I keep a gaming notebook. An actual, honest to God notebook. Not a binder (I keep one of those too, but that’s a different story altogether), a notebook. I’ve kept one since I first began sketching out a Dark Sun game back in 1992. It’s filled with everything you imagine it would: character ideas, villainous plots, adventure details, session notes, grocery lists, honey do’s, phone numbers, you name it. It’s basically a take anywhere, scribble any time resource.
The notebook has gone through a variety of forms. The latest incarnation, thanks largely to the character John Doe in SEVEN, is the composition notebook. There are several reasons for this. They fit together on a bookshelf or bankers box MUCH better than spiraled notebooks, and you can also get them for a song around Back to School time (around $0.50 for a 100 page, college ruled notebook). I prefer a ruled notebook, but you can also get them with graph paper (…or BOTH!). Depending on how active the campaign is, they usually are good for a few months. Then its time to start a new book.
Since I began running Witch Hunter regularly, the notebook has begun to evolve into something more than a sketchpad. It’s a tool. And that is where the Notebook Reference PDF comes into play. This is something I’ve been using for the last three notebooks, but I suspect no one (besides me) has the slightest clue what the hell it is or how to use it. So let me demonstrate.
See, these Composition notebooks all have basic tools on the inside covers, usually a calendar or mathematic conversion notes. The Notebook Reference is designed to be printed out on full page label paper, available at any office supply store. Cut out the margins and affix them to the inside covers. Now your gaming notebook because an idea generator and GM rules reference. Theoretically, you could put anything in there. My design is still evolving, and would probably change based on the game itself. But you get the idea.
And really, it works for pretty much any style of notebook as long as you are comfortable using the dimension controls in Adobe Acrobat.
Now yes, since I play online I do keep a bunch of stuff in Evernote. But for my money, you just can’t beat a notebook and a pen to put ideas to paper immediately.
Oh, and you may also notice in the pictures above, I added a bookmark ribbon to my notebooks. It’s a great use for that extra label paper you’ve cut away. The latest version of the notebook reference actually includes a third page to affix to the last page of the notebook. Simply position your ribbon and then affix the label and presto! It’s better than tape! Now not only does your gaming notebook contain a lot of story elements or even important game rule details, but it keeps your place for you.
I hope you enjoyed this little Game Master Craft moment. I expect to see these things everywhere the next time I visit a convention (hopefully next year!)
ONE MORE THING:
For anyone interested, I’ve created a discussion group for Witch Hunter: The Invisible World on Google+. Frankly, the activity on the official Paradigm Forums is depressing and the Facebook page is more centered on the Revelations Organized Play campaign. So if you are a fan of Witch Hunter and active on Google+, please consider joining. It’s new, and it’s lonely.