Technical blog and writings by Micah Webner.

Blogrimage 2014 Day 26: Throw the Book at Them

Last week, I mentioned that I've purchased the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook in PDF form. I decided during play on Saturday that I really want to get the hardcover edition sometime. Even though it's a bit pricey, there's no better way to find things in a hurry than to just pick up the book and (eventually) let muscle memory in your fingers zip right to the correct pages. Searching in iBooks, on the other hand, is a rather hit-or-miss proposition. A few times, my iPad was so slow that I thought maybe the search query was forwarded to humans in some third-world country where the lookup was being performed manually by people reading through every page of the book. Considering that I need to look up nearly everything, that's a real time issue.

I would imagine it's rather amusing to watch me GM, peering over my glasses (or taking them off) to read, then putting them back on so I can see more than a foot or two away, the Beginner Box books, less useful but still a quick reference, and folders of notes around me, flipping through my iPad and iPhone for information.

That approach goes way back. In the early 90's, I did a lot of DOS-based programming with stacks of reference books on the floor next to my chair. These days, I hardly ever venture into Drupal development without browser tabs open to the API reference and previous projects for looking up details.

But in this pencil and paper tabletop game, it almost feels like I have the technology backwards in some ways. The PRD is great for some quick lookups, but the book should be a book. I have some of my encounters written up on the web, but more of my handwritten notes could move to electronic form. Then again, it's a little bit tempting to kick it old school and use no electronic technology while at the table at all.

I'm sure I'll find a balance at some point, but for now, this is all part of figuring out this game.