When using Notion as our system of choice, we are tapping into their powerful databases. The databases are key because it improves our efficiency and organization. When it comes to your Dungeons and Dragons campaign, there is few exceptions you won’t capture in a database. Each entry within your databases expands into its own page. Its on those pages where you can capture your information. You can have a table full of NPCs, locations, items, and so on.
Different Notion Tables for Different Categories
You won’t want to capture everything within a single database. The properties of one element won’t line up well with another. An NPC might need an alignment or personality traits, but a location will not. If we tried to create a “kitchen sink” database, we’ll end up frustrating ourselves.
With Notion, we don’t need to. We can set up our tables as we see fit for each element. Then, we can create relations between the databases. This is how we integrate our different components of our campaign. Its how we connect them together.
The Relation Column
Last time, we talked briefly about column types. The relation column is an “advanced” column type, but its concept is easy to grasp. I have an item in Table A that I want to associate with Table B. I create a relation column. Then I select the two tables I want to connect together.
Once I have established the table link. I can click on each entry (in either table) and start making connections. The other table will automatically update with any created relations. If King Henry (an NPC) possesses the King’s Scepter (an Item) then I can make that relationship. That way, when I look at King Henry I see that he owns the King’s Scepter or vice versa.
Create a Relation
1. Create your Notion Table(s)
Go ahead and create the tables you want to link together. For this example, I will use an NPC table and a Faction table. So I create both Databases.
I need some data (pages) to make the example work. So I am creating a ten different NPCs and a two Factions for this example.
2. Add a Relation Column in your Notion Databases
Now that we have created our databases and have some data within them. Its time to create a new column. Name the column appropriately and select Relation for the property type.
Once you select relation, you will see a popup asking you to select a database to link to. Here we are selecting the Faction table because I am creating the column in my NPC table. You can create the column in either table, you just need to link to the opposite table. The column will appear in both tables when complete.
3. Create your Links
Now that we have created the link, its time to click on each cell and select the appropriate groups. Note that it is possible to have multiple associates. In this case, Frederick is both a member of the King’s Court and a Black Hand Assassin. So I assign him to both groups.
4. Create Rollups for more Information
Rollup columns let you aggregate even more information from your established links. By creating a new column and selecting the Rollup type it will give me another pop up menu. I tell it which relationship to use and which property it should be rolling up. Finally, I tell it what it should be calculating.
In this case, I am counting the number of members in each faction. So I select “Name” as the property and then “Count not empty” as the Calculation. I see that I have 8 members in Corrindale’s Royal Court and 3 members in the Black Hand Assassins. Remember Frederick counts for both groups, which is why it totals to 11 instead of 10.
Getting the Most out of Relations
After we have our relations established they are useful in few ways.
- We can see the connection points in each element of our campaign’s page properties.
- Improves navigability within our management system. With linked relations, we can move quickly and logically through our campaign management system.
- We can filter our tables to get different views of each table based on its relations. If I want to see all the Black Hand Assassins, all I need to do is filter my NPCs by Faction equal to Black Hand Assassins. This becomes handy when we nest tables within pages.
- Once you have a relation created, you can create Rollup columns. This lets you aggregate information based on the relation. For example, I could count how many NPCs are in a specific location.
I will show how I use these in the forthcoming articles. Be sure to check those out to maximize your Notion D&D campaign management system.
Art Credit: Ede László