Yax and company over at Dungeonmastering.com recently posted an entry about using a laptop to run your game.
I felt it my Luddite duty to post counter-arguments to Ben’s post. I strongly advocate a “low-tech” approach to my game. Nothing against those who choose to use technology, but I often find it detracts from the game. Besides, I have a contrary nature and need to play devil’s advocate. 😉
Here is my list of more than four reasons you should not use a laptop to run your game.
1. Books do not run out of electricity and do not need to sit near a 110-volt outlet.
2. Troubleshooting OS issues during a game is not fun. Internet connectivity issues are also a real drag. Nothing like tweaking MAC filters at a friend’s house to get on the net.
3. Hypertext D20 SRD. I have always felt that rules should be secondary to fun. A database search to get a ruling seems excessive. Let the DM make the call.
4. Online tools–gamers managed to get by with dice and paper for decades. Also see #1 for infrastructure issues this may present. (Please, no hate mail. I love the d20 srd for research, but do not like using it during my game)
5. “Mountain Dew” + “Laptop” = Fire!
6. Table real estate is often at a premium. Laptops eat too much of the table.
7. The cold clatter of dice across a wooden table, coming up “20” on a life or death roll. No online dice roller can compare.
That said, I have sometimes used technology at my game table. I just was not impressed with the utility in the game. Technology should improve the game, not overwhelm it.
Trask, the Last Tyromancer