View Full Version : Props...

2007-04-29, 07:08 AM
Who uses props, what sort of props, why, what for, who makes/provides them? It it the DM? is it the players?

I am just interested. I like them very much, If I can, I like to spend a few minutes pushing some stuff together to give myself, or the rest of the playes something to viusalise.

As a halfling wizard who relies heavily on the use of scrolls and has them all "easily accessible" sticking out from his belt/backpack/pockets/wherever else in a jaunty mess, I produced these.


Took me about 20 minutes.

Swords make good props, but there tends to be *someone* who will not stop playing with the weaponry and invariably ends up damaging something.

Frilly shirts and waistcoats worn in a victorian vampire game. Hundreds of plastic gold coins lying around while playing D&D, cheap brass rings in place of magic artifacts.

Am I the only person that does this?

what do you do?

2007-04-29, 05:44 PM
How did you make those?

2007-04-29, 06:03 PM
For the old paper look, I believe that the scrolls are painted with tea.

Kevka Palazzo
2007-04-29, 06:12 PM
I like Call of Cthulhu for props. Newspaper clippings, empty casings, and if you're GM's really inventive, chalk outlines and giant leatherbound tomes. Good stuff. The only props we've been using lately are poker chips for Serenity. Mmmmm Serenity.

2007-04-29, 06:17 PM
You can also oven your paper to make it look old. I wanna know what they say.

Hefty Lefty
2007-04-29, 06:21 PM
We make maps, and make them look old and such (exactly like how you made the scrolls), but wearing the clothes and holding the weapons? Isn't that pretty much LARPing?

2007-04-29, 11:23 PM
I used to use lots of props, when we gamed at my house. I'm a bit far away from the rest of the players now, so we rarely use my house for the games.

I've made maps, scrolls, wood & leather objects, and I have a ridiculous number of odd bits and pieces of junk to use as props. I've had players who have bard characters show up with the proper instrument, and wizards with full spellbooks.

I tend to draw the line at costuming for tabletop games, though. My players, and I, are part-time stage actors and combatants who perform at Ren Faires, plays, schools, and the like. The minute we start wearing costuming, the game goes sideways as we want to LARP instead of tabletop. We're used walking, running, fighting, etc. in costume; just sitting around the room feels strange.

2007-04-30, 01:40 AM
We make maps, and make them look old and such (exactly like how you made the scrolls), but wearing the clothes and holding the weapons? Isn't that pretty much LARPing?

Nah.. you still use the minis, you still roll the dice, you still eat pizza and don't get off your fat arse...

as far as making em goes, then it was coffee, then screw up while still wet, then oven, then Iron. (you have to use a laser printer though)

The scrolls actually have the spell descriptions from the SRD written in a font called Draconic.

I'd like to note that costuming was only ever done for the victorian game, and that's cos we owned frilly shirts and waistcoats anyway.

2007-04-30, 01:47 AM
"Chain of Eyes"?

2007-04-30, 02:05 AM
hmmmm coffee is a great trick... I need to remember that for no particular reason.

2007-04-30, 04:53 AM
"Chain of Eyes"?

It's in the Spell Compendium.. it's great, it's like a level 2 spell. you touch someone and you see through their eyes, then whenever they touch someone, you get the choice to see through their eyes and so on. each person has to make a will save but it's a great way of getting information if you can lipread!

2007-04-30, 10:45 AM
I often make large maps then age them with the tea or oven method. The players really enjoy finding a large, very old map that has tantalizing clues to other places and people.

I once purchased a very large, old book at a libarary book sale. I think it was from the early 1900's and appears to be written in Russian or some other eastern European language. I have used it for various plots in several different campaigns.

2007-04-30, 10:49 AM
Where did you find that "draconic" font? I'd love to use that in game!

2007-04-30, 03:56 PM
I occasionally use them when I need something to do with my hands during pauses; for one game I was playing in, I showed up at most sessions with a paper fan (the character's favorite weapon) and a stick-puppet bat from a RenFaire I'd been to several years prior (the familiar). My fellows found it amusing, though I think they were occasionally a bit perturbed by the puppet turning and looking at them while I was cheerfully discussing something with the GM on the other side of the table.

2007-04-30, 06:07 PM
As a DM, I have often used paper props in my games in the form of maps or letters/journals. Along with steeping the paper in tea and wrinkling it, I also like to burn portions of the props over a candle or stove flame (mostly because I'm a pyro). Also, if you have some mettle or wooden stamps, sealing letters with hot wax can be prety cool as well. As for other items, like swords and such, I find to distracting since they tend to not directly purtain to the game.

2007-05-01, 04:21 AM
I love props. In the past I've made:

- A series of notes that the players found during an investigation of odd murders (committed by a band of Drow).
- A pouch of gems (actually glass nuggets) that they found.

In Call of Cthulhu:

- A videotape (actually made as a .mpeg) of weird pictures left on a CCTV tape as the result of magic nearby (yes, inspired by The Ring).
- Photos (most image editors can turn these sepia or monochrome for historical settings), newspaper cuttings (the players accumulated many incredulous reports of supernatural events resulting from their own actions) and soon, I plan to make some fake x-rays (by printing onto OHP transparencies).
- A Necronomicon.
- A statue of Great Cthulhu.

2007-05-01, 06:43 PM
I have found old leather bound (or fake leather) notebooks at garage sales and used them as spellbooks or journals for the players to find on several occasions. I have been meaning to make scrolls and maps, and this thread has gotten my interest piqued again.

2007-05-01, 09:51 PM
I bring instruments (my bass or bongos). I like to just play simple rythums as we play if I'm a bard.
We have swords near us when we play and typically grab our character's weapon if it is available.
I get up and move or act as I roleplay my character, so the essential objects that he has are useful.

We also do a Halloween Dungeon every year. We dress up and have character specific props, etc. for that.

2007-05-01, 10:50 PM
I have made limited use of props over the years, but nothing as cool looking as those parchments. Good work Last_Resort_33!

2007-05-01, 11:19 PM
I dont use props, well exept maps and texts, as my gaming group tents to suffer from ADD and we go LARPing if we want to hit eachother in the face with rubber swords while totally in character and costume, merging the two hobbys would either be the best thing ever or an abomination such as wich the world has never seen (well, exept maybe double integrals), and I tend to lean for the second option. Those scrolls are wicked cool though, i might get together a book for my campaign this summer.....

2007-05-02, 10:52 AM
Props for a D&D game? Why, cans of Mountain Dew and mom's fresh baked chocolate chip cookies of course.

2007-05-02, 11:00 AM
I think props are pretty cool, when you can use them. I like to use props for things like letters, maps, etc - anything that's at least somewhat significant that's written on paper. Particularly if not all they players are privy to the knowledge. It's much more fun as a gm to see the players reaction to a formally written letter that reveals some plot twist than to have to read what it says out loud.

Also, I've found that sometimes props are cool if you want to have something subtle or concealed within a document/map/etc - cause then it's up to the players to notice it. It's one thing to have characters make search or intelligence checks to notice the odd, faded symbol: it's another thing for the players to find it.


2007-05-02, 11:02 AM
Its not quite a prop, but I make use of a DLP infocus type projector for my D&D sessions. All of the things I need to show the PCs are put together in a powerpoint slide and then each time I need to show them an image or something I tag it up on the screen. I also use it to project the maps and such, it really makes dungeon crawling easier since I don't have to spend tons of time describing the room to the party cartographer. Before I had the projector I used to do the same thing with an S-Video cable, my laptop and the TV.

2007-05-02, 11:36 AM
The only time we've used props in-game is when we entered this "hall of puzzles" (I have no idea what the real name was) but basically we had to solve a series of puzzles, some of which were optical illusions, and we got hints based on how high of check we rolled.

2007-05-02, 03:25 PM
and soon, I plan to make some fake x-rays (by printing onto OHP transparencies).

Okay, that's a cute idea that never occured to me. I'll have to steal that next time I do a modern-era game.

2007-05-02, 06:08 PM
I sort of used props with one of my characters... He was mute, and since I wanted to keep in the spirit of the character, anything I said out loud was always out of character. So, in order to communicate with others, I started bringing a dry-erase board with (of course, it being a Fantasy setting, he would have written things down with a chalk and writing-slate of some sort).

I'm so glad I was smart enough to have my character learn to read and write (it's not always automatically a given in some games).

Again, it only sort of counts as a prop, i suppose...