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43

First, some failures: I found Obsidian Portal incredibly frustrating. Navigating between PCs, NPCs, wiki pages, and so on, was so obnoxious that I finally gave up. I hope it gets better, but it just wasn't worth the frustration it caused me. After that, I set up a Wagn wiki, which was a great success right until I asked players to start contributing and ...


21

Obsidian Portal is a very useful site for tracking various aspects of your campaign. It has wiki-like format and you can make information hidden or not as you see fit. A map of some place you're not ready to show the characters yet? Make it hidden, then when the time comes just edit it to not hidden. There is also a section for the players' characters. ...


20

So far I've had the most success simply by using Google docs. I create a 'folder' for the campaign and then sub-folders for each adventure within the campaign. At the campaign level I have a 'Campaign Journal' which I've made available to my players and I keep this updated with relevant information for the group. This folder also contains 'campaign level' ...


17

Kind of surprised it hasn't been mentioned, but Masterplan is a pretty nice free tool. It's built to be specific to D&D 4E, but it a pretty useful tool that can be used for general plot points, encyclopedia like entries, campaign notes, etc.


16

Evernote is definitely my preferred method of organizing. I can write up encounters, link to d20pfsrd.com pages for encounters, and tag information. I will also lay out dungeon tile maps while planning, put photographs of them into Evernote, and then use the maps from Evernote to make sure I lay them out the same way again. Since Evernote runs from multiple ...


16

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.


14

I use a large hard backed notebook and I note by scribbling pictures, diagrams and ideas rather than long text. A pictorial reference I find easier to track what happened. I also use spider diagrams (aka Mind Maps) to track relationships. I do drawings on the right hand side of the open book and important information (such as NPCs invented on the fly) on the ...


11

My wife made me a storage solution for Christmas out of stackable ornament boxes with egg-crate foam added to the bottom of each compartment. She also pulled the dividers out, but you could go either way on that. It's pretty freaking awesome, especially because it's easily expandable and cheap. You can also just fill up one compartment with minis you know ...


9

I currently use TiddlyWiki. It's a wiki in a single file, which saves edits to itself using Javascript. It's quick and very flexible. Using TiddlyWiki, you can create a short article on each thing in the game that you want to track: every magic item, game session, player, character, adventure, dungeon room, and so forth. By categorizing articles using tags, ...


9

One of the things I do is to keep track of generic professorial skills and a real world descriptive of how skilful said NPC is in that skill. The skill could be such as soldier, cleric, terrorist, spy, mathematician. The descriptives can range from poor to legendary. If during game play you need to add more skills, or refine one of them then a quick note ...


8

I use a variety of boxes. The black/yellow ones I purchase at Harbor Freight Tools ($8). It has removable boxes that I can mix and match between cases. The clear ones I purchase at Big Lots ($12). They have removable trays and I can mix and match the top four I want to bring to a game. The top also is a great place to stage minis, hold dice and ...


8

Short answer: You're responsible for exactly as much information as you need to do your job, and no more. The guiding principle is always "does tracking this myself make my life easier"? Because if it doesn't make your life as DM easier to do it, it almost certainly doesn't make the game run smoother either. DM time is the biggest bottleneck to the ...


7

I use the loose-leaf folder as well, as well as: my player's memories / notes! If none of my players have memories of it, none of them have notes on it, and I don't remember it myself or have it in my notes - I can make up whatever is needed right at the moment. Don't know this method: it'll save you lots of work. Be honest about it with your players ...


7

I use a bunch of IKEA Krus boxes. I leave the separators in for small and medium minis, and pull them out for a couple of boxes of larger minis. Right now, I have a box for undead, one for humanoids, one for elementals, and so on. They stack nicely and don't take up too much room.


7

I find that sewing or fishing lure boxes can make good cases and some even come with adjustable plastic dividers. For added protection you can get some foam to keep it from banging around in transport.


7

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 ...


7

You're asking from the perspective of the MC, but I think this is a player-facing procedure. When I MC Apocalypse World, I'll tell the players to take note of such things (forward, holds, whatever) sometimes, if it isn't going to be used (and used up) immediately. But once they aren't newbie players, it's totally their job. I, as MC, have enough stuff to ...


6

Mainly, my own memory and a large notebook. It's the content of the notebook that makes the game. In label marked pages are: a table of premade names to give to NPCs or cities, if needed a collection of monsters, with their brief stats a collection of small random encounter tables. any other quick useful information On the remaining pages, I write the ...


6

I find using author/scriptwriter tools to keep track of a novel's plot, npcs, and locations works better than flow or process control charts. The main difference is that an author will be using that to develop a story from while for a RPG referee it is a bag of stuff to use to adjudicate the results of players actions. The initial plot is what would happen ...


5

I use a combination of physical, "dead-tree" documents (primarily for maps, lists, tables and PC stats) and electronic files (for dungeon keys, rules, and other things I want to be able to search quickly). As often as possible, I create the electronic files as simple .txt files, since they load quickly and with little fuss, though searchable .pdf documents ...


5

I use a tool called Zim Desktop Wiki. I guess it is similar to the already mentioned Tiddly Wiki, but I like it because it is damn fast even with a large database, flexible, linkable, and it saves it's data in .txt files which can be read and editet easily while still being able to attach pictures, maps, and other files there. If I have pdfs I can attach ...


5

If they are not too thick you could try accordion folders. That way you can separate them by type (muddy, rocky, crypt... whatever). Edit: For ease of seeing them without pulling them out. A Three Ring Binder and sheet protectors would work.


5

I am a huge fan of John Kirk's Design Patterns of Successful Role-Playing Games (available at no cost as a ZIPped file at the bottom of this page). His Design Patterns book describes a notation for RPG components and techniques. The notation uses what John calls "gauge diagrams" to indicate how information flows between different mechanical constructs ...


5

As a DM, you are responsible for NPCs and the environment. You should be in charge of tracking the initiative order (although I've occasionally seen this farmed off to a player), drawing or providing maps, describing the action and options, and resolving interactions and combat. Players should be responsible for tracking their defenses and other stats, not ...


5

Physical tokens. They're great. They're harder to forget than a mere note written on paper. In my group we use the unused polyhedral dice and colored glass stones (like the kind they sell for fishtanks) for Forward and Experience tokens, respectively. It's helpful as an MC to look up and see the actual XP and Forwards sitting right there on the table. ...


4

I had some luck with yWriter, which is actually a tool for writers but I found useful for GMs as well. It lets you break up stories into chunks like chapters and scenes, and to keep linked notes on characters, items, locations, and other things. With a little creative reinterpretation, it works great for tracking campaign notes. I typically used one ...


4

Google Sites (their Wiki app) works great. Accessible from anywhere, mobile and desktop, plus it allows for collaboration among the players. I usually maintain one site for GM notes and another for player notes and adventure journals, the latter being open to everyone. It's fun sometimes to read the notes and see how what players remember differs from my ...


4

Try Scabard http://www.scabard.com It's a campaign website that allows you to add Characters, Items, Groups, and Places for your Campaign and then connect them together with relationships like "Father of", "Friend of", "Birthplace of", etc. Full disclosure: I'm the developer.


4

We have a large group so we've grappled with this as well. And it gets worse as you level and options begin opening up with new spells and feats coming into play. We've done two things that can help. First, I'm a fan of Paizo's Condition Cards. Whenever I'm hit with a condition, I take the time to dig out the card. Beyond just having the rules handy so I ...



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