I don't like computers, tablets or phones at the table. It is as simple as that. I only have so much free time. When I sit down to play a RPG, that is where I want my focus to be. Electronic devices are a distraction. Computers, tablets and phones make it too easy to be doing something else, surfing the net, reading, playing other games etc. RPG are a social game that already serve as an escape from reality. Additionally, I find it to be rude to the other players and GM, not unlike taking a phone call during dinner, or at a movie theater.
I am guilty of sending and receiving texts while playing and have on occasion used my tablet to reference some of my PDFs. While the first was and is rude, sometimes you just have to communicate with your wife. The second, was, in my opinion, ok. It was game related, did not involve the internet in any way, and was done behind the GM screen.
Over time it has become part of our group's unwritten Social Contract, that laptops are not welcome, internet use is not needed, texting is kept to a minimum, ringers are set to vibrate, and you excuse yourself from the table if you have to take a phone call.
Rest assured that my little rant has more purpose than making me feel better. It also helps to explain some of my game prep processes.
I do a lot of the work on the computer. Spreadsheets, word processors and the internet all play important parts in planning a campaign. But, when it comes time for game play, it all gets printed out, and put either into a binder or a file folder. Old fashioned? Probably. The way I like to do it? Definitely. The best way to do it? For me yes, for you maybe not.
So now, when I write about some the ways I do things, you will know why I don't just put it all on a thumb drive and take that to the game with me. Instead I make my son lug a milk crate of books and a box or two of other miscellaneous GMing supplies into my friend's basement every other Thursday.
This was originally going to be a post on the new file system I am working on for the NPCs and monsters in my game, oops. I guess that will be a separate post.