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Game Dream #10: Tangled Webs

Paperwork tends to be the bane of the average Joeís existence, and this is no less true in roleplaying games. Docís tenth Game Dream is given over to examining how much work we need to put in when maintaining our campaigns.

    During games, how do you keep track of the various plot hooks, hints, and people? Are you a master of the arcane memory arts and keep them in your head? Or, are you a mere mortal who must put them to paper?

I tend toward the ďmere mortalĒ side of the scales. One of the nifty things in the 2nd. Edition Heavy Gear Gamemasterís Guide was an event tracking sheet, which I try and fill in after each adventure. It includes space for a session summary, notes on pertinent events, prominent NPCs, player actions and what happened off-scene that the players donít know about. Itís a little cramped, but it does the job well.

I keep the completed papers, as well as notes, NPC sheets, equipment stats, maps and the like in a three-ring folder. Most of the notes therein are hand-written, so Iíll occasionally go through and make typed-up summaries that are easier to read in a hurry.

Iíve also bought myself a packet of (I think) 3Ēx5Ē file cards that I want to use for NPC summaries, so their important information (name, affiliation, pertinent game stats, opinions o the players) is at my fingertips. Finally, I carry a notepad with me most of the time, so if I have a campaign-related idea I can jot it down rapidly.

As this is a late response, Iíve noticed a few other respondents mention that theyíve made use of wikis as online data repositores for themselves (as GMs) and their players. This is an idea Iíd like to put into practice. I do/did have a homepage for the Corsairs Campaign in the form of a blog, but Iíd like to have a wiki available as well; Iíve noticed that the structure of a wiki is a bit more conducive to group input than a web log.

    How much notekeeping is too much?

I think you get to the point of too much notekeeping when you canít quickly or readily find something you made note of. Thereís a tendency to obsess over recording the details when youíre running a campaign, but little inconsistencies are a part of life and I think most players will either not notice or let slide that youíre less than accurate on a minor detail.

    Do you find you are more or less organized in game than in real life?

More organised in game, I think. Then again, we havenít done much gaming in the past few months, so Iíve not had to do much maintenance lately.

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