I’ve previously blogged about the tools I use to run Raging Swan Press, but I recently realised I’ve never really talked about the software I use to help run my Borderland of Adventure and Shattered Star campaigns.
Obviously, no my shiny desktop Mac I use things like Word and Adobe Reader to read, prepare and/or create adventures. However, I use other apps during game play that make running the game so much easier.
WhatsApp has almost completely replaced email for me and my players in regards to chatting about the game. We’ve set up a group chat in which we discuss upcoming sessions, ask questions about the game and so on.
I’ve also set up private chats with each of the players for in-character conversations. That’s really handy as it keeps the information separate from my normal chats or messages with the players. This reduces confusion, keeps the chat on-track and lets them ask questions privately.
Recently, a version of WhatsApp for my Mac (as opposed to my iPhone) became available. This makes it super easy to send long, convoluted messages to the player. (And, obviously, it syncs with the WhatsApp on my phone which means I don’t lose any of the chats).
I’ve also been led to believe the players have set up another group chat wherein they plot against me…If I find this to be true, I shall crush them.
Evernote is perhaps the greatest single piece of software I use. Its basic function is mind-bogglingly simple, but it has hidden depths which I’m still exploring.
I’ve blogged about Evernote before. Check out these posts to discover why it’s so super awesome:
- 4 Reasons Evernote is a Great Gamer Tool
- 5 More Reasons Evernote is an Amazing Gamer Tool
- How I Use Evernote to Organise My Campaign
- Player Advice: How to Use Evernote as a Player
- GM Advice: How to Use Evernote to Help Run Your Session
In summary, though: get it, use it, love it and bask in the epicness that is Evernote.
In my quest to go paperless—but have lots of handy information at my fingertips during the game—I have a gargantuan virtual pile of PDFs. Goodreader lets me store and read them on my iPad.
The software lets you have multiple tabbed PDFs open at once or even to have the same PDF open at different places! How handy is that for the busy GM?
RPG Books is a marvellous app that works on both my iPhone and iPad. It’s my go-to Pathfinder reference resource. Available off-line, it contains (if you buy the optional but jolly cheap add-ons) all the official Pathfinder Roleplaying Game books. It’s searchable and you can make and organise your own bookmarks. It’s indispensable (which is why I haven’t dispensed with it).
While I mostly GM—so I don’t have much use for this app on the iPad—pretty much every player at the tables uses Herolab to run their character. Particularly useful features include the ability to apply the effects of many conditions (such as sickened, fatigued and so on) as well as spells (heroes’ feast, prayer and so on) quickly and easily to the character. It even works out encumbrance!
Teaming it with Dropbox is particularly effective as you can then access your character (or NPC) on any device on which you’ve installed HeroLab.
Not on iOS?
I live in the shiny world of Macs. If you don’t, fear not—most of these apps are available on multiple platforms! For example, Evernote and WhatsApp are basically available on every platform in the world and Herolab most definitely runs on Windows.
What Do You Use?
Do you have other apps that are indispensable to your campaign? Let me know what they are in the comments below—I’m always looking to make running my campaign easier!