Its music Monday and I'm looking at giving you five tracks I have a great love for. This week I'll be opening the door very slightly and playing what I've played for my gaming groups and perhaps surprising you slightly...I hope.
As a role player and G.M (games master) I have a love for music that lends itself to high drama. I watch films and genuinely keep a clear ear on the soundtrack in the hope of finding something that I can buy to create mood and fill the session we play with a mood that allows the players to better play their characters.
Don't worry, tonight is not a instrumental movie night. Nope. For me, the really big moments are met with silence or sometimes a very carefully selected song. Something I connect an emotion with and try to channel that feeling into the room to create genuine drama and get real reactions from the guys and gals around the table.
Sometimes it really doesn't work. Here are five times that it did.
SAVE ME by Aimee Mann
The game was set in a future apocalyptic wasteland. Lots of vegetation and life by humanity was on the brink. I had a large group of players backed up by an expansive cast of support characters. A set of twins were separated and one was believed dead. The remaining character fought with depression and the players were very careful to keep a good eye on her.
I had the character commit suicide.
It was sad and we played the funeral. Genuinely sad feeling and something I'll strive for every single time; none combat based drama. The song made the scene.
ITS NOT DARK YET By Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan does it for me. I just love his music. So when I went looking for something for the end of a heavy session it was to him I went.
Same group, same characters and a similar feel, but on a much larger scale. The end of a large set piece battle, a battle which saw us wave goodbye to half the cast of the game itself. I cut away at least three support characters and it was clear to all that at least three players were dead.
It was a battle they narrowly won and certainly even more narrowly survived. When the dust had settled we said good bye to those characters to this song. It was a very strong moment to my mind. I hope the players look back and remember it as keenly as I do.
THE FIRST TIME I EVER SAW YOUR FACE By Roberta Flack
I tasked my small team to start the session off each week. Give them the reins so to speak. Each player would have to give us the opening scene setter. It was on a subject that we'd agreed and they brought their own music.
Not so easy when you're reading out something you've written, in character, in front of the team. Sometimes they weren't always in the mood, a danger that faces the G.M every week.
This particular week @mamacrow took a complicated relationship with a support character and produced some magic. The song started and she totally nailed it.
(by the way the song is fucking amazing too!)
SHUT UP AND LET ME GO By The Ting Tings.
The team have been captured. Two comedic super villains are monologuing, cutting into each others verbal 'gloat time', insisting they have equal amounts of rubbing the players noses in and arguing like a stereotypically grumpy old couple.
As they moan and bicker for several minutes the guys are laughing (as was the point) and this comes on. Lots more laughs. A well pitched comedic turn augmented with the right song at the right time.
To finish we have the next song I'm going to use. I'm always trying to bring the game to the players in a fresh way. I've written a weekly paper (too much work), I currently record all of the game in two blogs (an in-game one with news articles to support the sessions and an out of game one to give them updates, let them know who's playing, when, where and I also to keep a record they can check of what happened in every session so they can follow plot strands and be better prepared for the actual sessions).
This year though I've worked with one of the players and produced trailers for the characters and upcoming events. It's taken hours of getting used to the tech but we have a pretty good understanding of what needs to happen, when and where and we put it together so the players can get an extra kick out of playing and maybe when its all done they can look back over the c.ds we give them.
A permanent record of the story and a reminder of how much fun we had.
Here it is. I'm looking forward to working with this one.
That's it. Normally I wouldn't talk about the role-playing I'm involved in. I tend to predict sniggering people that point and think it means we aren't cool, I can live with that, but we aren't freaks.
I think we challenge ourselves to have fun by telling stories and maybe that's a more traditional, instinctive thing to do for our species than sit and watch t.v, the same sort of thing but without the interaction part.
See you next week folks. Something super different then I think.
Thanks for reading and listening.