Digital Gaming; All The Cool Geeks Are Doing It
Ah the world of digital gaming where no one need fear forgetting their books, characters or dice at home, if only the same could be said for the Cheetos.
While the world has yet to invent an instant teleportation device for Cheetos and Mountain Dew it has done some pretty amazing things in the realms of digital information. There are countless uses for your iPad/iPhone or Android devices and one that should not be overlooked by geeks and gamers alike is just how useful these devices can be in your weekly game. Whether you’re getting together with a group of friends or play by posting on your favorite website these tips, tricks, and apps can make the game that much easier.
PDF how lovely is thy format: Ok so you’re ready to game, you just have to mow a few yards save a few pennies and buy the necessities. One: Players Handbook, two: if you plan to DM the Dungeon Masters Guide, three: oh and wouldn’t it be nice if you had your own copy of the Draconomicon? Someone’s always reading that right when you need it. This could go on for a while and at frequently forty dollars a book before you know it your wish list cost more than your college tuition. So let’s save a few dollars and a future back surgery from lugging around all these heavy tomes and make them digital! You can buy digital PDF formats of the rulebooks from wizards directly. Now where to put them? Naturally you can store these on your laptop, notebook, or tablet device and carry it with you to your game. But if you’re lucky enough to own an iPhone, iPod, Android or other handheld you can store the PDFs there as well making a digital library in your pocket! For iPhone I strongly recommend downloading iBooks if you haven’t already. It has a visually pleasing and user friendly PDF interface and you can’t beat free!
Oh Dice where art thou: So we’ve all forgotten our dice from time to time and had to borrow a friends or gasped in horror as our favorite d20 rolled off the table and into Bob's heater vent never to be seen again. I still have visions of pack rats hoarding my beloved marble set after an inquisitive toddler rolled them right off the table and into the void that is our ductwork. Not to fear you will no longer have to beg, plead, borrow, and promise favors to your co-gamers in order to roll your latest damage thanks to apps like Dicenomicon! This beautiful iPhone app rolls your dice for you, and with the ability to choose dice color, texture and size it’s a pretty realistic digital representation! While I stand by Dicenomicon being the best dice roller available there are others such as D20 Dice Pro also for iPhone and D20 Dice Helper for the Android fan. So now that you’ve stocked up on digital dice of every shape and size it is time to head on out there and get your roll on!
The dog ate my character sheet: Admit it, misplacing your character sheet and having to explain to the DM exactly where or how you lost it is akin to reliving the days of elementary school when you forgot your homework. Your palms sweat, you swallow once, twice, peek up at the DM and in a weak voice attempt to justify your current lack of a sheet and pray that someone besides you remembers the uber awesome magic item you got at the end of last session. Well guess what? There’s an app for that too! (I know shocking right… ) Enter RPG Scribe the latest and greatest in mobile character generation and your new best friend. With its handy “wizards” this little guy packs a punch allowing you to create new characters in minutes and store them for later use. No more Mountain Dew stains or midnight drool pooling on your sheet and blurring the lines leaving you to wonder was that a +1 or +2 battle axe, it’s all backed up in digital format! You can store multiple characters and level them up with little to no work just by adding your recent experience points to your sheet. Pick your feats, spells and gear from easy to navigate menus and even add custom created items to your possessions. The only feature this bad boy is desperately lacking is a print or export option but I’m told that’s coming soon with the 4.0 edition release. (Currently this is a 3.5 character generator) i4E is another character generator for iPhone that has similar features and rolls up the 4e variety if that’s what you’re needing and d20 Character Sheets is the title of its 3.5 Android cousin. Of course if you were hoping to ditch said lost character and roll up a newer, cooler version you no longer have a leg to stand on. The dog ate my, uh, phone…?
Dungeons and Monsters and Rules oh my: No gamer article would be complete without something for the DM, and today's applications really shine in this department. Want a random treasure generator? Need a quick dungeon? Don’t want to wrestle Jim who’s currently drooling over the only copy of the Players Handbook in the house for possession so you can look up a spell? Not a problem you can have all this in your pocket for your eyes only and de clutter the table in the process. After all you won’t need the DM screen to cover up vital information that’s on your phone or tablet device. And with the Dice roller you downloaded earlier, you no longer need the dice either, making plenty of extra room for drinks, chips and those cookies the new guy's girlfriend made just to impress you.
Treasure Box is a useful random treasure generator for iPhone, and it looks pretty darn cool too. Click the box to open and voila! Instant, random, treasure. No dice rolls, no page thumbing, 2 seconds to instant goodies. I have yet to see anything similar on the Android platform but I’m sure it’s out there somewhere for those willing to search for it.
DunGen: You’ve planned the game, created the evil overlord, and called your buddies. Now what are you forgetting? You know it’s important... Ah yes , create the dungeon! DunGen for iPhone can do that for you. While not exactly aesthetically pleasing, its usefulness certainly makes up for what it lacks in the dazzling graphics department. Load up the app select the size of your dungeon and the level of your players and DunGen maps it out. Complete with cheesy pewter figure strolling along the hallways. More importantly it actually gives random encounters, xp value, and fairly decent treasure when the figure enters a room. Also if you have an iPad there is an app called RPG Cartographer has better graphics and wow factor. Onward to instant dungeon gratification!
D20 Rules: Last but certainly not least this is probably one of the most useful apps on my iPhone and as luck would have it I am told there is an Android and iPad version as well. Thanks to the RPG open gaming license most of the content in your Dungeon Maser's Guide, Player's Handbook and various other sources can be reorganized and quoted directly for the purpose of rule distribution. And that’s pretty well what D20 Rules does: takes a vast amount of knowledge and reorganizes it in easy to search mobile menus. Races, classes, feats, spell indexes, magic items, monsters and much more. I have rarely needed to find something game based in a hurry that I could not locate with this app. It’s well laid out, not a lot of color or graphic distractions to sidetrack you from the task at hand and all in all the best little DM buddy I’ve found. Download it now! You need it, you want it, you must have it!
So now you’re armed with all the tools you need to be lord of the digital gaming world and impress all your geeky gamer friends! Whether you’re gaming around the table, out in cyber space or just using your cool new goodies to take your game mobile (After all with no books, no paper and no dice you can game anywhere now!) enjoy and game on!
Thanks to Skye for this contribution!