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The Use Of Props


Dr.Bedlam
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You should have had something for when they went to the Hagfish. :devil:

 

 

The best I could come up with was a youtube video showing the effect of hagfish slime.  "Now, who wants a mug?"

Although now that I've got a couple kids, I've discovered that one can make one's own "slime" with a 1:1 or 2:1 mixture of cornstarch and water. 

 

That's what our DM did when we went to the Hagfish. That is a disgusting fish :unsure:  yet fascinating. :wow:

 

I've done maps, letters, and the like.

 

Last year, I won the Christmas raffle at our FLGS, a 45" Flatscreen.  I put it on the wall in our dining room so the kids have a place to play Wii.  It also doubles as a PC monitor.  It also just happens to be behind and above me as I DM for our group.  Last time we played I searched the web and for pictures of scenery and such that exemplified what the PCs would be doing and where they were, put them into a PowerPoint, and then displayed them on the TV, flipping through them as the Action went forward.  My players LOVED it.  Now I'm, stuck prepping a PowerPoint every game.  :rolleyes:

 

Our Runelords DM does something like this as well. Just not on a fancy a screen as yours. It's just a computer monitor on the wall on a swing arm. Still it's really nice, just not as awesomely omnipresent as your setup sounds like. (Please tell me you have a nice setup for gaming music, because that would make it just perfect) ::):

 

That seems more like trolling the players rather than specifically about props which I approve of.

 

Abusing people at one's dinner table is certainly not something of which I'd approve. On the other hand, characters will drink or eat ANY durn thing that will provide them an advantage, period, regardless of how weird or disgusting it may be. I figured I was justified in making it clear that there was perhaps an element of ick in what they were doing. ONCE. I certainly wouldn't do it every time they had to slam down a Potion of Healing. 

 

But sometimes a little versimilitude helps them keep things in perspective...

 

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The first part was mainly meant in jest. I haven't mastered the color coding things people do for that on forums.

 

What's funny is that that whole plan could back fire on one of my old roomies. He had a cast iron stomach, he once commented while cleaning mold out of the sink after we let dishes sit to long, that it was making him hungery. :unsure:

 

Edit: also I love Aaron Williams and I miss Nodwick (although Full frontal Nerdity is good too)

Edited by EvilJames
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I have some background audio from a KS some time back :)

 

 

I've done maps, letters, and the like.

 

Last year, I won the Christmas raffle at our FLGS, a 45" Flatscreen.  I put it on the wall in our dining room so the kids have a place to play Wii.  It also doubles as a PC monitor.  It also just happens to be behind and above me as I DM for our group.  Last time we played I searched the web and for pictures of scenery and such that exemplified what the PCs would be doing and where they were, put them into a PowerPoint, and then displayed them on the TV, flipping through them as the Action went forward.  My players LOVED it.  Now I'm, stuck prepping a PowerPoint every game.  :rolleyes:

 

I need to untangle my monitor-wires so that I can plug it into my laptop and do just that! Brilliant :)

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My We Be Goblins 2 game at Rcon this year I made the goblin chieftain crown out of a Burger King kids crown & then used feathers & foam for the bird skull. Person that actually won the contest didn't want to wear it & anther player did thus he became chief!

 

I was worried it wouldn't make the trip down but a little beat up never hurt a goblin item!

 

Well be doing that again for next year as well!

 

Most of time my props are pics of various npcs & such.

 

I'd have jammed that thing on my head so fast it wouldn't have been funny. Like any self-respecting goblin!

 

I miss Nodwick, too...

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Alas poor Nodwick, I knew him well.

 

I once rote out a bunch of stuff in an infernal looking rune script for one of our group when he was taking a stab at DMing. but for the most part, props don't make it to our table. I do like the idea of a screen showing things to give players an idea though. Not sure if we could set one up at the table though.

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Once (many years ago) my hubby mixed a "potion" that represented the potion we'd found and the wizard was trying to identify.  Identifying what was in the real potion gave a bonus to identify the game potion. 

 

Once a bunch of us dressed like our characters to show our appreciation for the DM.  This involved me buying a super-sized dowel and spray-painting it gold to represent the magic golden staff my monk was wielding. 

 

Recently we've been spoiled by a friend using his 50" tv to display handouts like the map of the city we're in, etc.  Makes it a lot easier to figure things out as a group. 

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I have an old Crown Royal dicebag full of coinage.

There's a lot of weird coins in there. Recognizeable coins include some from Mexico, France, Saudi Arabia, England, and Canada. There's maybe thirty US wheat pennies in there, and a few buffalo nickels. Less recognizeable ones are Campaign Coins (with dragons, elves, and dwarven runes on them), a fair number of aluminum Mardi Gras tokens I've gathered up out of the gutter on a couple of occasions after the parade, a scattering of Bjornborg coins from the SCA barony in San Antonio, some wooden marks made to look like the ones from the Dragonriders of Pern novels, and even some small and semiprecious stones. There are three of the cursed Aztec gold rounds from "Pirates of the Caribbean." There are a half dozen reproduction Spanish pieces of eight. And about a dozen reproduction Roman coins, cast from originals recovered in Pompeii.

In my world, if you loot a troll den or dragon hoard, you're going to find a mix of coins. If you go to a small town, they'll cheerfully take your gold, but they won't have enough cash on hand to make change. And if you go to a larger city, they'll cheerfully take your gold minus a hefty chunk of face value. And if you go to a moneychanger, he'll cheerfully convert it all to Waterdhavian currency at a fifteen percent fee.

And when the players gripe, I take that bag and I dump it on the middle of the table, and I say, "All right, heroes, look this over and tell me precisely how much money this is in American dollars. And then take it around the corner to Wells Fargo and see how close your estimate is, assuming they'll take any of it that ain't American. Or you can shuddup and be grateful the fat guy behind the table with the enormous bodyguards only wants fifteen percent of yer swag while serving your convenience and his bank account."

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 I've never personally bothered too much with them, since none of my players over the years have been the type who would have enjoyed them enough to make the effort worth it, but I've done a number of props for other people, and we get a lot of requests for NPC pics and the occasional map/letter over in the What Do YOU Think My Character Looks Like? image thread on the D&D forum...

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And when the players gripe, I take that bag and I dump it on the middle of the table, and I say, "All right, heroes, look this over and tell me precisely how much money this is in American dollars. And then take it around the corner to Wells Fargo and see how close your estimate is, assuming they'll take any of it that ain't American. Or you can shuddup and be grateful the fat guy behind the table with the enormous bodyguards only wants fifteen percent of yer swag while serving your convenience and his bank account."

 

I used to do that. I even figured out adulteration rates and coin masses, and set up a whole range of currencies, most of which didn't use base-10 ratios between metals. The exercise satisfied me, but I eventually decided it was just too much of a pain to track.

 

Realistic, though.

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I've done a lot of paper props, meaning letters, partial maps, etc. For my last D&D game, I wrote a long series of strategically damaged entries from a wizard's journal for the players to find. It was great fun watching them piece it together.

 

As for food, the best I've done was to invest in a whole bunch of Indian snacks to serve when I ran the Pathfinder "Cult of the Ebon Destroyers" module. It did help to set the Vudrani mood for the afternoon.

 

I think really cool miniatures count as good props too. Most people around here use random pre-paints or pawns, which get the job done, but my two Bones Worms left an impression the one time they showed up together.

Edited by klarg1
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And when the players gripe, I take that bag and I dump it on the middle of the table, and I say, "All right, heroes, look this over and tell me precisely how much money this is in American dollars. And then take it around the corner to Wells Fargo and see how close your estimate is, assuming they'll take any of it that ain't American. Or you can shuddup and be grateful the fat guy behind the table with the enormous bodyguards only wants fifteen percent of yer swag while serving your convenience and his bank account."

 

I used to do that. I even figured out adulteration rates and coin masses, and set up a whole range of currencies, most of which didn't use base-10 ratios between metals. The exercise satisfied me, but I eventually decided it was just too much of a pain to track.

 

Realistic, though.

 

 

Fun exercise but there is such thing as realism getting in the way of a good game.  Smart not to use it.

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And when the players gripe, I take that bag and I dump it on the middle of the table, and I say, "All right, heroes, look this over and tell me precisely how much money this is in American dollars. And then take it around the corner to Wells Fargo and see how close your estimate is, assuming they'll take any of it that ain't American. Or you can shuddup and be grateful the fat guy behind the table with the enormous bodyguards only wants fifteen percent of yer swag while serving your convenience and his bank account."

 

I used to do that. I even figured out adulteration rates and coin masses, and set up a whole range of currencies, most of which didn't use base-10 ratios between metals. The exercise satisfied me, but I eventually decided it was just too much of a pain to track.

 

Realistic, though.

 

 

Fun exercise but there is such thing as realism getting in the way of a good game.  Smart not to use it.

 

 

Yeah. I love the notion of complex currencies, but it can get unwieldy.

 

In my last D&D game, I made a point of telling the players the apparent origin of coins that they found (if they were identifiable), but I made it clear that, regardless of how many actual, physical, coins they had, all values were given in "standard gold piece units."

 

(In point of fact, the  mintage of coins in their loot eventually became a source of important clues for them to follow.)

 

:mellow:

 

You know? I think I may have just found my first reason for investing in some of the many metal coin props out there.

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I've done the usual maps & handouts.

 

For one game based on prophecies, I created card board "coins" of all 144 prophecies and the players would find 2-3 each game session. Their goal was to eventually find all 144 coins, and then complete the prophecy.

 

The only other game props I've used is when I have the occasional session that's based around having a meal or meeting with important NPCs. For those I've made labels for for wines and meads, and plastered them on bottles of everything from Grape & Apple Juice to Sparkling cider to even real beer and wine (depending upon the group & players) and used them for props. In one game, one of the bottles of "Elven Wine" was poisoned with a slow acting poison, and only those PCs who drank from that bottle were affected. I kept careful note of which players actually drank from that particular bottle, then applied the effects to their PCs at the appropriate time.

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