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TiddlyWiki as a GMing Tool

This is a guest post by Avlor [1] (who goes by Avlor [2] on TT’s GMing Q&A Forum [3], too), who won 2nd place in the Treasure Tables GMing Tools Contest [4] with this entry.
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I tinkered with several wiki programs when I redid my gaming group’s campaign’s glossary [5].

I finally settled on TiddlyWiki [6] (a JavaScript self-contained wiki). It’s extremely simple to use — no setup needed.

This isn’t a multi-user-editable, server-side wiki (like MediaWiki [7]). It’s meant to exist on your own computer and be edited, with the option of putting it onto the web. (Side note: There are versions of TW that will allow for server-side, mult-user editing: ZiddlyWiki [8] and RoWiki [9]. But I don’t have experience with those.)

For my first time as a GM, I used it solely as my session planning notes (printed onto index cards, using “print selection”). Slick!

• I liked the non-linear, blog-like approach. My brain had so many things swirling around — I needed a place to write them down and organize them.

• Just adding [[ ]] around a WikiWord [10] makes it a hyperlink. Very useful, because it’s type-as-you-go. No extra mouse clicks. I added links for items I wanted to fill in later. Easy to find, too. (Look in “More”->“Missing” or look for links that are italicized).

Example: One of my plot items is, “The twins need a rare herb Oede for the patient who has a dreaded Illness. They need someone to find it or accompany them while they search for it.” I was able to easily find the links that needed info and fill in details for Oede and the Illness, so I had references for them.

• I prefer the ability to reprint, rather than rewrite an index card. (After college, my handwriting was almost illegible — even to me! There are days I stare at my grocery list in the middle of the store wondering what I meant by a particular chicken scratch…)

• Tags help my short memory. If I can’t remember the name of an NPC, I search through the place names and NPC tags (right-hand side, “Tags” tab).

• With the checkbox plug-in, I made a to-do list and a plot check list for what I had to complete before I was ready to GM the session.

If you’re interested in it, here are a few other links for TW that I’ve found useful:

(My favorite plug ins are: toggleTag, CheckboxPlugin, UntaggedListHandler and NewFromTemplateMacro)
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Thanks, Avlor!

Along with blogs (see Blogging Your Game Sessions [16] for more info), wikis are becoming more and more popular as campaign management tools. Avlor’s post makes it clear exactly why they can be so useful, and I love her examples (I get random ideas all the time, so this sounds like a very good tool for me!).

I’ve never used a wiki myself, so I’d really like to see a guest post here on TT that delves into ways to use them as GMing tools — wikis are so versatile that I think there’s still useful ground left to cover, even with Avlor’s excellent introduction to the topic. If you’re interested in writing this guest post, drop me a line [17].

Do you use a wiki for your game? If so, please tell us a little bit about it — and share the URL, too!

2 Comments (Open | Close)

2 Comments To "TiddlyWiki as a GMing Tool"

#1 Comment By DNAphil On March 3, 2006 @ 10:59 am

I too am a TiddlyWiki fan. Our group has been using TW for everything for almost a year now.

I have several characters for different campaigns in TW’s. With different tiddlers for my Attributes, Skills, and Feats. In addition I can write in specific rules regarding different abilities my character has, so that I don’t have to go through the rulebooks to find them during a session.

I also use tiddlers in the character sheet to put my session notes, and separate tiddlers for NPC’s that we encounter. This way the whole file winds up as complete notes about the campaign.

As a GM I made a template TW for writing all my session notes. The TW has template tiddlers for different types of encounters (combat vs. non-combat), as well as a template for NPC stats.

I love running my adventures from TW, since I can close and open relevant tiddlers as I need them. I am never shuffling papers to find the stat block on an NPC, or some other piece of information.

If you like running your games off a computer, I highly recommend using TW as a way to organize your notes, characters, etc.

Congrats Avlor for your entry and taking 2nd Prize.

#2 Comment By Eternalknight On March 4, 2006 @ 2:56 am

Well, thanks to this post, I am now a TiddlyWIki fan. Just goes to show you how good a site Treasure Tables is; keeps me coming back all the time to find good stuff!