The Ultimate Guide to RPG Campaign Management

Managing Your TTRPG Campaigns in 2021

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I have a problem. It’s not a new problem. I ranted about it in 2016. Twice. Since then, I’ve explored every solution under the sun. But the problem remains. I’m never satisfied with the tools available to organize my Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

My players suffer for it. I’m always changing where our campaign information is stored. But you benefit from it! I know the ins and outs of the most popular options available for organizing your D&D campaign. Read on to explore the best options, key features, pros/cons, cost, and more. After reading, you should have a great idea of which option may be right for you.

WorldAnvil

Worldbuilding tools, RPG Campaign Manager. The ultimate toolset for Storytellers, Dungeon Masters, Authors and Writers.

World Anvil text over an image of a fantasy world globe.

World Anvil is a massive suite of tools for building worlds and managing RPG campaigns. Even better than their amazing product is the community they’ve built. Passionate founders interact with the huge community through yearly contests, weekly streams, and a bustling Discord server. Let’s dive in.

Key Features

A collage of the timeline, template, and category features.
Timelines, templates, and categories.

World Anvil boasts unique templates that cover almost any type of documentation you’d need for your world or story.

All templates include basic settings like permissions, styling, and primary content. Each unique template includes its own “template specific prompts & connections.” For example, characters can have information on naming and personality. Locations might have information regarding architecture and history. The site also hosts prompts to inspire you to write about different aspects of your world.

The timelines feature allows you to create a visual history of your world and its events. Tags & categories let you fine-tune how you organize and present your world. The new @mention system makes it super easy to link articles together.

World Anvil’s map tooling is excellent. You can drop pins that link to articles, create map layers for additional effects, and even highlight areas of a map to link off to.

A look at the map feature with the article preview next to the map image.
Map Tools

Pros

Feature-Rich. The above only scratches the surface of World Anvil. It’s loaded with features that will pleasantly surprise you for months to come and their wonderful guides thoroughly cover most anything.

Community. This is perhaps their biggest pro. A huge and passionate community keeps World Anvil at the top. Contests, challenges, raffles, streams. There’s always something going on and always 100 people ready to help you whether you’re looking for support or inspiration. Not to mention the truly inspiring work of other creators that’s featured daily.

Another type of “community” is your own! You can create a community around your world using subscribers and other WA features to empower your community, whether its readers or patrons.

Customization. With custom styling and full control over categorization, you can truly present your world exactly as you’d like if you put in the time.

Cons

UI/UX. Though it is getting better, the user experience is often rough. The interface is loaded with options. You only need to use what you want but I’m not exaggerating when I say that each template has well over 100 different buttons/actions available. It’s going to be overwhelming for some.

Performance. The site uses a significant amount of memory. With the number of features and actions available, it’s not uncommon for a template page to take 5–10+ seconds to load before you can start working. For web performance, that’s bad.

Campaign Tools. The campaign tools are, unfortunately, forgettable. It’s hard to justify why they exist when most of it can be tracked with the worldbuilding suite. I liked the idea of the Storyteller’s Screen but it needs some work. The search is tragically slow and it seemed like more work for me to use that page than not.

Cost

The site has robust pricing. You can do a lot for free. They also offer monthly, multi-month, and yearly subscriptions. Monthly range from $4.50–$12.00. Paid memberships can create more worlds, articles, get more storage, and much more. If you like the tool, I recommend upgrading to a paid tier. It’s usually worth it.

LegendKeeper

LegendKeeper makes it easy to build immersive worlds for stories and RPG campaigns.

Legend Keeper logo text over a brown fantasy map.

Legend Keeper is a fast and flexible tool (still in beta) for organizing your world and campaigns. It also boasts an active community, a passionate founder, and some impressive underlying technologies. Let’s dive in.

Key Features

Legend Keeper has two major interfaces: the Wiki and the Atlas. The Atlas is a nice interface for dropping pins and information on a map. The Wiki is for wiki articles.

One of the more powerful features is the linking system. Linking articles within the wiki is easy using the @mention system. Even easier, the magical Auto Linker. It scans your article and suggests links to existing wiki pages it found. While writing articles, the slash system allows you to type / to bring up the options for different UI elements or “blocks” to add to your wiki page.

A collage including the Atlas feature with an article preview next the map image, the @ mention system, and the auto-linking tool.
Atlas, Mentioning, Auto-Linking

Another nice feature is the in-line secrets that you can add anywhere on a wiki page but hide from viewers.

Pros

Performance. Legend Keeper is fast. It’s using some excellent underlying technologies and it’s using them well. I’ve never had a single interface take longer than 1 second to load completely.

Flexibility. Since Legend Keeper doesn’t use templates, each wiki page can be anything you want it to be. And if you want to create your own templates to speed up your process, you can!

Simplicity. Performing actions in LK is quick and easy. Organizing almost anything by dragging and dropping. The slash system is a fast way to access wiki options. Also, the UI is minimal and straightforward.

The interface showing the sidebar, an article, and an image on the article.
Clean Interface

Cons

Customization. Unlike other options, you can’t style your wiki with background images, custom CSS, etc.

Pubic Views. As of right now, there’s no way to have a presentable “public” view of your information. To access your wiki, people need Legend Keeper accounts.

Organization. Every wiki page will appear somewhere in the sidebar. So while organizing is quick, it can become more complex with a larger wiki. There’s no option to keep an entry out of the sidebar.

Cost

The project is in beta so you’ll need to join the Patreon for $5 or $10 per month to get access.

Kanka

Kanka is a community driven worldbuilding and tabletop RPG campaign management tool perfect for worldbuilders and game masters alike.

The Kanka website with intro text and a video link.

Kanka is a nice organizational tool for worlds and RPG campaigns. It’s seen some great upgrades over the years and a passionate founder keeps the momentum moving. Let’s dive in.

Key Features

Calendars may not be at the top of their list to brag about but I’ve not found a better option out there. Setting the current date and adding events is easy with the click of a button. I still use my Kanka calendar even though I keep most information elsewhere.

The Kanka calendar view with a selected date.
Custom Calendars

Kanka uses “entities” to represent different kinds of pages. They present interfaces that allows for sorting entities and even filtering to show only specific ones. This also allows for bulk changes within an entity type.

They’re one of the few programs out there with a developed API. This allows for 3rd party integrations that can be pretty neat.

Pros

Clean Interface. There’s not much to say here. The interface looks nice and the information is presented well.

The Kanka interface with the sidebar and dashboard showing recent articles.
Clean Interface

Cons

UX. The user experience is lacking. Some features just aren’t intuitive. For example, an entity has an entry, attributes, and entity notes. On the surface, it’s hard to tell why you’d need an entity entry and entity notes. (The latter is for private notes.)

This isn’t scientific but the overall experience just isn’t as fun as the other options listed in this article.

Cost

There’s a free tier that gets you most of what you’ll need. You can also pay monthly ($5 or $25) to unlock custom CSS, header images, default images, and more.

Obsidian Portal

Obsidian Portal allows you to create campaign websites for tabletop roleplaying games.

Obsidian Portal’s website previewed on a laptop, a tablet, and a phone.

Obsidian Portal is a solid tool to organize and present your world on a wiki-style site. It’s by far the veteran of the bunch with its founding over a decade ago. The site has changed hands a few times over the years but recently got a boost when a passionate gamer bought it back. It’s got good bones so let’s dive in.

Key Features

Obsidian Portal allows for custom styling and layout. You can enter raw HTML/CSS to take full control of the presentation of your wiki pages.

Pros

Simplicity. Obsidian Portal only has a few things to learn to start using it. The interface is also rather simple.

The Obsidian Portal interface with the sidebar, an article, and the image header.
Simple Interface

Cons

Outdated. Most features work fine but are outdated. There’s a campaign calendar, a forum, and maps that could all use a serious update. Again, nothing wrong with them but they are well behind competitors. The general tooling could use some quality of life updates in terms of design, too.

Cost

The free version serves basic needs while the Ascendant membership ($5.99/monthly or $49.99/year) unlocks more storage, player secrets, email notifications, and additional features.

Honorable Mentions

Powerful Alternatives

These options aren’t built for TTRPGs but they’re powerful tools for organizing information. They’re made by companies with more resources and a wider audience than the previously mentioned options.

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PhD20

PhD20

👋 My name is Kirk. I’m an adventure designer and map maker. Check out more at phd20.com