I recently started listing to the Happy Jacks RPG Podcast. It took me a bit to get used to the occasional belching. Does it have to be into the microphone? Anyway, one of the guys, Stu, also runs the Douchey DM blog, and there he wrote about using Obsidian Portal to keep his notes. He also notes that his players did not seem to interested in actually reading the stuff he writes on the wiki. In fact, one of his commenters writes the following:
I feel your pain about players not paying attention sometimes. I’ve emailed them pdf’s of campaign notes and all that good stuff. Then about a quarter of the way into the first session, I start getting some blank looks. “You didn’t read any of the stuff I emailed you, right?”
I recognize the situation. Here’s what helped me cope:
- Don’t write session reports for other people. Write as much as you need for yourself. If a few notes in a notebook are good enough, then just do that unless your players ask for more. If they don’t appreciate what you wrote, you’ve set yourself up for failure. Don’t do that.
- Don’t expect your players to read what you wrote. Some people just want to sit at a table with friends, roll some dice and play pretend. They didn’t sign up for homework, reading assignments and your newsletter. As a player I was shocked when DM James at one point started posting the menus available at the various taverns in Cauldron. That was way more detail than I cared for, on the wiki. I did not mind if he managed to make it relevant at the table, though. Except the menu never turned out to be relevant at the table.
- Make it short. That makes it easier to write for you, and it makes it easier to read for them. In fact, I often use bullet lists and bold words to make it easy to skim.
- Start the session by providing a short summary of what happened and by asking the players about events. It’s a moment of collective remembering. Some people may have taken notes. Let them shine. Some people may be reading stuff off the session report on the wiki using their smartphones. Let them read the interesting parts aloud. It will help the others remember. It will also tell you about the parts players do not care about. It will help your realize which hints and plot hooks may need reenforcement.
Tags: RPG Keep It Short