How do you organise your inspiration/notes/GM notebook?

I’m always gathering tables, lists, ideas for upcoming sessions, NPCs, but it looks like a doodly, convoluted, cryptic mind-map that doesn’t scale well.

Does someone have a “system” for organising and adding to GM notes? Some equivalent of “Bullet Journal” for RPGs?

The more scalable, the better.
How do you keep it all together?

EDIT: I am mostly asking for real-life, pen and paper systems, as in how do you organise physical material in a way that makes sense and is playable. That wasn’t clear enough.


I know I have been playing around with wikis, but those are mostly for houserules. My wiki of choice is dokuwiki. It is pretty simple-ish to maintain and uses flat files (text files) as the data backend. That way, if things go all poopy with your wiki, you can always fall back to those text files that are also pretty readable. I would also say dokuwiki does the best default table rendering. Here is me playing around creating an OSRIC Char Sheet.

If you are wanting some extra flexibility with nice features I have also been playing around with nb. It is mostly commandline …yeah, I’m that kind of nerd. However, the documentation is super thorough and well done. It is one of the few “user manuals” I actually did read end to end.


I use the Bullet Journal method as-is, but I keep a separate journal for RPG stuff. Like BuJo it’s ideal for quickly capturing something, but it’s only a first step if you want to create a reference volume.
I haven’t moved yet to the next step in the BuJo process, the key step of migration, but that’s where the usability would come into play. My plan was to switch to a more modular physical setup for this, like a Traveller’s notebook or a 3-5 ring binder. Something that has the ability to physically rearrange the pages.
There used to be an active BuJo community on G+, under the name of DuJo (DM BuJo) but I haven’t been able to find any archives of their conversations since the loss of that site. There’s a file on DTRPG from Light speed Press called Bullet Journaling for Gamemasters but it’s pretty much exactly a rehash of the Bullet Journal Method with a couple of examples of an RPG specific collection.


I keep a bullet journal, so I can keep my day planner, tasks and creative stuff all in one place, sorted out via an index.

If I have more than one notebook, I end up being stuck somewhere without the notebook I want and a project’s notes get spread out all over the place.

I have tried to keep things separate from work/fun and have also run into your issue and that has delayed my full adoption of anything fully.

I attempt to keep them separate for health purposes, but do wonder if there is a way to separate but keep in the same medium.

Hell, I also waffle between analog and digital if I am honest with myself.

If you haven’t looked into them already you should check out traveller’s journals. You could have 2 inserts in the same folder, one for work and one for personal, so they’re still in the same place.

1 Like

Oh wow! So fun to see other systems. I just throw everything into a cloud drive and write primarily in plain text documents. Google Drive with are my preferred tools.

My steps are simply make a folder with a collection of images and reference documents. Then start a simple plain text file that highlights the most recent events, relevant npcs, and details the current event. This file gets pruned throughout play to keep it focused. As the event history ages I cut and archive entries into a separate file. If an event seems to spark excitement for future play it gets copied into another plain text document with added notes and reference points.

I do not preplan a folder structure for locations and npcs. Instead the structure just develops through play. If a location becomes important to the players it gets a folder. I also share a public folder for the players to keep notes and as a place for me to store player facing documents. If we are playing something freeform then there will also be a folder with session zero notes for my guidance.

I think that is about it.

Edit: Oops… I see you are asking for more pen and paper. My bad for failing to read. I use index cards for all my hand written notes. Easy to pass around the table and forces me to be concise and keep notes focused. Anything longer than what fits on an index card is too long to read and reference later. This is similar to how I write and manage my digital notes as well.

1 Like

Mine’s a bit scattered, too - I use a Rook and the Raven notebook for the in-session work and worldbuilding, and besides that I try to follow Runehammer’s notebook style of creativity, plus a bit of the Lazy DM prep template.

1 Like