The Notetaker role

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
I'm playing D&D as a PC in my current primary campaign and my player role is as the notetaker (not mapmaker or treasurer).

It's a role I've had before, mostly in my 1st era of TTRPGs in the late 80s and early 90s (D&D, GURPS, RIFTS, Paladium, Synnibar, Twilight:2000, Albedo, others).

One of the things I'm doing differently this time is taking the notes and retelling them in the voice of my character. If the character isn't present for an event the recap is only as accurate as what the other PCs tell him (which can frequently be as simple as "I share this with the party later").

This can lead to gaps and forgotten knowledge, which the DM is aware of and might remind the characters who discovered significant events/items/people/etc that they had done so because characters are experiencing things in a different timeline (a couple of days) versus the players (many months).

What are some of the other things that could pop up as problems when the Notetaker is doing so in-character?

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Old Fezziwig

a man builds a city with banks and cathedrals
Bias, lies of omission, and shading the notes such that the report of them isn't entirely accurate. Painting the notetaker in a better light or providing justifications for behaviors that may not look great in hindsight could be other pitfalls. How honest is your PC? (And conversely, how forgiving is your group? Some groups may not find inaccurate notes amusing.)

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
Bias, lies of omission, and shading the notes such that the report of them isn't entirely accurate. Painting the notetaker in a better light or providing justifications for behaviors that may not look great in hindsight could be other pitfalls. How honest is your PC? (And conversely, how forgiving is your group? Some groups may not find inaccurate notes amusing.)
In this case the group are people who know me for my writing in other spaces. I think they appreciate it, but these are great things to bring up, because I can temper my presentation if I'm aware.


With one Legends of the Five rings game my character was a historian and took copious notes of what happened during his adventures.

For some reason the gamesmaster never bothered to do so and when he examined my notes he found they were biased and one sided to my character, any relation to what actually happened was pure coincidence :)


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I say go all in on it. Write slanderous things about other PCs. Paint yourself as the hero carrying the rest of the party. That should inspire other players to right their own narratives. With the right group of players, it could be fun to compare notes at the end of the adventure.


Guide of Modos
It's a player class for a reason. Don't forget that the notetaker (I prefer chronicler) is responsible for the -objective memories of the party members-. Yes, other players can take notes, but if they have their own player classes, they're relying on the chronicler for what their characters know. So writing from your character's perspective is cool, but really, that's a character task, not a player task unless you record everything dutifully in-character.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Wow, I don't think I've seen formalized player roles in the past 30 years. I don't have any experience with those to give you an answer.

I can tell you that I am often a notetaker when we play. Someones the only one, in one group I'm one of three. When I was playing a high INT wizard, I got everything, and used the notes as my character's personal memory to play the 18 (and later 20) INT. When playing in a SF game inspired by Expanse/Mass Effect, I posted regular recaps completely in character, and was intentionally a bit of an unreliable narrator, at least in the focus of what my character found important - but my original notes had everything, the recaps were written between sessions and posted to a discord channel for them.

If you are being "the" note taker, it should be as close to objective and as complete as you can. Otherwise your notes are just fiction and not actually of any utility to the group.

Which isn't to say you can't write it "in character" to add flavor and for your own entertainment. Notetakers should enjoy what they do. Just be sure to separate "notes" from "commentary".

. E.g. "CY524 6th moon, week 2, midweek : According to Morty, last night he ran up a wall, climbed through an upstairs window and stopped a gnomish assassin from killing the Crown Princess of Morendorf by taking a poisoned blade meant for her.

While it is true he is immune to poisons, I must note for future readers that Morty is a slack-jawed yokel who couldn't tell a minor noble from the backside of nowhere from a princess if his life depended on it."


Victoria Rules
I've never seen a formal "note taker" player role (though we've had designated mappers and treasurers for ages), but were someon to take on that role I'd expect the notes to be mostly from the character's perspective...which for one thing would mean that were the note-taker's character* not present for some goings-on those events could only be recorded in the notes via report from another character who was there.

Which means yes, the notes will likely be biased toward what the recording character (and-or player) finds interesting-engaging-important; which from an in-character perspective makes loads of sense.

The responsibility for logging the overall game IMO falls on the DM, who is both neutral (in theory) and all-knowing; and can thus filter out in hindsight what's important from what isn't.

* - note I specifically say "character", not "player"; if the note-taker player misses a session then someone else has to take over as if playing the note-taker's character; just like someone else would have to take over mapping or treasury were those players absent.

Most of my groups don't have formal player roles, but a few people usually take notes. The notes range from mostly objective to in-character, sometimes flowing back and forth depending on the player's whim. We still find them very useful, even when they are entirely in-character. As the GM, I depend on them because I don't have time to write a full summary of the session's events afterwards. The players usually photograph and upload their notes sometimes after the session and we keep them in a shared Google Drive folder. (Google's OCR is good enough on handwriting that we basically have full-search capability.)

EDIT: But to answer the question posed, I don't really see any problems per se, if you mean "problems that would make the game less fun for the participants." Good sorts of problems might include, as others have mentioned, some bias on your character's part. If you have flaws or disadvantages or the equivalent, you might focus more attention on details that aren't as "important." For example, a glutton might take assiduous notes on meals, rations, the menu at the tavern, etc. A benefit from this would be that it helps remind you (and the other players, including the GM) about features of your character that deserve some air time. I can imagine arriving in town and one of the other characters asking around for a tavern "with really good food so this guy stops whining." Spreading the love, this could also be a way to highlight roleplaying elements from other characters. Might be fun to "make it into the notes" in any given session.

Voidrunner's Codex

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