Category Archives: Props

Free Stuff Friday: A Death Certificate

It’s Friday and it’s time to give you some more free stuff!

This week’s Free Stuff is: A Death Certificate

I think we can all agree that when a player characters dies in an RPG it is sad. It’s sad for the game master and it’s sad for the player. So why not give them a little something for their death. Something like, oh I don’t know, a really cool death certificate! I don’t know about you but if I die in an RPG I sure would like to have a little something for my effort, and for the GM it’s official.

Here is your certificate of death. You are dead and no backing out of it buddy. Now go roll a new character!

On Ben’s RPG Pile website Ben wrote this stuff up: Remember all those silly paper awards you got in grade school (outstanding reader, math magician, etc)? Here’s a chance to use them in your own game but with some real flair and style. As Rob puts it, “Hey I respect your character, but man, he got jacked up!”

For DM prep, you simply have to fill in the gritty details on the template and print it out. If possible, stay classy and do it in color. Then take it to your next game session to award in a mini ceremony of sorts. If you’re feeling especially funny, don’t hesitate to get all munchkin on his ass as you hand it out.
So download the Death Certificate template today. Just don’t forget to thank Ben for the free stuff!

Trying something new…

I’ve never been particularly handy. I’ll write, talk in public, and I can tell a pretty good yarn (or so I’ve been told), but I’m not great with cars or home repair. I’ll hook up your computer or your home theater, but don’t ask me to fix the plumbing; I just don’t have the skill ranks!

Likewise my relation with the more “arts and crafts” aspects of our hobby has been more as an observer than a participant. I have friends who paint miniatures and do so with great skill, customize their creations and produce some beautiful work. I’ve been bitten by the bug before. In high school I ordered some plastic Warhammer Fantasy minis (can’t remember the set but I know it had dwarves and skavens) and some paints and tried my hand at it for the first time. I had no notion on how this was done and even though I understood the idea of priming the miniatures I overeager to paint and did not allow the primer to dry properly. Let’s just say that attempt was less than successful.

Later, in college, I tried my hand at it again and with some coaching from those aforementioned friends.  I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say when I showed the final product to a friend he asked me if I had just dunked the miniature in paint and set it out to dry. End of try two!

For years I did not play with miniatures so this was no big deal, but when D&D 3rd edition came around I realized I needed some miniatures to get the most out of the combat system. I first I used my old HeroQuest board game minis, some other unpainted minis I had purchased thought a life of gaming, even some Mage Knight miniatures. My prayers were answered when the D&D miniatures came out and I was bit by the “plastic crack” bug (that’s what my friends and I used to call it). By now I have enough miniatures to play for a long, long while.

I am happy to move around the miniatures in a hand drawn map, or some of the tiles or maps made by Paizo and Wizards of the Coast. I’ve spoken about this in previous posts, but as I’ve met more fellow gamers over this past year through the Puerto Rico Role Players Group I’ve been amazed at some of the wonderful dioramas and models they create. These are labors of love that greatly enhance the feel of a game. When we had a table at a local convention promoting the group the reaction to the models being displayed was awesome.

So with another convention coming up we wanted to display some of those wonderful creations. Sadly both of the talented artists will not be able to attend the con, but both agreed to send some of their work and one of them actually offered to help us make some new terrain to display. I was reluctant at first. I’ve never been particularly handy and I saw little possibility I might actually be good at it, but never one to shy away from a challenge I said, “Why not!” What’s the worse that could happen? I end up with an ugly looking piece of cardboard that’s supposed to be a fort!

Last Saturday my friend Sara and I met with Jaime and Mario. Both make excellent models and terrains. Mario makes incredible pieces using everything from printed out models, to household items and even animal carcasses (I kid you not! You should see his dragon skeleton made from a rat’s skeleton…). Jaime, well Jaime is in a league of his own, he is a model maker, make up artist and all around great guy (Mario is a great guy too, I just don’t like to tell him too often or he’ll get too full of himself).

Jaime was an excellent teacher, providing materials, sound advice and patience, sharing his craft with us and actually getting me to do what I considered impossible, work on terrain for a role-playing game that actually LOOKS like what it’s supposed to represent.

We decided to work on a river bed and Sara, Mario and I each worked on a piece of the river. We carved the riverbed in Foamular and then used the same material to create promontories, boulders and rocks. We used a heat gun to give the terrain some features. Sadly I had to leave early but Mario and Jaime put the base coat of paint on the pieces and we’ll get back together next week to finish the river using some silicone.

I am so thrilled about the experience. I actually managed to make some terrain and at the stage I left it, it didn’t look half bad. You can look at the picture here in the post. I also know it had a lot to do with the teacher. Jaime is incredibly talented and patient; communicates effortlessly and gives good solid advice and encouragement. Best of all I felt this was something I could do. I am psyched about finishing this project, displaying it at the convention and maybe tackling some other projects.

I feel like I gained a geek level over the weekend!

Food & Games

Don’t worry; this has NOTHING to do with all the electronic cooking games out there. This is about gamers and the food they eat when they game. Junk food and role-playing games are connected in poplar culture, and in all truth some games will devour prodigious amounts of chips and soda. Undoubtedly some groups try to eat healthy, bringing fruits and veggies to the table, but I suspect the majority of use would rather have some Mountain Dew than water! (For the record I don’t like Mountain Dew, I’d much rather have Jones Soda, but the Dew but it emblematic.)

There are things like Igor Bars by John Kovalic out there! These sound delicious, but are probably heart attack inducing. But my reason for this post is just not to share recipes (we can certainly do that) but to talk about how food could enhance gaming and set the mood for a game!

I remember when I first read Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home. It was during my Dragonlance period, having just finished reading the Dragonlance Chronicles and was getting my hands on everything Dragonlance. This was NOT a gaming supplement; it was a collection of stories, poems and recipes. Yes you read that right, recipes. I was so intrigued, it was like having the cookbook of a fantasy Inn, and it seemed like magic. This was back in 1988 and I didn’t cook at all. In fact I avoided cooking for years so I never got to try Tika’s recipes.

The only time I had an edible prop in a game was during a Star Trek Adventure where the game master had Romulan Ale available for us. It wasn’t truly the legendary alcoholic beverage of the Star Trek universe, we were all still underage, but water with food coloring. I barely remember the adventure (sorry José) but the pitcher of blue liquid in the middle of the table really captured my imagination. And by the way, that last link has some nice recipes for mixing up alcoholic versions of the Romulan Ale, Star Trek party here we go!

Since then I’ve embraced the joys of cooking and the old storage room with the fridge and microwave has actually become one of my favorite rooms in my house. I love cooking and often cook for my players. My famous and artery clogging Gordopletas® have graced games and geeknics alike. Still I have NOT actually created a dinner to enhance a game.

When I began my current campaign, which is a pirate/swashbuckling themed Pathfinder RPG game, I wanted to take my players out to a restaurant called La Guarida del Pirata (The Pirate’s Hideaway, beware that last link is in Spanish) a pirate themed seafood restaurant. We didn’t go but I cooked for them, we watched a movie and discussed campaign expectations and character generation.

It was a great experience BUT I missed the opportunity to make food part of the experience. I want to change this, I really want to find an opportunity were I can cook for my players and make it part of the gaming experience. Perhaps we have a dinner party in game and then have food in real life. I want to play a zombie game for Halloween, I can already think of some possibilities. Brains!

Do you integrate food into your gaming? Do you cook or prepare something special for your players?

I better dig out the Leaves form the Inn of the Last Home. I’ll keep you update of my attempts to bring food into my games in a meaningful way.