, might I suggest something a little different Ustalav being somewhat loosely based on Transylvania I was thinking traditional balkan music and music with an Arabesque and Turkish beat.

    I was also thinking maybe The Evening Prayer from Humperdincks hansel and Gretel. while not creepy it has a certain gothic tone

    Shadow Lodge

    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I find that the OC Remix of "Kindred Night" from Super Metroid provides an eerie, creepy backing.

    If a person has access to the Ravenloft Dungeon Master's Guide, pages 39 to 42 has a good list of music that would more than likely be appropriate to Carrion Crown.

    And I have to second the Ravenous Soundtrack. Been creeping out players with that one for years.

    Silver Crusade

    I would like to add music from BioShock games. Also why not music from the Supernatural Series.

    I intend to use stuff by manson and also some stuff by psyclon nine, which is probably too electronic but it will get the idea pretty well.

    Switchblade Symphony
    Inkubus Sukkubus
    My Dying Bride
    Razor Blade Kisses
    The 69 Eyes
    Echo and the Bunnymen

    Manuel de Falla, Dance of Terror

    Krzysztof Penderecki, Dimensions of Time and Silence

    Krzysztof Penderecki, Polymorphy

    Krzysztof Penderecki - Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima

    Frederick Chopin, Funeral March

    Sergei Rachmaninoff, Prelude Op.3 No.2 in C-sharp minor

    Charles Ives, Robert Browning Overture

    Edgard Varèse, Arcana

    Bela Bartók - Out of Doors, BB 89 Sz.81 - 3. Musettes

    Dmitry Shostakovich Symphony No. 10, mvmt. 2

    Dmitri Shostakovich, Symphony no. 2 "to October" mvt. 1 Largo

    Allan Pettersson, Symphony No. 7

    Anton Webern, Variationen op. 27

    Several selections from Delerium

    Temple Of Light

    Riptide 777, I really like your selections. I will use some of those extensively in future games.

    Thanks. :-) More to come when I get the chance.

    Liberty's Edge

    Jeff Greinke - Moving Through Fog

    Jeff Greinke - Among Icebergs

    Cities in Fog MP3s on Amazon

    Liberty's Edge

    I am totally late to the party, here, but on the classical side, almost anything by Wagner (especially Der Ring des Nibelungen) would probably work well.

    Rhys Grey wrote:

    It's not an easy CD to find, but Estimating the Time of Death by an obscure project called ** spoiler omitted ** is strange, haunting, and worthy of horror games. I used this album to great effect, during a horror-based adventure I ran for D&D several years back. The players were scared out of their minds the entire time.

    Note: I do not endorse or share the beliefs/viewpoints of Rozz Williams, Chuck Collision, or any other members of that project.

    Dude, these samples are genuinely creepy. I've also been going through music samples by Williams' primary project, Christian Death, and there's a lot of horrorshow goodness in their work. Thanks for the tip off on this!

    Liberty's Edge

    Serenity. For both creepy mood music and high intensity battles:

    Trading Station Robbery
    River Goes Wild
    River and Simon
    Population Dead
    Haven Destroyed
    Mal Decides
    Crash Landing
    Run to Black
    Generator Room
    Mal and Op fight
    Final Battle

    Scarab Sages

    Soundtracks to Hammer films.

    Ligeti's Lux Æterna (2001: A Space Odyssey)

    John Carpenter, In the Mouth of Madness; esp. "Hobb's End Escape" & "The Portal Opens"
    Pino Donaggio, Carrie(1976); esp. "Collapse Of Carrie's Home" & "School In Flames"
    Various Artists, Shutter Island; esp. "Fog Tropes," "Rothko Chapel 2," "Uaxuctum," & "Lizard Point"
    Brian Tyler and Klaus Badelt, Constantine; esp. "Destiny" & "Ether Surfing"
    Brian Reitzell, 30 Days of Night; esp. "Girl Bait," "They Didn't Take Me," & "Overture"

    There's a few things from when I put together my Age of Worms soundtrack that should work well.

    Here's some that stand out to me...

    Claude Debussy, Assez vif et bien rhythme
    Claude Debussy, Nuages
    Yasunori Mitsuda, Dead Sea - Ruined Tower (Chrono Cross OST)
    Fryderyk Chopin, Prelude for piano No. 2 in A minor ('Presentiment of Death')
    Nine Inch Nails, 5 Ghosts I (There's a lot of good ambient stuff on this album)
    Motoi Sakuraba, Lakes and Marshes with Doubt (Star Ocean: Till the End of Time OST)
    Enya, Pax Deorum
    Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral
    Nine Inch Nails, Ripe (With Decay)
    Jerry Goldsmith, The Alien Planet (Alien OST)
    Erik Satie, Gnossienne No.1
    Erik Satie, Gnossienne No. 3

    anyone considered setting up a Pandora station for this music?

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