Player Aids

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Physical material that is handed out to players during gameplay to provide more information about the game world or the current situation.

Player Aids are physical props, most often pieces of paper containing scribblings, diaries, letters, drawings, or maps, that player can acquire during gameplay which lets them experience the game world through items that could exist in the same form in the game world itself.


While some earlier modules for Dungeons & Dragons had images that were intended to be shown to players, Call of Cthulhu was the first Tabletop Roleplaying Game that had sheets with Player Aids in the form of textual information that players were to be given when they reached specific points in adventures.[1]

The map and booklet that went along with later editions of Zork I are examples of Player Aids.

Using the pattern

Player Aids are Props designed to given to players as part of conveying Predetermined Story Structures. For games with Game Masters, this may be when specific events take place but in other games (like Zork I and other Infocom games) it may simply be available from before gameplay begins. The actual design of Player Aids consist mainly of deciding what information they should contain, when they should be presented to players, what material they should be made from, and the actual graphical (or other type of) design to be done.

Maps is an example of possible Player Aids.

Interface Aspects

Player Aids is a Interface Pattern.

Narration Aspects

Player Aids is a Narration Pattern.


While Player Aids typically are Props and through this do not explicitly provide gameplay, they can be Clues containing information relevant to Puzzle Solving and inspire Roleplaying. Regardless of this, they can help players have Emotional Engrossment due to their visual or tactile design.

Player Aids are Feelies when made to maintain Diegetic and Thematic Consistency.


Can Instantiate

Clues, Emotional Engrossment

with Diegetic Consistency and Thematic Consistency


Can Modulate

Roleplaying, Predetermined Story Structures, Puzzle Solving

Can Be Instantiated By

Maps, Props

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. Appelcline, S. 2011. Designers & Dragons. Page 86. Moongoose publishing.