Need music for the gaming table (what's your favorite?)

Music & Audio

got a game running with some buddies of mine, looking for good sources for backround music and such.

i've got a good collection of Two Steps From Hell's stuff (upon recommendation), but it feels a tad too heavy for minor battles and ambient bgms.

any suggestions? and what do you listen to at the table, if you've got background music?

paticularly i'm looking for... celtic inspired stuff (not sure of the exact genre name), think lord of the rings movies or final fantasy crystal chronicles-sounding.

Dark Archive

I'd also like to hear people's suggestions for the celtic inspired stuff. So bump.

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The OST (by Basil Polidouris?) for the original Conan movie has always been popular with some of my GMs.

I have a standard mix including some of Nox Arcana's albumns (Blood of the Dragon, Winter's Knight, Necronomicon), Midnight Syndicate (OST Dungeons and Dragons), Joseph Loduca (OST Xena Warrior Princess), Howard Shore (OSTs for all three Lord of the Rings), and some downloaded tracks from a 3.5 Eberron CD (from WotC, I think?).

It's important to exclude distracting performances, particularly the vocal ones (unless you need "sinister chanting" or the like).

One amusing track on the listed Midnight Syndicate albumn is entitled "... uh-oh ...". Something which we've all experienced! :)

As for Celtic-inspired stuff, I have a few suggestions: Enya, Era, Loreena McKennitt, and a few Steeleye Span numbers.

Grand Lodge

There are actual soundtracks for noises like that. I also recommend the soundtrack of Skyrim. It. Is. BEAUTIFUL!

Liberty's Edge

I use a lot of soundtracks. Some movie soundtracks (Van Helsing, Conan, Gladiator, 300), but mostly video game soundtracks. I find that video game music is a lot more ambient, because anything can be happening in a scene in a game, whereas movie soundtracks tend to be scored to fit what's happening in the scene. Some good video game soundtracks I use:

- Any of the Infinity Engine games (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, etc.)
- Neverwinter Nights
- God of War series (great combat music)
- Darksiders
- Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War series (more good combat music)
- Dragon Age
- Elder Scrolls series (mainly Oblivion and Skyrim)
- Dante's Inferno
- Diablo series (good ambient adventure music)
- Torchlight
- WoW

I just have the tracks separated into three playlists in iTunes: town, adventure, and combat. I have a pair of speakers at the table into which I plug my iPhone, then just set the appropriate playlist on random.

Radio Rivendale website is good. Final Fantasy Reunion Tracks (FF7) too

All of the above plus

Blind Guardian
- Any other operatic rock

I suppose Rob Zombie would be good for trips to Ustalav.

A mix of soem anime music (some of it quite good)

Liberty's Edge

Ooh, I'd never heard of Radio Rivendell before. Nice find!

This is a collection of fantastic (and free!) fantasy-themed ambient music. There are both calm tones for explorations and heavier stuff for combat. It's amazing work overall:

Celestial Aeon Project

people have also been recommending kevin macleod's stuff--apparently the man's a wizard with bgms

My group's favorite is the 5 Hour Megamix.

I have a set of music I use for gaming background, and its mostly soundtracks:

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Complete Soundtrack.
Diablo, Diablo II, Diablo III, and Torchlight game soundtracks as well.
The Mummy soundtrack (The Brendan Frasier one).
The Blood of the Dragon by Nox Arcana
Necronomicon by Nox Arcana

Some of my players have said that music at the gaming table is distracting. So I've stopped using it.

There's a whole Obsidian portal page devoted to this, you should check it out, it's already sorted by type.

I use music at the table pretty extensively. Things that I have found to be true of the many and varied groups that I have been a part of that have done so:

  • Volume should be quite low, excluding scenes where the music absolutely fits the mood. It should be noted that doing the latter is hard - I have some experience in pro and semi-pro sound design, and the work in theatre specifically helps with that.
  • Music that is active - lyrics, aggressive interesting melodies - tends to fall very flat. Trying to talk over the lyrics often does more to sully the experience. If I *do* use lyrics, they're pretty exclusively in a language that players don't speak.
  • I second the above as regards video game music - most film scores wind up being so busy that they interfere with the interactions.

Having said that, I probably buy more music for these purposes than straight listening.


Daniel May has an album called "Feng Shui" that is just spectacular for a High Fantasy game - despite the name, it's not so much Asian-themed as one might think. An utterly beautiful work.

For Celtic things, there is an album by Jeff Johnson & Brian Dunning tellingly called "Music of Celtic Legends." It's spectacular background music - hauntingly lush.

For Renaissance-era performance music, I have never found anything remotely close to Richard Searles' "Jongleurs Dance." It's era-appropriate pieces, with skilled musicians and crisp recording.

It is literally what people might hear when walking through a cosmopolitan market, or in a well-funded tavern, or when nobility entertains.

For soundtracks, I often look to certain composers:

Pretty much anything by Yasunori Mitsuda is spectacular - the Chrono Cross soundtrack formed the backbone of my playlists for years, his album "Kirite" is stupidly good, and his collaboration with Millenial on the "Xenogears OST - Creid" EP is a weird combination of Asian, Celtic, rock and orchestral scoring that is one of the coolest pieces of music I've been fortunate enough to come across.

Anything by Austin Wintory is pure gold. Journey and Horn are the two that come to mind, but the man makes some of the best music for these purposes.

For a good collection of music that I use for more 'actiony' scenes such as combat, "Drammatica: The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura" has a nice and varied collection of her work with Square Enix - very good for military-type conflicts, and the occasional boss fight. The Dragon Age soundtracks are very good for this type of thing as well - Inon Zur is a great composer in general.

For boss fights, I switch up the music and pull out the big stops - Nobuo Uematsu is very good at this - latin chanting, orchestral bombast, the whole nine yards. Also, pretty much the entirety of the Darksiders and God of War soundtracks work for these purposes.

... welp. Clearly, I've spent too long in grad school, away from being a part-time music critic, as I apparently needed to write a big block of text there.

Anyway, I hope that is helpful to someone! :)

Music is awesome and I like it

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Some of my players have said that music at the gaming table is distracting. So I've stopped using it.

To satisfy my curiosity, what shape did that take? What songs, volume, when did you use it, etc?

If you don't mind, of course. Looking for pitfalls to avoid, and ways to improve.

Deopends on the scene.
Force thiem for a party death
just about anything from Apocoliptica for a fight
and perhaps some kind of circus music for chases

I always have music on in the background, though pretty low.
In addition to a lot of what was mentioned previously (Conan and LOTR are must haves), I really like the Epic Score volumes available in iTunes. There is a whole series (like 12 now I think) of volumes that are great for RPG's.

Also, you should check out the Sonic Legends track available on Paizo. I have a few and they are suitable as well.

I actually spend some time creating playlists for each part of each adventure because I like the variety.

Also, if you can get it, I highly recommend the soundtrack from the original Quake computer game (NIN Trent Reznor). It is great for anything and everything with any kind of horror theme.

I have also purchased ambient sounds for a variety of scenes, including seaside, towns, taverns, deep forest and more.

Killstring wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Some of my players have said that music at the gaming table is distracting. So I've stopped using it.

To satisfy my curiosity, what shape did that take? What songs, volume, when did you use it, etc?

If you don't mind, of course. Looking for pitfalls to avoid, and ways to improve.

It's been a while. As I recall I had a third edition iPod with a bunch of soundtrack music as well as some rock and roll, pop and easy listening songs. I had the iPod connected to a Bose Wave radio and had it playing very low. Usually I had soundtrack stuff like LoTR or Final Fantasy (my kids love Final Fantasy).

The main person who said it was distracting is one who rarely listens to music of any kind, so our situation might be unusual, especially if you are playing with younger folks who grew up playing video games with soundtracks.

Braveheart(Movie Soundtrack) is nice.

Don't use the Gladiator (Movie Soundtrack) when the party is in town... they will inadvertently just Kill all the townfolks and cause mayhem.

Liberty's Edge

I actually don't like the LOTR soundtrack for my game. I find that it's too recognizable and distracting.

Grand Lodge

Conan the Destroyer OST.




The only ones I've used are the Vampire the Masquerade computer game soundtracks and Michael Uhrich's Weird Wailin's for the Deadlands game setting.

When I started my Steampunk campaign back in the spring I played the traditional opening music from the Final Fantasy series with the harp scaling up and down. I think I might have had a "Start New Game" sign hanging on the front of my GM shield too.

Dead Can Dance

AndIMustMask wrote:

got a game running with some buddies of mine, looking for good sources for backround music and such.

I've composed and produced some songs for my group; please feel free to use them if they work for you.

Some are in the Media folder for the Bold Beginnings Campaign .

This is the newest one Dancing on Nails.

Let me know your thoughts.

In service,

The Original Dr Games since 1993

I enjoy ambient music very much (I'm a huge metalhead and love symphonic power metal, but it distracts both players and I in game), and was new to the Celestial Aeon project, "The Fall Of Ragnaros" is almost perfect for what I want, and I'm looking into other material of theirs now, thanks!

My best finds (I'm running the Carrion Crown Adventure Path at present) have been the creepier Nox Arcana and Midnight Syndicate albums. Specifically those dealing with asylums, Lovecraftian themes, graveyard, vampires, etc. Does anyone else have any good recs along these lines? Fairly simple, minimalistic ambient material that really sets a great mood without getting in the way?

Oh, and score one for Killstring. Austin Wintory is top-notch!

Grand Lodge

Everytime I see one of these types of post, everyone says Conan OST. That's for a reason I feel.

Depending on scene and flavor, I also add Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, or Hero soundtracks.

Liberty's Edge

Here are the main soundtracks that make up my gaming music.

By main, I mean there is a LOT of great stuff on these and I ended up choosing a significant number of tracks from each one when compiling my master collection of gaming tracks.

I also have a number of assorted single pieces from a number of other soundtracks as well to round things out, but these CDs serve as my primary sources:

Conan the Barbarian
The Cell
Lord of the Rings (all three)
Lost (TV show)
The DaVinci Code
King Kong (new one)
The Last of the Mohicans
Pirates of the Caribbean (all three)
Last of the Mohicans
Kingdom of Heaven
King Arthur
The 13th Warrior
Batman Begins
The Dark Knight
Clash of the Titans
Prince of Persia
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (Kevin Cosner version)
Robin Hood (new one)
Star Trek (new one)
The Tudors
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

I recently picked up the soundtrack for Bastion and have added a good portion of it into my Go-To Game Music Folder.

Additionally, I've been using the soundtrack for Dragon Age: Origins exclusively for a Shackled City campaign I've been running for about 6 months.

Erdenstern makes some decent music. I particularly find their Into the Red and Into the Green albums useful for my Kingmaker campaign.

Also, if you can find it, Quest for Glory V has some particularly evocative music in its soundtrack.


Swedish folk-inspired band.

I've never used background music during a game, but when writing adventures and brainstorming for ideas, I used a lot of the music suggested above.

I really enjoy stuff like:
- The first couple "Diablo" soundtracks
- The ambient bits from the "Dungeon Keeper" and "Dungeon Keeper 2" soundtracks
- The Goblins' soundtrack from "Suspiria"
- Those wonderful mood-pieces that metal bands like Celtic Frost and their imitators insert between their heavier songs (see "Tears in a Prophet's Dream" for example....)
- The soundtracks from the "Phantasm" film series
- The soundtracks from "The Fog" and "Halloween"

For fantasy background music, it seems like the "Conan" soundtrack's always a win.

I like the suggestions of Garmarna and Lorena McKennit in some of the replies above.

Well i make a mistake and i post a blank message :(


Well i just want to say : we have a lot of good music for RPG like witcher 1,2 and 3 - Pilalrs of eternity - Bastion - alien isolation and more video game.

I do mix of music for RPG table if someone needs. You can find it here.

If you need music for a 1920 ambiant you have caro esmerald or Bioshock 1 and 2 with old music.

It has been mentioned before, but always worth remembering:

More free music than you can use, and a wide variety to use in many adventure/horror/anything-RPG-related situations.

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