Day 14: Tabletop Audio
Nothing sets the right mood quite like the right music, or just the right mix of war drums, blade scrapes, feet scuffles and battle cries. If you are looking for the perfect sound backdrop for your next adventure, look no further than Tabletop Audio.
Tabletop Audio is an award-winning online catalog of ambient sounds and background music for any genre from sci-fi and fantasy to modern or horror. Tabletop Audio has over 100 tracks to choose from. Each track is exactly 10 minutes of unrepeating music and ambient noises that can help you create an auditory immersive environment. You can play one track at a time straight from the site, set up a playlist for a longer set, or download your favorite track to use offline. All tracks are advertisement free and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Which is awesome!
I had not visited Tabletop Audio for a while (so little time for adventure these days, sigh) so imagine my surprise when I discovered a hidden treasure trove of new features, namely, SoundPad. SoundPad lets you be the adventure DJ and mix sounds to create the perfect ambient for your quest. SoundPad lets you select a scene, (Tavern, The Dungeon, Starship, Future City, etc.) and gives you a set of 30 or more sounds that fit that scene. For example, if you select The Dungeon, you can mix together some drips, bubbles, and rumbles to set you an edge. Even set off a trap or two. Finish things off with a growl and a roar. You can record your SoundPad scene or broadcast it live. If you broadcast it, anyone with the link can listen live as you spin up the perfect mix. Not sure what location you’re heading to? With the custom SoundPad option, you can mix and match sounds from any of the 12 audio sets. You are in control of your own auditory destiny. Sounds can play continuously or add just the perfect scream and just the right time.
Like the tracks on Tabletop Audio, the sounds on SoundPad are free to use and are advertisement free. However, they are not meant to be downloaded or used outside of the Tabletop Audio web-environment. Even so, they are a fantastic way to enhance your gameplay or live storytelling.
Tabletop Audio and SoundPad are not just for gamers. There are several ways this site could be used in the classroom. You can use the tracks in the background while you read aloud. Give the classroom an adventure or cosmic feel while students work on projects. Or, my favorite, let your students mix up the perfect audio setting for their own storytelling or performances. Have them change up their audio choices to see how it impacts the tone of their story. The tracks also make great writing prompts. Play a track such as a Lively Cafe or an Abandon Amusement Park and have your students write what they hear. Build a story around the sounds and music. It could be an excellent exercise in using descriptive vocabulary and details. Create some flash fiction and have them write as you use SoundPad to mix up a soundscape.
So, whether you are a seasoned gamer who wants to take their gameplay to the next level, a novice LARPer looking for the sound of an ice spell, or a classroom teacher who wants to transport their students to an abandoned lunar outpost, Tabletop Audio/SoundPad has everything you need.
You know, I think I might even start using this during meetings. I’ve always wanted to have a meeting on a SteamPunk Airship…