Tobold's Blog
Sunday, July 08, 2012
 
Designing adventures with Evernote

My Dungeons & Dragons campaign is using a mix of pre-made and self-designed adventures. Writing an adventure is fun, but involves a lot of work: You need to have a story, probably revolving around a main adversary. You need NPCs and monsters. You need story encounters, combat encounters, and other encounters (like traps or skill challenges). And you need maps and handouts. Furthermore you are unlikely to create all of this in a linear order. Instead creativity flows in bits and pieces, sometimes having you writing down short ideas, at other points you're working on the details. That process is likely to leave you with a mess of notes, both scribbled down and printed out. Getting it all together into one adventure at the end isn't always easy. Fortunately I discovered a great tool to help me designing adventures: Evernote.

Evernote is a note-taking software which runs on various platforms, including PC, on browsers, and iOS. Besides writing notes you can also draw them, create them by clipping stuff from the web, or from pictures (e.g. a photo taken with your iPhone). You can sort the notes into notebooks, tag them with keywords, and connect them with hyperlinks. And whatever platform you use to take your notes, they are all automatically synchronized across all devices.

I found this works quite well for designing adventures. I can write down a short idea I had during the day on my iPad Touch, or a browser. And then I can use the Evernote program installed on my computer to bring order into the various ideas, e.g. linking the note about the monster to the note about the encounter in which I use it.

The only hickup I encountered up to now is that Wizards of the Coast's D&D Insider website is using very strange and non-standard coding, which refuses to work with the Evernote Web Clipper. So to get the monsters from the Adventure Tool - Monster Builder into Evernote, I need to make a screenshot and crop it with IrfanView before adding it to Evernote. Other than that the setup works splendidly, and I'm making progress on the adventure I have planned for my campaign for level 5.

Comments:
If you are using Chrome browser there are countless add-ins that will streamline your process for screen shots, see screen capture by google for example
 
If not, then you could use Puush or Zscreen to take cropped screenshots.

I currently use OneNote for rpg stuff, but I should try evernote someday.
 
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