Roleplaying with PDFs

I’m becoming very fond of PDFs for my gaming hobby. Now, I love hardcopy, there’s no doubt of that. However, I’m finding it harder and harder to store stuff. So, PDF for the magazines? Fantastic!

The other aspect of this is the rulebooks. I got very attached to the d20 SRD, but access to the rulebooks is even better. I bought the 4e MM pdf some time ago. This week, finding my books were at home and I wanted to answer questions at work, I bought the DMG and PHB as well.
(Yes, the D&D Compendium is useful, but I often need answers that aren’t in that part of the book).
At some point, I’m going to need a laptop so I can take these books to the actual gaming table. That’d be nice, but for preparation and suchlike, not needing to lug around all the books from place to place is good.


      • hubcap_reloaded

        This is perhaps a key distinction in what kind of books one might prefer in PDF or hard-copy. RPG books are not like novels; you don’t just read from page 1 and then end. There’s several ways you could be using the information within and some prefer one media to the other.

        In my own experience, even using a laptop at the table wasn’t as convenient as paper, and I’d prefer to print out PDFs and flick through a booklet or even loose sheets when I’m running. PErhaps a palmtop reader of some sort would be able to really challenge this, but I just found having to look things up electronically a bit of a chore.

        However, having searchable PDFs when I was hunting for a specific feat was a godsend – as is being able to have three or four books open to compare things without needing to learn to juggle books. 🙂 Being able to use them on multiple computers is also handy – the website became pretty much my one-stop shop for DM thinking over work lunchtimes, and I can imagine PDFs of 4Es core rules could serve the same purpose.

        PDF adventures certainly makes sense, since there’s somewhat disposable and being able to print multiple copies of maps, props etc would have its charms. And monster books with stat blocks you can print off for a combat and scribble on could be very useful if the ruleset leads to changes to the character stats – i.e. working out all the knock-on effects of a 3.5 Cleric giving your monster level drain.

        To be honest, though, I’d still prefer to own game books in hard copy first, and a PDF is more of a add-on or even a completionist item than anything else. The storage factor of hard-copy kicks in the more you buy, though, and I can appreciate why that would turn you to PDF for some products: my RPG shelving space has had to blossom quite a bit in the last couple of years. 🙂

        George Q


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