Archive for Larp

Modern Game Props

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 28, 2011 by boccobsblog

Props for games based in modern times have a serious advantage over those in fantasy or sci-fi games; they don’t have to be anachronistic or pass a believability test. Not to mention, modern props are so much easier to come by.

I don’t think a prop should just by a 3d representation in a game, I think it should be a puzzle you hand the players and allow them to follow the clues and leads it creates. When I was younger, I played a game by Infocom, called “The Witness” (1983), a text-based murder mystery that included several props: a matchbook, a real newspaper, letters, etc. I remember how those props added such depth and realism to the game.

You could get an entire campaign’s worth of adventures with a purse or wallet filled with props and leads, and for me that is the largely untapped potential of using props.

So here is a list of possible modern game prop ideas:

  • Flash drive/disk- You could fill this with clue, red herrings, photos, e-mails, links, documents, etc.
  • Toy gun/knife- beware, shoot your gm with an air soft gun and…
  • E-mail- Set up a fake e-mail account for your NPC and send the players cryptic notes
  • Website- Set up a fake MySpace or Facebook page, blog, Livejournal, etc. Fill the site with fake photos, and clues, and misleading information
  • Matchbook- You could take one for an existing business, or make one out of cardstock
  • Business card- You can buy business card paper for your printer
  • Cell phone- Take an old cell phone and put in a fake address book, take photos, set up  phony calls sent and received to act as clues to further leads
  • Newspaper- You could make a fake paper using programs like Publisher, or take a paper from the city your game is set in and add clues (circle dates, numbers, cut out articles, etc)
  • Video- Depends on how involved you want your props to be, you could make some amazing prop videos, fake home movies, etc.
  • Camera- digital, disposable, .35mm, filled with pictures to point to clues and adventure possibilities
  • Laptop- much like the above mentioned items, a laptop prop could be filled with enough clues, hints, and misleading information to sustain an entire campaign
  • Drug label- using sticker paper, make fake prescription labels
  • Diary- it would take some time, but you could create an entire fake journal for an npc that drops clues and hints about major plot points in the campaign

Larpers get to take the modern prop to the next level:

  • Address book- Is the killer listed? List addresses on npcs, businesses, and contacts. This could turn into an amazing cross town adventure tracking down leads
  • Bus station key- You could place clues in a bus station locker, and drop the key as a prop. The number of surprising things you could leave in there are unlimited.
  • Hotel key- A pricey version of the bus station locker key
  • GPS coordinates- use a Garmin or similar gps device to lead the pc’s to a remote location
  • Map- a low-tech version of the GPS, circle a location or make notes on a road map

D&D Props

Posted in D&D 3.5e DM Content, D&D 4e Content, The Crafty DM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by boccobsblog

I have been reluctant to post this article, as my groups rarely use props (beyond the letter or map). That is not to say I wouldn’t use props, I think they could add a lot given the right group. Here is a list of possible props for use with your D&D, Savage Worlds, World of Darkness or any fantasy setting.

Beggar’s cup- put a few coins in to make noise, extend the cup to a player (form them to place a coin in), and tilt it so they can see a message folded up inside

Scrolls- Spells printed on parchment and sealed with wax and a seal or a ribbon

Sand timer/ hour-glass- I have always wanted to place a massive hourglass on the timer and announce that the players have one hour to exit the dungeon

Coins- Chocolate coins, foreign coins, or if you really want to shine: Campaign Coins

Lock Picks- Maybe the players didn’t know the NPC was a rogue in disguise until they search his room

Jewelry- I found awesome junk rings and brooches at the Good Will store for next to nothing (unless you count the weird looks from the lady at the counter or the hours of mocking from my wife)

Rocks or Geodes- Tumbled rocks can be purchased at a craft store for cheap. Maybe the work as keys or a spell focus

Compass- Maybe it points to treasure, or the last owner’s killer

Weapons- Every geek has a sword or a mace from the flea market or the Renn faire. Just don’t get all hopped up on Mountain Dew and start swinging it at folks

Sealed Letters- Card shops and specialty store carry fancy envelopes and stationary fit to write an invite to Castle Ravenloft on. Maybe find someone who can knows calligraphy to write the letter for you

Leather pouches- place a number of small coins, picks, props, notes, red herrings, in there and let the players figure it all out

Game board- I think we’ve all used a chess puzzle at one point or another

Cards- Skip a combat encounter and play a few hands of Three Dragon Ante with your players in their favorite tavern and give them xp for role-playing. Maybe use poker chips or campaign coins

Tarot cards- Read your players fortune and drop hints about upcoming adventures or let the cards write the next adventure for you

Runes- Take flat rocks and paint strange symbols on them. Make custom runes from clay, Sculpy, or Fimo. Place a codex in the dungeon to decode them

Keys- Buy some old skeleton at a junk shop or antique store. Use a fine tip Sharpie or a knife point to make cryptic markings on them

Books- Take an old book from the used book store or antique shop and hollow it out, or underline certain words that make a different message

Spell book, journal, – Take a blank book and fill it with dark symbols, runes, sketches, bits of information, lies, misdirection, distress, burn, waterlog the text to make it look ancient. Check out sites on Mythos Tomes to get ideas and inspiration

Puzzle Lock- One year at Gen Con, I went through a True Dungeon Session and we had to pick a lock, rather than rolling dice, the DM had an actual puzzle lock that we had to figure out. There are several degrees of locks available on the web, some are quite challenging

Old bottles- add water, a drop of food color, a cork and you got a potion.

Wooden Puzzle- I found some wooden puzzles at Mejiers for five dollars. My players kept finding small wooden pieces, and finally a strangely shaped lock. (note: you may want to build in a secondary path or make the locked room not essential to the adventure so things don’t grind to a halt if the player’s can’t figure out the puzzle.)

Puzzle Box- Hide maps, secrets, deeds, etc in a false bottom

Wand/ Staff- Take a stick from your yard, sand off the bark with coarse grit sandpaper, then smooth with a fine grit. Add a “crystal” to the tip by gluing on a piece of rock salt or quartz. If you really want to get detailed you could add runes with a knife or a wood burning tool

Figurine- A small glass or wooden animal could serve as a figurine of wondrous power.

Globe – Find an old globe at a yard sale, junk shop or Craigslist and repaint it with your game world map.

Gems- Take plastic or glass ‘gems’ from a craft store like Michaels or Hobbylobby and use them as gems, or Ioun stones

Hit those junk, antique,  and resale shops, as well as the Renn faire and find a prop for your game. As long as you’re willing to sculpt a story around the object, anything can serve as a great prop.

Gaming on the High Seas

Posted in Gaming News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2010 by boccobsblog

How would you like to play your favorite role-playing game while surrounded by miles of pristine Caribbean ocean? The people at Gamer Adventures can make that dream a reality.

Gamer Adventures combines your love of gaming with your family vacation. What’s really great about it, is that if your spouse isn’t a gamer there are still countless activities for them to do while you enjoy guilt-free game time.

GA currently offers three cruise packages: Alaskan, Caribbean, and Mexican Rivera. Also, they have a trip that travels to Essen, Germany for the world’s largest gaming convention, Spiel. Each trip has scheduled and open gaming events that take place in a private gaming hall on board the ship.

It’s a pretty cool idea, check it out.

Gameradventures.com

The Grand Masquerade

Posted in Gaming News with tags , , , , on August 18, 2010 by boccobsblog

After 19 years of making some of the most impressive horror genre role-playing games on the market, White Wolf is throwing a massive convention in New Orleans at the Roosevelt Hotel. The con will showcase all of the World of Darkness games, as well as WW card games. There will be offsite parties at The Succubus Club as well as a ball at the Blue Room. For more information, visit the the convention’s main page: here.

-Andy

Are you being cheated out of your critical hits?

Posted in D&D 3.5 e Content, D&D 4e Content, Gaming News, Product Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by boccobsblog

That’s what the people at Game Science claim. Their founder, Louis Zocchi, says that because modern dice companies roll their dice in rock tumblers and use sub-standard plastics to make their dice, that they are not as statistically accurate as his dice are.

If you would like to hear his entire story (warning, it is a bit of a rant that goes on for 20 minutes) you can view Zocchi’s videos here.

I tested several of the dice I purchased this year at Gen Con and I have to admit, Zocchi’s claims appear to be true (as “proved” by my very non-scientific test). I tested dice in groups of three to reduce the amount of time I spent rolling dice.

Results: Out of 150 rolls (tested 3 times), the Game Science dice rolled 15 20’s, while his competitors (three other large dice companies) only yielded 8 20’s.

I have conducted other similar tests for the unbelieving  gamers in my groups and come up with similar results.  Granted that a much larger data set would be needed to come to any firm decision, but the dice seem to yield more 20′s.

Has anyone else out there done any testing of their own? If so tell us about it.

-Andy

Highlights of Gen Con Indy 2010

Posted in D&D 3.5 e Content, D&D 4e Content, Gaming News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by boccobsblog

Well, Gen Con Indy is over. As always, it was an amazing experience. Where else in the world can you see 28,000 gamers in one place? Where else can you have a deep conversation about kobold battle tactics with a 45-year-old man in a homemade Pikachu costume and have no one judge you? The rest of the world could learn a lot about diversity and tolerance at Gen Con. 

Here are some of the highlights: 

  

  

Costumes 

The attendants of this year’s Gen Con did not disappoint. There were some amazing costumes and everyone I saw was very patient, allowing themselves to be photographed again and again. 

Free Demos 

There were more games at GC than you could ever hope to try in four days. We tried some great new games and we will be sure to give each of them a full review in the weeks to come. 

The Vendors 

You have to admire people who are willing to spend four days dressed as a luchador, or a pirate, or wear a chicken on their head in hopes of moving their product. 

Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton 

This was the only part of the con that was a bit sour for me. I had hoped to meet the cast of The Guild, but the line was very long, so I walked up to the rope and took a few pictures. Shortly after I started snapping shots, security approached me and asked that I, “please put my pants back on and step away from the crew”. Well as you can imagine I was outraged, so I pulled my boffer sword and started to kick ass all the while screaming that Wil Wheaton had stolen my prized Degu. Any who…things got a bit intense and I was tazed several times and asked to leave. I didn’t let it ruin my day.

 Wizards of the Coast Displays

WotC had some amazing displays outside the Sagamon Ballroom, where they unveiled both the 4th edition incarnation of Darksun and the Castle Ravenloft Board game. There was a huge 3D red dragon representation of the Essential D&D Starter set that drop on September 7th. Also, there was a life-sized (can there be a life-sized version of a make-believe creature?) Beholder. It stood well over 12 feet tall. It was awesome. 

 The World of Darkness Lounge 

White Wolf had an excellent longue set up in the center of the con. The lounge, fully staffed by vampires, offered a bar, live music and an opulent seating area decorated with gothic-style furniture. 

All in all it was a great con. There is much more to say and I could go on forever posting pictures, but then I’d wouldn’t get any gaming done. If you attended the con I hope you had as good a time as I did, and if you didn’t get a chance to go, I hope to see you there next year. Enjoy these pictures. 

-Andy 

This beholder was life-sized and ate four of my group

 

 

Wil Wheaton

 

His breath smelled like dead gnomes and broken dreams

 

"I wish I had taken that civil service test..."

 

Felicia Day.

Buy my game or I'll body slam you!

Amazing resource for Call of Cthulhu players

Posted in The Crafty DM with tags , , , , , , on August 4, 2010 by boccobsblog

Propnomicon is an amazing resource for Call of Cthulhu players, and any gamer that likes to use props in their game. Along with several articles related to CoC gaming, Propnomicon has an impressive list of Mythos-related websites displayed on its main page. CoC gamers, LARPers, or any gamers that use props to enhance their role-playing experience will find something useful on this site.

Two web shows every gamer should watch

Posted in D&D 3.5 e Content, D&D 4e Content, Gaming News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2010 by boccobsblog

The Guild

The Guild, follows the exploits of a group of online gamers deeply entrenched in WoW-parody MMO. The show’s spot-on depictions of online gamers and hilarious scripts have made the Knights of Good an overnight web sensation. Fans of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, will recognize the show’s star and head writer, Felicia Day, along with Effinfunny.com creator, Sandeep Parikh. The Guild has just started its fourth season (and can be seen here).

The Knights of Good

Legends of Neil

If you’re like me, then you have often wondered what would happen if you got drunk, and auto-erotically asphyxiated yourself with a Nintendo controller all while playing the original Legend of Zelda. Well, my hung over, sticky palmed friends wait no more, because Legends of Neil takes on such deep philosophical issues in the funniest, adult-themed Zelda parody show about an alcoholic gas station attendant on the web. The Legends of Neil can be found (for free) in its entirety on Effinfunny.com, or by pressing this link.

Both The Guild, and Legends of Neil are completely hilarious, completely free and a great way to spend an hour of your boring workday.

Two handouts that should make your life easier

Posted in D&D 3.5 e Content, D&D 3.5e DM Content, D&D 4e Content, The Crafty DM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by boccobsblog

GM screens can be useful tools. They are covered in somewhat useful information, and you can use them to shield your rolls and your miniatures. That said, there are some things that a GM’s screen doesn’t cover. Have you ever been in a game where this happens? :

DM: The blacksmith, a grimy dwarf with a long scar on his face, smiles as he hands you the newly forged sword.

Player: Cool, what’s his name?

DM: Um… (looking around the room), Table…Tablemen…yeah…his name is Tablemen.

Player: Did you just look at the table and name him Tablemen?

DM: Um…roll initiative.

Sound familiar? How about this one?

DM: With a flourish of your sword, you slay the last orc in chamber. What would you like to do?

Player: We search the orcs and the chamber for treasure.

DM: Um… (scrambles for a DMG)…you find something, I’ll roll it later.

Player: But, we could find something that would be useful in the rest of the dungeon.

DM: Fine. (Game comes to a halt for the next ten minutes and any momentum is lost)

These are scenarios that I have encountered multiple times, both as a player and as a GM. In an attempt to prevent scenes like these from happening in the future I have created two handouts that should help. The first is a sheet of names for each of the standard fantasy races(26 names per gender, per race). The second is a list of treasure in order of challenge rating (three entries per CR, 1st-20th).

These handouts aren’t meant to be used during the planning phase of your adventure (you would go through the treasure and names quickly), instead reserve them for those instances when your players ask you the name of an NPC you didn’t deem important enough to warrant a name, and for those time when your players wander into an encounter you didn’t expect (and therefore didn’t roll treasure for).

I hope you find them useful. Print them out, paper clip them inside your GM screen, and never be caught off guard again.

Names

Treasure

-Andy

Content Poll

Posted in D&D 3.5 e Content, D&D 3.5e DM Content, Poll, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2010 by boccobsblog

We got some input on what systems people were interested in; and now we’d like to know what type of content you’d like to see.

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