What do you NOT want to use tech for in you TTRPG?

aramis erak

Legend
In a number of areas in my life I've given up technological conveniences, either because I've found them too intrusive, because of enjoyment of older analog ways of doing things, or because I felt certain mental abilities were atrophying. For example for the most important telephone numbers I generally "dial them" rather than using speed-dial or voice shortcuts to ensure they remain committed to memory in case I lose access to my devices. I started trying to rely on my GPS a bit less when when I found I wasn't remembering directions to places I've been to multiple times. Things like that.
For me, I don't like using die-rollers at FTF games.
I'm not averse to e-readers at the table for rulebooks. I've got a 10.5" e-ink reader. Over 3500 pdfs on it, but about 1/3 are my notes and adventures. I wish it were color e-ink, but it's grayscale. I wish it were faster, but it was pretty fast for eInk at the time I got it.

I don't like use of vtt's at table.

I really don't like people tuning out when it's not their turn. Especially when it's into videos.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I really don't like people tuning out when it's not their turn. Especially when it's into videos.
As mentioned, I use my tablet and/or phone at the table all the time- obviously, since my PCs are on them. Sometimes, I’ll text the GM with a secret comm, but that’s rare. Still, if the GM keeps his devices handy at the table, it’s better than passing notes, IMHO.

(It’s also handy as a GM if you’re running a game with a Doppelganger or other kind of mole in the party.)

But if I’m searching for something online during a game, it’s NOT videos. It’s going to be something like a rule or the text of a feat/spell/power/device, etc. IOW, I’m trying to be prepared for my next action. Or I’m trying to help out another player.

That annoyed a couple of GMs at first, until they realized I wasn’t tuning them out.
 

For me, I don't like using die-rollers at FTF games.
I'm not averse to e-readers at the table for rulebooks. I've got a 10.5" e-ink reader. Over 3500 pdfs on it, but about 1/3 are my notes and adventures. I wish it were color e-ink, but it's grayscale. I wish it were faster, but it was pretty fast for eInk at the time I got it.

I don't like use of vtt's at table.

I really don't like people tuning out when it's not their turn. Especially when it's into videos.
Results vary, but I used a VTT for more than a decade F2F (before shifting to the infinitely superior online experience).

I found that players are less likely to tune out on a VTT because they can watch the fight happen in front of them in living color, measure distances, examine areas exposed by moving light sources, instead of listening to the GM and Player #3 figuring out of the d6 representing Orc #3 is 24' or 30' from the click-base superhero figure that represents a Dwarf Fighter.
 

delericho

Legend
In theory I would rather be tech-free while playing (for everyone at the table). In practice, I'm not going to even try to enforce that on my players, and anyway I've found electronic documents just far too useful recently.

For prep, I'll use any tool going. :)
 

payn

Legend
For me, I don't like using die-rollers at FTF games.
I'm not averse to e-readers at the table for rulebooks. I've got a 10.5" e-ink reader. Over 3500 pdfs on it, but about 1/3 are my notes and adventures. I wish it were color e-ink, but it's grayscale. I wish it were faster, but it was pretty fast for eInk at the time I got it.

I don't like use of vtt's at table.

I really don't like people tuning out when it's not their turn. Especially when it's into videos.
I agree with you for at the table. Though, as a GM I use a laptop for my PDFs, notes, and rolling. Its just easier to run a game, especially when you have 5-10 enemies to track in a combat. The players have one character and maybe a pet or summon so its easy to roll dice and track that.
 



Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
This has me thinking about where I think I'm using tech too much and where I would draw a line or dial things back.

I want to address this just a bit. Any statement of the form, "this is too much," is incomplete. There is an implicit, "for X purpose or goal" at the end. Sometimes "implicit" means "unstated so that we don't really know what it is.

So, we can ask, what result in gaming might your tech use be too much for?


1. Physical Books.

I tend to prep in a bit of a mixed-mode. For prep PDFs are slightly more awkward - if I am writing my prep by hand, then I'm swtching back and forth from my computer to paper, and if I am doing my prep electronically, I have screen real-estate limitations.

In play, if we are using paper sheets, physical books are superior. Online play, pdf and online sources are superior.


I will use online dice rollers if playing online, and that's what the GM wants.
I've been playing online with some folks that are not great at memorizing rules, and the rules-automation in Roll20 is a boon for them, so I get the appeal.
But, honestly, I prefer the physicality of rolling dice, and will do that when I can.

3. Paper character sheets.

D&D Beyond has awesome online sheets. I was resistant to trying them initially, but now I'm good with them for any D&D game. Roll20 sheets are acceptable, but not as great.
Electronic access to rules when using electronic sheets is also awesome - clicking on a thing to know the text of a feat or spell is far superior to opening a book.

So, for D&D, I am more than happy to use D&D Beyond.

Historically, at least half of my gaming has been non-D&D, though, so paper sheets are fine.


4. In person play.

I definitely prefer in-person play. For a couple in my regular group, online play doesn't serve well - being on camera or only audio doesn't work for everyone.

I have a couple of online games that are with folks I know and like, but live far away. Gaming online with them is better than not gaming with them, so online it is.
 

I think whatever technology I use or don't use I tend to be pretty minimalist in my prep and presentation. Not necessarily in terms of thinking about the game, but in terms of how I play. The thing I want to focus on is the interaction with other people rather than a screen or even a set of notes at the table. I'd prefer to do dungeon exploration as all theater of the mind, but a simple vtt (owlbear rodeo) when playing online makes spatial orientation a bit easier. But this is true when prepping in analog forms--I'm not the kind of to have a huge 3 ring binder with tons of worldbuilding notes. Probably my best sessions have been run off a few index cards and a dyson logos map.
 


aramis erak

Legend
I agree with you for at the table. Though, as a GM I use a laptop for my PDFs, notes, and rolling. Its just easier to run a game, especially when you have 5-10 enemies to track in a combat. The players have one character and maybe a pet or summon so its easy to roll dice and track that.
I find it so much easier to keep track of stats on paper than on the computer that I do so even when using a VTT...
 

payn

Legend
I find it so much easier to keep track of stats on paper than on the computer that I do so even when using a VTT...
You must have one hell of a mathematical mind. The GMs I know who insist sticking to paper I can run circles around with digital means. Add coded automation in VTT and forget about it. Hats off.
 

Reynard

Legend
So don't let him use it.
Last session on of the other players asked him to turn it off and he did. but I don't consider it my place to tell the players how to play their characters. I wouldn't tell a player to stop using a terrible Cockney accent for their halfling bard, or whatever.
 

aramis erak

Legend
You must have one hell of a mathematical mind.
Not particularly, but writing is part of how I remember things past a couple minutes. I could write on the eInk tablet, but... that's effectively just using it as paper.
Also, I write with less pain than i type, and almost the same speed.
The GMs I know who insist sticking to paper I can run circles around with digital means. Add coded automation in VTT and forget about it. Hats off.
The VTTs I've been using, I find the automation gets in the way more than helps, since I'm prone to use of optional rules. Most especially alternate attribute assignments for specific rolls.
I often spontaneously add NPCs or alter them on the fly; in many of the games I run, NPCs are template based (D&D 5E, L5R 5E, Pendragon 4e, FFG/Edge Star Wars, Talisman Adventures), and I keep a file that I update with new expansions consolidating them; I print it out, keep it handy at game. Toss a paperclip on the page I need... use an index card for expendables/cumulatives (HP, etc)
 


Last session on of the other players asked him to turn it off and he did. but I don't consider it my place to tell the players how to play their characters. I wouldn't tell a player to stop using a terrible Cockney accent for their halfling bard, or whatever.
If a player is doing something that diminishes my enjoyment of the game, he ceases, or leaves. Put in as diplomatic a fashion as possible, but that's non-negotiable. Be it eating with an open mike, or using stupid accents.

But to each their own.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Really? Roll20's self-calculating PC/NPC sheet are extremely useful in my games. I just click on a button, and the page does all the math.
I've not used Roll20 - I've used Maptools, Foundry, and gTove.
Maptools and Foundry both don't make it easy to switch att link on the fly. GTove doesn't have any character automation - it's purely maps, tokens, and dice, plus the ability to add some trackables, but no automation.


The MapTools and Foundary hard link - click the skill, and it rolls the standard stat+skill combo by standard linkage only, gets in the way. It's exactly the most f'ing annoying part for me, the dealbreaker, especially since my favored games all have options for "any att with any skill"... despite having defaults. About 1 in 20 rolls in Alien, I was using something other than standard attribute, this was a hassle running it under Foundary using the official module.

Games I've run recently FTF include
  • FFG Star Wars - hard links, explicit permission to ignore them. Also, no grid-/area-based movement,
  • L5R 5e - no links, except for a very few specific types of rolls (healing/recovery.)
  • Transformers - no attribute effect on rolls
  • Twilight 2000 4E- hard linked, but permission to switch explicit in rules. Almost all rolls require modifications to dice sizes.
  • Talisman Adventures - most skills list 2 or 3 traits which can be used for various situations, and explicitly allows calls for others when appropriate.
  • Classic Traveller - no consistent rolling mechanic, let alone hard links, except in combat. And then, the mods are many.
  • 2d20 system - dice not linked to abilities, but TN on dice is. # of Dice linked to expendable spends
    • Star Trek Adventures - no hard links - 72 possible permutations of att and skill and whether specialty applies
    • Dune: 50 permutations of drive, skill, and if in specialty
In general, I found running Alien under Foundry frustratingly constrained in terms of mechanics. Using a non-standard attribute, even when it makes sense, is a major slowdown; takes longer than using physical dice.
 
Last edited:

I've not used Roll20 - I've used Maptools, Foundry, and gTove.
Maptools and Foundry both don't make it easy to switch att link on the fly. GTove doesn't have any character automation - it's purely maps, tokens, and dice, plus the ability to add some trackables, but no automation.


The MapTools and Foundary hard link - click the skill, and it rolls the standard stat+skill combo by standard linkage only, gets in the way. It's exactly the most f'ing annoying part for me, the dealbreaker, especially since my favored games all have options for "any att with any skill"... despite having defaults. About 1 in 20 rolls in Alien, I was using something other than standard attribute, this was a hassle running it under Foundary using the official module.

Games I've run recently FTF include
  • FFG Star Wars - hard links, explicit permission to ignore them. Also, no grid-/area-based movement,
  • L5R 5e - no links, except for a very few specific types of rolls (healing/recovery.)
  • Transformers - no attribute effect on rolls
  • Twilight 2000 4E- hard linked, but permission to switch explicit in rules. Almost all rolls require modifications to dice sizes.
  • Talisman Adventures - most skills list 2 or 3 traits which can be used for various situations, and explicitly allows calls for others when appropriate.
  • Classic Traveller - no consistent rolling mechanic, let alone hard links, except in combat. And then, the mods are many.
  • 2d20 system - dice not linked to abilities, but TN on dice is. # of Dice linked to expendable spends
    • Star Trek Adventures - no hard links - 72 possible permutations of att and skill and whether specialty applies
    • Dune: 50 permutations of drive, skill, and if in specialty
In general, I found running Alien under Foundry frustratingly constrained in terms of mechanics. Using a non-standard attribute, even when it makes sense, is a major slowdown; takes longer than using physical dice.
Ah, yeah. I used MapTool for years, playing F2F.

Roll20 has self-filling PC sheets for PCs and NPCs. You plug in the attributes, and the sheet calculates them into secondary attributes, etc. In combat, you tap a button next to a weapon entry, and it rolls to hit, notes criticals, fumbles, exploding dies, or what have you, and usually damage as well, all displayed in chat. Same thing for attributes and skills. Tap a button, and a description of a spell, talent, special ability, Trait, Flaw, or whatever your PC has pops up in chat, making it easy to conform what is going on.

So much of the drudgery of combat is done by the system, that everyone can focus on what is actually happening in a fight.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
For me, I don't like using die-rollers at FTF games.
I'm not averse to e-readers at the table for rulebooks. I've got a 10.5" e-ink reader. Over 3500 pdfs on it, but about 1/3 are my notes and adventures. I wish it were color e-ink, but it's grayscale. I wish it were faster, but it was pretty fast for eInk at the time I got it.
I love my Kindle Oasis, but a game tool it is not. Great for reading a novel, but way to slow and clunky to be alternating among several books, searching, and jumping around a book.

While I hate reading for a long time from a PDF, a well bookmarked PDF is easy to navigate and search and I can have multiple open and toggle among them quickly on a laptop / tablet.

Every VTT I've used makes for a poor interface to reference rules except for one killer feature. The ability to pull up a rule, spell, or item clicking on the PC/NPC character sheet it really convenient.

In terms of adventure content, for a dungeon crawl or other map-focused adventure, having all the flavor text in the VTT can be convenient, but for the most part I prefer to have the PDF or print copy of the adventure and run from that. Just easier to get the big picture and to read ahead. I'll use map notes/journal enteries for certain traps or effects pinned on the map, but for the most part the VTT is just for the map and tokens, and character sheets.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I have a player that uses voice changing software for our VTT/Discord games, and I absolutely HATE it.
I thought of playing with that as a DM. But, like Syrinscape, and other music and sound apps, it's just more stuff I have to manage as a DM. I like using tech to help me run my games, but I don't want my laptop screen to look like an airplane cockpit.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top