Author Archives: david

Fiasco Playset: Candy Apples and Razorblades

Fiasco Playset: Candy Apples and Razorblades

 

We have a ghoulishly great Halloween treat for you, children. A one of a kind Fiasco playset, free of charge, and guaranteed to give you bad dreams for days. It will be a scream!

Okay, I’ll stop with the terrible Cryptkeeper impersonation. Fiasco is one of my favorite games, and I always thought it would be easy to write a playset. It wasn’t as simple as I thought, but I’m happy with the results. If you play Fiasco and enjoy scary stories about people getting into all sorts of messes on Halloween night, I think you’ll enjoy this.

A couple thank yous. Thanks to Bully Pulpit Games for making Fiasco. Be sure to check out their official playsets released each month. Second, thanks to “The Man Unmasked” for the playset template (download it and make your own!).  Thanks to Twitter people @dtrmcr and @triskaljm for some object suggestions. Finally, thanks to my wife Ashlee for whipping up a cover image.

It should be  a very fun to playset to use with Soundcrime #4. Let us know what you think, and if you’re interested in more playsets at Thoughtcrime!

Download the Candy Apples and Razorblades here.

Webcomics: Greyfriars

Webcomics: Greyfriars

 

Hello! When I’m not curating new Soundcrimes on the site, I write short stories and comics.  I’ve just launched a new webcomic called Greyfriars, and I’d like to share it with you.

Greyfriars is an all-ages supernatural adventure based on the true story of Greyfriars Bobby. Famous as the world’s most faithful dog, Bobby stayed by his master’s grave for fourteen years before he died himself. There’s a statue of him in Edinburgh, Scotland,  and several movies and books were made about him. If you’ve seen the Futurama episode “Jurassic Bark,” then you’re already familiar with this story’s influence.

Bobby isn’t the only legend surrounding the cemetery, and when I heard these stories, it inspired me to combine my love of Gothic horror, children’s adventures, and Celtic mythology. What if Bobby wasn’t sleeping in the cemetery just because he was loyal? What if he knew about the dark forces at work there, and he was continuing his master’s duties as a guardian against the supernatural?

My sister-in-law Junelle Faye (@junabelle) illustrates the comic, and her Wacom tablet brilliantly captures all the animals and mythological beasts prowling in my head.

You can read the comic every Wednesday at www.greyfriars-comic.com, and follow our Facebook page for updates, sneak peeks, and recommendations for other kid-friendly frights.

 

~David (@quickermcwild)

Soundcrime #4: Bumps in the Night

Soundcrime #4: Bumps in the Night

Horror is about atmosphere more than any other genre. The right music can crawl under your skin, and it will unsettle your players more than your hushed whispers could achieve.

Some gamers prefer metal for their horror games, but I like something slow and subtle. Something that will stalk you and get you before you know it’s there. Not something that’s just going to pop out of the shadows for a cheap thrill.

 

Daniel Licht – “Intro Perk Walk”

Into the Haunted Mansion

Daniel Licht had big shoes to fill for the Silent Hill games, but this song from Silent Hill: Downpour shows he was up to the task. This song plays in the beginning of the game as the hero is leaving prison. The game implies he’s safer in prison as the song grows more sinister as he nears the nightmarish ghost town.

Ennio Morricone- “The Thing”

What’s down that dark hole?

Ennio is a master. I’ve always loved his score for The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, but this track from The Thing proves scientists need to keep their poking and prodding to themselves. A steady beat of terror suits an investigation in the darkest corners of your game’s haunts.

Angelo Badalementi – “Bookhouse Boys”

The Spooky Speakeasy

David Lynch’s Twin Peaks is bizarre, and and Baldalementi’s score is a perfect, jazzy accompaniment. This song hints at mysteries just outside the character’s perceptions.

Sigur Ros – “Avalon”

Ancient Tongues

I try to avoid lyrics, but Sigur Ros gets a pass. They sing in a fictional language called “Hopelandic.” Their unusual music may not be terrifying or unnerving, but it does provide a haunting atmosphere.

Jocelyn Pool – “Masked Ball (1999 Extended Cut)”

The Cultists Chant

To be honest, I don’t always listen to a whole song when assembling these playlists. I skip around and try my best to get the feeling. Then I’ll listen to the playlist all the way through and tweak as I need to. But I can’t make it through this song at all. It is terrifying. You may recognize it from Eyes Wide Shut. The hymns on the track were played backward for extra nightmare fuel.

Bumps in the Night- A Horror Gaming Soundtrack

Recommended Games: DreadCall of Cthulhu, World of DarknessAll Flesh Must Be Eaten.


1. Daniel Licht – Intro Perk Walk
2.Christopher Young – The Suffering Begins
3. Danny Elfman – The Story…
4. Harry Gregson-Williams – Suicide Blonde
5. Danny Elfman – The Tree of Death
6. Ramin Djawadi – Addiction
7. Ramin Djawadi – Unwelcome Partner
8. Danny Elfman – Tales from the Crypt HBO Theme
9. Thomas Newman – To the Shock of Miss Louise
10. Alan Silvestri – First Grendel Attack
11. Akira Yamaoka – The Darkness That Lurks In Our Minds
12. Akira Tamaoka – Silent Heaven
13. John Carpenter – The Haunted House
14. John Carpenter – Better Check the Kids
15. Massive Attack – Butterfly Caught (Version Point Five)
16. Daniel Licht – Blood Theme 2010
17. Daniel Licht – Wink
18. Hans Zimmer – The Citrine Cross
19. Mogwai – I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
20. Nine Inch Nails – Gone, Still
21. Nine Inch Nails – 22 Ghosts III
22. Daniel Licht – Don’t Go in the Basement
23. Jack Wall – The Thorian
24. Sam Hulick – A Very Dangerous Place
25. Sigur Ros – Sigur 6 (Untitled)
26. George Crumb – Black Angels: Devil Music
27. George Crump – Black Angels: Danse Macabre
28. Hans Zimmer – She Never Sleeps
29. Ennio Morricone – Main Theme from The Thing – Desolation
30. Angelo Baldelementi – Night Life in Twin Peaks
31. Angelo Baldelementi – The Bookhouse Boys
32. Mogwai – Scotland’s Shame
33. Christopher Young – Theme from Hellraiser
34. Jocelyn Pook – Masked Ball (1999 Extended Mix)
35. Jocelyn Pool – Flood
36. Petri Alanko – Mirror Peak
37. Petri Alanko – Bright Falls Light & Power
38. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – With the Flies
39. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – How Brittle the Bones
40. Sigur Ros – Valtari
41. Anton Coppola – The Brides
42. Anton Coppola – The Ring of Fire
43. Michael Giacchino – Cloverfield

Soundcrime #3: Crusaders in the Dark

Soundcrime #3: Crusaders in the Dark

Last time on…SOUNDCRIME!

Heroes like Superman, Spider-Man, and Invincible face their foes with quips and wit, so they need hope and optimism their soundtracks. But other heroes mete justice from the shadows, skulking their criminal prey,  and there’s no room for joking during an inner monologue.

Many superhero stories have their highs and lows, which is why some albums crossed between the “Champions of Light” playlist and this new edition. I’ve focused on some of the darker and grittier tracks for games that are about clearing the dark of monsters, not lighting a beacon of hope.

This is a score for vengeance.

 

Henry Jackman – “Magneto”

Dusk

As with “Champions of Light,” we begin with a song from the X-Men: First Class soundtrack. Magneto never thinks of himself as a villain. The best bad guys never do. His theme captures the essence of heroes ready to break a few rules to do what they think is right. But how far over the line are the heroes ready to go?

Danny Elfman- “Rooftops”

Midnight Patrol

Studios rushed to imitate the success of Tim Burton’s Batman films in the 90s, which meant Danny Elfman was in high demand. “Rooftops” is off of the Dick Tracy soundtrack, and what respectable eventide angel doesn’t dash across city rooftops?

Ramin Djawadi- “Blade’s Back”

The Investigation

Vigilantes are often at the crime scene long before the Commissioner’s phone rings. This song from Ramin Djawadi (whose work might be more familiar to you from Game of Thrones), is the perfect background for detective work.

Patrick Doyle – “Frost Giant Battle”

Thugs, Minions, and Mooks

The Thor I’m most familiar with usually has a smile on his face, but while I have’t seen the film, Patrick Doyle’s score seems brooding enough that I have four tracks from it here. They’re sweeping and impressive, and I think “Frost Giant Battle” is ideal for the scene where the Big Bad Evil Guy escapes his hideout and leave the heroes to deal with his underlings. This track feels like time is running out.

Hans Zimmer – “…To Die For”

The Sun May Rise Again

There are several Zimmer songs from the Nolan Batman films, so why highlight this track from The Lion King? It simply kicks ass. This is showdown music. But it cuts to a somber tone as it ends. While Simba mourned Mufasa’s death, there is an air of “life goes on.” The dark path that many heroes follow doesn’t always lead to a happy end, but they never give up, and they always live to fight another night.

 

Crusaders in the Dark- A Supers Gaming Soundtrack

Recommended Games: Marvel Heroic RoleplayingDC Adventures, ChampionsIcons.


1. Henry Jackman – Magneto (X-Men: First Class)
2. Henry Jackman – Let the Battle Commence (X-Men: First Class)
3. Henry Jackman – Mutant and Proud (X-Men: First Class)
4. Danny Elfman – Main Titles (Dick Tracy)
5. Danny Elfman – Rooftops (Dick Tracy)
6. Hans Zimmer – Antrozous (Batman Begins)
7. Hans Zimmer – Molossus (Batman Begins)
8. Danny Elfman – Return of the Machines (9)
9. Alan Silvestri – Useless Crucifix (Van Helsing)
10. Alan Silvestri – Werewolf Trap (Van Helsing)
11. Shirley Walker – Ski Mask Vigilante (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm)
12. Shirley Walker – Phantasm and Joker Fight (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm)
13. Hans Zimmer – I’m Not a Hero (The Dark Knight)
14. Hans Zimmer – Like a Dog Chasing Cars (The Dark Knight)
15. Guy Michelmore – The Panther (Ultimate Avengers 2)
16. Guy Michelmore – Awaken the Hulk (Ultimate Avengers 2)
17. Guy Michelmore – Stone Men From Saturn (Planet Hulk)
18. Guy Michelmore – Hulk – Thor Battle 1 (Hulk vs Thor)
19. Hans Zimmer, Nick Glennie-Smith – In the Tunnels (The Rock
20. John Ottman – The People You Care For (Superman Returns)
21. Hans Zimmer – Black Smoke (Angels & Demons)
22. Ramin Dwjadi – Blade’s Back – Clean (Blade: Trinity)
23. Patrick Doyle – Crisis In Asgard (Thor)
24. Patrick Doyle – Hammer Found (Thor)
25. Patrick Doyle – Earth to Asgard (Thor)
26. Patrick Doyle – Frost Giant Battle (Thor)
27. Danny Elfman – Descent into Mystery
28. Danny Elfman – Attack of the Batwing
29. Danny Elfman – Up the Cathdral
30. Guy Michelmore – City Battle (Dr. Strange)
31. Guy Michelmore – Hulk vs Wolverine Main Title (Hulk vs Woverine)
32. Guy Michelmore – Escape from Department H (Hulk vs Woverine)
33. Danny Elfman – Doc Ock Suite (Spider-Man 2)
34. Alan Silvestri – Training the Supersoldier (Captain America)
35. Alan Silvestri – Troop Liberation (Captain America)
36. Alan Silvestri – Howling Commando’s Montage (Captain America)
37. Hans Zimmer, Walt Fowler – Strength and Honor (Gladiator)
38. Hans Zimmer – …to Die For (The Lion King)

Soundcrime #2: Champions of Light

Soundcrime #2: Champions of Light

 

There isn’t a lack of systems for super hero gaming these days, nor is there a lack of music.  Searching for great tunes for this Soundcrime felt like falling into a cave full of bats under Wayne Manor. It took a while to climb out and when I did I was a changed man.

I had become an avenger of justice.

Okay, so maybe I’m not going to stop a bank robbery anytime soon, but I did have to change how this column works. Instead of one straight mix like “Reboot Your Mind,” this genre forced me to split it into two playlists. This week’s songs are going to highlight the hope and optimism of superhero sounds. It’s a four-color Saturday morning musical mash-up.

Fans of the Super Friends and The Incredibles should find a lot to like here, but those of you skulking in the shadows will need to wait until next time.

Henry Jackman – “First Class”

The Dawn

I was tempted to open the playlist with John Williams’ iconic march for Superman, but I like to start with subtle songs. The score for X-Men: First Class isn’t so recognizable, but it is fantastic. This opening track perfectly embodies a new age of heroes and hope. This is the song to play when you gather your players with a purpose.

John Powell – “Unbelievable TV”

Saving the Cat

John Powell’s scores are always wonderful, and the Bolt soundtrack works great for capes. Every super hero movie has the scene where the heroes explore their new powers and save someone’s cat from a tree. This song is great for that effect. As the title suggests, the heroes are caught on camera for the first time, and the world is awed at their might.

Danny Elfman – “Headquarters”

Assembled

After cleaning up the streets, our titanic avengers of justice decide they need to form their own guild of guardians. This song from Men in Black has just the right feel of a military march combined with wonder that our heroes need when they step into their fortress of solitude for the first time.

Michael Giacchino – “The Fight for Helium”

The Confrontation

This playlist is flooded with Michael Giacchino. I’ll warn you right now — He’s my favorite composer, and I’m going to find as many excuses to shove him into Soundcrime as I can find. The John Carter score is beautifully bombastic, but let’s not forget the amazing songs off of The Incredibles and Cars 2 either. “The Fight for Helium” was grand in the film, so shall it be when your team squares off against their arch-nemeses.

John Williams – “Summon the Heroes”

The Day is Saved

The world is safe for now, and this song John Williams composed for the 1996 Summer Olympics is the perfect accompaniment while the super team accepts the key to the city. Of course, your session needs a well deserved cliffhanger when a villain crashes the party, right?

 

Champions of Light – A Supers Gaming Soundtrack

Recommended Games: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, DC Adventures, ChampionsIcons.

 

1. Henry Jackman – “First Class”
2. Henry Jackman – “X-Training”
3. Michael Giacchino – “The Glory Days”
4. Michael Giacchino – “100 Mile Dash”
5. Michael Giacchino – “A Whole Family of Supers”
6. John Williams – “Flight to Neverland from Hook – Instrumental”
7. John Powell – “Milo Escapes”
8. John Powell – “A Fast Train – Score”
9. John Powell – “Unbelievable TV – Score”
10. John Powell – “Scooter Chase – Score”
11. Michael McCuistion – “Justice League Unlimited Theme (2004)”
12. Jay Gruska – “Lois and Clark/The New Adventures of Superman (1993)”
13. John Ottman – “Memories”
14. John Ottman – “Saving The World”
15. Henry Jackman – “That Fateful Night”
16. Danny Elfman – “Spidey Suite”
17. Guy Michelmore – “Doctor Strange Main Title”
18. Guy Michelmore – “Hulk Vs Thor Main Title”
19. Guy Michelmore – “Tony Stark on Everest”
20. Guy Michelmore – “Avengers Into Battle”
21. Nobuo Uematsu – “The Man With the Machine Gun (FINAL Fantasy Vii)
22. Nobuo Uematsu – “The Earch Shark Is Coming!”
23. John Williams – “Escape from the Karaboudjan”
24. John Williams – “The Flight to Bagghar”
25. Danny Elfman – “The Suit”
26. Danny Elfman – “Headquarters”
27. Andy Sturmer – “Batman: The Brave and the Bold Theme (2008)”
28. Bear McCreary – “Theme from Dark Void”
29. Bear McCreary – “The Dweller”
30. Michael Giacchino – “The Fight for Helium”
31. Michael Giacchino – “The Second Biggest Apes I’ve Seen This Month”
32. Michael Giacchino – “The Right of Challenge”
33. Danny Elfman – “Doris Has Her Day”
34. Danny Elfman – “The Evil Plan”
35. John Williams; The Boston Pops Orchestra – “Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Instrumental”
36. Robert J. Kral – “Main Title”
37. Christopher Drake – “Heroes in Disguise”
38. James L. Venable – “Teleport”
39. Christopher Drake – “Wonder Woman The Animated Movie End Title (2009)”
40. Michael Giacchino – “Blunder and Lightning”
41. Louis Febre – “Booster Gold”
42. Louis Febre – “Trials”
43. John Williams – “Summon the Heroes (for Tim Morrison)”

Soundcrime #1: Reboot Your Mind

Soundcrime #1: Reboot Your Mind

Cyberpunk depicts the convergence of life and technology. In Johnny Mnemonic, Keanu Reeves plays a messenger smuggling the cure for a virus in an 80 gig hard drive wired into his brain. The data is only as safe as he is. Blade Runner asks important questions about what it means to be human as a bounty hunter executes escaped androids. Can he continue if he suspects he’s a replicant? Would his programmed memories and dreams still matter if they were real only to himself?

When you’re playing cyberpunk RPGs like Shadowrun or Shock, what music represents these elements better than songs that fuse electronic music and real instruments? Below is a cyberpunk playlist almost two hours long, featuring a variety of ambient and electronic bands.

Here are five of my favorite tracks and the type of scenes they’d play well against.

Tangerine Dream – “Zen Garden”

On the way to Mr. Johnson.

Evoking the same Asian influenced future as Vangelis’ Blade Runner score without the distracting familiarity of the movie, the sounds of rain and birds that introduce the song are a subtle way to draw players into the game. Once the slow percussion, strings, and synths come in, the scene is set for a night in the neon soaked streets of Neo-Tokyo. It’s time for the team to meet their contact and make some money.

Kavinsky – “Ghost Transistor”

Breaking and Entering.

Kavinsky is what the 1980s thought the future would sound like. If you’re dusting off an old edition of Shadowrun or Cyberpunk 2020, you could set the mood with any of his albums. But I think this is the perfect track for hacking into a security network while your teammates crawl through a ventilation shaft.

Gidropony – “Group Sex of Rabbits”

Busted and F#ck3d.

Definitely one of the more upbeat songs here. Nothing epitomizes the union of tech and life more than chiptuned bunny whoopie. The tempo is swift on this short track. Play this when a hacker forgets to disable a node or a street samurai snags a trip wire. It’s time to run.

Amon Tobin – “Kokubo Sosho Battle”

The Shootout.

Most of the songs on the mix blend right into the background, but this is the battle theme. I wanted to include something from the Akira soundtrack because of the excellent percussion, but this song from Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is more than adequate as a replacement. Spin this and scratch those itchy trigger fingers.

Daft Punk – “Steam Machine”

The Revelation.

Daft Punk’s albums, especially Human After All and the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, are musical masterpieces of the genre. I chose this track because I love the exhaled breath of the only lyrics, “steeaam machiiine…” This song makes me nervous. If your players hear it, they’ve just come across something they shouldn’t have. Perhaps a cyborg struggles to retain his humanity before his augments reboot his mind into a living weapon. Maybe an AI is ready to hit the big red button that will annihilate its human competition. No matter what they found, the party should be on edge and ready to end the crisis fast.

Reboot Your Mind – A Cyberpunk Gaming Soundtrack

Recommended Games: Shadowrun, Shock, Technoir, Eclipse Phase.

1. Tangerine Dream – “Zen Garden”
2. Dntel – “In Which Our Hero Begins His Long and Arduous Quest”
3. Ulrich Schnauss – “Monday – Paracetamol”
4. Air – “Sonic Armada”
5. Justice – “Horsepower”
6. Kavinsky – “Ghost Transistor”
7. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – “Infiltrator”
8. Gidropony – “Group Sex of Rabbits”
9. Avaelin – “October 15”
10. Figurine – “Heartfelt”
11. M83 – “Midnight City (Eric Prydz Private Remix)”
12. Crystal Castles – “Baptisim”
13. Amon Tobin – “Kokubo Sosho Battle”
14. Jack Wall – “The Long Walk”
15. Solar Fields – “Jacknife”
16. Disasterpeace – “Jump Error”
17. Daft Punk – “Steam Machine”
18. Radiohead – “Give Up the Ghost (Thriller Houseghost Remix)”
19. Jesper Kyd – “Desmond Miles”
20. Carbon Based Lifeforms – “Held Together By Gravity”
21. Woodkid – “Iron (Mystery Jets Remix)”
22. Vangelis – “Blade Runner Blues”