For a long time, I used a single DM Notebook. It was notebook to rule them all. It had the campaign notes, adventure notes, and house rules. But I think it’s time to graduate up to two notebooks.
This is my current DM Notebook and “At The Table” Reference Folder. Yes, DCC has some of the most awesome gaming art out there. My DM Notebook contained the complete house rules, campaign information, and adventures notes. My DM Folder of Doom! had combat cheat sheet and a gaggle of handpicked or home grown random tables. Pretty much everything I needed at the table. But things have grown and more stuff has been added. There’s more campaign details and more handy charts and tables. So it’s getting a little bit disorganized. So it’s time to take these apart and put them back together.
First, my main big DM Notebook. This is going to be mainly reference with the complete house rules, setting notes, reoccurring NPC’s, custom spells, and a few select magic items. I’m playing around with a couple of those online campaign managers. While these are good in theory, I’ve been finding that they want details that I’m not really planning on using and don’t have a place for some details that I want.
Second, there’s the Big Book o’ Tables. Over the years, I’ve accumulated and written bunches of these. Some I really like. Those are going to end up in this notebook. Everything from wandering/random encounters, random NPC names, what’s on the body, loot/treasure, and what’s in the room, carousing events, and so on.
Since I don’t use a DM screen but I do want some charts handy. I always do a cheat sheet. This what’s at the ready when things moving fast in the game. Things like crit and fumble charts, reaction rolls, and so on. Stuff that’s used often and needs to be on hand to keep the game moving.
If you’ve gotten this far on this post, my best bit of advice for any DM is to have a DM Notebook. Heck, even have two. These are valuable tools for your game. But the most important thing to remember is that your DM Notebook is never done. It’s always a work in progress.