Recent Chat Activity (Main Lobby)
Join Chat

Loading Chat Log...

Prefer not to see ads? Become a Community Supporter.
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18

Thread: Props in Pen/Paper Gaming

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Fort Worth
    Posts
    31
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Props in Pen/Paper Gaming

    Prefer not to see ads?
    Become a Community Supporter.
    Props in Pen/Paper Gaming



    Many people have asked me for little tips here and there on ways to make their pen/paper style RPG's more immersing. While my biggest advice is always going to be to use sensory words whenever possible to describe EVERYTHING; The room FEELS cramped, the tone of the room SOUNDS shallow giving you a sense of CLAUSTROPHOBIA. Pulls the player in allot more than “You have entered a 10x10 room and the lights are out. What now?”


    Of course this is the most basic and important aspect of creating an immersing environment as a GM, and hopefully you are already doing this. That's why I want to talk about a trick you can use along with “good GM” skills... Props.


    Generally when you think of props in Role-playing your mind goes into two very distinct locations; One would be the gutter, and the other LARPing (The live action version of whatever it is you are playing.) The idea is borrowed a bit from the latter, but not on such a large scale. Instead of fully acting out entire scenes or constructing elaborate sets, a GM may use a few key items to help draw in their players.


    One example might be a letter from the prince. However, instead of scribbling a simple note, a GM might take the time to print it in a handwritten style font on a piece of parchment. Then, seal it in an envelope with a bit of red wax. Things like this can go a long way for giving your players a little taste of what their characters may actually “experience” helping to draw them into your world. Another good example of prop placement is the creation of character credentials. Give your players a drivers license sporting their characters portrait and information. Even better, give them an opportunity to use it or lose it in game.


    While I am on the subject of props, there is something I should address... prop weapons. Of course the decision is entirely up to you and your group. But, as a personal choice I GREATLY urge groups never to allow any form of prop weapons. Some pen/paper groups and LARP groups use cardboard cutouts, Nerf, and air soft weapons. With the right level of maturity and a close group this could work. I have no doubt in my mind that my group could probably handle the same kind of responsibility. The effects of allowing such types of props into your games is far more hindering than immersing (in my opinion.) Now while you may think that I am an anti gun activist, or some extreme safety nut. That is not the case. I have a very large weapons collection as well as a large assortment of air soft assault weapons for back yard fun.


    My main argument is of course safety. Beyond that there is more to the case. Weapons are a distractive prop. By giving your players weapons to brandish at the table, you have set a hack n' slash tone. You are telling your players that combat will always be the most viable option in your game (why else would you have armed them for combat, but not given them the spell book prop?) It sets an aggressive tone. Rather than actually negotiate a situation, you may find more standoffs at gun point than you normally would. Weapons have a tendency to replace role-playing, which is not the goal of props. There are many more reasons I am against weapons at the table, but I'm sure you can think of many more. Ultimately the choice is yours. But I urge safety. And Never, ever take your weapons out on the streets.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Milwaukie
    Age
    32
    Posts
    503
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    i use props when i can. i find that it adds new dimension to the game- makes the players eyes light up with prospect of being able to touch something thats part of the game world.
    I do not play them here or there, I do not play them anywhere, I do not play them with a fox. I do not mash that button box. I do not like MMO games. In the end ther're all the same.
    -Tesral

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Fort Worth
    Posts
    31
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I love the look on my players faces when i give them something that brings them deeper into the game world. It's almost, like, for a minute i can see the character they are playing rather than my friend David sitting across from me. It's a very cool experience.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Acme
    Age
    48
    Posts
    2,806
    Blog Entries
    56
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I try to use props to keep things interesting. If someone finds a scroll, I will hand that player a rolled up paper. I that player is actually able to use the scroll, like a magic user, I hand them one that is rolled up and has the spells listed on it. I have a little container with a cork in it that I hand out if a potion is found. Little things like that seem to make the players have a better gaming experience.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Longmont
    Age
    57
    Posts
    867
    Blog Entries
    3
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Props is a big thing for me. For the recent shadowrun games, I've provided feathers wrapped in leather, maps, newspaper articles, and large envelopes (sealed). Not only does it help with immersion, it also helps with "who's got the clue?" So when the Hacker gets captured, they know they lost the feather in leather clue

    Back when I DM'd, I'd give my players gems and jewelry (sparklies from the cheap bin at the salvation army), gold (the gold rocks from the rock places), scrolls (I cut slots and had all the spells written on quarter-inch by 2 inch strips which could be put into each slot with some unintelligible spells for ones they can't read), tomes, and whatever else I could find to make the game more fun.

    Carl
    GMing: Shadowrun 4th
    The Denver RPG Group - My Shadowrun Site - My Shadowrun Blog - Shadowrun Mooks
    I also administer the Mosaic and Stained Glass forums if you happen to be artistic


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dearborn
    Posts
    7,262
    Blog Entries
    13
    Downloads
    1
    Uploads
    1
    I'm big on the paper props. I like doing up letters and such. Having a computer makes it easy.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    The Dean of Old School
    The Olde Phoenix Inn
    Metro Detroit Linux Users Group

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Wethersfield
    Age
    42
    Posts
    853
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I'm a lazy son of a gun when it comes to props... I guess that's sth I could do and improve my GMing.
    Au gibet noir, manchot aimable, dansent, dansent les paladins
    Les maigres paladins du diable les squelettes de Saladins.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Fort Worth
    Posts
    31
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Thumbs up

    I actually do not use them as much as I should either. Meaning I tend only to use them for one shots. With my longer games I end up spending so much of my time writing plot and stuff like that I end up not making small props to go with the games. I do think that they are very useful when used correctly.

    I really like the bottles idea. I have always thought about doing some stuff like that, but really hate spending needless money on stuff like that.

    The latest thing that I have done as far as props in my gaming group: One of my players is a wizard who just found the spell book of a higher level caster. I typed up different wordings for the spell descriptions all the spells the wizard knew into a small spell book I made and changed the font to the "Atlantian" font from Disney's Atlantis. Looks cool -- Then in the inside cover is a partially translated (into common) spell.
    Using context clues I have allowed him to translate pieces of the book. Since it would take up so much game time, he will call ahead of time to find out how much time his character can spend translating the book in game time for the day. Since he comes over early on game days to help me set up, he gets to spend that much time translating on his book before the game. That way when the appropriate downtime comes in the game, we don't have to stop and wait.

    Of course I have the originall book (in standard font) so I can compare, but any mistakes he makes I don't tell him about. Since it doesn't match the text in the core book, he can't decode the font by cheating that way. Also I keep the prop with me so that he won't be tempted to spend extra time on it. So far it's been fun.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    West Jordan
    Posts
    5,181
    Blog Entries
    42
    Downloads
    1
    Uploads
    0
    my props tend to be virtual in nature. i might print out the image i've made so that the player can have it. would be cheap if the cost of ink wasn't quite so high. ^^
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dearborn
    Posts
    7,262
    Blog Entries
    13
    Downloads
    1
    Uploads
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by nijineko View Post
    my props tend to be virtual in nature. i might print out the image i've made so that the player can have it. would be cheap if the cost of ink wasn't quite so high. ^^
    Come to the toner side of the print!

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    The Dean of Old School
    The Olde Phoenix Inn
    Metro Detroit Linux Users Group

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Bellevue
    Posts
    2,899
    Blog Entries
    28
    Downloads
    43
    Uploads
    3
    I couldn't agree more, Tesral. I purchased a Laser Printer about four years ago, and I couldn't be happier with it. I've already made up everything I spent on it in cartridge purchases.
    Robert A. Howard
    Pen & Paper Games
    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dearborn
    Posts
    7,262
    Blog Entries
    13
    Downloads
    1
    Uploads
    1
    Do not underestimate the power of the toner side!!

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    The Dean of Old School
    The Olde Phoenix Inn
    Metro Detroit Linux Users Group

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Acme
    Age
    48
    Posts
    2,806
    Blog Entries
    56
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I don't actually spend money on these props. This is actually packaging of items that were needed. Some are "gifts" that were given to me from people that wanted rid of the item from their house. OK, I guess I did spend a dollar at the dollar store for the note book to make the scrolls with.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Byron Center
    Age
    52
    Posts
    24
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    The liege/vassal relationship will be a prominant cultural feature in the next adventure I run. Props will make these relationships more tangible.

    I will give each player an interesting die to represent fealty to a lord, guild membership, or public office. The player can display or hide a particular die as a way to represent how prominantly his or her character displays a particular allegance.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dearborn
    Posts
    7,262
    Blog Entries
    13
    Downloads
    1
    Uploads
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Scribe of the Realm View Post
    I will give each player an interesting die to represent fealty to a lord, guild membership, or public office. The player can display or hide a particular die as a way to represent how prominantly his or her character displays a particular allegance.
    I like that one. I don't think I would use dice persoanlly, too easily mixed up in the box, but that is me. Too many dice.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    The Dean of Old School
    The Olde Phoenix Inn
    Metro Detroit Linux Users Group

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. new to pen & paper
    By Histati in forum Introductions
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-25-2008, 11:03 AM
  2. What first influenced you to start pen and paper gaming?
    By Rain_Spider_08 in forum General RPG / Industry Discussions
    Replies: 87
    Last Post: 01-04-2008, 10:11 PM
  3. Pen & Paper Project
    By RealmsDM in forum Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 07-31-2007, 07:46 AM
  4. Hello Pen and Paper
    By whatiswhat in forum Introductions
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-19-2007, 10:07 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •