The music of Eternal Lies is split into three categories: ambient music to play during most of the game, short stings to be played at specific instants and ‘action loops’ to be played during combats, chases and other stressful scenes.

These action loops are each 2 minutes long and generally of a frantic disposition to help increase the tension in appropriate scenes. They have also been designed to not only loop but to smoothly follow one another in any order. This means that they can be put into a player software and ‘shuffled’  in any order for a 20 minute action track if desired. Sometimes a Keeper may wish to use a specific track as some are specifically more about tension and apprehension, some are slower and more menacing and some are faster reflecting chase scenes.

Without further ado, here is an action track specifically for chase scenes.

http://www.jamessemple.com/music/run.mp3

Enjoy!

James

Ok I promised that I would give out a preview of the Eternal Lies Suite.

Here is a piece from early in the game. It’s an ambient piece designed to be played as a loop during a specific scene and it introduces an important theme that will be heard throughout the suite.

Melancholy ambient theme by James Semple

The music in the suite varies from adventure through sentimental to horror. This is probably the most sentimental piece in there and although there’s an element of surreality, the theme feels familiar and comfortable.

Hopefully we’ll have a chance to give out more previews in the coming months. After all the suite will be around 70 minutes in total!

James

This is the last of the introductions to the composers for the Eternal Lies suite.

My name is Yaiza Varona, I’m Spanish, born in Barcelone but lived most of my life in Tenerife,
Canary Islands. I am a musicologist and  composer.
When James Semple offered me the chance to be part of this project, even before he had finished to
fully explain what it was about, I knew I had to do it, because even with first words “Eternal lies”
sounded so interesting and because of the chance of working with all three such talented composers.
Writing music for a Roleplay game means for me to create a subtle musical background that can
help boost the play´s emotions and contribute to “taste” more effectively all the experiences that
shall bring with it. This, in a way, offers the composer the chance to share that same experience as
well, and in that respect it is absolutely useful all the information we are provided about the game.
My personal approach to the project tries to focus on translating the character´s feelings into sound.
The weariness, solitude, concern or responsability weight that can appear during the playing in the
different scenario possible can be conveyed musically in a way that becomes part of the game itself,
or at least that is what I intend to achieve.
It is a huge pleasure for me to be here. I am really excited to be part of this, and am enjoying the
project since the first minute.
Great emotions can be expected from “Eternal lies”, and I will try my very best to make the perfect
music for it.

Yaiza’s website is here, and you can listen to a sample of her music here.

Following on with the music blog, I’m going to let Mike Torr introduce himself…

I’m a composer with a broad spectrum of experience and influences.  A long history as a keyboard performer (and one-time double bass player) has taken me through a landscape of Electronica, Blues, Classical, Jazz, and Rock; via the usual grind of touring and recording with bands; and landed me on the shores of media music land.  Writing music is always an adventure, and I’m attracted to it because it feels like a back door into the human subconscious.  Perhaps I was a necromancer in a previous life…
I live and work in Southampton and I’ve known James for a few years.  He’s already written some great material for Eternal Lies and I’m going to be joining his team and helping him to express his ideas in a variety of ways.  With Marie-Anne and Yaiza on board, I’m in the company of a great group of talented and creative people, and I’m really looking forward to discovering where this is going to lead!

Hi … I thought it apt to begin introducing the various composers who are working on the Eternal Lies suite.

Here is Marie-Anne Fischer in her own words…

I fell in love with composing music when in South Africa, after moving from my native Belgium.  Rhythms, beats and sounds of Africa stylised my music, some of which was used for television, wildlife documentaries, sport and corporate video.  Further colour was added during time spent in the USA.  I moved to the UK where I focused on composing music for media after completing a diploma course in the same. My main instruments are piano and violin.
I look forward to co-writing music for “Eternal Lies” and have already been exploring the range of possible emotions and ambient sounds that might accompany live role play. Composing can be solitary, so I welcome working alongside such talented friends and taking the opportunity to broaden my musical spectrum.

I’ll be introducing Mike and Yaiza in the coming weeks and hopefully I can bring a few of these musical types along to Dragonmeet in November.

I believe next week we will post up the first preview of the music!

cheers

James

Here’s a quick update on the state of the Eternal Lies suite.

This has been a truly phenomenal week with a chance for composers and authors to finally bounce ideas of one another. I’ve been absolutely amazed by the exceptional ideas coming from Will and Jeff and I’m so pleased about their enthusiasm for having their adventure scored. This week we began looking at the various chapters and how they will be scored.

Without giving away too much here, we have come up with around five distinct musical themes each representing concepts within the campaign. Therefore, chapters will reference themes based on the relevance of the concepts at the time. We’ll also be using this idea for the various stings that are to be used for specific circumstances. For instance, this week I created the sting for when a character is … well let’s politely say ‘retired’ from the game for whatever reason. This sting is a piano version of a theme which in one sense represents failure but is really part of a bigger concept. Perhaps I’ve said too much already…

We also agreed to include a new piece specifically to be played when the group are sitting back and reviewing the information they’ve amassed. We felt this would be a useful piece of music for keepers. In fact we’ve really spent a lot of time looking at the utility of this music for a group playing a game. That whole aspect has been very important for keeping us focused. The music must serve the game.

I hope that I’ll get a chance to include samples of the music during these articles to whet appetites!

Next week I’m going to start introducing the wonderful composers working alongside me to create this enormous suite of music.

James

Just to let people know that we are currently in the preparation phase of the Eternal Lies Suite project.

This means that right now we’re focusing on a variety of tasks: –

  • Developing themes for the suite
  • Dividing up the various tracks amongst the group
  • Building a suitable orchestral template within the sequencer software

For the most we’re focusing on a fairly traditional ‘film orchestra’ sound, particularly focusing on the kind of sound used in the 1930s. We had considered using more of an old fashioned sound for the final mix but we have decided against it. The style of arrangements and melodies will have the appropriate sound but we’ll use a more modern mix.

We will also be using elements of non-orchestral music including both folk instruments and sound design elements. I hope to be able to give more definite examples of what we’re using in a later post.

James

In the beginning…

As I’m about to undertake the creation of a suite of music for the upcoming Trail of Cthulhu supplement, Eternal Lies, I thought it best to first give everyone a quick introduction.
My name is James Semple. I’m a media composer who has written music for both film and videogames. I’m also a roleplayer and was one of the playtesters for Trail of Cthulhu. To date I’ve written two musical offerings for Pelgrane Press, Four Shadows (music for Trail of Cthulhu) and Dissonance (music for Esoterrorists). Primarily I’m a guitarist however most of the compositions are realised using industry-standard orchestral samples.

To assist me in the creation of this suite I will be assisted by three extremely talented composers: Marie-Anne Fischer, Mike Torr and Yaiza Varona. They will each be writing their own introductions in due course.

The Purpose of the Suite

Given that I’ve already written some roleplaying music I took a step back before approaching this new suite. Firstly I wanted to really look at what purpose the music was serving. Why write music for roleplaying? How might roleplaying music be used in a game?

Writing original music for a roleplaying game allows us an opportunity to create a sense of atmosphere specific to Eternal Lies. While there are other pieces of music out there that are appropriate for Trail of Cthulhu, they are often tied to other properties (such as films or videogames) and if they are recognisable they can distract the listener and pull them out of the game.

I thought a lot about how to use the music in a game and as a result I’ve broken the tracks down into different types.

Overture and Closing Titles

Music designed to open and close the suite. These are the most traditional tracks and more than anything else they are designed to impart a sense of atmosphere and set the scene for the game.

Ambient Tracks

These are tracks designed to be looped in the background while the game is playing. They make up the majority of the music within the suite. Each track is tied to a chapter or location within the campaign but works around the main themes presented in the overture. These tracks will be quite long (around 6 minutes each) and detailed enough to be looped continuously for many repeats.

Action Tracks

These are 2-minute loops designed to be used in tension moments during a game. Fights, car chases, perilous hazards or any kind of danger scene can be accompanied by these pieces of music.

Stingers

Often derived from the other music, these stingers are short pieces of music (usually less than 30 seconds) that can be played to signify a specific situation. For instance a brief sting can be used to pause the game for a break and another sting to resume the game. Following advice from Robin Laws I’ll be creating an ‘end of scene’ sting to let the players know it’s time to move on. Similarly I’ve created a tragic sting for when a character is retired.

In Summary

So this is who I am and what I’m planning to create. I’ll get into the detail of the actual types of music I’m creating in a later blog. I’d be very interested to get feedback as I go along.

cheers

James

Four Shadows

“There in the narrow hall, outside the bolted door with the covered keyhole, I often heard sounds which filled me with an indefinable dread-the dread of vague wonder and brooding mystery.”-HP Lovecraft, The Music of Erich Zann

What better to set the tone of your Trail of Cthulhu game than some superbly crafted music? Musician James Semple has created four tracks specially for Pelgrane Press to enhance your horror roleplaying experience.

Trail of Cthulhu features elements of tension and horror but also thoughtful and considered investigation and dramatic moments of revelation. The music here is designed to play beneath those key moments to help enhance the all-important atmosphere of the game. In creating these tracks James Semple drew upon many influences from the worlds of classical orchestral music and film scores. The Golden Age scores of film composers such as Franz Waxman and Bernard Herrmann were particularly inspiring.

Trail of Cthulhu Theme (Pulp)
The Pulp theme emphasizes the action scenes of a typical game, inducing excitement, and depicting an encroaching terror and a desperate flight to safety.

Ruminations
Ruminations was written for a classic investigative scene. Many times I’ve found players puzzling over the clues they have for long periods. This music helps reflect the background tension and sense of lonely desperation so typical of the game.

Anagnorisis
Anagnorisis is the moment when the Investigators understand the true horror of what they are facing. The opening of this track is a whole minute of anticipation in sound design building into the orchestra and vocal chorus.

Trail of Cthulhu Theme (Purist)
To open a game played in the purist style, this theme conveys a sense of a mystery and a brooding threat just out of sight but constantly lurking and waiting.

Includes Trail of Cthulhu Purist theme, Trail of Cthulhu Pulp them, Aganorosis and Ruminations.

Stock #: PELGT05D Author: James A Semple
Artist: Jerome Huguenin Format: 4 MP3 tracks

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