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In one of our long running (3+ years) campaigns we've wound up with a wealth of information the DM and players can't keep track of.

All of us agree on introducing a wiki to track our information (a friend suggested pbwiki) might be our best solution. The DM has introduced a lot of "original" characters he doesn't want to "let out into the world yet"...

Is there a free wiki provider that has some privacy options, or any similar alternative? We're wanting to make something web-based, just in case we forget our notes. Thanks in advance!

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+1, I want to know the answer because my group's having the same problem. We've tried PBworks and Wikispaces and neither of them fit the bill. –  thatgirldm Apr 26 '13 at 19:10
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Are you able to host this in any sense (even on someone's PC with internet access?) could potentially open a lot more doors in the private & free range of wikis –  Joshua Aslan Smith Apr 26 '13 at 19:27
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Let me remind everyone about "Good Subjective, Bad Subjective" rules on this SE - you should be recommending things that you have experience with or have seen used for RPG campaign tracking, not "I saw something on the Interwebs that might be nice." Treat any recommendation question like a system-recommendation even if it's not asking for a system. –  mxyzplk Apr 28 '13 at 5:50
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8 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

You're looking for Obsidian Portal.

Obsidian Portal is specifically designed to allow tabletop RPG groups to build their own internal wikis. The privacy options are apparently undergoing an upgrade right now, but if nothing else you can set the whole campaign as private, so that nothing is viewable to anyone except people you invite.

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It's not exactly a wiki, but we've used Google Docs to similar effect.

I'm not 100% sure how we pulled it off, but I think we had a wiki earlier and actually migrated its data into Google docs. That particular group was all programmers, so someone could have done something fancy or someone could have had a copy/paste-fest while watching TV.

From our POV it wasn't that different than using a wiki. It was basically text that we could all edit with a word processor style editor. We couldn't use wiki style links, but that wasn't really an issue since we weren't using a ton of pages. Each PC had a page. The setting had a page. Custom rules had a page. There were a few more that I can't remember right now, but it was fewer than 10 total.

As @Brian Ballsun-Stanton commented, setting headers and a table of contents is fantastically useful. I think this is how we got by with a handful of pages. You go to the rules section and click Allowed Books, Starting Stats, House Rules, etc.

To answer the privacy question, there are two options. Either everyone has a Google account and only those people are allowed to use the document or give out a secret link to edit the document. While the secret link does let anyone make edits, the site will be private enough that nobody is likely to stumble into it. OTOH, gmail accounts are pretty much ubiquitous and even if somebody doesn't have one, they could register and use it only for this, which is pretty much what they'd do for a private wiki anyway.

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Doku Wiki

Open source wiki project that has built-in user access control. This option requires that you have server space. All content is stored in text files instead of a database.

https://www.dokuwiki.org/dokuwiki

Page creation is very intuitive, and the resulting layout is very simple/minimal.

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TiddlySpace

TiddlySpace.com provides hosting for “TiddlyWikis” which are basically Wikis that are entirely in one page. I’m not super-familiar with the format, but I gather that it is pretty popular for organizing information – which is perfect for you.

Google Sites: Project Wiki

By going to Google Sites and clicking Create, you can make your own web site. If you choose the Browse the gallery for more option, one of the first options is Project Wiki, which sets up your web site to look like a Wiki (nominally for some kind of project). It’s not actually a Wiki, but you can set the site’s privacy settings to control who can view, and who can edit. Basically a more expansive version of @valadil’s Google Docs suggestion.

Wikii

Wikii advertises free, unlimited-bandwidth/space MediaWiki-based Wikis. Frankly, sounds a bit “too good to be true” but they have a list of Wikis they host which do seem to be real Wikis. Ad-supported, apparently. Their FAQ does say that you are free to make your Wiki private, which is often not true of Wiki-hosts.

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Epic Words is tailored to this function for your campaign, but has many features otherwise. It is a freemium service, i.e you get certain functionality for free (which seems like it would cover your needs), but you can pay for more features.

From the about page:

Free Accounts will have access to all of Epic Words original tools including: blogs, wikis, loot lists, experience tracking, forums, and private messaging. These users can have up to 3 characters, and run 1 campaign as Game Master.

Paid Accounts are only $12 a year, and include all the features of free accounts. In addition, paid accounts will let users run up to 10 campaigns, 15 characters, secure dice rolls, AND give them 1GB of storage space for files. (GM's with Paid Accounts can choose to share their storage space with players in campaigns they run.)

It has basic privacy controls, with security being able to be set on a per page basis, and being linked to the accounts of the members of the campaign, or to general groups, i.e. yourself, members of the campaign, or public at large.

I really like the abilities of Obsidian Portal better, as they have more advanced layout options and such. But the actual controls built into the campaign are better on the Epic Words site, IMO.


Moving outside of the RPG centric realm, there are a few other hosted options that you might want to take a look at:

Zoho Wiki- is a good option as long as your campaign is small. You get up to 3 users, so only those three are granular as far as permissions go. Everyone else would fall into public. An idea that I've used in those constraints is to set up accounts for groups of users. But it's suboptimal at best.

CloudStore- A bit more involved, but as you noted that you have information that you want to keep, it's a step between using someone else's servers and maintaining your own. Using CloudStore you can use one of the following options:

  • Wagn- is a pretty heavy weight option, but it is open source and has a lot of options. It organizes information into cards that can be categorized and permissions assigned granularly to each. I've only used it very lightly; it was more than I was looking for. But it does have the options that you need.
  • MediaWiki- also a pretty heavyweight options, with the same benefits and drawbacks of Wagn. It also has the benefit of being in wide distribution, so
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There are a few things I found really quick on the internet (also, Google is your friend):

  • For up to 5 users, you can use Wikidot for a free private wiki (though hosting files on it, i.e. images, can be sort of iffy, you get a rather small allowance of space if I recall correctly). Everyone would need to have an account on the site, but to really ensure privacy you're gonna need to do that too.
  • Google Docs, as referenced by Valadil, can be a passable, though very kludgy, pseudo-wiki. Multiple pages can be kinda difficult. On the upside, though, you can share access through links (though perhaps not for editing, I've never been able to get them to work right myself except by specifying exact gmail accounts).
  • PB Works is also another one, though not having used them I'm not sure about their privacy settings. They do advertise up to twenty users for free, and 20 MB of space, so they may work okay.
  • Wikispaces looks like it could be what you're looking for as well. It doesn't specify any of its restrictions (if it has any), and I've never used it before so I can't say much about it myself.
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Google Docs has an option to allow "anyone who has the link" to edit it, if that's what you mean by giving people edit permission via link. That does mean you're relying on security-through-obscurity, but for a small project like this it will probably work. I know most of Legend's development docs are done that way (but then Rule of Cool tends to be very open about what it's working on). –  KRyan Apr 26 '13 at 19:11
    
Well, then, I guess that's a fix for anything like that. –  Kyle Willey Apr 26 '13 at 21:07
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Yes, per my "how we do recommendations here" comment on the question above - if you haven't used/seen these used for campaign tracking you shouldn't be putting them in your answer. You explicitly say you have no experience with 2 of your 4 suggestions and it's unclear what you've done with the other 2. –  mxyzplk Apr 28 '13 at 15:34
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Skydrive

Skydrive works like Google Drive, but interfaces perfectly with Microsoft office suite and doesn't require a login to edit (you can simply share with view and edit rights by email address or by URL link).

Also try WikiMatrix for Wiki comparisons: http://www.wikimatrix.org/

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Wordpress

I don't really know why people use things other than wordpress.com for campaign sites. It's a blog, sure, but you can also do pages with WYSIWYG editing, making it better than most wikis. Check out the campaign site for our latest campaign on my Wordpress blog. We've done this for like nine long term campaigns and it works great (combined with Dropbox for people to put in character sheets and handouts and whatnot).

wordpress.com has loads of functionality including fine grained access controls (public, password protected, private) and user management, plus loads of other stuff (skins etc. too). Back up your content to your hard drive easily, good SEO... I use the free one; you can pay to get even more customizability and services.

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