Table-top gadgets


  • Admin

    Hey folks,

    Since I'm about to start playing (and that might include DMing in the future) table-top RPGs again after a very, very long time I was wondering... what has changed in the last few years? Has technology made this part better in any cool, fun way? Have we finally replaced the good ol' fashioned DM Screen with anything fancier?

    What I'm looking for is something I can have in front of me on a tablet or laptop that lets me keep notes, maybe draw simple maps (the emphasis is on simple, I don't expect tilesets, zoom-in capabilities or shit like that), maybe a hex grid I can turn around to show players where things are, and of course tables I can consult with common modifiers, charts, etc.

    Are there any neat tools like this out? Ideally it'd be one tool so I don't need to alt-tab through six different programs while playing.

    Edit: In my case this would be D&D 5th Edition, but feel free to mention more generic stuff, or programs made for other products.



  • Laptop. Top down projector. Cuz every gamer has thousands to burn.


  • Admin

    @misadventure Okay, let's say I don't want to spend more money than what was spent on the laptop/tablet and maybe buying some software :p



  • Any other parameters to know about? Only you have your laptop/tablet handy?

    I'd imagine like Roll20, or other sites/software designed for OTT play only could be helpful, easy for you to pass notes or what not, coordinate a map and such, track chars/etc..

    I think you can get 'home' projectors for cheaper these days too; to share (or if no one else wants to bring laptop/tablet).


  • Admin

    @lotherio said in Table-top gadgets:

    Any other parameters to know about? Only you have your laptop/tablet handy?

    Yeah, the environment is pretty much my/a living room. So I can always count on having my laptop (or an Android tablet) around, an internet connection and I guess a table. :) I don't want to get a projector for it, it's too much work and I don't know yet if the campaigns will be combat-heavy enough to justify it.

    Oh also, what are our thoughts about dice? Physical or digital?

    ... This might get ugly.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel If you're gonna play the new Star Wars games get the app for the dice. Otherwise use physical dice, you heathen!



  • Big white board with dry erase markers. If you want to get fancy, you can spend some time and use a permanent marker to put up a square or hex grid.


  • Pitcrew

    @taika said in Table-top gadgets:

    Big white board with dry erase markers. If you want to get fancy, you can spend some time and use a permanent marker to put up a square or hex grid.

    This. OMG this.



  • @arkandel Sorry, I meant do the other players have their devices with them as in the OTT software/website might help. Could physical/digital dice by choice even; even slack has a dice app to OTT.


  • Pitcrew

    @taika said in Table-top gadgets:

    Big white board with dry erase markers. If you want to get fancy, you can spend some time and use a permanent marker to put up a square or hex grid.

    Tip: You can use overhead markers for the grid and write over it with the dry erase markers. The overhead marker's won't come off (well, they will a little, but not really) without the spray solution.

    So it can be semi-permanent without having to devote a white board forever and ever to a grid.


  • Admin

    @lotherio said in Table-top gadgets:

    @arkandel Sorry, I meant do the other players have their devices with them as in the OTT software/website might help. Could physical/digital dice by choice even; even slack has a dice app to OTT.

    Yeah, we can assume they all have smartphones with them. Which I think will prove to be distracting but good luck enforcing my iron will there.



  • @arkandel said in Table-top gadgets:

    In my case this would be D&D 5th Edition, but feel free to mention more generic stuff, or programs made for other products.

    Someone imported 5e into OneNote, which looked pretty cool.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in Table-top gadgets:

    @lotherio said in Table-top gadgets:

    @arkandel Sorry, I meant do the other players have their devices with them as in the OTT software/website might help. Could physical/digital dice by choice even; even slack has a dice app to OTT.

    Yeah, we can assume they all have smartphones with them. Which I think will prove to be distracting but good luck enforcing my iron will there.

    It's possible. Make the rule, and then stick to it. If someone pulls out a phone at the table, stop DMing until they put it away. Peer pressure will resolve this.

    ETA: It literally took only half of a session for me to nip this problem in the bud. I realized it was an issue, I told them what I was going to do, and then I stuck to it. We stopped having the problem. When somebody had a thing going on that needed them to be able to stay engaged with the phone, they just let us know and I said 'OK' and nobody bitched I let X have his phone.



  • I will just leave this here: https://makezine.com/2015/12/08/how-to-build-a-high-end-gaming-table-for-as-little-as-150/

    ...ok, that, and two dangerous words: 3D printer.


  • Pitcrew

    @sunny
    That is pretty much how the table top group I am in handles phones as well. Though we a re a little less strict, one of the players has a job that requires him to be on call 24/7 and the multiple folks have spouses, but the general assumed etiquette is don't mess with the phone unless it is a call or message that could be /important/.
    For the most part we all follow this though I don't think me or the other GM (we have two games that alternate weeks in the same timeslot) have made an official rule about phones.


  • Pitcrew

    $150 for that table is so misleading..

    Another solution to the phone at the table issue.. have everyone that doesn't need the phone for a valid reason put theirs in a pile, face down, on the table. First one to pick theirs up pays for the pizza/booze/whatever.


  • Coder

    There are also cheap dry-erase square maps that you can use markers on that have a grid on them which goes very well for 5e's positioning mechanics and such. You can draw the rooms on it and erase them (if no one is mapping in game) or leave the whole thing on it if they are. Some of them get to pretty good size. I like the 36" square ones. The best part is they roll up and if semi-decent quality will still lay flat when spread out without the corners being a hassle. If the corners are a hassle, this is why gaming books are heavy ;)

    Honestly, I am TT purist, I don't think 'technology' helps the TT experience much for the most part in that respect. It can do wonders for simulating a TT environment (ala roll20) but that is still not Table Top.



  • @arkandel said in Table-top gadgets:

    tools

    Caveat: I've never used this and know nothing about it. But I bookmarked it once and remembered that I did.

    http://www.rptools.net/


  • Coder

    I cannot think of a single tool that beats the tactile feel of dice, and a sheet of paper to doodle on, preferably with character stats on it. I prefer, myself, to sit at a table with straight-backed chairs, and a BattleMat™ when appropriate.

    Have someone write a log. Here are the logs of one of our campaigns. Four years. One giant rabbit hole. AD&D 2nd Edition.

    Er, sorry, I have to go read all of these right now.



  • I kept a copy of my character on my phone, just in case.

    That way I could remember his name.


 

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