The future’s bright…

OK, as we’ve previously gathered on this series of ramblings, we’ve been doing this a long time. Sure, some people along the way have ‘grown out of it’, but not us. It led me thinking, is gaming changing with technology, and if so, is that a good thing?
When I started out, it was paper, pencils and dice. To be honest, that’s still pretty much how it is now. But with the proliferation of cheap tech, it’s certainly gotten easier. Personally I prefer real books to e-ones, and paper rulebooks to pdf files, but that’s probably my age. But it is great trawling the web for background material, for obscure character sheets. There’s an enormous amount of information which is very easy to access. And you can play with tech, to a level you, as GM, are comfortable with. My cyberpunk campaigns are an example – to recreate the dark feel, you can change the room light bulbs for blue ones. That does work well, and helps you get in to ‘bladerunner’ mode. And background music- we use that quite a lot now. For cyberpunk, I built a compilation soundtrack out of what I considered suitable bands, and sound effects. You could even use it as an encounter table.
Some GMs embrace the new stuff a lot more – we’ve had campaigns where the guy emails us documents, to our tablets and smartphones. Saves printing player handouts. And regarding player handouts – remember back when you got them with the adventures, to cut out? That is showing my age. I’m no great shakes with a computer, but I enjoy creating basic documents, such as fake media articles.
Presumably the next generation of role-players don’t get what a rule-book is. It’s true you can get an awful lot of stuff on a tablet or e-reader, but you can’t fold a page over, or mark with a paperclip. That’s just a preference thing. But what is the next step? I used to wonder about players wearing an ear-piece, so that as a GM you could easily impart something to just one person. And if everyone did have a tablet or smartphone, you don’t even need to be in the room. I guess it would be a fair bit of work for the GM to organise all his files, pdfs, gifs whatever, if they wanted to go completely electronic, but once you got the hang of it…Anyway, being a GM, sometimes that is a lot of work.
But even as an old luddite, I can appreciate the advantages of the tech. I don’t much approve of using it for the sake of it, but where it adds to the experience, by bringing in new dimensions, or customising stuff, sure, let’s do it.


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