Saturday, July 17, 2010

Software Spotlight: Obsidian Portal

There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not trying to find a solid way to keep track of all the campaign ideas that I've been working on and a means to keep up with whats going on as the game progresses. I like having a log to go back to in the event the game dies out for a short or long period of time, as well as a central place to discuss various parts of the world I've put together for my players.

Obsidian Portal is one of those ways of doing it, and for the better part of it, its is completely free to use, which is a big selling point in my book. The website has been nominated a number of times for the ENnies for good reason, and here is why...

Obsidian Portal uses a wiki like interface (see Wikipedia) where you can put up a campaign or character sheet, and within these pages you can put in links to other pages. The really nice thing about it is you don't need to make everything all at once.

As you make the document pages of a campaign, you can type in the link, and when saved, leaves the link in a red color. This indicates that there isn't a page for it yet. Not to worry, all you have to do is click on the link, and it will direct you to a page creation screen, where you can then flesh out the details.

The website uses a unique convention of code, that is really easy to reference and place into your code. For those who really like to customize things, they even allow you to establish a Campaign banner to display to the world wide web as they browse through your campaign wiki!

There is a place for comments, and a forum (though I have a feeling this part is more for paid customers), a place for the wiki, and a place for a running list of game info on sessions and the like. Players who join the obsidian portal have access to their character creator, which can be linked to the campaign under the Characters tab on the same page.

All in all, its a good piece of software. The fun part of using it though is getting your players to actually use it. If they are really enjoying the game and take an active roll in it the campaign page can really turn out nicely with lots of comments and lots of input in the form of the Adventure Notes.

For those who call themselves a GM, its a great place to put all your information, as theres even an part of each page that can be displayed to only the GM in the event that you need to include information pertaining to stats and the like.

Head there now, check out the various spotlights for the different campaigns and get an idea of how things are working and if its something you could use!