Create the Ultimate Campaign Management System
Achieve It All for Free with Google Drive
Are you looking for a place to organize your Dungeons & Dragons campaign? Look no further than Google Drive. I’ve written about this before but stay with me. It’s different this time.
I’m going to show you how you can use Google Drive to build your world. Schedule games, track quests, track initiative, keep secrets, and more. Whether in-game or out-of-game, you’ll have the tools you need.
Get a Google account. Tell your players to get Google accounts (not required but makes for a better experience). Add each of your players to your Google Contacts. That’s it. We’re ready to roll.
Schedule Your First Session
Head to your new Google Calendar and schedule your next gaming session. Add your players (who are now contacts) as guests to the event. Set up an email reminder or two so everyone remembers. You can even set the event to be recurring so you’ve all got the time set aside on a regular cadence.
Nothing magical so far, right? Stay with me. This is the boilerplate. The real magic is ahead.
Let’s Build Your World
Head on over to your new Google Drive. Add a new folder and name it the name of your world. Everything related to this world now has a home. You can share entire folders or individual documents with your players. Granular sharing for free.
From here, the sky’s the limit. But here’s how I’ve organized my world within this folder:
I won’t dive deep into all these this article but let’s look at a few that will be common for everyone. Along with each, I’ll introduce a useful feature in Google’s toolset. Features that make campaign management a breeze.
Atlas and Linking
Within the Atlas, I’ve created folders for each major continent or setting within my world. Within each of those, I’ll list out kingdoms like so:
Let’s drill in on the Misty Kingdom:
Inside each kingdom, I’ve got two folders and a document. The document contains pictures and information on the kingdom. The Settlements folder contains the settlements found within that kingdom. The Locations folder contains any locations not found within a settlement. Let’s look at the settlement of New Haven:
Linking bits together is important for worldbuidling. The settlement might mention one of my characters. Highlight the text of that character and click the link icon in the toolbar. Let the power of Google take it from there. You’ll see search results from your Google Drive and across the web. You can restructure the organization of your entire Drive but that link will remain.
You can also add images to make these docs stand out. Upload from your computer, search the web, link to an image on the web or search your collection in Google Photos (free unlimited photo storage).
The beauty of using Google Docs is that it’s a fully-featured word processor. You can style and format to your heart’s content!
Characters and Secrets
Within the Characters folder, I have a Google Doc for each character within my world. This list grew fast. But thanks to the power of Google, it’s easier than ever to search at the top of the page. Use images at the start of each character doc and you’ll see nice previews in the grid view within your folder.
Let’s drill in on Mentor:
Not much to him, right? Well, this is only the information the players know. I want them to have access to this doc but I also want to keep secrets about him linked to this doc somehow. Introducing Google Keep. On the toolbar on the right-side, open Keep and add a new note. It will automatically link to this open document:
Each time you open this document and Keep on the toolbar, related notes will show up first! Secrets are right at-hand when you need them. Need to share that secret with only a single player but not the rest? Open Google Keep for more options, including individual sharing.
History & Cosmology and Outlines
In my History & Cosmology folder, I store many documents. The most important is the complete history of my world, a timeline. A single source of truth for major events throughout the history of the world.
Use Google Docs headings to organize your documents to make it easy to read and navigate.
Look to the left of the screenshot and you’ll see an automatically generated outline from those headings. Clicking any one of those in the outline will take you straight to that section of your document. Easy, automatic navigation for larger documents like this. You can also use the links mentioned earlier to link to these headings throughout the doc.
Quests and Initiative with Tasks
From anywhere within your Google Drive, you have access to Google Tasks from the toolbar on the right. I’ve got lists there to track ongoing quest progress and a list for initiative. Quests are a to-do list. Easy enough.
Track initiative by keeping your player characters in a single list. Add and remove enemies as needed. Drag and drop into initiative order and you always have your order available to you. Does a character have a condition during combat? Add a note to that character’s Task in the list. Does a character need to make a saving throw each turn? Add a sub-task to their Task in the list!
The Power of Google
I’ve not even scratched the surface of what Google Drive and Apps are capable of. But behind the features I’ve mentioned is one of the most powerful infrastructures in the world.
I love looking at apps built for tabletop games. But you’ll struggle to find the features and quality found here. All wrapped in an easy-to-use set of apps that integrate beautifully. All. For. Free.
I’ve shown you how great Google Drive is for managing your Dungeons & Dragons game. I hope you give it a try. It’s changed the game for me with some of the recent updates.
There are an infinite number of ways to use it. So tell me in the comments how you use Google Drive for your Dungeons & Dragons game.