I’ve always been a bit obsessive over handouts and props when I’m running RPGs and I think they really help to set the mood for games like L5R that can be a bit harder for some players to get to grips with. The lockdown has given me loads of time to play with some new ideas including hand bound character sheets and origami handouts!
what sort of things have the other GMs out there tried?
That is some very very nice work, sir. I would love to play in a game with a GM as dedicated and artsy.
I’ve always been a bit of a map maker and world builder. For a long while now I have used Campaign Cartographer from ProFantasy, as it is so versatile and capable of using so many different styles (including sci-fi!). You can also use it to make atlas and gazetteers, with hyperlinked maps, etc. So, I always try to make my map handouts really cool, with a big difference between the playing maps and the realistic maps that the characters would poses. Even went so far once as to hand make a map on hide. A buddy has it framed.
Once ran a Cthulhu 1920s game where a friend of mine, who is a mortician as well as a collector of bizarre objects, allowed me to utilize some of his collection as props. Really put a whole different spin on it when they were holding a kris knife that was actually used in sacrifices (animal, but still…). One of our players swore that one of the shrunken heads literally haunted her for months after she touched it. Good times!
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."