We’re back, and we’re getting physical. This time we’re taking a look at all those neat little things that Keepers can give to players in the course of a game, excepting the keen sense of their own mortality and deepened appreciation of their unimportance in a vast and uncaring cosmos. That stuff’s a given.


Sometimes a “You are here” sign can do more harm than good.

We discuss the different functions of handouts and props, including building atmosphere, providing at-table references and hiding information in plain sight. To avoid being too abstract, we flesh these out with examples of handouts and props that have impressed us, and things we have made with our very own appendages. Matt gives us a few tips for designing your own handouts, as this is really his area of expertise: one of his handouts generally involves more work than any of Scott’s scenarios. To avoid being too positive, we also discuss some of the potential pitfalls of making or using props.

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For example, it may cause unnecessary complications when you discover that your prop Necronomicon is filled with real necromantic rituals.

As we warned you in the last show notes, we break into song twice this episode. Two brave and generous souls have backed us at the $5 level on Patreon, so we sing each of their praises. One of numbers is graced with an impromptu beatbox backing track. This is what happens when you make a bunch of odd noises to test the new pop filters and Paul decides to add them to the mix. I will know better next time.


Have you ever seen one of these things cry? We have.

Speaking of Patreon, the first issue of The Blasphemous Tome fanzine is nearing completion and will head out to backers some time in March. Anyone who is backing us on Patreon at the end of February will receive a copy (or two at the $5 level). The ‘zine is packed with articles, including a scenario, named The Horror From the Shed, a look back at some of our old episodes, the secret history of Attract Fish, Matt doing horrible things to dice that have failed him, and my personal guide to growing the perfect beard. We’ve had a lot of fun making this, and shall definitely do a second issue next year.

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6 comments on “Props and Handouts

  1. I still have most of the handouts and notes for the How I Saved the Planet on the Path to Enlightenment, the Over the Edge campaign mentioned; the curiously mad can check out some of them by following the link (there would be more, but I’ve forgotten how the information was encoded in them, so I’d be unable to answer any questions about them.) https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B1iTjRUomaBXRHk0aGItZnhkOTg&usp=sharing

  2. Raging Pedant Feb 16, 2016

    It’s “co-AT-lee-quay” not “coat-lee-queue”

  3. In Nahuatl the stress is always on the penultimate syllable.

  4. Paul Lawrence Feb 23, 2016

    Thanks for the mention again Matt 🙂 Putting a complex puzzle in a con scenario was a bit of a ‘try it and see’ for me with this scenario. I have ran it only twice now, and in hindsight I should have put a warning in the pre-game blurb, as I didn’t realise how polarising this sort of thing is. In my first run out of the scenario at Furnace in 2013, all six players got into it, no problem. At Continnum 2014, a couple of the players clearly had no interest in it whatsoever, and with the table being huge it actually prevented people on one side seeing the Matt/Elina roadshow in full swing. The only thing I would say in my defence is that the scenario could be completed without completing any of the puzzle, although the more you solved the easier the scenario became. Anyways, here are a couple of pieces of the puzzle..out of *cough* about 15 pieces. The setting is a Steampunk Supers in the vein of The League Of Gentlemen vs Cthulhu…called ‘At The Downright Unusual Mountains Of Madness’ based around the 1883 Starkweather Moore expedition by blimp to Antarctica. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5094106/Steampunk/LCSWM1883.jpg

  5. Ethan C. Mar 14, 2016

    Good episode, very thoughtful. One of the things I’ve noticed when using handouts is that they can very easily convey what the core of the scenario is about. For example, having an elaborate map can indicate that the scenario is about moving around and doing things at various places. Having cards depicting a variety of items indicates that the scenario is about doing stuff with those items, and it matters who is carrying which ones. Having papers and letters to read indicates that the understanding information in them is crucial to the story.

    One of the scenarios that I’ve been focusing on recently is very handout heavy, with a map, some letters, and even audio clips. I’m still working on making sure that each handout is perfectly integrated into the scenario.

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