Toy Inspiration - Stonehenge, Penguins, and Puzzles

Sarah Darkmagic - Posted on 24 January 2014

I enjoy props at a table and I find that toys can often make for wonderful props. For example, at a variety store a few years ago, I bought a miniature Stonehenge set.

Box - Build Your Own StonehengeBox - Build Your Own Stonehenge

Inside the box there are three groups of things: puzzle pieces for creating the base of Stonehenge complete with numbered areas to help you with placement of the pieces, the "stone" pieces, and a booklet of information about the site.

Even without the stone pieces on top, the base could be used to help describe an area in a game. Anything could be in those numbered squares. For instance, they could be statues (or living things turned to stone). You also could hand out the puzzle pieces over time as pieces of a map or an ancient scroll that showed how certain artifacts had to be placed in order to complete an intricate and ancient ritual.

Pieces of the Stonehenge basePieces of the Stonehenge base

In addition to the base, the construction of Stonehenge could be used in multiple ways. For instance, it could be off to the side as a form of clock to show how much progress an adversary has made towards obtaining their goal. Or the PCs could be tasked with finding some or all of the pieces of Stonehenge and put it back together. Or maybe the dragon they fought had knocked the pieces down and it is up to them to set everything up right again. Additionally, the fully finished model could be used as part of a puzzle that involves how light would shine on the location at a certain date and time.

Stonehenge "stone" piecesStonehenge "stone" pieces

The Stonehenge set was made by a company called Running Press. Amazon has a number of their kits.

Similar to this set is another toy I found (although I didn't buy it quite yet). At a local store, I saw a toy penguin that is made up of seven stackable wooden pieces.

Stackable Wooden PenguinStackable Wooden Penguin

As with the Stonehenge set, this could be used as a clock for either the PCs or their adversary and help illustrate their progress towards a goal. Similarly, one could take the image of an important NPC or location in the game and create a puzzle out of it using card stock or cardboard. The nice thing about the puzzle is that it's possible that the players can guess it before the final piece but it helps keeping you from giving too many clues at once. However, if they still can't get it after they have all the pieces, it may be time to allow them access an expert or take 20.

What sorts of toys inspire your games?


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