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Police Precinct
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/28/2010 21:13:55
The sound effects and background dialogue (some of it by the K-9 unit) in this track can really bring your gaming table alive if you have scenes that take place inside any modern (1920s and forward) police station. I could easily see playing this track under an appropriate scene in a Thrilling Tales, Call of Cthulhu, or Mutants & Masterminds game (just to name the games that would most interest me). However, I must confess that I don't really enjoy the jazz riffs that much. It's actually quite appropriate for any of the relevant time periods, just not to my personal taste. I think this track has narrower applicability than the fantasy or even more generic sci-fi tracks that Sonic Legends produces, and that's why I gave the track only four stars instead of a perfect five.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Police Precinct
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Forest Skirmish
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/28/2010 18:45:42
Dramatic music and driving percussion combine seamlessly with shouts, groans, and metal-on-metal sound effects to make this track ideal for scoring almost any outdoor battle scene. Birdcalls and sounds that might be associated with wild animals mark the location. The track really does loop seamlessly, as the product description claims.

The Sonic Legends track "Forest Journey" by Erika Lieberman makes a perfect companion to this one. Play "Forest Journey" until the ambush, then break out "Forest Skirmish," and go back to "Forest Journey" once the carnage is over.

Don't let the $2.99 price tag scare you away from this track. If you like to score your D&D battle scenes with background music, this will make a great addition to your library.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forest Skirmish
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Degenerate Seaside Town
by Sonja J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/22/2010 13:23:52
This was a great product - I am running a game now (January 2010) that involves a certain feel of desolation and mystery, and with this soundscape in my "arsenal" I feel ready to put my players through a session that I hope will scare their socks off! Great quality, and really just everything I'd hoped for. It evokes a spooky, strange, seaside town without any need for explanation of any kind; the music brings imagery to mind without need for hints.
Very pleased with this! I'll be back for more!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Degenerate Seaside Town
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Police Precinct
by Justin M. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/19/2010 19:40:07
A nice combination of ambient sounds and jazz will provide good background sound for 20th century crime games. It provides a good aural sense of place, moving between murmured conversations, wailing sirens, and possibly someone getting their face tossed into a wall.

A good choice for scenes set in cop shops in Call of Cthulhu, Mutant City Blues, or Dark Champions.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Police Precinct
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Forest Skirmish
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/19/2010 11:29:02
Launching in a somewhat disturbing and ominous manner, there's a combination of what might be considered 'jungle drums' along with dark chords, and other rather threatening sounds. Sticks bang together amidst unsettling chords and the odd grunt.

Even the birds sound rather perturbed and one hopes that the frog did not grunt like that because some careless combatant trod on him!

Overall it's a bit jumbled, but for those who have ever fought in a forest (perhaps in a LARP or a military exercise) it does make a kind of sense. This might be a good one to spook your players wherever they get ambushed, forest or not.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forest Skirmish
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Desert Battle
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/18/2010 02:59:11
A sombre opening, with Arabic overtones, sets the scene... hints of drumbeats accelerating into full-blown action.

This work shows a good understanding of the structure of Arabic music and uses it to good effect (I must confess I happen to listen to this genre quite a lot!). There are hints of hoofbeats and the clash of swords, but while these suggest combat they are not intrusive and will serve as a backdrop to what is happening in your game rather than dictate the course of the conflict in which your characters are engaged.

While you may have many suitable encounters in your games, I'd particularly recommend it for the Pathfinder Adventure Path "Legacy of Fire" if you happen to be running that. And of course, it serves as good inspirational music as you plan desert adventures for your players.

Overall, this captures the feel of 'desert' and 'conflict' exceptionally well and is recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Desert Battle
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Elven City at Night
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/12/2010 03:48:21
There is a shimmering strangeness to this piece, with undertones suggestive of great age and wisdom... peaceful and yet watchful: just the way that I at least tend to think of those elves who live in the depths of forests far away from the shorter-lived races.

These elves are contented and at peace, absorbed in contemplation - an occasional owl-call reminded you that it's an aboreal setting, perhaps tree-houses or dwellings nestled around the foot of great trees in a clearing deep in the forest and rarely seen by outsiders. In a way, while not actually unfriendly, it does not seem that welcoming either.

I tend to use music when writing rather than running games, and this piece certainly brings up ideas, images, that conjure up the concept of a classic deep forest elven city. Even without the clue of the title a quiet and calm forest is suggested.

In game, this one is best for a peaceful interlude, perhaps the characters have earned the title 'elf-friend' and have been welcomed - for surely had they not been welcome, things would not sound so calm!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Elven City at Night
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Forest Journey
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/12/2010 03:26:09
Sitting here with snow on the ground this is very pleasant - it's definitely summertime in THIS forest. The opening is pastoral, with birds twittering amidst a chord-structure that indeed suggests trees, well-established, tall and straight, probably decicuous, sunlight filtering through the canopy...

It will be necessary to be careful about volume if this is to be used during a game - at my normal listening level it would intrude too much and be a distraction, although played more quietly it can be hard to distinguish the 'sounds of nature' - birdsong and even the odd frog croak - which take this work beyond a pleasant piece of music to a distinctly outdoors forest scene-setter.

One great advantage is that is is wholly-novel music, too often one gets distracted by hearing something you know, and end up thinking about the song rather than the game.

If you like background music, this could - played quietly! - provide a good background to peaceful meanderings through woodland. Perhaps lulling the players into the feeling that everything here is friendly... but is it? You'd need to stop the music if you decide something overtly hostile has arrived, though.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forest Journey
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The Otherworld
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/06/2010 20:52:46
Eerie music with no distinct melody and occasional sounds like the flapping of leathery wings characterize this track. The product description links the track to a place between worlds, a character's first post-mortem destination, but the track could easily enough serve as background for any sort of spooky exploration. The track really does loop seamlessly, as the product description advertises, so you can set it and let it run during long sessions of exploration in gloomy caverns, haunted mansions, dark dimensions, the netherworld, or anywhere else you need spooky but non-intrusive background music.

The ID3 tags on this track were better than on some of the other Sonic Legends tracks, though I still had to do a little cleanup to find the track easily in my iTunes library. I really wish for more robust tag population and greater consistency among the tags on the Sonic Legends tracks; this is just about my only reservation about the series, and it's relatively minor.

Don't let the $2.99 price tag scare you off. The track is over eight minutes long played once, and loops so perfectly that in effect it's a track of infinite length.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Otherworld
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Degenerate Seaside Town
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/06/2010 19:23:45
My current (early 2010) D&D campaign has a seafaring theme, so this soundscape was an obvious draw. (In fact, I purchased this track from the Sonic Legends web site before getting the opportunity to review it for DTRPG.) The melody feels irregular, evoking the rise and fall of the tide on the shore. The seagulls leave no question about where you are. The instrumentation doesn't feel quite as much like a sea shanty as I would have expected, until the accordions bust out—and then we're right there at the Perfect Storm, a waterfront tavern in a session I ran back in May 2009. I wish I'd had "Degenerate Seaside Town" to run as a soundtrack beneath the party's day in the city, especially their time along the waterfront!

Be aware that the tempo and feel of the track change pretty dramatically between six and seven minutes in; the drums pick up and you get a sense of excitement, or maybe danger. Is a pirate ship sailing into harbor? Is a bar fight about to start? If you have the wherewithal to do it, you might want to set your playback software to skip from about 6:38 to 8:12, or to loop just the section from 6:38 to 8:12, depending on the specific mood you want to evoke (this section wasn't composed to loop with itself, though, so the transition is a bit obvious). The track as distributed has a little too much silence at the end, so you might want to trim ten seconds off the end for a truly seamless loop. (In iTunes, select the track, choose File _ Get Info, and click on the Options tab for the start time/stop time options.)

The ID3 tags on this track were better than on some of the other Sonic Legends tracks, though I still had to do a little cleanup to find the track easily in my iTunes library. The perfect applicability of the track to my seafaring campaign offsets this small inconvenience.

Don't let the $2.99 price tag scare you off. The track is over nine minutes long played once, and loops so well that you get much more use out of it than those nine minutes.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Degenerate Seaside Town
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Elven City at Night
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/06/2010 18:51:49
Peaceful. That's the single word that best describes this lovely track by Jack Walker, with sound effects by Erika Lieberman. The sounds of crickets and nocturnal birds sit lightly atop soothing, ethereal music. Use this track in your fantasy RPG when you want the players to feel safe and secure. Don't overuse it, or your players might fall asleep or start doing yoga poses. As the description says, the track loops seamlessly. At the moment I write this sentence, I've had it looping in the background for thirty minutes or more. Unless I stop and concentrate carefully, I can't tell you when it begins and ends. And I feel so relaxed …

I gave this product four stars rather than five for two reasons. First, the ID3 tags were not thoroughly populated, requiring me to do some cleanup on those in order to find the track easily in my iTunes library. Second, calm, peaceful moments like those evoked by this track don't come along very frequently in my own RPG games, which are heavily populated by combat encounters. Other GMs may find the track more frequently applicable than I will.

Don't let the $2.99 price tag scare you off. The track is over eight minutes long played once, and loops so perfectly that it's effectively infinitely long.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Elven City at Night
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Dungeon Prison
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/06/2010 18:10:02
When you see this track's title, put the emphasis on "prison," not on "dungeon." The melancholy strains of Jack Walker's music give you a feeling of despair, while moans, groans, and sobs evoke the prisoners' desperation. Don't use this track for dungeon crawling or exploration, or for a simple night in the town lockup. Save this soundscape for moments of deep hopelessness, when the PCs have been incarcerated in deep caverns by dark elves and tentacle-faced horrors, or locked away by a vindictive baron deep in the bowels of his castle where the sun never shines. Play this track while deep gnomes or sinister dwarves torture the PCs on fiendish machines.

The beginning and end of this track play nicely together, so you can loop it endlessly if you can stand it. I mean that in the most positive way possible: the music so skillfully evokes the grief of long imprisonment that you can hardly wait for the DM to cut to exciting escape music.

One final comment: this track had better ID3 tagging than most of the other Sonic Legends products I've reviewed for DTRPG, but I still had to do a little cleanup. This is a fairly minor point and detracts nothing from the quality of the composition and the audio. Don't let the $2.99 price put you off; if you're used to the $0.99 per track pricing at the iTunes Store, remember that this track is three times as long as the average mass-market music track, and is specially crafted for your role-playing experience.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Prison
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Vampire Castle
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/03/2010 21:22:30
Spooky ambient music for role-playing is not exactly a crowded field, though many DriveThruRPG customers will already be familiar with the music of Nox Arcana and Midnight Syndicate. Erika Lieberman's "Vampire Castle" is a good addition to this genre. Some of the features that make this track good music, however, limit its use at the role-playing table. For example, thunder rolls in the background at several points in this track; DMs will find it awkward, then, to use this track behind a role-playing scene with a clear night. The music is good, and haunting, and fits the theme perfectly, but it has more limited applicability than other offerings in the same genre.

My biggest complaint about this track is technical: the track needs better ID3 tagging, and some album artwork. This complaint also applies to Erika Lieberman's other three tracks released at the same time: "Forest Journey," "Desert Battle," and "Prosperous Tavern." See my individual reviews of those pieces for comments on their content. Sonic Legends needs to create a virtual, ever-expanding "album" for these tracks, and needs to provide appropriate ID3 tags. Of the four, only "Vampire Castle" came into my iTunes with the track name preserved as such, and with "Erika Lieberman" listed as the artist; all others ended up with the file name (complete with underscores) as the track name, with all other ID3 tags empty.

I also have one other reservation: this track is expensive compared to other MP3 products sold at DriveThruRPG and elsewhere. With comparable products running as low as $0.50, and with the iTunes Store and Amazon downloads conditioning customers to expect tracks that cost $0.99 or less apiece, you have to think twice before buying an MP3, even one as excellent as this, for $2.99. Lieberman's other tracks have more to commend him in this regard; for the same expenditure (plus one penny), you could get three tracks from Nox Arcana's Transylvania album instead. With stiff competition at a lower price, this particular track is a hard sell at $2.99.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire Castle
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Forest Journey
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/03/2010 20:45:36
Chirping birds and peaceful melodies characterize this audio track, which DMs could use play quite effectively under a period of rest, down time, or peaceful travel. The music by Erika Lieberman exudes a sense of warm calmness, perfect for a forest journey, just as the track name suggests. Around six to seven minutes in, the track turns just a trifle haunting or mysterious, but soon resolves itself to the main emotional themes. This is a good track to play if you want the players to feel safe, with nary a hint of danger anywhere around. As the product description says, this track really does loop remarkably well.

My big complaint about this track is technical: the track needs better ID3 tagging, and some album artwork. This complaint also applies to Erika Lieberman's other three tracks released at the same time: "Vampire Castle," "Desert Battle," and "Prosperous Tavern." See my individual reviews of those pieces for comments on their content. Sonic Legends needs to create a virtual, ever-expanding "album" for these tracks, and needs to provide appropriate ID3 tags. Of the four, only "Vampire Castle" came into my iTunes with the track name preserved as such, and with "Erika Lieberman" listed as the artist; all others ended up with the file name (complete with underscores) as the track name, with all other ID3 tags empty.

I also have one other reservation: this track is expensive compared to other MP3 products sold at DriveThruRPG and elsewhere. With comparable products running as low as $0.50, and with the iTunes Store and Amazon downloads conditioning customers to expect tracks that cost $0.99 or less apiece, you have to think twice before buying an MP3, even one as excellent as this, for $2.99.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forest Journey
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Desert Battle
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/03/2010 20:32:09
Erika Lieberman's "Desert Battle" gives me something I've been seeking, but not really finding, for quite some time now: an ambient track to use as background to fantasy RPG combats set in desert areas. The track moves from haunting winds and exotic melodies to the clash of steel and the shouts of combatants, then settles down again at the end. Despite the product description, this track isn't really "seamlessly loopable, though it begins and ends gracefully enough that you could loop it without much distraction. "Desert Battle" doesn't loop as well, though, as Lieberman's "Prosperous Tavern" track (also available here at DriveThruRPG). The track is exciting and evocative but non-intrusive, so you can easily play it under your RPG session with no worries about players getting more into the music than into the battle it's intended to enhance. The music perfectly fits the theme, too.

My big complaint about this track is technical: the track needs better ID3 tagging, and some album artwork. This complaint also applies to Erika Lieberman's other three tracks released at the same time: "Vampire Castle," "Forest Journey," and "Prosperous Tavern." See my individual reviews of those pieces for comments on their content. Sonic Legends needs to create a virtual, ever-expanding "album" for these tracks, and needs to provide appropriate ID3 tags. Of the four, only "Vampire Castle" came into my iTunes with the track name preserved as such, and with "Erika Lieberman" listed as the artist; all others ended up with the file name ("Prosperous_Tavern_Lieberman") as the track name, with all other ID3 tags empty.

I also have one other reservation: this track is expensive compared to other MP3 products sold at DriveThruRPG and elsewhere. With comparable products running as low as $0.50, and with the iTunes Store and Amazon downloads conditioning customers to expect tracks that cost $0.99 or less apiece, you have to think twice before buying an MP3, even one as excellent as this, for $2.99.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Desert Battle
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