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boulet
11-14-2008, 07:46 AM
[MODERATOR'S NOTE: Split off from the "Making my own RPG" thread.]


Funny that the dead tree version would be less expensive than the pdf ! Usually it's the other way around.

fmitchell
11-14-2008, 08:53 AM
Funny that the dead tree version would be less expensive than the pdf ! Usually it's the other way around.

WotC sells PDFs of 3.x and 4e at the retail dead tree price. (Scans of older D&D are $5, but sometimes are barely legible.) White Wolf and Mongoose, among others, are usually 25% or 33% less than the dead tree versions, which you can sometimes beat on Amazon or in the used book market. Generally only indie publishers make their PDFs half-price or less.

boulet
11-14-2008, 09:47 AM
Generally only indie publishers make their PDFs half-price or less.
Sometimes they offer the pdf when you buy the dead tree version.

Sometimes (I think House of the Blooded) the pdf price is so low that it's a tactical choice like a bait for the dead tree : if you like the pdf text it's assumed you'll purchase the book in order to play the game for real. I like this way of thinking :)

tesral
11-14-2008, 09:49 AM
WotC sells PDFs of 3.x and 4e at the retail dead tree price. (Scans of older D&D are $5, but sometimes are barely legible.) White Wolf and Mongoose, among others, are usually 25% or 33% less than the dead tree versions, which you can sometimes beat on Amazon or in the used book market. Generally only indie publishers make their PDFs half-price or less.

You can get dead trees dirt cheap on the Amazon market place. It all depends on the condition you are willing to accept. Lizards doesn't want to sell PDF, that is why the steep price. (Not that their current books have any physical quality.)

I don't like them myself. I get dead tree of any book I plan to use. I've never seen PDF as anything but a try before you buy option. Or a suitable format for printouts like dungeon tiles and foldups.

For that kind of thing RPGnow (http://www.rpgnow.com/?src=newsletter)is a great source.

fmitchell
11-14-2008, 10:58 AM
I get dead tree of any book I plan to use. I've never seen PDF as anything but a try before you buy option. Or a suitable format for printouts like dungeon tiles and foldups.

For me, it's more of a "what's it worth to me" decision. If it's a game I think I'll play, they I'll usually splurge for the book. If it's more for ideas or optional rules, which I probably won't use at the table, I'll get the PDF ... especially if it's short (which is where PDF shines as a format).

Recently I bought RuneQuest Slaine for $9 plus shipping ... and found it was yet another example of crappy Mongoose binding. I'm not sure if I actually got deal. My "copy" of RuneQuest Aldryami is a PDF, but at least I don't have to fight with the virtual pages to keep them open.

Webhead
11-14-2008, 11:33 AM
You can get dead trees dirt cheap on the Amazon market place. It all depends on the condition you are willing to accept. Lizards doesn't want to sell PDF, that is why the steep price. (Not that their current books have any physical quality.)

I don't like them myself. I get dead tree of any book I plan to use. I've never seen PDF as anything but a try before you buy option. Or a suitable format for printouts like dungeon tiles and foldups...

I am very thankful that so many publishers offer their books in PDF format along side hardcopies. I always have to have a hard copy of any "core" book or book that I would need to reference regularly at the game table because we don't use computers during our game, but for most other things, I spring for PDFs if they are cheaper. However, if the PDF costs the same as dead-tree edition, I will get the dead-tree instead.

Here are the reasons why I have become so happy for PDF books:

1) They are often cheaper than print.

2) They are easy to store and transfer, making them easily accessible (I can keep a copy on my desktop, the laptop, my computer at work, on a flash drive for quick access, etc.)

3) They keep my game table and book shelves uncluttered by books that I won't need to reference every game. This is especially true for "setting" books. The same way I don't need to drag around an entire encyclopedia when I travel, I don't need to drag around a "setting" book to every game session when it's likely I won't use it. If I feel that I will need a particular section or page of the book, I can easily print it out and stick it in my gaming binder...which brings me to my next point...

4) Great multimedia resource. If I need a particular image, stat block, map or table out of the book to hand out to my players, Acrobat will allow me to copy, paste and rearrange from the book to create my own useful reference sheets, handouts and other materials so that I can give the players (and myself) exactly what I need to set a scene or deliver information without flipping through books or having to bring along a particular book just because it has one picture in it that I want the players to see. I'm a very visual person and I want to communicate a lot of information to my players visually. PDFs give me more freedom to customize those visual cues for maximum effect. For dead-tree books, it involves a pocket full of quarters, a Xerox machine, scotch tape and scissors. I know...that's how I used to do it back in the "old days". It worked, but PDFs are so much easier to manipulate.

5) Secrecy. When you pull out the Psionics Handbook in the middle of a game, all the players go "uh oh...looks like we'll be facing something psionic soon". But if you pull out a sheet with the needed information on it, you don't tip your hand to the players and can keep your players guessing. It also increases the efficiency of running special scenarios or rules when you have just what you need in front of you and don't have to wade through pages of unnecessary material. By keeping unneeded books off your table, you also decrease wandering player attention spans as they mindlessly scoop up books and browse during the game...always a plus.

For that reason, I tend to bring an A.S.S. with me when running a game (Archived Storyteller Support). That way, when my players give me odd looks and ask "Where the heck did that come from?", I just reply "Oh, I just pulled it out of my A.S.S.". ;)

boulet
11-14-2008, 04:53 PM
Thanks for the suggestions Webhead ! I like the idea of "print relevant informations out of a pdf instead of perusing 200 pages of book makes game fluid".

MightySchoop
11-14-2008, 04:58 PM
Give me paper over pdf any day!

I don't use a laptop at my gaming table. I don't want my players using laptops at my gaming table. I find the laptop to be more of a distraction than a tool.

tesral
11-14-2008, 10:49 PM
Thanks for the suggestions Webhead ! I like the idea of "print relevant informations out of a pdf instead of perusing 200 pages of book makes game fluid".

It's something I have done forever. When I sit down to DM, the books almost never come out, pdf or dte (dead tree edition.) My key has the relevant facts printed in it.

nijineko
11-14-2008, 10:49 PM
when used wisely, laptops rule at the table. some prep work is needed to make it happen though. the advantages of being able to reference EVERYTHING i own and only having to lug 5lbs of computer and flash drives to some game, instead of the 50lbs+ of books, are very worthwhile. with my computer i can keep realtime logs of what's going on when it's not my turn, i can even map our routes, use the spell reference proggy i have to pull up any spell from the srd by keyword, the list goes on.

i usually try to sit where the gm can see my screen, so that they can rest assured i'm "in-game". i'm not one of those who does other things like surf the web or play games... that's just rude. but since there are those who do, i make sure the gm not only knows, but can see for themselves. =D

despite all that, i want to own the book. i'm a die-hard honmushi. [hoe'-nn'-moo'-shee] (bookworm) and you can tell too, when i'm building something complex, i'll have a ring of books around me open to various spots, with things for bookmarks stuck in various other pages, plus my computer sitting in one of the book spots, displaying extra related information. ^^

for me, the computer is just another book. a little more versatile, but nonetheless, just a fancy book.

MortonStromgal
11-17-2008, 11:35 AM
I like PDFs for Adventures, Monsterbooks, and a few other GM things (like maps) where I'm going to want to print some and put them in my notes. Otherwise dead tree wins.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-17-2008, 07:28 PM
Truth be know, i'm old-school, and therefore will always be partial to the dead-tree editions. I'm also a techie and therefore will... and i realize this about myself, eventually be running all my docs from my laptop--no doubt before this decade is up. Good, bad, or indifferent? I dont know.

DungeonMaster
11-21-2008, 05:05 PM
I play with a group of people whohaveto see things in a book for themselves forthemto believe it. It is easier to hand a dead tree across the table than my laptop,especially when its plugged in.:)

Bearfoot_Adam
11-29-2008, 12:01 AM
Though I'll download a PDF if necessary I'm not a fan. It's the idea of spending that much time reading small print on a screen. My eyes are bad enough. So it's used dead trees for me.

tesral
11-29-2008, 01:10 AM
I just used a PDF for what it was meant for Guild of Blades Retail group, (http://www.guildofblades.com/gobstore-madisonheights-mi.php) a really neat game shop and Print on Demand service in Madison Ht., Mi. I took Bureau 13 for the d20 System up there and had them bind me up a copy. Mind you the book cannot be had in dead tree. Well I now have a dead tree.

nijineko
12-04-2008, 02:03 PM
now that's something i've been really wanting. a massive tome of all my d&d books. not that it would be all that convenient, per se, but just to have a massive tome would be thematically neat. ^^

very handy link. thanks. =D

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
12-04-2008, 02:41 PM
now that's something i've been really wanting. a massive tome of all my d&d books. not that it would be all that convenient, per se, but just to have a massive tome would be thematically neat. ^^

very handy link. thanks. =D
Put me down for one as well--if ever you find... two.

DungeonMaster
12-05-2008, 05:01 PM
I am so in the market for a tome of all the DnD books too.... hey go back to my thread i updated u know the threadthatthisone sprouted from

tesral
12-05-2008, 11:42 PM
I am so in the market for a tome of all the DnD books too.... hey go back to my thread i updated u know the threadthatthisone sprouted from

How thick are you willing for this thing to be? I suppose you could take the existing book, rip the hard covers off and have a POD shop bind them up as one book.

While you are at it, Buy the fork lift you will need to move it too.

I consider PDFs the perfect way to carry the seldom used books to and from a gaming session. I want that book in my collection because I prefer the dead tree, but if it's a once every five sessions lookup, PDF will do for remote access. I do not relish lugging 20 pounds of books from game to game. Not to mention what it does to the books.

And if I have to get bootleg PDFs of the books I own. I'll get them. I own the book.

darelf
12-08-2008, 11:07 AM
I wonder if they could "blow them up" to a sort of large print size, so you have this massive "tome" that contains all the books.... type up your own TOC and Index to be added front and back, and have it all printed on "parchment" style paper. Nice rough leather binding... mmm... this is sounding better and better....

I've been meaning to get all my Mythus books re-bound ( since they are oop ). Maybe I'll do something like that with them...
( I absolutely hate perfect bound... there could be no more incorrect name )

Oh, and I use my laptop to run games, including displaying things on the HDTV like maps and mission briefings... so PDFs don't necessarily bother me... but for large books ( over 100 pages ) I prefer dead tree.

Drohem
12-09-2008, 02:08 PM
I am a bibliophile, so dead tree will always trump PDF for the spotlight. However, they are great together like chocolate and peanut butter. They are great by themselves, but when combined they make a great product. I hope that everyone in the RPG industry adopts the business practice of selling a combination of dead tree & PDF together.

DungeonMaster
12-12-2008, 04:48 PM
Im thinking huge stone tablets....

Skunkape
12-15-2008, 10:53 AM
I consider PDFs the perfect way to carry the seldom used books to and from a gaming session. I want that book in my collection because I prefer the dead tree, but if it's a once every five sessions lookup, PDF will do for remote access. I do not relish lugging 20 pounds of books from game to game. Not to mention what it does to the books.

The other nice thing about going with PDFs for games that have lots of rule books, beyond what you mentioned as far as lugging all that weight, if the PDF is created so it's searchable...

Fast easy way to look up a rule!

By the time I carry the PH, MM & DMG, plus my huge case of minis and a box of terrain...I'm lucky I don't rupture a disk or two. Oh and the box of terrain, is of the cardstock variety, I don't take my plaster terrain with me, even though it's made from dental plaster and can survive getting dropped!:D

tesral
12-15-2008, 01:24 PM
The other nice thing about going with PDFs for games that have lots of rule books, beyond what you mentioned as far as lugging all that weight, if the PDF is created so it's searchable...

By the time I carry the PH, MM & DMG, plus my huge case of minis and a box of terrain...I'm lucky I don't rupture a disk or two. Oh and the box of terrain, is of the cardstock variety, I don't take my plaster terrain with me, even though it's made from dental plaster and can survive getting dropped!:D

I think the HTML SRD is one of the best tools coming or going. Pity that isn't happening for Forry.

I hear you. Catalog case, computer, minis and cooler. I drag more to and from than anyone but the DM. I don't need a trunk full of books as well. I carry the DTF of the books I know I'll use, and some 4 gig of PDF of the ones I won't.

Skunkape
12-16-2008, 08:22 AM
I think the HTML SRD is one of the best tools coming or going.

I whole heartedly agree, I make constant use of it, even when I have my books around!

DungeonMaster
12-16-2008, 12:48 PM
I'm still thinking huge stone tablets.....kinda like Yu-Gi-Oh style...haha

Dark
12-18-2008, 05:39 PM
I love pdfs I love my 4 GB SanDisk along with my lap top it is information at your fingertips.

GoddessGood
12-19-2008, 09:05 AM
I keep picturing this monstrosity of a book with four pages of a normal book printed on one page of this tome, like the way you can print four slides of a powerpoint presentation on one sheet of paper. You could do it on slightly thicker paper and still save a lot of width on the binding doing it that way. It'd be freaking huge :) You'd have to carry it around on a pallet.

darelf
12-19-2008, 09:16 AM
I keep picturing this monstrosity of a book with four pages of a normal book printed on one page of this tome, like the way you can print four slides of a powerpoint presentation on one sheet of paper. You could do it on slightly thicker paper and still save a lot of width on the binding doing it that way. It'd be freaking awesome :) You'd have to carry it around on a pallet.

There, fixed that for you...

Skunkape
12-19-2008, 11:42 PM
I prefer dead tree.


Acutally I prefer dead trees too, which is partly why I don't currently have a laptop, but the idea of being able to carry 30 odd DnD books, that's from both 3.5 and 2nd edition, that I own, in a 5 lb laptop does appeal to me!:D

DungeonMaster
12-22-2008, 11:42 AM
As appealing as that may be, i feel it's almost like homage to Dnd if i carry the books. It kinda makes me feel good. Like i'm an oldschool player!!!

Harwel
05-28-2009, 04:14 PM
PDFs on my laptop are infinitely better than dead trees to me. I don't need to feel like an old school gamer, I remember schlepping around a lot of books in the 70's and 80's... been there, done that, don't see any need for it. Dead trees are a waste of trees, a waste of space, and a waste of effort to me. I just carry my laptop while my DM shows up with 100lbs of books, and I can generally find stuff faster than him. The laptop is also great for note-taking. I don't find having the internet at my fingertips distracting at all, as long as the game is moving.

Just my $.02, give me a great selection of PDFs any day. :)

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-28-2009, 04:52 PM
I love having the old school books, for they last forever. This being said, i also see the benefits of technology and laptops. In a few years when programs are cheaper and one can easily link the bib to certain pages, i will be pretty much solely using my laptop hard drive with all my gaming books found therein.

I'd love to put in all my dnd, WFRP, GammaWorld, and Traveller material on my computer, but again, programs are still expensive and arent capable of doing everything i need. In five years? No question, it will be done. Cant wait!

And for you hacker computer geek nerds, i don't get hacker quarterly, nor do i hit every hacker convention in Las Vegas, so i am unaware of the freeware offered on some hidden secured geek sites.

You know i'm just playing with you IT guys and gals, right? :rolleyes: If i cant kid my bros and sis' on P&PG, then what fun would life be.

Baron_Samedi
05-28-2009, 05:58 PM
As much as i prefer a dead tree hard copy, i'd like to share a tale of woe, or whoa. I was hosting a 3.x D&D group at a local gamestore that I worked at hauling six dairy cases worth of books, for D&D, Ravenloft, and other such things. As I was taking multiple trips to the car putting them up...i came back to the car after my final trip and found that someone had broken into my car and stolen every last page of my stuff! :mad: Afterwards, i found out that there were pdf copies online and theorized that one laptop could workout better for my back :D and to prevent future crime.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-28-2009, 06:01 PM
Sorry to hear that, Baron Samedi. You have my sympathies.

Baron_Samedi
05-28-2009, 06:37 PM
It happens...unfortunately here in the Dallas area, i've run into several cases of Roleplayers stealing books from other roleplayers in order to take their pick of gear and sell the rest. If not for the used bookstores taking ID's at the point of sell when you cash in your stuff, it would be much worse. Gaming here in north texas is weird sometimes...

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-28-2009, 06:43 PM
Gamers stealing from other gamers, i thought there was a code. Oh well, this new generation doesn't seem to care about codes. It's all about immediate gratification.

I've also seen stealing from gamers by gamers here in the Bay Area, Ca. Sad.

Baron_Samedi
05-28-2009, 06:49 PM
I guess i'm glad to know that its not just here?:confused: You know, there has been something i've noticed that you reminded me of thoth...I've noticed that some of the gamers in the community are kinda hostile to those who aren't in the know...get overly defensive about, i don't know, everything...We wonder why the hobby isn't more popular than it is with some of us having some animosity to those who don't game, and then, we steal from one another too? kinda makes you think...

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-28-2009, 07:05 PM
This newer generation, not all, but a very few, are forming into cliques with a gang-type mentality. Again, a very few, but I've seen it, the hostility, the defensiveness, and the animosity shown not only to those not in the know, but to 'rival' gaming groups as well.

Baron_Samedi
05-28-2009, 07:54 PM
Yeah, I started a monthy D&D group at my local Borders Bookstore following the GameDay for the 4e release. I used it as a meet and greet to get gamers together and split off into their own groups. I had over twenty groups with over eighty players...highly successful. But it turned into a turf war with another guy that was working with me to keep the group going. He was trying to have his clique enter the groups and try to take over the GM spots for the groups...none of them succeeded, but i just kind of lost faith in N. Texas gamers for the most part after that. Its a game, its a hobby, not a friggin' power play...

sorry to get off topic...i feel better purging my impure thoughts...:D

tesral
05-29-2009, 12:24 AM
I love having the old school books, for they last forever. This being said, i also see the benefits of technology and laptops. In a few years when programs are cheaper and one can easily link the bib to certain pages, i will be pretty much solely using my laptop hard drive with all my gaming books found therein.

I'd love to put in all my dnd, WFRP, GammaWorld, and Traveller material on my computer, but again, programs are still expensive and arent capable of doing everything i need. In five years? No question, it will be done. Cant wait!

And for you hacker computer geek nerds, i don't get hacker quarterly, nor do i hit every hacker convention in Las Vegas, so i am unaware of the freeware offered on some hidden secured geek sites.

You know i'm just playing with you IT guys and gals, right? :rolleyes: If i cant kid my bros and sis' on P&PG, then what fun would life be.

openSUSE (http://www.opensuse.org/en/), free and unhidden.

I have a 250 gig drive in my laptop, and that isn't top of the pile. My stuff never is. Computers have their uses, but I like books too.





He was trying to have his clique enter the groups and try to take over the GM spots for the groups...none of them succeeded, but i just kind of lost faith in N. Texas gamers for the most part after that. Its a game, its a hobby, not a friggin' power play...

The smaller the stakes the fiercer and dirtier the fight. Yea, it's beyond stupid.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-29-2009, 12:29 AM
I'll take a closer look at that program tomorrow, tesral. Thanks for the link.

MortonStromgal
05-29-2009, 10:42 AM
I have to say between my new laptop screen not giving me a headache reading PDFs and seeing my boss's kindle in action. If I get a kindle I may become very pro PDF

tesral
05-29-2009, 12:03 PM
I'll take a closer look at that program tomorrow, tesral. Thanks for the link.

The best thing I can say is using it since 2004, three OS upgrades, one complete change of hardware (OK I kept the sound card) and I have not lost a byte of data, including mail. Perfect? No. Used with good practice it is hands down better than anything Microsoft has ever tried.

Harwel
05-29-2009, 12:22 PM
I favor a different distro over openSUSE, but yeah, I have numerous PDFs on my linux-driven laptop. KPDF is a great (free of course) pdf reader. If my laptop ever gets stolen, all my PDFs are backed up, so it doesn't matter. I can buy a crappy laptop that does the job on ebay for fractions of what it would cost to replace stolen books.

Xandros
05-29-2009, 05:45 PM
I know a lot of people are against laptops at the game table. However I usually use my laptop when I GM. There are many programs to speed up combat, keep track of time passing for spell and other effects etc. So back to the point, I like having the physical books, but I also have pdf copies of a lot of material. It beats lugging around a bunch of books and source material and having to keep searching through stacks of information. Despite that, I would never want to ditch my physical books. It is the same as the fact that although there are plenty of dice rolling programs, there is still something comforting about rolling the physical dice.

Panthro82
05-30-2009, 04:37 PM
I think PDF's have their practical uses, but dead tree will never die and should never die. If you're gaming, you don't need to bring a million books! Bring the 4 or 5 most important(edition specific). I'm 27 and I bring a backpack with 4 books specific to the game we are playing. I have bookmarks on the pages I use often so there is no fumbling around. I bring dice (because virtual dice suck), and a notebook and pencils. I love dead tree! The feel, the smell. It is tangible, it is real.


This newer generation, not all, but a very few, are forming into cliques with a gang-type mentality. Again, a very few, but I've seen it, the hostility, the defensiveness, and the animosity shown not only to those not in the know, but to 'rival' gaming groups as well.

That's a very dangerous stereotype. You could make the same argument for any age group. Every decade, all generations have seen gangs, thugs, punks. There are good and bad in all groups, ages, and generations. People who were/are in your parents generation said the same thing about your generation, that you just said about another generation. They said you were all punks, miscreants, thugs, no care for manners or rules. No chivalry left, blah, blah, blah. Things only seem to get worse as time goes on because the population increases, and the media only makes money when they put the spotlight on the dark side of humanity...

cliff
06-02-2009, 04:10 PM
I'm very pro-PDF, but I also like the deadbooks versions so I can have a really nice gaming bookshelf (see it here (http://rpgalaska.com/showthread.php?t=89)). The problem is, bookreaders haven't quite caught up IMO (I really want an 8.5x11 viewable bookreader), and while a laptop is OK, it doesn't fit onto the tabletop as well as a bookreader could. So, I find myself in a somewhat mixed position... I buy PDFs in expectation, but I still haul the important books with me (for now).

darelf
06-11-2009, 09:45 AM
We've seen what people like about PDFs ( searching, compact size, etc. ). These are all good points. So I thought I would add on the other side.

Here's why I like books vs. laptop/e-reader/etc. ( Again, I'm not against PDFs... )


My books are well organized and easy to find on the shelf
I don't have to recharge the battery on my book, or be close to an outlet
When I open the book it is instantly on, I don't have to wait for it to turn on or load up
If I add notes or place bookmarks, I don't worry about losing that information due to a hard drive crash or a virus
I don't worry about whether I have the correct interface or reader or license key
I can loan it to someone and not worry about breaking any laws or having any file incompatibility
There is an experience to handling a book and turning its pages that is completely lost in any other medium

Dytrrnikl
06-11-2009, 10:41 AM
We've seen what people like about PDFs ( searching, compact size, etc. ). These are all good points. So I thought I would add on the other side.

Here's why I like books vs. laptop/e-reader/etc. ( Again, I'm not against PDFs... )


My books are well organized and easy to find on the shelf
I don't have to recharge the battery on my book, or be close to an outlet
When I open the book it is instantly on, I don't have to wait for it to turn on or load up
If I add notes or place bookmarks, I don't worry about losing that information due to a hard drive crash or a virus
I don't worry about whether I have the correct interface or reader or license key
I can loan it to someone and not worry about breaking any laws or having any file incompatibility
There is an experience to handling a book and turning its pages that is completely lost in any other medium


Bravo!! This is exactly why I am not fond of PDFs, particularly the last point.

Oh well, the more advanced we become the more we forget or lose. Anyone still know how to use a slide-rule? Or even know what it is? Hell, the Dewey Decimal system even fell out of fashion for books in favor of Library of Congress filing. All those library classes in grade school just to understand Dewey...gone to waste. :p

Panthro82
06-12-2009, 12:06 AM
very well put Darelf! I love how people talk trash about dead tree by saying, "well I can find the spot in the PDF much faster than someone can find it in a book. LOL heard of bookmarks? When I bring books to games I bookmark the important pages that I use. In my 3.5 players handbook I have like 12 pages bookmarked. I can get to any of them in mere seconds...