PDFs & Gaming

I was surprised to discovered, some time back, that so much of FRP gaming is sold on PDFs now. This is, for many people, how they buy the new gaming stuff coming out – and increasingly the older stuff that’s reissued in this format.

Personally, as my friends know well, I have been quite skeptical about the utility of these files in other areas. Too often, I think, people “collect” books on PDF and never actually bother to read them. There the files sit, on the drives, never doing any good to anyone. On the other hand, people motivated enough to actually buy the PDFs for games? That might be another matter.

One of things I’ve experienced, purely from own work, is that having a tablet vastly increased my ability to use PDFs effectively. The applications for reading them on devices like this are also improving steadily. While I think all of us would prefer to have “hard copies” it’s likely that PDFs – for better or for worse – are here to stay.

That said, I’d like to recommend a couple of things. First, if you haven’t already bought a tablet, get one. I use a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, and I’m quite happy with it.

Second, I’d think about purchasing the following PDFs:

1) Guide to the City State. This is one of the first, and very best products ever made for D&D and, in my opinion, it’s never been equaled, by anyone anywhere. Along with it, you can get Initial Guidelines Booklet I and Initial Guidelines Booklet K. Carry these around on your tablet (see above) and read them frequently for ideas and, more essentially, inspiration.

2) The Arduin Adventure. This is, as I’ve said before, the Arduin version of “Holmes Basic.” It’s a wonderfully well-done, streamlined version of the Arduin system, and rewards reading and study. The Arduin version of 1E, The Compleat Arduin is also on sale here.

3) The late M.A.R. Barker wrote an essay entitled “Create a Religion In Your Spare Time for Fun and Profit.” You can get it here. Again, another piece of writing worth far, far more than they are charging for it. You can also grab his first iteration of his own game system – Empire of the Petal Thronehere. Barker’s work can be an acquired taste, and if you have made the leap, I’d certainly recommend his The Tongue of Those Who Journey Beyond: Sunuz.

It’s easy to go crazy buying PDFs. Be disciplined! Be smart about it! But, given the ability we have now to walk around with tablets with some many of these great pieces on them, it’s an option that certainly quite attractive – even if you get the hard copies later!


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