Tutorial: Homemade Parchment handouts for RPGs

parchmenttutorial3-1024.jpgWhen our group decides to start a new RPG campaign, I usually end up gamemastering, for many reasons. First, I like it (!). Second, I have some inspiration to get things going and I master many different rulesets/settings. Third, I take the time needed to prepare our games. This really makes a difference in my opinion between a “good game” and a “great game”! Recently, I have been including more and more visuals into our RPG sessions: miniatures, terrain, handouts and other props. I guess this is a side effect of playing miniature games such as Mordheim!

What I’m presenting today is a quick way to make your own parchment for handouts to your players. It’s quick and cheap. It has been done before (and certainly with better results) but the end results presented here fit my need (and maybe yours!).

1. Print your handout on a sheet of paper. You can crumble it if you want your parchment to have a wrinkled look.

2. Dissolve instant coffee in a large flat pan (coffee doesn’t have to be Maxwell House!). Add a few drops of food color preparation. Color is up to you, depending on the look you want to give to your parchment. For this example, I’m creating two handouts found in the Temple of the Rat God (god of rats, diseases, pestilence). I wanted my parchments to be on the brownish/greenish side so I put drops of green. I also put a few drops of red, yellow and blue.


3. Dip your handout in your “home brewed mixture”. Let it soak for a few minutes. Recover your sheet. Take care not to tear it apart too much (unless you want to make different pieces out of one handout – might be nice for an adventure where player characters need to recover parts of the Lost Parchment!).

4. Let it dry. I use a piece of corrugated cardboard which absorb some moisture yet keeps its structure. That’s it!


That’s it! Here’s the final product.


And another example made with a “home brew” of black tea and coffee (decaf!). :-)


You can also add an extra touch of detail to your work by slightly burning holes or the parchment edges with fire or by spraying a few drops of red paint to represent blood. Now get to work on your handouts! ;-)

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2 Responses to Tutorial: Homemade Parchment handouts for RPGs

  1. grifter macbell

    great idea im a new dm and i think that this might just add the oomph i needed thanx

  2. Thanks! Stay tuned for more examples. I created different parchments with color variations, defects, stains. I will post images in a few days.

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