Looking for advice on how to keep notes. Struggling with how to organize. There’s main story notes. Side story notes. Character back story notes. World building notes. NPC’s and important places. How do you guys organize to make things logical to find and use?
I would suggest taking chronological notes during sessions, and then using a color coding (highlighter or underlining) system during down time or after sessions
You could color in the text to indicate what it is (Red = Person, Blue = Place, Yellow = Thing, Orange = Information) then a numbering system in the sidebar for what it relates to (1 for main quest #1, 1.1 for a side quest related to main quest)
I have the world notes, which have linear descriptions of places and the people in them, or quests and the potential things that might happen with those, or even just descriptions of the world and random encounter tables. These are individual word documents for each big town or part of the world, with plenty of bold headings so I can scroll and find a particular shop etc. NPCs are either tied into places or quests. These also include seperate store lists, with item/cost lists for each place they could visit. Whilst comprehensive, these are really just there to paint a picture, as all of the quests etc are open ended. For this reason, these documents will get adapted as the Players tear their way through the world, but it allows for plenty of future planning, which takes some of the pressure of juggling notes during play.
I also have adapted palm sized monster/NPC stat block cards. These are just time savers, and super helpful for organising homebrew monsters. For spells, I usually rely on my players to remember what they do (though I do, as ever, have a Players Guide to hand).
Finally, I use a small notebook of buzz words that I write down during play, usually related to something stupid/amazing/amazingly stupid the Players have done, or how they've burnt down yet another tavern and it will need to be struck from the map. After a session I feed the play notes into the world notes, and try and keep the world moving and reactive.
I tried a few different ways of keeping notes, and found that the least amount of work I need to do during a session, the more reactive and involved I am the Players and the world they are burning down. And to do that, having individualised sections that I'd heavily prepped in advance worked best for me.
Post by DM Onesie Knight on Dec 23, 2020 21:41:16 GMT
I basically keep my notes in a few distinct categories; in a meatspace game, I'd have it mostly in a paper notebook. For games I'm running on line this will be folders with pdfs, pictures, and text files.
First is my plot notes and worldbuilding notes, which I write in freeform narration style. That's pretty much my creative outlet where I flesh out the world and plan out long-term stuff for the big bad and whatnot. I also do it for short term, next session type stuff, but that **** is never strictly canon because the players could change things.
Then I have my Player Stuff; their character sheets and backstories and things they want to do with their characters go in here and I refer to them when I do my plot stuff.
Lastly, I have my session notes which is mostly hastily scribbled HP and AC values with names, as well as any mechanical stuff like trap stats and spells enemies will use. I usually keep detailed monster stats and spell descriptions and such open in tabs on my computer so I can reference them quickly when they come up. Again, I have a very loose DMing style, and overpreparing makes me feel restricted, so my actual notes that I run the campaign on are rarely more than a page of chicken scratch notes.
Basically, the time I put into the plot writing and worldbuilding gives me the understanding I need to be more reactive to what my players are giving me, rather than trying to lead them down a given path.