Sunday, August 21, 2011

RPG Items with real-life components

I once sat in on a session of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign where the Dungeon Master had created an innovative way to get his players into the game. When he gave some of his player characters magical items, he gave the players a real-life item that corresponded with the in-game item. The one that I thought was especially clever was a chess set that, in game, one of the characters was playing against a ghost. The character would move a piece, and then the ghost would move a piece. In real life, the DM used a small magnetic chess set to represent the magical chessboard. The DM would make the ghost's moves, and the player would make his character's moves.

Another item in this campaign was a magical deck of cards, and each card did something different. This is similar to the famous D&D item, the Deck of Many Things. In this particular version, the deck was for a D&D card game, but other DMs may want to experiment with tarot decks, 52-card playing card decks, and any other decks they may have.

This inspired me to try my hand at creating some D&D items that could have real-life components. This seems like a great way to get the player into character, while also offering a unique memento of the RPG campaign. The idea is to come up with something that any DM can make without having to be an artist or spend a lot of money.

The Dune Sequels - Safe to Skip

***This review has spoilers for Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune.***

When I was in high school, I read two of the great works of SF: The Lord of the Rings and Dune. I recently re-read The Lord of the Rings and Dune, so I decided to continue on with the sequels to Dune, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. I loved Dune: the characters, the setting, the mix of technology and superstition. I had heard that the sequels were not as good as the original, and that the books after the first three got really weird. Plus, there were books written by Frank Herbert's son Brian and coauthored by Kevin J. Anderson. Based on their reputation, it sounds like Brian Herbert totally pulled a Christopher Tolkien, if you know what I mean.