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Patrick Zoch
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A question suggested by

Professor of Pain
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Do you take notes at the game table? What about after a session, do you ever write up notes or a narrative summary of what transpired in game?


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Chad Bowser
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I take notes at the table. I typically jot down the names and relationships of NPCs I had to make up on the fly or that the players introduced. I'll also make keep track of major plot developments, new locations, locations that used to exist but no longer do (same for cities). I'll also write down interesting twists that occur to me during the course of play, but don't make sense to implement now.

I've tried my hand at after action reports, but I just don't have the interest.
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Paolo Robino
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pdzoch wrote:
Do you take notes at the game table? What about after a session, do you ever write up notes or a narrative summary of what transpired in game?

I usually do. I've recently got into a VoIP game, and I started naturally taking notes on my laptop, almost without thinking. Since it's mostly a voice-only affair, I don't have much to look at, so taking notes fills the void while someone else is talking.

I'm not much into AARs, as actually I'm trying not to write at length about my sessions...
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Bruce McGeorge
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As a player, I'm the resident note taker. Something really has to make an impact for another player to write something down. Our primary GM sends out recaps, but I will sometimes write things in character and send them out. I haven't done that in awhile though.

As a GM, I take notes of things that I can use later (story hooks, character info, etc...), and I send out recaps ASAP. If I don't do it right away, then I'll start to forget things. zombie
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Lev
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I take copious notes at the gaming table. After the session (within a few days) I then rewrite everything in a composition notebook. I have an absolutely horrendous memory, so I have to take notes (in real life too). It is nice to have an organized journal at the table during a session. Note taking feeds my neuroses and keeps me happy.
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Mavis
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I don't take any notes and just rely on my memory.

One of the players in the games I GM keeps a record of everything that happens in the campaign from her PC's perspective. She has done this for every weekly session since 2001 and as every session covers 2-3 pages of A4 she has thousands of pages of information recorded from the 10 campaigns we have played in that time. These notes form the basis of the recap at the start of the following session.
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Roger
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A little. I generally do a narrative summary a day or two after the game. The first part is the awards and magic unlocks. Then the totals. Ex Pc Killed 1 Monsters killed 156 ETC.
I am hoping but it has never happen that a player writes in his pc view point of the game.
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Professor of Pain
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I used to be much better at this but nowadays I tend to take minimal notes and those usually just jotted on some scrap paper or a printout with my session outline. I just got back into a game group and GM-ing in the past year or so and it has been a re-learning experience. Still feel overwhelmed at the table, probably because I have so little prep time.

As a player, I used to take notes and do post-game write-ups. We might switch GM duties in another month or two, at which point I will try to do player-perspective summaries.
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Teh Slipperboy
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I usually take notes. If I'm the GM they tend to be pretty future-oriented: a player wants something, an NPC escaped, stuff like that.

As a player I try to take at least some notes on anything interesting that happened then write them up for later as a session report on our website. I also note any treasures and how it was split. If someone says something funny, I usually write it down and include it in a section of quotes. These are rarely funny when I go back.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Cedar Rapids
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My group has a designated scribe for all of our campaigns.
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Clare Cannon
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As a GM no..
As a player yes.

I usually write them up as session reports and submit them here too, but I am a bit really quite a way behind atm
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Paolo Robino
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Mavis101 wrote:
One of the players in the games I GM keeps a record of everything that happens in the campaign from her PC's perspective. She has done this for every weekly session since 2001 and as every session covers 2-3 pages of A4 she has thousands of pages of information recorded from the 10 campaigns we have played in that time.

That's awesome! thumbsup
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Less then I should... Improvisation does have it's low ends.
I've been lucky my players cover my shortcomings.

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Mark Wilson
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My in-session note-taking has slowed to a crawl. But I do session reports for many sessions/campaigns, which really helps me remember and organize my thoughts as well as the sequence of events. Many of those have appeared here on the site.

I also share note-taking duties with fellow players on many occasions, which helps. We each take different roles. I'm not usually the "details" person, but I remember scenes and sequences.
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Paul Unwin
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No, I don't take notes.

My general feeling is that if something needs to be written down in order to be remembered, then it's a rather extraneous detail and probably won't be referenced again, even if someone does write it down.

That said, I obviously have to note down mechanical details for my characters and any monsters (NPCs have no mechanical details as I see it), and I generally track experience points and treasure, though not after it has been given out.
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3rik de πrik
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As a GM I do extensive note-taking. As a player only a little.
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Eric Jome
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Frequently and diligently. I don't know how people could play without it.
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Mark Wilson
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To elaborate on my earlier post, I've found that session reports are really, really good tools for me to be introspective about my GMing or playing. I've learned a ton by just writing through them and figuring out how I might alter my play if similar situations occur again. My out-of-character notes at the end of each are like 2/3 of the reason I continue to make them. Revelations aren't assured, but seem to occur fairly regularly.

I'm also a big advocate of splitting duties. I mentioned that I do "scenes" but we have someone in our current group who is the "quest log," so to speak. She loves the role, so it's a natural fit. And another who is the "detail" person. He similarly loves trying to make obscure connections, whereas my interest is more narrative. So it's a three-headed monster of note-taking, but with minimal overlap.
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Brian M
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I take minimal notes during play; often noting down NPC names that come up or some key things to remember.

I attempt to do a detailed write up, but often forget to do so until it has been long enough that it is hard to remember everything!

Quote:
My general feeling is that if something needs to be written down in order to be remembered, then it's a rather extraneous detail and probably won't be referenced again, even if someone does write it down.


I envy your memory. I'd probably forget what game we were playing if I didn't write it down.
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Michael Lavoie
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I used to take notes religiously as GM and frequently as a player, but have pretty much fallen off the wagon as the years have passed. Early in my RPG career I also used to write up campaign reports, mostly in the format of a "newspaper" theoretically published in the city that the PCs were based in at the time; somewhere in my archives I still should have a bunch of those newspapers.

With the advent of RPGG, I've begun writing session reports both as a player and as GM. My current campaign, using Dresden Files Accelerated rules and set in Boston (as interpreted in Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels), is being chronicled via session reports here. Without notes, I tend to sit down as soon as possible after the game to write the report before my aging brain forgets the details.
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Ryan Ahr
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As a player I definitely take notes as I go. I like to have all the important stuff on hand in case we need it. As a DM I post all my narrative recaps and important info on ObsidianPortal.com so the existing players can review any important story stuff and check on stats and lore for important and/or powerful items and for new players to catch up.
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Robb Minneman
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I used to rely entirely on my memory. As I've gotten older, and game sessions have gotten farther apart in time, this strategy doesn't work so well anymore.

I do take notes now, especially around NPC names and changes in the adventure environment. (Dead monsters, attitude changes, holes in walls, &c.)

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Steffan O'Sullivan
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No, I'm way too lazy.
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Mike Holcomb
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I usually use an index card to jot down proper names of people and places. It helps me engage with the setting and story better to be able to talk to NPCs by name and use proper place names in character than to tell the GM, "Okay, I go ask that guy with the rug shop about that place on the map that we were just talking about." It makes for better role-playing and shows a little respect and engagement with the GM's setting and story when you can say, "Okay. I walk back to Kurzweil's House of Rugs and talk to Mr. Kurzweil - 'Have you ever heard of the Crimson Tower, just north of the Feldgar Pass?'"

For campaign games, I usually write up a short summary of the game for the "How did your RPG session(s) go this week?" geeklist, and we inevitably use that as the session recap at the start of the next game.

Back when I started playing (early 80's), I was a copious note-taker, because the more Gygaxian style of GMing that was prevalent at the time left the responsibility on the players to listen for clues in the GM exposition and remember them. If the player didn't pay attention or didn't remember what the GM told them earlier, then their character didn't either and you were just screwed.
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Club Squirrel
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Brierley Hill
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As GM I may take down a few notes, mainly the names of off-the-cuff NPCs.

I do write-ups occasionally either for my website or RPGG as a Session report.
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