I have always enjoyed using various props when running my games. I feel that by displaying certain items on the game table it helps visually set the tone, and tone is all too important when running a sword & sanity game. Props help me as a game master, as well as my players, stay focused on maintaining that tone during gameplay. Humans are by nature visually stimulated, and what better way to help build atmosphere and flavor than have a few visual aids out on display?
As a Lovecraft enthusiast I also have developed a strong interest in collecting Mythos inspired props, "artifacts" and collectibles. I have even tried my hand at creating some of my own. The creativity of some of the things being produced is incredible, as can be seen over at Propnomicon, and I love the do it yourself spirit being shown in the prop making community. It parallels the same spirit that is alive and well in the retro/old school/simulacrum roelplaying community.
I intend to follow this post up with a series of additional posts that further discuss the use of props, but today I want to focus on a couple of pieces from my own personal collection sculpted by the artist Bob Maurus. These two statues were the very first items I added to my Lovecraftian prop collection, and I purchased them both during the year 2000.
Above is a picture of both pieces standing together. "Big Green" stands 9 1/2 inches tall, and "the Guppy" is right under 4 inches. I love the detail of these pieces, and it is obvious that Mr. Maurus is a very talented sculptor.
This of course is a statue of the Great Old One himself (numbered 725/750), and was sculpted by Maurus in 1995. I ordered this beauty directly from Bob himself, and it was surprisingly affordable, especially considering that it is the heaviest and probably the most detailed sculpture I have in my Mythos collection. I have used this piece several times over the years to display during my various games, and it never fails to grab my player's attention as soon as I place it on the table. It is interesting that Maurus chose not to add wings to his interpretation of Cthulhu, which is perfectly fine, as Lovecraft himself felt that leaving out certain details and adding variation to the description of the entities that lurk within his shared mythology gave the whole process a more authentic feel.
This statue is Maurus' interpretation of a Deep One (numbered 132/500), and I absolutly love the look. He sculpted this piece in 1999. Of the two sculptures I have gotten more mileage out of this one during gameplay, mainly due to it's size. When using minis to represent the characters during combat this piece makes for a cool stand-in of a blasphemous idol, with it's small black base and bronzed look. I have used it to represent Dagon on several occasions, and it looks pretty cool as player characters and cultists fight to the death in it's presence.
I would recommend that anyone reading this should head over to Bob Maurus' website, but unfortunately it looks like the site is no longer active. I know that when I corresponded with him a decade ago he had plans to create a bust of Cthulhu, but I am not sure if he actually got around to doing so. There is not a lot of current information out there about Bob, but it looks like he is still actively sculpting, and I found a beautiful "Sea Life" chess set he crafted. If anyone has additional information please let me know.