Tracking Campaign Activity




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    Tracking Campaign Activity

    I'm not quite sure this is the right forum for this, but the question is generic, and I want players and DMs opinions. So...

    How do you go about recording your campaigns, week-to-week and longer term? Do you keep logs, such as those posted in the Story Hour forum here, or hang on to your notes from each session - or just try to keep things in your head? Do you keep old character sheets when you write up new ones? (Do you write up new character sheets, even?)

    I'm starting a new campaign at the moment, following on from one just completed (last one was three years of real time, four years and a bit of game time). I've put together a website which I'm going to use to track it, with logs, copies of a broadsheet published in the campaign world, and so on - and I want more ideas, so that in years to come, I'll be able to KNOW what the details of the fourth session were, or point a new player at the site and say "Read that, and you'll know everything."

    Cheers!
    Drew

 

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    Are you a player wanting to track this information, or a DM?

    I'm a player in a campaign running well over a year now, and with plenty of arcing story lines. (I think my DM took lessons from J. Micheal Strazinscy (sp))

    I've been keeping notes since day one, and eventually started posting it to the story hour. This has been a great general record of the campaign, the only weakness being that since it's one character's journal, it's limited by what that character is aware of.

    As for character sheets, paper is passe my friend. I have a multi-sheet workbook in Excel that is my character sheet. I print hard copies but it's disposable. And with higher levels and more buffs and modifiers, I've started using the sheet to track my bonuses (since I have the laptop there anyway). I believe every player in the game is using some kind of tool rather than a paper character sheet.

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    My communities:

    Yeah, I keep notes as a player and GM. I try to post summaries on a private section of my website. That way everyone can keep up and nobody forgets what happened.
    "I asked Dave to please send me his rules additions, for I thought a whole new system should be developed. A few weeks after his visit I received 18 or so handwritten pages of rules and notes pertaining to his campaign, and I immediately began work on a brand new manuscript. "Greyhawk" campaign started the first D&D campaign! About three weeks later, I had some 100 typewritten pages, and we began serious play-testing in Lake Geneva, while copies were sent to the Twin Cities and to several other groups for comment. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS had been born."
    EGG, Dragon #7

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    As a GM, for this campaign at least - I can't find anyone who runs a D&D campaign, AND whose schedule coincides enough with mine for me to play.

    I use a laptop - some of the time - myself, but I know my players well enough to know that if we all had computers or handhelds at the table, there'd be far too much messing with them, and not enough playing - and I'd be the guiltiest. In my just-started "Threshold of Ages" campaign (Story hour plug!), at least two players do keep computer records of the character, and just print off new sheets when needed.

    Story arcs are another thing that really need tracking, and yes, JMS is the sensei there. It's hard to balance the tracking of an arc with keeping its occurences natural, though - I've resorted to tying the arcs and recurrances to a semi-random generation method (tarot cards, hence the name) for Major Arcana.

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    Heya, gothwalk! Good to see ya, cutter! Well, for my last campaign (actualy a triology of interlinked campaigns) I kept an extensive record by hand, full of notes, handouts, character sheets, etc. Later on, I began converting them into electronic format and posted them on a website. Also, I encouraged my players to keep journals (via giving out 'journal XP'), one of which did.

    Then, I wrote DM overviews of each session and the player wrote 'in-character narratives', which we posted on the web. It worked out rather nicely. Also, you can use the website for all player handouts, to post "character secrets" in password protected areas, etc, etc...

    Here are the links:
    End's Eve (the last of the 3 in the triology):
    http://www.dpo.uab.edu/~kalinor/plan...s/ends_eve.htm

    The Journal of Feldspar:
    http://webpages.charter.net/sperry1/index.html

    Drop me a mail - I'd be more than happy to give ya some more tips and pointers!

    P.S. Is this a PS campaign?
    Brannon, Untold Co-Creator! - http://www.untoldthegame.com

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    I definitely use a webpage to keep track of things and archive information. It is quite a bit of work though. Some things do fall by the wayside while others continue to be important. I'll throw our webpage up and you can take a look through it. http://www.bjhark.com/stbarnabus/index.htm

    Cheers!
    Reach for the sky, Gringo!

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    This is a very good topic, and something that I'm struggling with in my own campaign. How can I keep track of a large number of NPC's, stores, plots, locations, events, and other things so that I can present a consistent world to the players. And more importantly, how can I get them to pay attention enough that they remember stuff without me always prompting them. I have a large file that I just keep adding to that has the essential story of the campaign so far. I also keep another file with information about the campaign that I think the PC's should know, and I usually email it out with some sort of news update every couple weeks. I don't think many of them read it, but ideally if they did, it would keep them up to date. I type up a synopsis of each adventure before hand, with names for all relavent NPC's and locations, but during the game, I inevitably have to pencil in things that get forgetten later.

    Now, onto the question of making the players feel engaged in the campaign. I feel that I'm always having to remind them of everything thats going on, so that all the work I do is in vain. This is an exaggeration, but I feel like I'm saying things like this sometimes. "Remember, he's the wizard who hired you to get the artifact, but then you discovered that he's evil. Now, are you going to give it to him or not." I'm not sure how to deal with stuff like this. The players won't really be happy if they all die because they forgot some detail from three sessions ago, and I wouldn't have any sort of campaign at all because this would probably happen all the time. At the same time, I feel like I'm being forced to railroad the PC's, because they won't watch out for themselves. The campaign journels for xp sound like a good idea. If I can get people to think about the game again in the middle of the week, then maybe they'll pay more attention to it.

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    We use a website to keep everyone in the loop as far as stories are concerned. I used to keep a detailed journal, but it got pretty tedious, especially when you missed a week and had to catch up. I found that if the DM keeps a bulleted list of major events that happen in the logs, all the information stays concise, as well as readable. It doesn't read like a story, but you can follow events and reference things if you've forgotten them.

    We also commend and encourage PC jounals (from the character's perspective). This way, the in-character journals can be done at the player's convenience and they don't need to be mandatory after each session. It's a nice way to take some of the burden off of the DM as well as envelope the player's into the world.

    If you'd like to check our site out, here it is: http://dnd.haventhorne.com

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    Zervoid: I'm blessed with enthusiastic players. If I don't produce the usual amount of notes, updates, and handout material, they start to hassle me. This is a good thing, it keeps me in gear. And questions - in the middle of conversations on something else entirely - like "How's Arnol getting on with that spell research?" (Arnol is an NPC wizard), or "Has my character heard anything anything back from that Necromancer she wrote to?", come up all the time. I live with two of the players, so they can get me at any time of day or night.

    Ashy: It's planar, but not Planescape - that is, they'll be visiting the planes, dealing with fiends, celestials, and the like, but it's Prime based. But I'm sticking fairly close to the PS cosmology, with one or two adjustments (my own, not the MotP).

    tennyson: I tried keeping a list of important stuff, and then didn't even show it to the players - I know what's important, and if I write it down in a list headed "Important Things", it can give plots away, bigtime.

    What I have found is very useful are letters - correspondence between the PCs and NPCs, and sometimes an NPC will send a PC a letter they got from another NPC, and so on. Very Victorian kind of a setup, really, with three and four letters going back and forth every day of game time.

    Drew.

    Threshold of Ages Story Hour
    Drew Shiel http://gothwalk.starflung.com/

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    Tarmy, gothwalk, tarmy.....

    Zerovoid - I can relate, I had a similiar problem. In one of my campaigns, I *TOLD* the players to be ready to take notes and "do homework" as I call it - i.e. read and know the info I give them. They did not, so I struggled with it and wound up feeling exactly like you said - like I was doing all of this work for nothing. And in fact, that was (and still is, in your case) exactly correct. You are doing the work for you, not the PC's, since they do not seem to care. All you have to do now is ask yourself is it something that you would be doing if you had no players? If not, then stop spoon feeding the players - let them deal with a "flat, boring" game. If so, however, dont waste the time on the players if they are not going to appreciate it - focus that time into writing or something that makes YOU happy. Hey - there are PLENTY of D20 Open Calls floating around!

    Whatever you decide to do, Zerovoid - best of luck!
    Brannon, Untold Co-Creator! - http://www.untoldthegame.com

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