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Children of the Dawn
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/24/2011 20:50:19
Mysterious pan flute and light drums give a mystic impression of a primal tribe. The track is somewhat dark, but not overly so. It would be great for visiting a village that worships the primal spirits and control their magics. It's not going to intrude on your session, so you can loop it and let it go.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Children of the Dawn
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The Sunchasers
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/24/2011 20:44:23
The track starts out with some very promising bagpipes. It then changes to a trumpet fanfare (a little fake sounding but not distractingly so). About a third of the way through it goes back to the Scottish or Irish feel with drums, flutes, and other wind instruments in jigs and reels that make you think of riding horses through the open glens of the British Isles. This one does go up and down a bit in tone, volume, and tempo, so it may not fit every session. It would work well for traveling and allow for some interesting mood music.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Sunchasers
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People of the River Valley
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/24/2011 20:37:37
This is a pretty nice track with Native American style drumming that is paced well (not too slow, not too fast), flutes, and strings that come in. It's nice atmospheric music for a village or town setting, maybe even the wilderness. The track is very listenable and non-intrusive, so it's great for background in your session.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
People of the River Valley
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Children of the Dawn
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/19/2011 17:08:53
Strings, drums, and pipes combine to good effect in this soundscape, although I confess to finding some stretches a bit too given over to the highly repetitive drumbeats. The piece achieves a “primitive” feel, although I would not describe the feel as “Native American/tribal,” as the product description does. Rather, I got the feel more of primitive Celts; the instrumentation simply does not sound “Native American” to me.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Children of the Dawn
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Domain of the Ice Lord
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/19/2011 14:17:02
Composer Christy Carew uses long, soft, somber tones, accented with occasional chimes, to create in this soundscape the sense of a vast icy or snowy wilderness. The piece succeeds masterfully, but don’t listen to it too long at one sitting, or it might lull you to sleep. I would definitely recommend it for use at the gaming table during a period of exploration in (ant)arctic or similar climes, but it really is so lovely and peaceful that I would recommend small doses. You might be better off using this particular soundscape for meditation or relaxation than for gaming.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Domain of the Ice Lord
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After the Battle
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/19/2011 13:43:25
Based on the title, I thought this might be a good soundscape to use during short rests in my D&D 4e campaign—but that was before I heard the sobbing. The illustration used in the product description gives a better understanding of the type of “battle” envisioned here. It was a big, large-scale affair with significant casualties. Instead of playing this soundscape under a short rest, I’m much more likely to use it for scenes where the PCs come up on a village or caravan or something recently devastated by an attack. Scenes of this sort occur frequently enough (as plot hooks, for instance) in fantasy RPGs that the soundscape should have moderate replay value. The music is executed pretty much flawlessly, the track loops seamlessly, and the whole effect delivers exactly the intended mood.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
After the Battle
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City of Jade
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/10/2011 15:32:05
This soft and lovely soundscape seems to blend Asian-inspired rhythms with quasi-Celtic instrumentation, producing a very enjoyable and peaceful overall effect. For a 4e D&D game, this would make great background music for a relatively peaceful trip through the Feywild or another exotic place. The track loops very well, so you can leave it on for extended periods if you wish. Away from the gaming table, I’ve found it to be a nice, non-intrusive background track to play while I’m reading and writing.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City of Jade
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Serial Killer
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/10/2011 13:32:10
Can a soundscape be schizophrenic? If so, this one might qualify. For about the first four minutes, composer Mike Trapp offers us a driving rhythm propelled forward by electric guitars and deep bass. Then, as if the titular serial killer has come to his senses, the music suddenly changes to low, soft, and a bit ominous, as the killer begins to chant his regrets (“I’m so sorry”) over and over. While this sudden shift embodies the title of the piece well, it makes for a bit more difficult timing at the gaming table. For one thing, it’s a bit hard to script time so tightly during an RPG; for another, the linear storytelling significantly limits the track’s loopability. Since I’m not likely to run a horror game anytime soon, let me describe how I’d use this track in a supers game with a transforming victim/villain like Dr. Curt Connors/the Lizard, Kirk Langstrom/Man-Bat, or Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. I'd set iTunes to begin the track at either 0:23 or 0:41 (depending on my need for the slight downtime/intro provided by the earlier starting time) and to end it at 3:58, and loop just that section for the big fight. Then I'd switch it to a loop running from 5:00 to the end of the track, on loop, after the character’s transformation. The section in the middle, from about 3:59 to 4:59, could be used during the character’s actual transformation back into the “innocent” scientist or whatever. This might require making three copies of the track and monkeying with the ID3 tags a little bit, but it could be pretty effective. Please understand that the music and effects in this soundscape are really very good, but I gave it only three stars because of the amount of work I think is needed on the GM’s part to get the most out of this track at the gaming table. This one doesn’t “just work” like so many of the other Sonic Legends soundscapes.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Serial Killer
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Lonely Graveyard
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/10/2011 12:42:54
This soundscape, composed by the appropriately-named Randin Graves, perfectly nails the mood suggested by the title. With long, low musical notes and spooky sound effects (wild animals and such), the soundscape creates an excellent spooky atmosphere. My only complaint is that the occasional thunderclaps almost compel you to set the scene as a rainy night, limiting the piece's usefulness somewhat.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lonely Graveyard
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Police Precinct
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/10/2011 09:18:44
I like running police procedural games and even when that isn't the main thrust of my plotline, my players are very good at getting into trouble with the authorities, irrespective of genre. So, a suitable piece for any game set in the 20th century or later, with sirens and telephone conversations in an almost jazz theme...

Dogs bark, whistles blow, radio chatter - did I catch something about a Presidential motorcade? - keys turn and rattle, people shout. And yet another siren.

The music component of the soundscape is in the jazz mode, quite modern, with a string bass predominant. It blends well with the 'sound effect' component, giving a slightly edgy feel.

Games ranging from 1920s onward could make use of this, even if the sirens are a bit modern (not sure just when the police started to use them and too lazy to pull a reference book off of the shelf!). Even a game set in the future could make use of this, although it's probably more for contemporary games. Irrespective of which side of the law your characters are on, there is plenty of scope here - be your game about the Thin Blue Line or New York's Finest, or your characters the sort for whom the song lyrics I fought the law and the law won were written, there will be occasions when this music will be appropriate.

Even I, who usually use music as inspiration when writing rather than in the course of a game, may well use this as a 'theme' to signal to the players that the Law is about to get involved in whatever is taking place!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Police Precinct
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Trick or Treat
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/05/2011 18:35:40
What do you get when you cross haunted house music with crickets, bats, (were)wolves, gusts of wind, screeching metal, and Alvin and the Chipmunks? You get “Trick or Treat” by Erika Lieberman, and somehow, she manages to make it come out creepy instead of corny. If your fantasy RPG includes a scene where your PCs are being stalked by some kind of small creature—goblins, for instance—you could definitely put this track to good use. I do see limited applicability for this track (hence four stars instead of five), but it could really help to deepen certain kinds of scenes and encounters. It's not just for fantasy RPGs, of course; possessed children in a horror RPG would work even better than goblins.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Trick or Treat
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Vampire Court
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/05/2011 18:01:22
Don't think of using this soundscape to score a battle against a horde of vampires. It's creepy enough for that, but too slow and, in some ways, peaceful and hypnotic. Imagine it instead as playing under a scene where your PCs have to infiltrate or spy on a council of vampires or similar creatures, or perhaps under a scene of exploration in a crypt where the vampires are still asleep … for now. This soundscape makes effective use of a melodic line played on what sounds to me like a harpsichord, bass strings, and vague vocal effects, all blending into an effective presentation.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire Court
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Elven City
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/05/2011 14:28:27
This track consists mostly of long, gentle tones that eventually build to a crescendo, a theme repeated twice in the overall piece. I could imagine myself using this piece during a night in the Feywild or a similar place, if I wanted to imply a sense of wonder but not a sense of threat. Otherwise, I don't foresee using this track very often. The music is beautiful, but the overall effect is less flexible or reusable than some other soundscapes in the Sonic Legends line.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Elven City
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The Crone's Army
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/04/2011 19:30:43
Both the title and the feminine vocal accents in this track make me think of a female boss villain, probably a hag, commanding hordes of undead, or maybe goblins. However, I don't get that feeling from the music until about 2:10 into the piece. The first two minutes are a long introduction that seems to try to build up suspense or a feeling of danger. Although the aesthetic quality of that two minutes is high, it's not very practical for the gaming table. I can't reliably start a soundscape two minutes before I really want it to feel like the PCs are in a fight. Also, that long, ominous build-up makes this track loop awkwardly (the same is true for the trailing silence in the last few seconds of the track as published). When I use this track at the gaming table—and I will—I'll set my player to begin playing around 2:00 in, and will trim off the trailing silence. Then I'll have an exciting battle soundtrack that loops reasonably well.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Crone's Army
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The Sunchasers
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/04/2011 16:41:14
The big, sweeping tones of this piece make me think of the end of an epic movie, the part where the heroes return home to their loved ones and the audience knows that all is well—and then we cut to the credits. This track could work well right after the PCs have survived a climactic battle, and now they're looting the BBEG's lair, returning the princess to the castle, and so on. I love the Celtic air and the various pipes (bagpipes, pan pipes), but some of the higher-pitched pipes get a bit shrill at points (which is why I gave the track four stars instead of five).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Sunchasers
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