How I Prepare for D&D with Obsidian

When it's time to plan my next Dungeons & Dragons session, I fire up Obsidian. But then what? Here's a behind-the-screen look at how I prepare D&D using Obsidian and the steps from SlyFlourish's Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master.

Obsidian - A second brain, for you, forever. (background image of the D&D ampersand)

When it's time to plan my next Dungeons & Dragons session, I fire up Obsidian. But then what? Here's a behind-the-screen look at how I prepare for D&D using Obsidian and the steps from SlyFlourish's Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master.


I use Obsidian for organizing and running D&D. It's easy to get started. For my game prep, I use the steps from Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master. Here's how the two come together.

A screenshot of my Obsidian vault with a session note open showing Resources, Review Player Characters, Story, Strong Start.
A quick glance at the start of my prep notes.

Resources

This section is broken down into three subsections.

Primary To-Do List

This section expands to reveal the steps from Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master as a task list. That list lives on another note so what you see here is a linked preview. I use this as a starting point each time I prepare a session.

The todo box is expanded to reveal a checklist of steps of the Lazy Dungeon Master.

Secondary To-Do List

This is a blank slate. I add extra tasks to this list as I need to. Common tasks include finding a map, researching rules on something specific, or messaging a player about something.

Review Player Characters

For each character, I like to remind myself of a relevant motivation and background. The motivations help me craft a session they want to engage with. The backgrounds help me tie characters to NPCs and locations.

Story

This includes the strong start, situations, secrets & clues, etc. Basically, the rest of the checklist from Return of the Lazy DM. I won't dive into those steps in particular. Rather, I'll dive into how I use Obsidian to reinforce those ideas.

One of Obsidian's most powerful features is its linking ability. Throughout my preparation, I link to other existing articles whenever possible. For NPCs, I link to their individual notes.

NPCs section with a link to a page for Phaesia Magroth.

For Magic Items, I like to preview relevant information about them. So I use linked previews. Import the D&D 5E SRD REmastered into your vault to make this easier.

A section for magic items with a preview of the Scimitar of Speed note.

Tips

You can see that each section has an expandable "tip" callout. Those link to another note that captures SlyFlourish's checklist for each step. These tips provide important reminders as I prepare for my session.

An expanded tip for Fantastic Locations that includes a bullet point checklist of reminders.

After the Session

I have a section at the bottom of my notes that I come back to after a session. The summary is just a quick recap of what actually happened in that session. The retrospective is for notes on what went well, what could have gone better, and what I can do about it for future sessions.


Hopefully this quick, behind-the-screen look at my prep note structure gives you ideas or inspiration. You can easily reuse this Obsidian format for any framework. Use whatever works for you. If you're interested in the actual framework from SlyFlourish, I highly recommend it.

Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master
Winner of the 2019 Gold ENNIE for Best Electronic Book! Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master is an award-winning and best-selling book designed to help roleplaying game masters get more out of our RPGs by preparing less. Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master uses the experiences of thousands of GMs to help…