As I’ve been working on factions for my Mutant Future Mutantbox campaign, I decided that to help flavour each faction I’d design them a custom handwritten font each.
For starters I penned in a nice superior feeling font for those ever present Knights of Genetic Purity.
That can be used for a handout or two, and it’s a style that all the Knights can use, as it’s the handwriting they are taught during their training. Here’s a handout I knocked up in five minutes. A simple subtle paper background and this font are all that are involved. No torn edges today, the Knights have decent pads of fresh paper!
Other factions not stolen from GammaWorld, are pinched from Carl Nash and modified a bit. I also have warring ape tribes in my underground military base megadungeon. In this case the two tribes are the Cybonobos and the Gorillaborgs. They have been at war for decades, sectioning off parts of the base between each of them. They have reached a kind of cold-war status quo, and just execute small raids on each others territory.
The Cybonobo chimps scribble warnings on the walls with mixtures the nearest bodily fluids. Their style is somewhat childish and underdeveloped, apologies to my daughter but for this I’ve scanned her handwritting.
The Gorillaborgs on the other happen to be in a section of the base where the gaffa tape is stored so they write their warning signs by taping letters to the walls.
If anyone wants a copy of the font files just leave me a comment.
Today an example of how a hurried handout can generate plot hooks and choices for your players. A handout such as the one below need not take more than a couple of minutes to create. Most of the time goes into the content. See my previous post for a tutorial on parchment making.
If you quickly make a good looking handout then players take it more seriously, even though you may have only spent a couple of minutes on it. When writing this letter I had not planned out in detail what might happen if the players chose various paths, it’s fun first to watch your players decide what they are going to do with the information.
In the case of this letter, the players had discovered it in a sword-case that they were supposed to deliver to an obviously fake name in the next port.
Some players wanted to ignore it and not deliver it, or warn the Mayor of Copperbottom. Others wanted to do the job themselves and claim the 2000gp. After postulating faking the assassination and claiming the cash, they for some reason decided they’d deliver it and see who collected it.
So they sat and waited and tailed the woman who collected the sword-case, she came to the docks and asked around for any ships heading for Copperbottom. So in the end they offered her a lift! Because they could make some money out of it!
When they got to Copperbottom they did warn the Mayor, but did nothing about stopping the assassin. Which leaves me with the future possibility of her finding out and coming to seek revenge.
All this from a couple of throw away sentences on a handout that took five minutes to make.
Against my better judgement I’ve decided to do a video for today’s Hurried Handout, so here it is, Buccaneer Guild’s first video tutorial.
I’ll follow this up next week with a text and screen shot version, seeing as NewbieDM requested so.
If you’ve enjoyed this video then let me know in the comments and I’ll do more. Please forgive the beginning!
Here’s a quick handout I put together to help summarize the players actions from the preceding week. They picked this up just before leaving dock.
News-sheet handouts like this can be a used to immerse your players in the world. Getting your name or exploits in the press just makes the world feel more real. It’s a tip from John Fourr I’ve been using for years.
Photoshop work here was very minimal and went like so.
- Find a scroll image on Google
- Type some crap
The first story pertains to the PCs recent climactic end of level success in rescuing an Eladrin ship. Although until reading this they didn’t know the town guard had been onboard to check out their story about the captain. This little addition of something that happened when they weren’t there makes the players realise there’s more to the world than just their actions. This first story also lets the player’s know that the Sergeant made good on his promise to cover up the deaths of the attackers.
The second story is feeding a future plot line. The third, a murder investigation, is the result of the party’s over zealous interrogation techniques. The Mayor’s birthday is pure meaningless fluff, unless the players get hooked by it, in which case it could become future plot.
The final job posting is there because the players killed the last hold of that position!
How have you used news-sheet handouts successfully to drive your players? If you haven’t then why not?
Here’s an interesting handout I did for our now paused/retired Luquin Sea campaign.
The whole handout simply didn’t mean anything, it was one huge red herring! I used a Wacom tablet and pen to spend part of my lunch break scribbling as much nonsense as humanly possible.
Excuse the blood but it came from the corpse of someone that had just tried to kidnap the party’s Dragonborn fighter.
The background, paper, blood and shadows account for about two minutes of time. A half hour of scribbling later and I’ve got a handout that my players keep coming back to. They were convinced that there must be something in it, why would I have spent time drawing it otherwise?
I would recommend the odd red herring now and then for your campaign. Never before have I had a handout that has been discussed more, it was hard to keep a straight face at times. Well they know now if they are reading!
Has anyone else had fun with an evil red herring?
In a similar vein to Coffeebreak Cartography, here’s a series of Hurried Handouts. Examples of what can be done by a busy DM in the few minutes available during breaks at work.
Today a handout that is specifically designed to drive a fair chunk of plot in one PCs story.
The top time saving tool here has to the library of blood spatter brushes I used. Both libraries I regularly use are here: