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The present state of resources for play


Gamer Talk


What sort of resources are available for a player/GM looking to play, and how much expertise is required to use them?

At the start, there are rulesets like the PRD online, and they are simple enough to access and utilize in a browser. But then there are character creation tools, dice rollers, and the like, that take a moment to learn, but are just as quick and easy to use.

Then you get to things like map makers, encounter managers, and things that are very useful for the GM and the players, but take more time to learn and master. On the one hand, they really make for a richer game experience, but on the other, a lot more time, effort, and money must be invested in order to take full advantage of them, and that investment might be asking too much of some people.

What's the state of the art in 2017? If you're someone like me who's generally time constrained (and cannot carve out a multi-hour block of time to dedicate to gaming) but can access resources at regular intervals throughout the day, what methods of play and GMing are available?


Are you thinking face to face, online (google hangs/Skype), or pbp?


Any and all.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Slight necro.

I use the following:

Herolab
Potentially expensive, but I have never come across anything so useful in terms of time-saving, ease of use and reference. For me personally, this is absolutely invaluable now for tabletop gaming and pbp.

You can balance the expense by buying the books incrementally rather than all in one big bang.

Combat Manager
A fantastic free tool for managing combat (duh!) including monster stats, hp tracker, initiative and even status effects. This keeps things running smoothly for me at the table.

Maptools
There is a bit of a learning curve with maptool because I don't think it has the most intuitive UI. But, again it is free and actually does a great job of producing maps with vision blocking/fog of war that I use for both pbp and at the table (we use a TV as a kind of VTT)

Anamap
If I ever want to create my own maps from scratch I use this great little tool. It is simplistic enough to be able to create maps quickly but they are still aesthetically pleasing and output in a number of formats.

Google Slides
I also a believer that the simplest options are often the best which is why I also use Google Slides to 'host' pbp maps. I just overlay them with a transparent grid and then everyone can go in and move their own tokens when they act in pbp. Obviously you can't use true fog of war etc with this but it really gets the job done when you want something functional without the bells and whistles.

Example map made in Anamap for my Superhero Game

I have no doubt there are more hi-tech solutions out there and I try to keep my eye out for what other people use, but these are the things I use and they work well enough.

What other things do you guys use and why?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
GM-JZ wrote:

Google Slides

I also a believer that the simplest options are often the best which is why I also use Google Slides to 'host' pbp maps. I just overlay them with a transparent grid and then everyone can go in and move their own tokens when they act in pbp. Obviously you can't use true fog of war etc with this but it really gets the job done when you want something functional without the bells and whistles.

I am using Google Drawings. Their seems to be only a couple of differences between Drawings and Slides.

1) It looks like one of the folks in one of my PbP cannot move his token using Drawings, but says he can with Slides. Is this common?
2) Slides allows "multiple" maps under one "presentation". How does this work out? Can I "copy" tokens from one slide to another (never having to load up individual player tokens again would be nice).

Can you inform me of other differences?

Thanks,

-- david

Also, I use PCGen instead of Herolab, but then again I was a lst data set person for quite a while, so if I need something I just code it up.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
DM Papa.DRB wrote:
GM-JZ wrote:

Google Slides

I also a believer that the simplest options are often the best which is why I also use Google Slides to 'host' pbp maps. I just overlay them with a transparent grid and then everyone can go in and move their own tokens when they act in pbp. Obviously you can't use true fog of war etc with this but it really gets the job done when you want something functional without the bells and whistles.

I am using Google Drawings. Their seems to be only a couple of differences between Drawings and Slides.

1) It looks like one of the folks in one of my PbP cannot move his token using Drawings, but says he can with Slides. Is this common?
2) Slides allows "multiple" maps under one "presentation". How does this work out? Can I "copy" tokens from one slide to another (never having to load up individual player tokens again would be nice).

Can you inform me of other differences?

Thanks,

-- david

Also, I use PCGen instead of Herolab, but then again I was a lst data set person for quite a while, so if I need something I just code it up.

1)I've never used Drawings so I can't say if this is common or not. I went straight to Slides and it worked well enough for me that I didn't think to look around for anything else.

2)While Slides does allow multiple maps under one presentation I don't usually use this because you have to tell players to look at slide 2 or 3 or whatever and also there is the temptation for them to look ahead at upcoming maps and spoil the supplies.

However, even if you have multiple instances of Slides open, you can copy tokens from one presentation to another so while you may have to resize tokens each time, at least you don't have to generate tokens each time to begin with (by cropping a picture and uploading it or however you currently do it)

3) I usually take the grid off the map if it is one taken from an interactive map pack for an adventure path. This is because sometimes I have found the scales to be a bit funky. So I add them plain to Slides and then overlay a transparent grid .png image to resize the grid how I see fit.


Thanks for the information. Appreciate it.

-- david


No worries.

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