Author: Sean McLaughlin
Publisher: base113 Games
Page Count: 17
Available Formats: PDF
PDF (DTRPG) – Pay What You Want
Like many gamers, I love props for investigative horror games. I am continually searching for inexpensive and functional in-game props to bring my face-to-face game alive. Previously, I have used the more generic-looking passports from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, which were quite impressive. While skimming through DriveThruRPG recently, I stumbled upon a new option for Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Investigator Passports by base113 Games. I was rather intrigued by their country-specific designs.
What Are Investigator Passports?
Investigator Passports is a classic DIY low-budget project for Gamemasters looking for country-specific passports. This digital-only product includes three PDFs. The primary document contains ten different country-specific passports designed to replicate those historically used during the 1920s and 30s. The other two files provide variant versions of the Australian and United States passports. The complete package Includes passports for United States (2 versions), Germany, Australia (2 versions), India, Canada, Great Britain, USSR, Argentina, South Africa, and China.
Filling in the details of the passports is a simple process. Each of the three PDFs has a form fillable page where players enter character details such as name, date of birth, address, next of kin, etc. As character details are entered, they automatically flow to each of the country-specific passport templates contained within that document. Adding character or “bearer” image or that of a spouse is very easy. Furthermore, it includes a generic thumbprint, which was standard on passports of the period; like bearer images, this image is replaceable.
Creating and assembling the passport (American Variant) sans interior character images portrayed below was simple. As a DIY project, there are few things that prospective buyers should be aware of when considering Investigator Passports. First, entering all the required information was fast and easy. The form-fillable template comes pre-filled
out so that you know what it should like when complete. Each line is clearly marked, but there was a slight “blurring” or “haziness” surrounding the text on the form-fillable page. Using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and testing it on two unique monitors, the results were the same. Second, the print quality on a high-end laser printer was top-notch, but it will need trimming, folding, and stapling if desired. Third, knowing how to work with DIY projects is helpful—I will explain my error below. I also want to point out that this particular variant did not utilize the thumbprint.
The wrong way to print out these passports is to duplex or two-side print them onto a single sheet of paper. The result of that error result is what you see below—a table prop, but a non-functioning passport.
The proper way to print and assemble these is to print them single-sided on two sheets of paper. The end results are a fully functioning passport.
Durability & Usability
The printed results are visually very nice. Suppose you intend to use them as an active prop more so than table dressing. In that case, I suggest using slightly heavier-weight paper, but not cardstock. I used standard copy paper to print my test version. During the trimming process and basic handling, it is easily creased and wrinkled; the heavier paper should prevent this. Once it was determined that I had incorrectly printed the passport and reprinted it, the fully folded passport not only looked good, it was fully functional with four pages for visa stamps or stickers. I suppose if you’re only wanted them to “dress” up the table, duplex printing and folding would be sufficient, but if you’d prefer an actual prop, print it correctly. If you take the time necessary to trim it properly with a razor blade and straight edge, glue the white page backs to each other and staple it. The end result is a nice-looking facsimile of a period passport that is usable and moderately durable.
How cool is it to have a facsimile of a period passport from your character’s home country? Pretty cool, in my humble opinion! If they are printed on slightly heavier paper, they will look even better and wear better even with repeated handling. As a DIY product, physically, these are not comparable to those sold by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. Although the HPLS passports being more durable, they are generic in appearance. The Investigator Passports by base113 Games will be less durable in the long run but are country-specific and more visually appealing.
If you’re looking to add prop passports from the 1920s and 30s to your game, you can’t go wrong with Investigator Passports. The form-fillable details page makes populating the country-specific passports templates a breeze—taking less than 3 minutes to create passports. As these are meant to be printed in full color, your printing costs will vary depending on your printer type and ink used. Still, even so, the convenience and “cool factor” outweigh the small cost incurred.
I want to point out that Investigator Passports are Pay What You Want, which means they are essentially free. This reviewer’s opinion is that these passports’ utility is worth more than the DriveThruRPG “suggested price” of $1.00.
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