Tribal Knowledge: Player Handouts and Other Ephemera

Do one concerning ‘props’ and table topping. Like your awesome model you built out? I know some people actually dress up salon style as well – or have a personal prop – like a hat.

–Perturbed by Proprieties of Personal Props


Dear Perturbed,

I love text props, maps, and other game-related ephemera in tabletop gaming. They add tactility, a physical object for later reference, a moment of surprise… there’s a lot going on here and I love every bit of it. Let’s talk about some specific cases. With pictures, in some cases!

A Closer Look at the Cartography of Christopher West

“Chris West loves gaming and expresses that love with an artist’s eye. Luckily for gamers, he shares that eye with the rest of us.”

Back in the olden days of roleplaying, maps were crude scribblings on graph paper, dictated to the players by the Dungeon Master. Mapping caverns by hand gave you a feeling of exploration; you used your imagination to fill in the details of the surroundings that the DM described. Unfortunately, not everyone at the table imagined those details the same way.

Arguments were common about who was where, what was in the room and how close that ogre was to the brazier full of hot coals. Savvy DMs and players slipped around the arguments and kept the game moving, but it was always the most frustrating part of a session. There are times that I miss those days, mostly for the nostalgia of making due with what we had. Well, the day has finally come where we don’t have to make due. We have Christopher West.