You may remember that a few months ago, I posted an article that was essentially a series of links to websites that would be of use to both players and GMs in creating both worlds and characters. It included a twitter feed that generated a random map once per hour, a website with story idea generators as well as name and race generators, another website with generators for many different kinds of names, a third website with generators for personalities and other things, and a random city map generator.
I have a few additions to make to this list of resources. However, whereas the links in my previous article all had to do with preparing for games, the two I have today are more for setting the mood in the game itself.
Crysknife007The first one is Crysknife007, a YouTube channel that describes itself as 'Ambient Geek Sleep Aids.' At this moment, it has over 600 videos, most of them being ambient engine noise from various spacecraft from nearly any sci-fi film or television show you can imagine. These videos come in varying lengths, from one to twelve hours, enabling you to sleep all night long to the ambient noise of the engines from the original Battlestar Galactica. And not just engine noise; there are videos of the ambient sounds from Decker's apartment in Blade Runner, the ambient noise from the Star Trek Holodeck, or even the ambient sounds of the railgun from Quake 3.
Now, of course, if you're as big a game dork as I am, you're probably thinking, 'This would make excellent background mood settings for my sci-fi games!' And I agree. In fact, the GURPS Firefly game I was running was going to use the 'Firefly: Serenity Ambient Engine Sound' as a mood enhancer, before the group collapsed.
There's much more than just sci-fi and video game ambient sounds. Many of the more recent videos are simply generated noise of various types (there's one that's a combination of pink noise, brown noise, and blue noise), as well as ambient sleep sounds created from the actual electromagnetic emissions produced by various bodies in our solar system (planets and moons). I'm sure creative GMs can find use for these sounds!
If you're looking for more evocative audio, you might head over to Tabletop Audio. This website is a collection of ten-minute audio files designed to help evoke the feeling of various settings that you might encounter in a roleplaying game. There aren't as many tracks here as Crysknife007 has, and they're not as long, but they have much more than just sci-fi audio. At this moment, they have audio for wild west settings, horror, traditional fantasy, modern urban soundscapes, early twentieth century settings, generic natural soundscapes, and much much more.
These come in a variety of formats: some are purely ambient noise (such as the track '747 Interior'), others are purely music (like 'Protean Fields,' which aims to evoke a Lovecraftian feel). Some are a balance of music and ambiance ('Super Hero' being one such example). Others are an unbalanced mix: either Music + Minimal Ambiance (for instance, 'Dark City,' for dark modern action/suspense games) or Ambiance + Minimal Music (like 1940's Office).
The website is entirely advertisement free, and is powered by donations (they even have a Patreon), so you won't be bothered by annoying pop-ups or other intrusions.
I do hope that you find both of these resources to be useful in making your games even more immersive and enjoyable. Have fun playing with these new tools, and be sure to come back next week. Until then,