View Full Version : Your best Props

Totally Guy
2008-08-08, 04:19 PM
I like to make things.

This week I had time off from work and I made some D&D props.

Diplomatic Encounter Props:
I may not have started my campaign yet but I know what my players want to play. They have no idea there will be puppets. An Eladrin Warlord, Tiefling Warlock and Dragonborn Fighter. The fourth player I had no idea for so I made something fairly generic... a goblin wizard... with a fez.

Dungeon Tiles:
The velcro tiles can be placed interchangeably! This instance was taken at the GitP forum meet-up for UK. Made from card using PDFs downloaded from World Works Games.

What other props are there out there? Home made or bought, I'd like to see what you use.

Tadanori Oyama
2008-08-08, 04:24 PM
Your a strange man Glug. A genius, but strange.

I use alot of markers and minis but not much in the way of homemade props. Occationally I'll write out some scroll or other that the party acquires so they can consult it occationally.

I'd thought about having them wear hats though, something to help them keep in character.

2008-08-08, 04:46 PM
My best is when I crumpled and recrumpled a map to make it feel like the texture of soft leather, and stained it with coffee to make it brownish.

I was working on making a true-to-scale set of fold-out gridmaps of the entirety of Ravenloft Castle level by level before I abandoned the project. I had almost completed the first floor and it was already larger than could fit comfortably on our gaming table, which was part of the reason I abandoned the project.

2008-08-08, 05:32 PM
*Pure awesome*

My jealousy burns within me like a raging, raging fire. I am going to go look up those dungeon tile things now.

2008-08-08, 05:40 PM
What are those little note cards your players have?

I use legos. I used marker to make 2x2 grids on them- just big enough for the people. This allows for 3d creations, and flying by stacking 2x2 bricks. Works pretty well.

2008-08-08, 05:44 PM
My jealousy burns within me like a raging, raging fire. I am going to go look up those dungeon tile things now.

Screw the tiles, those puppets are so cool. Definetly spring it as a surprise, from behind the screen or underneath the table. They'll crack!

Dr Bwaa
2008-08-08, 06:02 PM
I also use legos, using 2x2 as a five-foot square, with Sharpie lines to make a grid. It's very convenient, especially when the DM has time to prepare important maps beforehand, or when the DM is very creative like one of my friends, and can set up several encounters in one session that use entirely different "maps" but in making the maps, he uses several smallish lego mats with everything on them, which can be cleverly rearranged to form the new area as the party moves, a stone outcropping in one area suddenly becomes the ancient ruin the party was searching for, what before was just part of the battleground becomes an island connected by a bridge (which used to be a ladder) to the mainland, etc etc. They are useful for about everything :D

2008-08-08, 06:09 PM
we use master maze from Dwarven Forge we have 2 Room and passage (http://www.dwarvenforge.com/store/product.php?productid=16305&cat=259&page=1&featured) sets and 1 caverns set (http://www.dwarvenforge.com/store/product.php?productid=16355&cat=279&page=1).

these sets are expensive and probably not within the budget of any single gamer, fortunately i convinced my games club to purchase some.

I have pictures on facebook, soon as i can figure out how i'll post a link.


Totally Guy
2008-08-08, 06:44 PM
we use master maze from Dwarven Forge we have 2 Room and passage (http://www.dwarvenforge.com/store/product.php?productid=16305&cat=259&page=1&featured) sets and 1 caverns set (http://www.dwarvenforge.com/store/product.php?productid=16355&cat=279&page=1).

these sets are expensive and probably not within the budget of any single gamer, fortunately i convinced my games club to purchase some.

I have pictures on facebook, soon as i can figure out how i'll post a link.


That is a nice set but I guess you'd have to supplement it with furniture and obstacles. Which is kind of the problem with the tiles I have. That session was the first time using it and I found that the player were reading really deep into things like non-matching floor tiles so I just went with it.

They'll have a surprise when I spring the puppets out, I think I know how to spring it but I don't know the character's personalities yet. Plus there's the fourth unknown character. The goblin was originally going to be a generic baddie goblin but my little brother got carried away suggestions. It's good to hang out with little brother's on rainy afternoons and suggest a zany activity like making puppets.

What are those little note cards your players have?

As it was the first time I'd ever DMed at all and it was 4th edition I printed out power cards for first couple of levels and said "you get 2 of these, one of these and one of those" to aid character creation. I think we had 2 PHBs for 6 players otherwise.

2008-08-08, 06:59 PM
Those finger puppets are immense. I need to make me some of them.

I paint lots and lots of minis. I've ever painted several outfits or forms for the same character. I couple years ago I did up our whole party and gave at the minis as a holiday present.

I sometimes make dungeon platforms when we need a three dimensional surface. I wish I had more space so I could keep and reuse them. I've been tempted to make a boat too. Maybe just the upper deck, or something. The idea is that at first I'd use it for boat on boat fights, where they have to move and rotate relative to each other. Once the players got used to that a kraken would tear the boat in half and I'd tear the model with it and leave the players floating on the scraps.

I haven't aged paper with coffee, but I did do a wax seal for the players to pry off.

A few campaigns ago I was set on running the game from my laptop. I wrote my own map editor for drawing angband/nethack style maps. I don't think it gets much geekier than that.

Totally Guy
2008-08-08, 07:09 PM
I've wanted to do that map making with a calligraphy pen and tea soaking trick but I'm left handed and smudge good pens. I won't use a ball point and my evil brother, not the nice one that helps me with puppets won't let me use his fountain pen as he says that when someone other than the owner uses a fountain pen it becomes cursed to break within the next few days. Which is probably a lie.

2008-08-08, 07:19 PM
I'm currently painting miniatures for our 4th edition campaigne. I figure I'll get enough use out of em that its worth it. Plus it gives me a creative outlet. They are all from Reapermini.com

Also I'm looking to build a general purpose dungeon tileset, just brown/grey stone. I've got some plasticard that I intend to cut into 1" squares and then glue it down to some thin plywood most likely, and I think taking a dremel to the edges to create a stone tile look. Then just paint it. Oh also put it on 8x8" squares so its easy to transport/move, but hefty enough not to shift when someone hits the table.

I'll have to post up some pics once I get it finished.

Also one thing I thought of that would be awesome, is that if you go to your local hobby store (assuming it has model train stuff) is that they have 35"x50" mats of 'grass' that would be awesome as a tileset. Sure its really large, but you could cut it down, plus it would be pretty easy to mark lines on it to make the grid.

2008-08-08, 07:27 PM
My group is cheap and poor. The closest thing we use to props is graph paper with random bits of stuff on it.

Also, RandomLogic, you need to change your avatar to "(for large values of 2)."

2008-08-08, 07:32 PM
It sounds really basic, but Play-doh, Plasticine or similar modelling clay is great for making dungeon features and terrain on a grid map. :smallbiggrin:

2008-08-09, 12:28 AM
That's some pretty involved stuff. looks awesome. The best my group does is my DM's DM hat, and my Flail, Rule Zero. We've also got an admiral Akbar mini for whenever there's a trap.

2008-08-09, 12:34 AM
Those finger puppets are awesome. The coolest thing I ever made was when I whittled the players custom fighter craft, then painted it. After making a drawing to base it off of of course. That wasn't for D&D though. Well that and the clay scorpion.

2008-08-09, 12:36 AM
im starting a campaign soon, and fingerpuppets are starting to sound interesting...

as far as props go, ive never really used them. im considering using a few props for my upcoming game, like wearing a bandit mask when playing as one villain and some other things when playing as others, but full-on props are beyond me.

2008-08-09, 02:21 AM
Japanese rice paper: it looks grainy and crumpled even when smooth, but has a wonderfully soft and unpaperlike feel. Add that to the wax sealing kits I collected for a while and you're in scroll heaven.

I also love my bags of 1" clear glass cubes. Good for representing high ground on terrain tiles, and I have as many gelatinous cubes and sections of wall of ice/force as I could ever need. :smallbiggrin:

2008-08-10, 06:23 PM
For minis, I re-discovered cute board heroes. (http://www.apolitical.info/webgame/heroes/) The thread here on the forum died, but it was created by forum members.

2008-08-10, 06:39 PM
Paranoia Forms are always fun:
I especially like the Receipt of Delivered Item Verification Form and the Pre-emptive Excuse/Alibi Declaration Form.

2008-08-11, 02:09 AM
Having seen it in the flesh I can attest to the fact that Glugs set up is all sorts of awesome, I'd have loved to have played in that game Glug it looked a blast... Though we were loving the Starwars so..

I have used finger puppets for the council meeting in The RHoD and the players really got a kick out of it... but I just stole borrowed them from my daughter.

Hunter Noventa
2008-08-11, 03:00 AM
Those dungeon tiles are awesomesauce. If I had more legos I bet we'd find a way to use them/ But our best prop is my alma mater, whose rooms we hijack on the weekends so we can use the projector to put Gametable or images up on the big screen, and the let the voices of the people playing remotely boom through the speakers on the wall.

2008-08-11, 03:37 AM
Your a strange man Glug. A genius, but strange.

I once heard my teacher in norwegian say that geniuses are supposed to be erd. If youre good and not wierd you're just talented.

Totally Guy
2008-08-11, 12:11 PM
Hey, of the 18~ playgrounders I met last week I think I'd class 3 of them as non-weirdos I'd be in that subset.

The players all got to see the puppets, I managed to guess the gold dragonborn right, except it was a paladin not a fighter. The fourth character was an Elven Ranger so he had to go without. We used the goblin as a monster though, called Zanzibar.

My first steps into DMing a campaign went so smoothly. I found some wallpaper samples that intentionally look older than they are and so I described the decorations in the houses. Another good use of props.

When I decided there would be a wizard's tower with a camera obscura in it I actually build a small working camera obscura (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_obscura) to illustrate the science behind it. Unfortunately I forgot to bring that to the session. As long as I have it though I'm sure I'll be able to write in another wizard with a camera obscura.

2008-08-11, 12:32 PM
Mine wasn't really a prop but was still useful. It was a short broom handle encased in a pool noodle I used to punish the other players in my D&D group. I deemed it the "Wrathbat"

2008-08-11, 12:40 PM
I have actually made "potions" of different flavors for the characters to sample the first time they encountered a new one. A few drops of mint extract for curepotions; beef bouillon and tomato juice for bull's strength; anise extract for invisibility; etc.

Not every time, mind you, but for the common ones. Later on, when they found the same potion again, I would say "you uncork it the potion, it smells like mint" and they'd know it was CLW or whatever.

Also, when they encounter signs or maps, I try as much as possible to create them as handouts.

2008-08-11, 12:46 PM
Hey, of the 18~ playgrounders I met last week I think I'd class 3 of them as non-weirdos I'd be in that subset.

... I gotta know...

2008-08-11, 12:56 PM
Just curious, but have you purchased (or at least read) No Cure for the Paladin Blues (the paper copy, not just the online strips)? Because I get the impression you'd enjoy the start of it.

2008-08-11, 01:22 PM
I did the 'dye with tea, heat, crumple up' thing to make Ancient looking paper. Although what was written was the funy part.

My players were going through a really big dungeon crawl, Tomb of the Dragons Fang, following tales of the dragon that rested at its core and the wealth it possessed.
Finally they reach the bottom, us a themed key to open huge doors inscribed with pictures of dragons. There is no doubt its the door to the dragons lair. They step inside. All is quiet. There is a clear circle in the centre of the room, and a single ancient looking piece of paper rests on it. The players carefully move to it, and on it, written in plain common, is:
I O U: One Treasure Horde


2008-08-11, 01:41 PM
All this makes me feel horrible. Last session, I didn't even draw line on the battle mat. I just said, "You're here, and you're here. Oh, you split up? Okay, you're here now, which is above deck...where you are. Let's roll up some initiative!" So lame. The minis were only useful to show when the players were flanked, because the corridors were so small.

Totally Guy
2008-08-11, 03:57 PM
... I gotta know...

Not to be a suck-up or anything but you and Ikki.

2008-08-11, 04:33 PM
Wow, those tiles look spectacular. I currently just use a laminated sheet of A3 paper (which I cut out myself from a not-quite A3 sketch pad) with inch grids drawn on them. I have a lot of D&D minis despite many of them being not quite what I need.

Does the wooden bastard sword my students used for a play two years ago count? I can whack annoying players and by-standers with it.

Mr Pants
2008-08-11, 04:52 PM
My group uses what we call "Out of Character Hats". These are just objects that we put on top of our heads whenever we speak out of character. Mine is a 1lb tub of beads that my raver friend bought. We also sometimes use hats to distinguish between what language were speaking.

I also bought a Nerf Maverick as a prop for my Unhallowed Metropolis game. I'm working on painting it to make it look pretty.

When I was playing a soulknife I brought my bokken to sessions to use when he had it manifested as a bastard sword.

2008-08-11, 05:32 PM
I just remembered, I also use index cards for non-standard magic items. Anything that you can't find in a standard book (i.e. DMG), I would make a card for. On one side, all the stats and workings of the item. On the back, I'd try to find a picture which matched my idea for the item. Ah, Google Image Search, how I love thee.

It helps with players who don't take notes. "Oh, but I use that necklace thingy you gave us. You know, the one that, uh, does the healing thingy."