Questions tagged [tools]

For questions about using an online or offline tool in preparing or running an RPG. (This tag is not to be used for questions about the use of in-game tools, such as carpenter's tools or a forgery kit; the [equipment] tag might be more appropriate.) Note that questions asking for a tool recommendation are off topic here.

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112
votes
44answers
42k views

What tools are useful to organize a GM's campaign notes? [closed]

There are plenty of tools available to organize campaign notes. I've tried 4x6 cards, files on my computer, notebooks, and more. I have thought of trying mind mapping software such as FreeMind, note ...
54
votes
5answers
7k views

GMing for [dis]abled players, specifically blind players?

What kind of measures should one take when running a game which includes a [dis]abled player (or players) such as a blind of deaf player? Are there any technologies or styles which are particularly ...
49
votes
24answers
21k views

Need way to physically track initiative in face-to-face D&D game

Just DM'd my first ever non-online game. We had an absolute blast, 10/10 would play again, but keeping track of initiative in combat was terrible. I had chosen to just list their character names (and ...
41
votes
16answers
3k views

What tools or strategies have you found useful when not all players can be in the same physical space? [closed]

Having recently moved most of the way across the US, I am looking for effective ways to continue to game with roleplayers from my previous home. What tools (Skype, mapping applications, etc.) and ...
40
votes
7answers
6k views

What's the purpose of the same page tool?

The same page tool has been mentioned on this site and I would like to use it if needed. The problem is that I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of the tool is. My first impression was that this ...
39
votes
10answers
6k views

How can I enjoy being a DM when I have an explorer personality?

I live in a small Finnish town with my wife and we want to play. But we cannot find any GMs there. So I decided to try to be GM myself. The problem is - I love to explore the worlds, story, monsters, ...
39
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I make things easier on my dyslexic and high-functioning autistic players?

I have other players read out information from my dyslexic player's character sheets when necessary, and I use non-verbal visual aids whenever possible. I generally give out copies of any important ...
32
votes
17answers
16k views

What is the single most influential book every GM should read? [closed]

If you had your career as a GM to start again, what book would you wish to have read before you started on the path of learning to be a GM. This needn't be restricted to RPG source and rulebooks of ...
32
votes
14answers
4k views

What ebook readers work well with roleplaying PDF? [closed]

Given the advent of various tablets, netbooks, and ebook readers which works best for viewing AND using roleplaying PDFs. Unreleased products should be mentioned as well as the field is constantly ...
30
votes
4answers
41k views

Random Dungeon/Maze Generator [closed]

I'm looking for a good random dungeon/maze generator. Some key features I'd like it to have: Can generate a regular maze (one entrance & exit, even passage width, every spot within the area is ...
30
votes
5answers
43k views

What do I need to set up and use a projector as a tabletop?

I have a really nice projector for my home theater, and I am considering using it for a tabletop gaming setup as well. What do I need to know about mounting it? What are the tricks or issues? What ...
29
votes
5answers
6k views

How can I effectively map a multi-level dungeon?

My players are getting awfully close to entering a multi-story pagoda dungeon that exists in my game. I think it'll be a fun adventure, but I find that I am worried about trying to map it all out for ...
29
votes
9answers
3k views

How do you track the PCs' reputation?

I'm currently planning a game with a significant amount of intrigue. I envision the players undertaking actions and adventures that will endear them to one group, and anger others. It occurs to me ...
29
votes
5answers
12k views

Tools/techniques for optimal tabletop gaming with one remote user

A member of our group has moved to Dallas and we're involving them in the game using Skype. The rest of us are sitting around a table. We have one laptop being used to show the player, and usually ...
29
votes
2answers
674 views

Where did the writing-focused roleplaying forums go?

Asking on behalf of a friend. She writes: One of my first experiences with text-based roleplaying was on an anime AU (alternate universe) forum. While they accepted people with all levels of literacy,...
27
votes
8answers
16k views

How reliable are dice rolling programs?

Dice programs and their use around the table are on the rise: Are there any characteristics, qualities, or quirks of results obtained by using dice programs which might detract from play? Improve it? ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is it a bad idea to use Same Page Tool as a survey?

The same page tool is a list of questions with answers which represent different approaches to playing role playing games. For more information, check the related question What's the purpose of the ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

How can we allow remote players to effectively interact with a physical tabletop battle-map?

Part of our in-person tabletop group moved six hours away mid-campaign. We've been dealing with the distance by having multiple laptops set up, one with the players on the screen and the camera ...
25
votes
8answers
96k views

What tools are available to create custom dungeon maps?

I want to create my own maps for my campaign, but I'm not good at drawing. Are there any tools that could help me? As I'm not good at drawing pictures myself, I'm looking for a tool that allows you ...
25
votes
6answers
2k views

What are some character development tools? [closed]

I have a character that I want to develop slowly through the campaign. By this I mean I want him to slowly mature and change his personality through the sessions. What tool or trick can I use to ...
25
votes
8answers
24k views

How can I clean a stained battlemat?

I just bought a brand new $40 Chessex Battlemat. Instead of reading the included paper I just assumed that Crayola "WASHable markers" would easily wash off. Now I have a brand new mat covered in ...
24
votes
8answers
11k views

Cheat-proof online die roller? [closed]

I am looking for an online die roller that works similarly to the following: The GM provides a string identifier to the player. E.g., "gandalf attacks balrog #12" The player enters the id on the ...
23
votes
8answers
5k views

How to Format a DM's Notebook for an Open World Game

I've been DM'ing a homebrew sandbox-style D&D 4e game for the past few months, and it's been going well so far. However, the players have finally left the "starting area" of bouncing between three ...
22
votes
14answers
7k views

How to keep track of statuses and conditions?

Every round someone is getting dazed, marked, bloodied, quarried, cursed, blinded, slowed, penalized, buffed, stunned, or taking ongoing damage... the list goes on. At paragon tier with a six-player ...
22
votes
6answers
8k views

What is the optimal way to design a well balanced party

Confession - I just TPK'd my group....again. One of the reasons that has been identified is that while the party is composed of 5 pretty well optimized characters, as a party they just aren't in sync....
21
votes
9answers
3k views

How to keep track of abilities for D&D 4e?

What are some effective ways to keep track of my character's various abilities? I would prefer cheap or free tools.
21
votes
2answers
3k views

What software does the WOTC design team use to layout the rulebooks?

I'm presently writing a setting sourcebook for my own campaign, and I'd like it to look at least somewhat like the D&D 5e books, but I'm finding most of the obvious software programs used for ...
21
votes
1answer
3k views

What's the name of cardboard wall DMs use to hide their part of table?

What's the name of this thing? Inside part looks like a cheat sheet, but I have seen images with different content inside these "walls". Photo by Sargoth is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported (...
21
votes
4answers
3k views

Method for playing an online text-based RPG that doesn't require everyone to be online at once?

I am contemplating starting up a web-based text game for my D&D group to be played alongside our weekly sessions. The idea would be to play through events related to the main storyline, but not so ...
21
votes
4answers
960 views

Location generation system?

I tend to GM campaigns where players travel a lot. Whether it is through D&D planes or in a space-opera setting, they are bound to visit a lot of very different and varied places. And I have to ...
21
votes
8answers
7k views

What software utilities provide support for playing Microscope? [closed]

I'm interested in playing Microscope online and was wondering if anyone knows what tools exist that might support this? Microscope differs from many RPGs in that it is primarily playing using blank ...
20
votes
3answers
19k views

How can one make a DIY “Silent Dice Tower”?

I currently use a Chessex Dice Boot for rolling dice at the table. It's fairly compact, very portable, and does a great job of minimizing the table area required for a good roll of the dice. There's ...
19
votes
4answers
1k views

What's the legality of making a character editor?

I want to develop a character editor for role-playing games. At first just for one game, but I want to expand it later to cover multiple games. What laws (like copyright and intellectual-property) do ...
19
votes
9answers
4k views

What are the preferred Android apps for gaming? [closed]

What Android apps do you use for gaming? What are the preferred dice rollers, time keepers, audio/video recorders, notes, etc.? Please present only one App per answer so that they may be rated and ...
19
votes
12answers
6k views

What is a good combat tracker for D&D 4th Edition?

As my players go up levels there are more and more variables in combat. I need help. What solutions exist out there and what makes them good?
19
votes
5answers
1k views

What are some good sources for combat tactics for a GM to use?

My players are extremely strategic, and they're consistently (and too easily) defeating groups of enemies that I intended to present a real challenge. Probably for the same reason that I suck at chess,...
19
votes
4answers
9k views

Ambient Sounds (not music!) [closed]

I'm currently running a campaign with highly interactive players who do a lot of exploring, debating, politicizing, weaving intrigues, etc., etc. (We rarely have real fights, maybe once every 5-10 ...
18
votes
3answers
580 views

What was this set of RPG tools called?

Years ago, I found a set of free RPG tools on someone's website. It included: A random treasure hoard generator for D&D third edition. A random dungeon map generator. It created black-and-white ...
18
votes
5answers
7k views

Does anyone know of specific types of room lists for different kinds of (fantasy) buildings?

Here's a problem I encounter when creating buildings for D&D: I quickly run out of specific room types. For instance, when I create a temple, I can think of the main worship area, chambers for the ...
18
votes
9answers
20k views

Software to make DIY Item Cards [closed]

I'm a big fan of Paizo's GameMastery item cards. I also like GoDeckYourself but I'm wondering if anyone knows of any other software or websites that can be used to make your own Item Cards or Power ...
17
votes
21answers
7k views

What iPhone / iPad apps do you use for gaming? [closed]

What iPhone / iPad applications do you use for your gaming? One per answer, please, and vote up ones you have used and like.
17
votes
11answers
71k views

What's the best software for mapmaking? [closed]

I would like to know if Paint.NET and Paint Shop Pro are the best tools for creating fantasy cartography. Does better software exist? If so, what is the software, and what specific features make it ...
17
votes
6answers
3k views

What free software can I use for laying out my own RPG? [closed]

As I entered a contribution into a 24h-rpg-design-contest (Tanelorn Challenge; similar to Game Chef but German) I was wondering about how to lay out my game. What software would you recommend me for ...
17
votes
5answers
97k views

Is there a tool to make custom character sheets? [closed]

Is there a tool out there, preferably free, specifically for making custom, system-agnostic character sheets? I'm looking for something a little more focused than a general program like PhotoShop/GIMP,...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

What happened to Irony Games' tools?

About five years ago, there used to be a site called Irony Games that hosted a variety of useful map generator tools (Non-functional list of tools shown here). Have these tools ever been re-hosted ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I examine the distribution of successes-counting mixed dice pools?

After looking at AnyDice's Documentation and Function Library, I remain baffled. I know that AnyDice can do this, but I don't know how to tell it to. Scott Gray's Dice Pool Generator is easier to use ...
16
votes
10answers
3k views

Best way to use a GM Screen nowadays?

This may just be me but I like the feel of having an old school GM/DM screen up. However, between laptops, mountains of books, and more frequently having to see the battle layout, I find that within ...
16
votes
5answers
8k views

Generate an engaging and “realistic” tribe of orcs (also one of ogres)

My players recently turned a slaughter of low-level orcs & ogres (separate situations) into a massive recruitment drive. Given the choice between death and lucrative mercenary work, most chose to ...
16
votes
2answers
24k views

Is there a complete character planner software for Pathfinder? [closed]

I am looking for a software suite or a set of separate applications that would fulfill the following requirements: Able to build characters for Pathfinder Has all the contents published by Paizo that ...
16
votes
6answers
3k views

How do I model the fighter's Great Weapon Fighting fighting style in Anydice?

I was trying to create an AnyDice function to model the Great Weapon Fighting fighting style (which lets you reroll 1s and 2s), but I couldn't get it to work on any arbitrary dice. I've found this ...

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