• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

Ravenloft inspiration imagery (Google Image Search)

GlassJaw

Explorer
I'm prepping to run Curse of Strahd for my group (which is for 5E but my post isn't edition-specific). I really want to immerse my players right out of the gate by capturing the feel and mood of Barovia: the forests, rivers, mountains, and villages. One way I want to do that is showing them lots of images, especially of the real world.

What are some real places or keywords that would be good to search for in Google Image Search? Thanks!
 

Bedrockgames

Villager
I'm prepping to run Curse of Strahd for my group (which is for 5E but my post isn't edition-specific). I really want to immerse my players right out of the gate by capturing the feel and mood of Barovia: the forests, rivers, mountains, and villages. One way I want to do that is showing them lots of images, especially of the real world.

What are some real places or keywords that would be good to search for in Google Image Search? Thanks!
Barovia and Ravenloft were presented in the style of classic horror movies. I would probably start there with things like Black and White Universal film stills and Hammer Studios. Also the old Fabian art, if you can get your hands on it, is a great way to help establish the mood of the setting.
 

TheSword

Villager
If you are at all interested in a bit of tech. I found the Syrinscape app amazing at setting the mood right from the off. Their are a couple of sound sets - wychwood, lycanthrope battle and sirens lair that I used over and over again for creepy moments and tense battles. I believe there is a free trial you can do. Worth a look.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
If you are at all interested in a bit of tech. I found the Syrinscape app amazing at setting the mood right from the off. Their are a couple of sound sets - wychwood, lycanthrope battle and sirens lair that I used over and over again for creepy moments and tense battles. I believe there is a free trial you can do. Worth a look.
Wow, this looks really cool. I would definitely use this a lot but seems a bit pricey. What sets have you purchased? What is your opinion of the value?
 

TheSword

Villager
[MENTION=22103]GlassJaw[/MENTION]

I use the adventure path subscription which works out at $6.50 a month. That gives you access to everything and you almost certainly will never use a lot of the sound sets. However you only own sets that come out while your subscription is live. If you cancel you lose all the older sets.

You can download the app that plays the sound sets for free. It comes with the Witchwood free which is by far the most useful on I used - generally spooky music. My favourites are...

Witchwood - spooky music and rain
Brindol Town - generic settlement music
Friendly Tavern - generic tavern
Lycanthrope battle - for most battles
Mountain pass - as it has great wind sounds, and a rushing waterfall.

You’re therefore looking at about $16 for a good core. Most of the sound sets have YouTube previews which is worth looking at. If you had some time, I would suggest taking out the subscription, check out all the sound sets in detail and have a play with them, then cancel the subscription and just buy the ones you want.

I use it quite lot. Feel free to ask if you have any questions or want some help making it work.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I second TheSword's recommendation. The 6.50/month subscription gives you access to everything.

I also have an Apple Music subscription. I'm finding that I use it more than Syrinscape as thematic background music is mostly what I want and it is less fiddly to select a song or playlist. Generally, I play from Apple music and use Syrinscape for specific encounters or areas.

For Syrinscape I used a playlist someone already made for Curse of Strahd and shared. In addition to the items that TheSword mentions, there are also some witch battle soundscapes and a variety of other horror and suspense themed pieces. These include:

Seedy Tavern
Witchwood
kc Ravounel Forest
Storm
Mountain Pass
Dungeon Depths
Icy Wasteland
Disjunction Chamber
Spooky
Undead Battle
Zombie Battle
Yeth Hound Battle
isos Prison of the Mind
isos East Ward
isos Dead Don't Dream
isos Refuge of Dreamers

I have two playlists I use in Apple Music: a "Vistani" playlist and a general "Curse of Strahd" play list.

For my "Vistani" playlist (e.g. to play in background when the party visits a Vistani camp):

Gypsy Caravan: Russian and Tzygame Folk Guitar Music, Andrei Krylov
Music from Romania, Various Artists

For my general "Curse of Strahd" playlist (for general background music), I selected from the following albums:

Halloween Black Moon: Dark Ambient Music, by Halloween Music Specialists
Ambient Music for The Twilight Zone, Soundtrack 2011
Cold Hands, by Horror Music Orchestra
Light Piano Horror Ambiance, by Bobby Cole

I selected 74 songs from these albums, which make up just over 5 hours of background music.
 

TheSword

Villager
****Spoilers****

Also a brilliant section I remember using was in Barovia where one of the witches is selling pies for children. I had a music box on her cart (like the cart in Pirates of Carribean Worlds End)

I looked on YouTube for “creepy music box” and got lots of cool hits. Playing that as the old hag shuffled down the street with her cart made the encounter very memorable. It’s a perfect shadowing of the Old Bonegrinder and gives the heroes to save a kiddie and see just how downtrodden and despondent the folk of Barovia are.

Another thing to consider is that Mike Schely sells map packs at very high resolution (battlemaps quality) with and without DM numbers for all locations. I actually scaled these onto A3 and printed them out in colour which made the locations very vivid. Battlemaps aren’t for everyone but I find not having to describe the floor plan let’s me spend more time on the atmosphere and details.

One more tip before you run is to watch or listen to the first episodes of Dice Camera Action on YouTube. Chris Perkins the writer, is DMing and I found it amazing to be able to watch a writer DM his own campaign. He is very good at evoking the mystery and the campaign goes off in some really weird directions. I found it very useful to see examples of how it could play out even though my PCs too totally different paths.

Adding the music, pictures and the maps to the campaign make a massive difference. It was probably the immersive campaign I ever ran, the players loved it and we got right to the end. I hope whatever you do, you enjoy it.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Another thing to consider is that Mike Schley sells map packs at very high resolution (battle maps quality) with and without DM numbers for all locations. I actually scaled these onto A3 and printed them out in colour which made the locations very vivid. Battlemaps aren’t for everyone but I find not having to describe the floor plan let’s me spend more time on the atmosphere and details.
I bought Schley's map pack and printed them at 1-inch-square scale on a large format printer. It is very nice to have battlemats for most of the locations. Castle Ravenloft is the exception, but that would be tough to do as a battlemat unless you use a Virtual Table Top. I believe Fantasy Ground provide complete digital battlemats for all locations, including the Castle.

However, I think NOT having a map to follow along with as you explore, makes it more evocative. It also makes it more likely that the party will get lost or turned around, which adds to the sense of danger in the Castle.
 

TheSword

Villager
That is a really good point actually. The castle is one area that doesn’t have Schley maps. Plus I agree totally with MNBlockhead that you don’t want the place to be too rational. It would also cost you a fortune in ink/printing as that place is huuuuuge!
 

Advertisement

Top