Props… do you guys use props in your games and as a DM do you let your Players keep them or do you keep them. For example, specialty map specific to the campaign showing hidden areas, keys found that allow access to that special item, a special potion (a shot of wiskey …that can only be used at a specfic point/time, a journal from a key NPC figure relating locations, names, passwords etc. As a DM I really enjoy hidding hints and clues in certain props that I’ll involve in the play… a thief takes it on them or it gets burnt or wet (and we’ll go to the BBQ and safely burn half of it) and they have to go with whats left… I do make copies just in case… mend spells or the like to fix the damaged prop. If I have the time, I make these props realistic and “aged”. Do you guys as DM’s, take the time to craft this… as players appreciate this? Cheers.
Where does mark purchase his lightsabers from? I was just browsing and saw this site called ultrasabers.com and they looked amazing! I just about had to change my pants.
I use props, mainly just aging documents in the oven with coffee. The players, who grew up in the area, were given basic maps of the city and area and the tavern where they pick up most of their jobs/quests, I print those out too.
Been a fan of the show for a while, really enjoy you guys you’re a regular weekly listen for me. Wanted to take a minute to comment about something from episode 127 (Prepping for the Game).
Prepping for games breaks down into a several areas and each gets their own attention. I will not go into a lengthy description here as brevity is the soul of wit.
The game itself – Prepping the game itself essentially occupies 3-4 times the length of the game session. So for a 4 hour game session I typically spend 12-16 hours planning. This includes creating npc’s, detailing places, plot lines and events. This is an outgrowth of my basic philosophy which is, build a place for the game and throw some things into it for the pc’s to play with and turn them loose. It’s all the background and knowing the environment in which the game takes place that takes all the time.
Mechanical elements – This mostly includes miniatures, images and maps and most of the time is spent either culling images from the intarwebz or drawing maps. I’m a big fan of Gamer Paper for this purpose as I can draw them out in some detail ahead of time and have them ready when I need them. Miniatures take one of two forms either actual miniatures that I have painted or some that come preprinted, and fold up paper miniatures using images that I have found.
Manipulatives and handouts – Like you guys, I am a fan of being able to hand things to the players that their character’s have. One of my campaigns takes place in an alternate 1935 though it’s a lot like the Indiana Jones or Mummy movies. Several times the “home office” has communicated with the pc’s by telegram which I have typed out and printed to give to them. Also maps and such as well as newspapers and even in one case for a game a detective’s notebook in which he kept notes about the cases he was working on. “Better gaming through office supplies,” is a mantra by which to gm.
Environmental – I like to, if possible, set the atmosphere of the game where we play. I have used music playing in the background, lighting, temperature and any other theatrical trick I can to set the stage for the game and put the players into the same mindset that their characters should be in. Since we often play at my place this is pretty simple. Funny anecdote: I once played in a D&D 2nd Edition game set in Ravenloft. In an attempt to set the stage the gm brought a smoke machine. Which was a great idea except that it set off the smoke alarm in my apartment … My neighbors were not amused.
Any way, that is (sort of) in brief how I prepare for games.
Keep up the great work with the show.
Happy Jacks RPG Podcast
P.S. (Because there must be a P.S.) If you drink, take a drink, it works for us.
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