How Do You Organize Your Campaign Notes?

How does everyone keep their GM notes organized?

I use Microsoft OneNote with a Notebook for each game I’m running. I have tabs for NPCs with a page for each, Companies and Shops (I play mostly modern/future), Creatures, and one for Adventure notes (one page for each session).

I also add in a tab/pages for a large number of pre-generated names for people, places, and companies for when the need arises. If there are interesting maps, you can also copy them into OneNote for quick reference.

I play mostly online so it is easy to type notes into OneNote during the game.

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A hearty second to ASavageWorldsGM recommendation.

I just started using OneNote (over the last 2 months) and I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else.
It’s perfect for organizing world details, from macro level down to specific dungeons.

:slight_smile:
RW

Same. I LOVE OneNote for this feature. And it’s SUPER portable, so long as you have internet access (read: not reliable for things like conventions.)

I use Notepad for a short 3 session arc, or Word for 6+ session campaign.

Generally I am for 5 events (social, physical challenge, mental challenge, combat) per session, with events 2-3 can be in any order, 4-5 being non essential and can be used in any order.

3 random events per session that I can sprinkle in when it feels right - for example
random 1-traffic jam, stadium concert or arena fight causes halt in traffic flow.
random 2-Cousins birthday and they are demanding big things. big expensive things from many guests.

3 curveballs - eg; Bees talk to pc 1, ask pc 2 what do the bees say?
or pc 3’s parents invite pc 4 for dinner, and try to setup their daughter (pc 3’s sister) re marriage.

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Most of my campaign notes are done in Apple’s Notes. I used to use Word, but for me, Word gets too bulky for mobile devices. A lot of times, I only keep some general story notes, or points I need to remember. If I’m running an in-person game, I’ll have my notes up, plus the digital and possibly physical copies of the module I’m running. If I can print out stat blocks or places I need to note specific things for a part of a module, I print it out and write on it, highlight, cross stuff out, etc.

OneNote is awesome for GMing.

I blame Chad from Fear The Boot for my discovery and now obsession with using it.

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I keep all my notes in Google Docs, copied over to Dropbox too. But I work in Google docs mostly. A document with NPCs, one for each adventure, one for creatures, etc. Not the greatest system as far as organization goes, but it’s all there. I keep all the game writeups there as well, and on my blog as session reports, which I write immediately after our games.

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I use Evernote. I create a notebook for the whole campaign and individual notes as needed. I have been known to have it open on my laptop and phone at the same time before, but it’s the only way I can keep it all straight.

I’ve used a combo of Google Keep and Docs for most of my stuff. I’m a very visual person and I find doing a flowchart can help me out. I’m also a big fan of lamination and will encase things I use a lot. I’ve done this for some of my favorite adventures to run. When I’m doing D&D, I’ll often utilize notecards for encounters. I like to have stuff in my hands and oftentimes a laptop isn’t practical.

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I used Apple Notes for a bit, and I still like it for jotting down the occasional idea that I want to come back to later. But for actually keeping things organized for a campaign, I’ve really gotten into using Kanka (https://kanka.io/en-US/). I don’t use all the features, but it’s been great for keeping track of NPCs, shops, dates, etc. I use journal entries for session notes, and link them to dates on the in-world calendar so I can keep track of the passage of time. That’s also where I keep track of where the PCs have been in the megadungeon they’re exploring, and what’s moved in since they were last there.

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Am I the only one out there just using pencil and paper? I’ve got one of those black and white ruled composition books with random sheets of paper hanging out of it. It looks really disorganized, but somehow I tend to be able to find what I need quickly in game.

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I use plenty of that too, especially to take notes and keep track of things during sessions. But since most of my games are online these days, and I’m going to be looking at the screen anyway…

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You’re not the only one. I stick with grid-paper notebooks in case maps happen.

As far as organization goes, I [try to] date each entry. If something is really important, I have manilla folders and an organizer on the wall.

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For a long time I would bounce back and forth between trying to use a campaign organization site like Obsidian Portal, and just keeping all of my notes in a notebook. For someone that types as much as I do, a lot of the time, ideas flow better for me when I write in a notebook.

Recently, I picked up a Rocketbook, and I’ve been keeping all of my notes in the notebook, then when I need the space, I upload the notes up to that point into my Google drive as a PDF, and just append the newest notes to the ongoing PDF.

To be honest? Badly?

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With four out of ten folks saying that they use and really like OneNote, I decided yesterday to log in and see how it works. I spent maybe 3 hours, dividing my time between notes for work and notes for a 5e campaign. Wow, that platform is very smooth and well done. The notes are easy to make, modify, and sort. At our next session, I’m going to use my laptop/OneNote to try it live.
Do y’all ever not need pencil & paper? I think I’ll still need them for initiative/HP tracking. Any thoughts or guidance for my first go? Thanks!

I typically use Google Docs. I tried out OneNote and its really nice but the interface when running via a mobile device or iPad was difficult to manage.

However, when I run Dungeon Crawl Classics I go for the “Old-School Feel” and use a notebook and lots of paper/pencils/note-cards.

I use one note for organization, but “in the moment”, I use note cards and sticky notes. Then, after the session, I toss things I don’t need (monster HPs, initiative tracking, etc.), sort the things I want to keep, then enter just the things I want into OneNote.
A. I think it’s faster for me.
B. When playing face to face, I don’t want to use the lappy any more than absolutely needed, so it’s a reference, but notes I’ll just jot down and not lose that connection with the table.

As with all things, mileage will vary, but this works for me, and is a constant work in progress.

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No I have a notpbook I use in game - but I transfer reference details to Onenote for the next game.

Graph paper and a small notebook are still essential.
:slight_smile:

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That makes sense. I figured I might end up typing in notes after the session because pen and paper is my default. I just don’t know if I have the self-discipline to sit down and transfer them! I do think, like @LaramieWall said, that if I can get them in OneNote later it will be a good reference, but it’s important to not lose that connection with the table. Thanks for the thoughts! Great stuff!