There is a phrase that some people use to describe role playing games, to differentiate them from other games. They are called paper and pencil games. This phrase comes from the items used in the game. At their core, games like this can be played using just that: paper and pencil and dice. That is all you really need to play the game. But life has changed in the past 30+ years.
I remember just doing the basic numbers on a piece of scratch paper for my character sheet. And then I remember trying to come up with a good format for how to write all this out. I even remember typing out characters on my parent’s typewriter. Or trying to create a good form with the typewriter. And then the joy of actually buying a pre-made character sheet for the first time.
All that meant that the longest lived characters could become quite ragged looking as numbers got changed, crossed off, erased and re-written many times. Which also meant a fair amount of time was spent re-doing character sheets.
And one of the first things I did when I got my hands on a word processor was to create character sheets. And eventually, a lot of my characters were saved on the computer. Which led to another race among my group as people sought to create forms for themselves that made sense. But we were still using paper and pencil (and word processors.)
2 years ago when I came back to role playing after an absence I brought one thing with me: my iPad. It really only took me a little while to ponder how I could use that tool best for role playing.
First, I found that while D&D 5E is not available electronically, I was able to get an App that contains all of the rules for Pathfinder. That is very handy. I then looked for ways to keep track of my character. And it turned out that there are a number of iOS Apps out there for keeping track of characters. I tried a few of them. And eventually have settled on one that really does everything I want.
I use Fight Club PFRPG/3.5 Edition (made by d20 Fight Club software) to keep track of my Pathfinder character. It is a really good App, and I am still finding little features that I did not realize were there. It even includes a dice rolling feature (which I do not use because I like to roll dice.) The best thing about this app is that in addition to keeping track of the basics like how much damage I have taken, and being able to see what my stats are, it allows me to add conditional modifiers on the fly. So if someone casts a spell like Haste I can just add those modifiers, and do not have to keep adding those numbers every time I roll. It really is the ultimate tool for my role playing. And it is easy to update when I level. And in theory, harder to lose my character. As a GM, I use the Game Master 5 to track my combats and campaigns. I do not use it for everything but it does make combats much easier.
The real point is that there are a lot of tools out there to make role playing much easier now. Instead of having to lug a notebook full of character sheets I just need my iPad. And when I am playing Pathfinder I do not even need the books, the rules are all right there as well.