So today we’re here to talk about an RPG accessory as opposed to an actual RPG. Behold in all its’ glory, Syrinscape! Syrinscape is a cool little application created/run by Benjamin Loomes (and of course, his wonderful team) to bring some atmosphere to your tabletop experience. It provides a multitude of sound effects and music that really helps your players become immersed in the situation you’re presenting them with. The app is friendly to both windows, Mac OSX/iOS and Android. Currently, I run it off of my iPhone and it works beautifully.
The way Syrinscape works is that you download the application, for free mind you, from their website. From there, you get two free sound sets (you guys are the best) and after that you can buy sound packages for specific environments and encounters, also from the site. It seems like there’s a lot of Pathfinder RPG specific sound sets, which I think is actually pretty cool. Obviously, they’re universal across the fantasy genre, but if you play Pathfinder, it’ll definitely come in extra handy. Conversely, if you have a sci-fi RPG that you play, there’s also a sci-fi version of the app with its own sound sets! The sound sets are reasonably priced and come jam packed with sounds effects including monster sounds, environmental ambiance, spells being cast, doors creaking, footsteps and the like. Better still is that they’re non looping! The music and sounds are very high quality. If you don’t feel like buying the sound sets individually, you can always become a subscriber and get ALL the sound sets for a monthly rate. How awesome is that?
What really sold me on this app isn’t even the content itself, or the idea behind it. IT was the fact that most of the sound sets have a preview video with some snarky commentary from Benjamin, so you can hear the sounds before you purchase them. This is huge to me, considering that sometimes these kind of things can be a little disappointing. Syrinscape? Hasn’t disappointed me with any of the sounds presented yet. The app itself is very user friendly, with all of your sound set titles in a neat little column on the left side of the screen it’s easy to find exactly what you need. Syrinscape has a hefty lineup of sound sets and sometimes it can be a little difficult to find what you want when using the app, or you find yourself bouncing back and forth between sound sets to create a mish-mash of ambiance. These guys heard our cries and created an amazing little bit for the app. You can actually add individual sounds or entire sound sets to a little custom “playlist,” if you will, so you can control exactly what you want and need when you need it. Simply fantastic.
All sounds can be paused or played simultaneously or individually, which is very nice. The same concept can be applied to the volume of the sounds. If you’re short on time as far as preparation in selecting the sounds you want, there’s also pre assembled sound combinations for every sound set, each with their own little title.
So what’s my experience with Syrinscape? To be honest, I regret the fact that I don’t use it more. It’s such a great system and when I do use it, everybody at the table loves it. As a GM, I find that I often have other things to worry about to get the session under way and hastily jump into playing the game, leaving this behind. The flip side, I don’t feel bad about it because everything I own in the app is so cheap!
However, here are the downfalls I noticed when I use this app. If you run this app off of a phone, it can be very hard to use. Before I upgraded to my iPhone 6 plus, I had an iPhone 5 and it was nearly impossible because the screen was so tiny. Also, it was very slow to respond to what I needed it to do creating much frustration. The app was also slow on my laptop when I used it. I have maybe five sound sets or so, and if that small amount of media is bogging down my computer/the app, it becomes infuriating. I could see this working very well on an iPad/tablet computer as far as usability for the layout of the app, save the speed issue. Besides these two minor (in my opinion) hiccups, this application is awesome and I can’t recommend it enough for GMs that are a little more prepared than me.
Stay metal \m/