Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mood Music

We have a long history of playing music during our game sessions, and it has nothing to do with generating a mood usually... or at least not a game-specific mood. It is used to engender a "fun" mood, because the game session is really nothing more than a concentrated little party of friends. So, we play whatever we feel like, leaning heavily in the rock department with some forays into rap, usually all of the somewhat more underground variety. (I am being simplistic here because we have broad tastes and to go into a list would take forever. We listen to lots of different stuff at the table.)

Before the guests arrive, though, and I am still preparing for the session... that is a different story. I usually need between one and three hours to get the room ready, go through my game notes and flesh out any specific ideas, and generally get myself in the proper state of mind for DMing. It's all about set and setting, so I have a specific group of records I play that help me to reach that state, depending on which particular game we might be playing.

  • Lustmord—Heresy: My theme music for taking our group through The Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. That set a real nice tone for an apocalypse cult.
  • Throbbing Gristle—The Third Mind Movements: This became the theme for my Gamma World campaign for it's slightly rabid, end-of-civilization vibe.
  • Tangerine Dream—Zeit: The current theme album for my low-level, sandbox campaign. A little spooky with a strong sense of mystery.
  • There Will Be Blood soundtrack: Sometimes I play this one before anything else, while I am cleaning the room, as an aperitif.
  • The Future Sound of London—Lifeforms: I almost always play this just as my friends are arriving and we are getting started. It is long and a good way to keep things focussed on getting the session rolling. Plus, it kind of acts as a mental trigger for the players. The music has a nice "universal traveler" vibe.
  • Sonic Youth—Silver Session: I actually have a number of Sonic Youth's SYR releases that are great noisy-spacy jams, but right now I am digging this album for it's sheer wall-of-noise value. Great for clearing out my head. (Reminiscent of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.)

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