Category Archives: RPG tools

Ask The Readers: Gaming-related Android apps?

Android Logo Since I own an iPhone (and later an iPad) I’ve looked for ways to use these devices at the gaming table. Over the last years a lot of gaming-related apps have been released for iOS, from apps providing you with background music and environmental sounds, dice rollers, iniative trackers and map creation tools. Nowadays I mostly use my iPad at the game table to a) view PDFs and b) play background music on it. But iOS is only one of the popular smartphone operating systems out there.

I also recently decided that my next phone will be an Android device, so I am looking for interesting Android apps that can be used around the game table. Alas I haven’t followed the Android scene that closely in the last years, so I ask our readers for help. What are your favorite gaming-related Android apps? What are your experiences with using Android devices at the game table? As always any comment is highly appreciated!

Stuff for the travelling GM: Bluetooth Audio Cube

Verbatim Bluetooth Audio Cube Even though I am currently going through a gaming dry spell, it doesn’t mean that I can’t share a few tricks from my GM toolbox. As I’ve mentioned before I love to use music in my games. Nowadays it’s very easy to carry a lot of music around on an MP3 player or smart phone. I usually have a large variety of background music on my iPhone or iPad that I can easily take with me when I run a game away from home.

The problem is that the speakers on the iPhone and iPad are ok for watching YouTube videos, but they are lacking when it comes to music and I don’t really want to place the phone or tablet in the middle of the table during play. That’s why I picked up a small and easily transportable Bluetooth speaker made by Verbatim several months ago. The device is powered by either two AA batteries or via USB. The sound quality is surprisingly good and it even looks pretty sleek.

By the way, even if your MP3 player doesn’t support Bluetooth you can still connect it to the speaker via a standard audio cable. I think I paid about €40 for the Audio Cube when I bought it back in the day. If you like to play some music during your games and if you are of the travelling kind of GM, the Verbatim Bluetooth Audio Cube (or a similar device) is a must-have!

Turn! Turn! Turn! To Everything There is a Season

Recent events have me thinking about time; time keeping in games, the effects on pacing and the meaning for players. As I turn a year older soon and I prepare to return to my long running fantasy campaign I’ve been revising the campaign calendar and thinking about how to make the passage of time relevant to players.

Just to provide some context let me share how I’ve dealt with this in the past. When I began playing RPGs there was very little consideration for time, beyond knowing what season it was, and sometimes not even that. Traveling to the dungeon took X amount of days, a sea travels so many weeks, so on and so forth. If players asked about days of the week I believe I simply used real world days for ease of reference.

Soon after I began developing my home brewed campaign, I began to thinker with calendars. This was back before I had a computer, so I did most of my planning by hand, I might have been inspired by an article in Dragon Magazine, no idea which issue, dealing with just this subject. Eventually I began to use spread sheets and a calendar creation tool in the Irony Games website (apparently now defunct!) to create a calendar for my game.

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