Campaign notes as literature

My monthly Blade & Crown game has been going for a little over four years now. I have a terrible memory, and so I keep somewhat detailed notes about what happens in each session. I keep these notes in a wiki, as I’ve alluded to before. Doing it this way makes the notes easy to navigate, allows for full text search, makes for easy editing, and all those other advantages that wikis have.

A pilgrim's map of the Arothaem RoadAnother advantage is that the text is easy to reformat for other purposes. As a lark, a year ago, I took all those years of notes and formatted them using the Blade & Crown template: two columns, 8pt text, nice page borders, etc. The resulting document is 38 pages long! And that’s just the first three years.

The text is fairly dense — I try to keep the notes detailed enough to not miss important details, but terse enough to actually be readable. It’s easy to imagine that, with more text to make it flow better, it could form at least a novel, if not a series of novels. And it’s easy to see how so many RPG campaigns over the years have ended up as the kernel around which famous prose fiction authors have built their careers.

However, I think the events in my B&C campaign are too episodic, with too many loose ends and red herrings, to satisfy a novel-reading audience — we create this art it for the benefit of the people around the table, after all, not for a reading audience. It’s also tempting to write those notes up here — I could blog for years and never exhaust them! But it feels somehow wrong to do that as well. I’m not the sole author, after all. And I’m betting you don’t want me to tell you about my campaign.

Nonetheless, it’s fun to realize what an amazing story we’ve created together over the years, and to occasionally glance over those notes and remember all the fun little surprises and dramatic scenes and jokes we’ve made for each other. There’s real enjoyment to be had in reading RPGs in this way.


Campaign notes as literature — 2 Comments

  1. May I very politely disagree with you about the utility of your notes as narrative?

    Your campaign notes are indeed an amazing story, created by you and your gamers over time, as a sort of shared-world-experience, and as such are perfectly good as what I think is still called ‘literature’. I kept notes throughout my time with Prof. Barker, and I never expected them to become the book / volumes that they have morphed into. I make no claims to be a great author – I think you write a lot better then I do, quite frankly! – but it does seem to amuse readers…

    Stick with it; keep at it. You never know what might happen! 🙂

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