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Preferred Adventure Writing Medium?

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

I have a question to the DM's out there that write their own adventures/modules.

What is your generally preferred "medium" for writing them? All digital on a laptop/desktop? On a tablet sitting in the coffee shop? On dead-tree skin with poisonous metal? Psychic memory impressions on un-marred geode's? In your own blood on the backs of your slain enemies?

I have found that I've been writing in digital form since my father bought our first computer back in the early/mid 80's (iirc, it was a 30mHz with 2mb RAM and a 40mb hard drive, with a 5.25" floppy drive). However, a couple years ago, when 5e came out, I found myself sitting on my porch with my new MM, DMG and PHB, a piece of graph paper and some simple ruled paper. I was enjoying the sun and smell and sounds of the pine trees and the stream running through my back yard, watching the squirrels running all over the place collecting pine cones....you know, typical summer day in the Yukon Territory living in a social housing apartment*. :)

At any rate...I REALLLY enjoyed the process. I'm sure the setting helped, but even in winter, with it dark out side for 18 hours of the day and temperatures hovering around -25C (-13F), writing at the table with paper and pencil is just...oddly relaxing. It takes a lot longer, sure, but I never feel "rushed". When typing in digital, sometimes I feel like I'm taking too long. Like I'm being lazy or taking short-cuts to get it "done with and over".

I don't know. There's a lot to be said for ye ole quill and parchment method!

Anyone else do this? Write adventures/modules "by hand" nowadays?

*...yes, I know I'm spoiled in this regards; 'social housing' in Canada, Yukon in particular, is really good...TOO good if you ask me. Add in a ridiculously gorgeous wilderness everywhere you look and...well...yeah. Can't complain! :D

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

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ccs

40th lv DM
About 90% in my head.
About 10% written down (usually pen & paper, now & then typed up on a desk top - generally for any maps.)

Aside from maps, my written notes generally consist of collections of bullet points that wouldnt be very useful to anyone but me.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
I typically type up notes in a combination of outline and stream of consciousness in a Google Doc so I can get to it from any device. I also have an unlined notebook that I enjoy using when I want to get away from the screens. (At some point after college I realized that I dislike lined notebooks; blank pages just seem so much cleaner and more open to whatever I want to do with them.) Due to the many constraints on my time, though, my notes are rarely very thorough and are often nonexistent.
 

Dave Goff

Explorer
It seems like every time has been different. Most recently I used an Excel workbook for jotting down thoughts. One tab was an outline for backstory points, one for encounter ideas, one for bigger homebrew setting concepts. These will go to a Word doc, probably, and then during game sessions I'll have a notebook of scribbled concepts that come up during a game free-style.
In the past, I would get ideas at work and jot them down in a little notebook and now I have a couple of crates of half-filled notebooks that I kind of regret every time I move.
Once I used Scribe an author software more used for novel-writing. It was handy but a bit more than I needed for the brainstorming phase.
 

I always type out the actual adventures on computer, but I do have an "idea notebook" where I do a lot of the planning for each adventure and which I reference when writing up the adventure. I have a separate graph paper notebook for maps, although I'll often doodle around on scratch paper before coming up with the finalized map layout (which then gets transcribed into the map notebook). Sometimes I come up with the adventure and then design the map as needed, and other times I come up with a map I like and then design the adventure around it.

Johnathan
 



Jd Smith1

Adventurer
MS word for the actual scenarios, which I transfer to an Ipad for the games. My 'GM screen' is One Note on my laptop.

Although we are a face to face game, we run combat on a virtual tabletop using MapTool; all the players bring laptops. My combat notes are on a boogie board, the NPC stat sheets are jpgs on my Ipad.

Other than a crib sheet for tracking honor (xp), everything is electronic format. I don't buy any game material that isn't in electronic format; it's been years since I bought a paper product.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I'm a pencil and paper guy. I make a lot of mind maps. Rough drafting is a skill IMO. So I pour out ideas and play connect the dots. Then I winnow it down to the core ideas that really work. Then I add whatever detail is apporiate for the system, genre, and whatnot.
 

aco175

Hero
Lately I use the Word format from given out from DMsGuild for writing the encounters and story. I make maps with graph paper and insert them to the module. After I run the adventure through my home group as a playtest, I tend to format them a bit and post them on DMsGuild for everyone.
 


Hriston

Hero
I don't really write "adventures", but I make notes with a pen in a notebook along the way to keep track of what has happened/is happening. I also draw maps with pencil on graph or hex paper. I use colored pencils/crayons to indicate terrain on wilderness maps, and to indicate lighting on combat encounter maps that I show to the players. I keep other notes on character personal characteristics/backstory, various other character sheet information, and inventory on google documents/worksheets for reference during play.
 

pogre

Legend
It usually starts with an idea notebook.

I draw the maps and then scan those into Gimp and neaten things up and add notations, encounter numbers, a compass, and other details.

I use google docs to write the adventure. Google docs let me write from almost any device including my phone. I also insert digital copies of my maps into the doc.

Finally, I print the whole thing out - I still am a pencil and paper DM at heart.
 

Hiya!

I have a question to the DM's out there that write their own adventures/modules.

What is your generally preferred "medium" for writing them? All digital on a laptop/desktop? On a tablet sitting in the coffee shop? On dead-tree skin with poisonous metal? Psychic memory impressions on un-marred geode's? In your own blood on the backs of your slain enemies?
[snip]

I don't know. There's a lot to be said for ye ole quill and parchment method!

Anyone else do this? Write adventures/modules "by hand" nowadays?
I tend to do electronic only except for maps, but occasionally jot the initial ideas on paper or epaper. Maps tend to be hand drawn, then redrawn on the computer.
I occasionally brainstorm plots, and I have a good eInk writing-capable tablet (Likebook Alita), and a writing capable LCD tablet (Galaxy Note Pro), so when I get the urge to handwrite, I don't have to commit to dead trees.

My next tablet (barring oddnessess) should be a color eInk in the 13" size, vs my current 10.3" grayscale.
 


Eltab

Hero
I write down ideas as inspiration strikes on pencil-and-paper.
Transfer to home computer to organize and get into playable (I hope) form.
Print off for game use.

Somewhere I have a ring binder with a complete set of homebrewed Gamma World rules, printed off because I was about to buy a new computer that would not talk to the old-style storage disk.
 

pemerton

Legend
Did any of the characters fail to survive the process?
One or two, I think - but because i'm preparing NPCs I use that to trigger the end of the gen process rather than starting again!

When we did PC gen for this campaign, one of the PCs failed to survive. Two others failed by 1, which in our rules means a half term with no chance for promotion and not counting towards mustering out rolls.
 

payn

Explorer
Wow, reading your OP really brought me back in the day where I would plan things out and write them down physically. Im getting really nostalgic now!

My problem was I never really finished things and couldnt keep up with the players. That and they always seemed to find published adventures so intriguing and my homemade stuff less so. I eventually moved into running published adventures.

I have found since, that published adventures are perfect for me. They do most of the leg work, but thats not to say I dont do anything but run them. I dissect them, I rearrange, and I create within them. I do most of this ina digital format. I've found this to be the best use of my time and a way I can still put some of myself into the adventures Im running.

-Cheers
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Depends who I'm writing it for, and why.

If it's just for me, it's probably pen-and-paper all the way and even if it's digital it's going to end up on paper anyway if I want to run it as my (desktop) computer isn't behind my DM screen. And in any case it'll be a mish-mash of scratch notes, maps, stream-of-thought notes, and so forth.

If I have any thoughts of anyone else ever reading/running it then I'll put in in the computer, write it up properly in a decent format in Word, digitize the maps (an appallingly tedious process; I'm fussy enough that what I scan in is never good enough thus I end up tracing over all of it (often almost to the pixel-by-pixel level) using an art program, and bundle the lot together somehow even if just a bunch of files in a folder.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

Nice replies all around. :)

I was kinda expecting the variety we see here...there are soooo many different preferences for RPG's in every way (how we play them, why, where, etc) that seeing people go from physical hand-made with paper and pen...to full-everything digital...and everything in between. I think my preferred method is 'old school pen/paper', but find myself doing a mix; maps hand drawn (usually; sometimes digital), and a point-form key that is printed out, often with half of each page just blank so I can jot down stuff after I give it another read before the game.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

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