Journaling

As you adventure ICly in the game world, your characters come across alot of history, lore and information. You have storylines, meetings with other role-players and events you participate and interact in. For some, it’s hard to keep up with – and harder to share both ICly and OOCly with others later on.

The wedding six months ago with at the Cathedral?

What was that pesky dwarf’s name getting drunk at the tavern when you were plotting the heist in town?

That part of role-playing, day to day or special event “history” that influences your character. You do meet and interact with folks and storylines when you role-play in mmorpgs – that’s kind of the point, yes?

Just as in real life we use cellphones, journals, blogs and note cards to keep up with things we do and people we meet. A log of our life, basically – just like we keep notes, blog or write about things we do. Why not do something similar for our character?

Interesting idea, huh?
That’s where journaling can come into the picture. The great thing is that it can range from the simple and private note system to a blog other folks can read and share your adventures OOCly.

You see character journaling done by writers as well as role-players. Most online games do include a forum for stories and journaling by characters. Since role-playing is similar to acting out a character in a novel, it’s a not too far from the “tree”, one can say…

There’s alot of ways to do this and how to present/share your journal. While this is not required for role-playing, it can add another dimension and can be used as a RP addition or tool. Whether it’s just for you or others, character journaling can add creativity, organization and depth to your adventures.

When I used to play/storytell live action role-playing (LARP) events, we had players turn in a IC character summary between sessions. Not only did this help the Storytellers make sense of the evening, it also helped organize and recount things for both myself and the players a well. it also gave the players an outlet to write “chapter” into their character’s story.

This concept can be easily added to a pen and paper rp game, which make it an nice addition to your role-playing. So, not only does this add depth to the game and to the characters, it can be fun to do! May be worth a try. *grin*

Let’s look into why this may be a good thing and at some ideas and ways how to keep a character record, both simple and involved.

First, Why would we want a journal?

  • A written record of a character’s “life” and adventures.
  • To share your character with others ICly or OOCly.
  • To hone writing/creative skills.
  • A means of getting and staying In Character.
  • A simple record to organize a character.
  • To take notes and use as a springboard for ideas.


Journaling helps keep thoughts and notes in recorded and organized for whatever use you may have down the road. As you can see, alot of this reflects everyday life, not just our virtual one. Some of these are apply ICly and OOCly. Sometimes both. The reasons for doing so can be taken from one or more of these ways, whether we do our journaling at our desk or online.

Now, how can we do this?

  • Post-it notes or note pads.
    Simple, effective and great for the minimalist. If you have small bots of information to remember or use, this can work.
  • A simple text file on your computer.
    Simple, effective and green. Easy to add to and store.
  • A stack of notecards or a small notebook.
    Keeping a few index cards on a clip or a small notebook can hold notes and reminders. Even those post-it’s you want to keep or put in later.
  • (For MMORPGs) Using an in-game note addon or feature.
    Some games have a note taking feature or allow Addons/mods to give you space to write notes down in game. It’s also great for copy/pasting text to use in game. Some Addons or features may allow you to share a “copy” or give your journal/book to others ICly. Very cool concept.
  • Writing down thoughts ICly in an actual diary/journal.
    This is a traditional approach for private journaling. Useful for writers or folks that really enjoy their characters and like the extension of the imagination.
  • Creating a blog and making entries.
    Great for private or public viewing/sharing online. If you’ve wanted to make a blog and just haven’t found the subject, perhaps a character journal can be an outlet for your creativity. You can also get feedback and discussion from readers. There are options for free, paid and self-hosted blogs to get you started.
  • (LARP/MMORPGs) A special area of your LARP/guild forum.
    Some guilds have a area that helps promote character journals and stories. This can be a good way of getting your character’s thoughts out and also help other guildies get an OOCly view of “you”.
  • (LARP/MMORPGs) A wiki/forum for stories and entries.
    This can be a great idea for a role-playing server to promote RP and sharing stories and character backstories. Your role-playing realm (or server) may have one set up – if not, maybe that can be a project.
  • Podcasting, making audio entries.
    This can be very involved, but I amputting this as an option. Some knowledge of podcasting will be required and it may be expensive to host. For IC audio entries, you can rationalize it using technology, magic or a combination of both depending on the game’s genre. Creative people could use this as a role-playing element.


Journaling Tips:
Here’s some additional tips and resources if you may be interested in starting a journal of some variety.

  • If you are starting an IC (In Character) journal, make your entries as you would write them in character or talking to another person as your character. This helps the overall feel of the journal and gives it “realism”.
  • Keep a backup in case of server or computer error, or you change blogs.
  • Make time for journaling. That can be the hardest part.
  • Keep IC and OOC entries separate. If it’s a In Character blog, treat it accordingly. Same as an Out Of Character one. If you combine both, use a way of separating the information to not confuse the reader.
  • Online information is/can be very public. Use caution in posting sensitive information, especially real life info.