The Portable Gaming Kit

Posted: 9 June 2011 in Reflections

“What has it got in its pocketses?” – JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit.

Actually, I have several versions of this, depending on what I’m up to at the time.


When playing away on holiday or at friends’ houses, I take an A4 display book. My friends have dice, playing cards and figures, so I only take those on holiday – usually D&D prepaints or disposable counters, things that can take being thrown around, things I won’t get too upset about losing. The display book contains the following:

  • The latest version of the Savage Worlds Test Drive and GMs’ Screen, printed out from the free PDFs. Takes up 7 sleeves in the book, after I have removed the covers and character sheet.
  • PC character sheets. Usually 4-6 sheets, takes up 2-3 sleeves in the book.
  • A few generic maps and some notes on possible scenarios.

I usually have the full SWEE rulebook in a bag somewhere nearby, but rarely need to refer to it, not least because I bought a few extra copies for the players as gifts.

The advantage of a plastic display book over loose papers is that it can be wiped down after the session to clean it, removing spilt coffee, snack crumbs and cat hairs.


This is for lunch hours and nights in hotels. It has a folder containing:

  • PDFs of SW Test Drive, Explorers’ Edition and GM Screen.
  • PDFs of Stars Without Number and Red Tide, because the GM tools in them are too useful to do without.
  • PDF of All Things Zombie and whatever other THW titles I’m playing that month.
  • PDFs of Classic Traveller and Labyrinth Lord. These are more security blankets than anything, although I sometimes refer to the random encounter tables. I would carry Original D&D rather than LL, but WOTC withdrew it from sale before I could grab it.
  • Characters, either as word processor or PDF files.
  • Flanf’s dice roller, because rolling dice in the break areas is just too embarrassing.

What do you take with you when gaming on the run?

  1. Erin says:

    I have a nice little HP netbook with: Chimera Basic (PDF), Mythic (PDF), a near-full NBOS suite (The Keep (w/dice roller), Inspiration Pad Pro, Fractal Mapper, and Character Sheet Generator), Random Fantasy RPG City Generator, Hexographer, and (added bonus), a set of Inkscape templates that my editor Greg MacKenzie whipped up for old-school dungeon mapping.

    To keep myself on the beam, I have PDFs of many old-school Judges Guild publications, TSR’s World Builder’s Guidebook, and a PDF of the Rules Cyclopedia.

    I’ve been using this more frequently at the gaming table (though I game face-to-face less often, if that makes sense). When the gods grant me a wireless connection, I also take advantage of Google Docs to work on my RPG projects and document every thought that enters my addled head.

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