Thursday, August 22, 2013

Digital Toolkit: The Evernote Dungeon

Right before GenCon, I ran a dungeon crawl adventure using my iPad, a set of dice, and monster stat blocks written down on index cards.

On my iPad, I had GoodReader loaded up with PDFs of the rulebooks I needed to reference. For the adventure, I tried something different. I wrote up the dungeon using Evernote. It worked out pretty well.

If you're not familiar with Evernote, head over to its web site to get a basic overview. I've read that it started as someone's attempt to create an app to help keep track of a D&D campaign. Whether that's true or not, it's been invaluable in organizing my own campaigns.

For dungeons, here's how I use Evernote.

  1. I create a new notebook, using the dungeon's name as the notebook's name. For multiple levels in a single dungeon, I create multiple notebooks.
  2. I grab an image of the dungeon map and pop that in as the first note in the notebook. I also insert any general notes about the dungeon in this note, like random encounter tables. I use a leading character in the note's title that ensures that it's in the notebook's top position.
  3. During the game, I keep that note open to track where the party travels and such.
  4. I create a separate note for each dungeon room, and inside that note write down all the typical stuff you normally need to run that chamber. The irritating thing is that using letters instead of numbers makes it easier, as Evernote breaks out notes in separate rows for each letter of the alphabet, by note title. Numbers work OK, but you end up with all of your notes shelved into a single row.
  5. In play, I close out the dungeon map note and open the corresponding room note when the characters enter an area.
So that's basically it. I don't bother with monster stat blocks in the notes, instead handling them the old fashioned way via hand written index cards or print outs.

So, that's my experience with mapping dungeons in Evernote. It worked out well in play.


icosahedron said...
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icosahedron said...

Evernote is nice, but I prefer Notability. However, Evernote does sync across devices and Notability is iPad only. But Notability has awesome inking/pen capabilities where as Evernote, not so much.

If you want it just on the iPad, use Notability.

Necropraxis said...

I'd be really curious to see what some of your room keys look like, for home-brew dungeons.

Jason said...

That's awesome Mike! How do you keep track of initiative for encounters?

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