The Global GM


Ah, the wonders of technology.

I was always a hardhead that figured he'd never use a laptop at the table...that changed when I decided to stop buying books and start purchasing pdf's instead. I couldn't be bothered to print it all out and get it bound somehow. Next thing I knew I was keeping all my notes on it and using programs I had never considered before as roleplaying aids.

Next was the internet. I've never really been that interested in text based adventures as games, and so couldn't get my head into play by post or chatroom games. Some of my old players from what seems now like eons ago wanted me to run a game for them online as we all live in different directions on the compass these days. At first they suggested MSN, but I wanted audio. There are programs that exist to handle tabletop play online...but I looked at them, and most of the features were things I wouldn't make use of except for the chatbox...well, that's square one again. I tried finding audio conferencing software, but it all seemed glitchy and too office orientated.

Then it dawned on me...Skype. Sjype is a voip program for those that are not familiar. It's free between Skype users, and features conference calling for up to 4 users plus a host (me). It even has a chatbox so you can send and recieve private messages with the users during the audio call. Most importanly, the voice quality is superb. I'm a very visual person, who talks with his hands and likes to get up and walk around, or jump out of my chair and scare my I miss that part of it. However, I was pleasantly surprised halfway into the first session when I realized that I had kinda forgotten we weren't all sitting in the same room. I also get them to keep MSN open, so I can shoot pictures or other play aids to them in a flash to try to regain some of what we're missing visually. All together a perfect tool for online tabletop gaming.

Now, I run a Saturday afternoon game for players I thought I'd never get to roleplay with again. Good thing I already had all my notes on my laptop. ;)

I'm going to date myself (in the reverse of the sense usually taken with that phrase) here--I've never GM'd without a laptop. I run a quasi-weekly D&D 3.5e game, and I find that rummaging through is a lot faster than rummaging through the actual print versions of the core books.

In fact, I have encouraged my players to scan their books into .pdf files and putting them on their laptops to bring to the game. It's just so much more convenient than carrying a bunch of heavy and awkward books and spreading them all over the room.

One thing I can't get into though is the dice roller I have. LOL. Seems a small thing, but without the sound of the dice bouncing around, something is missing.