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Review: Obsidian Portal

Reviewed by: Lord Skudley

Obsidian Portal is an online wiki used to track your RPG campaigns. The initial layout is made up of several tabs for each of the following categories:

Adventure Log: Where you can log your adventure stories and progress. Probably the simplest and most useful aspect of the whole wiki. You can enter the information just like a blog for all to see, and if you have an Ascendant Members account you may set it for friends only or make it completely private. In playtesting I found the share-ability of this wiki to be a handy, almost indispensable, asset. Any member of your campaign can log onto your site and review what happened. This also allows those who have missed a game or two to catch up without having to take time out of game play to recap the last sessions. My only problem here is that I'm a lazy bloger (something that Obsidian Portal has no responsibility for).

Wiki: The explanation of what you can do with this system, complete with links to more detailed instructions. It offers an Edit function like all the other tabs, but I'm not sure why.

NPC Tracker: The second most useful of the features. This offers you the ability to enter the information and stats of each NPC. The entry fields are: Name; URL-friendly name; PC in Campaign; Quick Description; Game System; Race; Character Level; GM Only NPC; Public (a public character can be viewed by others); Make Visible (a visible character shows up while searching and browsing; turn this off for characters that are not ready to be viewed, or never will be, such as NPCs with only a name and nothing else); Description (crunch) - put stats, AC, HP, weapons, reflex saves, and other crunch in here; Biography (fluff); and GM Private Info.

My only complaint was trying to figure out the formatting of the information, as I already have a personal tracking system. I tried to cut and paste the information, but that didn't work and I had to reformat all my information to fit their layout.

Oh and the coolest feature: You can upload portraits of each NPC!

Forum: To discuss ideas or just chat with others.

Maps: You can upload any maps you may have. The free option only allows you to add one map, with three levels of zoom capability; the Premium package gives you the ability to upload ten maps, with the zoom increased to five levels.

Comments: For others to comment on your Campaign.

The free option allows you to enter two Campaigns at a public level only, upload of one campaign map, and you have to deal with the advertising. Free is ideal for those who are players only. Players can also enter their PC's stats and link them to each campaign.

The Ascendant Members option allows unlimited campaigns at Public, Friends Only, or Private visibility, upload of ten campaign maps, access to the forum and advertisement free viewing. If you are a GM this option is well worth the monthly fees (which run as low as $3.33 a month).

Overall, Obsidian Portal is a very handy and user friendly tool. The staff is helpful and communicative, the system is simple, and the layout is easy to navigate.

I'd give Obsidian Portal a rating of five out of five stars!

Features Members Ascendant Members
Number of Campaigns2Unlimited
Campaign and Character Visibility
Public OnlyPublic, Friends Only,
or Private
Number of Campaign Maps010
Campaign Maps Zoom Levels35
Campaign ForumYes
Advertisement FreeYes
PriceFREEAs little as $3.33/month

I'm Lord Skudley and that's the way I see it!

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