…and beyond the dice, what are important items for gaming? I’ve seen this question asked elsewhere, but I thought I’d put my two cents in, and offer my thoughts. Essential items for gaming has become a question over the years, and I think it bears consideration.

Back in the early days of the hobby, the key thing was to have the resources. If you had the resources, then you could play. That was pretty much it. Pencil, paper, dice, and books. Beyond that was simply uncharted territory.

This was how things were when I started playing. Granted, I say that like it’s a long time ago, but when I started there were people who had already been playing TTRPGs for something like 20 years. I wasn’t late to the party, they were (are) just older than me.

Times have changed though. In the 20+ years since I started playing, more has become available for TTRPGs. Props, music, paraphernalia. Is it really necessary? Who knows, that’s my answer.

In general, I like a less is more approach to my games. I put a cap on the amount of material I’ll allow the players to resort to, for example. Too much stuff in gaming is like to too much stuff anywhere else, a burden.

That was when there were just tons of books. Now there’s music, apps, coins, and so on. It can be just a lot of stuff. Is it necessary? Again, who knows. Advice for GM prep is always to have what you think you need is necessary to run the game. I think the same holds true for everything else.

Granted, I’ve never used music in my games before, but there’s a lot of stuff out there. Same with any other kind of prop. I try really hard to emphasize the theatre of the mind approach to gaming. Just use the core books, and everything else will fall into place. Maybe other stuff, such as music can help bring a game to life though. There isn’t one answer, but the innovations that make gaming what it is had really evolved over the years.

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