Poll: Do You Write in Your RPG Books?

Do you write notes in your game books, directly on the page?

  • No, never! My books are sacred!
  • Maybe, but usually not.
  • Yes, I write a little in some.
  • Yes, I LOVE writing in game books!

0 voters

I don’t mind highlighting passages, scribbling commentary in the margins, and amending some math in various tables. Sometimes with pencil, but usually in ink. :pen: I have done so since I was 18, I think. Sort of like I learned to do with my textbooks in college. Most of my RPG books are fairly clean … but I’ve noticed this habit increase recently, around the time I started reading Electric Bastionland, which has a ton of whitespace on each page.

Some folks on the Discord told me I am a madman for defacing my RPGs. :smiling_imp: Is it true? Am I truly a savage for disrespecting the printed word in this way?

1 Like

So, if I think a book has a “collector” value, then I’m probably not going to write in it, but when it’s just a print on demand book I’ll absolutely write all over it.


I don’t see anything wrong with writing in books, and in fact some of my fondest things are stumbling across this sort of thing in older books I acquire. Like the other ephemera generated in play, it’s always lovely to see. I think it’s because these are games, and are typically played with writing implements at hand, that this tended to happen.

I still love the old copy of Unknown Gods I have kicking around where some player from ages past took to strategically and enthusiastically coloring in a Sword here with Highlighter, or some Eyes there or seeing certain treasures or monster crossed through as some kind of world-building or player checklist. And of course, the names and addresses of former Players/Referees written like colophons in the covers to prevent a mix up well before I stumbled across it in a second hand shop :slight_smile:


I recently opened my old copy of Castle Amber and was shocked—shocked!—to find it full of notes I’d made as a teenager. So I confess I’m conflicted, because on the one hand, I’ve stopped writing in all my books, in part because I enjoy the process of keeping a parallel journal for note-taking. But on the other hand, I was kind of delighted to rediscover my old notes, and I like finding those made by other players in secondhand books as well.


I don’t have any ideological concern with writing in books but I haven’t yet found myself in a position where I need to.


Usually in “Rule books” but rarely in “Adventure books”

1 Like

The only hardcopy RPG books I own are a 1979 edition of the D&D Whitebox that I bought off Dave Arneson when I was 10. Not writing in it now. Everything else is PDF. I might write in adventures if I had any in print format - when I run them I tend to print out the maps and put my notes on them.


I nearly only use PDFs of RPG books so there is no risk of permanently “damaging” them and I often make (digital) anotations inside.
The few physical books I own (for example Electric Bastionland) are somewhere between collector item and pice of art for me, so I would never write into them.
I did think about ripping out 90% of the pages from my Shadowrun 5e core rulebook, as a cathartic experience after my group and me freed our selves form the terrible bulk of the rules, but I’m not quite at that point yet.


Usually it’s a big No.

However, there are exceptions: I love to write down random tables and monsters in the Notebook Hardcovers of Whitehack. They’re designed to give you 196 pages of dotted paper for this purpose.


No. I don’t consider books to be “sacred”, but if I own it in print I intend to use it for a long, long, long time and writing down notes from one single game reduces the reusability of the books in the long term.

Plus, I just hate the look of it. My first AD&D books were filled with asinine notes in ballpoint pen and they felt… vandalized.

1 Like

I feel like throwing some gas onto the fire in this thread:
I annotated my black box copy of OSE with the most recent errata. In pen. Classic and Advanced.