Show Us Your Rig: GM Edition

A few years back, PC Gamer had a feature called Show Us Your Rig. They'd get people with high-powered gaming PCs to do quick interviews about their equipment. In this spirit, I've started this thread for Show Us Your Rig: GM Edition (or MC Edition, or Keeper Edition, or...). What equipment do you like to use to run games, and how do you use it? Do you prefer physical books, printed handouts, or PDFs on a tablet? How do you make, organise, and store campaign notes?

The questions PC Gamer always asked were:
-What's your rig?
-What's the most interesting or unique part of your setup?
-What's always within arm's reach?
They also asked what you were playing right now, but we've got other threads for that, so, if you're using these questions as prompts, I'm going to suggest a fourth of my own:
-Have the practicalities of your rig ever changed the way you play? In other words, would you be playing exactly the same stories if your physical equipment were completely different?

Comments

  • What's your rig?
    I've recently started using a laptop. I keep the rulebook as a PDF open in one tab and my character and setting notes in another. I can also use an Excel spreadsheet to simulate a hundred dice rolls and just pull one from the list every time I need to roll. I wouldn't recommend doing this for everyone, but it might speed things up if only the GM does it. The other benefit is that my laptop is a huge, power-hungry monster, and it's also getting old, so the battery lasts almost exactly as long as a decent-length session does. As a rule of thumb, I know to hurry the final major event along as soon as power save mode kicks in.

    What's the most interesting or unique part of your setup?
    I can download and display concept art at a moment's notice. If my players are boarding a derelict space station, I can show a slideshow of five or six quick images to set the scene as I narrate.

    What's always within arm's reach?
    Spare dice. We play a lot of the sort of games where you wind up rolling a handful of d6s at once, and having a massive grab pile speeds things up dramatically.

    Have the practicalities of your rig ever changed the way you play?
    Not exactly, but they've made it a bit richer. Recently, I'd created a setting which had talking wolves, just as a bit of set-dressing. My players decided that a pack of talking wolves would make good allies and decided to try to get them on their side. The practical upshot of this was that I unexpectedly had to roleplay a wolf. Because I had the laptop there, I could call up a picture of a wolf to add some visual stimulus. I'm considering getting a cheap second screen, just to sit on the end of the table, where I can show this sort of picture without having to turn the laptop around or minimise my notes.
  • edited May 2018
    -What's your rig?
    I have stuff printed in 10 cm thick folders, according to setting (Medieval / Fantasy, Cyberpunk, SpaceOp), genre (quickdraw one shots) or system (Hero, WoD). Every session a folder grows bigger with character sheets, maps and doodles. I have Everything Else and More (3.7 Go) on G*ogle (and on my phone) so I can conjure stuff up on the spot or print them between sessions if a printer is available.
    -What's the most interesting or unique part of your setup?
    The doodles and character sheets accumulate since 1992 roughly.
    -What's always within arm's reach?
    Relevant parts of the Encyclopaedia (= locations, people & species, items), and a timeline.
    - How does it affect your practice ?
    The random generators on the internet helped me populate the Encyclopaedia, which is a great help for improvisation. Paper is still best during the session, the only downside is I have to rearrange my folder when the PCs travel far, as it affects the timeline and setting.
  • -What's your rig?
    Several random tables in deck form, a tool I'm still polishing. The first version can still be found here.
    There's also some sheets with a couple of procedures, one to create military-like missions and the other to create settings and adventure hooks on the spot with a second version in the works.
    -What's the most interesting or unique part of your setup?
    It's engineered for impro, using as little data as possible and indirect questions for the players so nobody feels pressured to make quality material, this comes later as a byproduct of using the procedures instead of relying strongly on players creativity. As a result it kickstarts player's creativity as everyone feels more relaxed about producing material for the game.
    -What's always within arm's reach?
    The deck, it helps me come up with many different surprising things on the spot, all it needs is a slight effort to keep everything related and in context.
    -Have the practicalities of your rig ever changed the way you play? In other words, would you be playing exactly the same stories if your physical equipment were completely different?
    I'd probably be stressed, still relying heavily on prep and making up things with poor quality whenever players got me in the spot.
  • What's your rig?
    Typically the relevant rulebook(s), a Rhodia dot grid legal pad for notes (I use No. 18 sized, and keep a separate one for each ongoing game I run), a laptop with OneNote and some name generator websites open, and a music stand off to one side where I can quickly look at any printed up notes for the session

    What's the most interesting or unique part of your setup?
    Probably the music stand? Or my unusually specific notepad taste? IDK, I don't think my rig is anything all that special

    What's always within arm's reach?
    My laptop and my dot grid legal pad

    Have the practicalities of your rig ever changed the way you play? In other words, would you be playing exactly the same stories if your physical equipment were completely different
    Not directly. But the way I set up my GMing space does make it possible for me to play heavier traditional RPGs (e.g., Mythras)) more easily than otherwise. If I used a different set up, I'd probably find myself migrating more towards lighter games with less referencing of the the rules during play
  • -What's your rig?
    I have a pad of lined paper for my own notes, split into three or four columns. I use a three-panel landscape screen which has customisable sections, it’s slightly cracked which meant it cost a bit less to buy. I have index cards, my iPad (which is my RPG collection) and any session notes printed in an A5 booklet. I also recently started using a couple of sand timers to help provide pressure when the group are faffing.

    -What's the most interesting or unique part of your setup?
    Probably the sideways lined A4 pad. I keep the character notes up top, fold and tear bits to have ongoing notes visible, a vast array of clocks, HP boxes and arrows to allow my nonlinear notes to make a vague amount of sense.

    -What's always within arm's reach?
    Blank paper, often in the form of index cards. For maps, NPCs, clocks, anything relevant.

    -Have the practicalities of your rig ever changed the way you play? In other words, would you be playing exactly the same stories if your physical equipment were completely different?
    If I play without my screen it’s generally only for casual games and I hold myself a lot less formally. In some bad years of RPGing I used to keep a hip flask behind the screen and that certainly changed things.
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