Narrative Control – Episode 53 – Mad Props (Part 1)

Hi and welcome to Narrative Control.  This episode and the next are all about props we’ve used in games.  This show we’re talking about maps, apparel and dressing up existing game elements like dice, character sheets, etc.

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Eric Fattig

Length:  34:00

Show Notes

[00:28] Intro to the show.  Talking about props.
[01:40] We already talked about some of this in Episode 17 – Included props on the cheap, documents and customized character sheets. Check it out .
[03:30] Maps… the forgotten prop. [04:39] Map of Bel in Apocalypse World:

[05:29] Island map for Agon.  Showed which gods held dominion. Blank version.

[06:31] The Map of Rokugan showing off all the problems we had to handle.

[08:28] Territories in Mouse Guard. Big Map:

Little Map:

[10:30] The map of our memories in 4E.  I put in mud pots for you Babe.
[11:50] Dress like the fiction. Costumes.
[13:06] Gnome spies got (from such classics as Gnomes Like Us, Dr. Gnome and Gnome Impossible) got different hats for each important NPC.
[12:48] Put on a Chiton when you play a Greek.  Dressing up for Agon:

[15:30] Liberty spikes and “distressed” wear for Apocalypse World:

[16:22] Laurel wreaths for the gods: Laural wreaths at Amazon.
[17:02] Getting costumes at local costume shops, like this one at UC Davis: Enchanted Cellar.
[18:21] Mons in our L5R game. Badges of office, clan, family or post.
[20:07] More subtle effects.  Dresden Files cops game, I took the role as the police chief, I kept adjusting this:

[22:07] Dressing up the existing gaming elements: Dice, character sheets, game currancy (style dice, fate chips, artha, etc).
[22:50] Police Dresden game: Badges on Fate chips made with Token Tool.
[23:31] Used Gwendolyn and Liam for Persona and Fate in Mouse Guard:


[24:05] Matrix: There is no spoon.  Currency in RAM:

[24:49] More generic. Poker Chips: Discount Poker Shop. [25:43] Apocalypse World: Shotgun Shells.

[26:53] Mouse Guard – Dice color matched the cloaks:

[27:51] My Life with Joker: Purple and Green Dice at Chessex.
[28:12] Burning Empires.  Blue became the color of the common people.  Nobody wanted the blue dice.
[29:03] Burning Wheel. The Gift.  Dwarves get red dice, Elves get blue.
[29:44] Character tents.
[30:00] Pretty character tents.  Clear picture frames at Bed, Bath and Beyond
[30:36] Including other bits like characters keys (from Shadow of Yesterday), aspects (from Fate), etc.
[31:12] “Dude, where’s my sword?”  Players poking each other in the keys.
[32:23] Aspects on sticky labels to add to character tents.  Here’s my Mouse Guard traits:

[33:26] A hint of the topic to come soon.

Direct Download: NC_Episode_053.mp3

Props on the brain

I love props. I think they are great. Wish I had pictures as they would do more justice. I posted this over at story-games but realized I wanted an archive of props used on LJ. Here are some that I’ve used recently.

“The Gift” – Burring Wheel

  • Start with an 8′ x 18″ table. Divided by race but everyone is very close to their opposition.
  • The center chair on each side is a throne. To do this just get two yards of fabric for each side and drape them over the chair. For the dwarves: Crushed red velvet. Elves: Silver and blue brocade
  • Following that color scheme, blue/red vis-a-vis pen for scripting, blue/red dice for the sides, with a giant black d6 in the middle of the table for and advantage die.
  • Dwarves enmbolded by dwarven nog (Sam Adam’s “Winter Ale” if you can have alcohol in the game, I.P.R. Root Beer if not).
  • Refined Elves have Mirrorwine (Navarro Vineyards Gewüztraminer or Sparkling juice)
  • A standard for any game with player resources. Poker chips to represent Artha.

“My Life with Joker” –My Life with Master

  • Started with an image of the Joker with blank caption boxes, stolen from the cover of a comic. Print that onto an iron on transfer paper and then iron that onto a white t-shirt (I tried purple and it wasn’t legible). During mater creation, as the players create the joker (Brain vs. Beast, etc), using a sharpie, fill in the caption boxes. Once complete, put on the shirt and become the Joker.
  • Die my hair bright green.
  • A set of gorgeous purple and green d4s from Chessex.
  • My masterpiece. With a digital camera, laptop and printer at the game, I took pictures of the players and printed them out. During the game, whenever the players would oppose me, I used a red crayon to draw red all over their lips and a purple crayon to draw their hair green. As the game progressed I pulled out a pair of scissors and started hacking away bits of the picture while I repeated what they just said in a mocking tone. That freaked people out.

“Exalted Unplugged” – Exalted/Wushu/Wuxalted
The game started in the 1980s as a battle of the bands where the two rival bands “White Fire” and “The Maidens of Mercy” were transported into “Creation” as Solars and Abyssals, both vying for the legendary artifact at the pillar of air – the Stratocaster! Hard core cheese here!

  • All the character sheets were built into cassette tape boxes. Name on the spine. Picture of the character on the front, stats, dice, and poker chips on the inside
  • As the game was a late night game, a six pack of Rock Star in the center of the table for the players to drink
  • Red and Black dice. Scarlet/Ebon and AC/DC
  • A music sound track of 80s rock.

“There is No Spoon” – Matrix Wushu Adaptation

  • Character sheets printed on as 4×6” pictures and then put in clear plastic (high tech looking) frames. Matriculated picture on front, stats on back
  • old sticks of RAM as tokens for Bullet time
  • Matrix score (not soundtrack) playing in the background