There are a couple of great questions on this site about tools to manage campaign notes. I'm looking for something more specific; it may not exist.

What tool or tools have you used to keep track of the spell list for a game? With hundreds of spells to manage, I need more intelligence than just a list or a list with cross-links (like a wiki). I'd love to be able to sort and filter like Excel, but also make it available online for players and playtesters to see, comment on, and maybe edit. Any recommendations?

I started with Evernote, because I could make notes from any computer or my phone when inspiration struck. As the list got longer I switched to Excel so I could easily count the number of spells in each school of magic and each power level. The best way I know of to have both would be a little MySQL database and basic PHP front end, but I'd rather not spend a weekend on this if there's a decent alternative!


Per seven-sided's comments, here's my wish list:

  • Convenient editing, such as a wiki markup format; raw HTML is a last resort.
  • The data should be either in a web format or easily exportable to the web, so I can easily share it with others. I have web space already, so hosting is not a requirement.
  • I'd like least two views: a list form showing all 500+ spells, and a detail view showing complete specs for one spell.
  • I'd like to be able to record tags upon which I could sort or filter. E.g., show me all Fire spells, or all fourth-level spells.
  • The ability to add or edit content from anywhere would be a big plus.
  • User-generated comments would be nice to have.

I suppose this boils down to one thing: a wiki with a list-management feature. Now that I think of it, tools meant for managing monsters or NPCs would probably work too.

Here's what I'm picturing for a summary:

 School | Spell | Circle | Target | Range | Duration | Mana Cost | Summary | List of Variants and Perfections
 Air      Flight  5th      Caster   N/A     1 hour     10          XXX       Gift of Flight, Lasting Flight

A good data-driven source should be able to use the same table to create this grid summary and to create a statblock on each spell's details page:

 Spell:  Flight
 School: Air
 Circle: 5th
 Target: Caster
 Range:  N/A
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If there is sufficient demand, I may be able to whip up a quick web app for this purpose. Vote this comment up if you're interested. \$\endgroup\$
    – edgerunner
    Oct 9, 2011 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @edgerunner: If you have code handy for something like this, I'd be delighted to use it. My only web language is PHP, but if you work in ASP or Python I may take this as my queue to learn something new. But I draw the line at Perl :P \$\endgroup\$
    – user1861
    Oct 9, 2011 at 19:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking of whipping up a quick Rails app on Heroku, still interested? \$\endgroup\$
    – edgerunner
    Oct 9, 2011 at 20:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Edgerunner: I hang my programmer's head in shame, but I have not used either. All the cool kids are talking about RoR, but I barely know what AJAX is. \$\endgroup\$
    – user1861
    Oct 12, 2011 at 12:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie: Oooh, that looks just about perfect, free-form and extensible. And with a PHP back end, a crusty old fart like me can work with it! I've downloaded it and will test. If you'd like to give that as an answer, we may have a winner. \$\endgroup\$
    – user1861
    Oct 12, 2011 at 12:49

2 Answers 2


Would MediaWiki with category tags (example) do what you want?

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a good start; it has the wiki collaboration, and I gather from a quick browse that you could set up categories for "Fire" and "Necromancy" plus "level 1", "level 2" and then view by either category. However, just the names in a list isn't a lot of info. It would be helpful to show columns of key fields. I'll add an example to my question. \$\endgroup\$
    – user1861
    Oct 9, 2011 at 19:49

I actually use an access database for said purpose, but also store the results on a wiki. PBWORKS allows for tremendous data sharing, and is the one we use right now. They do allow for tags and sorting by tags.

I am in the exact situation you mention, with a total homebrew, a large spell list, and the needs for it to be able to be able to be able to be accessed by my players. It;s an old game and an old campaign, so the wiki is actually critical for total setting-management.

This is the spells page, but each spell is actually uploaded from the access database. The access database is critical for the sorting functions you mention, which is not available on our wiki right now, but will be very shortly.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So you have a central store, but it's only available from a single computer. Or more specifically, a single network, though I've had enough problems using MS Access in a multi-user small business environment that I'd probably favor another platform. Does PBworks offer a feature where you can sort and filter a list of entries? \$\endgroup\$
    – user1861
    Oct 9, 2011 at 19:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm actually checking that right now. \$\endgroup\$
    – LordVreeg
    Oct 9, 2011 at 20:32