Monday, May 18, 2020

The Best Graph Paper Notebook For D&D

What is the best dungeon master's notebook? It came out a few years ago and it's this thing by a mile:
The Princeton Architectural Press Grids & Guides Notebook For Visual Thinkers...

You guys may have seen the converted cookbook I use for the Cube World atlas...


This is a much more day-to-day workhorse product.
So it's sturdy, well-stitched, it's A4 (or A5? whatever: the objectively best RPG book size as decided by LotFP at some point), it was even reviewed in New York Magazine :

In the past I’ve stocked up on whatever cheap-ish notebook hits these requirements:
1. Sturdy cover (won’t get dented in purse)
2. Opens flat
3. Good paper: ink won’t smear / bleed
4. Of a comfortable writing size
5. Decently attractive

These days, I no longer settle. There’s a better option out there. I’ve tasted the fine wine and I can’t go back. Luckily, the wine is priced at a reasonable $16. It is the Princeton Architectural Press Grids & Guides Notebook, and it is not like Other Notebooks.

What really sets it apart is the variety of different grids it provides, which Cube World readers might've seen...
Each spread has two different grids or guides left and right, eight in total, ideal for drawing a map on one side and putting notes on the other....
 The triangle one is perfect for making hexmaps...
The circle one is probable the most eccentric but it has its uses...

The ledger paper on the left has 38 numbered lines, which is perfect if you want to make a standard encounter roll table where there's a 2-in-6 (33.3%) chance of a random encounter. Just do 33 entries and then you've got  a few extra lines for things like "Torch goes out", "Thirsty, drink", "Hungry, eat some rations" etc. and the last line is "38.-100 No encounter".
The one on the right is a logarithmic scale grid, which is nice for diagrams or drawings where you need a sense of perspective...

...or depth, I used it in this Tracery map under the Lodestone Golem to show the steps down from the upper level to the lower ones:
 The left-hand "plaid" grid here is an architectural grid...
Which you can use if you like to include the thickness of the walls as part of your map, so like between Green 4 and Green 5 here you have a lil' gap and a guide to the width of a standard doorway:
The 6-panel grid on the other side is based on a grid for drawing storyboards, I used it to, for example, draw the map on the graph paper side and put in little sketches of the distinctive features on the panel side:
 You probably know what to do with this stuff here--dot grid left, standard graph paper right:








Interleaved between these they also throw in a few random reference pages, this one is languages: sign language, semaphore, etc:
I turned the reference page on geometric shapes into the 4-dimensional room map that you might've seen in the Red & Pleasant Miscellany.
There are a few different versions of this notebook and (I can't decide if this is good or bad) they each have a slightly different set of 8 grids:
That beige one is the "Grids & Guides Notebook for Ecological Thinkers" which, despite the beigeness and cringey title (you can totally see Elon Musk being at some TED talk and going "I've always been an ecological thinker") has a really useful grid for dungeons: large squares about the minimum size you can write in with a .005 pen and about exactly the minimum size for a plausible dungeon room, with a coordinate grid (A, B, C, 1, 2, 3...) already printed in...
Which is ideal for drawing an area map freehand (you can just use the coordinates to identify points of interest) or for making idea matrix charts where two pairs of ideas are knocked together to look at all the combinatoric options like these....
I used this grid for the Tiger King Dungeon...
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Anyway yeah that's the best notebook! Ummm...there's a new module up in the store all about flayers and negazohedrons and brain-eaters...




So if you want it, get it.
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11 comments:

totsuzenheni said...

The Princeton Architectural Press Grids & Guides Notebook For Visual Thinkers link didn't work (for me at least). I think it's because the URL doesn't contain the search terms themselves because of the way the Princeton Architectural Press' website's search facility works. If people want to find the Grids & Guides notebooks (there are a few variations) search for 'Grids & Guides' (using the '&' symbol and not the word 'and').

Yann (GCM) said...

Une carte des fromages de France (ou une carte de France des fromages, c'est pareil), je le savais! C'était donc ça...

Zak Sabbath said...

Oui

Terje said...

The LOTFP books are A5.... ;p

Zak Sabbath said...

@terje

maybe?

i dont know which is which anyway

its the same size is the point

Peggy said...

Love it ! But why have you put blue masking tape(?) on your Micron ?

Zak Sabbath said...

@Peggy

To distinguish the new ones--which are full of ink--from the ones that have been sitting around the apartment for months.

Fonkin said...

How dare you expose my secret fetish purchase, you masher! Now everyone will know, and I shall languish in an under-supplied malaise all of my days...

Karma Choying said...

As soon as I saw these grids and guides I picked three up and they arrived today. Thank you for the recommendation Zak. Any recommendations for felt tip markers? I always seem to end up with dried out useless ones. Thanks

Zak Sabbath said...

@Karma Choying

Pentel Sign Pens.

Karma Choying said...

Thanks again Zak!