Cootie Catcher Random Tables

Cootie Catcher Random Tables

I'm currently writing an adventure to go along with the Swords & Wizardry 3rd Printing Kickstarter called 'Zaya's Promise'. Zaya's Promise is a dungeon created from the warped mind of a trapped young, elven maiden possessing great amounts of magic. When players enter the dungeon, they enter Zaya's dreamworld, where all the encounters, traps, and themes are based on what a little girl mike like the most.  Of course, they're all also pretty deadly. I did say "warped mind" after all. :) 

While doing it, I picked up one of my favorite books: The Daring Book for Girls. There's also one called The Dangerous Book for Boys, which is really where I heard about the series. My husband is a High School drama teacher, and he uses material out of both these books for his theater tech classes. The books contain snippets of information, bits of history, rules for various games kids play, science experiments, and crafting projects. 

One of the pages was on how to make a cootie catcher. Cootie catchers are also called pickers, paper fortune tellers, and a few other names I don't recall. It tends to differ based on geography. We called then pickers when I was a kid. They're fun little fortune tellers that are easy to fold, customize, and make up games with.

When I saw them in the book, I knew I had to make one for Zaya's Promise. It fits with the theme, and it's a fun way to put together a random table. They're also easy to store, as they neatly fold into a small rectangle when not in use, and you can literally toss one to a player, and have them roll all on their own. 

I spent about a week developing a template, and three initial cootie catchers to get you started. The picture is of all the catcher's I've made with the templates in the last week as I've been prototyping and seeing what works. 

There are many ways you can use this. I'm going to go over each one and describe how it works. You can then use the template to make your own. Download links are at the bottom. If you dig these, please consider supporting my Patreon!

PS: All the artwork and fonts used are either free for use commercially and non-commercially, or I've purchased them.

Tips on Printing Catchers

  • If you have a printer with the option to print full-bleed 8.5' x 11" pages, I recommend you use it. You'll find a borderless option under paper type when you go to print if that's the case. 
  • If you don't have a full-bleed printer, just be forewarned the printer will automatically add margins you'll need to cut off. 
  • Inkjet printers work best if you want to be able to write on your catcher. Laserjet printers more or less melt the ink onto the page, which makes it difficult to write on with anything other than a Sharpie, and even that's suspect. 
  • The type of paper you use is important. If you want rich, crisp colors, make sure you pick up some paper designed for an inkjet printer. 
  • If you're a printer nerd like me, I HIGHLY recommend Red River Paper, and be sure to download, install, and use their ICC profiles
  • The heavier the paper, the harder it will be to fold, but the more durable your catcher will be in the end. 
  • To make creases nice and crisp on heavy paper, use a hard object like a pencil, pen, or ruler to press down on the creases. If you want to be a fancy paper crafter like me, pick up one of the most awesomely-named tools in our arsenal - a bone folder. I have several, one of which made from actual bone. My favorite bone folder is made from Teflon, though. YMMV. 

Random Blessing From a Well 

(cootie-catcher-mermaid-well.pdf)

This one has the outside stone of a well, but when you lift the flap to get the final answer, you can see the water and possibly one of the mermaids! 

Directions for this one: 

  1. Player chooses one of the sides to approach the well from (which corresponds to a die). 
  2. Player rolls the die they selected, plus 1d4. 
  3. Player opens and closes the catcher as many times as they rolled on their selected die. 
  4. The flap they open is the number on the d4 they rolled. 
  5. All the flaps have another roll to be made to determine duration of the blessing, then when the flap is lifted, the blessing itself is revealed. 

What's This Gem Do? 

(cootie-catcher-gemstones.pdf)

Normally with a cootie catcher, there are four flaps on the outside, eight flaps on the inside (accessible only in 4s), and eight final results. The way it's constructed, though, you can flip that to be four choices on the outside, four choices on the inside, and four, final random tables to choose from. That's what I did with this one. 

  1. Player chooses the color of gem on the outside flap, which also has a die on it, and rolls that die. 
  2. Player opens and closes the catcher the number of times indicated on the die. 
  3. Two options will now be available, the player picks the one they'd like, and opens the flap, thus revealing a d4 random table. 
  4. Player rolls a d4 to see what sort of magic the gemstone does. 

I chose to use a d4 random table for each flap, but there's a lot of room in there, so I'd guess if you were creative about using the space, you could fit up to a d8 table in there... maybe more if you have good eyes. :)

You're Falling Into a Pit

(cootie-catcher-pit-death.pdf)

Use this one as an alternative to what happens when someone fails their save and falls into a pit. There are two insta-death options, so I'd suggest using this only on pits that would cause death. You're the GM, though. :) 

  1. Player chooses what they'll do on their way down: Scream, Pray, Prepare, or Fight, then rolls the corresponding die, plus a d4.  
  2. Player open and closes the catcher the number of times indicated on the rolled die, then selects the flap with the same number as the d4, accepting the consequences or wailing in defeat. 

The Blank Template

(cootie-catcher-template.psd)

Yes, this is a Photoshop file, but IIRC, Gimp also opens PSDs, so you should be able to use it for both. I've separated everything out into layers that are in folders to make it a bit easier. 

  • I used Art's Polyhedral Dice Fonts from Skullduggery Press for the dice on the outside flaps, but that layer is initially hidden. 
  • The Lines folder holds shapes that define where your folds are going to be. Show that to help you place everything, then turn it off before you print. 
  • This is free for use non-commercially with attribution back to Stacy Dellorfano and Frivology.com. 
  • Please dont' redistribute the template... send people to the website, instead. 
  • There are a bazillion ways you can remix this. Take one of the ones I made and fold it up to see how everything works, then remix it like mad. Show me what you've made, and I'll be happy to promote it on Frivology. :)
  • Enjoy Your Catchers!

Download Catchers Here


This post was initially released a week ago on my Patreon, which I fired up very recently. If you appreciate my work (this post was a week's worth of work on and off), please come on by and become a Patron! Patrons get access to goodies like cootie catcher PDFs up to a week earlier than they go live on the blog. 

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