Five reasons why you should be taking notes

If Ori can make notes in his final moments, you can, too.

I generally try to avoid ranting in these articles, but please, if you are a player: take notes.

As a DM, I have played with many, many brilliant players over the years. Some are quiet, some are energetic, some are hilarious, some are proper thespians. But the absolute best players take notes. In my experience, maybe only one in five do.

Here are some crap reasons for not taking notes:

  • It takes too long. It really doesn’t.
  • I don’t have anywhere to write them. BS.
  • Someone else is doing it. Keep reading for why this is completely wrong.

Why is taking notes so important?

1. It keeps you engaged. It’s one of the best things you can do when it’s not your turn and you’re not in the spotlight. Listening and jotting things down is a way of keeping you busy and focused.  

2. It’s a memory aid. Notes helps you to maintain continuity between sessions and make connections to things that happened previously. The very act of writing things down helps to stop you forget things, even if you don’t go back to check your notes later. Notes are also fantastic for any players who missed a session.

3. It’s a creative outlet. I’ve seen players write notes in character like an expedition diary or a news reporter. It’s a form of storytelling in its own right! And notetaking doesn’t have to be purely verbal. I like to add sketches to my notes of cool things we’ve seen along the way.  

4. It shows the DM you care. DMs pour so much of themselves into their games. They’re putting themselves out there, sharing their creative self with you. Taking notes is a way of respecting that. Everyone forgets things—that’s human—but when you forget things and you don’t bother to take notes, it’s like saying ‘I don’t intend to remember this and it’s not important to me.’ As W B Yeats put it: ‘I have spread my dreams under your feet; / Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.’

5. It lets you relive sessions forever. D&D isn’t a quick game; a campaign can take weeks, months, years to reach its conclusion. It’s a wonderful thing to look back at your notes and see how far you’ve come. Notetaking is a way of preserving the story forever. I love that I can look back at session notes from years ago and remind myself of all the cool things that happened.

There’s not a lot you need to do as a player. Be on time. Know your character. Listen. Be ready on your turn. Thank your DM. DMing is complicated: playing, nowhere near so. Don’t just be an OK player: be a great one.

Take. Friggin’. Notes.

If you like what I do, please support me on Patreon or buy my products on DriveThru RPG. You can follow me on Facebook at scrollforinitiative, Bluesky @scrollforinit, X @scrollforinit, and Instagram @scrollforinitiative. And if you want to make my day, you can buy me a coffee here.

Never miss an article

Unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *