Note Taking – How to take great notes during a D&D session
D&D, or Dungeons and Dragons, is a popular tabletop role-playing game that has been around since the 1970s. It involves creating and controlling a character, interacting with non-player characters (NPCs), and completing quests and challenges within a fantasy world.
Taking notes during a D&D session can be a useful tool for players and Dungeon Masters (DMs) alike. Whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned pro, having a system for capturing and organizing information can enhance your experience and improve your gameplay.
Here are some reasons why taking notes during a D&D session can be beneficial:
- Helps with story continuity and character development: D&D campaigns can span multiple sessions, and it’s easy to forget important details or character motivations. Taking notes can help you keep track of the story and your character’s progression, and can also give you ideas for role-playing and decision-making.
- Facilitates planning and decision-making: Notes can be a helpful resource when it comes to planning and strategizing. You can refer back to your notes to make informed choices about which path to take or which actions to take in a given situation.
- Increases immersion and enjoyment: Taking notes can help you get more invested in the game and the story. By paying closer attention to the details and jotting them down, you can become more immersed in the world and the characters.
- Enables effective communication with the DM and other players: Notes can also be a useful tool for communicating with the DM and other players. You can use your notes to clarify any questions or misunderstandings, or to share important information with the group.
So, what should you take notes on during a D&D session? Here are some ideas:
- NPC descriptions and interactions: It’s a good idea to jot down any important details about the NPCs you encounter during your D&D session. This can include their names, appearance, personality, and any notable interactions or conversations you have with them.
- Quest details and objectives: Keeping track of the quests you undertake can help you stay on track and stay organized. Be sure to note the objective of the quest, any clues or items you need to collect, and any obstacles you need to overcome.
- Important locations and maps: As you explore the game world, you’ll likely encounter a variety of locations. Make a note of their names and any notable features or landmarks. You might also want to draw a map or sketch of the area to help you visualize it better.
- Treasure and inventory: D&D is a game of loot and treasure, so it’s important to keep track of what you find and what you’re carrying. Make a note of any valuable items you acquire, as well as any consumables or equipment you have on hand.
- Character development and role-playing: Your character will likely undergo some changes and growth as you play through a D&D campaign. Keep track of your character’s personality, motivations, and any notable events or experiences that shape their development. You might also want to note any role-playing choices you make and how they impact the story.
- Rule reminders and clarification: D&D has a lot of rules, and it’s easy to forget or misunderstand them. If you’re a player, you might want to take notes on any rules that come up during the session to help you remember them. If you’re the DM, you might want to note any rules that you need to clarify or modify for your group.
- Session summary and highlights: At the end of each session, it can be helpful to jot down a brief summary of what happened. This can help you remember the key events and plot points, and can also be a useful reference for the DM and other players. You might also want to note any particularly memorable or enjoyable moments from the session.
Now that you know what to take notes on, here are some tips for taking effective notes during a D&D session:
- Use a dedicated notebook or notebook app: Having a dedicated place to take notes can help you stay organized and easily reference your notes later. Some people prefer to use a physical notebook, while others prefer to use a note-taking app on their phone or computer. Choose the option that works best for you.
- Use clear and concise language: When taking notes, try to be as clear and concise as possible. Use headings and subheadings to break up your notes into logical sections, and use bullet points or numbered lists to make them easier to read.
- Use symbols and abbreviations to save space: To save space and make your notes easier to read, consider using symbols and abbreviations to represent common words or phrases. For example, you might use “&” for “and” or “w/” for “with.”
- Use visual aids like diagrams and maps: Visual aids like diagrams, maps, and sketches can be a helpful way to represent information in a more intuitive way. If you’re good at drawing, consider sketching out maps or diagrams to help you visualize important locations or events.
- Regularly review and update your notes: As you play through a D&D campaign, be sure to regularly review and update your notes. This can help you keep track of new developments and ensure that your notes are accurate and up-to-date.
Here are some additional tips for taking notes during a D&D session:
- Get permission from the DM and other players before taking notes: Some DMs and players may not be comfortable with others taking notes during the game. Be sure to get permission from the DM and other players before you start taking notes.
- Use a shorthand or coding system to take notes quickly: If you’re worried about taking notes too slowly and falling behind the game, consider using a shorthand or coding system to take notes more quickly. This can involve using abbreviations or symbols to represent common words or phrases, or using a system of symbols or icons to represent different types of information.
- Don’t worry about perfection – just focus on capturing the important details: Don’t worry about making your notes perfect. The most important thing is to capture the key details and information that will be useful to you later.
- Take breaks to review and organize your notes as needed: If you find that you’re getting overwhelmed or falling behind the game, it’s okay to take a break to review and organize your notes. This can help you stay focused and better understand what’s happening in the game.
- Don’t let taking notes distract you from the game itself: While taking notes can be beneficial, it’s important not to let it distract you from the game itself. Try to strike a balance between taking notes and fully engaging in the game and the story.
In conclusion, taking notes during a D&D session can be a valuable tool for players and DMs. Whether you’re looking to improve your character development, facilitate planning and decision-making, or increase your immersion and enjoyment, keeping track of important details and information can help. Just be sure to get permission from the DM and other players before you start taking notes, and don’t let it distract you from the game itself. Experiment with different note-taking techniques and find what works best for you and your group.