[RPG] Are there any generic alternatives to Masterplan?


I have been trying out Masterplan, and was quite impressed by its features – especially its flow chart, sub-plots, and being able to add elements to a plot point. However, the catch is Masterplan is for 4E, and I am using 13th Age — and others besides.

Are there any software that has features like Masterplan, but could a) support multiple games or b) is generic, not assuming that it'll be used for any systems?

Software that is all-purpose and has features like Masterplan would be good too. A good export format is also important – either PDF or HTML files. The software can be web-based or a standalone application (PC preferred). Doesn't have to be free.

Update to question: What are the important features I am looking for?
If I would have to rank

  1. Flowchart of Plot Points
  2. About to nest plot points within plot points
  3. Adding elements inside a plot point (sibling nodes)
  4. A export format usable on a tablet

The rest will be icing on the cake.

Best Answer


A general purpose application that I use for my games is Zim. Zim defines itself as a desktop wiki editor. It is a general purpose tree text editor, perfectly fitted to brainstorming your ideas or organizing plots, setting, ideas or anything. From the web page:

Zim aims to bring the concept of a wiki to your desktop. Every page is saved as a text file with wiki markup. Pages can contain links to other pages, and are saved automatically. Creating a new page is as easy as linking to a non-existing page. This tool is intended to keep track of TODO lists or to serve as a personal scratch book. But it will also serve you when writing longer and more complicated documents.

A "desktop wiki" means that we try to capture the idea of a wiki, not as a webpage but as a collection of files on your local file system that can be edited with a GUI application. The main focus is a kind of personal wiki that serves for all kind of notes: todo-lists, addresses, brainstorm ideas etc.

But we want to go further then just a wiki filled with random content. It should also be possible to use you random notes as the basis for more structured data: articles, presentations etc. Zim will not include tools to layout a presentation or something like that, you should use your office suite of choice for that, but it should be a tool that can deliver all the content for a presentation in a form that only needs a template and some layout before usage. Therefore certain features normally not found in wikis will be added.

The tree organization allows me to easily organize plots, subplots, scenes inside the subplots, or notes to the scenes. I can link a scene with the characters that appear on it.

Zim has lot of plugins that extend its functionality, but, as any general purpose applications, Zim lacks many of Masterplan's features. The big advantage for me is the speed at which you work with it.

Like all the tools I use, Zim is free as in freedom and as in beer.


Another free general purpose tool that could be used for that purpose could be Freemind. I don't use it, but I have seen a friend organizing his work notes on it, and can be used to quick brainstorming and to draw flow charts.


OpenRPG was primarily aimed to online playing, but I recall using it to organize adventure data. Many, many years have passed from that, so I don't remember it very well, and I don't know its current status, but I include it in the answer for if you want to look for it.