No, I’ve Got The Magic Sword!

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0823

Roleplaying Tips reader Noel Caine shares this tip about using cards to organize his campaigns.

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Hi Johnn,

You asked for any useful tips for DMs in running D&D games, so here’s one I devised about 30 years ago (I’ve been playing for about 34 years now).

When it came to allocating treasure, especially magic items, we used to rely on players to make a note of what they had gained. But when three players in one module all claimed to have the same magic sword, I decided to start issuing cards.

Whoever has the card owns that item as far as I am concerned.

I use Excel to make up a sheet of cards small enough to fit into one of those nine-pocket plastic card collector’s pages (so players can keep them all together).

In the early days I glued images of the item onto the cards. Later, as the internet made it easy to access unlimited images, I copied and pasted all kinds of images of jewels, weapons, gold coins, etc., shrinking the images to fit on the card forms.

To keep track of where the items originate, I number each module we play, and put that number on the card. I also allocate an item number to each card. So, if a +1 sword is found in module 123, and the sword is item no. 34, the card would be numbered 123-34.

This has been invaluable for us, and a couple of my friends who run their own games have adopted the idea as well. Here are examples of some of my cards so you can see what I’m talking about:

Thanks for the tip

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A great utility is GoDeckYourself. If not spreadsheet inclined, GoDeckYourself lets you build decks of cards online and download decks others have made. You might also be interested in my Pinterest boards where I’ve curated images I like by category.