Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tools - Treasure Cards

Recently reading a post on the Troll and Flame blog reminded me of drawings on index cards I made for my old campaign. I like the idea of the tangibility of physical cards for treasure found by players. The picture above was a potion box that came with a kind of sampler pack of weaker potions and was useful afterwards for transporting potions safely. Because spell were hard to come by, I found cards for enemy spellbooks useful, players often being more interested in the spells these contained than any gold the caster might be carrying.

I want to produce some cards for my current campaign. You could write details on the back, but I'm thinking of leaving them blank for players to write what they discover on them. (In fact, Chgowiz' post here pretty much convinced me to require players to figure out items through trial and research rather than identify.)

Index cards are a possibility, or index cards cut in half, like I used to use. But if we use business card size we can store them in plastic binder sheets made to store business cards and we can use templates to create and print cards, rather than having to draw them all.

I thought this might be exactly the kind of thing that the OSR would find useful-- something that takes a lot of time to create but is generic enough to be used by all. So, here is my proof of concept. Using public domain art and an Open Office Business Card Template I've created two sheets of Treasure Cards you can print and cut out. It would be nice if many people worked to find appropriate art and we could gather up a variety of these free for all to use. But for now see what you think:
Another avenue I'd like to explore is monster illustrations to show players. Here is my rendering of a giant slamander that treats first levellers like bugs:

With that I'm off to the mountains. Happy 4th of July everyone.


  1. funny, i was thinking of doing this exact thing, using the 3x5 index cards i'm no longer using. even got so far as to start to download a few images for future use. if you start to pile 'em up, i recommend trying to locate .eps, .png, or .svg files as they will be the easiest to resize w/out quality loss, but you're probably already on it. i like the biz card size, but for purposes of notes i'm probably going to stick with the 3x5's for now, not that i'm anywhere along in this process. chgowiz is right on about magic item "purpose" discovery. us and our index cards, huh? :-)

  2. So you keep information about the item on the card? I used to too, but now I'm just thinking of handing a small card with an image to players to make treasure more tangible.

    I'll see what I can do about amassing a pile of clip art for use by everyone, but it's tedious, and almost impossible to find anything public domain.

  3. i'd planned on basically having a description/art side of the card and a stats/game info. side of the card - however, the players would (at least at first) get only the description side (with the other side labeled as "Notes") printed version.

    as for art, well, the upside of not finding clip art easily is that it forces you to get creative and make it yourself!