Get ready to rock! We’ve compiled a huge megalist of the best free sound effects, audio resources, and music for Dungeons & Dragons and other TTRPG campaigns.
This list is organized by content length, so the longer, “set it and forget it” resources are at the top, and the tiny soundbites are at the bottom. I am not affiliated with any of these businesses or people in any way. These are my honest opinions from my personal time spent using the content while running Dungeons and Dragons.
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
Long Form Audio: Background Music
YouTube needs no introduction. If you stream from a browser on a laptop (as opposed to say, a Google Chromecast) you have a lot more control muting ads and skipping parts of songs that aren’t working for you. It does eat up a lot of memory, though, so if you’re working on a dinosaur, keep that in mind.
Music for tabletop gaming on YouTube has gotten so excellent that it’s hard to suggest a clunkier, paid interface. If you’re in a hurry and need something NOW, YouTube has got you covered. Here are some direct channels for you:
- Michael Ghelfi Studios: In my opinion, the very best music and audio producer for TTRPG music on YouTube. He also has a Patreon if you’d like additional content. Each of his videos has extremely high quality loops and thematic images, in case you want to cast to a TV or display for your table humans. This is primarily a fantasy-based audio channel, but he also has a sci-fi one here he just started as well. How he does not have more subscribers is a mystery to me.
- Sword Coast Soundscapes: Another excellent channel. If you’re playing a Dungeons & Dragons game, you’ll appreciate the playlists named after actual places in the Forgotten Realms, such as Phandalin and Barovia. They also have a Patreon if you’d like to support them further, and they pre-build a lot of area-specific playlists so you can have all the locations in a town or city quickly available. The images on their videos are a bit low-res, but it’s a great standby to have.
- The Vault of Ambience: A solid channel with nice images. I listen to these a lot when I’m working, too. This channel doesn’t have as many videos as Ghelfi or Sword Coast, and the theming is a bit sporadic, but what they do have is very good.
- Derek Fiechter and Brandon Fiechter (separate channels): Music only, no ambience. You’ll need to build your own playlists if you don’t like the general ones set up on their channel sites. Derek is a little more popular, but their music is similar. I’ll be honest with you–it’s not my favorite. It sounds royalty free and a lot of it is pretty similar; however, if you’re needing a song for a VERY specific event, there’s a good chance one of these two will have you covered. Did you need a song for a grand ceremony? How about a quick, spooky desert vibe? Alien pirate? Ocean mystery? Candy town? Seriously, if you have something you need a mood for, one of these two have you covered. And they are VERY good at setting a mood with their music, even if it’s not my favorite.
- Peter Gundry: Very talented, loads of videos/songs. No ambience. A lot of his music is very moody and dark. Great for setting a horror scene or setting players up for something very serious. Some of the songs have vocals.
- Adrian von Ziegler: Another super talented musician with lots of music available. He doesn’t cater specifically to gaming, but his content is perfect for it. My favorite of his is called Winter Breath, and I’ve been listening to it every winter since he posted it over ten years ago.
- Ambient Worlds: Uses popular IPs and pairs them with weather, time, or holidays to create audio “scenes.” They’re great. They have everything from World of Warcraft. If your players are not WoW fans, I cannot overstate how useful this is. My players don’t play WoW, so I can use all that awesome music and ambience without pulling them away from the game we’re playing.
- T E R A V I B E: You have got to check her out! She posts videos that are several hours long with light ambient noise alongside themed music for different environments. Her most recent ones as of this writing are Steampunk Museum and Paleontologist , but she has some classics, too, like Vampire Dinner Party, libraries, and enchanted forests. We NEED more content like this! These videos are absolutely perfect to run in the background during a scene in our games. I love it.
Another major player that needs no intro. I don’t like Spotify, though. I don’t pay for premium, so there’s too many ads. It’s not my jam, but if you like it, here are some popular playlists curated by TTRPG fans:
- DnD Fantasy Playlist
- Reddit Mega List of Spotify Playlists
- An even Bigger Reddit List of Spotify Playlists
Long and Short Form Audio
Music and Sound Effects Combined in One Interface
If you’re not interested in juggling multiple tabs, apps, or resources, you may find the following to be the most useful to you. These resources pair longer form ambient sound loops or music alongside snappy sound effects that you can use on command. I’ve given a brief overview of each below.
TLDR: Syrinscape (pronounced Siren-scape) is my favorite as of this writing, but the best sound sets are not free.
Of the options in this section, Syrinscape is my favorite, but it comes with a few caveats.
You can try the service for free, and they give you a handful of sound packs to play with. They also do have an app you can download to use locally on your laptop/tablet/phone, as well as a web interface.
I prefer the online interface because even though it’s not as pretty, it’s a LOT more functional. It’s easier to search and find content and play things quickly, in my opinion. YMMV. Syrinscape has different payment plans depending on what you’re interested in having access to, but they do have pretty affordable options and even some sci-fi sounds and music packs for you spacey nerds.
I like this service a lot. I think it could be a lot more user-friendly, so I go back and forth between subscribing and dropping my sub. One nice thing with it is if you’re actively subscribed when they release a pack, you own it permanently. Also, while your subscription is active, you gain access to the packs released before you signed up, which means you have loads of great content available.
Pros: Their sounds are really excellent. The music they do have is interesting, unusual, and usually pretty high quality. I’ve only come across a couple of songs that sounded royalty-free. They have a sound effects button board that is really easy to use, and there are many spell sound effects available quickly in any sound pack.
Cons: I don’t like how difficult it is to find long, non-repeating songs, which means I’m often layering something like YouTube alongside Syrinscape. That sort of defeats the purpose for me.
I cannot tell you how much I want to love this. I sunk an embarrassing amount of money into sound packs for this (years ago when it first came out) and I LOVE the quality of what I have. Unfortunately, that’s where the positivity stops, because I can’t really use it.
They have an app to download, technically, and an online interface. Technically. Neither of them work as advertised, and honestly, even if they did, the interface is sorely lacking.
It takes an insanely long time to build playlists and audio loops, only to have them difficult to access on what seems to be a “hesitant” website.
The app, though I’ve downloaded my purchases several times over several versions of the app, never has any of my content available. It also weirds me out that they’ve had the same pop-up promo for new subscribers going for well over a year now. (Is the site even alive?)
However, I DO keep going back, because I keep hoping they’ll improve their site or app to the point where I can feasibly use what I’ve purchased. I won’t lie–there’s a chance there’s some user error here–but I’m pretty tech-savvy and I’m just not willing to sink any more hours into getting it to work, when it should just WORK.
Pros: Best music, sound effects, NPC scripts, period. So, so good! I love their themed packs and I’ve made some of my best audio from them.
Cons: Can’t really use what you get without a lot of time investment, because their interface is trash.
This is the best free, multi-use interface you’re going to find, in my opinion.
The owner now has a Patreon if you’d like to support them for more content, and every time I visit the site it seems like something new has been added.
This one works well, is fun to play with, is easy to use, and has a lot of variety. I wish some of the other sound offerings would take note of the interface, because I think it’s pretty much perfect. Check it out and have fun with it!
Pros: Cheap/free, lots of variety, excellent interface, easy to use in the spur-of-the-moment, nice background images, multiple themes.
Cons: Not great for long form music.
This is exactly what it says it is. You can mix ambient sounds to make whatever environment you’d like. It’s an ugly site, but it works well and there are lots of premade mixes you can just hit play for. It’s a great, free resource.
Sorry Tabletopy, but this seems like a poor imitation of Tabletop Audio. There’s a software download option that says it’s better than the web version, but Tabletop Audio is just a superior version of this right now.
This is a very basic but excellent resource for background ambient noise. If you scroll down a bit on the front page, you’ll find an option: “I’m a Role Play Gamer looking for background tracks,” but lots of them would work perfectly.
The sound quality is excellent. Very crisp and fresh sounding. I like having this on in the background, even when I’m not playing.
Short Form Audio: Sound Effects and Stings
If you JUST want sound effects and nothing more, here are a couple of options for you. I suggest and prefer to use the resources above, as they are more user-friendly and have a wider variety of options, but these are there if you want a bit more variety.
Type in the sound you want and hit play. Pretty great concept, but the library is a bit limited.
This site is free, and you can play the sound effects straight from the site. Since it’s a general sound effects resource, though, it doesn’t cater to our nerd culture. You won’t find soundboards full of spell effects or medieval fighting. This is not something I use often.
- Kenku.FM: Pay-what-you-want online tabletop audio sharing for Discord.
- Bardly.io: Hundreds of ambiences and what looks like a pretty nice interface.
- Roll20: If you’re already using this VTT, might as well take advantage of the sound options they have!
- Fantasy Grounds: Same as above–this VTT offers soundscapes for your sessions.
- Free Music Archive: Free music that can be used for TTRPG sessions.
- Incompetech: Royalty-free music and sound effects that can be used for TTRPG games. It has a large collection of music and sound effects that are available for free, but with some attribution requirements.
- Musopen: A wide variety of free, public domain classical music that can be used for streaming TTRPG sessions. It has a collection of classical music that can be searched, listened and downloaded for free.
- Freesound: Free sound effects and samples.
Obviously there are nearly infinite resources and posts on this topic, but my hope is that by consolidating the highest performing options, you’ll have an easy way to access them. So bookmark this page, and let me know if I’ve left something out! I’d love to add it here for everyone to enjoy.
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