Over at GeekDad I recently posted about my favourite roleplaying props (see below).
When I have been Dungeon Master or Game Master, responsible for shaping and creating a whole immersive experience for my intrepid band of player characters, the one thing I have found most enjoyable and engaging over the years has been the creation of props. I believe props can be anything that add to the experience of roleplaying, so minatures and maps, documents and music through to physical manifestations of monsters, treasure or weapons. All of this can add to such a roleplaying experience that is textured, that engages all the senses.
My favorite props have been books, I am a bit of a book fiend, so that is not surprising. But, I'd love to see pictures of other GeekDad's favorite roleplaying props. Feel free to share in this thread, with pictures if you have them.
My favorite prop I ever used is "Inside the Emptiness: a handmade book"
My most treasured was developed five or six years ago for a campaign I ran that attempted to introduce the world of H.P. Lovecraft to a group of players through a Call of Cthulhu campaign, using GURPS and throwing in a little Jules Verne and dinosaur action as icing on the cake. The key prop for this campaign was a book I created called "inside the emptiness". It offered clues for the whole campaign, it had maps and hints and players took it home and studied it to try and find its secrets. It appeared when they were exploring an abandoned home outside of Arkham, a wayward shot dislodged it from a hiding place in the roof.
My favorite prop wasn't really a prop like this, but I did spend a huge amount of time on it, and it was incredibly special to the whole gaming group. For my wife's birthday, we had a special D&D session. Her character, a gnome bard, had just purchased an airship and I used some fantasy clip art to make incredibly detailed tactical maps of each of the ship's three levels. There were quarters for all the members of our party. I rasterbated all of them, then the DM brought in a sushi boat from a nearby restaurant and put the maps on top. He created an encounter where we had to cast off the anchors and get away from the city while wave after wave of bad guys assaulted us. We even got to use the cannons and ballistas!
Here's the first level: