PFS Policies on Tablets at the Table


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Shadow Lodge

As a programmer I would not let anyone use an electronic roller at my table.

However, in online VoiP games I would not let anyone use real dice.

Think about that for a second...

For online games I would make sure everyone is using the same electronic roller that outputs to a chatroom of some kind. That way everyone, even the GM, has the same crit/fail luck.

Grand Lodge

Netopalis wrote:
The ability to take 10 on attack rolls would be a pretty huge thing. Not even kidding. Who hasn't seen a barbarian at the table getting very, very angry because he'd hit on a 7, and keeps rolling 2s and 3s?

Pfffft. If you arent hitting on that 3, you're doing it wrong. ;)

Grand Lodge

Netopalis wrote:
nosig wrote:

wow... can I get a "dice rolling AP" that always rolls '10'? not 10+, just '10"? wow... able to take 10 with every roll... I think my rolling average would increase by 50%!

;)

(sorry, couldn't resist.)

The ability to take 10 on attack rolls would be a pretty huge thing. Not even kidding. Who hasn't seen a barbarian at the table getting very, very angry because he'd hit on a 7, and keeps rolling 2s and 3s?

Funny. No more natural 1's eh?

Shadow Lodge

I was recently asked to transfer my electronic sheet from my laptop to a paper sheet to keep my laptop off the table, which also had all my rulebooks on it, for which I was allowed to pick up the laptop to look up a rule during the game if I had to. That's the last time I'll do that - next time that happens to me, I'll have to respectfully decline to play at that table.

I use, on my laptop:


  • text character sheets,
  • scanned chronicle sheets, and
  • a dice roller on the laptop

While I'd prefer to use the laptop dice roller, I ask every GM I play with if they want me to use real dice instead, because I can understand there are a bunch of potential problems that come along with it - even if the GM doesn't suspect anyone (including or excluding myself) at the table of cheating. Even if I've been okay'd to use the dice roller on the laptop to begin with and I'm later asked to use real dice, I'd still be completely okay with it and wouldn't question the motive.

Having said that, if I was the GM and other people asked me the same thing, I'd let them do whatever they like on their laptop/tablet (short of playing movies during a game... what the!) - because the whole game is honour system. Ultimately, if they're going to cheat, they're going to cheat, and unless it's really explicit (noticeable/ruining other people's game), I'd rather not feel like I need to keep an eye on that kind of garbage. It's more important to have fun than to ensure we're all playing by the rules to the letter.

Looking over my shoulder and whatnot is fine too, why wouldn't it be? If I'm GMing and I start doing that on your laptop, sorry, but that's GM prerogative electronic or on paper, any day of the week.


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Avatar-1 wrote:

I was recently asked to transfer my electronic sheet from my laptop to a paper sheet to keep my laptop off the table, which also had all my rulebooks on it, for which I was allowed to pick up the laptop to look up a rule during the game if I had to. That's the last time I'll do that - next time that happens to me, I'll have to respectfully decline to play at that table.

I use, on my laptop:


  • text character sheets,
  • scanned chronicle sheets, and
  • a dice roller on the laptop

Avatar, I know there are a lot of GMs out there, myself included, that have been burned with people using laptops .. they are on facebook or other chat/media websites and not paying attention. Them not paying attention causes delays in gameplay and causes the GM to have to repeat information -- which at a convention and a GM that is running the whole time -- is hard on the voice and is kinda mean.

There is also the issue with a lot of larger laptops taking up considerable table space and encroching on other player's space and map space in the center of the table.

For those reasons I generally do ask if they absolutely have to use their laptop at the table and if they do because it's the only character sheet they have; ask that they limit the use to game only. I also watch as to how much table space they are using and will try to say something if I noticed their neighbors getting crunched.

One of the best ways to do it I saw was a guy who had his laptop on the table -- all of his books were stacked under the laptop or were in his bag under his chair. The screen of the laptop was pushed down (not closed) so that he could see and know what was going on and he'd open it during a combat -- that laptop user I personally had no issue with as he was still a participating member of the group.

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:

There is also the issue with a lot of larger laptops taking up considerable table space and encroching on other player's space and map space in the center of the table.

As a player who keeps his character info on his laptop, I've experimented with a number of ways to minimize the impact my laptop has on the game. The best way I've found is to do this: If possible, find an extra chair and sit in such a place where an extra chair off to the side wouldn't be very disruptive, then put my laptop on the extra chair. It's out of sight most of the time so there's less temptations and distractions most of the time, and it doesn't need much table space. If I need to, I can grab it off the chair and hold it for a turn or so.

That being said, if I had a tablet and there was a way for me to store my custom character sheet natively on it, I would instantly switch to that. Tablets are a little expensive though for grad students.

2/5

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In the company where I work there is an interesting phenomena occurring... at meetings, it is becoming more and more frowned upon to bring laptops to meetings because many people are working on things not related to the meeting's topic (and thus aren't paying attention). Oddly, people are starting to bring tablets instead and there is much less negative reaction to it. My observation is that they are more accepted even though they (the tablets) are distracting the attendee from the meeting at hand just as much.

It's hard to peg down why this is so- but a theory I have is that a tablet can be laid down flat on the table and as such doesn't act as a screen- which could be seen as a subconscious cue to others as disconnection from the meeting. When someone is hunkered down behind a "screen up" laptop, there is a kind of implied separation of attention/activity... even of "hiding something". It's a very subtle thing, but that is what I think I am seeing.

My advice is that if your GM does allow you to use your laptop at the table, try to find ways to show you are still paying attention as much as possible- and if possible try to minimize the opposing "screen of disconnection" as much as possible.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

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Whiskey Jack wrote:

In the company where I work there is an interesting phenomena occurring... at meetings, it is becoming more and more frowned upon to bring laptops to meetings because many people are working on things not related to the meeting's topic (and thus aren't paying attention). Oddly, people are starting to bring tablets instead and there is much less negative reaction to it. My observation is that they are more accepted even though they (the tablets) are distracting the attendee from the meeting at hand just as much.

It's hard to peg down why this is so- but a theory I have is that a tablet can be laid down flat on the table and as such doesn't act as a screen- which could be seen as a subconscious cue to others as disconnection from the meeting. When someone is hunkered down behind a "screen up" laptop, there is a kind of implied separation of attention/activity... even of "hiding something". It's a very subtle thing, but that is what I think I am seeing.

My advice is that if your GM does allow you to use your laptop at the table, try to find ways to show you are still paying attention as much as possible- and if possible try to minimize the opposing "screen of disconnection" as much as possible.

In that case we need to bug Herolabs about getting set up for droid. I was looking for a small laptop to use at gaming tables last november. But I hate windows 8, ipads are too expensive, and herolab doesn't run on droid. So that rules out tablets. Ended up with a tiny laptop instead, but I agree that I'd rather not have the screen between me and the other players / gm.

Where I find herolab at the table most convinient is conditions. I'll normally use my printout, but when I'm raging & mutagen'd & bardic'd and someone puts a weird condition on me, it's a lot easier to have herolab show me my new stats that keep track of it all.

Lantern Lodge

I personally have no problems with tablets/laptops at my tables, until/unless they are taking up too much table space and/or the player is using it for other things that are causing them to be distracted. At that point it's a politely phrased stop or excuse yourself from the game so you can continue whatever you are doing.

Hell, I even run most of my games off of pdfs from my friend's tablet. Can hardly be a hypocrite at that point, right?

The Exchange 5/5

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I have no problem with Tablets at the table....
some PLAYERS now, that's another thing entirely....


I'm so looking forward to trying out my Surface Pro with all my rule PDFs and a full version of HeroLab acting as my character sheet, with One Note + stylus replacing my paper notes. Small profile, total package, no more 40lbs backpack to lug around!

But they can have my physical dice when they pry them from my cold, dead hands!

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I like making eye contact and reading facial expressions. I don't tell folks that they can't use their enormous laptops, but I definitely would prefer they were left home.

Shadow Lodge

Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:


Avatar, I know there are a lot of GMs out there, myself included, that have been burned with people using laptops .. they are on facebook or other chat/media websites and not paying attention. Them not paying attention causes delays in gameplay and causes the GM to have to repeat information -- which at a convention and a GM that is running the whole time -- is hard on the voice and is kinda mean.

There is also the issue with a lot of larger laptops taking up considerable table space and encroching on other player's space and map space in the center of the table.

For those reasons I generally do ask if they absolutely have to use their laptop at the table and if they do because it's the only character sheet they have; ask that they limit the use to game only. I also watch as to how much table space they are using and will try to say something if I noticed their neighbors getting crunched.

One of the best ways to do it I saw was a guy who had his laptop on the table -- all of his books were stacked under the laptop or were in his bag under his chair. The screen of the laptop was pushed down (not closed) so that he could see and know what was going on and he'd open it during a combat -- that laptop user I personally had no issue with as he was still a participating member of the group.

I'm never distracted with anything other than the game, I don't take up any more space than anyone else does on the table - I'm conscious of that. I lower the screen whenever I'm not looking at it so I can get a good look at the map and the tactics of the table; that's something that helps me more than anyone else there.

I'm an online player, so before I had the laptop, I would have to transcribe sheets to paper everyday before a con day, sometimes multiple times if I'm levelling up, and this was a nightmare - and getting the laptop was primarily for Pathfinder to alleviate this.

I do understand that some people would abuse it, but I haven't seen any like that around our community, the GM who refused the laptop considered the screen a communication "barrier" between others at the table, even though he hadn't played/GM'd at a table with me on a laptop before then; it was a personal opinion he'd had of laptops. While the game was enjoyable, having to deal with that was incredibly disruptive to my own game, even if only to retrieve the rulebooks.


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As a GM I would prefer players not dinker arround on their electronic devices while they play. It is a matter of etiquette. If i am up there explaining a situation and you are not payint attention or worse yet drawing other peoples attention from me I get very annoyed. I have refused to repeat myself to someone playing angery birds on their mobile device. Although if you use it as a reference for your character sheet and look at it as much as much as you would your character sheet then I am great with that.

As for dice rollers. It is too easy to cheat. At a con I saw a guy programming his dice roller to cheat before the day. Plus I think it is more fun to see things out in the open.


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Avatar-1 wrote:
Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:


Avatar, I know there are a lot of GMs out there, myself included, that have been burned with people using laptops .. they are on facebook or other chat/media websites and not paying attention. Them not paying attention causes delays in gameplay and causes the GM to have to repeat information -- which at a convention and a GM that is running the whole time -- is hard on the voice and is kinda mean.

There is also the issue with a lot of larger laptops taking up considerable table space and encroching on other player's space and map space in the center of the table.

For those reasons I generally do ask if they absolutely have to use their laptop at the table and if they do because it's the only character sheet they have; ask that they limit the use to game only. I also watch as to how much table space they are using and will try to say something if I noticed their neighbors getting crunched.

One of the best ways to do it I saw was a guy who had his laptop on the table -- all of his books were stacked under the laptop or were in his bag under his chair. The screen of the laptop was pushed down (not closed) so that he could see and know what was going on and he'd open it during a combat -- that laptop user I personally had no issue with as he was still a participating member of the group.

I'm never distracted with anything other than the game, I don't take up any more space than anyone else does on the table - I'm conscious of that. I lower the screen whenever I'm not looking at it so I can get a good look at the map and the tactics of the table; that's something that helps me more than anyone else there.

I'm an online player, so before I had the laptop, I would have to transcribe sheets to paper everyday before a con day, sometimes multiple times if I'm levelling up, and this was a nightmare - and getting the laptop was primarily for Pathfinder to alleviate this.

I do understand that some people would abuse it, but I haven't seen any like that...

Honestly, if it was a new player at my table and I wasn't 100% sure of how that player would work with a laptop open and the game, I might ask them to put the laptop to the side. My personal experience is that most people cannot concentrate on the game and their laptop at the same time and the game suffers.

It could be that the GM just has had really bad experience with players and laptops and his personal rule is no laptops at his table; it does give you the choice, deal with the GM prerogative or not play at the table.

Shadow Lodge

I don't think it's worth the risk of turning down a potentially good player - not before I've even seen them play, not solely because of a screen and/or a keyboard in front of them instead of a pen, paper and rulebooks.

Grand Lodge

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thistledown wrote:
In that case we need to bug Herolabs about getting set up for droid.

I believe they intend to start on Android HL once they get the full iPad version released.

5/5

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Avatar-1 wrote:
I don't think it's worth the risk of turning down a potentially good player - not before I've even seen them play, not solely because of a screen and/or a keyboard in front of them instead of a pen, paper and rulebooks.

It's also not worth giving a perhaps-new GM a bad experience either, and have them decide GM'ing is too much of a pain to bother with. Remember, there are two sides with preferences in this exchange.

Personally, I don't allow dice-rolling programs at my table, because while I am qualified to inspect someone's real dice to look for the "1" I'm not qualified to analyze an app. I allow tablets/laptops as long as they don't prevent me from using the custom-made maps and awesome terrain I spent hours building for the game, and with the caveat that it's for game-only use. Everything PFCBG said applies in terms of why this is. I'll be running 5 slots at PaizoCon and 8 at GenCon, so repeating myself a lot on day 1 may mean no voice by day four.

Shadow Lodge

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Scott Young wrote:
Personally, I don't allow dice-rolling programs at my table, because while I am qualified to inspect someone's real dice to look for the "1" I'm not qualified to analyze an app.

I'm of the opinion that dice apps are inappropriate for in-person games, and actual dice are inappropriate for online games.

In a home game, you might feel comfortable extending the trust necessary to allow the players to use a random-number god other than the standard for the medium (such as allowing players to roll actual dice in online game), but this doesn't have a place in organized play.

Sovereign Court 5/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

There is no way to judge how a player or GM is going to utilize technology they bring to the table. It is naive to think though that tablets are not going to become more and more common. The challenges are in GMs being engaging enough to keep players entertained and in players not doing things that distract them from being engaged in the game.


Walter Sheppard wrote:

I agree with the ban of dice rollers in games. It was once explained to me by an incredibly gifted software engineer how its impossible to have true randomness in programming, which is the basis I would use for disallowing them at my table. If you're playing on PBP forums or some other digital medium... well, I guess you take what you can for that kind of play. I'm sure they're very accurate.

But we can all agree that dice a more fun.

Gamers have stories about their dice, they give them names, that have favorite dice for this or that. Even put them in special bags if they do good or bad. We have a player that has a bag called the Dice Gulag, where he sends dice to be punished. There's a shattered d4 in there that serves 'as a warning to the others.'

You can't get that with an app.

There is no such thing as true random, software probably gets a lot closer than phycial dice though. As a programmer I wouldn't allow people to use programs that they created to roll dice.

And I would probably require a specific app that I have vetted. Improperly coded random tends to naturally favor higher numbers, forgot the reason for it.

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

Finlanderboy wrote:
As a GM I would prefer players not dinker arround on their electronic devices while they play. It is a matter of etiquette. If i am up there explaining a situation and you are not payint attention or worse yet drawing other peoples attention from me I get very annoyed. I have refused to repeat myself to someone playing angery birds on their mobile device. Although if you use it as a reference for your character sheet and look at it as much as much as you would your character sheet then I am great with that.

For me, this is a problem with the player, not the device. Distractible players will get distracted, no matter what they have in front of them. It's worse to have players who start side conversations when it's not their turn in combat, because then they automatically distract at least one other person. It's even worse when those players sit right next to the GM, so the side conversations interfere with whatever the GM is saying. I would much rather have them play video games than bother the rest of us.

At one table, we had a player who, no matter what happened in the game, had to comment on how one of his OTHER characters would deal with it. Every single event, in and out of combat. Please! Fire up Angry Birds so at least the rest of the party can focus!

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

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Chalk Microbe wrote:

So to answer the OP's question, No there is not PFS policy about tablets at tables.

/dust off hands

That was easy!

In general, that is correct, but there was something that came across to GMs, as I recall, for Gen Con. It wasn't about tablets specifically, but about electronic devices at the table.

Because PFS couldn't guarantee outlets for everyone,and because being plugged in to the few outlets that were available could cause safety or tripping hazards, we were told not to have anything plugged in. So, we could use our tablets (and a number of GMs did run their table from a tablet), we couldn't have them plugged in. But that was a practical/safety measure rather than a policy aimed specifically at tablets.

I think, as a general matter, that is a good policy. Use them, sure, but make sure they are charged before you get to your gaming venue so you don't charge them there.

I would never allow an electronic dice roller in my game - those dice get rolled out on the table, not on some device (and yes, I would make an exception for a player who might have a physical disability that made doing such a thing difficult or impossible.)

I did use Hero Lab for iPad on Saturday night at Gen Con as a player. I had never used it in game before and it was FANTASTIC. Frankly, I don't care how players at my table bring their character sheets (physical document, .pdf, etc.) but they need to bring their chronicle sheets and their Inventory Track Sheets.

Mark

The Exchange

I'm normally against dice rollers, however I have an exception.

I use the herolab character sheet ipad app, it's good. It's not perfect and I have to make sure to double check things.

sometimes you're rolling 5+ attacks a round, you know what saves a ton of time? clicking the "full attack" button and reading the numbers off

I did declare the damage dice that were going with it, and would willingly tilt the tablet up for observation at any point.

though it did cause me to forget point blank shot for 3-4 combats :-p.

It simply saves so much time, that I don't think a tool should be overlooked (I also only threatened once in like 40-50 attacks, it was sad times)


Benrislove wrote:

I'm normally against dice rollers, however I have an exception.

I use the herolab character sheet ipad app, it's good. It's not perfect and I have to make sure to double check things.

sometimes you're rolling 5+ attacks a round, you know what saves a ton of time? clicking the "full attack" button and reading the numbers off

I did declare the damage dice that were going with it, and would willingly tilt the tablet up for observation at any point.

though it did cause me to forget point blank shot for 3-4 combats :-p.

It simply saves so much time, that I don't think a tool should be overlooked (I also only threatened once in like 40-50 attacks, it was sad times)

Rolling a d20 and adding a number to it 5 times is too difficult?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

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Funky Badger wrote:
Benrislove wrote:

I'm normally against dice rollers, however I have an exception.

I use the herolab character sheet ipad app, it's good. It's not perfect and I have to make sure to double check things.

sometimes you're rolling 5+ attacks a round, you know what saves a ton of time? clicking the "full attack" button and reading the numbers off

I did declare the damage dice that were going with it, and would willingly tilt the tablet up for observation at any point.

though it did cause me to forget point blank shot for 3-4 combats :-p.

It simply saves so much time, that I don't think a tool should be overlooked (I also only threatened once in like 40-50 attacks, it was sad times)

Rolling a d20 and adding a number to it 5 times is too difficult?

5+. And it isn't, of course, the same number each time.

And, if you know what you are doing in HeroLab, it can automatically include adjustments for Bless, Bane, Bard Song, Heroism, Point Blank Shot, flanking, Power Attack, Combat Expertise, etc.

And, of course, from what the poster was saying, he was running an archer.
Attack 1, d20+X, 2 arrows.
Attack 2, D20+X, 1 arrow.
Attack 3, D20+x-5, 1 arrow.
And so on, not including Haste...

I have a cheat sheet for my high level archer which I use, but, of course, it takes up additional table space when I have it out, and it doesn't include any spell or spell-like effects in it, even though that PC can actually cast Bless himself...

Liberty's Edge

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Getting a little back to the topic (sorta), I must agree with several peoples views on Tablets/ Laptops (moreso with Laptops at the table).

We have several people now who run straight from Herolab on either their Laptop or Tablet. I dislike having a Laptop at the table as A) Im never entirely sure what the player is doing.. if they get 'bored' then they might be off playing solitaire or checking their WoW account (or as i found once someone was playing Magic 2014). I find it a physical impediment the player is putting up, and then there is always the question 'Where is the power point? Anyone got an extension cord?'

I use a Tablet mainly do do conditional stuff for characters (ie power attack) but I always print the Herolab version of my character. Its just what I do as a matter of courtesy to the GM if they want to view the sheets (which I pass over with my chronicle sheets) My main issue is if there is no power to the Laptop or Tablet. If they go, then what does the player have? Books they cant access and virtual dice they cant roll and character sheets they cannot view.

By extension, as the GM at the table.. what do i do if the player suddenly dosnt have access to their chronicle sheets, spell list, character skill numbers and so on? Do I call it there for their characters (and 3 player table? Can a table go legal to illegal during a game?) Its also utterly unfair if the BBEG fight is coming up and the party loses an integral character.

Sure you might say its up to the person using the device to make sure it is charged and thats all well and good, but we all know how people operate. It may be they forgot the charger or that it was being used that morning and they didnt realise how much power had been used. At the end of the day , they will try to do the right thing but you are going to have instances where its not done.

They effectively have a big metal brick they can rest their head on.

Silver Crusade

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I'm not thrilled with phones, tablets or laptops at the table because they tend to be a constant source of distraction as long as they are out. If they could only be used for Herolab and looking at the PRD, that would be one thing but that's not the case.

Grand Lodge

yosemitemike wrote:
I'm not thrilled with phones, tablets or laptops at the table because they tend to be a constant source of distraction as long as they are out. If they could only be used for Herolab and looking at the PRD, that would be one thing but that's not the case.

I agree that not everyone uses their electronic devices for just Herolab/character sheet or the PRD but this is not always the case. I use my Laptop and or tablet all the time as a means to use Herolab and never use it for anything else while at the table. I am not in the minority in our area. But I do agree some do get distracted. please do not use it as a stereotype to lump everyone that uses them in the same category.

Sovereign Court

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I have no problem with folks using a tablet, laptop or phone to reference rules, etc. That said, you better have a paper version of your PC in case your device runs out of juice during the game (and yes, this has happened at a table I ran).

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
Mike Mistele wrote:
Though, I do wonder if the lack of "true randomness" in a dice-roller program is any less than the lack of "true randomness" in most plastic dice. Even if that software engineer scoffed at a program being able to produce truly random numbers, such a program (just like our imperfect dice) is probably more than close enough to random for gaming purposes. :)

Way, way more than close enough.

In fact, it is possible to have true randomness in a software program, but it can't be pure software-- it has to get that randomness by taking an input from the outside somewhere. If you've ever made a PGP key, sometimes it delays while building up randomness. It does things like look at random delays between keys you type, look at noise on the microphone, etc. All of this tends to be slow.

In practice, computers use what are called "pseudo random number generators". For cryptography, it's a little scary. And it is possible to write bad ones (very possible). But the good ones are going to be quite good, and not anything that any gaming table could ever come close to telling isn't good. The properties you're looking for is that the numbers they generate are evenly distributed (i.e. 5 doesn't show up more than 6 in a large number of trials), and that there are no correlations between numbers (i.e. if you roll a 5, you aren't more likely to roll a 6 in the next few rolls). If you've got those properties (and higher-orders of of the same thing-- basically, "no patterns"), even though it's not truly random, and given the seed could be predicted (and thus is scary for cryptography), for gaming purposes these pseudo random number generators are going to do much better than most actual dice-- especially if players pick them up and drop them, and aren't careful about putting them in a rolling cup.

Scientists use this all the time in simulation software. If pseudo random number generators weren't good enough for the handful of numbers generated in a gaming session, they'd be terrible for scientific simulations. (For this reason, computational scientists tend to pay a lot of attention and make sure they choose a good pseudo random number generator. And, yes, sometimes it goes wrong; look up RANDU if you're interested. But, even RANDU would have been way more than adequate for a gaming session.) It all ends up working.

There are other reasons to ban table die rollers. It is possible to cheat with them by rewriting the ap. Also, it's harder for people nearby to see what's been rolled, sometimes. However, worrying about computer random number generators in general is not a good reason to ban die rolling apps.

EDIT: I feel like an idiot. Somebody necroed this thread, and I repsonded to an early post without looking at the date on the actual post. Oh well!

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:
However you bring your character sheet, you still need to bring your actual Chronicle sheets to the table, of course.

What if people have played online? Most of my "actual" chronicle sheets are in fact digital, so printing them out is the less-original version.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
Ansel Krulwich wrote:

In truth, it's simply easier for a programmer to generate numbers from 1 to 21 and then display the results of 20 and 21 as "20". Done. Loaded dice in two or three lines of code.

Anyone can write and release an app to any of the various app stores. That's why I wouldn't allow smartphone dice rollers.

This is a good example of a real concern about a die roller. If you really care and really want to be careful, you should only allow people to use die rollers whose source code has been audited by others you trust....

Dark Archive

Personally I am in a situation where my laptop and my tablet are indispensable now.
Over 70% of the conventions I go to I have to fly to, which imposes a weight restriction on what I can take.
As I carry the chronicles and an up to date, at the start of the con, character sheet for all of my PCs, if I had to take physical copies of the rules books there would be no space for clothes, or chocolate.

I do use an iPad most of the time with either Hero Lab or a pdf of my PC character sheet. Then after a session I update on my laptop and transfer across.
In emergencies, it has happened that I have had to power up my LT at a table because my character was not up to date.
Only problem I really have with the iPad is that Hero Lab really uses up the power, even with the settings turned down as low as possible.

Dice roller, never at a table top, there is just too much pleasure in rolling.

Dark Archive

Plenty of people get things wrong or with unintened consequences when they do not do it themselves and ask someone else to do it instead. I have seen it mself. One of these programs foolishly thought the player was useing both his crossbow and natural attack all the time. His stats had something like a -4 for each seperatly listed attack thinking he was doing two weapon fighting without the feat, think the natural had another -5, following the rules for blending both manufactured weapon attacks and natural attacks. The player with little system mastery and new to PF from only some, not much exp from 3.5 was oblivious to these terrible #s. Only because he asked me to look it over and ask for advice did I save him from this unintended case, then he got help from someone with mote exp with the program and got it fixed.

Conversely, plenty of people do not take the time to read th rules and/or misunderstand them. Those people mess up their calculations.

Players should ask several others to look over their sheet . Still not perfect but can result in learning more about the game. In hone games, gives each other the chance to learn what to expect from others and guage how much they can contribute.

I will never trust electronic dice rollers. I would suspect they are delibretly made to askew results to try to avoid people giving a bad rating on their app.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Raymond Lambert wrote:


I will never trust electronic dice rollers. I would suspect they are delibretly made to askew results to try to avoid people giving a bad rating on their app.

No they aren't. "Random" number generation is one of the first tricks you learn in basic programming. The thing is that they rely on a seed number as there is no easy way to truly generate a random number on machines available at the consumer or even industrial level. The seed number is generally based on the number of seconds past midnight. So if you "roll" your dice at the EXACT same second each day, you'll get the same number.


rknop wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
However you bring your character sheet, you still need to bring your actual Chronicle sheets to the table, of course.
What if people have played online? Most of my "actual" chronicle sheets are in fact digital, so printing them out is the less-original version.

I would say that a printed version of them would work just fine if you're going to a face to face game.

Grand Lodge

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Scanned copies of Chronicle sheets are fine at my tables, but if the player does not have the hard copy originals they don't get to use any one use boons or anything else that must be crossed off.

Dark Archive

LazarX, I do not think you get what I am saying. I don't think they want to come even close as what you want to suggest. I suspect they want to make a product that tries to have more high rolls and less low rolls. To try to avoid people with the misfortune of frequent low rolls from posting a bad review by trying to avoid those low rolls more often they they shouldhappen . At the same time, try to get good reviews by making people happy thinking they are trolling well.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Starfinder Superscriber
Don Walker wrote:
Scanned copies of Chronicle sheets are fine at my tables, but if the player does not have the hard copy originals they don't get to use any one use boons or anything else that must be crossed off.

I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to forbid that. Some players play online, and get chronicle sheets in digital format; there ARE no hard-copy originals.

If you don't treat the chronicle sheets that those online players get as full chronicle sheets, then you're not respecting the full PFS. Yes, of course, the players have to cross them off, and they could cheat-- but, honestly, people could cheat anyway. So, trying to avoid the cheating by disallowing legitimate chronicle sheets is not going to be effective, and you're violating PFS rules as a GM.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
rknop wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
However you bring your character sheet, you still need to bring your actual Chronicle sheets to the table, of course.
What if people have played online? Most of my "actual" chronicle sheets are in fact digital, so printing them out is the less-original version.
I would say that a printed version of them would work just fine if you're going to a face to face game.

Yeah, that's what I do -- if I play FtF, I print 'em and bring 'em. But, those aren't the "actual" sheets, frequently. That's what I was responding to. Given that in some cases the "actual" ones start digital, why not allow them in digital form at the table?

Silver Crusade

Deanoth wrote:
yosemitemike wrote:

I'm not thrilled with phones, tablets or laptops at the table because they tend to be a constant source of distraction as long as they are out. If they could only be used for Herolab and looking at the PRD, that would be one thing but that's not the case. [/QUOTE

I agree that not everyone uses their electronic devices for just Herolab/character sheet or the PRD but this is not always the case. I use my Laptop and or tablet all the time as a means to use Herolab and never use it for anything else while at the table. I am not in the minority in our area. But I do agree some do get distracted. please do not use it as a stereotype to lump everyone that uses them in the same category.

Read what I wrote again paying particular attention to the phrase "tend to be". I write what I mean and I mean just what I write.

Grand Lodge

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rknop wrote:
Don Walker wrote:
Scanned copies of Chronicle sheets are fine at my tables, but if the player does not have the hard copy originals they don't get to use any one use boons or anything else that must be crossed off.

I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to forbid that. Some players play online, and get chronicle sheets in digital format; there ARE no hard-copy originals.

If you don't treat the chronicle sheets that those online players get as full chronicle sheets, then you're not respecting the full PFS. Yes, of course, the players have to cross them off, and they could cheat-- but, honestly, people could cheat anyway. So, trying to avoid the cheating by disallowing legitimate chronicle sheets is not going to be effective, and you're violating PFS rules as a GM.

Actually, when players get digital copies of a Chronicle sheet from the GM for online play, they are supposed to print them so they have a hard copy stack.

If, as a GM, I can't cross off a particular boon and initial that I did, the player will not get the benefit of that one use (or limited use) boon.

The Exchange

kinevon wrote:
Funky Badger wrote:
Benrislove wrote:

I'm normally against dice rollers, however I have an exception.

I use the herolab character sheet ipad app, it's good. It's not perfect and I have to make sure to double check things.

sometimes you're rolling 5+ attacks a round, you know what saves a ton of time? clicking the "full attack" button and reading the numbers off

I did declare the damage dice that were going with it, and would willingly tilt the tablet up for observation at any point.

though it did cause me to forget point blank shot for 3-4 combats :-p.

It simply saves so much time, that I don't think a tool should be overlooked (I also only threatened once in like 40-50 attacks, it was sad times)

Rolling a d20 and adding a number to it 5 times is too difficult?

5+. And it isn't, of course, the same number each time.

And, if you know what you are doing in HeroLab, it can automatically include adjustments for Bless, Bane, Bard Song, Heroism, Point Blank Shot, flanking, Power Attack, Combat Expertise, etc.

And, of course, from what the poster was saying, he was running an archer.
Attack 1, d20+X, 2 arrows.
Attack 2, D20+X, 1 arrow.
Attack 3, D20+x-5, 1 arrow.
And so on, not including Haste...

I have a cheat sheet for my high level archer which I use, but, of course, it takes up additional table space when I have it out, and it doesn't include any spell or spell-like effects in it, even though that PC can actually cast Bless himself...

Adding to this. it's not about difficulty, it's about time.

Rolling dice simply takes longer, and in many ways is more fun, but not for everyone else watching you roll a bunch of dice and then add things.

If a GM asks me to roll dice, I have no problem doing it, but it slows down play.

For my blaster I have started just using a dice roller, and I might for my magus as well. 10-15 d6 takes time to add, it just does.

I rolled damage like 3-4 times on my burning arc's and realized it was taking too much table time, so I pulled out the phone, and everyone at the table seemed pleased at how much faster my turns went, I certainly felt like much less of a time hog*.

*Pacing has always been my biggest thing in RPGs, I want things to move along and I don't want people to get bored waiting. I think it's probably my strongest skill as a GM, and I try to be aware of it as a player. I use technology to aid in that when possible.

Sovereign Court 5/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

If you have problems with players not paying attention to you as the GM, you have two options.

1) Don't repeatedly try to get their attention.
If you call their turn in initiative and they don't acknowledge you in 5 seconds, move to the next player. The same goes if you call for Perception, Knowledge checks, etc. If that doesn't bring them back to the table, you can also not repeat in-character details that you gave them while they weren't paying attention. If they complain, you can explain what you're doing.

2) Improve your GMing
RPGs like Pathfinder are pretty engaging until you get up above 5 or 6 players. There's always something for people to be doing while it's not necessarily their turn - looking up a rule, thinking about their next action, coordinating with other players, etc. If they are doing things outside the game while you are GMing, you should really think about what you are doing as GM at the table. Maybe you take too long to put combatants into initiative order. Maybe you aren't prepared enough to keep combat moving. Maybe your reading of box text puts people to sleep. The point is to look at yourself, too.

It's not correct to say that technology is solely to blame. Technology just gives another outlet when the mind is not otherwise engaged. If players are bored at your table, they will either be quietly bored or destructive to the game. University faculty are told the same thing when they think banning technology in their classroom or lecture hall will get their students to be more engaged. The truth is more often that they have never been engaging instructors, and technology has made it more obvious.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
Don Walker wrote:

Actually, when players get digital copies of a Chronicle sheet from the GM for online play, they are supposed to print them so they have a hard copy stack.

If, as a GM, I can't cross off a particular boon and initial that I did, the player will not get the benefit of that one use (or limited use) boon.

I'm cool with that-- although, really, there's no need to print off the hard copy until you actually go to play the FtF game.

What I was objecting to was your insistance on an "original" hard copy. There sometimes is no such thing.

Grand Lodge

Sorry, I was using the term "original" to mean the primary stack used to define the character and not any secondary sheets used for backups.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If players don't pay attention to me as GM I... have actually never had that problem.

If electronics are distracting people at the table, and I think it is negatively affecting others experience I would tell them to decide if they want to play on their electronics or play the game. But I've never actually had it come to that.

I can understand that at very large tables in very large combat that people can lose focus, shoot I've done it once or twice myself. As long as people are ready to go on their turn and are not being so loud as to disrupt the person who's turn it is then I don't really mind.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

Mahtobedis wrote:
If electronics are distracting people at the table, and I think it is negatively affecting others experience I would tell them to decide if they want to play on their electronics or play the game. But I've never actually had it come to that.

I have. I've warned one of our regular players about it, and there are a couple of others who will probably get the same warning the next time they play at my table. But if there's room, and if they aren't disrupting play, I'm happy with electronics at the table.

Mind you, I'd pretty much have to be; I have both an Android tablet and an Ultrabook PC in my gaming bag in case I need reference material.

Shadow Lodge

Don Walker wrote:
rknop wrote:
Don Walker wrote:
Scanned copies of Chronicle sheets are fine at my tables, but if the player does not have the hard copy originals they don't get to use any one use boons or anything else that must be crossed off.

I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to forbid that. Some players play online, and get chronicle sheets in digital format; there ARE no hard-copy originals.

If you don't treat the chronicle sheets that those online players get as full chronicle sheets, then you're not respecting the full PFS. Yes, of course, the players have to cross them off, and they could cheat-- but, honestly, people could cheat anyway. So, trying to avoid the cheating by disallowing legitimate chronicle sheets is not going to be effective, and you're violating PFS rules as a GM.

Actually, when players get digital copies of a Chronicle sheet from the GM for online play, they are supposed to print them so they have a hard copy stack.

If, as a GM, I can't cross off a particular boon and initial that I did, the player will not get the benefit of that one use (or limited use) boon.

If you were GMing for online games, you're advocating the tedious process of:


  • player scans the chronicle
  • players sends it to the GM
  • GM prints out the chronicle
  • GM crosses off and signs chronicle
  • GM scans the crossed/signed chronicle
  • GM sends it to the player

As far as I'm aware, hardly anyone follows that process because it's tedious. If the player wants to cheat, they could just as easily use the old chronicle again.

Granted you don't GM online games, but are we supposed to use two sets of rules? Why?

The way around it is that GMs and players trust each other and point out occasionally that cheating is openly frowned upon, even while we all acknowledge it's possible.

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