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Homemade item cards?

Skalekan

First Post
Dear allknowing forum,

My players (or maybe me as DM) is bad at handling treasure and items they find. They constantly forget to note them and also forget to note them when they used them up or sell them.

Some might say "tough luck, you forgot to write it down so now you don't have it, haha" but that is not really fair and not a good solution.

Instead I want to make some index cards for each item, standard CCG-size or so. Whenever they find something, I would give them a card with the "unidentified longsword (#531)" along with the stats. When they identify it I would change the card for "holy avenger", again with stats instead of both them and me trying to remember from which guy they stole it. Wards and the like should of course have checkboxes that note the amount of charges left.

Also this will solve the problem of which PC actually have the item during gameplay. Maybe some envelopes could be used as magic bags that hold everything.

Scrolls and potions are other excellent items for this system, plus you could add the mechanics so people wouldn't have to look it up whenever they use something other than Cure Light Wounds. Maybe it could even work for feats - select a feat - get a card.

In general I think this along with some money for Monopoly or something could really take some of the annoying timestealing bureaucracy out of the game. Also if the cards are really nice with graphics, background picture and printed in color on nice cardstock, it would also be cool handouts.

But it all comes down to making the cards. I remember one time seing you could buy some buy I would rather make my own custom made, both to save some money and also to get the exact items I need.

So my question to the forum oracle is: has anybody made some I can see? Know where to get graphics? Maybe even someone has made some I can get a copy of? Or perhaps a nice template? Is there any community effort to create such items? Potentially you could make all items, spells etc. as cards and make them available for download and print the ones you need?

With some programming skills you could even make a nice webinterface where you could add items. Others could then select the items they want along with a custom templete and get a PDF of the cards. That would be sweet!

Any help much appreciated.

The Skalekan

(Card with PCs and monsters also works wonders for keeping stats and an initiative stack. Myself and I know many others use cards, especially the miniature cards for this)
 

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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I have an example, but my server seems to be down so I can't post it - once things are cleared up I will let ya see it. :)
 

Catavarie

First Post
I beleive they call what your looking for Magic:The gathering although not exactly the same alot of artwork is usable to resemble most items found in D&D, I've actually taken all my old cards (since I no longer play MtG) and erased the card info blocks and printed new stats on them with my home printer works pretty well and cards are fairly cheap to buy. Unfortunately I'm not even a sucky artist so by using the art that is already out there I was able to have good looking cards for less than $0.10 a pop.
 

RatPunk

First Post
I've been doing this for my Age of Worms campaign and it's worked out rather well.

I don't use graphics or anything fancy, just hand written index cards. Whenever the party kills a bad guy, I throw an envelope on the table that contains index cards for all of his equipment. Whoever grabs the envelope is searching the body. Initially, the cards just say the name of the item (i.e. longsword) and it's weight on the top line. If it's masterwork or has a special description (i.e. large red ruby on the handle), that is written in the body of the index card. On the lower right corner, I make a notation of where the item was found (i.e. WC:7 = Room 7 of the Whispering Cairn). This allows me to look it up quickly when they sell it or get it identified. Once they get the item identified (if it's magic), they give the card back to me and I write what it is on the card. It's up to them to add any relevant stats.

This works out really well for one shot items like potions and scrolls, since once they use it they just give me the card and I throw it in the pile to be recycled. Plus, the party rogue loves it because he can pocket stuff without anyone else knowing what it was. All in all it's been a big hit with the group.
 
Last edited:

DM_Jeff

Explorer
Skalekan said:
Instead I want to make some index cards for each item, standard CCG-size or so. Whenever they find something, I would give them a card with the "unidentified longsword (#531)" along with the stats.
Well, that's a commercial introduction to plug Paizo's GameMastery "item packs". They're not homemade but they're pretty cheap and they work swell. I use 'em, the group loves 'em.

http://paizo.com/store/gameAids/gameMasteryProducts/itemPacks

Skalekan said:
In general I think this along with some money for Monopoly or something could really take some of the annoying timestealing bureaucracy out of the game.
And this sounds like an introduction to the "Fantasy Money" PDF product here at the EN World Store, or, whatever it is now, the "RPGNOW/DriveThru burgers and rpg's store" and all that.

For homemade cards, I suggest using a template. Use the SRD to copy vital text onto the space for the card, and go to the web and grab little icons representing the treasure for a visual.

-DM Jeff
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
el-remmen said:
I have an example, but my server seems to be down so I can't post it - once things are cleared up I will let ya see it. :)

And here it is:



I use Google Image Search and other clip art to find what I need and use MS Publisher to create the template - but I am sure it can just be as easily made in word.

I print it, cut it out and paste it to an index card.
 

GreatLemur

First Post
I'm actually starting to think that something like this should be done with feats, too. With more feats being published in basically every d20 book ever, I'd rather keep the exact rules for each one either on or with the character sheet than scattered throughout dozens of books and PDFs.

Of course, the same goes for spells, but that's already being done.

This would be a great idea for a product, if it weren't for the fact that custom-made cards are obviously best. Even those Paizo Item Packs seem kinda pointless to me, because I'd rather have an original and appropriate text description of an item than whatever lovely picture the company has provided.
 

Gryffyn

First Post
Hi Skalekan,

It's a very good idea to use some sort of card for, at the least, important magic items. When I was first introduced to AD&D in 1980, that's exactly how the local players kept track of things. Since "open gaming" was the style of the day, it was important to prove that your character had actually earned that item. The card was proof, and was usually initialed by the DM who gave it out.

Aside from numbering the card for future identification, another method we used was to write up the full magic item on the index card, and then seal it in a small envelope. On the outside of the envelope was only the item's physical description, plus any really obvious abilities. After the item was properly identified, the DM would instruct the player to open the envelope! That was kinda cool.
 

Andre

First Post
One relatively simple solution is to design a basic template in MS Word that is 3" x 5" (IIRC, just go to Page Setup and use a custom paper size). Write in your text, print directly onto an index card, rinse and repeat. For cards you will use constantly, e.g., potion of cure light wounds, consider printing a couple dozen or so.

I created a quick and dirty database in MS Access to store custom item info, then printed the items onto sheets of 2" x 4" labels. Slap the labels onto index cards and I'm done. Graphics would of course have improved things, but trying to cram all the info onto one card didn't make that practical for me. YMMV.

I really like the idea of printing faux-MTG cards, but I can't find any (free) programs that do this, and I'm not sure what I'd print on if I did - as far as I know, I can't just go to the office supply store and pick up a few hundred blanks, like I can with index cards. And I'm certainly not printing them onto regular cardstock, then cutting them out with scissors - my hands couldn't take the punishment. :p

As for feats, I'm seriously considering printing cards for feats, abilities, and spells that have temporary effects. My group plays at a table, so if, for example, bless is cast, the caster could just place the card on the table. Ditto if the barbarian rages, or the bard sings. I think it would make it much easier to remember all the various stuff going on.
 

Jason Bulmahn

Explorer
DM_Jeff said:
Well, that's a commercial introduction to plug Paizo's GameMastery "item packs". They're not homemade but they're pretty cheap and they work swell. I use 'em, the group loves 'em.

http://paizo.com/store/gameAids/gameMasteryProducts/itemPacks

-DM Jeff
Thanks Jeff for the plug. I would be remiss in my duties if I did not point out that we are having a contest right now for free Item Cards from our upcoming set "Relics of War". It is hard to beat free. You can check out the contest through the link above, by clicking on the Relics of War booster.

Just an FYI.

Jason Bulmahn
Item Card Lead Designer
 

SiderisAnon

First Post
Creating Homemade Item Cards

I use item cards for all of the magic items in my game. Initially, when someone uses "Detect Magic", they get a card that says "Unknown Magic Item" that has some blank lines on the bottom. I write things like "Longsword from goblin leader" on the card. Then when they figure out what the item is or get it identified, they get the actual card, which has a picture, the stats, and some flavor text. (And I just cross out the text on the unknown card and use it again.)

I designed my cards in Campaign Cartographer 2, mostly because I did not have any other kind of graphics program at the time. It works fairly well, though I have problems putting the description and other text in and getting it to look right.

I fit nine cards on a sheet, 3x3, with a border around the edges.

For actual use of the cards, I bought a bunch of cheap sleeves at Wal-Mart for baseball cards. The player puts them in their character folder (cheap school folders with the three prongs). We were already keeping character sheets in clear sleeves in those folders, so people could mark on them with the wet erase markers.

I even rigged up a set of sleeves for each character that has all of the slots labeled. So, if you get a helmet, you put it in the appropriate slot, and now you know for sure you can't put a headband on with it.

The majority of my images in the past came from an old 2nd Ed TSR product that had all of the books on a CD and a character generator. There were tons of equipment pictures in there. However, once I started using more of the cards, I went looking for most pictures on the web. Most of what I use is clip art.

I'm a big fan of potions and I run it so that formulas produce consistent results. So, if two different wizards use the same formula for a Potion of Invisibility, the potions look, smell, and taste the same. So, I run off sheets of nine for the common potions, all with the same picture. The players get those cards once the potion is identified, and after a while they can start recognizing the potions in their character's sleeves by the picture as well as by the title.
 

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