Today’s post will be short, since I spent yesterday at the Ren Faire and managed to get sun poisoning or food poisoning or just plain poisoned. Not sure. The result, though, is that I got .75 miles into my run today and felt like Death himself, and, as we all know, Death himself doesn’t write blog posts on the weekends. He’s strictly a Mon-Fri kind of blogger.

I did want to take a second, though, and highlight 5.12 Studio’s Storyteller’s Companion app, a simple but effective iPad soundboard for GMs. Unlike some of the more expensive sound apps I’ve discussed before, the Companion is free. With it, you get what you see: a simple sound board with they key sounds you’re likely to need for most adventures. Many of the sounds are continuous loops, such as the blowing wind or the bustling crowd. These can be played together to create more complex soundscapes, so if your crowd is outside in the forest at night during a rainstorm, you’ll have the sounds to emphasize that a whole lot of people in your fantasy town don’t have the sense to come in out of the rain.

The button sounds at the top can be pushed for quick additions, such as a knock on the door or a wolf howling. These, too, can be played over or on top of one another or on top of the continuous sounds. Now we can introduce a wolf to eat all of those moist idiots hanging out in the forest!

Several of the sounds are pulled from the Freesound Project, so they’re of above average quality, although not perhaps sound studio quality. Still, if you’re in the middle of a fight scene or focusing on your RPing, you’re unlikely to notice small imperfections in the sound files. You’ll want to avoid overdoing the one-offs, as they are fairly distinctive.

Although this app has only the bare bones, it does what it does well. If you’re not sure how your group will respond to sound effects, this app gives you the opportunity to find out without spending anything. It’s ad-supported, though, so expect to see some random junk pop up at the bottom; the ads don’t seem to have been targeted at the app’s demographic. (I already have the Kindle app, thanks, and I’m not excited about the idea of reading Water for Elephants on it. Can’t the ads just tell me what new FFG games I’ll need to buy in the next month or so?) It’s a small annoyance, though, given the usefulness of the app as a whole.