GameMastery Campaign Workbook
By Paizo Publishing
New World Ordered
A good gamemaster doesn’t just take a canned adventure and run it; a good gamemaster creates and expands on the world, tracks NPCs, develops threads and villains, and makes a campaign feel like a whole living world. And if you’re the creative type, there’s no telling when inspiration will strike.
All that, along with tracking the PCs and their treasure, is a lot of work for one hapless GM. Let alone keeping it together and available.
This is why the fine folks at Paizo created the Campaign Workbook. This is a 4.5” x 5.5” journal with pages dedicated to tracking various aspects of your game. While the small size might imply that your ideas lack gravitas, the fact is that this is eminently portable. Glove compartment, backpack side pocket, lunch bag, it fits anywhere. And you don’t want to be caught without your journal when you have a crazy idea, or when you have a few otherwise wasted bus-stop minutes to come up with one.
Gamer Bling has decided against counting the number of pages; suffice it to say that the journal is 11/16” thick. The journal is tabbed for easy reference, parsing it into five sections: players & characters, fundamentals, game logs, NPC registry, and item cards.
Aside from a PC registry with the infamous “Condition: Dead” check box, the first section also has a useful contact list. Paizo suggests using it to keep all your players’ info. Gamer Bling maintains that you should include pizza delivery numbers.
The fundamentals section (Gamer Bling’s name, not Paizo’s; patent pending) contains pages for you to write the basics of the campaign, an in-world calendar, and blank maps for the world, continent, and local area of your brain child.
The “Basics” section contains specific areas for synopses, major plot points, which rulebooks are allowed, and, most important of all, the hallowed House Rules pages. What better section to remind yourself that you are the god of this world? And, right after you show the complaining players the house rule that they forgot it your Campaign Workbook, you can whap them over the head with it. It’s got a little mass to it, though not enough so as to actually injure your average thick-skulled gamer. There follow 7/16” of graph paper and note paper. Each spread has a page of each, so you can draw your dungeon or fortress on one side and make room notes on the other.
The NPC registry is next, where you can track everyone that has survived crossing the party’s path. Nothing like recurring characters to add plot hooks.
And, perhaps Paizo’s cleverest device is the insertion of an Item Card registry for treasure discovered. Herein you can note the item’s identification code and describe its abilities. You can use this section without the cards, but… the section’s name… it’s like… subliminal advertising… must buy item cards… or at least read the Gamer Bling review…
Finally, at the back of the book is a Quote Log wherein you can record your players’ greatest or most embarrassing comments. Gamer Bling’s personal favorite, which came from a game of Cybergeneration: “If you didn’t order a pizza, don’t open the door for the delivery guy!”
First, the pages are printed with a pale blue ink, a blue not unlike that used in pads of college-ruled paper, which should tell you exactly why Paizo chose that color. However, the reason pads of paper can get away with this is that they have nothing but lines. This book has labels for pertinent information, and when this color of ink is viewed in moderate light (like that in many a FLGS), it can be difficult to read, especially for weak old gaming eyes like those Gamer Bling has.
Second, the font they use for labels is very small, and when this size of font is viewed in moderate light (like that in many a FLGS), it can be difficult to read, especially for weak old gaming eyes like those Gamer Bling has.
Third, it’s not really blingy. It’s mostly lightly lined paper, with a red cover and spiral binding. In fact, about the only things blingy about it are that (a) it has a gold-stamped cover with faux-leather embossing, and (b) it shows you think your ideas are worth spending $13.95 to preserve.
Early versions of the Campaign Workbook had poor gluing on the binder. (The fact that early versions were bound with glue at all could itself be considered a weak point.) Anyway, this poor gluing resulted in pages falling out of the binder when it was laid flat.
Phil Lacefield, whose sole claim to fame seems to be that he is not as ugly as Gamer Bling, wants all gamers to know that Paizo will replace any such defective binder, and throw in two complimentary Item Card booster packs for your trouble. Gamer Bling applauds the use of customer service as a vehicle for additional marketing. Click this link for details. Or send all your damaged books to Gamer Bling.
The Bottom Line
If you’re a homebrew kinda guy—and by that Gamer Bling means homebrew campaigns, not homebrew beer, although the two go hand in hand quite nicely—you’ll find this a very useful aid. If you’re just running modules as an episodic dungeon crawl of the week, not so much.
Bling Factor: 3
You need: 1
Paizo does not offer any e-tail discounts or kickbacks to websites, which gives Gamer Bling a pretty sizeable reason not to recommend people to their website, which, really, is part of their business model, since they support the current distribution system in gaming. But if you order online, mention Gamer Bling anyway, if you please. Thank you.
Or just order using the big phat button above, which spreads the wealth around from Paizo to RPGShop to Gamer Bling. Thanks!
As a product line, it’s difficult to forecast. Gamer Bling can’t see a character journal being near as thick, popular, or, for that matter, profitable. Perhaps they’ll do licensed journals based on popular properties, or for use their own adventure paths, but we’ll see.