Checking in this months entry to the RPG Blog Carnival. This months focus is on game master tools and tips, and my post is about the glory that is OneNote.

What is OneNote?

OneNote is not only my digital command center for life, but also a damn fine gaming tool. For those who don’t know what it is I’ll start with a brief breakdown.

The simple version:

OneNote is what would happen if Evernote was a good program.


The longer version:

OneNote is a program that organizes digital notebooks for the user in a structured way:

  • Notebooks: the highest level of structure that is very much the equivalent of a physical notebook
  • Sections: the next level of organization are topical sections that divide up your pages
    • Section Groups: sections can also be grouped into the equivalent of folders
  • Pages: powerful sheets that you can use for free form note taking

Pages are incredibly powerful and flexible capture tools. You can hand-write onto them (and convert it text), embed audio/video, attach files, input text, shapes and tables. There are even more crazy things you can do with onenote pages, but I’ll leave those for you to discover :).

How do you game with it?

First off you’ll probably want to start up a gaming notebook. Sections should be fine enough for each campaign, and you can keep all your games in one spot. Next let’s setup our gaming notebook for play.


Don’t get worried about perfecting your setup. One of the beautiful things about OneNote is that you can drag and drop section within (and between) notebooks. Let things start simple and just arrange things as they grow. Below is probably a good example of how simple your notebook can start.



I personally keep all my inspirations in my “command center” journal (maybe I’ll talk about that another day) but you might want to use here. You can amass a collection of gaming inspiration by embedding files, clipping webpages and jotting down notes on the fly.


Each game can get it’s own section to start. You can embed any rule books you’ll need, and make special notes on the alternate rules you might be using. From there you can also keep notes on,

  • PC’s (Player Characters) and NPC’s (Non-Player Characters)
  • locations
  • events
  • timelines
  • sessions

This way when you come up with something on the fly you can quickly capture it for later reference, including those on the spot rules decisions.


For those playing in the same setting frequently you might consider starting up your own sections devoted to those settings. As the players continue their exploits you can even track any effects they have on the setting. If the setting gets big enough, you need not worry because you can just create it’s own notebook and move the section over to it.


We’re sure you’ll have long healthy gaming careers, so keeping a section group where you can move campaigns too after you’re finished with them is a good way to keep things from getting cluttered up. You may also find it useful to be able to look back at past adventures for nostalgia or to steal ideas for a convention game.


I’m sure the second I hit submit I’m going to thing of a million more ideas for this, so keep an eye out for a follow up.

In the meantime I’d love to here you’re thoughts on the Reddit about productivity tools in your games!

Also don’t forget to join our Epic Mailing List so that you can keep update when new Microlite20 Rules Cyclopedia updates are released.