Confessions of A Prop Whore DM: The Found Object

7

May 8, 2011 by deadorcs

Yes folks, I confess. I’m a Prop Whore DM.

What’s a Prop Whore DM, you ask? Well…by my definition, a Prop Whore DM (hereafter abbreviated as PWDM) is a dungeon master that uses a number of objects (or props) to enhance the role-playing experience of his players. In addition, a PWDM might use a number of interesting everyday objects to use at the table (instead or in addition to purchasing items specifically designed for role-playing) for terrain, miniatures, or handouts.

Today’s post is a feast for the eyes, as I intend to show you a number of items I have acquired over the past few months. These are items that caught my attention one way or the other. Enjoy the show!

Candy Box Frame

I came upon this thing while fishing out the little plastic containers of  this really awful candy. I think it may have been Korean or Japanese. It was unlike any candy I’d ever tried. Sort of pressed dried rice, glued together with honey or something. I’m sure it’s fine…wasn’t my cup of tea. However, since no one in the department at the “candy” it had to be thrown out. So I got both the box, and the individual containers the “candy” was packed in. I spied the frame at the last minute and realized it would be the perfect platform to place dungeon tiles upon. Plus, the sections of the frame lock together, and could be duplicated with a piece of cardboard. Instant platform!

Tea Pyramids

I believe these little containers are from a company called “Tea of Life”. These stood out immediately to me as either great obelisks or (if turned upside down), curious containers for scrolls, potions, or reagents. Just paint, seal, and away you go. I’m still waiting to go through all the tea before I actually do something with these.

Tiki Mask Ice Cube Tray

Awhile back, I posted on Twitter some images of some casts I made with a seasonal silicone rubber ice cube tray. The Halloween skulls were a big hit! So, the other day, I hit the dollar store again, and found a summer time luau ice cube tray. Tiki masks! These masks will make great additions to a wall for a temple entrance, etc. I tried to do some ice to show you how they look, but the detail isn’t that great. When I actually get a chance to cast some stone in these, I’ll post up the pictures.

Blinds Samples

These are interesting. They’re actually sample swatches from a home improvement store, something you pick up when shopping for blinds. I thought they would make great screens, curtains, mats, or even the flexible portion of a rope bridge.

Candy Containers

Remember the “candy” I was telling you about earlier? Well, that candy came in these individual square containers. Each little container has a clear plastic lid that snaps right down on top of it. First thing I thought of when seeing these was cauldrons. Not the round pot type cauldrons, but the low square kind that set nearly into the floor. You could fill these with a colored epoxy for difficult terrain. Or, if you’ve a mind to, you can use the containers for holding counters, coins, or what-have-you for the game. Great find!

M&Ms® Minis® Candy Tubes.

If “scroll case” doesn’t scream at you when you look at these things, then I don’t even know what’s wrong with you. Paint these an interesting bone or leather color, pop inside that important scroll or map, and you have a killer map/scroll case. 

Well, that about does it for now. This is just small sample of the ordinary things you can utilize to enhance your tabletop RPG game. A tactile object can be just the thing to bring home that important role-playing moment. Don’t let a limited budget impact your game. Become a PWDM and blow your players’ minds!

Until next time…

Game excellently with one another.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Confessions of A Prop Whore DM: The Found Object

  1. pharmacy says:

    I think these little containers are awesome. I would like to have a couple of them.

  2. Katie says:

    "If "scroll case" doesn't scream at you when you look at these things, then I don't even know what's wrong with you."LoLz

  3. Roger says:

    Thanks for sharing some insights into using random objects as game props. I look forward to seeing more ideas in the future.I have found that good props always have a great impact on the game and improve the immersion – definitely worth the effort. I think my favorite example from my own game was the time I carved a slab of ham into a tongue shape and then wrapped a letter prop around it. An assassin had cut out the tongue of someone who'd testified against his boss, and he tossed the "tongue" with its warning letter into the middle of the street at the PCs' feet. The looks on the players' faces when an actual slab of meat landed in the middle of the table were absolutely priceless. They still talk about it. 🙂

  4. T.W.Wombat says:

    Sweet. I'm a pack rat at heart as well. I used to troll yard sales, and I picked up a whole pile of games that I cannibalized figures and components from for RPG props. Yay for incomplete sets of Hero Quest!

  5. R.M. Walker says:

    Glad you enjoyed the article! From time to time I'll probably post some additional things like this, whenever I can find something I think might be useful to lots of DMs.

  6. Geek Ken says:

    Having some 3D elements or simply something the players can hold in their hands sometimes goes a long way to making a session memorable. Thanks for giving out a few ideas for using these as props.

Comments are closed.

Archives

%d bloggers like this: