I’ve been kicking around a lot of ideas lately and I’m gearing up for my next campaign. I’ve been drug into using Virtual Tabletops (Check out Owlbear Rodeo. It’s my favorite.) So I figured I’d look at some of those fancy online campaign managers too.
There’s a bunch out there and a lot of them have more bells and whistles than I want like World Anvil. I want something and cheap or free. After doing a bit of research, I narrowed it down to two that I’d play around with for a bit.
First, I played around with Scabbard. This one is a freemium type site. The UI was pretty easy to pick up. So that’s a good thing. But you pretty limited on the size of your campaign. And I did feel that it got mired in extra details that probably wouldn’t ever use. It’s fine and it works.
Then I played around with Kanka.io This one is Open Source but still does have some paid features. But for free, you get much more space for your campaign and some nice features like putting pins/links on your world map which is a paid feature on Scabbard. There is an annoying paid feature which is recentering a character picture. Yes, it’s a paid feature. So some of my NPC’s have thumbnails of just their torsos. Kanka does take a little extra work to start to figure things out. I just figured out the other how to do basically a custom character sheet.
Personally, there is one feature on Kanka that I found the most beneficial overall. And that’s inviting players. Every other campaign manager required the DM to bug their players for their emails. That may or may not be a problem for you. And you can do that in Kanka. The other way is you can generate a custom invite link and share it.
Now for the $10,000 question. Which would I use? Well, I do like Kanka better but I know my players. If you’re like me then you’re lucky if they remember to level up their characters between sessions. Having them go to a site, create an account, and read through pages of fluff? Well, that’s probably not going to happen. YMMV. I have found it inspirational and pretty good for organizing all notes and quickly seeing where there’s a big gap of information. Or even an idea for a new NPC (which the PC’s may never meet).
So for me, it’s something that’s handy as a DM but for my players a single page world overview PDF on Google Drive is enough to get them going. Of course, as the campaign progresses then they might want the bigger and more detailed picture. And details that they gotten.
Going through all this has also given me another good idea. But more about that later.