As a Backer of the Realm Works Kickstarter last year, I have recently become privy to the Beta testing.
While I can't talk about any of the specifics of the software, I wanted to comment on how incredibly cool it has been to work with it over the past couple of weeks.
As you're probably aware, I've recently been GMing an ongoing campaign set in the collaboratively designed world of Tikhon.
Our "Mortenburg Chronicles" game is several months old now... but it's been amazing to see how much more detail I've been crafting in response to Realm Works.
All I've been doing is entering information to the database for my own realm of Tikhon, but the way the system works has helped me to both see how much we've created already and what comes next.
Over the past few days I've been prepping for the next session. Only a month ago I took the time to create some templates to help streamline my prep... but these are already obsolete due to Realm Works.
Yes, it's tedious to input data to what is (in reality) a highly-specialised database. Yet... as I've been progressing through the outstanding notes from last session, I've found myself adding and tweaking in response to the various fields in Realm Works.
What Realm Works does really well (apart from linking all of your notes into a coherent, encyclopaedic whole) is prompt you on stuff you could do with fleshing out further. As a GM, this is invaluable because it helps me to be less lazy and prep in more depth than I might otherwise be tempted to do. It also makes prep quicker because anything already in the system can be accessed, or even recycled.
The Beta allows me to show players information that they have learned. The next step for me is to test this out during a gaming session. I aim to set up a second monitor and show players partially-explored maps and summary information live in-game. Although I'm not used to having a PC at the table, I suspect that this will quickly become a "very cool" feature of having taken the time to codify my realm using Realm Works.
On my wish-list for the software will be the ability for the software to create both a GM-only and Player-only version of the data, presented in something like a Wiki. Pointing my players at such a resource, generated automatically from the data in the system, would be priceless.
I might also like to see Roll20 integration to allow the players to see Player-only views on screen across the web too.
Having nearly finished inputting the data from my paper notes into the system, I aim to spend time detailing new locations, characters and stuff for the campaign. As it's all so easy to manipulate using Realm Works, I think that prep might just become a lot more fun.
If you've not backed the product, fear not! It's due for release later this year and will have most of the kinks ironed out by then, no doubt. My tip: start re-organising your notes and check out the Kickstarter
Labels: GMing, news, prep, Realm Works, review, Tikhon