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Blond Gamer Girl

Turning Tricks

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Ha! Ha! I thought the name would get snap folks awake..Anyhow its GM Tricks of the Trade
I have a few tricks and shortcuts that I thought I would share. Please share your own and let me know what you think. For all of you who leave and have left comments, I thank you for your support.
Floor Plans
Three cheap options to avoid drawing them yourself:
Buy an architectural magazine – my fave and costs about $4
Clearance game books – no matter what the system, a floorplan is a floorplan
Commercial buildings
The website below lets you search boy/girl and/or origin and meaning.
Pictures for NPCs
Magazines work for the paper pushers.

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  1. bloodtide's Avatar
    Libraries often have old copies of magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, that have all sorts of neat homes and gardens and landscapes in them

    The craft store(Jo-anns, Pat Catans, Minnesota Fabrics, etc!) This place is a gamers dream store. First they have all sorts of graph paper in all different sizes, plus all sorts of pens and markers and clear plastic sheets.

    Then they have the miniature stuff. Tiny treasure chests. Tiny gold coins. Tiny book cases. Tiny books(I got a dozen tiny books for 99 cents). Not to mention paints and brushes.

    And they have all the craft stuff so you can make all your own items. Can't find a good dragon, you can make one with a clay kit.

    And to top it all off, the craft store stuff is a good 50% to 80% cheaper then the same thing you'd buy at a Game Store.
  2. Blond Gamer Girl's Avatar
    That is completely brilliant and I should have thought about it as a costumer. You're right. They do have some excellent props at inexpensive prices. Thank you.
  3. Malachi57's Avatar

    I went to a guy's house a month or so back to see how he runs his games, and he had a boat load of stuff he used. He bought a Halo board game at a garage sale because it had these cool 1'X1' square plastic playing boards. They were gridded off into 1" squares and he used them as dungeon room tiles.

    He also had a bunch of other little props to help the visual part of his game, so that got me thinking. What do I have lying around my house to use in my game? The answer....legos. They're great for constructing raised platforms or archways, and the newer sets have all sorts of neat little pieces that go beyond your basic 6 sided blocks.

    Another cool thing to try is toy train elements (trees, bushes, etc.) I saw a thing on Penny Arcade where Mike made an encounter for his group that occurred on another plane and he used styrofoam balls to indicate the various planets the players were hopping to and from.

    Lastly, since I don't have any money to buy a ton of minis, I've invested in minis for the PCs and print all the other minis onto a sheet of card stock so that I can stand them up. It's ghetto style, but my son loves having the visual representation of a dragon or other monster sitting on the board.

    As far as non-visual aids, I think you do a great job with coming up with games/rewards the players can use to enhance their playing experience. I especially liked your suggestion to read some text to the players to get their imaginations going. Maybe expand on that to get them to think of more interesting backgrounds for their characters or give their PCs interesting habits/nervous tics/needs.
  4. Blond Gamer Girl's Avatar
    Thank you very much. I especially loved the train minis and ghetto-tastic miniatures. Miniatures are very expensive. I've found some on clearance sales and bought just to represent PC and NPCs in combat. The other miniatures I've bought were in the toy department - little green soldiers.