How A Reader Creates Player Reward Cards

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0928

RPT GM Richard Grilley created some cool player card props to liven up his games. Here’s how he did it.


I loved the idea of a bonus gift for PCs. Finding random things like a dropped bag of gold or adjusting an encounter so the PCs’ plan succeeds brilliantly.

I started with 5-6 bonus cards….which became a deck of 56 cards.

I designed the cards in Publisher. Then took 110 pound card stock and printed “tops and the bottoms” on their own sheets (8 cards per 8½ x 11 sheet = 7 sheets of identical tops and 7 unique bottoms).

I used spray polyurethane to seal the sheets. Three coats worked great. You can use steel wool lightly for an extra smooth finish. I then glued the sheets back to back to form a thicker card.

To make a real playing card you need special glue that was too expensive for this project. This link has some great glue tips. I tried spray adhesive: awful results. Wood glue and contact cement (rubber cement): excellent results.

After gluing, I used a press of heavy books and a dry time of 2 hours. 4 hours would have been better.

I then cut the cards using an “industrial” paper cutter — the guillotine type you find at offices or schools. The thick paper requires something heavy duty.

I used a “corner crop” tool from my wife’s Creative Memories collection to round the corners.

The cards needed some flattening, but since I am not dealing them like playing cards and am using them more like Monopoly’s Chance cards, a little curve doesn’t hurt.

These cards are beneficial because I wanted drawing a card to be positive and not just fate. The cards are a bit juiced because the campaign these are for is a bit high octane (stronger characters, more loot, a bit Monty Haul-ish) and we all have more fun with a little outlandishness.


The only issue I have is: how to hand these out?

Current ideas are:

  • A PC gets to draw a card at the end of a session. Best role player? Team MVP? DM’s choice? (Downside is 56 sessions to see each card. That’s a long time.)
  • One card for each PC at the end of each session?
  • Random DM “That was great: draw a card!” or “You failed miserably: but you get a card!”
  • Cards cannot be traded with other characters unless the card allows.
  • A character may hold no more than 3 cards at a time. If you draw a fourth you must play or discard.

I would be much obliged for any ideas you may have.

I am super excited to get these in play. I think the team will love them. Who doesn’t love a boon?