D&D General I hate pdfs, and I'm happy that WOTC primarily publishes Books

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
You read the title? You read it, right? Well, sometimes my titles are truthful (for absolute values of "sometimes," and varying values of "truthful").

Here's the thing- I hate .pdfs. This isn't the type of pure and lovely hate I have for things that truly deserve it (Bards, Elves, Bards, people that refuse to acknowledge the John Wick trilogy as the greatest cinematic masterpiece of all time, Bards, people that think that superhero movies and anime are the greatest intellectual achievements of our time, and Bards). Instead, it's more of a, "Why isn't this a book? Books are awesome. This ... isn't awesome. It's the opposite of awesome. It sucks."

So I should give a useful disclaimer- I use electronic documents all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. Seriously, it's almost like it's part of my job, or something. So it's not as simple as an aversion to reading stuff on a screen. And I completely understand that having a document in an electronic format can be useful- searching for a particular piece of text is oh-so-easy with an electronic document. "Look, there are 147 too many occurrences of the word 'bard' in the PHB!" Moreover, I'm constantly on a phone, or tablet, or computer reading websites ... like this one ... so it's not an instinctive Luddite reaction.

Well, not entirely a Luddite reaction. Admittedly, the youths with their TikTokking and Discords and Chatsnapping frighten and confuse me, but I can always soothe myself with the sounds of Jelly Roll Morton on the phonograph.

Instead, it's something particular to books, and by extension, I think, to RPG books. I just don't seem to enjoy long periods of reading a single thing on a screen. It's not the same as curling up with a book. Nor is it the same when you have to bring a tablet (or what have you) to the gaming table. Ugh, to me, that's the worst. To the extent that my table has banned electronic devices during gaming.

So I am throwing these questions out for general discussion-

1. Do you correctly prefer your RPG materials to be in real, book form, or are you one of those .pdf lovers?

2. Relatedly, if you're a .pdf lover, how do you like Huey Lewis and the News? I mean, their early work was a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in '83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. Huey Lewis has been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor.

3. Do you use electronic devices at your table when you are gaming in person (assuming this will ever happen again as it used to in the BEFORE TIMES)?
 

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1. At the moment, I prefer PDFs. All of my game groups but one are online, so I find having my reference material online is better for me.

2. I have never listened to Huey Lewis, and I think cynical humor is slowly going extinct, for better or for worse. But I don't know anything about comedy, so I completely pulled that opinion out of my ass.

3. I do use them while gaming in person. I have a laptop and iPad that I use for my in person group. I find it a lot easier when compared to paper products and so on to manage in real time.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
1. Do you correctly prefer your RPG materials to be in real, book form, or are you one of those .pdf lovers?

I prefer books. But I do use electronic sources when I am away from the table and my books and need to quickly search for something. I prefer books because I have a hard time focusing on a screen to read anything longer than about 1000 words. Because I love writing in my books, highlighting, marginalia, cross stuff out! and most of all because I am old.

2. Relatedly, if you're a .pdf lover, how do do you like Huey Lewis and the News? I mean, their early work was a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in '83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. Huey Lewis has been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor.
This joke needs work and feels as outdated and corny as Patrick Bateman is supposed to seem in that movie and it makes me worry about you.:rolleyes::cool::ROFLMAO:

3. Do you use electronic devices at your table when you are gaming in person (assuming this will ever happen again as it used to in the BEFORE TIMES)?

My group does game in person post vax and one player usually has his lap top with him for a spreadsheet version of his spells/abilities he likes to refer to. I usually have mine too so I can consult our game wiki. Furthermore, sometimes a player needs to be remoted in, so then we have a couple of cameras going at the table.
 

I like owning physical media. I will settle for PDF if physical media is either not readily available or the price point is to high based on how much use it will get from me. So I do have a few books that I am likely to unload sometime in the near future, in part to make space for new books. Circle of Life.
 

Mezuka

Adventurer
I prefer books because they don't require a computer. I try to get away from the computer as much as I can.

PDF are really good to do searches. I have a lot of PDFs and use them regularly.

We use computers, tablettes and phones when playing online. In person, I allow only phones to look up pdfs or wikis for rules. Having a paper character sheet is mandatory at my table.
 

I've yet to actually "Join" the All Dungeons and Dragon's Digital Player's Club(trademark never pending), but I will admit that I have a number of 5E pdfs currently on my laptop.

A number of them are from various 5E Kickstarters and some of the Humble Bundles stuff. So normally while I would have gotten both of Kobold Press's Tome of Beasts physically, when Humble Bundle was offering both of them last year along with a number of things, I jumped on that deal since it was a steal. So, I'll likely stick with just the pdf versions of those two books because of the deal. Same thing with the Underworld's Player's Guide and Kingdom of Ghouls since they were part of the same Humble Bundle deal. Also, I have wish listed a number of 4E related Dragon Magazines, for cherry picking of lore for my 5E games such as its stuff for Shadar-Kai, and they are all gonna be pdfs as well since I don't feel like hunting down the actual magazines. I just don't have that time. Also if something is pdf only, then I'll get the pdf.

But outside of those special circumstances, I'm pretty much physical books all the way. And when Nixlord's updated versions of his Monster Manual Expanded 1 and Expanded 2 come out, I'll be getting the three of those all in physical.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
1. I like books, and have an extensive collection. But I have come to appreciate the games that will never get a print release. Lots of indie games out there that can't get a publisher or are only available in PDF (sometimes POD, but often there are interesting games that will never even be POD).

2. I'm old enough to remember when Huey Lewis and the News was being boycotted by parents groups for "I Want A New Drug".

3. My main gaming group will likely NEVER PLAY IN PERSON AGAIN so we all have to use electronic devices at the table. And that's another place where PDFs shine because I can screenshare rules from the book or cut and paste blocks of rules text to them. (Of course that's also one of the benefits of using an open game system, since I can just point them at the SRD for the game as well).
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
1.If they were cheap and I had infinite storage space, my preference would be hardcover books with free .pdf for easy look up from my Google drive.

As it is, I buy hardcover for the ones I think I will use a lot and .pdf for the rest.

3. In the past, not if I have the hardcover books. Googling spells while playing on line might have changed that a bit. Hopefully we'll see sometime in 2022.
 
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Re: 1. Physical vs PDF.

I'm British, I live in London, and I'm not incredibly wealthy (despite earning a hell of a lot more than average for the UK), so I love the idea of physical books, but I just absolutely do not have the space for them. If I was five-ten years older and/or got into the housing market earlier, I suspect this wouldn't be an issue.

So not having PDFs or some other digital format for me would be a huge problem. Luckily we've got DNDBeyond for now, which is actually more legible/usable, in app-book form than PDFs are, so that's cool.

However, I do need a digital format, and I'm really hoping DNDBeyond does give us a permanent digital format eventually, otherwise well, I guess my 5E material will vanish at some point. I don't buy things in physical formats any more. Especially not as I'd have to buy them twice with D&D, once to have and once digitally to work with online character sheets and so on.

Note that I do have a 15" transforming laptop which can turn into a massive tablet, which is how I read most RPG books these days. Getting this was part of what allowed me to move fully to digital.

Re: 3. Electronic devices.

We've used laptops at the table since we've had laptops, so like, since the 1990s. We used electronic devices a ton before as well. I don't anticipate that changing. Probably the most "physical" we ever got was actually 4E, because it required a battlemat even more than 3.XE, and so we had a battlemat, counters, pens, tokens, cards for tracking initiative, etc. - But we kept all the characters in the DDI (so they are now lost forever :( :( :( ).

(As an aside, people seem to have got over being distracted by their mobiles, for the most part - when they were shiny and new, they were definitely distraction to the iPhone owners particularly, but now people seem much more capable of actually ignoring them for a few hours and/or identifying anything they actually need to respond to rather than trying to respond to everything).
 
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DeviousQuail

Adventurer
1. I prefer books even when referencing rules. The pdfs are nice for books that I'm unsure if I'll use at the table (SCAG, Eberron, Theros, etc) but I always have the PHB, DMG, Xanathar's, Tasha's, and whichever Monster book I need for that session on hand.

2. Huey Lewis and the News is already taken as a band name!?

3. I don't use them but I don't stop others from using them unless it's becoming an issue.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
1. I don't like .pdf, for reading I love the physical media, but I will use a .pdf for convenience purpose on a trip, and I love digital searchable bases where I can get direct access to exactly what I'm looking for.

2. I never listened to Huey Lewis, but I seem to remember a few hits which were not bad. But then, I'm French, so...

3. It depends on the electronic device, I like to be able to take notes on my iPad during sessions, and I love having my character sheet in details using the electronic format, but I don't like people rolling dice on their phone and tablet when there are physical dices on the table.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I love physical books and prefer them BUT have come to recognize the utility of pdfs etc.

With 5e particularly, the utility of DndBeyond is hard to match - especially over the last 2 years of playing almost exclusively online.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
3. It depends on the electronic device, I like to be able to take notes on my iPad during sessions, and I love having my character sheet in details using the electronic format, but I don't like people rolling dice on their phone and tablet when there are physical dices on the table.
This is HUGE for me. I greatly prefer physical dice over dice rollers! It just gets me into the game SO much more.
 


After years of only doing remote gaming, I've settled into a very specific relationship with PDFs.

-If I'm looking for rules during play or learning the core mechanics of a new system, PDFs are fine, and even preferable for me.

-If in-depth, linear reading is required, PDFs are a slog--like Snarf, I can't read a single digital document for long times at a stretch.

For example, the current edition of Delta Green is, to me, something like a masterpiece, and I enjoyed it in bits and pieces as PDFs. Then a friend sent me the slipcase (hardcovers of the Player's book and Handler's guide) and suddenly I was reading it like a novel, devouring stuff like that massive, beautifully-written-and-laid-out timeline of the organization in a way that my brain just couldn't on the screen. With PDF's I start skipping around on autopilot, looking for juicy little tidbits here and there, like some addled, third-act Lovecraft character who can't properly focus on any one damn thing. So to the degree that I sit down and read gaming material for pleasure, rather than straight prep, print is way more fun and efficient, but in a pinch I'll pop around in a PDF for random hits of enlightenment and dopamine.

But when it comes to using rules or adventures, especially while GM-ing, I'm all in on PDFs. These days I have about five different PDFs in minimized windows ready for checking, while my print books are across the room, prettying up the joint.

(And for context I am an old, in my mid-forties)
 

payn

Legend
#1 I am incorrect in many ways. I prefer PDFs for gaming material, love Bards, and think John Wick is just the millennial generation's Steven Segal. Why do I love PDFs? It has reduced my GM space to a single laptop. No longer do I need a rulebook, setting material, notepads, graph paper, etc.. I can easily find everything I need quickly and get to the good stuff kids go for. PDFs = Sunny D Printed books = Five Alive

#2 Agree on Huey Lewis. Its a damn shame he is nearly deaf now and can no longer perform :( I still have my '82 Sony direct drive turntable and a fresh copy of Sports like any good crypster should. I also happen to have a complete Sonos system across my entire home. So I can run my vinyl and hear it anywhere. Need a drink in the kitchen? Heart of Rock 'n' Roll is still beatin. Got to use the restroom? I want a new Drug. Down stairs at the gaming table running an 80's themed RPG. If this is it

#3 Already partially answered, but yes as GM I usually use a laptop. I say usually because things like Fiasco and PbtA dont require that level of resource. As a player though, im usually on paper and stones.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
This is HUGE for me. I greatly prefer physical dice over dice rollers! It just gets me into the game SO much more.

My remote group (and when my local group needs to play remotely) still uses actual dice. I have total trust in all my players and them in me - or else I probably wouldn't be playing with them. I don't need to see the roll.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
My remote group (and when my local group needs to play remotely) still uses actual dice. I have total trust in all my players and them in me - or else I probably wouldn't be playing with them. I don't need to see the roll.
I think I can trust both my group now, but when we started, one of the 10 year olds in my son's game needed some help to stay on the straight and narrow.

For both games as DM I roll on rolldicewithfriends. In the older group game, when someone grumbles about my having a streak of luck it's nice to be able to offer them to look (they never have).
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
My remote group (and when my local group needs to play remotely) still uses actual dice. I have total trust in all my players and them in me - or else I probably wouldn't be playing with them. I don't need to see the roll.

Even though we've been playing on Roll20, I still prefer physical dice and absolutely trust my players to roll.

Forgetting everything else, I hate how cluttered the side of the screen gets when everyone (usually 6 players plus me) is using the electronic dice roller. It's just way too cluttered and distracting for me.
 

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