5 iOS Apps that Help Me Run My Campaign

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:

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

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!


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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

4 thoughts on “5 iOS Apps that Help Me Run My Campaign”

  1. I am currently running a 4e campaign and all my players use Fight Club by Lion’s Den in place of character sheets. The interface is sleek and highly functional. It has dice rollers for every power to make the math effortless. You have to initially enter class/race/power info, but it is saved to a “compendium” data bank that you can access again when you roll another character of the same type. We, obviously, use the 4e version, but the character tool is available in 3.5, 5e and Pathfinder.

  2. In my Mage/Werewolf game I use YouTube. A lot. I can create a video containing photos or illustrations of the location of the adventure, and include themed background music and/or sound effects. Once I finish building my gaming table — including a 42 inch flat screen in the surface — it’ll be even more useful.

  3. “5e character sheet” is free to download. For $2.99 you can remove adds and level up your characters. I also use “Spell Book.” IF you pay, it only removes adds with no other benefit that I can tell ATM. Character sheet uses the 5w rules for creation and leveling best I can tell. It have been a God send. I have used it to create many NPC’s for my games.

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