A couple of years ago I got to play the Curse of Strahd campaign with my weekly group, and I enjoyed it immensely. On the rare occasions I get to play instead of run, I usually immediately reach for some sort of online character sheet. For D&D5, we have the excellent D&D Beyond, for example, and I have since used that for other games. But for this haunting game in the demi-plane of Barovia I decided to go old-school, and use no digital tools whatsoever. The result is a scrappy notebook full of scribbles, scribblings, handouts, and illustrations.

I believe my first exposure to Strahd and his shenanigans was back in the early nineties. This would have been the AD&D 2nd edition’s Ravenloft boxset, if I’m not mistaken. My group of friends and I decided to explore this eponymous castle over a series of sessions spanning New Year’s Eve and Day. We were entranced by the isometric maps of castle Ravenloft.

When Wizards of the Coast announced the Curse of Strahd book, with an expanded region to adventure in, I was quite excited, and having played through it now, I must say that it didn’t disappoint. We also played through its prequel, Death House, and yes, we did try and go through the walls and were overrun by rat swarms. I played a creepy halfling wizard with an albino raven familiar. And by the end of the adventure he had become a were-raven himself, which was pretty awesome.

As I was cleaning up my shelves the other week, I came across my journal from the game, and flicked through it. It was a great reminder of a great campaign, so I thought I’d share some snaps of it here. Who knows, perhaps it’ll inspire you to create a campaign journal of your own!

I tried to recapture the magic of the Curse of Strahd notebook in my next game. Once gain, I took scissors to the official character sheet (printed out with a parchment style texture background, of course), and re-arranged it into a landscape version to fit the journal.

For this game, my character was based directly off some cosplay images I had come across online (I forgot where—my apologies), so I included these images directly in the book. Now, this was a homebrew campaign, and there were no handouts with illustrations, which meant the journal was made up mostly of text, which was a bit of a shame. GMs, if you see a player of yours keep a game notebook, throw some handouts their way to give it more of that scrapbook look! :)

Quite recently I started playing in a UVG/MageBlade game, and decided to return to a notebook for it. It’s early days yet, but it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.

Made gaming notebooks of your own? I’d like to see them!