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    Canonfire :: View topic - Gaming "Flavor" and Songs of the Bards
    Canonfire Forum Index -> The Backalley
    Gaming "Flavor" and Songs of the Bards
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    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
    Posts: 833
    From: Houston Texas

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    Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:35 am  
    Gaming "Flavor" and Songs of the Bards

    This quote below from Master Smillan inspired me to this thread
    smillan_31 wrote:

    Besides just research, make it as foreign to the players as you can. Do your best "middle eastern" accent when talking for npcs. Look up some useful but not common phrases in arabic, farsi or turkic languages, or make up you own for the Paynim to use. Here's another "flavor" article I did, that is actually set in the Dry Steppes region -
    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=908&mode=thread&order=2&thold=0

    I wonder how many of us do this? Do any use background music, accents, foreign languages in their campaigns?
    I, for one, do all of the above.
    When my players find and ancient parchment in a dwarven mine, it of course, is written in dwarven runes (MSword is wonderful for quickly transposing normal text ).
    When speaking with the Rehnee bargemasters, I use lots of chech and Romanian words.
    When in the market square or that epic battle moment arrives, cue the background music! I even transpose songs to create ties to game events. My players call these " The Songs of the Bards". After all, even current bands are the minstrels of old right?. They get campaign clues via solving the song puzzle game ties. These ties hint could include motivations of other characters, PC back-histories, locations of lost artifacts, upcoming troubles, etc. One players' bard character based her characters' background (she's Rehnee) on a combination around Cher's -"gypsies, tramps and thieves" & Looking Glass- Brandi - your a fine girl for her bard's back history. IMC the Rehnee clans are separated by water-riders (barge folk) and land-striders (gypsy caravans). She established her parentage were one of each, and left at an early age due to an "arranged marriage" where she went out to work at a tavern " in a port, on a western bay" (ie Safeton)
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2530
    From: LG Dyvers

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    Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:48 am  

    This is always a great idea, though I rarely have time to properly prepare for it.

    One of my favorite examples was when I played Cry, Little Sister, from The Lost Boys, during the player's adventure through the original Castle Ravenloft. Evil Grin They loved it.

    My first attempt at writing things in runes was when I wrote special Frost Giant runes on the back of the magical shield that was part of Jarl Grugnir's treasure (he was wearing it, of course Wink ). I used the runes from the Best of the Dragon #1. My players had a blast deciphering them. Smile

    SirXaris
    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
    Posts: 833
    From: Houston Texas

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    Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:37 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    This is always a great idea, though I rarely have time to properly prepare for it.

    True, but it is a bit easier than when you and I "wore a younger mans clothes".. hehe There are lots of fonts and software that didn't exist back in the day. Everything was by hand.... Even the character sheets.. lol Now its all electronic.
    The Groups 2steps from hell, dutch band within temptation and Ghosts1-4 album by Nine inch nails make for great backgrounds.
    SirXaris wrote:
    I used the runes from the Best of the Dragon #1. My players had a blast deciphering them. Smile
    SirXaris

    Wow thanks for reminding me!!! totally forgot that rune reference... been utilizing the back of the original GH gazetteer for lack of other resources.
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2530
    From: LG Dyvers

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    Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:49 pm  

    Dark_Lord_Galen wrote:
    SirXaris wrote:
    This is always a great idea, though I rarely have time to properly prepare for it.

    True, but it is a bit easier than when you and I "wore a younger mans clothes".. hehe There are lots of fonts and software that didn't exist back in the day. Everything was by hand.... Even the character sheets.. lol Now its all electronic.
    The Groups 2steps from hell, dutch band within temptation and Ghosts1-4 album by Nine inch nails make for great backgrounds.


    I know there are lots of excellent pieces of music out there for various fantasy themes. I've just never gone to the trouble of collecting them into a usable format for a campaign.
    Quote:

    SirXaris wrote:
    I used the runes from the Best of the Dragon #1. My players had a blast deciphering them. Smile
    SirXaris

    Wow thanks for reminding me!!! totally forgot that rune reference... been utilizing the back of the original GH gazetteer for lack of other resources.


    The original Deities and Demigods also had an extensive list of Egyptian Heiroglyphics which I used as well. I don't know if they were included in the later, abridged, editions of that tome, though.

    SirXaris
    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
    Posts: 833
    From: Houston Texas

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    Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:53 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:

    The original Deities and Demigods also had an extensive list of Egyptian Heiroglyphics which I used as well. I don't know if they were included in the later, abridged, editions of that tome, though.
    SirXaris

    Yep you're spot on! In my 1980 copy on page 55-56 anyway Happy
    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
    Posts: 833
    From: Houston Texas

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    Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:57 am  

    An addition to "game flavor" are also minis and terrain.
    Being an ole war-gamer I have an addiction to minis anyway(5k plus), but probably not in the traditional wargame sense.

    I generally don't utilize them in a unit fashion (unless enacting a piece of a battle of larger scale that the PCs may influence, but that is a one off), but I do utilize only certain figures to represent certain NPCs and ONLY that NPC. This develops instant recognition by the players.

    I use the same mini for some NPCs(Galen as an example)for nearly 30 years so he has become recognizable in an instant the moment he shows up on the table. I think that brings a "flavor", of sorts, to the game. As the veteran players go into full retreat and the hairlings are looking at them as to WHY?? Even before a word is spoken.

    Of course the PCs have there own mini (some lol more than one). I have a bard player that has two, one for "the stage" one "for the road". A paladin has one mounted, one on foot, and one at court.

    As for terrain, I have never liked (although admired the work involved) those terrains that are not "reusable" if that makes sense. Meaning those that resemble a whole scale model area are impressive, but 1> they literally take alot of room up and 2> they lack versatility. I utilize segments by having wall sections, castle gates, tree groves etc. that can be rearranged quickly.

    For example if the party is traveling cross country and the terrain is say sparse trees, scrub brush and rocks, they get a box of those elements to "randomize the terrain".
    On the determination of a Wandering monster check, Each player, in turn, places a piece of terrain (ie tree, bush, rock) in a spot on the table (its hexed off).
    When they complete the "terrain growing" (as they call it), I have each roll a D20 the high is the direction of travel. By doing this step it does no good for the PC to manipulate the terrain to create a tactical advantage since they do not know what direction they will be coming from. (they could end up giving that advantage to me)
    I then set the path in place (if they are following one)based on there travel direction and set the game compass accordingly. They set there following order, and we spot check and initiative from there.
    The whole set up takes less that 5 minutes and is only applied if there was a reason to stop. (ie camp, monster check etc).

    The advantage is it helps the PCs (and me for that matter) to determine line of sight and terrain cover.
    And much to my other half's delight it fits in one storage container. hehe
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3776
    From: So. Cal

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    Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:43 pm  

    I almost always do voices/accents for the NPCs, as it helps cement their identities a bit more for the players.

    As to music, for the fun of it we listened to "Cities in Dust" and "Burn Up", by Siouxie and the Banshees, while going through the Desert of Desolation series:

    "Cities in Dust" lyrics

    Water was running; children were running
    You were running out of time
    Under the mountain, a golden fountain
    Were you praying at the Lares shrine?
    But ohh oh your city lies in dust, my friend
    ohh oh your city lies in dust, my friend

    We found you hiding, we found you lying
    Choking on the dirt and sand
    Your former glories and all the stories
    Dragged and washed with eager hands

    But ohh oh your city lies in dust, my friend
    ohh oh your city lies in dust, my friend
    your city lies in dust

    Water was running; children were running
    We found you hiding, we found you lying
    Water was running; children were running
    We found you hiding, we found you lying
    your city lies in dust
    ohh oh your city lies in dust, my friend

    Hot and burning in your nostrils
    Pouring down your gaping mouth
    Your molten bodies, blanket of cinders
    Caught in the throes .......

    ...Your city lies in dust


    ***

    [i]"Burn Up" lyrics (excerpts)

    A crumpled future in your fist
    The killing streak ascends sun kissed
    And the firestarter from within
    Pokes out from fever blistered grin
    King salamander thatís his name
    A desert maker thatís his aim
    The benign cremator, branding iron in his hand
    Eager and willing to torch the land

    His ardour smoulders, phosphorous flies
    He radiates with urgence to hypnotise
    Stoke the furnace, feed his need
    This thirst for fire is all he seeks...


    All fire and brimstone
    This salamander king
    He basks while all around him burns


    These words ignite and pave his way...
    ...He sings these words in fervid frame

    All fire and brimstone...
    ...He likes to watch the pyres burn

    ***

    The latter has somewhat of a western theme/sound, but it is most of the lyrics that really work for a certain part of things. Wink

    There were other songs of many different kinds(classical, contemporary, etc.) that we have played while playing certain adventures, but those are a few for the Desert of Desolation, which is currently a topic in the general discussion forum. I have great memories of that adventure for a variety of reasons, including the idiocies of a fellow player. Laughing

    I am totally going to play led Zepplin's "Immigrant Song" if/when I run a Thillronian adventure again though.

    "Immigrant Song" (with a nice assist from "Vinland Saga")

    Awww yeah! Somebody is definitely going to be taking a sword to the face at some point in that one! Laughing Cool

    I use tons of minis, always, and terrain when it suits the situation. I have also been known to make the occasional prop, such as a parchment message/map scroll.
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    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
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    From: Houston Texas

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    Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:02 am  

    Oh those are epic! I am so using them both.... I Youtubed Citys in the dust and also found a group called Manowar that has several good fits too (Die with Honor already being added)
    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
    Posts: 2440
    From: SW WA state (Highvale)

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    Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:23 am  

    I rarely venture down here in 'the Backalley,' but glad I did this time. I posted a thread about what music makes a good background (called "Favorite Background Music") to set the mood on the General Forum sometime last year when I was posting left and right as a newbie.

    I typically use accents, and so does my main player. He normally speaks like a Scotsman for his dwarves. I only do so from time to time (not very well, either, sadly). For Baklunish characters, we infuse a Middle Eastern or East Indian accent (I am more proficient at this, given that some of my closest friends were of this ethnic background).

    For music (if you cannot find my earlier thread), I like the following: Conan the Barbarian soundtrack (1980s film starring 'the Governator' and NOT the remake), Hammerfall, and any of the Lord of the Rings soundtracks. Otherwise, we randomly pop in music we like (personally, I am a big fan of Rush).

    -Lanthorn
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 13, 2006
    Posts: 654
    From: Frinton on Sea England

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    Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:56 am  

    Dark_Lord_Galen wrote:
    Oh those are epic! I am so using them both.... I Youtubed Citys in the dust and also found a group called Manowar that has several good fits too (Die with Honor already being added)


    Oh, Manowar and the gaming table are a match made in Hades. Wink

    For an everything and the kitchen sink musical treat, try Nightwish's Imaginaerum; metal, opera, Uillean pipes, orchestra, ballads and Finnish folk. On one album. Cool
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