Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Music Memories

When I started out gaming in the 1980s I was never bothered about music in my games, but I used to always listen to it when I was designing stuff.

I used to write up a lot of stuff for my basic red box D&D games, fantasy adventures in which I'd try to emulate my two favourite fantasy things at the time, the John Boorman movie Excalibur and the HTV show Robin of Sherwood. I designed a fantasy version of middle England and I'd listen to classical music while I did it. I've still got my notes here - I'll scan or photograph them sometime and put them up.

The music of choice was Beethoven, and I'd usually listen to his Fifth Symphony. It's a famous piece but most people can't get past the dot-dot-dot-dash V for victory opening. The rest of the piece is incredible. In fact, it's become so embedded in my memory as a piece of music associated with my 1980s roleplaying and basic D&D in particular that every time I hear it, it sends me back to the tiny box room that was my bedroom, and the hours I spent under a lamp scribbling notes, drawing maps and imagining grand adventures in my make believe country. It was a grand time, when creating and designing were just as important as the game itself.

I've been a bit lacklustre in my creativity lately, mainly due to time constraints, but I'm wondering if putting on some Beethoven might stoke my creative fire.

Hey - it worked twenty plus years ago.


  1. Two thumbs up for Wagner (via Boorman's Excalibur sound track).
    In my experience background music playing during an RPG session was one of those things that sounded like great idea on paper, but ended up being a distraction in actual play.

    That said, I can't think of a time I've ever played Axis & Allies without Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' (the movie or the album) playing on auto repeat in the background.

  2. It used to get on my nerves at first but I realised that if you used music with no lyrics that suited the genre you were gaming in, and it's not to loud, then it can help.

    I collect movie soundtracks, and for games I try to get hold of music that maybe not everyone has heard so that they don't get sucked out of the game's reality, like Lord of the Rings during a Warhammer game, that sort of thing.

    Saying that, everyone I used to play Warhammer 40K with insisted on heavy/death metal playing - erm... nah. :)