Thursday, February 10, 2022

Your own custom RPG rulebook, mini binders

A couple of years back I found a mini binder at my local Staples. There was also various inserts including pouches and dividers you could buy as well. I realize this was the solution to a organizational problem I was having with running my campaigns. 

Often core rulebooks and supplements are too verbose to use as references during play. You have to read through a bunch of explanatory text before getting to the heart of the mechanics or details like the modifiers you need. 

So since the early 80s I been making cheat sheets for the RPG I used. Especially for GURPS. 


Binders were letter sized, often too big to be handy. So I shifted to loose sheets. But loose sheets get scattered.

So when I saw this


 I knew I could get the benefits of my old binders but in a convenient form almost as good as loose sheets and without the issue of things getting scattered. So I bought the above as well as some inserts. Then I started to make what I needed for my campaigns. The two that had the most work were for my Majestic Wilderlands using my Majestic Fantasy Rules (based on Swords and Wizardry) and for DnD 5th edition. Also included setting material from the Majestic Wilderlands and Blackmarsh.


Is is one of the binderx open showing the different pages, dividers, and pages.


The binder cover has interior pockets. I printed stuff on digest sized pages and used dividers to organize them. This was followed by a couple of pocket inserts. Then after I added some punched digest sized graph paper and digest sized punched paper with ruled lines. Then finally a pouch with pens, pencils, and index cards.

Here is what I put into each.

The Majestic Wilderlands


  • Pouch with Pens, Pencil and Index Cards

Rob's Notes: I am planning to replace my Majestic Fantasy Basic Rules in the binder with a even more terse reference. Followed by a character class reference so I can quickly answer player questions.

Blackmarsh/DnD 5e

This binder is also used when I run my Majestic Wilderlands using the 5th edition rules.

  • My favorite letter sized 5e reference charts, shrunk a tad, laminated and turned into fold outs.
  • A blank 5e character sheet
  • A terse combat summary


  • A letter sized foldout map of Blackmarsh
  • Pocket inserts with 5e monster stats printed on index cards.
  • Graph Paper
  • A pouch insert with pens, pencils, and blank index cards.
  • I also have 5e reference booklets that I used before this in the inside pockets of the binder.
Handy Amazon Links

7 comments:

Jon S said...

It's always good to see how other people organise their stuff. As you point out, it's the variety of firms, sizes and formats which make it so hard to find one-solution-to-rule-them-all-and-at-your-table-bind-them.

Narmer said...

It is interesting. I like the mini-binders but have never used them effectively.

Ryan | aqualith.media said...

Thank you for sharing this. I've oft dropped into my nearest office supply store to see if they're finally carrying that perfect digest sized binder or notebook that suits my needs but have yet to truly find it. I'll go searching for this specific one and get a hands on impression.

ACP said...

Great post, I love mini-binders. I got a faux leather one that looks like an old bound book, holds some print-outs of Microlite 20 rules, plus pencil, paper, and a swell tube of mini-dice. Whole thing ran *maybe* $30 on Amazon, literally everything I need to run my current Microlite 20 game. (Well, perhaps add my phone to that list... but it would fit inside too!)

Also love that you pointed out the difference between *instructional* material, i.e. long-form stuff you read to learn the game, and *reference* material, or summaries to be used during play for quick, er, reference. I'm working on a project right now that would include both of these in a consistent way.

Anyway, good stuff!

evileeyore said...

As you said "Especially for GURPS", yup. I've been doing this for every campaign I've run since the early 90s.

If I'd been less frugal, I'd have a collection of binders like you do, but as I'm a cheapskate and I only run GURPS, I just reuse the same binder, remove, replace, and update sheets inside as I need.

B.W. Byars said...

I really love and appreciate your organizational tips. Whenever I need to get organized, I check your site first. Thanks for the tips.

jeab said...

Today I bought a binder, and I'm about to start assembling mine! The hoops are a little too stiff, but they should loosen over time.