Day 19: #RPGaDay 2018 – “Enhance”

Weekend 3: Inspiration             Prompt 19: What music enhances your game?

This prompt for #RPGaDay2018 is not any easier than yesterday’s! Like yesterday, it seems easy, but as I have mentioned in the past, music does not usually play a role in how I run a session… note the ‘usually.’

Music does play a role in my games, but generally that is not at the table any more. I did experiment with it a fair bit, particularly in my long White Wolf period, but eventually those experiments ran their course and helped me set mine.

In the Mood?

In the old days I took a cue from Glenn Miller and the movies and used music to help motivate and mould mood. When it worked, it worked very well, but I found I had to work it to make it work and I realized that I preferred to put my attention toward other parts of the session than that.

Where I found a good comfort with music and gaming was not as a sort of soundtrack, but as a form of prop – a supporting point to description and setting knowledge that would actually be a part of a scene, rather than be a message to players about how to take a scene. When prohibition era investigators walked into a music-filled room, I like to be able to let the players hear what their characters are hearing as I help them imagine what they are seeing. When a paranoid coterie of new leeches slink into a bar to dance perchance to feed, I like the room to reverberate with the desperate tones of the times. It is ambiance and mood management, yes – but it is also realia and that is where I find I am best able to use music in play.

Get me to the church on time!

Music plays its strongest role in my games long before a session gets played. I often figure out the roots, branches, and thorns of a character through music and lyrics, and then use the memory of the song as a device for re-establishing that persona should it enter play.

Songs are full of the intricacies of human feeling and relationships, and full of metaphor and vague hints that let them apply to almost anything we wish. It is a vast library of NPC attitude, agenda, and ability just waiting to be accessed – and without the need for quiet!

As I travel to the site of a game, or wait for people to arrive, my mind is full of the music of the people who occupy our worlds of play, and that leads to filling my mouth with their words and perspectives, and that I feel enhances play~



We start our fourth week and move to the new trigger for topics, “Which.”  The prompt for Monday, Day 20 of #RPGaDay2018, is to discuss the role of mechanics in inspiring your play.


As has been my habit since the second year of #RPGaDay, I am also keeping pace with the prompts on video. The content of the videos and the blog overlaps, but is not exactly the same, and where the greater emphasis on detail resides varies from day to day.


This ends the third weekend of the fifth iteration of the monthly roleplaying gaming celebration launched by Autocratik for all forms of social media. Share your responses however you prefer to share. If you want to get involved, grab and share the infographic with the prompts and jump right in!

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