Friday, March 9, 2012

Tiddlywiki - Minor Issue

I generally wax positive about Tiddlywiki as a GM tool for campaign notes, but the session I just ran uncovered out a couple flaws with using it. Neither is a deal-breaker, and both have potential solutions.

Problem One: Mobility
I usually run Tiddlywiki on a laptop set up next to the gaming table, but in my last session we ended up moving away from the table for some extended play sessions, and since the laptop I was using was a monster gaming laptop, it wasn't really portable. For the casual social interaction scenes it wasn't a big deal, I could wing the few rolls required. The final battle was a bit of a problem though, since I had the party divided up between three time lines run in parallel with characters shifting between them on the fly. To accomplish this I moved players to different rooms, depending on which time line they were in. Running combat under these conditions was a bit of a challenge.

Problem Two: Stat Blocks
A couple of the fight scenes I ran showed me I needed to do a better job of collating stat blocks with potential combat scenes. Screen real estate is also a bit limiting when dealing with larger battles, especially when coupled with more complex D&D 3.X-ish stat blocks. I really felt hampered by this during the party's battle with the bug swarms in the hive. Multiple foes using different stat blocks for each and my notes being a bit disorganized led to me feeling a bit frazzled.

I have a couple solutions in mind for these problems:

  1. Tablet - I've been planning on purchasing a tablet to deal with the mobility issue for a while now. I really need Asus to deliver on their promised 7" Android / ICS tablet for sub-$300 pricing. I'll be all over that (and I'll be able to test some of my Android development tinkering on it).
  2. Reorganize Stat Blocks - I've noticed my stat blocks have gotten pretty long, in part because of the system, in part because I've been doing some fairly complex beasties recently. I need to look at reformatting these to a wider but shorter view to make better use of screen real-estate.
  3. Paper - I used to dump combat encounters to paper, but got out of the habit when I started using a laptop at the table for game notes. Much as I like Tiddlywiki, complex scenes involving combat could benefit from hard copy. It's also convenient to scribble notes on paper and transcribe them to Tiddlywiki later instead of trying to type mid-scene.
So, anyone else using Tiddlywiki for GMing? Any other suggestions?


  1. Hi, I am using TW for GMing since a long time.
    What I do for stats:
    I create them as a different HTML file saved on a /sheets folder.
    Then, I link this files on the Monster/Character tiddler. I do not show it there, just a link. When in the session, I open the sheet on a new Tab in the browser.
    I find a lot easier to ctrl+tab around than scrolling in one tab with all different sheets.
    Just an idea!

  2. That's a good approach, with the minor inconvenience of having to maintain all the files separately. I've also found that going back to paper for some things actually works out better for me.


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