For the last four months or so, we’ve been playing the Shattered Star adventure path and it’s going very well. As always, though, campaign prep is a constant struggle.
Like you (I expect) I’m a jolly busy gamer. Family life, running Raging Swan Press and my near obsession with running all conspire to constrain the amount of prep time I’ve got for our weekly sessions. To stay ahead of the curve, and to be jolly organised, I use Evernote.
For me, using Evernote efficiently is all about clever tagging. Don’t get me wrong, the search function in Evernote is tremendously powerful, but a comprehensive but simple list of tags means I can quickly navigate my notes and find what I’m looking for—even in the midst of a session. I use several tags to organise my campaign notes:
- Shattered Star: I apply this tag to every note relevant to the campaign. This tends to mean it gets applied to a lot of notes, but it also means I can quickly scan and search everything that might apply to the campaign. It’s all there—effortlessly—on a single screen.
- Shattered Star Session Summaries: I write up session summaries of every game and post them to my blog, as a handy record of the campaign. I find the process jolly useful in ordering my thoughts and remembering important events that might affect upcoming sessions. My players read them as well to refresh their memories of recent events before the next session. Having them in Evernote—searchable—is an added bonus.
- Shattered Star PC: I use this tag on any note pertaining to the PCs. This includes (but is not limited to) copies of their character sheets, their backgrounds and any special magic items or plot devices I might have designed for a given PC. This is also handy if a player can’t make it to a session. With a copy of his character sheet ready to go, I can hit “print” and someone else can run the character—meaning the party doesn’t lose out on healing, offensive magic or whatever. Worst case scenario—and we are playing somewhere without a printer—I can simply share the note with the relevant player and they can run the character straight from their device.
- Shattered Star NPC: In a similar vein to the Shattered Star PC tag, I use this tag to keep track of important NPCs. I can add important notes, their statistics and so on to a note and have it close at hand. If I suddenly get asked a question about an NPC who hasn’t appeared for several sessions, I can quickly refer to my note—and not spend ages leafing through the module trying to find the relevant information.
- Shattered Star: Module Name: I’ve got several tags named after the various modules in the adventure path. Whether I’m designing extra encounters, extra dungeon dressing (like this or this) or just organising my session summaries these are handy tags.
Now, you might be wondering why do all of my tags start with “Shattered Star”? True, it does make the tag longer and somewhat cumbersome, but it means they all appear next to each other in my tag list. This makes finding the right tag much quicker than if I had to search through the entire list.
Got Any Other Tips?
So that’s a brief overview of how I use Evernote to help run my campaign. Are you a GM that uses Evernote to run the game? Got hints and tips I missed? Leave them in the comments below and help me run my games better!