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Thread: Obsidian Portal
Monday, 31st January, 2011, 07:40 PM #1
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
My campaign notes are getting pretty out of hand as my game continues, and im finding it harder to keep it organized well with who the PCs know and how they have interacted with those NPCs. That sort of thing.
I've heard that OP is pretty good, so I wanted to get some opinions on it. My understanding is that it can act as a sort of wiki for your campaign and make it a bit easier to manage you game.
Can the DM keep info away from players on OP? Also I see they have a paid sub and a free account. Is the paid account that much better than the free?
If anyone could give me their thoughts on OP I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
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Monday, 31st January, 2011, 08:12 PM #2
I am also interested in what the others might have to say about Obsidian Portal.
But here are my 2 cents anyway:
I tried out Obsidian Portal, with a free account.
You can basically create websites, which you can link together. Creating an interactive database (like wikipedia itself).
You need to learn their format and way of doing things (if you know how to edit wiki pages you shouldn't have any trouble, but if I remember it correctly it's like a basic forum post), but you don't need to learn how to write a website (so no need for html, php, mysql or anything, although BBCode might come handy).
The difference between the free and the paid accounts are minuscule. You have access to a custom forum on obsidian portal if you pay (but there are several sites with better forum management for free on the net anyway). And you can upload more pictures (there are hundreds of photo/pic sharing sites for free) for campaign maps, NPC pics etc.
I've found that the only thing Obsidian Portal excels is the possibilty to allow your players to write down their (or their characters) point of view. Like a journal, or a novel, etc.
Making it a nice read now-and-then for everyone else. People who create those amazing Obsidian Portal campaigns dedicate a ton of time and effort for their site.
If you keep your DM notes on paper, typing it down, in this wiki format, creating all the pages, managing it etc., takes a HUGE amount of time. And once done, you realise, you haven't done anything "new", you just have an online access to your notes.
If you keep your DM notes in a digital format putting all the files/text into their "place" in OP might help you see your notes better (which is always good), but you will have to invest some time, to post your monster and NPC stats in the proper format (stat blocks) either with an online tool, the ddi monster creator or learn to html code.
Last edited by M8; Monday, 31st January, 2011 at 08:16 PM.
Monday, 31st January, 2011, 08:58 PM #3
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
I've been using OP for the last two years for my ongoing campaign, and I think its great. I use the adventure logs recap each session and post an uploaded session chat log. The wiki pages are great for recording backstory and history for your setting, and you can update them as the players interact with different areas.
There are a lot of great campaign setting wikis as well (I'm working on mine, but don't have it done) if you want examples. These wikis could fill entire books if you wanted to, but they're online for all to see.
To answer one of your questions, yes, you can have sections that are GM-only. Every page or NPC you create has a GM-only section, so if you write up a description for a town, you can put plot-hooks and quests in the GM-only section. I use this to track treasure the PCs get (they see a table that lists all of their treasure, and I see the list of what they are going to get and where).
It's pretty nifty. If you want to see what I've done with mine, you can check out my wiki here (not to shamelessly plug, but its nice to see how others have used OP).
Hope this helped!
Saagael's Corollary for the DM's Golden Rule - "Disincentivize stupidity"
Monday, 31st January, 2011, 09:06 PM #4
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
To keep it all organized in one spot, but obviously I don't want the players seeing it all.
Monday, 31st January, 2011, 09:07 PM #5
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
I started on OP, before deciding I can do everything OP can do on my own, and setting up a wiki on my web server. But I used OP pretty extensively for about 6 months, mostly for the planning phase of my game.
It's a GREAT tool for saying "I want to add a new town...HERE" and then filling in the skeleton of details for it before you're ready to release it to your players. You do have the ability to mark pages "DM-only", and I believe they've added in the ability to make pages "DM-and-specific-player-only" recently. Which is awesome if you want to make info available to one PC and not another.
Currently GM'ing: Custom, Pathfinder, all-dwarf dungeon crawl. Retake the lost city!
Monday, 31st January, 2011, 09:30 PM #6
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
Monday, 31st January, 2011, 09:42 PM #7
Scout (Lvl 6)
We currently use OP. I think it works well, although you have to spend a bit of time learning how to get the best out of it. It's nice that you can do things simply or if you spend the time, you can really jazz things up with pictures, fonts, etc. There are some REALLY REALLY nice ones out there. Just check out the featured ones and you will see what I mean.
The toughest thing is for a person to figure out how they want to use it. My entire group has ipads so we use it extensively to look up info while we play.
As DM, you can put certain info in a DM only spot to hide it from your players. I often will display an NPC for the players to see, and underneath the DM section (which is on the same page) I add the notes that only I need to see. This works very well and is very handy.
Ultimately, I'd recommend looking into it.
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Monday, 31st January, 2011, 09:47 PM #8
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
I tell you, it was nothing short of astounding for me when a player mentioned reading something about a point of interest, then pulled out her smartphone and consulted the wiki right there at the table. We live in science fiction times.
Monday, 31st January, 2011, 09:48 PM #9
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
I love Obsidian Portal for managing my game notes.
I am extremely disorganized, and have a tendency to write things down in the margins of unrelated papers. The wiki ability to link all sorts of items to each other in OP makes my life much easier, because if I update a town/creature/event, it is updated for everything that links to that event.
Now, I am also so disorganized that the most useful tools are only really useful to me if I set up the pages in advance. So I would advise that you have at least a framework of the cities and events that are going to be taking place in your world, so the pages can be generated on the fly.
Also, one last item that I find useful. I make the players take notes of what has happened. This helps me in two ways.
1) If I have, in my less than orderly fashion, placed some notes somewhere that they cannot be referenced, there is a backup to jog my memory so I can recreate the missing data.
2) It gives me feedback as to what my players think has happened.
Eventually, we will go through, clean up the notes, and probably use it as a base to create an adventure path for the other, less advanced (12 - 15 year olds), group we "mentor".
Did you not ask, young lady, for what cause against this rhymer fivescore men were sent? 'Twas that they knew him for a friend of mine. - Cyrano de Bergerac
Monday, 31st January, 2011, 10:02 PM #10
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
I love hate Obsidian Portal!
It's an awesome tool- but I found I was spending a ton of time updating my wiki and going WAY overboard so that it looked nice and professional... Which ate into time I could have/should have been using to prep my games.
So if you can manage to use it, and not get to crazy with pictures, and formatting and stuff it's a great tool.