Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Thieves Tools Part 2: A 'Sorcererful' of Secrets

This is our Magic-user's kit. Small vials filled with Green-slime, Ashes of the Wake, Carcosa seeds, and of course a box of dried mushrooms. Whether they are magic or not, I'm not sure, you'll have to ask him after he stops staring at the goblin in the corner of the room. Everything here I found second hand for dirt cheap. The most expensive prop there is the 'spell-book' that was given to me as a a gift a few years back. The small brass weights that are used on a scale, as well as the mortar and pestle, were found in a second-hand retro kitchen shop, up a dark alley in Kalk Bay, Cape Town.

If you look a little closer, there are several  spice containers that I re-purposed. Just peel off the stickers, add some water with food colouring, or some brightly coloured powder and you can make up some spell components. I also added some crystals, sea-shells, and some semi-precious stones like Tiger's eye etc. The liquid in the bottles and potion bottles actually glows when you dim the lights. Just cut open several Glow Sticks, add it to the appropriate container and just pour in some water that you have dyed. Do not stir. Dim the lights, and voila, glowing potion bottles.

This is the Ranger's props. The obligatory rope, a tiki-torch that I converted into something more dungeonesque by cutting it down and adding string to the handle. The hand-axe is for woodcraft, not combat, and it actually has a crowbar attachment on top, and a hammer on the right. Three in one, and handy as all hell! Then he has a pewter mug that just looked cool when the moment I saw it and a real corn-cob pipe that the player likes to use during the game. Not for smoking mind you, he likes to point it at people with the stem when he's making a point. He has a small skinning knife, and some hand-beaten links and circles that I have no idea what they are for in real life, but they looked suitably fantastical so I bought them. he has a tin plate, compact eating utensils, spare wicks for his lantern and some more wooden handled knives for gutting animals.

I also made him a tin called, " Fisherman's Friend" that is filled with hooks, lead-shot weights, and some swivels. Inside the small paper wrapping in the tin is some fishing line.  seeing as the ranger does all the hunting for the group, I thought a Ranger survival kit would be an apt prop. He also has a small green lantern that he can use.

This is our Cleric's kit. He has a leather-bound prayer book, a wooden goblet, incense and incense holder, a box containing a vial of holy water ( actually an old perfume bottle and box), a sand-timer, a small wooden box with candles on top that is his portable altar, a tankard, a glass vial, some prayer beads, a golden chain of anointing, and lastly his Holy Symbol. he chose a triangle, so I scoured the earth looking for one, and lo and behold! I actually found one made of metal that began life as a curtain rod decoration. I suppose it's all a matter of perception when it comes to props.

A side view of his  portable priestly belongings.

Then for our Halloween game I found these for the walls. It was quite appropriate as we were in the " Tomb of the Dread Knight" and it was filled with Spectres and Wights. These glow in the dark too. They are fairly big , at least five and a half feet and you just stick them to the wall.

The other one that I found. Looks like he is coming for you.

A cool cut-away to a dungeon scene, with some skulls and bones on the steps.


I have collected so much that it now stands on it's own table off to the side. When the players arrive, their sheets, notebooks, miniatures, pencils and erasers are all laid out waiting for them. I also bought miniature treasure chests for their dice. Inside the chests are miniature torches, gems and coins, and rations so we can track that stuff in-game. They just pass it on up to me when used.

This is like the carrot in front of the donkey, keeps 'em highly motivated.

This is what I use for a DM's screen. A Warhammer Fortress.

And here it is again, in its entirety, a few seconds before we dim the lights, light the candles and commence play.

Thieves tools, complete with candle snuffer, crowbar, hand axe, and the ever important fondue sticks! There is also a bird whistle that I bought from a street vendor in Saigon that I thought was a nifty little piece of thief kit when you want to give someone a signal.

What it looks like from my view point with all my tools to hand.There is also a classic arcade game in the background that we play while waiting for the group to arrive. Pac-Man, Space Invaders etc, all late seventies and early eighties games only.


  1. You definitely go all out!! I have to ask, do all of the accouterment really add to the game experience, or do players find that they get in the way?

    1. No, they love it. They use the props to show me how they want to do something etc. The Ranger player uses his pipe to make a point when his character is speaking. But, we do this once a month, and once a month only. Anymore would be overkill.