PDFs


Advice


I'm considering becoming a subscriber and I noted that you get a lot of free PDFs with subscribing. My question is what do you do with them? How do you incorporate them into your games and what devices do you use?


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

You get two kinds of PDFs when you subscribe to Paizo products

First, you get the PDF version of each of the physical products that you are subscribed to.
I often extract maps from the PDFs to use in VTT games (I run some of my games on Roll20).
I sometimes use the PDF art work to create handouts for my face-to-face games.

Second, if you have four or more subscriptions running simultaneously, you also get your choice of either Pathfinder Society or Starfinder Society Scenario PDFs for free.
I sometimes run those as one-shots or for new players to try out pathfinder without getting deeply involved in a gaming group where their dropping out would cause problems.


Would it be possible to take the PDF to, say, Staples and get them to print out a full size map suitable for play?


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Some people do that.

The prices range fro ok to terrible. Search the site for posts about printing maps from PDFs. I've read a lot of comments from GMS who routinely do that, and their advice about how to go about it sounded excellent.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Thomas Keller wrote:
Would it be possible to take the PDF to, say, Staples and get them to print out a full size map suitable for play?

The resolution is usually very blocky and grainy if you blow battlemaps up to the one-square-per-inch size.

Personally, I rarely use the PDFs, however it is great for printing out Player Handouts and illustrative artwork.

I know a lot of people prefer loading rulebooks onto a tablet given the ease of searching a document over flipping through a book. (Though the subscriber benefits aren't backdated so it's too late to subscribe to a rulebook you missed - you need to be subscribed when it releases or shortly afterwards in order to get the subscriber perks).


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber

PDF are not hyperlinked, they only have a table of contents bookmarks. Each page is art heavy so flipping pages to find something is actually slower than using a book. Search finds every instance of a keyword, not the same utility as having a hyperlinked glossary index.

I find the official SRD website much more useful for looking stuff up and gave up on using the free sub PDF.

The main benefit of free PDFs is if you play online both roll20 and fantasygrounds discount the PDF price from their modules

Upgrade to four subs and get the free scenarios those are worth it, if you play online it is not that difficult to copy/paste and make your own modules from them (if they are not yet available online)

Beware because of the lack of backdating, if one of your sub legs has yet to deliver that you will not get the discount and free stuff. You only get the perks once all four subs have delivered something (unless you can get customer service to take pity on you for missing out)

I signed up for the accessories to make four subs (they do not have a sub for the premium books yet), figure the overall discount would pay for it and these are not something I would normally buy unseen. Really been enjoying the crit hit/miss decks, but beware the condition cards are repeated text on both sides, there could have been fun iconic art on the back side or just a card backer so unused conditions could be flipped over.


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

I pretty much exclusively use the PDFs, reading them on my tablet and using that at the table. The books are pretty and I like having them, but they go on the shelf. Plus having them digitally, I can pull the maps out, I can print off specific images and such to show players (or make my own handouts and such). Cut and pasting text out from disparate PDFs into word documents to assemble my own little custom stuff. All in all I love having the digital copies.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

My main uses of the pdfs:
1) Ease of access if I need to review something and don't have my books/scenarios with me (so not relevent during a gaming session, but if I had a free moment on a waiting in line and wanted to brush up on something)

2) Printing handouts & reference maps. I'm especially liking to print out simple 1-page summary maps of dungeon type areas to avoid having to flip back and forth between the maps and referenced encounters.

3) Full custom maps for scenarios that I think I'll run more than once. Ie if a scenario has a custom map and I'm running it ~3+ times at a con, plus locally I'll splurge on the full print out. Otherwise I'll just draw it out on a blank battlemap.

I also try to recreate a lot of the maps with 3d terrain, and having a one-page reference (like I listed under point 2) is very helpful without needing to either leave a device on the whole time, or put a lot of wear on the physical copy keeping it propped open.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I make lots of notes in my Adventure Paths when I GM, so I prefer to print out the PDF instead of marking up the physical book. I punch them with holes and place them into my campaign binder with everything else I need at my fingertips at the table.

Like NielsenE says, printing out a map page is easier than flipping back and forth during a game.

I also extract images from the PDFs to use as handouts for the players, or in creating item cards and things like that.

Bestiary pages for foes I expect the party to encounter are printed out and kept to hand during games also, though I suspect once the Battle Cards come out that will most likely stop.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Fumarole wrote:
though I suspect once the Battle Cards come out that will most likely stop.

Oh gods, yes! I'm so waiting for those to arrive.


Fumarole wrote:

I make lots of notes in my Adventure Paths when I GM, so I prefer to print out the PDF instead of marking up the physical book. I punch them with holes and place them into my campaign binder with everything else I need at my fingertips at the table.

Like NielsenE says, printing out a map page is easier than flipping back and forth during a game.

I also extract images from the PDFs to use as handouts for the players, or in creating item cards and things like that.

Bestiary pages for foes I expect the party to encounter are printed out and kept to hand during games also, though I suspect once the Battle Cards come out that will most likely stop.

Do you print stuff out at home or through some kind of service?


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Thomas Keller wrote:
Fumarole wrote:

I make lots of notes in my Adventure Paths when I GM, so I prefer to print out the PDF instead of marking up the physical book. I punch them with holes and place them into my campaign binder with everything else I need at my fingertips at the table.

Like NielsenE says, printing out a map page is easier than flipping back and forth during a game.

I also extract images from the PDFs to use as handouts for the players, or in creating item cards and things like that.

Bestiary pages for foes I expect the party to encounter are printed out and kept to hand during games also, though I suspect once the Battle Cards come out that will most likely stop.

Do you print stuff out at home or through some kind of service?

Just at home, nothing fancy.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I print out the PDF maps in black and white at home so I can make notes on the maps.

I also print out the adventure/scenario/whatever for the same reason.

I have a GM package (3-hole punched printed stuff, handouts, various cheat sheets, lined filler paper, blank plain paper) that I put in one of those clear-front report cover binders for campaign journal for each adventure.

That way, I can make notes, create journal entries and otherwise quickly refresh my mind if the game runs more than one session.

And if it's a short one-shot, the report cover is easy to grab if I want to run it again.

No fear of spilled drinks, splashed dips, etc.

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