Today for our Tales From the Tavern interview we talk with The Goblin’s Notebook, who created a TTRPG site to help run games. Let’s dive right in!
How did you get started in ttrpgs?
My main exposure to ttrpg was indirectly through various crpg series (Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, and Planescape Torment), but my first tabletop game was Palladium (probably 2nd edition) around 1999-2000. Then a huge break in playing tabletop until diving back in around 2019 with 5e, and more recently pf2e.
What inspired you to develop the-goblin.net?
When I first tried DMing I put my notes in OneNote which was fine, it did a job, but I don’t have a great memory for recalling information in general which showed numerous times when I knew I had written something down but couldn’t it again quickly during the session, or I had to check over multiple pages to see if I wrote something along with an NPC or a location – All of which took too much time while playing. Far too many “erm, wait a minute while I find that…” moments for my own liking. So I set about looking for something that worked better for me. I tried the various commonly used tools out there and felt they all had a similar prolem, namely that they were akin to “worldbuilding wikis” focussed on worldbuilding and publishing rather than use during play. For writing articles for web publication these tools are great and have everything you need, but I felt the wiki-like approach and one-article-per-page presentation wasn’t all that different to my original OneNote approach, especially as I wasn’t using many of the more advanced tools. So after trying a few options, I concluded that what I wanted didn’t exist. But I felt I had the skills to build it and set about a very basic PoC, enough to get confidence that the idea would work, at least in theory for myself!
Could you give us a brief description of the-goblin.net?
The Goblin’s Notebook is a ttrpg campaign management tool, campaign planner, and general note-taking tool, for use by GMs and players, with the focus of having all your relevant notes available to you as quickly and easily as possible.
Does it work in all systems, browsers, on mobile, etc?
It should work on any modern browser and devices, the layout changes to accommodate small screens. I can’t imagine anyone is running a campaign straight from their phone (though I suppose it is possible!), but the main benefit of having access on your phone is being able to read up or write something down when it comes to you instead of waiting until you are in front of a laptop later on. If I am out somewhere and have a few minutes to kill, I can read up on the last session, do some planning for next time, or just make some changes like padding out an NPC backstory or fleshing out how the BBEG’s plan is intended to come together.
How big is the development team for the-goblin.net ?
The development team is just me, a lone goblin… But the goblin cave isn’t a lonely place, Mrs Goblin helps me with monitoring the socials and messages to make sure I stay on top of things!
the-goblin.net is an online resource, is it possible to download your data for use or storage offline?
You can export your campaign from the site which will download the file for you to store. You can also re-import it another time or to another campaign as needed. The export files are plain text/YAML format so you are free to read and convert them as you see fit!
A lot of GMs may be using tools like Google Docs to write campaigns, could you suggest a few advantages the-goblin.net has over methods like this?
The main advantage The Goblin’s Notebook has over Google Docs and OneNote, etc, is the connections feature and the single-page presentation. Whereas you can put all the notes you want in a document, being able to quickly visualise what other parts of your world are related to the thing you are looking at and navigate to them in one click makes the process of finding previously written information so much quicker. There aren’t a huge number of advanced tools to play around with, it is intended to be straightforward and simple, helping you write and find your notes quickly and easily.
The creature stat blocks can make use of the 5e SRD in a creature template. Is it possible to create templates for other game systems?
Statblocks can be formatted using markdown so you should be able to lay the data out in a way that works for any system.
Could you describe the different subscription levels available?
There are 3 levels: Free tier users can have a single campaign with a maximum of 15 of each type of object (per column). Basic tier users have no limit to the number of objects in a single campaign and can import/export their campaign. Unlimited tier users can create multiple campaigns and have the option to share their campaign for others to view.
Are there future developments planned for the-goblin.net?
The backlog of new features is long and growing, I have plenty to work on for months (years?) to come! New features, big and small, are constantly being added.
What else would you like to tell us that we haven’t asked yet?
I’m just really happy to have been able to help out so many people and am incredibly grateful for everyone who signed up to use the Notebook, given feedback, or just supported me and provided me encouragement to continue to make the best tool that I can! When I first started working on it, even until after releasing it, I had no idea if anyone would have any need for it but it wasn’t long before user numbers increased and I realised how many people were looking for something like this (whether they knew it or not!). All the emails, discord messages (https://www.the-goblin.net/discord), tweets, etc. have all gone towards making the product what it is today and I am enjoying the journey!
Thanks! please comment below, but contact the goblin directly for specific questions!