Music for Ravenloft

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So I'm running the new Expedition to Castle Ravenloft campaign book for my group and I was wondering what would be good mood music for an adventure OF GOTHIC HORROR!? I don't want it to have singing, and it'll be quiet in the background, but I'd like some ideas. HIT ME!

Planescape: Torment Soundtrack.
...Maybe not quite 'horror,' but it seems a mite dark.
I happened to have some old soundtracks left to me by a roommate. I went through them for my office Halloween party and the best one I had was Bram Stoker's Dracula soundtrack. It's pretty eerie all the way through. No singing, just music.

Others that I had but didn't like were Blade, interview with a Vampire, The Crow soundtrack and The Crow Score, Underworld and a few others I can't remember at the moment.

Bram Stoker's Dracula is worth it if you can find it anywhere these days. Hope that helps.
There are a lot of very moody soundtracks out there:

- From Hell
- Road to Perdition
- Son de Mar: Piano Magic
- Eyes Wide Shut (the songs made by Jocelyn Pook and Grey Clouds by Franz Liszt are extremely genious)
- The Ninth Gate (which I highly recommend for any Ravenloft Setting)
- In some aspects: End of Days
- For some scenes: The Mummy
- Also Interview with a Vampire has a very good background sound
- Elend: Lecons de Ténèbres (not a soundtrack but a real dark sound, but it is with a voice)
- I don't own it but I think the House of Wax Soundtrack is very good either
From the FoS DM trick vault:

Not everything in a movie soundtracks is good. Great tracks for a gothic game are mixed with other moods. To skip these useless tracks, or to avoid sudden changes from the ‘mood’ needed in game, I put all my music on the computer (legal as long as you do not share it) and sort it by ‘theme’ folders. Those are the ‘themes’ I use in my Ravenloft game:

Exploration music– investigations and explorations. Hints of stress or anxiety in them.
Heroic and action – for battles, pursuits, and other heroic feats.
Mystery – similar to exploration. Calm music with hints of supernatural or something menacing
Sounds - fun sounds I found here and there.
Stress - self explanatory too, but very stressful parts of the game.
Supernatural and unknown – eerie music
Sad – self explanatory again
Miscellaneous - vistani music, tavern music, circus music, religious temple (whether good or evil), etc.

I have a list for each folder, providing for each track the length and my thoughts for each track. I note switch of mood or pace within a track. It’s not that long to make, I upgrade the list once in a while with new tracks I first listen to when doing something else.

Before a game, I review my game plan and choose music for each part of the adventure. Sometimes players do not notice the efforts but it works, it works 200%.

Also: do not play the same track over and over. It annoys everybody. What I do for a scene (ex; exploration in the woods) is that I choose 3-5 tracks that I play in loop, it's better for the game IMHO (and one or two of these tracks can be simply bird sounds in this case).


And here's part of my list:

Music (mostly tracks without lyrics, as they disturb the game):

Dead Can Dance
Caspar Brotzman
Dimmu Borgir - a few (I do not like metal)
some Gregorian
Chopin - Funeral March
Raison d'etre - In Sadness, silence and solitude
Trisomie 21 - La Fete Triste
Henri Mancini - Gypsy Violin
Pain Killer - Execution ground (danger in the fog? that's the eerie thing you need)
Diamanda Gallas (need a demoness priestess?)


the RL A light in the Belfry sountrack for sounds (It includes screams, dogs, wolves, thunderstorm, wind, church bells, opening door, etc. But you need to remove the stupid blib sound at the end of each track), and other sounds found on the net (wolves, strorm, bird sounds, etc.). Some Halloween-type soundtrack have spooky atmosphere too (when they are not too cheesey).


The Village (excellent for RL)
A Simple Plan
Aliens II (stress and eerie)
american mcgee's alice
Dracula, of course
Brotherhood Of The Wolf
Edward Scissorhand (sad songs, eerie)
Eyes Wide Shut (the Scary Piano song can't be forgotten once you hear it)
From Hell
Interview With The Vampire (some of it)
First Knight
LotR (a few, too fantasy, and too recognisable - it disturbs the game more then it enhances it)
Midnight Syndicate (again a few. Often too cheesey to my taste)
Mummy Returns
Never Winter Night - see this on the web: Many are good atmospherics
One hour photo
The Ninth Gate
Twelve Monkeys
Sin City ( nice atmospherics)
Sixth Sense
Sleepy Hollow

And many picks from various soundtracks (like one track per movie): Jaws (can't beat this when they go in the water), The omen (ave satani), Twelve Monkeys (theme), Psycho (Shower Scene Theme), Silence of the Lambs (track 12 - cellar), Space Odyssey (Overture), Titanic (Nearer my God to Thee), etc.

Cool, thanks guys. I have two more weeks and one more payday to get this game up and running so I'll check those out. Thanks!

Keep 'em coming, by the way!
I'd suggest the soundtrack from one of the many entries in the Castlevania series. After all, it's music specifically compiled to serve as the soundtrack for exploring the castle of a hostile vampire....
I second the Castlevania!
That which I have from it is brilliant!

I'd also suggest some later Romantic period stuff... the likes of Dvorjak, Smetena... that kind of thing coudl come in handy.
Hell, perhaps even some violin bluesy stuff (yes, I"m aware that sounds odd, but try some of it... it may work a treat).

I'd also suggest you keep an open mind (well you're asking us, so I suppose that's about as open a mind as you'll get)...

And finally, a lesson from my home game - what works for you doesn't necessarily work for your players. What you might find scary or unsetelling may for them be bog-standard.

I do remember I played Metallica's Creeping Death for the battle with the necromancer at the climax of their first DnD adventure in a while...
I haven't run Expedition in any of its forms, but I list all the music I use in my campaign in the DM's commentary of my campaign journals:
(click on sessions 1-6, or 13-14, and then click on the DM commentary link. Commentary for 7-12 coming eventually. Soundtrack choices are listed in Red.)

I don't mean this as a plug for my website, just that I don't have time right now to comb through it for my list of songs. If you don't have time for that either, see Joel's list above, plus: Vas, Apocalyptica, and Nox Arcana.
When I do my MotRD campain, I use the Lineage 2 soundtrack. It can be found on the official website:
Some tracks are great, but some got more heroic sound, it's up to you now! (You could also try the WoW OST and any other MMORPG)
The biggest trick I've found is that you have to go a bit off the beaten track. Every Best Buy and Wal Mart sells soundtracks, but what we're looking for in the way of background music is more the score than the soundtrack. Look for names like Danny Elfman (my personal favorite), Graeme Revell, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and the like.

If you stay away from movies your players have seen a thousand times, it makes your life easier and them less distracted; pass up Spider Man in favor of the original Batman score (everyone's seen it, but not in a little while); the Dracula score mentioned earlier is EXCELLENT, but toss in the (released around the same time, but got a one-hundredth the hype, despite having Robert deNiro) Mary Shelley's Frankenstein score.

A lot of talk has been tossed around about Midnight Syndicate; while the work is really good, I find it a little too busy for use in Ravenloft (though it's okay for some domains, and for other campaign settings).

Another suggestion I can make is this: Play the music from ripped MP3's (legal, of course) stored on your computer IN THE NEXT ROOM. The music should be distant in order to promote an air of mystery; if the computer is right in front of the players (or if you have to change CDs in the middle of a scene), the suspension of disbelief is - well, it's no longer suspended.

Good luck to us all!
I like the idea of it being in a different room, Thig. Thanks for the suggestion.
As has been mentioned already there's the 'A Light in the Belfry' CD of sound effects, but it is fairly difficult to orchestrate these in at the right times.

You could pick two or three sounds that are especially cool, and it wouldn't be too hard to keep a handle on those. It would be especially cool of you could use some of the draggin chains sounds, or something similar, for the approach of the monsters.

First time you played it players would probably think it quite cool, afterwards you could play it to announce the arrival of monsters without previously stipulating that the group was being attacked.

Provided that the encounters the sound accompanied were suitably challenging then it might actually succeed in inspiring a little fear in players, a sense of "Oh no, they're back".

I recall that for one Ravenloft adventure I ran about 5 years ago we employed the sountrack from Sleepy Hollow, which we got on loan from the local library (libraries rock, i'm in one atm).

It worked pretty well, playing quietly in the background and only once did I have to fiddle with the volume control upon reaching a particularly noisy swell in the middle of a track.

Also, you could check out the 'Let Sleeping Gods Lie" album, by Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, which was created for/in association with the d20 Call of Cthulhu game. I haven't been able to get hold of a copy yet, so I'm not sure if it's 100% instruemental, but The Thickets are very cool.
I'm too much of a control freak to leave the music in the next room. I need to be able to switch tracks on the fly to fit the scene. I rip everything to mp3 for ease of switching. the laptop (once set up) is no more distracting or mood breaking than the dice, pencils, papers, dm screen, miniatures, mt. dew and tostitos...
I used to use the score to Queen of the Damned. Very nice brooding creepiness. I especially liked the On The Beach track - where Lestat starts fiddling impossibly fast - for Vistani Camps. Though it's sadly very short.
I used to use the score to Queen of the Damned. Very nice brooding creepiness. I especially liked the On The Beach track - where Lestat starts fiddling impossibly fast - for Vistani Camps. Though it's sadly very short.

Agreed, why I personally don't use music for my games, I've sometimes listen to soundtracks to get me in the mood when I'm playing games. A few of the QotD soundtracks do a good job of this, a shame I don't have them all.
I use music a lot in my Ravenloft campaigns, the personal favorites that always make the list are:
Bram Stoker's dracula soundtrack
Sleepy Hollow soundtrack, Batman soundtrack, pretty much almost anything by Denny Elfman.
A few select tracks from Baldur's Gate 1, Baldur's Gate 2
Eyes Wide Shut soundtrack - with exception of a couple of rock tracks, the rest is excellent and appropriate classical music, or the tremendously disturbing and wonderful Jocelyn Pook tracks (not only the piano theme of the movie, but also the amazing Migrations and Masked Ball tracks, perfect for evoking insanity mood).
Van Helsing soundtrack - a bit faster and more "rollicking" than most horror movies, but a few tracks are perfect for desperate combat scenes.
"In the name of the rose" soundtrack - again, classical and psedo-classical, excellent for suspense mood.
"Interview with a vampire" soundtrack - again, except for rock'n'roll tracks, the music is wonderful and perfect for Ravenloft campaign.
Don't be too quick to overlook soundtracks or scores for other gothic characters. Certainly, the Transylvanian Melody from Young Frankenstein (granted it's a comedy) is haunting and eerie enough for most mysterious encounters. While on Frankenstein kick, the music for the classic Bride of Frankenstein still packs a punch.

I am Also a big fan of the music of Danny Elfman, but do try the music of the master, Bernard Herrmann, on for size. His colaborations with Hitchcock alone can set any creepy mood. And Cape Fear? classic.

For even more gothic style action try Elliot Goldenthal's score for Batman Forever, NOT the soundtrack.
Don't be too quick to overlook soundtracks or scores for other gothic characters. Certainly, the Transylvanian Melody from Young Frankenstein (granted it's a comedy) is haunting and eerie enough for most mysterious encounters.

Until the Mel Brooks fan(s) in the group recognize it, at least, and then kiss any semblance of seriousness bye-bye.
There is a group called Miasma and the carosel of the Headless Horse. I have a CD of thiers Called Peril and it's really dark Gypsy inspired music using violins electric guitars and such. It's the first thing I thought of when I read your thread.
I just remebered a group called Dargaar that makes some cool music that might also fit!
It seems nobody likes much metal, but I'll still recommend Cradle of Filth. Plenty of their tracks feature full orchestral and choral back-ups, and the music of the songs themselves offer a sometimes chilling tone. Anything from the album Midian and older are good catches.
For those who don't like Dani's falsetto on the tracks, it doesn't take much searching to obtain instrumental versions of the songs. Or you could check out the string tribute to the band. I forget the title at the moment.
The suggestions for CoF work equally well for King Diamond and Hellspawn and plenty other bands that fall under the "black metal" classification (most can't or won't make the distinction between death and black metal, so you might run into problems there.)
Dimmu Borgir were mentioned earlier, but I find too many of their songs contain a somewhat industrial sound that might be distracting unless the game was set in the lab of a mad scientist-type.
J. S. Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor"

That's the stereotypical organ music that you always hear on Halloween.
In fact, I might pick one of the other great Bach organ pieces (Toccata and Fugue in F Major's lovely) simply because it's now such a stereotype that it might evoke a bit of a grin at a moment you don't want to.
There's an old video game called Blood which was a very bloody shooting game set in a time period spanning 1880s to 1945. It came with several audio tracks, ranging from cultlike chanting,through to an eerie marching tune, and even including a frenzied chilling carnival score.

Worth getting for the music alone, and also if you like computer games.

Yeah, some songs fit right... but I just don,t see myself letting Nemesis play while the games keep on! ^^

Btw, there is also the Diablo music that might fit in, but just use it if you have NONE-GAMER players or if they play with the sound off...

Era 1 and 2
Revenge of the Sith - has some great dark brooding tracks as does Independance Day

White Wolf produced a CD called Music from the Succubus Club which is quite good.

Lastly, track down almost any type of Gregorian Chanting. It lends quite a good feel.

For any type of low, emotional scene, I can highly recommend Enya, especially the track Carribean Blue from the Shepherd Moon CD.

I've used all of these during my World of Darkness and Revenloft sessions to great effects. Combinations of good music, good story and fine roleplaying by the players have actually had some players jumping at their shadows and physically weeping at some of the NPC deaths. All good.

Good luck with the game, hope you guys have a blast.
Anything by Midnight Syndicate
I second the notion for anything by Midnight Syndicate, and Dimmu Borgir is almost as eerie. If you are looking more along the lines of supernatural, you might give Cradle of Filth a try (Soft White Throat is a very vampiric song IMO).:D
midnight syndicate is the best for this type of game
there is a whole cd put out by WoTC that has a lot of music from MS
and then there are at lest three of four cds of MS music that you can buy on amazon or the like
Midnight syndicate is good, but I have the perfect RL cd.

Look up Nox Arcana on the internet. I specifically think the Transyvania CD is awesome for RL. Not only is there good gothic music for gaming but a few sweet quotes for certain parts of the module.

Example of this would be the sentinals of stone track. I am planning on using it for the entrance of Castle RL where the stone dragons and gargoyles are. The track has a cool stone grating sound effect then multiple creepy voices kick in. "We are the sentinals of stone, we are the guardians to the gateway of shadow, we are the watchers in the night, none shall tresspas here. Then the music kicks in......its too perfect Im telling you.
You might also consider some of the tracks from the Vampire Hunter D movies. The original had scarier tracks but there's good stuff in both of them.
The music for Castlevania has already been suggested, but I believe Metroid also had some strange and spooky tracks in it.

I would also suggest a couple of tracks from the Killer Instinct soundtrack (Arcade/NES Game). The theme songs for SabreWulf, Spinal or Riptor might work out.
There is a band called Fantomas.
They put out an album called "Delirium Cordia"
The album has 1 track, about 60 min. long and is just brilliant for Ravenloft.

Check it out if you can.
I recently found 'The Longest Journey' (PC Adventure) soundtrack available for free download from the publisher's site.

While it's not specifically horror (it's a mix of sf and dreamy-fantasy) a number of the tracks would work for lighter scenes in a game -- sort of Ravenloft daytime music. (And best of all it's free!).
The soundtrack to Bram Stoker's Dracula is the best when it comes to this type of setting.
There are a few choice tracks from Silent Hill 3 that I like. Also, the Sharn CD from Eberron has some good tracks as well.

BTW, thanks for whoever suggested Nox Arcana, man, they are so awesome for Ravenloft... :D
One of my favorite series of all time is the Thief series. I just happened upon the soundtrack for the games, and I noticed that alot of the tracks are quite appropriate for ravenloft. Shalebridge Cradle is especially terrifying.

One of my favorite series of all time is the Thief series. I just happened upon the soundtrack for the games, and I noticed that alot of the tracks are quite appropriate for ravenloft. Shalebridge Cradle is especially terrifying.



Oh dear GOD this game is excellent. I haven't seen anything that quite captures the helplessness of being a noncombat class against fighters, monsters, and undead.

Truly truly I say unto you this is a good game. Get a copy.
One thing to remember that, while eerie and evil are good and all, you need something to give your players a reason to keep fighting. As such, while it may be fun to bogg your players down with evil and horor, try some music that has a mystical, or even, shall I dare say, hopeful notes. As such, to toss in some optimistic spice, I suggest:
Shadow of the Collosus: Prolouge to a Distant Land, Hope, Prayer.

However, for eerie traveling or moments where the player's should doubt their ability to survive in this Land of Horors try:
Shadow of the Collosus: Silence, Creeping Shadow, Demise of Ritual.
 Aion, Tower of Eternity: Death Waltz
Zelda: Shadow Temple
Star Ocean: The Second A: Theme of RENA
Devil May Cry 3: Proulouge

For Intense Combat where the players will most likely die I suggest:
Van Helsing: Final Battle, Transylvanian Horses.
Final Fantasy VII: Sephiroth (only if your players either do not recognize it, or will keep their mouths shut if they do, otherwise use it for when Strahd woops ass!)

That's all for now, but as I play more Ravenloft (which I DM with a passion) I will update later.
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