View Full Version : Handouts! I no longer get to make newspapers... they're so handy for adventure hooks!

Morph Bark
2017-08-16, 09:58 AM
Over the course of my current campaign I've had my players come across children that sell newspapers.

Specifically The Hohenheim Gazette (http://imgur.com/gallery/c616z).

With this, they get information on possible adventure hooks, extra information on the ongoing adventure, side-stories that develop the setting or NPCs they've met or will meet, or resolve adventures they've had in the past. Plus a little bit of fun with things like an Obituaries section, possibly listing Bounties, a Lost & Found blurb, newspaper comics and puzzles.

I've had a great time making these since last February, but since our group now plays over Roll20 due to distance, I'm a little sad that this is the end of it. Any of you have made (or received) some great physical props or handouts in the past?

2017-08-16, 10:03 AM
For my Shadowrun campaign, I usually made a newspaper as well that I distributed at the start of a session. It contained a mix of world reactions to my player's antics and hints towards what was going on in the wider plot world.

2017-08-16, 10:49 AM
I did this once, many years ago for a campaign that involved some limited time travel. It started when the PCs found a newspaper that was printed three months from the 'present' day. The main article was about an alien invasion that was wiping out the human race. Throughout the campaign, the PCs went around trying to solve the mystery of where the aliens came from and why they attacked Earth. They even went to the newspaper company where the article came from, but naturally did not find this article to exist in their database (yet). The limited time travel comes about when the party's actions are significant enough to change the future--they'd find that their future newspaper would change itself, the articles reflecting their actions.

I printed out these newspapers every few sessions so that the players could gauge whether their actions were doing right or not. One newspaper was about an explosion in low orbit that took out much of the world's electrical grid, raining down alien debris upon inhabited areas. Another paper was about two nations that went to war, likely due to something the PCs did (*cough*DontRaidMilitaryBases*cough*) :smallbiggrin:

By the end of the campaign, as time drew near, they figure out how to stop the invasion. There was a massive teleportation experiment going on at a remote science facility. The energies involved were great enough that the wavelengths matched that of the high-energy communication frequency for a passing alien machine outside the solar system. Mistaking the Earth signal as a beacon to "dig here", the machine ship decided to mine Earth, fighting off the "pests" that tried to get in its way of harvesting. So the PCs went to the facility with a large bomb and they blew up the experiment before it could occur. Though a few PCs died in the explosion, the survivors did notice that their newspaper had one last change. The main article had no connection to any invading alien ship. With the experiment prevented, the alien craft just kept sailing on it's way, ignoring Earth.

2017-08-16, 11:14 AM
I never actually got to do it, but in a Star Wars game I DM'ed once, I was going to have the party run into an old lady NPC who baked cookies. She was going to bake a specific kind of gingerbread man she called "wookie cookies", and then laugh at her own pun in an incredibly annoying voice. As I actually set a plate of wookie cookies on the gaming table...

Also, sort of related, I've always wanted, as the DM, to act out an NPC handing over some sort of mundane-looking item, like a scroll or message, to the party in general, and see who reaches out and accepts. Then, at the moment they take it, switch back to my DM voice and say "make a will save."

Also, also, there was one game I played in as a player, where there were these magic cubes made by an ancient civilization that stopped froze time locally in a small radius around them when activated. Each side had a different duration, and were marked in an ancient script we couldn't read. So we used d6's to act out using them, and the DM assigned different ancient scripts to the 1-6 sides.

On an unrelated note, we came out of that dungeon about three years after we entered...

2017-08-16, 12:22 PM
In my current Call of Cthulhu campaign the investigators stumbled across the journal of a doomed expedition of conquistadors who disappeared in the jungle hundreds of years before.

I gave them two documents, the journal of the conquistador captain, a bit singed around the edges, and the journal of his lieutenant, covered in bloodstains.

Both of these were google translated into Spanish (albeit probably not very accurate Spanish, but none of us speak it).

Then every time they had some down time and translated a bit more of the journals I gave them the equivalent page in English, in a much less cursive and hard to read font.

They gradually figured out what order to translate the journals in and worked out the whole story.

It was a bit of an experimental idea, but worked really well, and is definitely something I might try again.

Jay R
2017-08-16, 01:16 PM
I didn't produce physical versions, but I passed along rumors in a Silver Age superhero game via excerpts from a tabloid.

My introduction to the game included the following:

Rumors about heroes are also extremely common. In fact, there’s a supermarket tabloid that specializes in them. “The Brave and the Bold” is a source for any rumor about any hero you could ever want to read about, from Forbush-Man to the Crumple-Horned Snorkack. They are responsible for the rumor that Captain America didn’t really die at the end of World War II. They are currently writing an “expose” about a putative hero team called Sugar and Spike, (who nobody else thinks exists), and are trying to convince everyone that these are merely new costumes and identities for the Golden-Age Fox and the Crow. Nobody takes them seriously, but everybody seems to know what they’re saying, and they outsell the National Enquirer by millions of issues each week.

There are rumors of a half-man, half-flying-predator creature seen flying around the streets of Gotham at night. Don’t assume that that means the creature can fly, or even that it really exists.

Here are some examples of the stories from it:

An unknown clown was found beaten to death on the streets of Gotham city. There was no evidence linking the crime to anybody, and the only unusual aspects of the case are that the coroner was unable to take off his white clown makeup and green hair dye, and that his face was frozen in a hideous grin, like the victims in a couple of earlier crimes also in Gotham. The police suspect that his murderer must also be guilty of the other crimes, but no other clues are available. (Of course, Gotham is believed to be a corruption-riddled city worse than anything seen since Chicago in the 1930s, so who knows?)

There is also evidently a new costumed villain in New York City. The papers there are all talking about the illegal exploits of this “Spider-Man” character, but it’s not entirely clear what crimes he’s done.

A small town in upstate New York reports that a couple of local crimes have been solved by an “Ant-Man”.

A couple of weird weather conditions have been seen in and around Central City (bizarre lightning strikes on a clear day, large amounts of ice in the streets, and whirlwinds that cannot be explained meteorologically)..

People near an air force base in New Mexico claim to have seen a green monster occasionally. The base claims that these are hysterical reports, and says that no such monster could exist. But “The Brave and the Bold” tabloid seems to believe that a really strong hulking brute really exists.

A fat man in a tuxedo was found murdered in Gotham City. He has been identified as Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot. The tuxedo is a mystery. He was not scheduled to attend any formal activity. Also, his umbrella (now broken) was a disguised gas gun.

A Dr. Savage from Europe testified at the trial that life that long was scientifically impossible. “The Brave and the Bold” maintains that he is himself many hundreds of years old, but they’ll say anything to sell tabloids.

A man wearing a weird suit with question marks all over it has been found with his head caved in at the scene of a Gotham city bank robbery. He has been identified as Edward Nigma, a puzzle editor on a local paper. Nothing in his background explains his presence at the crime scene or his death. He appears to have been beaten severely. “The Brave and the Bold” claims he has been leading a double life as the little-notice crime fighter “The Question”. (They’ve been running a series exploring the hidden identity of “The Question” for some time, illustrating him as a man with no face.)

In Star City, a modern Robin Hood has appeared, using green arrows with unusual gimmicks.

There are rumors of new superheroes appearing all over. There even seems to be one in Clodville*
*Nobody recognized the reference to Captain Sprocket.

Each time, there was reference to a brutal murder, or to a half-man/ half-flying-predator vigilante, in Gotham. And there was often an unexplained phenomenon in Metropolis, Central City, Washington, or Coast City. It was primarily just to provide color, but I was also slowly giving them clues that the Crime Syndicate (evil versions of the Justice League) were a major villain group. The one in Gotham is Owlman, not Batman, and I never called him a bat.