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The Shadow Over Innsmouth - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/11/2014 08:07:05

Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/06/11/tabletop-review-ambient-environments-mp3-the-shadow-over-innsmouth/

As you can probably tell from the title of this ten minute MP3, The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a background track for tabletop gaming inspired by one of H.P. Lovecraft’s most famous stories. We cover a LOT of Call of Cthulhu releases here at Diehard GameFAN and god knows many of those have had Deep Ones lurking between their pages somewhere, so I thought it would be fun to check out this piece and see how it fares. With a two dollar price tag, it’s a bit more expensive than releases by other tabletop background music providers like Plate Mail Games, but two bucks for ten minutes of music is still a pretty good deal in this day and age. The track is also part of the Cthulhu Rises! bundle, but I didn’t receive a review copy for each track in that bundle, so I can’t really comment on that.

So one warning right up front – if you’re looking for this track to be very Mythos oriented, you won’t find it here. There won’t be any cultists chanting to Cthulhu, Dagon, Shub-Niggurath or the like. You won’t hear the sopping wet footsteps of a Deep One slowly shambling along wood steps or into an old home. You won’t have any sounds for a small town like Innsmouth like general chatter or clopping of horse hooves on cobblestone. So if you’re looking for something like that, you will NOT find it in this track. You’re probably better off with Darkling Harp’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth bundle which contains actual tracks geared specific towards the sounds of Innsmouth and games set within its borders.

That said, The Shadow Over Innsmouth by Ambient Environments is actually pretty versatile. It can work for a haunted lighthouse, spooky coastline, abandoned pier, scary beach, marshy inlet of doom and more. Any coastal or large body of water that has strange goings on could make excellent use of this ten minute track.

You get a lot of great noises, none of which are distracting or overly annoying save for a few seconds of a very out of place barking dog. There isn’t any real music to the track, which is good as aside from a Hymn by the Starry Wisdom Church, I wouldn’t want any. You get a lot of wind, surf and rain though playing pretty much nonstop for the full ten minutes, which honestly, is a far better choice than any musical tracks. You do get the occasional high pitched note or very subtle hint of music in the wind and surf though via some eerie undefined intonations, which is a nice touch. Towards the back half of the track the intonation does seem to get louder and take on a dark hymnal quality, while still keeping from being full on music in the way a human would think of it.

The crashing of the waves and bubbling of the water is excellently done, as are the caws of seagulls and the occasional bell from a lone buoy. There are also some creaks, but I can’t really discern if it is from a broken down pier/dock or if it’s a ramshackle old boat making the noise as the tide rocks it back and forth. The overall feel of the track is very ominous and creepy, so even though it’s not a perfect fit for Innsmouth, it is a fantastic for any games that involve exploration of an eerie maritime location. Whether it’s a cove, swampy hamlet, or high tide along a creepy bay, there are ton of great uses for The Shadow Over Innsmouth without making your game Deep One or even Call of Cthulhu related.

Overall, The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a great “spooky water related area” background tracker which you can definitely make great use of in your games and it is also one players will highly enjoy. It doesn’t really give off an Innsmouth vibe to me at all, but that’s okay because the piece is versatile enough to have a dozen other uses. I can definitely recommend it, especially as it is only two dollars. For those of you who really like musical cues and background noise in your tabletop games, The Shadow Overs Innsmouth is a fine addition to your collection.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Shadow Over Innsmouth - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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At the Mountains of Madness - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2014 23:22:57

The Ambient Environments soundscapes are quality recordings that combine sound and music into an audio atmosphere for your storytelling games. Each track is ten minutes long, with no fade in/out at the start or end, making them perfect for continuous looping. While reviewing this series, I played each track in the background and often didn't notice when it had started over. The sound levels are compressed very well, which means that there will be very few distracting volume changes when you play these during a session. And at $1.99, the price is very reasonable.

The At the Mountains of Madness soundscape includes arctic wind, along with some spooky ambient music (some of it kind of backwards sounding, for greater effect). A very good mix of sound effects and evocative music. All of their soundscapes are very good, but this one actually made me start thinking about running something that I could use it in.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
At the Mountains of Madness - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Foreign Marketplace - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2014 06:23:18

The Ambient Environments soundscapes are quality recordings that combine sound and music into an audio atmosphere for your storytelling games. Each track is ten minutes long, with no fade in/out at the start or end, making them perfect for continuous looping. While reviewing this series, I played each track in the background and often didn't notice when it had started over. The sound levels are compressed very well, which means that there will be very few distracting volume changes when you play these during a session. And at $1.49, the price is very reasonable.

The Foreign Marketplace soundscape includes a cacophany of shouting and chattering voices, coins jingling, animal noises (chickens, ducks, donkeys, and goats), blacksmithy sounds, shuffling feet, and much more. It's a great audio backdrop for most any marketplace scenario.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Foreign Marketplace   - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Land of the Giants - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2014 06:19:35

The Ambient Environments soundscapes are quality recordings that combine sound and music into an audio atmosphere for your storytelling games. Each track is ten minutes long, with no fade in/out at the start or end, making them perfect for continuous looping. While reviewing this series, I played each track in the background and often didn't notice when it had started over. The sound levels are compressed very well, which means that there will be very few distracting volume changes when you play these during a session. And at $1.49, the price is very reasonable.

Land of the Giants soundscape includes wind, native drums and other percussion, and some ambient background music. This track could be used for any outdoor scene that has grown tense and suspenseful (with or without the presence of giants).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Land of the Giants   - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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The Hidden - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2014 23:09:10

The Ambient Environments soundscapes are quality recordings that combine sound and music into an audio atmosphere for your storytelling games. Each track is ten minutes long, with no fade in/out at the start or end, making them perfect for continuous looping. While reviewing this series, I played each track in the background and often didn't notice when it had started over. The sound levels are compressed very well, which means that there will be very few distracting volume changes when you play these during a session. And at $.99, the price is very reasonable.

The Hidden features suspenseful ambient music, (thrumming bass, swelling strings, distant and echo-ey piano melodies) for those times when the party is on the verge of making a terrible discovery. It sounds like it comes straight from the soundtrack of a Hollywood thriller. Moss would definitely think this one is "ruddy mysterious."



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Hidden - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Dungeon Crawling - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2014 22:20:51

The Ambient Environments soundscapes are quality recordings that combine sound and music into an audio atmosphere for your storytelling games. Each track is ten minutes long, with no fade in/out at the start or end, making them perfect for continuous looping. While reviewing this series, I played each track in the background and often didn't notice when it had started over. The sound levels are compressed very well, which means that there will be very few distracting volume changes when you play these during a session. And at $1.49 each, the price is very reasonable.

The Dungeon Crawling soundscape features ambient music, a torch cracking and whooshing as it is moved around, water dripping, rats squeaking, distant growls and other "possible monster" noises. The "torch whooshes" can get a bit repetitive and distracting in this one, but otherwise the track works very well.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawling - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Creator Reply:
Great review. Thanks for your insight. Working on version 2. =)
Druid Ceremony - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2014 22:10:35

The Ambient Environments soundscapes are quality recordings that combine sound and music into an audio atmosphere for your storytelling games. Each track is ten minutes long, with no fade in/out at the start or end, making them perfect for continuous looping. While reviewing this series, I played each track in the background and often didn't notice when it had started over. The sound levels are compressed very well, which means that there will be very few distracting volume changes when you play these during a session. And at $.99, the price is very reasonable.

The Druid Ceremony soundscape features birds singing, deep male chanting, melodic female singing, and drums. This track is actually pleasing enough to listen to as background music even when you're not running a game!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Druid Ceremony  - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Arctic Excursion 2 - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2014 22:08:15

The Ambient Environments soundscapes are quality recordings that combine sound and music into an audio atmosphere for your storytelling games. Each track is ten minutes long, with no fade in/out at the start or end, making them perfect for continuous looping. While reviewing this series, I played each track in the background and often didn't notice when it had started over. The sound levels are compressed very well, which means that there will be very few distracting volume changes when you play these during a session. And at $1.49 each, the price is very reasonable.

Like the first Arctic Excursion soundscape, the second includes blustery wind, cracking ice, as well as loud splashes of ice falling into water. This track seems to have some suspenseful background music to it, but it is very subtle and non-distracting. I paired this track into a playlist with the first Arctic Excursion track, and they matched seamlessly.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Arctic Excursion 2 - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Arctic Excursion - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2014 21:59:50

The Ambient Environments soundscapes are quality recordings that combine sound and music into an audio atmosphere for your storytelling games. Each track is ten minutes long, with no fade in/out at the start or end, making them perfect for continuous looping. While reviewing this series, I played each track in the background and often didn't notice when it had started over. The sound levels are compressed very well, which means that there will be very few distracting volume changes when you play these during a session. And at $1.49 each, the price is very reasonable.

The Arctic Excursion soundscape includes blustery wind, cracking ice, rumbling of a potential avalanche. This track seems to have some suspenseful background music to it, but it is very subtle and non-distracting. I paired this track into a playlist with Arctic Excursion 2, and they matched seamlessly.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Arctic Excursion - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Abandoned Underground Research Facility - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2014 21:56:02

The Ambient Environments soundscapes are quality recordings that combine sound and music into an audio atmosphere for your storytelling games. Each track is ten minutes long, with no fade in/out at the start or end, making them perfect for continuous looping. While reviewing this series, I played each track in the background and often didn't notice when it had started over. The sound levels are compressed very well, which means that there will be very few distracting volume changes when you play these during a session. And at $1.49 each, the price is very reasonable.

The Abandoned Research Facility soundscape includes bass rumbles of humming machines, dripping water, and distant echos and groans of moving metal, perfect for that excursion into a forgotten underground lab, steampunk factory, or even a derelict spaceship.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Abandoned Underground Research Facility - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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The Shadow Over Innsmouth - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2014 15:15:08

Whether your PCs are visiting Innsmouth or some other creepy port town, this soundscape will help you set the mood. Mostly what you hear are the lapping of waves, the ocean breeze, and the creaking of boards (piers, I suppose, and maybe moored ships). Seabirds and (ships'?) bells are also in evidence; now and again, a dog barks. Very effective.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Shadow Over Innsmouth - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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At the Mountains of Madness - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2014 15:07:00

If you need the sounds of a windswept, barren, icy plain for your RPG, look no further. In fact, you could probably get away with using this track for a windswept, barren plain that isn't icy, since mostly what you hear is the wind.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
At the Mountains of Madness - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Shub-Niggurath - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/05/2014 18:24:36

There's honestly not much I can add to the catalog description, which does a really fine job of telling you what you'll get in this track. It's noisy and busy, and effective at conveying a sense of monstrous chaos.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shub-Niggurath - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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City Street 1920-1930 - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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!]
City Street 1920-1930 - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Modern Urban Warfare - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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!]
Modern Urban Warfare   - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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