I mentioned in my previous Epic Experience that I’m about to embark on a new journey. My first pre-written campaign in a very long time, and my first Pathfinder pre-written adventure path ever. I went over some stuff that I did to lead up to getting my players ready for the new campaign, and just a little bit of my preparation process. Here we are, just over a week from the start, and I find myself preparing even more. I’m going to show you some great tips, tricks, and a few super awesome secrets on how to make quick handouts for your players!

First off, I’m using roll20.net for my campaign, but these tips really apply to all digital and non-digital forms of planning and Game Mastering. While re-reading for my umpteenth time, I realized all the extra things that I needed to do for my players, from handouts, to my own notes and information. All of these tips apply to the PDF versions of books. Though you can scan the pages of something that you need and crop the image after you scan it. This also only works for correctly formatted PDFs, which means that they typically come directly from the publisher of the PDF. Some older PDFs may still include text in the image. For the most part, I’ve never had an issue with any of the PDFs I’ve purchased.

Creating Maps from a PDF

This has been on of the most important things, and most useful across the board, for my adventure. You’ll want to use the most updated version of Adobe Reader and a PDF copy of the adventure path, or book that you’re getting the map from. I purchased the adventure path from Paizo, mostly because the digital files are just easier to manage (and find!)

Go to the map you want to use, and hover your mouse over it till it forms a little cross or target icon. Then left click and it should highlight the map blue. Right click and choose Copy Image, or hit Ctrl+C.



From there you can go in any basic image program. Create a new file and paste (right click and choose paste, or Ctrl+V)  it there.



Notice something? It pulls the map WITHOUT THE EXTRA TEXT! Leaving it pure for you to be able to use digitally or print out and already have all secrets hidden from player view. You can always hit the print screen button and crop the image down to size if you want the version of the map with text for your GM use.  *Copyright overlay was added by me as I do not intend to distribute the map. If you like it, the actual map pack can be purchased here.

Creating Handouts from a PDF (Windows)

Sometimes you run into very useful tables and other information that your players will need to see. In the Skulls & Shackles adventure I noticed that players were to be given daily pirate tasks. This table would be great if it were readily available for the players to read and figure out. This also keeps me from having to flip back and forth from page to page just to look at a table and go back to where I am.

If you’re a windows user… You’ve got it very easy. You don’t even need to print screen. Otherwise, you’ll need to print screen the page that the table is on, and crop it down.

Go to where you can search programs on windows 7 or higher, and search for Snipping Tool. Open it and your screen will go white and you’ll have a cross cursor. With that you can drag a rectangle spot over the area you wish to capture.

Once you let go, the image will show in the Snipping Tool window, and you can save it there (I prefer to save as .PNG for space and quality reasons).  All you have to do now is print it out or upload it to your virtual tabletop!


Creating Tokens from a PDF

Oh yes, we can do that too! It’s as simple as the steps for map making were. However, I like to add a little flair to my tokens. Find the image in the PDF that you want, click it, right click it and copy (Ctrl+C). And move it into your favorite image editing program, put the name on there if you like and give it some flair. Sometimes the image will come up with a black background. If this is the case, you are better off zooming in and using print screen or the Snipping Tool. (I had to in the case of this token.)

From this:


To this!


If you’re not good at the flare thing, use some of my token borders! Green for a party ally, brown for a neutral character, and red for the obvious enemy!







These are set at 150 DPI, and 1 inch by 1 inch for your printer. But they scale down perfectly for any virtual use as well! Best to make a token border that’s too big and scale it down, versus trying to scale anything up to fit!

This copy and save has been a real life saver for my campaign. As I’ve mentioned, I need to save time wherever I can now that I have a kid. This allows me to show the character art, any art from the book, as well as maps and more!

I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me. If there is anything more that you would like to see, please leave a comment below or shoot an email my way!



2 thoughts on “Epic Experience: HANDOUTS FOR EVERYONE!

  1. Your enemy frame links to your neutral frame . . . and if you save images as jpegs, you won’t get the black background. And there’s a program available for free that allows you to make tokens from any image you have: TokenTool; http://www.rptools.net/index.php?page=downloads.

    And you also need to note that saving images pulled from a pdf document will only remove the text if it is not part of the image. Many pdfs available on the internet (especially those obtained illegally) have been processed in various ways and may have the text as part of the image (even if the original document didn’t).

    Your blanketing of all pdfs in this way can cause some people to assume that all pdfs work this way, and then wonder what they’re doing wrong when following your steps.

    1. Wow, I really appreciate the feedback! I’ve fixed the image link, that was a silly mistake. I use PNG for the reason of easy transparent backgrounds and no JPG compression or loss of quality. If something has a pure white or pure black background though, it’s easy enough to cut it correctly. Note added about the PDFs as well. Just something I’ve never ran into.

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