[Realm Works] Conan realm showcase

This is small showcase for my Conan realm in Realm Works. For those who are unfamiliar with the software, it is campaign organizer that aims to replace all other tools you use during preparation and session. More can be found on its product page https://www.wolflair.com/realmworks/

Long story short, with RW I was reborn as GM and quickly replaced all analog and digital tools used with one - Realm Works. I enter all setting, system and adventures related to the game I play into the program and use it as single source of information in my games. I do this only for systems I know I will play a lot, as time needed for data entry is significant if you have too much rulebooks and supplements.

All articles/topics in the left column server as target for hyperlinks and the tool is doing this automatically (the main reason I got this to be honest)

Mechanics
This is the most used portion of a realm - I have all rules and game mechanics related here so I can quickly reference something during game and find it in an instant. I no longer keep charts, indexes or anything that shows me in which .pdf or book I should look for it. All is here, few clicks away. The articles on the left are arranged in a way to facilitate the automatic hyperlink generation accross the realm. For example if I don’t remember what a property does, I simply click it and open in new tab. Same with skill or talent. There is quick search and filtering based on tags

Setting / World Information
Used as reference during play and preparation.

Adventures
There is storyboard feature that guides you during the game, in case you are visual-type of person as I am and need only visual reminders

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I appreciate you taking the time to share your work. This does indeed looks like a great tool!

Do you know the file formats? Are they yaml or xml? Is the story board rendered in R?

Shame it only runs on a full-blown Windows OS.

The database engine behind is Firebird I think and everything is stored into file with .realm extension. I haven’t tried to hack it and see if I can have direct access to the database, as there are no APIs or other ways to interact with it, except the GUI.

There is export/import functionality and the exports are XML based files that can be messed with. Community member has developed insanely good CSV import tool that takes CSV converts it to their import format.

Unfortunately, the structure of the export/import is not documented, and all is done by reverse engineering the files and too much trial and errors in my opinion.

Any way you could share the structure? Maybe export and zip it to email?

I’m about to start a Conan game and this would be very, very useful…:slight_smile:

Yes, I can share the structure, as it does not contain any copyrighted content. :slight_smile:
In fact, after I made three heavy realms with custom structure for all Dark Heresy 1, 2, Rogue trader and Only War, the lesson learned is to re-use the default categories as much as possible. The Realm Works team did amazing job to address almost all needs with the structure in the “Other” realm type.
Conan 2d20, being not like computer game in terms of rules and structure of the text makes adoption of the standard categories a breeze! :slight_smile:

For Conan, I added two category definitions: Enemies and Ships, to match the structure outlined in the book for the “Monster Manual” portion of my realm. Also, as I am using tags heavily for sorting and keeping things organized (I have almost all books uploaded), I created two tag domains: Game System and Game Source.

To use it, you simply need Realm with game system “Other”. System Neutral will work as well. Haven’t tested with the other, I don’t play D&D or Pathfinder.

The structure file can be located here: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjAQJv_NpezYgsZr5T7EM6i_9HEERA

Thank you!

Looking forward to playing around with it. This should be a huge help.

@Valyar here’s another RW enthousiast as well as FG.
I am wondering if you could share a bit about your method to get data from RW easily into FG?

And another question: do you have experience with running a game night solely via RealmWorks?
If so what was your experience?

I’ve toyed with the idea of using RealmWorks and this may tip the scale. I currently use Asana which is more of a project management tool, but it allows me to quickly jot down ideas and arrange them, using pretty much any computer or phone. RW obviously has so much more, but how easy is it to get information into the realm when you are not at your computer (ie. phone or web interface).

I can answer that; not quite.
There is no web interface or mobile RW app (yet?), so any notes you take on the go, or ideas that pop into your mind while away will need to be jotted down in another app and once you’re back at your PC with RW you’ll need to manually add the entries.
Which is a commonly read complaint about RW and its position in one’s workflow.

But seeing @Valyar being quite proficient (and efficient!) with RW I am quite curious about his take on this.

This post might be long and the TL:DR version is below. @Yskonyn

  1. There is no common format between RW and FG, I am copying only the necessary content
  2. Yes, I use RW exclusively as GM Campaign organizer during prep time and during session. More on that in the wall of text :slight_smile:

Using RW as Campaign Organizer
I am GM-ins for many years and the problem for me was always the same - after the core book is released and available, the supplements and content books simply start to add up. I can’t carry all the books and I hate to use PDF documents during game. Searching for something is slow and when the data is all over the place - I hate this. I always wanted everything to be in one spot, organized in a neat way. I tested all from Scrivener, OneNote to The Keep and some online things, but neither had what I needed - no subscription based, no limits in what and how I put as content and the most precious - automatic link generation.

RW had it all and I immediately dropped all efforts to even write my own stuff. RW is now the main tool I use as Game Master. All systems that I plan to invest time and run games now get uploaded in RW. Depending on the game, it is either full upload of the book or partial, but everything is there. I organize the content in different ways, trying to follow the original books because it is much easy to navigate and search for something. Everything is nicely linked, structured and super easy to find during game. I no longer need to have notes or sticky notes. Finding what I need, especially in item/spells heavy system is now a breeze and I comfortably can allow all supplements in a game for the players to enjoy. Also speeds up the resolution time if some question occurs on rulings. Hyperlinks rule. :slight_smile:

During session (online or offline) RW is my game master screen and single thing I use. Because I have read the book once and then entered it into RW, I don’t need to really read all the stuffs during play, but simple look at the article and use the blue hyperlinks as visual cues to immediately know what has to happen here or what this rule or item is about. It is not replacement for a prep before a session - I browse what the plan is for today (if i use published content).

All notes I take during session I put into Notes articles and the plan for homebrew stuff I lay down in Storyboard articles. There I use different storyboards for the overall plot and for each story that unfolds. I also use the storyboard to make visual link between NPCs and PCs (unfortunately the feature is not that flexible, no way to have double arrows) and events and ever refer to articles/topcs in the world almanac where needed, though I don’t use it for the homebrew stuffs.

Moving Content to FG
Both tools are using XML standard for their database, but that is where the similarities end. The schema and the format of the data is so different that without converter is impossible to do it. I know the format FG is using, but reverse engineering of RW exports is something I don’t have much time to (becuase my motivation drops immediately and I don’t wanna sacrifice this time for something of dubious benefit, more on that below). Nowadays I put everything into RW and I copy-paste only what I need to FG. It is much faster than it sounds, because the actual heavy-lifting is done in Realm Works.

The adventures are prepared in convenient for copy-paste way - I try to adhere to the structure of the adventure and organize the content in the same way. Splitting chapter into scenes, events and other type of content. I avoid too much snippets, sections and sub-sections in RW articles, because this slows down copy-paste. I rather have 1 snippet that contain all and then I select all and copy to FG. This way the structure is kept and I have to just format the layout, something that takes few seconds at best (FG has shortucts, Ctrl+1-4 for styles).

I transfer only NPCs that I know will be used and don’t waste time to have monster manuals, encounters and such as module. The ruleset I use is community made (MoreCore) and I am using my custom module. I know that at some point something in the new version might break the things and investing time in something that might not be needed is not my way to go. FG is session manager and VTT for me, not organizer of any kind :slight_smile: Below are screenshots of the reference manual for Conan that I programmed for my players (I want them to have the best experience, I have FULL ref.man for Dark Heresy 2e… took me day of work but I love it). All links are draggable to character sheets.




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Great post and thanks for showing us more.

Do you generally copy and paste from the PDF versions of the books into RW (I love how Modiphius gives us the free PDF with every hardcopy book we buy) or do you manually type everything in RW?

I am still not sure how you easily export RW data to FG. Do you just copy and paste text from RW into FG and then format the text in FG to create headers etc?
Isn’t that double work in the end and rather time consuming?

Data upload depends what kind of data I am uploading, but I never manually type things unless it is table. It either must be programmatically entered or copy pasted via bulk (more on that later).

When I have the data in .csv file or something that I can easily convert into CSV, I am using the CSV Importer tool to generate quickly the content. For example this is how I prepared all items for Dark Heresy realms via bulk upload (because clicking 2-3 times for each of the hundred items is insane :slight_smile: ).

For everything rest, I copy from the PDF. I have subscription for Adobe Acrobat DC (the pro version) and I am using Edit features to copy whole pages and retain formatting and structure. After I copy it I simply adjust the style in RW by “Clear Formatting” and apply style where necessary. If I have time I also refactor at later date and add sub-chatpers and etc. The only problem sometimes are the tables. They don’t transfer well and in some occasions I make them by hand. For each realm I make template that I use and just enter content.

As I said, there is no data export to FG. I copy the data, because this is faster (already formatted in RW, I simply modify the styles in FG using Header/Bullet etc.). Also it is important to state that I only copy what I need - RW is always opened and I refer to it if I need something to check. So yes, it is double work sometimes, but because it is only what I need - I am OK with that. Not really time consuming as you think.

Excuse my noobiness, but are you saying that you can upload data into RW (like for example a list of items) in bulk so that RW automatically creates a listing of these?
Is this process explained in the manual at all?

The only way I have entered data so far is by copy and pasting chapter texts from the PDF into data fields of RW manually for any given entry.
Then copy the map graphics from the book PDF as a picture file, to then upload it in RW where neccessary.
Quite a bit of work if you want to add whole books into RW.

Yes, there is a way to import data into RW if you have source file in .csv (D&D, PF, Warhammer 40K has A LOT of community made excel spreadsheets… converting to CSV is few clicks away.).

You need community created tool, the only person who managed to reverse engineer the data format to working extent: https://forums.wolflair.com/showthread.php?t=58156

Once you have the csv, the program creates Realm Works Import file that you later inject into the realm
via the import functionality.

So a CSV is made from a PDF, but in order to do so you need the paid version of Acrobat?

Are there good free solutions to create CSV’s?

CSV is data format, it can be generated by various means. PDF is not format that you use to export in CSV, because PDF is ■■■■ for this purpose… In general I use Excel to generate CSV file and later import to RW. The problem is always the same - someone to generate the data either by dong it by hand or some other way. Google around and you might find what you need.

For example all talents and items for Warhammer 40k are available online. For Conan I didn’t need this, I simply copied the tables from the PDF retaining the format and adjusting it necessary. Conan books have a lot of text, so mostly copy-paste is the technique.

Those are various tables in my Conan realm:


@Valyar
This is the problem with virtually every TTRPG, and GMs and tech-savvy folks keep trying to solve it. What really needs to happen is for the Publishers to get over their copyright fears and embrace one or more of the campaign manager applications. The community would likely propagate all the data; the Pubs just need to figure out how to continue to profit from their IP while allowing it to be incorporated into some sort of wiki/manager.

I run a D&D 5e Meetup with over 300 members, that’s hosted about 250 games in the past two years. Our Meetup has introduced scores of players to their first tabletop RPG, and created over a dozen new DMs. I’ve got a roll-a-board case full of books that I have to bring to each of our Public Games. The players bring just their phone, because D&D Beyond. But as a DM I find D&D Beyond pretty useless.

Meanwhile, I’ve jumped into Conan 2d20 for my weekend games, and am making it my game of choice. As I try to lay out the campaign I’m looking at campaign manager software, but it’s a fragmented market and I don’t want to put all the work into porting content into one campaign manager when 1) I don’t even know if a particular app will be alive in a year or two, 2) all that work just for my own use isn’t worth it, and 3) I can’t really share the ported content due to copyright.

I paid for and own virtually all the Conan 2d20 material. I didn’t actually have to pay for that content as its all available in PDF online for the taking, but I did because the printed books have value beyond the text contained in them—the art, the ease of reading, etc. (and because I want to support the hobby). But as a gamemaster, I need all that book-bound, and PDF-bound data to be in an organized and editable format that I can control.

Modiphius (and other Publishers) could vastly expand the player base of their games, and thus the sales of their books and game-aids, by embracing one of the campaign manager web-apps and allowing the community to exchange copyright material within that electronic campaign manager. For example, Modiphius could white label Conan 2d20 in World Anvil and monetize it through a partnership with World Anvil, plus have folks support the effort through Patreon.

I think you’ve done an amazing thing by putting all this content into Realm Works, but god I wish Modiphius would make it possible for all the Conan gamemasters to contribute to a single, shared database of game.

As a counter point, I have RW (I was a kickstarter) and very seldom use it.

I run very very few sword swingers, mostly games that happen in worlds/setting that have more modern technology.

RW is hard wired to use symbology and data sets specifically keyed to ancient/medieval/fantasy. You cannot change symbology or data field to represent more modern items. Their primary concern was content portability so your customization has to be outside of the mandatory core. It took me three days to turn off (hide) unneeded/unwanted data fields and then they just turned on with the next update.

Don’t get me wrong, it is fantastic for sword swinging high fantasy and they are pumping out Pathfinder Support. But deviate from that narrow focus and it is very hard to set up things that are not sword swinging high fantasy. I use visual keys to find things quickly and RW is hardwired to prevent customizing those visual keys.

It should work great for Conan, but just be aware of the hurtles should you move to another genre.

@ClayEponym I absolutely agree and share your position on the matter. Publishers are too conservative and don’t seems to understand the benefit of embracing those content managers. I love how Modiphius and Free League provide free PDF or discount the hardcover price as part of the physical purchase… it is actually what made me start purchasing their products. I hate WotC model where you have to buy everything again and again so they can squeeze the last penny out of your pocket. Such extreme business model only pushes me back and I actually stopped following D&D after 3.5. I moved to Symabroum, Conan and other games mostly by Free League. With the convenience of having awesome books and PDFs I realized I spend probably 500 euro in the last year on TTRPG, something that haven’t happened since the days of 3.5 and FFG product lines of 40k Roleplay. :open_mouth:

There is still much to be desired when it comes to digital tools. :slight_smile:

@Spence do you refer about the icons used in the articles? If this is the case… yes they are fantasy oriented, but even for my Sci-Fi realms (Coriolis, Dark Heresy) they serve the purpose. Probably in future they will allow custom icons. Aside from that, the categories allow you to do whatever you want :slight_smile:

  1. I don’t even know if a particular app will be alive in a year or two, 2) all that work just for my own use isn’t worth it, and 3) I can’t really share the ported content due to copyright.

while I can understand a publisher’s reluctance to make their actual content free and rely on more or less donations, finding a middle ground would be nice.
Otherwise all attempts to collate data remains doomed to be for personal use only.

Since, providing data in a machine readable form probably comes too close to providing it for free from their perspective - unless requiring some complicated DRM API - I would like to see something in between.

My suggestion would be that they provide a generated collated pdf of all books you own, updated when you acquire a new one.
It would still be just a book and not a database but if combined by topic and not by book, e.g, archetypes, talents, gazetteer stuff, it would alleviate a lot of pdf switching, indexing by book etc.

At the same time it would be the same information they provide for you right now in single pdfs, so no more free than right now.