Daily Illuminator

February 1, 2024: Pocket Bard

Background music for roleplaying can do a ton to make a session feel more immersive. But sessions can often change quickly, and it's hard to juggle different tracks to make a seamless and dynamic experience for your table, especially when you're also trying to run a game. Enter Pocket Bard

Pocket Bard provides an environment-based soundtrack; each area comes equipped with a variety of ambient sounds and one-shot effects, as well as three different musical states! When you switch from Explore to Combat, the music seamlessly transitions. And when you hit Victory, the triumphant swell automatically transitions right back into the Explore music. And the Intensity slider doesn't just make the music louder – it makes it more lively and complex, starting with a simple, ambient track and adding additional instruments, rhythms, and melodies. This thing really does feel like you're scoring your own movie in real time.

@pocketbardapp Unleashing the app magic at @PAX Unplugged with Chase! 🧙‍♂️📲✨ Elevate your gaming ambience with us! #paxunplugged2023 #paxunplugged #dndcommunity #pocketbard #dm #gm #dungeonsanddragons #ttrpg #dndtiktok #tabletopgames #gamemaster #soundscapes ♬ original sound - Pocket Bard

One of the coolest bits of attention to detail in this thing is that the sound of the weather effects changes depending on location. In the village, you can hear raindrops hitting rooftops, but the sound dampens as you move into the forest. And in a dungeon, the rain and thunder get all echoey and distant. You can hear that in action in a video on their TikTok page.

All users get access to the entire Fantasy Essentials pack as well as Seafaring and Sci-Fi preview packs. A premium monthly subscription is $6.99 and includes the more in-depth Sci-Fi Essentials pack, with promises of more content coming soon! As an added benefit, all of the music in the app is original and it's approved for royalty-free use in streamed games.

The team behind Pocket Bard is absolutely delightful; I met Alex at PAX Unplugged in 2022, and since then it's been really great to see this app just get cooler and cooler. Their next step is a desktop application, hopefully coming real soon. In the meantime, download it for iPhone or Android and try it out in your next game!

-- Irene Zielinski

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