Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One Great Prop

One thing that I've found to be more and more valuable as a plot person is the level of immersion that can be generated from quality props. Now, I've always known that a module that's filled with quality props is better than one with no props.

But did you know that one spectacular prop can really drive a module home in terms of immersion?

Running a game takes time behind the scenes. If you try and do props for everything, you're either going to go insane working up props or the quality of the props is going to suffer.

Instead, pick one major prop that will be the focus of a module. This could be a costume, an item, the scenery, or even a monologue of some sort. Just make it look as professional and realistic as possible.

This one prop sets the mood for the entire module. If you make your prop creepy and scary, the players will focus on it and be creeped out. If you intend to make it humorous, the players will focus on the comedic value of the module. If you intend for something to be serious or dramatic, your focus will help push that home.

Often I see modules that try to do too many things at once, prop wise. You don't want the PCs to be distracted from the fear and intrigue that comes with a (fake) blood covered book filled with strange runes by the NPC who's costume is flashy and ironic. Pick a style and run with it.

So next time you sit down to write a module, pick a theme and ask yourself what one prop could really evoke that feeling from your players. Focus on making that prop as strong as it can be before you worry about the other props on that module.

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