Re: [nbos] Campaign Manager
"Doug Jessee"
Fri Mar 14th, 2008

Wow, that is alot of what I want.

I especially want the ability to output to PDF or HTML. I have my own
website to host things, so either putting the files in a structure I can
easily upload or if it could FTP on its own.

I would also like GM and Player versions, and an easy way to mark some bit
of information (text, image, map, whatever) and have it become player

Oh, and I also am not buying any new windows software and currently us
bootcamp to run WindowsXP & NBOS software (using a virtual machine was just
too slow).

As for splitting the software, I would not either, as if I am using
something to organize and prep, it better be useful when it is time to run,
even if it is not online (ie, if I am running in person with my laptop).

(I have already downloaded the iPhone SDK, have you Ed or are you Windows


On Fri, Mar 14, 2008 at 11:39 AM, Christopher Rodrigues Macias <> wrote:

> Hi Ed,
> I'd be looking for something that provided a more convenient way to do the
> things GMs have to do all the time. To state the obvious, GM-ing a
> campaign
> involves several different activities, including:
> 1) Recording the key information about the player characters that you need
> to have easy access to.
> 2) Preparing adventure material, including NPCs, 'monsters,' settings
> (including maps and descriptions of what's there), and perhaps 'plot
> trees'
> or other aide memoire that help you remember what was supposed to happen
> if
> the PCs do 'x'.
> 3) Actually running a session, where the key function of the tool is to
> allow you to quickly retrieve all the material you've stuffed in to it in
> (1) and (2). Well, and perhaps use some dice rolling tools to help
> determine
> results.
> Those are the 'must have' features, IMHO. In addition, there are a couple
> of
> other things that most GMs would like some help with, and perhaps skip
> entirely right now because it's just too time consuming. I'd nominate...
> 4) Recording what has happened during a session for later reference. This
> doesn't necessarily mean writing things down during actual play, as I
> think
> most GMs a far too busy to have time to serve as recording secretary as
> well. However, it's nice to be able to create a write-up afterwards. The
> session log then becomes another set of info that you want to be able to
> link-in to everything else and easily search/retrieve during preparation
> and
> during play.
> (My 'ultimate fantasy' version of this feature allows you to create a
> custom
> calendar for the campaign and then link the adventure records to this
> calendar in some way. E.g. you click a link on Godsday on the calendar for
> Darkmonth the Imperial Year 2124 and it pops up your text describing what
> happened in the game on that day. You can have this ready by next week,
> right? ;-)
> 5) 'Publishing' some or all of the information recorded in the tool to
> make
> it accessible to the players. Ideally there would be options for printing,
> producing PDFs, and publishing as web pages. Alternatively, it just spits
> out RDF format documents including the required info, and we have to
> import
> that into a third-party tool (e.g. Word or a web design package) to pretty
> it up for publication as desired.
> All of this is a big ask, but I'd be happy if the first version supported
> the three 'must haves' reasonably well, with a commitment to try to
> implement the other two in future versions.
> The important 'non-functional' requirements for the tool, IMHO, include:
> * Ease of input.
> * Ease of retrieval.
> Those are all about UI design, of course, and here is where I've felt that
> previous attempts at creating GM management tools have fallen down. Input
> is
> usually cumbersome and restrictive, forcing you to work the way the tool
> works rather than the way you want to work. And the GM usually has to use
> the same interface for both putting in data *and* running the session,
> even
> though the requirements of those activities are very distinct.
> For input, I personally like the task-oriented 'ribbon' interface that MS
> introduced in Office 2007. I have mixed feelings about Microsoft in
> general,
> but the ribbon has proven to be a really nice and inspired piece of UI
> design. Again, I know that's a tall order. But, hey, you asked what we
> wanted! ;-)
> As for retrieval... to my mind, the need for rapid retrieval implies
> either
> something like the Mac 'Spotlight' feature (or the analogous Windows
> desktop
> search tool) and/or something like Web 2.0-ish features such as 'tagging'
> and wiki-like hyperlinking of the data.
> I'm not suggesting that the tool has to have a web UI, although I wouldn't
> object to that. I'm just saying that, in a GM support tool where rapid
> search for trivia is a 'mission critical' feature, traditional
> folder/hierarchical organisation of the data just doesn't cut it (again,
> IMHO). Folders are just a replication of the severe limitations of paper
> storage inside the computer. Which kind of misses the point of using a
> computer at all, if you see what I mean.
> On another point: I haven't used Screen Monkey, nor have I looked at the
> original 'Keep'. I have a nagging suspicion that you'll tell me that the
> (hypothetical) Campaign Manager software is intended to be just the
> 'development' side of the GM-ing equation, and that Screen Monkey is aimed
> at actually running a session. I'll pre-empt that possible response, if
> you'll allow me, by saying that that kind of split would make the tool
> much
> less attractive to me. It's kind of pointless to have to use one tool for
> all your prep work, then another tool entirely for the actual session.
> I don't mind having distinct UIs for 'prep' versus 'run' (in fact, I'm
> arguing in favour of that approach). But I would much rather see a unified
> product that supported the entire 'GM-ing life cycle' as it were than to
> buy
> two separate products that each only do half or less of the job (and which
> might not be as well-integrated as I would like).
> Not sure how clear--or how possible--any of that is, but it's what I'd be
> hoping to see, one day!
> Cheers,
> Christopher
> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> On Behalf Of NBOS Support
> Sent: Friday, 14 March 2008 3:54 PM
> To:
> Subject: [nbos] Campaign Manager
> Hi All,
> Some of you old timers on the list may remember the prototype of a
> campaign
> manager I released a few years ago called "The Keep". Basically it kept
> track of game notes, fractal mapper maps, character sheets, etc, all in a
> hierarchical structure. It also had a built in dice roller, was
> integrated
> with inspiration pad pro, and could import/export so you could share
> content.
> hypothetically ;-) ... lets say I was in the midst of rebuilding that into
> an actual product.
> If you were looking for such an application, what sort of functionality
> would you need?
> Ed
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