Using Obsidian for TTRPG

Obsidian is a writing app where you own and keep your notes either locally or on your own cloud storage. It stores everything in text, so you never have to be worried about long term compatibility.

Pause and take a quick look at the site for Obsidian. The App is free and works on most platforms.


Obsidian is a great tool to use in the creation of a sandbox world, a module, a gazetteer, a tome of spells, a bestiary, a notebook, and can even be used at the game table. I know you are immediately thinking that you already use OpenDocs, Word, OneNote, NotePad, or a three-ring binder so why do you need another tool.

Individual Notes – All Connected

Instead of one long document you create individual notes. These notes can contain links to other notes, #tags to help you find topics, tables, lists, images, and about anything else you would expect to see in a normal document. The title of the note must be unique because it is used in links and other references.

Here is a single note describing the outside of a manor. Notice it has a link and includes a picture.

“Figpen” is a link in the above. It is a link to another note that describes an NPC, and the title of the note is “Figpen”. To create a link to a note you just surround the name of the note you want to reference with double brackets. Obsidian operates like a Wiki if you are familiar with them.

When you click on that link Obsidian takes you to the note named “Figpen.”

Each area, NPC, map, magic item, spell, or monster could be saved as an individual note. Then throughout your notes you can easily reference these items. There are even options that allow you to see where an individual note is referenced.

More Organization

You can organize your notes using folders. For your sandbox you could create folders for locations, events, important people, and maps. For structured adventures you can create folders for chapters, NPCs, and all those random encounter tables.

You can also #tag your notes using hash tags (#tags).

How Notes Are Stored

Obsidian calls a group of notes a Vault. A Vault can be opened with a normal file explorer, and it is just a set of folders and text files. All these notes can be kept locally, on a USB drive, or they can be stored on a cloud share like DropBox or Onedrive. You can copy your entire Vault to other locations, give someone a copy, or just make a copy as a backup.

How I Am I Using It?

  • Capture your thoughts one note at a time
  • Link your notes together to create a story
  • Create a much more interactive document for the gaming table
  • Build a list of NPCs or magic items, reference them in multiple places, and have them at your fingertips
  • #Tag items so you can search for them later
  • Create an adventure using an Obsidian approach instead of a stale document
  • Build a live interactive gazetteer
  • Easily keep and add notes at the gaming table
  • Easily give someone else a copy of your work
  • Obsidian has a huge user community that creates content and plugins that allow Obsidian to be customized to do even more

So, I encourage you to try it out. If you have any questions, drop me a note on Twitter/Xeet @thegelatcube.

TD01 Pool of Tears Example

I know you really need an example. I am working on my world of Thistledown using Obsidian. This is a “Roughly Right” 1-2 level Old School Edition adventure. I am working on making sure it conforms to the #OSE specs and not all encounters have been tested for survivability. You are likely to die.

Download the Obsidian App. Then download the Vault for TD01 Pool of Tears.

Unzip the files. Then use Obsidian to open the unzipped folder (Vault). The name should be “TD01.” And you are all set for adventure. Please look and tell me what you think.






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