Music for your games?

What kinds of music do you like to play to give ambiance to your games? I know a lot of GMs like to play something either at the start or during the game to get players in the right mental space. And obviously music has been a big part of the Star Trek shows and movies from the start. So what works for all of you?

NEVER during session. I find music distracts more than it helps.

Before session? Star Trek Themes are great.
I also tend to get in the mood using Spyro Gyra, Tangerine Dream, Mike Oldfield.

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One of my Players begann to snorre, while I was playing TNG-Bridgesounds through the whole session.


Getting players in the right mindset occurs with the Log reading - serves as recap for what occurred since mission start or a hint at what’s to come based on any orders issued by Star Fleet. The only things I allow at the table - handbook, character sheet, pencils, notebooks, dice, and tokens for threat, momentum, and determination. Anything else is a distraction to playing the game.

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I play First Contact theme before game to set the mood.

We have a custom intro as if we were a Star Trek TV show. Besides that, I rarely use music. Sometimes ambient noises.

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Our GM has got pretty much the entire selection of TOS scores, and it’s been a very much appreciated addition to our game sessions. I should probably mention that in-game music has been a constant in our RPG sessions since the early '80s - one of the “staples”, shall we say, of our FASATrek game was what we ended up calling “digga-digga-digga” music for scraps; the fight scene music from The Abyss as an example - heavy conga-type rapid drum beats stuff that didn’t seem to override the intensity of the scene.

In any case, as stated, we’re currently using TOS material for all sorts of situations, conflict-oriented and pure dramatic alike. I can say, without fear of contradiction, that TOS’ composers set a level of excellence for the show that has, to the best of my knowledge, rarely, if ever, been equalled.

During a session, none really, or at least background jams really low.

Myself and my player don’t have a lot of experince in the RPG scene so we’re trying to keep focus.

That said, whenever the crew go to the bar I like to play the hit of Captain Kirk or that pogo song that everyone likes

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During a game session I find music distracting and annoying. Some players (I have a couple ex-military types) who have trouble with sounds due to artillery or high pitched jet engines.

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I’ve used music as a theme at the start and end of the game session, to signify when it’s “game on” and time to stop chatting and start playing (and to provide closure at the end of the session), which has worked quite well with different groups.

Having players with auditory processing issues, background music during the sessions can be distracting and prevent them catching the more important gaming action. At other times, a relevant low-level background sound can help with immersion - just nothing with lyrics!

I love using music in games, but my players have problems with discord and bandwith already, so I don’t want to add another element to make it difficult for the players to hear what’s being said. I will start using sfx like doors opening and transporters.

Out if interest, @barefoottourguide, if you’re gaming over Discord, what bot/app do you use for playing music over it? I’ve been looking at Darkside138’s Discord Soundboard, which creates a bot on your machine that pops up in the voice channel to play effects or music from your hard drive or Dropbox when you trigger it, but if there’s another solution that also works …

I’ve been using a bit recently, and there’s an ability to make and link to playlists there, and on the soundboard part of the site, you can set up a broadcast link, send that to your players, and they’ll hear the sounds and ambience you activate.

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I keep wanting to use background music, but some of the players find it distracting or headache-inducing.

I like the idea of using theme music to bookend the session though - it might keep them in character!

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SimonLandmine, I use the roll20 built in jukebox for playing audio for the games. I’ll check out the Darkside.

Ah! I’ve not been using Roll20 yet, so didn’t know it had a jukebox! Ta!

Yep, sometimes has that effect. A quick “jingle” or sting (i.e. up to 30secs in length) might also be useful to mark changes of scene, and might also help with the character thing. I might be trying that in my next session, too, actually … just need to find one suitable. (Fortunately, one of my local second-hand CD shops had a bunch of ‘production music’ CDs on clearance, so I have a load of thematic/dramatic tracks that I can pick from … unfortunately, I have a load of thematic/dramatic tracks to pick from …)

The TTA sounds are rather good - I’ve downloaded a few of the 10-minute background tracks - while I don’t use them during sessions, they can be quite handy for getting into the right atmospheric mindset when drafting locations and scenes.

Some of my players (including, very, very limited, me) have skills in various programming languages. I thus plan to have a customised soundboard with various sound-effects (phasers, transporters, warp-wooshes etc.) at everybody’s hands. This will be quite new to our group, so I don’t know whether we will stick to it.

As for ambient noises/music: We do play background-music regularly. Many of us grew quite a collection of soundtracks and ambients over the years, but never bothered to categorise them (i.e. ‘battles music’, ‘tavern music’ etc.). So, in the end, we mostly rely to streaming services (that are unknown to me because one of the others does it with his tablet-pc).

I might try different ambient noises like a warp-core hum when aboard the ship. I had good experience with this sort of thing on LARPs (not Star Trek, though) and am curious how it will be with tabletop-RPGs.

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I did download some red alert, communicator and explosion sounds from TrekCore to my phone. They can be quite effective in returning attention to the matter at hand!

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