Prep Basics: Laying the Foundation through OneNote P2

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

A while ago we began a discussion on how to organize your game through the use of OneNote. Today we will be taking a look at regions and how I organize the building blocks of the world to help support quick flow-through information.

If you have not checked out the two beginning articles you can find them at the links below:

Prep Basics: Benefits of Getting Organized

Prep Basics: Laying the Foundation Through OneNote

Our focus this week will look at the region area, The Elven Conclave, below in our world's Foundational Building blocks.

In the prior article, Prep Basics: Laying the Foundation Through OneNote, I mentioned that you needed to split out regions from your session notebook folders. As there are only so many layers that may be created within a section of a notebook, creating a split on the regions helps keep the world organized.

As you can see in the right image, there are only three levels you can effectively use to organize within a section of a notebook. OneNote's features allow you to roll up after the first substructure, but after that, we group everything under that roll-up. This limitation of the software is both helpful and harmful for how deep you want to go in your worldbuilding and understanding how they can be helpful and harmful will help us move forward.

1) It limits your scope to only have one roll-up ability.

This is a bit harmful when you want to get down to the fine details of a world (such things as flora and Fana of a region), however, it helps to keep your focus on the most important aspects of your game. Those that have the highest chance of being used. Shops, quests, taverns, etc.

2) Too much information on one roll-up section.

Creating many lairs can make it hard to quickly sift through manually. Take a look at the below Images to see what I mean for the sample city with only 2 areas and 4 places and details.

As you can see in the above three images if you create a multitude of data within a subset it will start to roll right off your screen(bottom image on the 3rd panel), especially if you expand areas out instead of collapsing them.

Having too much data can slow you down because of the overload of visual information.

When you are creating, my advisement is to not have more data than what your screen can display at one time without having to use the search functionality of OneNote. This means that you can be more focused if you keep it to high-level larger items rather than drilling down too far. If you are familiar with Sly Flourish's The Lazy DM Prep it is like the notecard philosophy of narrowing focus on things that are important.

An example is having area 1 only having 1-3 details that would be of interest. Examples of this would be an encounter, information that can progress the campaign, a person, or maybe something downright weird. Maybe a cat on top of a pile of bodies that tells the party to move along. I don't know, it is your world. Do what you feel is best.

Also, in keeping the information focused, it is faster to find the detail as you are running the session. That way when you create your session notes, you can link directly within OneNote back to those sections and increasing the speed of finding relevant information. So keep that in mind when you move to begin the development of your cities and regions.

An organized workspace is an organized mind. :)

Until next time!

Keep crafting and keep on storytelling.

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