Fronts Database in Notion

Welcome back to building our D&D campaign management system in Notion. Today, we are looking at the first of our procedural databases: Fronts. Procedural databases help you run your games as the table. They act as your supporting systems. They put your content databases into motion.
Fronts are the major forces’ plans in motion within your game world. Named after weather fronts. These are the major scenarios that your player’s can interact with. Often, these will happen simultaneously. Of course, as game master, you control the pacing of events that make up the front. The simultaneity has a couple of effects on your game:
  1. It simulates a live an active world. Things are happening around the PCs whether they choose to interact with them or not. The longer the PCs wait, the further along the villain’s plans will be.
  2. It forces the PC’s to make choices. They can chose to stop one villain’s plans, but what happens when they are absent on the other fronts? This can induce that sense of overwhelming odds against the PCs. So, be careful to use it appropriately.

Fronts are a concept taken from Dungeon World. You can read more about them under the free SRD. I credit for my learning about them to Sly Flourish and his articles here and here.

Descriptive Properties

Here are the descriptive properties I include in my Fronts database.

ColumnProperty TypeDescription
GoalTitleName of your front.
Front StageSelectLets you classify the stage of the front. I use: Beginning, Middle, End, Complete – Success, Complete – Failure.

Relational Properties

Fronts tie to different databases in my Notion system. They include:
  • Events. What are the events that comprise the front?
  • Major NPC. Links to characters database. Who is the major villain(s) involved in the front?
  • Major Immortal. Links to immortal database. Is an immortal behind the front instead of a mortal? Link them to the front.
  • Lieutenants. Links to the characters database. Who are the villain’s lieutenants?
  • Factions. What factions are driving the front?
  • Locations. What locations are central to the front?
  • Items. What items are central to the front?
  • Campaign. What campaign is the front taking place in?
  • Secrets. What secrets provide information about the front? Link them here.

When everything is put together, this is an example of what my Fronts database looks like:

Fronts Notion Database

Notion Templates for Fronts

I only use a single front template. The template is a dashboard that shows me the status of the front. I can see which events have happened, which are underway, and which are to come (if at all possible).
I can also see the major characters or factions associated with the front. The purpose of the template is to give me a quick visual on what is happening. I rarely dig into the fronts at the table. But they provide key information for adventure preparation. They are referable at the table should I need to look something up.
Keep this simple and easy to reference and you’ll have a winner here.

Further Reading on Notion:

Feature Art Credit: Ede László