Obsidian Portal is a campaign management system, allowing you to create a wiki of sorts for your campaign, as well as including some tools to help with session scheduling and playing.
Each campaign has a number of different types of pages you can fill, starting with a Front Page for, well, everything you want to show up front – an introduction and the main concept of your campaign.
After that, you have the Adventure Log, where you can post accounts of the adventures the players go through as part of your campaign. Each post is usually a single session, although I’ve seen people use some simple tricks to group sessions together – so each post in the Adventure Log represents a chapter? season? whatever you want to call it of the adventure, and each session is actually linked to a wiki page.
And speaking of, you next have the Wiki, most likely the largest part of the setup. This is where almost everything is stored; groups and organizations primarily of course, but also locations, creatures, items, technologies, magic rituals, et cetera – you know what a wiki is, so you get the point. There aren’t different categories of wiki pages, but you can create and add tags on pages to mark them.
There are also Character pages. These are a bit different from simple wiki pages because you can add a lot more details – Name, obviously, but also a description, a biography, their goals, and finally a dynamic character sheet (depending, of course, on what RPG system you’ve selected as in use for the campaign). The character sheet, in particular, is a great option to have, and there are also multiple versions of character sheets you can choose from – many of them created by the community, so if you have the skill and time for it you can also make your own.
Finally, you have a separate section specifically for maps. Not much else to say here, you just put your maps there.
What I do want to talk about a bit more though is what you can do with the text. Obsidian Portal uses Textile, a simple text markup that gives you a lot of options nonetheless. You can of course have all the standard options of bold, italics, underlined, various headers, embedded media, et cetera, but you can also have footnotes, quotes, lists, colors, and much much more. A reference for Textile can be found here – if you have experience with HTML (or any markup language, really) you can use Textile easily, and you can create some really good-looking pages. Besides that, Obsidian Portal gives you the option to quickly and easily link to characters and wiki pages in your text, so you don’t have to copy and paste any links – you just choose from a popup. Finally, if you want to take a look at some other campaigns, Obsidian Portal features a “Campaign of the Month” where you can look at some high quality projects to get ideas and inspiration.
The features I’ve talked about so far are all available to any account. However, Obsidian Portal also offers a subscription-based premium account model, with additional options. These include the ability to set your campaign as private (by default, they are public and visible to everyone), the ability to add GM-only notes to pages that only you can see and edit, custom styling including CSS, more campaigns, maps, and storage space, and more. You can see all the additional features and comparisons between the basic and premium accounts here. The “Ascendant membership” costs $5.99 a month, or you can get a yearly plan with a discount: $49.99, or about $4.16 per month – about what you’d expect for this type of thing.
Overall, Obsidian Portal is a very useful – and easy to use – tool that I think you should definitely check out. It can be a great help with managing your campaign, and your players will surely appreciate the utility.
3 thoughts on “Tool Proficiency – Obsidian Portal”
Reblogged this on DDOCentral.
Great guide! I used Obsidian Portal years ago, and it wasn’t half so sleek as it is now. Looks to have been modernized and refined. What is your overall impression of Premium? (Worth it or nah?)
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Thank you. Glad you like it.
As for the premium version, the answer depends on how much you are willing to use Obsidian Portal. If you want to use it to layout your whole campaign and create a repository of knowledge that is easily accessible for the players and the GM, I’d say it’s pretty worth it.