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How to best use audio on D&D/TTRPG

Jessica Cheeky-Smile, a human bard, and Bob Bold-Finger, a halfling wizard, trying to woe the king by playing their fire mixtape.

Getting your hands on a playlist full of songs for your Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) campaign, or for any other tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG), is the first step to start the enrichment of your table’s mind theater. Indeed, there are a few steps you could take to build the best audio library ever!

Here’s a list of 5 tips to help you out:

  1. Use the right tools to build your playlists.
  2. Know where to find high-quality and original content – legally!
  3. Remember that ambiences, songs and sound effects (SFX) need to be handled differently!
  4. Befriend virtual tabletops (VTT).
  5. Join in on a non-stop YouTube radio.

[Before you read any further, put on the ambience Campfire In Woods with the song Into The Unknown for a nice atmosphere!]

Which tools should I use?

Don’t even think of clicking it, it’s not a video.

Spotify and YouTube

Spotify and YouTube are the audio “bread and butter”. However, even as a highly accessible tool, a hammer is only good in the hands of a skillful mason – or dwarf warrior. So, how do we use it?

The key to Spotify is searching for curated playlists, which are built by those with good ears. For instance, our Studios offers tons of playlists full of content with a whole lot of different themes!

YouTube is about the same, find original playlists to get a better synergy between tracks. Our Studios have dozens of YouTube playlists for an easy and quick solution, check them out!

Apps and softwares

There are softwares available on desktop and mobile devices that can offer you readily made and manageable tracks.

This is why people were quick to use them. Some popular choices include DnDify (Android), RPG Audio (Windows), Syrinscape (Android and Windows), Tabletop Audio (Browser), amongst others. Do you have a favorite one in mind? Leave it down in the comments!

Soon, the Studios will post a review of the best apps for D&D/TTRPG audio management featuring these and more tools for you to get them right! Of course, to use exclusively Michaël Ghelfi Studios’ tracks on them.

Find good composers

Filip Melvan is said to be the most handsome bard across the entire realm.

Besides authenticity and originality, you will want to look for composers that release new tracks frequently. Sooner or later, that old fire mixtape can get pretty boring if not updated with a new fresh batch!

For instance, Michaël Ghelfi posts an ambience per week on YouTube and over ten per month on Patreon. Filip Melvan (pictured above) sends two songs weekly on YouTube and eight monthly on Patreon!

If you intend on using a composer or a studio’s content onto commercial businesses, make sure to contact them first about the correct use of their works.

Of course, ours is pretty easy to understand. Check out our conditions of use if you want to apply our content on your projects!

Ambiences, songs and SFX are different things!

Rare picture of you managing audio files.

Even though there are plenty of tools to handle tracks, this does not mean that you should use all of them at once and mixed for ambiences, songs and SFX.

Store and manage locally

In fact, the less tools the better and the best tip I can give you is to store and manage your files locally. Besides having everything at one place, you will not have to pay further fees to increase storage space. Also, some platforms don’t even allow you to import files!

Use folders to categorize themes, subfolders as playlists, and so on. If you desire an specific play order, you can just name each file with a number to make it simpler.

Of course, you will need some storage space on a device, preferrably a computer or a tablet. Fortunately, our tracks available on Bandcamp or Patreon can be download as OGG formats, which means high quality and low storage!

How to handle songs

Songs are probably the most intuitive type of audio to handle, since most of us listen to it quite frequently, but there are still a few secrets.

Create playlists for common scenarios on your sessions, but try not to overdo it. For instance, there will probably be few uses for a “relaxing playlist” when you are deep into the Nine Hells.

Don’t judge a song by its artwork or title, a song can be titled “EPIC SONG OF PURE EPICNESS” and still fit into an “exploration playlist” and another clip might have an artwork of a ferocious dragon, but it may match a cozy atmosphere. Still, you won’t face this obstacle on our Studios, we pair up the artwork and the title with the content, which means less work for you!

In other words, have a good feel for each track before putting it on a playlist to see if every song fits alongside each other.

How to handle ambiences

Most of the times, ambiences are more widely used than songs themselves. Many situations may not call for songs, such as a somber scenario, but ambiences are ever present.

This means that ambiences are quite long and downloading a full two or three hours of it can be a burden. Use high-quality short-looped ambiences that contain a variety, yet not too much, of sound effects that can be smoothly looped for a great experience.

The Studios’ ambiences are meticuously created by Michaël Ghelfi thinking exactly about that, so you won’t have to worry about it. You can get them on Bandcamp and on Patreon!

How to handle SFX

While the previous ones might be better on a computer device, SFX probably fits better onto a smaller one such as a tablet or even a phone.

Download a soundboard app to have each SFX ready for use according to your needs. If you wish for a review on different soundboard apps from the Studios, let us know!

Also, if you choose each SFX from a different author, you will have a few complications regarding consistency and volume. Our Patreon can offer you plenty of meaningful SFX that you can simply download and worry no further!

Virtual tabletops are all the rage

Our banner over at FoundryVTT is sleek.

The mass popularization of D&D aligned with the COVID-19 pandemics have brought about new challenges for older and newer gamemasters and players that wish to share a joyous moment of some good ol’ RPG.

Which is why virtual tabletops (VTT) became popular as well. VTT are especially helpful for tables that play online, but they can offer many resources for those in-person tables too!

It’s impossible not to mention Roll20, a freemium (free/premium) VTT that can offer you some storage for audio files. Premium-wise, FoundryVTT may be a good long-term option via the Moulinette module.

Our content is available on Moulinette for you to enjoy it hassle-free!

There are fantasy radios!

Do you see the red paste on the blade? It’s jam.

YouTube radios have become prominent, notably due to low fidelity (lo-fi) songs.

However, this vehicle has been mostly left untouched by the D&D/TTRPG community, which is why we are proud to announce our first ever fantasy adventure radio!

Use it for your sessions as an one-click solution on adventures, to brainstorm worldbuilding ideas or to just fall asleep!

There are several different composers included on the radio, such as: Adrian von Ziegler, ASKII, Boy King of Idaho, Coltrin Compositions, Daniel Ran, Elfhawk, Élise in the Clouds, Ivan Duch, McRoMusic, Michael Maurice, Oliver Thomas, Tabletop RPG Music, Will Savino and our very own bards: Filip Melvan and Michaël Ghelfi!

Of course, if you would like to join us on this journey, send us an email.

Now, go enjoy your gigantic pool of files and tools for your next session and have fun!