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Campaign Logger vs OneNote Vs Evernote

Lensman

Active member
Hireling for Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
Hi all.
I'm looking over the campaign logger and trying to figure out how it is going to be useful for me in my gaming setup. I'm also taking the WoA course which mentioned using software such as Evernote. I have access to One Note as part of the office suite, and I'm wondering what are the pros and cons of each program in regards to not only adventure planning and writing, but also as a means of keeping track of game-sessions, player notes, etc.... ?

Also, if you do use one of the programs listed, which one do you use? what do you find it good for? what features do you wish would be added?

Any and all help is appreciated!
Lensman.
 

ExileInParadise

RPG Therapist
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
I have been using Joplin the past six months, which works much like Evernote and has been extremely useful for managing the large volume of notes for these courses.

The Joplin web-snipper works well for all of the links and references, for example, collecting them into the notebook with the course notes.

I am fairly new to Campaign Logger and did not get much mileage with it in the previous versions.

However, I've started exploring the vNext preview version and it works extremely well for it's core 3 use cases.

First, there is a "Campaign Entry" section which allows long articles which are primarily created and updated during *prep*

I am using these much like a "wiki page" for a given topic - each tagged with the Campaign Logger tag character for the topic type:
@ someone or monster name, ^ faction name, or # location name for example.

Second, there is a "Log Entry" section which allow short messages which are primary created "in the moment" during a session.

These are much like rapid-fire "session tweets" where you are just writing virtual sticky notes to come back to later.
These are also tagged.

After the session you go through these and use them to update your long-form Campaign Entries related to the same tagged topics.

Using the specific tags is the key to making this work because if you forget a thing in the moment, you can cross-reference to your long-form campaign entry.

And this is where you prepare to improv - keep the stuff you need for the next session *at the top* of the campaign entry and "push down" the older background details.

That way, if you need to cross-reference - you can and the "notes on deck" at the top are right there when you do.

The third use case is Generators which can be useful in both prep *and* the session when you need a "quick new thing" like a 3-line NPC, or name or something.

Now, with those use-cases in mind ... how does OneNote, EverNote, Joplin compare?

They do okay with the first use-case, campaign entries.

They do not do as well with the second use-case - making snapshot logs in session that can jump to entries as needed.

If you carefully tag things in your external tool, and have jump-to-tag buttons (which you can do with the lefthand sidebar in Joplin - not sure about the others) then you can sort of cross-reference like you can from session log to campaign entry in Campaign Logger.

And Generators? You have to copy-paste from external tools - there's no integration I am aware of.

You could probably hack something together in Joplin's plugin system, but nothing pre-exists that I am aware of.

Joplin *did* have a feature that was beyond Campaign Logger's reach: diagrams... until a couple of weeks ago when the Campaign Logger devs added Mermaid diagrams to Campaign Logger.

This was super useful for faction diagrams.

I have not yet experimented with some of the "fill in forms" capability of Campaign Logger, but this seems like something not easy to do in any of the external tools.

In Joplin, I created @templatename forms and use the duplicate note function, but it always seemed clunky to me.

So that's my thoughts so far with the limited exposure and use time I've gotten with the new Campaign Logger preview.
 

JohnnFour

Game Master
Staff member
Demonplague Author
Wizard of Adventure
Beta-Tester
Adventure Builder
Gamer Lifestyle
Adventure Master
Well put, @ExileInParadise.

For me, Campaign Logger is Twitter meets Wiki.

My Big Three
Speed + Accuracy.
The automagic tagging means you never spell something wrong again (making search/filter 100% accurate) and autocomplete means taking notes and doing prep faster.

Instant Cross-Reference. The automagic tagging also instantly creates links (no right-clicking + copy + click to destination + paste any more => just type and tag as you go without breaking mental flow) and connects all your information together.

Want to see what an NPC said four sessions ago? Want to find out when the smith will be done the paladin's armor? Need to remember your plotline for Bob's rogue sub-plot? It's instantly there via search/filter because of the tagging.

Generators. We supply several and you can roll your own. Click, generate a name or plot seed, add to your note, keep going.

Other Comparisons
Campaign Logger is not yet as visual as OneNote and Evernote. You can display images and create charts and diagrams, but there's no image or PDF paste like in the other apps. We're looking at streamlining media management, and what I do is use MyInfo for media when necessary, but use Campaign Logger when images are hosted elsewhere, such as on my Google Drive or Dropbox.

I prefer Evernote over OneNote because the canvas paradigm of OneNote means I'm constantly re-arranging widgets in OneNote. As soon as I add something to the canvas, I have to rearrange everything that's overlapping or crowding stuff.

But Evernote really stuck me this year when they rebuilt the app, nerfing a whole bunch of features, without telling me. One update later and a whole bunch of workflows were instantly sabotaged. So I stopped my Evernote subscription and am looking at Joplin based on @ExileInParadise recommendation.

Evernote and OneNote also have standalone apps for offline use. Campaign Logger will have offline use in the future. Thanks to modern browser features, we'll be able to log happily away without an internet connection, and the app will synch next time it connects. That feature is coming, but if you need offline access today, Evernote and OneNote can do that for you.

Evernote and OneNote both allow sharing with others. The share is fairly simple on your end, but can be a little tricky on the recipient's side if they are not familiar with the app of your choice. Sharing in Campaign Logger vNext is dead simple. Click the share icon for any entry and you get a URL for a "Stream" than contains everything you've shared from a Log. Your friends, players, or audience click the link and they instantly see all your shared stuff.

Evernote is releasing new features (trying to get feature parity with the old, better version mostly). And the OneNote developer tip is actively soliciting community feedback and making a few updates a year now.

Campaign Logger has feature voting. That means you get a voice in what we develop next. @JochenL can speak to that more and paste links where and when voting occurs. But we're releasing new features, fixes, and enhancements every two weeks now via continuous deployments.

And we're here in the forums every day to personally help you.

Test Them Out
If I were starting from scratch, questing for an app to be my Campaign Bible or Source of Truth, I'd do the following:

Campaign Logger has a free trial. Register/login and check new version with all the shiny features out at https://preview.campaign-logger.com/

Ready yourself to prepare for next session. Have some material in notebooks or in your head so you'll want to make at least 10-20 "notes".

Put that information into Evernote. Then OneNote. Then Campaign Logger.

Compare the experience in how much you connect stuff, if Generators were helpful, if finding stuff you've already written is easy.

Now multiply that by 100 if you'll create and reference a lot of information over time. x1000 if your campaign lasts a long time.

Do you cross-reference stuff a lot? Do you need a ton of images or just a few? Do you want very specific search or is bulk search ok? Do you like the browser experience or do you prefer something else? Did you want to share stuff or is it all just for you?

Try each app out and then you can make a well-informed decision.

/twocents

Cheers,
Johnn
 

Gary F

New member
Adventure Builder
I think the big limiting factor for me is, unless I'm missing something, there's no way to EASILY paste in images. You can't just cut and paste.
 

JohnnFour

Game Master
Staff member
Demonplague Author
Wizard of Adventure
Beta-Tester
Adventure Builder
Gamer Lifestyle
Adventure Master
If you rely on images, then you'll want a good system for that, agreed.

I use Pinterest. That lets me link to the source if I need hi res for a handout of VTT background. Plus easy search and awesome thumbnail browsing interface. Free too.
 

ELF

Generator Sage
Staff member
Beta-Tester
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
I use Pinterest. That lets me link to the source if I need hi res for a handout of VTT background. Plus easy search and awesome thumbnail browsing interface. Free too.
I quite like Pinterest myself. But it has a couple of limitations:
  • You cannot really trust that everything you pin will remain available. Sometimes images are removed due to copyright violation or because they have been used to con people to click through to a malicious site.
  • With a large number of pins, organization becomes difficult. When pinning a new image, you either have to traverse through a long list or navigate a 2-level hierarchy and then traverse through another long list...
Either a drag and drop feature or a browser extension for logging new images into Campaign Logger would be great!
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
I'm not very familiar with Evernote or Campaign Logger and never tried Joplin, but I am definitely fond of Onenote.
For starters, it is free. Further, I rarely use generators and normally organize my story section per session or adventure or arc, so I have all memorable information side by side and if I indeed need to find someone, I can use the search function. Agreed, I would need to remember the name or at least the session when an NPC first came around, but in contrast, I find adding additional symbols like @ or so into the text for tagging a hassle and it disturbs my flow of work. You can use Onenote as a wiki, but although easy to do I found it more troublesome than helpful.
So I use the search function or look for that memorable moment this NPC got introduced. I have the habit of writing names to be remembered in bold. This helps a lot to really quickly finding what I'm looking for.
Further advantages are easy formatting, collapsing of whole passages, easy copy and paste of pictures, links and videos, great table formatting, and indent structuring possible of whole pages.
It is true, that overlapping canvas can be a hassle in combination with collapsing. So, I just try to avoid it and it works for me.
Most importantly though, my structure is different than it would be in Campaign Logger. Although it is a great program, I'm sure, I like to see all areas at once and intuitively jump to the area I want to edit or look at. It has great optical cues to quickly shift from my last games notes to my rules section, choosing the one relevant now, or to my GMing tips undersection of how to introduce a memorable NPC during the session. And when I jump back I'm just were I left off. And even during a quick toilet break when I get a sudden idea, it is instantly synchronized between my laptop and my mobile phone without disturbing the session.

So, in summary, it all depends on how you want to use it. I tried several things out and Onenote is what stuck with me.
Please feel free to look at how I organize myself for GMing. Here is more on how I do it including several pictures:
https://campaign-community.com/index.php?threads/managing-the-game-at-the-table.957/post-8817
https://campaign-community.com/index.php?threads/q-a-1b-nov-28.955/post-7964
 
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