Friday, May 29, 2009

Process & Procrastination

As usual, while setting up the new campaign I've started obsessing about process and how to format my notes. Handwritten or computer? Files or wiki? Tiddlywiki or Google Page? Rich text files, .doc, or .odt? Binder or notebook? Or both? The list goes on.

While I do have an urge to "go traditional" with this campaign, my gut feeling is that it's an ideological urge, rather than one based on practicality. Given that I'm managing a lot of my player interactions through a campaign blog, it makes sense to keep my notes digital, for easy access and interface with that set up. I've already got a campaign, the megadungeon, that's all hand-written, and I'm still feeling my way through that.

But my usual system of files and folders doesn't quite work. Mostly, I'd like to be able to put things in multiple buckets. It'd be convenient, for instance, to file NPCs all together in an NPC folder, while simultaneously accessing them each from their locations.

I've been fiddling with TiddlyWiki, and I have high hopes that it'll do what I need at least as far as NPC-tracking and at-the-table notes go. But it still gets me stuck on process. How should I set everything up? Am I doing this or that right? What if I change my mind later? Too often, what should be an aid to getting things organized turns into an obstacle to getting them done.


  1. If you want "multiple buckets", then Google Docs does the job. I've been using it for my current Call of Cthulhu campaign, and it's been working well. It's so convenient to have a file online so I can work on it at home or elsewhere.

  2. But obviously, your mileage may vary! ;)

  3. I've been inspired by Grognardia's dedication to minimalism he mentions a bit here and in his other Dwimmermount posts.

    I'm not sure it translates directly since he's talking about design and rules.

    But, it sounds like all three of us are susceptible to being caught up in all the activity(world building, session planning, etc.) around a campaign. Which is important but not at the expense of actual play.

    It's almost impossible for me not to organize, plan, and fret. But for one of games/campaigns in the near future I'm gonna try hard to go with the flow and practice "Just in Time" DMship.

  4. kelvingreen: I've used Google Pages for other purposes before, and quite like it, but at the moment we're playing in a location that doesn't have wireless. Which is a good thing, since it's mostly just a source of distractions. TiddlyWiki's been working out quite well, though, and that's stored on my computer.

    Norman Harman: The impulse does spring from the same place, it seems. It's all getting distracted by peripheral activities. I wish I was getting caught up in worldbuilding, though; worrying over whether or not to alphabetize my NPCs isn't nearly as much fun.

    And good luck with that game. Making things up on the fly (especially if you let the players in on it) can go some great places.

  5. If I may offer a suggestion, I'd recommend MonkeyPirateTiddlyWiki, found at to meet your organizational needs. It's a permutation of TiddlyWiki that enhances a few things, particularly tagging, so that if you decide you need to change how you're organizing things, you could rename a tag and rename it within every tiddler that has that tag.

    I've found it helpful for organizing certain campaigns. You get your multiple buckets and the option to easily revise your organizational scheme if you find it useful. Sounds like it might be just the thing for a process-oriented person like you describe yourself.