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GM's "Notebook"


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Hi all,

 

By nature I'm a fairly disorganized person who'd like to be organized. :whistle: I'm always picking up this program or that, a "New notebook with new organizational capabilities!", and so on. While I realize that organizing stuff is ultimately very personal, I'm curious... How do you organize and track the going's on in your Champions game? (Assuming you do of course.) Do you prefer electronic? "Analog"? Something in between? What?

 

Thanks!

 

Take care,

 

Derek "Disorganized GM"

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Re: GM's "Notebook"

 

If I enjoy a campaign, I'll generally take rough notes and transcribe them into fiction at some point when I have spare time.

 

Check out the files at the start of the Billy Deighton thread on the Pulp Hero forum for an example, though those are a little more detailed than what I usually write.

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Re: GM's "Notebook"

 

I've never written anything down, aside from an e-mail summary wrap-up that I've sent to the players when the adventure was over. However, the best GM I've ever played with used a spiral notebook where he kept his notes and stories. I may consider doing this in the future.

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Re: GM's "Notebook"

 

I keep a Campaign Journal when I GM. It helps me keep everything in place. Basicly in game I keep point for notes and sometimes quotes from the game and then try to write them out. I always email them to my players and let them sort add, modify, or correct them and then I post them online.

 

My versions are rough. The get polished later.

 

QM

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Re: GM's "Notebook"

 

I make the players keep track of what's happened to them. It's their lives, right?

 

Then, I have all kinds of notes, ideas and whatnot lying around in order to keep all of my varied NPCs moving through time rather than remaining static until seen. Mostly, the madman in me is constantly shuffling and reshuffling reality in order to make the player's lives as dynamic yet believable as possible.

 

I probably should keep a book but I know that as soon as I do my players will go off on a brilliant tangent and I'll have to trash it for a new set of ideas.

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Re: GM's "Notebook"

 

Hero Designer for my characters. I print them out and put them in a binder. My adventures I create in Word and number like comics. For example last week was issue #20: Pirate Attack! I print the adventure out and put them in a binder, along with written notes on things that the PCs did during the night that I need to remember (or little fudges that I had to make up as time went along to have things make more sense).

 

This is by far the most organized I've been for a campaign. My last campaign (in the Marauder 2107 universe) was very loosely organized. It started off organized but the plot went on longer then I expected and things started to fall apart a little bit.

 

Because I wanted the Champions campaign to feel like a comic book, organizing the story by issues made it really feel like we were really playing in one and if you've read my Tales of the Freedom Corps thread, you'll see that there's enough crunchy bits where I need to be able to refer back to previous stories on occasion.

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Re: GM's "Notebook"

 

Open Office or Notepad.

 

If I am at work and get a stroke of genius (happens all the time trust me;)) I jot down a few notes in word pad and then send the text file to my home account. At home I have an Open Office document that has all my plot seeds and campaign notes in it. I have a separate Open Office document that has more detailed adventures with NPC names and basic maps that I make in Open Office Draw. Finally a third document is used with tables that incorporate which PCs were there, which NPC were used and a brief outline of what happened that night.

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Re: GM's "Notebook"

 

*knocks twice, quietly sits down* Sorry, I'm an FH guy. I'm just thread surfing and thought "Hey, all I do is DM, I'm qualified to answer this!" So.

 

I used to not write anything down. Then I forgot it all, because my imagination takes up way too much time creating new things that current things get lost more easily than a cat with a canary. Now I keep everything in difficult to use ruled notebooks. I've learned to number each page, put icons next to important things, and in the next one (I'm going on the 4th since I started doing this) I'll leave page one blank for a Table of Contents.

 

You can sidestep some of this mess and simply go with a standard three ring, but I don't like the rings, they get in my way, so I have a genuine preference for being a little archaic in this case. In so far as plot generation and control:

 

- Draft basic plot. Determine which events are 'musts' to drive the world, and which are controllable by the PCs. On average I have two or three "must happen" events which are outside the PCs control per campaign. These are the hinges that change the direction of the primary story arc (losing Gandalf, Luke getting his hand chopped off, the capture of Morpheus, etc.) and force the PCs to draft a new response to get towards their Epiphany/Finale stage of the adventure. Because I work in segemented minor arcs, which tie into an over-arc, this is very easy for me to do, and works directly with how I think.

 

- Then I draft a brief series of minor arcs, rattle off some NPC names, races/class combinations that sound interesting, and go with a standard stat point buy assuming NCM. A pair of 18s, 16s, 14s, 12s. Straight down. That actively ignores HERO point buy, but I'm not terribly concerned about point balancing all my NPCs; I worry about that later. In d20 you can do it with impunity; in HERO I have to rework my math a bit, but you get the rough idea. I need them to be able to walk & talk; any combatants get much more careful treatment.

 

- Draft major NPCs (up to 4hrs each). This is a nightmare, and the bulk of the "work." The plot is easy; the characters are a pain. Most of this material exists in Gmail and is exchanged between myself and my co-GM who lives a couple of states away. Because he's the mathematician, I let him handle the mechanics and the creature drafts and balancing, while I focus on dramatic situations. So I have all of that stored safely on my mail server.

 

- Then, lastly, I usually post a post-game thread (when I both think about AND have time) to either of my campaign boards. I also tend to ask things like "What were you doing last game, anyway? Oh yeah..."

 

Hope that gives you some insight!

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Re: GM's "Notebook"

 

First, my own gaming style tends to be very episodic, with one game session leading into the next one over a story arch of four to six "episodes". I tend to not do "major arcs" because my group is very fluid in player attendance.

 

So, I have a hard-copy list (in the form of a sketchbook) of any of these "minor arcs". I'll never get to all of them, but when an idea hits me, I jot it down. It may not even have anything to do with the game I'm currently running. This book is also where I jot down any nifty character concepts that cross my mind, as well as the occasional power build.

 

During a gaming session, I have a Word and an Excel document open. In the Word, I write down what I need to know of the current episode plot to keep the game going (generally written about twenty minutes before game-time) and any pertinant information as it comes up. My Excel is my combat sheet. On it I keep my players pertinant combat information (Speed, Dex, OCV, DCV, Defenses, Standard Attacks) and also that same information for any NPCs/Enemies that are likely to be in combat. Under that list on the same sheet is running Body/Stun totals for everyone in the combat.

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Re: GM's "Notebook"

 

I have 2 levels of keeping track of stuff. Current Game and Long Term. For CG I use Herodesigner for characters and its export templates to provide excellent combat charts for the game. I use excel sometimes or the open office equvalent for some data for the game also. For LT I use Open office and Word for long descriptions of campaign goals and future plot summaries so that I don't forget a plot thread that I have used or am going to use. Some of my best games I have run have been multible threads from past games coming together to be resolved or to bite someone on the ***. Luckily for me one of my group is a compulsive(anal) note taker and I hate to say I use her stuff frequently instead of writing it up myself. Look on here for the thread Shikarr's campaign Notes and you will see how my campaign has went. I have been running this one for 3 years now.

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Re: GM's "Notebook"

 

I tend to keep all my notes, characters and maps in a three-ring binder. Hero Creator makes the characters, so I burn the characters to CD when the files are looking full. I compose my scenarios on Microsoft Word (and I still wish I still had 6.0 -- because it just rocked for making forms). My maps and sketches I compose in Paint (and I use homemade hexpaper for most of my games, since we prefer to mark up a piece of paper than lug boxes of miniatures around). Older stuff gets relagated to another binder for storage until some old storylines are ripe for regeneration.

 

Matt "Sounding-more-organized-than-I-usually-feel" Frisbee

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