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Ambient Environments - City Street 1920-1930
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/05/2014 17:19:41
This track does a great job of transporting the listener back to a busy city street in the 1920s. It's perfect for daytime "about town" scenes in a Call/Trail of Cthulhu game, and would really serve just as well for any kind of pulp setting up through, I'd say, the 1940s.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ambient Environments - City Street 1920-1930
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The Great Game Soundtrack
Publisher: Fainting Goat Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/05/2014 12:50:42
If you like to listen to EDM while role-playing, you'll probably like this trio of tracks. If you prefer a more orchestral flavor of background music, you should probably look elsewhere. I'm personally in the latter camp, although I can appreciate the skill that went into composing these tracks. "Cosmic Voyage" is upbeat and almost happy in tone. "Creeping Entropy" is, well, creepy, with excellent use of percussion overlaid by techno tones that I don't personally care for but that fit the "cosmic supers" genre reasonably well. The name "Starsiege" made me expect that the third track would imply some kind of battle, but it really sounds more to me like backing for a 1970s police show montage. The three tracks hang together pretty well. I really expected more than three tracks for a "soundtrack," but the per-track price is more than reasonable. Although it doesn't really fit my background music preferences, this collection could be just the thing that some GMs are looking for.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Great Game Soundtrack
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Pro RPG Audio: Dungeon Realm 3
Publisher: Plate Mail Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 19:28:05
The drippy water, the occasional closing of a door, and the violin solo lightly playing in the background of this track all put me in mind of a "dungeon" in the sense of "prison in the cellar" rather than a "dungeon" in the sense of "mad wizard's underground menagerie." The overwhelming sense I get from this track is one of utter loneliness. Very effective, although the water dripping limits the range of situations in which you could use the track.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pro RPG Audio: Dungeon Realm 3
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Pro RPG Audio: Desert Cave
Publisher: Plate Mail Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 19:10:24
Mostly what you hear in this track is wind. Occasionally some rocks or pebbles will skitter along a hard surface. There's also quite a bit of chittering from some kind of animal—bats, perhaps, judging by the occasional flapping of wings. The overall effect is … well, not one of Wes Otis's better efforts. The chittering gets annoying pretty quickly, and the rest is primarily white noise. It seems to do what the composer/engineer intended, but the overall effect is just bland in my judgment.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Pro RPG Audio: Desert Cave
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Ambient Environments - Modern Urban Warfare
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 18:30:57
Automatic weapons fire, single-shot weapons fire, grenades, shattering glass, and a high-pitched "pew" that I don't quite get permeate this track. In fact, that's pretty much all the track is. It really does sound like you're on the streets during a firefight in an action movie. Cue this up in your superhero, Delta Green, or modern military game when everything dissolves into an all-out gun battle. I gave this four stars instead of five out of concerns for its practicality; you'll need to keep the volume fairly low or this track will be very, very distracting at the table.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ambient Environments - Modern Urban Warfare
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Pro RPG Audio: Underwater World
Publisher: Plate Mail Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 18:25:29
This track sounds like just what you might hear in a film while characters are scuba diving or even an exterior shot of a submarine: water and bubbles, along with occasional sounds that resemble the "ping" of a movie submarine's sonar. Very simple and very effective, useful in multiple genres: fantasy, sci-fi, modern military, and superhero being the most obvious.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pro RPG Audio: Underwater World
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Pro RPG Audio: Seashore
Publisher: Plate Mail Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 16:01:29
This track is absolutely straightforward: the sound of waves lapping up on the beach, with some sea birds calling out now and again. That's all there is, and that's all you need to evoke the sense of being on a seashore. It does seem to be a lonely seashore; there are no ship bells or foghorns or anything like that to suggest a lighthouse, port, or even sunbathers.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pro RPG Audio: Seashore
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Pro RPG Audio: Alien World 2
Publisher: Plate Mail Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 12:18:55
This alien world is teeming with wildlife, so I assume the PCs are out in a wilderness area of some sort. The strange animal noises convey a sense of alienness, and occasional musical tones make the whole thing seem a bit eerie. You could probably even use this for a warped terrestrial jungle of some kind.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pro RPG Audio: Alien World 2
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Pro RPG Audio: Alien World 3
Publisher: Plate Mail Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 12:02:21
Haunting winds carry along the chirping of rather earth-like birds throughout the bulk of this track. Occasional "electric" swells and other tones add to the ambience. Although hampered slightly by the familiarity of the birdsongs, the track does a good job of evoking a mysterious alien setting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pro RPG Audio: Alien World 3
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Rite Map Pack: Ocean Cave
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 01:49:06
Whether you need an oceanside cave for a pirate hideout, a mysterious cult, a sahuagin beachhead, or some other purpose, this map pack can help you out—as long as you don't need an extensive cave complex directly connected to the cave. There's plenty of ocean here for your skiff to be beset by aquatic ghouls or some such while others fight on land. There are a fairly limited range of situations in which this pack would be useful, but when you need it, it will look great on the table.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rite Map Pack: Ocean Cave
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Deities and Demigods (3e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 01:39:19
More so than the 1e Deities and Demigods or the 2e Legends and Lore, the 3e Deities and Demigods serves as a worldbuilding—or rather cosmos-building—resource for DMs. The first two chapters are broadly applicable to any D&D campaign, regardless of the setting or pantheon in use. Also unlike the 1e and 2e incarnations, the 3e Deities and Demigods includes substantial attention to the "D&D Pantheon," shared in part by the Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms settings. Even though the mechanics are specific to 3e, the first chapter is useful reading for any GM, any system.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deities and Demigods (3e)
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DC ADVENTURES Heroes & Villains, Vol. I
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 01:25:19
This is a great collection of DC characters statted out using the Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition rules. More than just stats, each entry includes encyclopedic-style "biographical" information, with attention given to different people bearing the same name (like the three different Blue Beetles). Practically the only downside to this product is that it was somewhat out-of-date by the time it was published, and therefore it does not reflect the New 52 continuity.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DC ADVENTURES Heroes & Villains, Vol. I
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Ambient Environments - Cthulhu Rises!
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 18:11:27
Once in a while, every DM needs to depict a giant horrible monster rising out of the sea during a thunderstorm, right? Use this track to score those scenes. The product description tells you what you'll hear in the track; it all comes together into a wonderfully raucous package. The title suggests Cthulhu rising from the South Pacific, but the monster roaring in this track could just as easily be Godzilla, Leviathan, a kraken, an ancient aquatic dragon, or whatever else your GMing mind can cook up.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ambient Environments - Cthulhu Rises!
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Ambient Environments - Dungeon Crawling
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 17:06:17
Honestly, this track puts me more in mind of Call/Trail of Cthulhu investigators combing through a decrepit insane asylum, or Batman prowling the halls of Arkham, than of fantasy heroes in a dungeon. The entire track is suffused with a "crackle" that makes me think of a vinyl record spinning on an old gramophone. The track also features light instrumentation and mysterious sound effects that I can't quite place. Occasionally you'll hear water dripping, and a swell of sound, not quite a Doppler effect but it makes me think of a car or train swooshing by. I really think this track is more at home in modern horror than high fantasy. In the right situation, it could be very evocative.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ambient Environments - Dungeon Crawling
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Publisher Reply:
Good review. Gives me great insight as to what to do to correct some issues with the track. Thanks for commenting!
Ambient Environments - Cemetery At Night
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 16:47:27
This track evokes a cemetery atmosphere chiefly through the sounds of digging (by grave robbers? necromancers? mortuary staff?) and heavy breathing (by tired workers? recently-raised undead?). The bird cries sound more like daytime sounds (at least for the crows that love to roost in our sycamore tree)—not entirely consistent, to my ears, with the constant chirping of crickets. Hooting owls would have been better. But overall the track is quite effective. In fact, I had to pop in my earbuds to listen because my dog kept trying to answer the dogs he heard barking in the track. True story.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ambient Environments - Cemetery At Night
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