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Totally Guy
2009-03-31, 06:19 PM
I'm not even talking about campaign notes. I'm talking about XP, Gold, Potions w/ quantities, even magic items don't get recorded.

I could say that things that aren't recorded are lost. That'll be fun for wealth by level. Also I'd need to have everyone recalculate their stats without the bonuses from those items. Anyone activly have to enforce this.

I award a +2 sword and the player adds a +2 into their To Hit line without the sword even getting a mention. If I need to know what an item is it usually gets derived from the bonus backwards to the item.

The player might record "Healing potions" but no quantities. "But it's plural so that means at least two!"

Any other way to encourage the habit?

Kylarra
2009-03-31, 06:27 PM
Have you, uh, talked to your players about keeping better notes?

I realize that seems like an obvious thing, and I apologize for any offense you might be taking, but a lot of player/GM issues can be solved through simply talking out what you expect from them.

kjones
2009-03-31, 06:36 PM
Whenever my players squabble about gold or XP, I tell them, "It's not my job to keep track of that. If you don't have it written down, you don't have it." Usually, I'll soften up and go easy on them, but the attitude does the trick - I recommend it. If they don't have it written down, they don't have it. "Healing Potions"? Sorry, you don't have a number, so you just have one. Magic sword? What magic sword? Where is it on your character sheet?

Like I said, it's not always necessary to carry through with this - just make it clear that if it's not written down, it's not there. If they're doing it deliberately, to get more stuff... well, that's a separate issue.

Shpadoinkle
2009-03-31, 06:38 PM
As far as the things like "healing potions" go, ask the player when and where they got them. If they can't tell you, tell them to mark it off.

As far as the part about simply adding 2 to thier to-hit without writing down that it comes from a +2 sword, I'd tell them: "If you can't justify a bonus, you don't have it." Ask them to periodically recalculate thier BAB, AC, saving throws, skill modifiers, and everything else. If they can't justify something, they don't get it.

Rhiannon87
2009-03-31, 06:45 PM
I'm the party recording secretary in one of my games, and yeah, our DM basically does the "it it ain't written down, you don't have it" rule. I have a notebook full of information from each session, be it on what happened or on what was acquired. (I also have a party inventory spreadsheet. This is because I am a crazy person.) In the game I run, same deal. They don't write it down, they don't have it. I'd say lay out very clearly to your group that this is the new rule, and give them a chance before play starts to go over their sheets and help them determine what they might have. After that? Not written down properly, doesn't exist.

MickJay
2009-03-31, 07:12 PM
Not written down=not there, simple as that. I'd make some concessions if I was DMing for elementary school kids, perhaps, but that's about it. When I am playing, I record every single item I get my hands on, including pieces of string and such.

MeklorIlavator
2009-03-31, 07:20 PM
Also, always assume that if not specified, it's the weakest/least possible. For instance, if they only write healing potions, then they have 2 potions of cure minor wounds, and a magic swords is just a +1 swords, and no they must have gotten the bonuses wrong. That should teach them.

Also, it's a good idea to nominate on person to write all loot down.

BRC
2009-03-31, 07:46 PM
I would be wary of giving the players total control over keeping track of things like gold, XP, potions, ect. Unless you are also keeping track of all that stuff, the player could easily, say, forget to mark that they used one of their potions of heroism.

valadil
2009-03-31, 08:04 PM
If your players are being lazy, requiring them to keep records will only frustrate the both of you. I learned this in my first campaign when I tried to require journals from all players. Way more frustration than was necessary. I still reward journals, but I wouldn't date punish a player who didn't write one.

Anyway, save them the trouble of writing out gear. Put all your gear on index cards. When a player gets an item they get a card for it. You might want to give them all folders or paperclips too. Cards aren't any more work for you than usual. Instead of writing a list of treasure, you write a stack of treasure with each item appearing on a single card.

KillianHawkeye
2009-03-31, 08:22 PM
Just beware the flip-side, because if "If it's not written, you don't have it" is true then "If it is written, you do have it" must also be true.

This could lead to players "neglecting" to erase stuff they've used or simply making stuff up and writing it on their character sheets.

kjones
2009-03-31, 08:24 PM
I would be wary of giving the players total control over keeping track of things like gold, XP, potions, ect. Unless you are also keeping track of all that stuff, the player could easily, say, forget to mark that they used one of their potions of heroism.

At some point, you have to trust your players, and trust that they won't just start writing stuff down that they don't have. If it's unintentional, a gentle reminder will serve, and if it's intentional, you kick their ass from noon to Sunday.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-03-31, 08:27 PM
Whenever my players squabble about gold or XP, I tell them, "It's not my job to keep track of that. If you don't have it written down, you don't have it." Usually, I'll soften up and go easy on them, but the attitude does the trick - I recommend it. If they don't have it written down, they don't have it. "Healing Potions"? Sorry, you don't have a number, so you just have one. Magic sword? What magic sword? Where is it on your character sheet?

I did this like 10 years ago. Never again problems with record-keeping. If it's not written down, it ain't there.

Character sheets get reviewed as a matter of course (and in many games, when the information is very simple, I keep my own duplicate; in D&D, for instance, I keep NPC-style statblocks with magic items, equipment, and all that jazz). It might be just that I'm good with numbers, but I do notice when bonuses and stats don't add up.

Players will learn through conditioning.


Just beware the flip-side, because if "If it's not written, you don't have it" is true then "If it is written, you do have it" must also be true.

This could lead to players "neglecting" to erase stuff they've used or simply making stuff up and writing it on their character sheets.

Your Moon Logic is not like our Earth Logic.

There's a real simple fix here: "When did you get that? Really? Why don't I remember that?"

Baalthazaq
2009-04-01, 01:59 AM
A note on roleplaying.

I wouldn't just say "If it's not written down you don't have it". It makes no sense roleplaying wise.

I would instead say, if it isn't written down, I'll assume you've lost it. People lose things all the time, no matter how wise or intelligent. It fell from the pack when we went through that forest or crossed that stream earlier.

You can even allow them quests to try to retrieve them if they really want that +5 Vorpal sword back.

The_Werebear
2009-04-01, 02:56 AM
My group is to a one meticulous about our recorded items, first because of the aforementioned "If it's not on your sheet, you don't have it" rule and second, because we make so much use of mundane gear.

My advice to get the group together on their items, though, is to use the notecard suggestion. I really like that idea, even if it means carrying extra things. This could be especially good for consumables, which could be recycled by the DM.

Satyr
2009-04-01, 03:39 AM
Perhaps your group would be working better if you switch to another system or introduce homerules that reduce the amount of bookkeeping, like wealth checks instead of a concrete amount of money, healing potions as a form of character power (you could have a feat for this that effectively means that the character has an unlimited amount of ammunition, or healing potions etc. or can create them to a certain degree in their downtime).
The weapon thing is a bit trickier, but you could hand out little "item cards" with a description of the item and its mechanical effects, so that the players just have to keep the card.

Remember, for most people , bookkeeping isn't much fun. And if you are going to penalize your players for their habits, you are probably not going to improve the atmosphere on the game table, so a compromise is more likely to work.

Farlion
2009-04-01, 03:42 AM
As mean as this might sound: I thought I had problems with my players, but this is just ridiculous!

As a DM I invest alot of time preparing the campaign, making NPCs, creating new magic items and so forth. If my players would be so rude to not even write down what they get, I would get really angry!

Talk to your players and tell them:

Playing D&D is not like a movie! You can't just sit there, eat popcorn and do nothing. RPG only works if everyone is willing to commit something. Writing down your loot and being honest about what you used is essential for any session. If you can't count on that as a DM, look for another group.

Cheers,
Farlion

Atelm
2009-04-01, 03:55 AM
Never had this problem, as my players always write down whatever new items they find/gain/loot. The only markings I've had to do were to mark down what items they didn't pick up, assuming they ever return to the place where they got something.

bosssmiley
2009-04-01, 03:58 AM
A) Record it, or lose it.
B) Savage Bookkeeping (http://webamused.com/bumblers/?p=187)

Killer Angel
2009-04-01, 04:30 AM
As DM, you should always know the equipment of the pc group.
If pc have the chance to buy magic items they want (including lot of potions or scrolls) this can be a little problem (but in this case, your players should know what’s in their equipment).
If it’s a setting without magic shops, in which you decide what are the magical objects they find, you could remember their equipment better then the (distracted) players.

I think the latter is your case, right?
I suggest you to keep the recording of equipment, and remember to the players what they have at every upgrade of levels or before starting new adventures.
This way, you should limit the problems, but even then, you’ll face some inconvenient...
In my campaign, one of the players (an awful cleric 3 - monk 7) was lamenting his effectiveness in the middle of a combat.
Not only he was one of the weaker pc I’ve ever seen, but on his character sheet, he never upgrade his equipment, which was 2 levels old!
“well, suddenly you remember that in the last months you completely forgot in your backpack, the belt monk you received at your temple. You feel very stupid...”

Totally Guy
2009-04-01, 05:30 AM
Here's the situation: The campaign is already over.

I picked up my player's character sheets so that I could plan the sequel campaign around them all.

That's when I realised just how badly they'd recorded everything. There's no way they can remember their equipment between campaigns. We've not even started playing nWoD yet which someone else is running and that'll last ages.

I'm afraid I don't like the idea of cards, I made some 4th Edition power cards a while back and they just end up making a mess.

Edit: Oh, yeah, I've got records of the loot for designation for each level but I remember making a couple of ad hoc changes to the list I'd recorded. So it won't be simple.

Artanis
2009-04-01, 09:06 AM
I agree with talking to the players.


On system I suggest using is to have one player who's the record keeper. He writes down what they get, and who gets it. You should also keep a similar record, and remember to write down ad-hoc changes you make.

ericgrau
2009-04-01, 10:48 AM
I'm not even talking about campaign notes. I'm talking about XP, Gold, Potions w/ quantities, even magic items don't get recorded.

I could say that things that aren't recorded are lost. That'll be fun for wealth by level. Also I'd need to have everyone recalculate their stats without the bonuses from those items. Anyone activly have to enforce this.

I award a +2 sword and the player adds a +2 into their To Hit line without the sword even getting a mention. If I need to know what an item is it usually gets derived from the bonus backwards to the item.

The player might record "Healing potions" but no quantities. "But it's plural so that means at least two!"

Any other way to encourage the habit?
Sheesh that's awful. I'll second the notion that if it isn't written down you don't have it. However, for experience it's easier if you just give the party 1 experience total and track it yourself. The xp each player has is the same except anyone who's been rezzed temporarily has less.

For items and gold I plan on getting The Other Gaming Company's item cards and some monopoly money, then just handing people stuff whenever they get something. Haven't tried the cards yet, but those that have them say it speeds things up and makes things easier. Though spell cards are what get the most good reviews out of the different cards available; item cards aren't as popular.

AslanCross
2009-04-01, 06:48 PM
...wow, they don't like keeping track of their loot? That's what my players always like recording (more than combat bonuses, etc).

I'd go simply with what has been suggested: no record, no item.

elonin
2009-04-01, 07:00 PM
I'll go with what has been said before No record=no loot. If they can't account for the high to hit bonus, saving throw, or AC then it gets adjusted (not to be mean but with shoddy record keeping they may have picked up a few temporary bonuses in the same way that comp rpg's glitch). What's more I wouldn't help em out with npc names. It's their job to remeber important quest givers and others. Perhaps someone will help but the pc's will gain a reputation for their forgetfullness.

Berserk Monk
2009-04-01, 07:09 PM
You could just stop giving them magical items. That'll be hilarious!:smallbiggrin:

lsfreak
2009-04-01, 07:32 PM
The first half an hour of your next session, demand their character sheets. Take those sheets to write new sheets using all the information they have written down anywhere. Give them the revised sheets. When they ask why their stats are so much lower, tell them what others said: "No where on your sheet did it say how you were getting those extra stats. Since it wasn't on your sheet, I didn't include it. If you can't remember it, then your character lost it."

Inform them you'll be doing the same next session. Make that first night's adventure a bit easier and a bit heavier on the loot than normal, but make sure it's not enough to compensate entirely for what they lost. Keep track of the loot you give out the first few times and make sure they don't try and sneak things in.

Also make sure you give out important details, and don't give it to them when they forget it. If they realize while in front of the [insert very important person here] that they don't remember the person's appropriate title, they find themselves in jail.

magellan
2009-04-02, 04:58 AM
A) Record it, or lose it.
B) Savage Bookkeeping (http://webamused.com/bumblers/?p=187)

Thats a very wierd article bosssmiley. I couldnt make out anything even closely but not quite resembling an advantage in that system.

Kylarra
2009-04-02, 11:56 AM
While I do agree to an extent with the overall "no record -> no loot" schema being tossed around, I want to reiterate, talk to your players first. Don't just throw out the "no record = no loot" at them randomly, or start off by doing what lsfreak suggested. You'll just come off as an ass and piss people off.

TricksyAndFalse
2009-04-02, 01:22 PM
Here's the situation: The campaign is already over.

I picked up my player's character sheets so that I could plan the sequel campaign around them all.

If this is the case, just give them a loot reset. Either give them, or have them pick, loot appropriate to the level they'll be starting the new campaign at. Old items are lost/sold/handed-down to the next generation. New items are purchased or won offscreen. Your immediate problem is resolved.

Talk to your players. Tell them that a loot reset is not really fun for either you or them. They may not be interested in recording things better, but I'm sure they don't want to make things tougher for you either.

Darth Stabber
2009-04-02, 02:39 PM
Power cards from 4e are an amazing idea. I just keep 2 pile of card, uses an unused, and when I use any power or Item power that is not at will it goes into the Used pile, until the condition of it renewing is met. When I use an expendable Item, I just unsleeve it and don't return it until i buy or find another another. If you get a small box to store the cards in, it becomes easy. About 5 years ago I had a wizard that did something like this. I had some M:tG cards in sleeves, and when i prepared my spells in the morning I wrote the spells on Paper and stuck it in the sleeve infront of the card, When I used the spell, i just threw it back into my box. Later I Made spell prep easier when I cut out Index cards to fit in the sleaves with information for each slot so I knew that this sleeve must be for my school of specialization and these sleeves are for 3rd lvl spells, and it became really easy to prepare and track my spell through the day. Then I Made a couple cards for every spell and Metamagic tags to stick to them and what they modified. So then when spell prep time came along I just matched up spells I wanted with slots and was ready to go quick as a wink.

Mark Hall
2009-04-02, 11:38 PM
I think it comes down to you recording everything, and if they try to use an item they don't have anymore, then you simply tell them they spend a round looking for it, but can't find it.

"The healing potion? You can't seem to find it. Maybe you used your last one?"