#RPGaDAY2015 Days 13, 14

Day 13 – Favorite RPG Podcast

Prepare to be underwhelmed: I don’t listen to podcasts. Never been a huge fan of audiobooks. I’d rather read an article or a post and not have it droned at me. Also not a huge fan of RPG YouTube videos and other types of audio-video media. I’m not sure what exactly it is—the low-budget vibe may be part of it, as is the fact that geeks are not by nature social creatures.

Most of all, it’s probably related to the fact that I can read away no problem, but can’t, say, multitask by listening to podcasts while trying to do something else. Usually I’ll get engaged in the podcast/video and not be able to focus on whatever else I was doing, or zone out on the podcast/video because I’m doing something else. At least I can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Day 14 – Favorite RPG Accessory

Hooray! An interesting category.

Every gamer has their own set of favorite dice, favorite sheets, etc., and while those are of critical importance, there’s a lot of cool RPG accessories and aids that help speed up gameplay. I have a lot of cool accessories that fit that mold.

Dry-erase boards I’ve found are a godsend for putting up info that everyone in the room needs to see—initiative tracking, active bonuses or penalties, any Aspects on the room or scene, maybe a quick map of the action. I have a set of Tact-Tiles I’m waiting to break out, and Reaper minis to drop onto them, and my Backstory Cards, and various other decks and quick-reference sheets and other odds and ends. I’m not huge on GM screens as a dividing device, but some of them work great as reference guides (Edge of the Empire and Starblazer have good ones; Exalted’s kinda sucked).

Hands down, I’m going to have to go with my tablet.

Really, I end up using my tablet (Nexus 9 32gb) for a lot of things—e-reader, internet browser, film and media device, etc—but about a third of the time I’m using it as an RPG game aid. Today we started another Edge of the Empire campaign since Scion has brought us nothing but headache, and I accomplished all of the following using my tablet:

  • Pulled up a .pdf copy of the Core Rules, since we only had one hard copy on hand
  • Pulled up Donjon’s Star Wars name generator and looked for a name
  • Googled a name for myself since Donjon’s generator doesn’t handle klatooinians very much
  • Googled images for our various character races and for the E-9 Explorer starship half the group had
  • Streamed some Star Wars and science-fictional type music to my Jambox
  • Found some Google Sheets character and group sheets, which I usually use for portability but probably won’t for this game
  • Installed the Star Wars Dice app that I’d already purchased for my phone

And this is just me trying to be a helpful player. If I was actually running it, I’d throw a soundtrack together in my Google Play library (or throw a bunch of music tracks on a soundboard), and keep my notes on Drive so that I could easily access them while running… things like adventure ideas, setting details, group and ship sheets, etc. I could have also printed off our character sheets wirelessly, had I thought of doing so. Several other game systems have reference tools, critical hit/failure decks, dice rollers, and other cool stuff as apps or web tools.

Laptops I’ve always found problematic because, much as GM screens, they start to put up barriers between people. It’s easier to get lost behind a laptop screen checking your email or TVTropes or something, and even when you’re engaged it’s hard with that impersonal barrier between you. And though one of my players was running quick character generation using the Star Wars Character Creator on his rMBP, it’s still awkward to work a keyboard and touchpad on a wobbly surface (e.g., a pillow or lap). While it’s still easy to get distracted with a tablet or phone, it’s a lot less likely that someone will use it to play games or watch movies. Besides, the tab fits in your hands, not in your lap, and doesn’t get as hot as a computer.

For portability and power, I have yet to find any game aid that’s as fast and efficient as a tablet.


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