Am I the only person who PREFERS the PDFs?


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

1 to 50 of 65 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

After reading more than a few threads asking if APs would be reprinted ... I'm curious. Am I the only person who prefers PDFs over the printed modules?

For accessories like folio maps and cardstock minis, I prefer the physical thing. I don't have easy access to large high gloss paper or to cardstock for printing. But for the actual modules ... I think the PDFs are more useful to me as a GM than the printed editions!

Here's why: I buy the PDFs for my AP (Kingmaker right now), print them out on three-hole punched paper, then put them in a honking huge binder. As I modify things in the AP to suit myself, add third-party materials, and my players change the AP through their actions, I swap pages in and out, add my own notes to encounters, and generally make a huge mess of the thing. I also keep a PDF copy of the module open on my GM Laptop (TM). I've found that as a GM, I prefer this over the bad old days of gaming with my pre-printed modules and GM screen ...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I dont run Pathfinder, but considering the amount of books you have to refer to to perform even the simplest of tasks, I can see why PDFs would be preferable.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I run APs over Maptools, so I love having the pdfs just so I can create maps and tokens easily for the game. I also like having the physical book so I can read them easily at my leisure(i.e. in the bathroom).

Until pdfs load instantaneously and electronic readers gain the last book "superpower:" the ability to flip exactly to the part you need without knowing the page number, I will be a physical book holdout for game books for actual reading/table use. I can open a physical book to the part I need in less than a second. I have yet to see an ereader that can do that. Heck I can usually find a rule in a book I've read before faster than someone can type a term in the search box.


For the rulebooks I prefer to OWN the physical copy and to use an online database that is not sorted by book but by topic, like d20pfsrd.

For GMing I like it best when I have both availiable, the pdf and some important parts as printout. But the actual book works, too.
On the other hand it is easier for my to bookmark pages in the hardcopy module than in the pdf for back and forth skimming.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

PDF's are good because they are portable, but I much prefer a physical copy for reading.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My entire library of Pathfinder material is PDFs. I extract the images, and import the maps into a virtual tabletop; drop pics of major NPCs and monsters into a folder so I can put them up on the big screen TV during the session; use the decorative page borders and fonts to create handouts; print out pages, chop them up, put them in a 3-ring-binder interleaved with my own notes and any relevant chapters from setting books.

When I want to read them, I load them onto a tablet.

Pretty much the best GMing setup I've had in 30 years of gaming.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Michael Gentry wrote:

My entire library of Pathfinder material is PDFs. I extract the images, and import the maps into a virtual tabletop; drop pics of major NPCs and monsters into a folder so I can put them up on the big screen TV during the session; use the decorative page borders and fonts to create handouts; print out pages, chop them up, put them in a 3-ring-binder interleaved with my own notes and any relevant chapters from setting books.

When I want to read them, I load them onto a tablet.

Pretty much the best GMing setup I've had in 30 years of gaming.

Dayum. That is really nice.

Sovereign Court

21st century digital boy here. You are not the only one.

Shadow Lodge

I prefer hardcovers to PDFs. I prefer PDFs to softcovers.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I vastly prefer hardcopy, and pretty exclusively use hardcopies at the table. But I do like having access to the pdfs to aid in quick searches for prep and for the creation of visual aids and handouts.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Pretty much all-digital here

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I've dropped my subscription because I only want PDFs, and Paizo won't give me that as an option.

My books sit in my basement while I read every book on my iPad.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

pennywit wrote:
Am I the only person who prefers PDFs over the printed modules?

I'm pure digital these days. The GF and I have only the two of us in our apartment and there are 3 tablets between us. Having the whole library wherever we go is awesome.

Shadow Lodge

Fully digital here as well.


Mostly digital here, as well.

If I am running something long and complex, I'll want both hardbound as well (sometimes cut and re-bound for durability or ease of use), but generally, with a few exceptions, I am leaning away from hard copy, as I find it to be wasteful and a medium that takes up way too much storage space.

Of course, sometimes there are some productions that just beg me to own them in that most tangible of formats.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
fine_young_misanthrope wrote:

I've dropped my subscription because I only want PDFs, and Paizo won't give me that as an option.

My books sit in my basement while I read every book on my iPad.

Just collect all six books with your subscription, then put the entire AP on Ebay. Maybe do a car boot sale. Whatever. You're paying about the same amount to Paizo and you turn an extra profit flogging the dead tree version while you hold onto your digital copy. :D


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Maybe this thread should be renamed "People who can't buy 5E."

You paying attention, WotC?

Liberty's Edge

mikeawmids wrote:
fine_young_misanthrope wrote:

I've dropped my subscription because I only want PDFs, and Paizo won't give me that as an option.

My books sit in my basement while I read every book on my iPad.

Just collect all six books with your subscription, then put the entire AP on Ebay. Maybe do a car boot sale. Whatever. You're paying about the same amount to Paizo and you turn an extra profit flogging the dead tree version while you hold onto your digital copy. :D

You don't really make your money back. Heck, you might not even make shipping!

Shadow Lodge

fine_young_misanthrope wrote:

I've dropped my subscription because I only want PDFs, and Paizo won't give me that as an option.

My books sit in my basement while I read every book on my iPad.

Yeah if there was a fully-digital subscription I would heavily consider signing on. As is though it's not really an option, and every time it's brought up to the devs they're pretty heavily against it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I had to have the whole subscription process explained to me twice. And then I still couldn't work out why I couldn't just subscribe to the PDFs. I ended up subscribing to Iron Gods because I:

A) Love the AP concept
B) Want the PDFs cheaper
C) Want the discount the subscription gives me.

But after Iron Gods I will cancel, and not just because the next to AP's hold no interest for me. Though I might reconsider if there were a AP PDF subscription option - even without the discount or even without being very much cheaper....


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

I had to have the whole subscription process explained to me twice. And then I still couldn't work out why I couldn't just subscribe to the PDFs. I ended up subscribing to Iron Gods because I:

A) Love the AP concept
B) Want the PDFs cheaper
C) Want the discount the subscription gives me.

But after Iron Gods I will cancel, and not just because the next to AP's hold no interest for me. Though I might reconsider if there were a AP PDF subscription option - even without the discount or even without being very much cheaper....

Did you see this explanation from Paizo's perspective?


Wyntr wrote:

Did you see this explanation from Paizo's perspective?

Yeah, the Devs have good reasons, and I hope this thread does not turn into a retread of a conversation had so many times previously.

Sovereign Court

I don't see why you couldn't do the exact same thing with the print version. It's probably be a wash in terms of printer ink and paper use versus just buying the module.

I know lots of people who cut apart adventures to make them more useable.


The only use I have for the physical copies is to box them up and give them to my daughter to sell to collectors in a few decades. PDFs all the way here.

The only games I play are through VTTs, so the ability to pull maps and images is mandatory, and the ability to copy/paste large sections of text is incredibly useful.


Speaking strictly for myself, with some PDFs I get a HUGE problem with loading time when I need to scroll though a PDF or jump to a bookmark, even if it's just one page away. That is a massively inconvenient lag time during gameplay. This is probably a problem with my current version of Adobe reader, and I'm planning to replace my PC this year, but until then it's a hassle.

Plus, I've read so many books growing up that it actually IS faster for me to do a lookup "by thumb" than through the pdf index in most cases.


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

Book weight and unreliable Internet connections at the location where we play our game are my primary reason for preferring the PDFs. I generally take to the game a Core Rulebook, a copy of Ultimate Equipment, and a laptop with PDFs of anything else I might need. While I prefer to open up a physical book to read at home, the combined weight of those books discourages me from lugging too many of them around to gaming sessions.


When I GM, I haul along my giant binder, which contains printed modules with my annotations, the CRB and APG (for player reference) and my laptop loaded with relevant PDFs and handy links to d20pfsrd, the Paido SRD, and mood music. My players, especially those with spellcasters, keep the SRD open on their phones so they can look up spells and summoned monsters easily.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
pennywit wrote:
Am I the only person who prefers PDFs over the printed modules?

No. Statistically that would be very unlikely.

That said, the question is... odd. I mean, am I the only person who prefers forks over spoons? It's so hard to use a spoon to eat salad. Mind you... there's soup. Soup is a problem with forks.

So huh.

I guess spoons and forks maybe are both tools that have their benefits, so my vote would have to be "I prefer the right tool for the job at hand."

For me, I prefer to GM adventures out of physical books. I also print statblocks for major encounters, so I can mark up the page as things happen. Stuff like striking off used spells, or jotting quick stat changes as debuffs happen. I use electronic aids for (some) in-game lookup. It's about 50/50 if we can locate something Core or Bestiary faster in book or search online, but electronics are much faster for things we aren't sure the source for. So for me, both is the - by far - best answer.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I like sitting and reading the physical books, but I prefer to run mostly out of the PDFs. Saves wear and tear on the physical books.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I prefer both. The PDFs are handy, especially if I forgot one of the AP books (I've done that before), or want to look up something quick and can do a keyword search. But it is very easy to find things with print books compared to PDF when you have a basic knowledge of the book.

I also use the PDF maps for roll20, and PDF pawns instead of miniatures and the like. Kind of funny really as I used Malifaux three-dimensional buildings for the start of my Reign of Winter game and posted pictures of the Lodge that was done up.

Once I figured out how to use roll20, however, I stuck with it. Just the ease of figuring out distances quickly alone... and not having to search for the correct pawns or the like... far less clutter and time spent overall.

So: both. And that's why I like the subscriptions, as I can get both. ;)

Shadow Lodge

To further explain my preferences....for a game that I'll be playing as anything more than a one-shot now and then, I vastly prefer to have the core rulebook(s) in print. Likewise, I love big hardcover monster books in print. Otherwise, if it's available as a hardcover, and I really like it, I want it in print. Anything else, I'll generally be fine with only a PDF (and generally prefer them, as they take up FAR less physical room, and are easier to organize).


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I tried the computer way but i'm more comfortable using physical books and hardly even use the pdfs I have


I user a computer and a program called DM's familiar to run combats - and while I copy\paste the text from the PDF into that program I still find having the physical book (or printouts of things like maps) helps me when I'm at the table.

As with others I find the PDF's to lag and have a hard time jumping around the material (although the ones over the last year are vastly better than the earlier ones).

I also use the images and such to create handouts for my players. I find the PDF's really useful but tend to rely on printed more so at the table.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I run my pdfs on a mac with acrobat pro. I've never had issuez with lagging or inability to jump to different pages:)


Michael Gentry wrote:

My entire library of Pathfinder material is PDFs. I extract the images, and import the maps into a virtual tabletop; drop pics of major NPCs and monsters into a folder so I can put them up on the big screen TV during the session; use the decorative page borders and fonts to create handouts; print out pages, chop them up, put them in a 3-ring-binder interleaved with my own notes and any relevant chapters from setting books.

When I want to read them, I load them onto a tablet.

Pretty much the best GMing setup I've had in 30 years of gaming.

This is what I will be doing soon enough. I have all Pathfinder as PDF's and carry my iPad around everywhere with me already. So it is convenient and makes me very mobile.

Michael, you're all in on this and that's the way I will be as soon as I gather a group together and start GM'ing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I have definitely come to the conclusion that I prefer PDFs for just about everything other than sitting in an armchair to read them.

I came to that conclusion last year, when I bought discounted hardcopies of "Curse of the Crimson Throne" and "Second Darkness." (The former from some guy on the Internet, and the latter from last year's Great Golem Sale.)

Since all of my other APs have included PDFs with the hardcopies, I really feel hampered without them!


Marco Polaris wrote:

Speaking strictly for myself, with some PDFs I get a HUGE problem with loading time when I need to scroll though a PDF or jump to a bookmark, even if it's just one page away. That is a massively inconvenient lag time during gameplay. This is probably a problem with my current version of Adobe reader, and I'm planning to replace my PC this year, but until then it's a hassle.

Plus, I've read so many books growing up that it actually IS faster for me to do a lookup "by thumb" than through the pdf index in most cases.

Not necessarily. I am using the most recent Adobe reader on my internet machine and have that problem. I have to burn them to disk and read them on my laptop which minimizes such stuff.

I think it may have to do with memory or processor speed or something else like that.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
GreyWolfLord wrote:
Marco Polaris wrote:

Speaking strictly for myself, with some PDFs I get a HUGE problem with loading time when I need to scroll though a PDF or jump to a bookmark, even if it's just one page away. That is a massively inconvenient lag time during gameplay. This is probably a problem with my current version of Adobe reader, and I'm planning to replace my PC this year, but until then it's a hassle.

Plus, I've read so many books growing up that it actually IS faster for me to do a lookup "by thumb" than through the pdf index in most cases.

Not necessarily. I am using the most recent Adobe reader on my internet machine and have that problem. I have to burn them to disk and read them on my laptop which minimizes such stuff.

I think it may have to do with memory or processor speed or something else like that.

Alternative PDF readers (such as Foxit) and memory sticks (instead of burning CDs/DVDs) are you friends.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The PDFs are brighter and easier to read than any of the print books (barring the occasional poor font choice on Paizo's part, which leave the print easier, ie. Gnomes of Golarion.) The print copies have been coming out pretty dark and muddy in comparison the last year or so, and every month I get that closer to dropping hard copy altogether.

I know all of the business reasons against it, but I still hope eventually the numbers will make sense for a PDF-only option, or "PDFs + rules hardbacks"-only.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

If you have Adobe Pro and the file security allows it, rasterize the PDFs to match you display resolution. Then your computer just has to re-draw a bitmap instead of re-rendering a vector-based image every time you scroll.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I subscribe to both the RPG line and the AP line so I get the hardcopies and the PDF's.

The PDF's get waaaaaaaay more use than the hardcopies.

I bring my ipad pretty much with me everywhere. My Pathfinder books are on my iPad so pretty easy access to everything I need.

When I'm running an adventure and I need quick access to certain monsters / adversaries? I print out the page from the respective Bestiary and if I need to make changes to it I can do so on the page without worrying about marking up the book.

Need to know what spells and special abilities do? Search copy and paste in to a text document.

Maps? Extract. Print. Markup.

The occasional Battle Map? Extract. PosterRazor. Print. Assemble.

PC's need to know that a monster/NPC looks like? Extract. Paste into Pixelmator or Photoshop. Add name. Print.

or

if on the ipad. SHOW the Players the picture right from the book.

And I dont have to carry around a crap load of books to do this. IF I prep before hand it speeds up play. My players have learned to prep and have enverythign that they need on hand BEFORE play starts. It's very seldom that we need to stop the game in it's tracks.

There were a few sessions that I didnt even bring the Core Rulebook with me to my game between the PDF's and the two PFSRD apps that I use? there's no need.

I like the hardcopies but the PDF's are actually more useful.


Michael Gentry wrote:

My entire library of Pathfinder material is PDFs. I extract the images, and import the maps into a virtual tabletop; drop pics of major NPCs and monsters into a folder so I can put them up on the big screen TV during the session; use the decorative page borders and fonts to create handouts; print out pages, chop them up, put them in a 3-ring-binder interleaved with my own notes and any relevant chapters from setting books.

When I want to read them, I load them onto a tablet.

Pretty much the best GMing setup I've had in 30 years of gaming.

Blasphemy!

This 30 year gamer has already succumbed to the "old fogey" bug, I guess. Nothing can replace a dead tree for me.


When gaming at my house, I would prefer to own all the hard copies. I can just find things faster in a book rather than waiting for pages to load in a pdf. ESPECIALLY when I need to flip back and forth between things. For example trying to look up a creature entry, its type entry, and its template entry is a pain with pdfs on my tablet when I keep needing to refer to the other entries.

On the other hand, I only game at my house about 1 in 4 times. Since I will not haul all those books everywhere I have to have the pdfs on my tablet (or a laptop would work). I'm too cheap to buy both the pdfs and the hard copy. So after the first few book purchases, I have gone exclusively pdfs.

I print off a hardcopy of everything I think I'm likely to need rule wise. I also make some notes on book & page for some other often referred to rules that I don't print out. Based on the conversations around the table, I will try to get the tablet loading before my turn so others don't have to wait.

On a related note, any of you have an opinion on which tablets or readers load the fastest?


Anything I want the players to be able to access (player companions, rulebooks) I buy printed copies. Stuff for the GM (modules, APs, adventure seeds), I buy the PDF.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

When people complain about sluggishness of the PDFs, they're not talking about the PDF of the books or the AP. They're talking about the "interactive map" which uses layers so you can turn off grids and remove such things as secret doors and the like. Unfortunately, this has the effect of turning the PDF into a glacier.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

i am now a cute little squirrel, and nothing else! unrelated did anyone see that pretty jewel tucked into a crook of the root, next to that innocuous tentacle.... i mean vine.
;D


Tangent101 wrote:
When people complain about sluggishness of the PDFs, they're not talking about the PDF of the books or the AP. They're talking about the "interactive map" which uses layers so you can turn off grids and remove such things as secret doors and the like. Unfortunately, this has the effect of turning the PDF into a glacier.

Uhmmm... Nope. I'm talking about just looking up stats, spells, feats, etc... in the pdf's of the books or encounters in the AP or module. It takes noticeable time to load after just scanning a couple of pages then having to wait while the next pages load. I don't think something like the Advanced Class Guide even has any maps in it.

I didn't even know you could do anything like that with the maps. How do you do that by the way?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

To elaborate a bit further on my previous setup, the one thing I DON'T use PDFs for is looking stuff up during a game session. I agree with most of the posters, Adobe is to cumbersome for that, especially if you have to find something in more than one book.

During game sessions, I use one of the online resources (usually www.pathfindersrd.com) for rules lookups. Adventure material is all either printed out or ported into the VTT. The PDFs are usually only for my own reading, research between sessions, or prep work. But between that and the web, I've never once found myself wanting or needing a physical book.

Sovereign Court

Print only, except when the option is not provided

1 to 50 of 65 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / General Discussion / Am I the only person who PREFERS the PDFs? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.