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tabletop gaming aid opinions 

awhile ago I prototyped a gaming aid that uses a thermal printer to generate stuff (hirelings, NPCs, weather, foods/drinks/potions, monsters, events, maps, mazes, puzzles, etc). The output can be filed away for later reference.

I built it because I don’t like using computers/screens at the table. during COVID this device wasn’t useful but I’m thinking of picking it back up, refining it, and posting a build guide.

if you play tabletop RPGs does this appeal to you?

tabletop gaming aid opinions 

@d6 I ask these questions with sincerity and an open mind.

Can you articulate the value-add of the gaming aid? I get its a thermal printer, I get its used to make handouts and whatnot.

Does it generate those or is it just printing? Is its form-factor a plus? (i.e. its real small). How does it compare to lets say a sub-100 dollar laser printer, including the necessity of supplies (paper and toner for laser, thermal paper for thermal).

Sorry for all the questions.

tabletop gaming aid opinions 

@gedvondur hey these are good questions!

It includes all the logic to do the generation and can be programmed (in python) to use whatever generation strategy you want. (I could imagine making it easier to configure without programming.)

It’s primarily stuff for a DM to reference although some could be given to players. The print outs are basically receipt sized with fairly dark ink. Quality is reasonably good but things like maps are necessarily narrow.

tabletop gaming aid opinions 

@gedvondur the device’s size would probably be at least as big as a stack of 2-3 books. So larger than a smartphone but portable.

I plug the prototype in but potentially it could run off a battery pack.

tabletop gaming aid opinions 

@d6 Very cool. DOes it have like a little touch screen?

So I assume, if I have the aid, I can push a button and get characters generated. treasure generated, etc?

The question I have then, is how much setup do I have to do to use the device as a GM/DM? Clearly, something that doesn't require programming Python would be necessary. How much can such a device save me from my normal DM prep?

tabletop gaming aid opinions 

@gedvondur it doesn’t have a screen but might have a small alphanumerical display and a knob to change modes and settings.

My idea is that you load these generators into various slots (eg random monster tables) or else use premise generators (such as weather by region for example). For simple tables it’s probably a matter of copying entries into a txt file.

I think the hope would be that the “generic” or at least “table-agnostic” generators would be useful.

tabletop gaming aid opinions 

@d6 Hmm, yes. This is probably a stupid question....but how do I activate it? If there isn't a touch screen are there buttons like "Slot 1"?

tabletop gaming aid opinions 

@gedvondur there’s a mode knob to select the generator. so when you press the print button it runs the current generator

tabletop gaming aid opinions 

@d6 Ah, that clears it up, thanks.

It does sound interesting. I think the biggest challenge will be in a user interface to create the tables and what not. Its a really creative idea.

In theory, if you got a community using them...people could contribute their pre-made tables/ideas for others to use.

Keep up the good work and let me know if you decide to keep working on it!

tabletop gaming aid opinions 

@gedvondur thanks! Will do!

tabletop gaming aid opinions 

@d6 @eli_oat I am intrigued. How do you direct it for what sort of thing you need, if you’re avoiding a screen?

tabletop gaming aid opinions 

@a @eli_oat there’s a mode selector knob maybe with a small alphanumeric readout of the current mode. Either that or the knob moves between numbered positions

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