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Keep Spare Gaming Supplies on Hand

This is a pretty basic tip, but perhaps a handy one for novice GMs: Your players will forget stuff, so have spare dice, pencils, pads and other supplies on hand. This goes double if you’re running a convention game.

My RPG to-go box [1] includes three full poly sets (d4 through d%), two full sets of 10d10 (for White Wolf games) and enough d6s to choke a horse, plus two pens, two pencils and two clicky erasers. When I GM, I also have notepads on hand, as well as lots more of all of the above.

One of the other GMs in my group, Don [2], used to keep a spare set of dice on hand called the Dice of Shame. The Dice of Shame were the ugliest, most mismatched dice his group could find, and if you forgot your dice, that’s what you used. I’ve always gotten a kick out of that idea — keeping spare stuff for your players doesn’t have to be boring.

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#1 Comment By John Arcadian On August 1, 2007 @ 9:08 am

Exactly how many d6 does it take to choke a horse?

1, 2, the world may never know…

#2 Comment By Walt C On August 1, 2007 @ 10:35 am

It’s even more embarassing when you’re the GM and you forget to bring your dice.

This actually popped up a few weeks ago. I GM a weekly game at my house and a biweekly game at a friend’s house. I got to my friend’s house and realized that I left my dice bag home. It turned out that every player forgot to bring their dice that day (except for the host player, who obviously had his set on hand). The host’s own dice were sacred, of course, so we waited a few minutes as he scoured his gaming stuff for enough dice to play. He managed to scare up one complete set with a couple extra d6s and d8s. It was pretty brutal.

#3 Comment By thebrownshow On August 1, 2007 @ 10:45 am

One of our players is colorblind, so when he forgets his dice, we make him play with a set that he can’t read.

#4 Comment By Peter On August 1, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

we have a spareset of dice I once got as a gift. and they are really sucky. (lots of rolls give bad results) and I’m making the one who forgets his dice use them.

#5 Comment By TMan On August 1, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

I have a couple of players that
A) leave their dice at my house so they never forget them and
B) always mooch a pencil.

I went to the grocery store and bought them a couple of those huge first-grader pencils, you know, about as big around as a dime. Quite a laugh, but they continue to use them.


#6 Comment By Frank Filz On August 1, 2007 @ 1:43 pm

I have a dice box for player use. It mostly has dice I’ve replaced with cooler looking dice, some extracted from game boxes, and a few purchased so people have enough dice (and I used to be on a serious kick of using icosohedrons numbered from 0-9 twice for d10s, so I’ve got bunches of those).

I have a can of pens and pencils basically stocked from things players have left behind (a few dice in the dice box are a result of players leaving them behind). Back in college I determined that I always came away from the table with more pens and pencils than I brought (which is the opposite of, say a store, where pens dissapear from the counter).

A good stock of dice combined with the fact that these days I hold onto PC character sheets makes it easy for many players to show up since they need bring nothing (other than snacks).


#7 Comment By DNAphil On August 1, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

I host all the campaigns that are running in our group, at my house (yes, in the basement). My basement is fully stocked with extras for all the players. I have a 3 drawer, rolling, plastic, caddy that is loaded with extra supplies. The first drawer is all bags of dice, the second has pens and pencils, and the bottom drawer has paper, folders, rulers, etc.

Anyone that forgets something is welcome to get what they need out of the caddy. The caddy also holds our dry erase and wet erase markers, and serves as an extra surface for the GM when they are running.

#8 Comment By Johnn On August 1, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

At home I have a big box with extra dice and a desk drawer with HB pencils. On the road, I have a pencil case with extra dice and pencils. The supply that hurts most is forgotten character sheets.

#9 Comment By Martin On August 1, 2007 @ 8:18 pm

(thebrownshow) One of our players is colorblind, so when he forgets his dice, we make him play with a set that he can’t read.

Ouch — that’s just mean! 😉

I might just have to try the pencil thing sometime, though.

#10 Comment By Chris On August 2, 2007 @ 5:26 am

I love the Dice of Shame idea. I run a game for a group of young people and I think I’ll try the Dice of Shame idea. The kids biggest problem is forgetting character sheets.

#11 Comment By Abulia On August 2, 2007 @ 12:14 pm

There were also pencils and erasers of shame.

They were hot pink. 😀

#12 Comment By Frost On August 2, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

I keep a half-dozen mechanical pencils on hand along with copies of the players’ character sheets.

#13 Comment By Martin On August 6, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

Scot: Your travel kit is nifty — thanks for sharing the pictures. That would actually travel a lot better than my steel box, as it couldn’t get dented.