Bullet Journaling for Gamemasters


Bullet journaling has become something of a phenomena over the past few years. The ability to combine the calendar functions of a day planner, the utility of to-do lists, and the personal documentation of a diary into a single, easy-to-use notebook is appealing and practical. It’s a simple, efficient, and flexible means of organizing a lot of information. I’ve used one for a few years now both personally and professionally. I have created special bullet journals specifically from managing major projects, planning a novel, and yes, running a tabletop roleplaying campaign.

Gamemasters have a lot to keep track of. On one hand there’s the logistics of the game group, which all things considered is probably the easiest part. On the other there’s everything within your campaign. You need to track rulings and house rules, player and non-player characters, and individual storylines, campaign arcs, and metaplots. Whether using a published setting or creating your own, there’s an abundance of worldbuilding information to keep straight. Then there are maps, ideas that strike you out of the blue, and events like new product releases and upcoming conventions.

The problems I’ve encountered with “campaign log”-type products are chiefly the same I’ve had with most day planners and personal organization systems: one size does not fit all. Sometimes I need more room to track one specific category of thing. The prepackaged pages include heading that I don’t need, and lack topics and categories that I do. To fix this I end up modifying what they’ve provided to the point that it’s an unholy mess, next to impossible to find anything, and ultimately easier to just make up my own system as I go along.

Which is, when you come down to it, what a bullet journal is. You make up what you need as you need it. The creator, Ryder Carroll, describes it as a method rather than a format, because that’s exactly what it is. Bullet journaling is a way of doing things, which means you can customize it to do precisely what you want. This makes it a perfect tool for gamemasters, no matter what system, setting, or genre you’re running.

The intention of this book is to provide you with tips and suggestions for using a bullet journal in conjunction with organizing and running a tabletop roleplaying campaign. Like roleplaying itself, what you get out of it is largely a function of how much you put into it. Make it your own. Take what works, ignore the rest, and use the basic principles to create whatever you need to make your game great.

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PDF. 96 pages. Minimalist presentation.

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