RPG Discussion: PDFs versus Books
I have gotten to a point with roleplaying games that I almost exclusively buy PDFs. I know to many people this is blasphemy and, honestly, I understand why. I mean, PDFs are not nearly as useful in actual play (I know you can use them, but I’ve never found it quite as convenient, even with an iPad) and you don’t have a physical thing to show for all of your hard-earned money. Still, I’ve found the perks far outweigh the flaws, at least for me. I mean, it’s not unusual to see small press, indie RPGs going for $10 in PDF format. That allows me to support a lot more indie designers than I could otherwise and, consequently, allows me to indulge my (somewhat strange) passion for reading rule sets and enjoying the artistry in how a system is constructed. They also don’t take up shelf space which, at least at my house, is at a pretty high premium. Honestly, I need to get rid of some old novels and whatnot that I will probably never revisit, but my house isn’t huge and RPG books have a tendency to be burdensome. I would say that PDFs are also more conducive to my playstyle now, as well. Previously (especially in my early days in the hobby), as I have mentioned before, I tried to stick to the rules as written to the point that play could grind to a halt for several minutes. Now, I’m far more likely to make an off-the-cuff ruling on something, make a small note, and look it up later. So, with that said, it eliminates the temptation for me to try and get a ruling just perfect and – instead – forces me to concentrate on the game, making a ruling, and getting on with play. This has been tremendously helpful. The few times when I miss having a physical book is when the book itself is a thing of beauty (more and more common with the rise of graphic design in RPG books) and during character creation, when things can become quite boring as players wait to see what they can choose and flip back-and-forth among pages in a PDF. I’d love to hear your thoughts on PDFs versus physical copies down in the comments. Once you’re finished, why don’t you take a look at the Related Posts below, the Recent Posts in the sidebar, or go to a random post on Futile Position.