Lists are a broad category that can help your long-term campaign note taking in various ways. From lists of NPC contacts, to items & gear, to treasure, lists can help you organize information in easy to access ways.
Deciding what needs a list
In my opinion, anything you need to reference quickly is fair game for a list. My usual go-tos for lists, regardless of campaign include XP, Contacts List, and Items & Gear. However, depending on the system that I have been playing in and what is important to capture for the future, I have also included lists of things like personal character finances, ship finances, and quests to complete. A good rule of thumb for deciding what might be important to start a list for, is something that you might find yourself trying to reference time and time again, over the course of your game. Of course, you should definitely reference your lists on your Index. Check out the HOW TO blog post on The Index for more info on that. Below are some examples of some lists.
List Best Practices
What lists have you found helpful in your game?
Drop us a comment below.
Part 1: For Players
One of the biggest tips we recommend over and over again is that you need to make your notebook work for YOU. Whether you're the type of gamer who enjoys taking simple, bullet point notes or who enjoys journalling from the perspective of your character, you need a way to lay those scribbles out in a way that will make sense to you in the future. This comes in especially handy when you're trying to do things such as remember what NPCs you met three sessions ago or when it was that you encountered that group of gnolls just outside of town.
One way of doing this, is to create a layout (or a spread, in bujo terms) for each session you participate in. Here are some tips on creating your own layout, which can easily be adjusted to suit whatever you might need to capture.
Where do I start?
Then, decide how you'd like to lay those things out in a manner that will remain consistent every session. This will allow you to easily thumb through your notebook to easily reference it. For example, you might choose to always place your date, session number, and XP gained on the very top of your layout, so that you can flip through your notebook and quickly land on the last session when your party got XP.
Okay, what else do I add?
Creating a layout (or spread) is an excellent way to organize your session notes. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up, so you can create it ahead of your session or make it up quickly just before gaming begins. Either way, it's a great tool that can help provide you with a consistent focus on what you have decided is important to remember, especially during those moments when you're swept up with whatever shenanigans might be going down!
One of the primary features of our campaign notebooks is the front index. Borrowing from the bullet journal (bujo, for short) model, it eliminates the need to divide your notebook into sections and allows you to just use the next available page to take your notes. Here are some tips that will help you get the most our of your front index.
Add symbols in the margin
Remember, the index list is not alphabetical. You enter information in it as you go along. So, if have a few entries that you want to be able to pick out immediately without having to read through the whole index list, make sure to highlight those with a symbol in the left-hand margin. You'll be able to find them at a glace. Stuff like your list of XP, contacts list, or treasures list would be good for this, depending on the system you're using to play and what is important for you to track.
Got some index tips and tricks of your own? Drop them in the comments below!
The Silverwing Armoury notebooks were born out of necessity. Influenced by the bullet journal (bujo) method, our creator and designer, Veronica, hands out some quick tips on how you can simplify your in-game notetaking, whether you're playing in one campaign or more. For a more in-depth look on how to maximize the use of your campaign notebook, check out our HOW TO Series.
Use the next available page
Try a page layout
Page layouts have been a saviour for me, both as a player and a GM. They've allowed me to ensure that I capture the really important bits that occur within a session, while still leaving room for random notes. I will usually tailor them to what is important for me to remember from each session; however, there are always some things that I will write down, regardless of what system I am playing in. Things like - who was at the table, a quick list of NPCs we encountered, whether we got XP (or whether I gave XP), any major encounters, and where we left off at the end of the session. I will usually show up to the next session with my layout already done up, but they're super quick to make, so it shouldn't be a huge deal to whip it up just before gaming begins.
Lists, but make them purposeful
What has helped you in simplifying the way you take notes?
Drop us a comment below.