RPG Tools Interview: Adam Waselnuk at LegendKeeper

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I had the pleasure of asking Adam Waselnuk some questions about LegendKeeper, a new RPG tool in beta that looks very promising. While I like to create my own RPG tools, I also enjoy using work from others and learning more about what they’ve put together. Keep reading to learn more about the LegendKeeper project and why it has so many gamers excited for the future of gaming!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I quit my tech job in September 2020 with dreams of becoming an independant creator on the internet. Since then I’ve created a bunch of TTRPG websites under the name Sword & Source. Last year, I joined the team working on LegendKeeper and I absolutely love it. I live in Ontario in the forest with my wife and 3 daughters who we homeschool.

What is LegendKeeper exactly?

LegendKeeper is a worldbuilding web app built from the ground up to support realtime collaboration and encourage creative writing flow. It’s a fantastic way for Game Masters to organize their campaign notes, and build out worlds in a visual way using maps and whiteboards. People often come into our Discord community to tell us how much more they write once they start using LegendKeeper.

What made you decide to create LegendKeeper?

My co-founder Braden is the original creator of LegendKeeper. He created to solve his own problems as a Game Master – his notes were getting completely out of hand so he went searching for software to help him. He couldn’t find anything he liked at the time, nothing handled maps or search well enough for him – so he decided to create LegendKeeper.

When did you launch, and how has it gone so far?

The first real launch was sort of accidental. 3 years ago, Braden posted a prototype on the worldbuilding subreddit and it exploded to the front page. People were so excited about his approach to things and encouraged him to start a Patreon and continue development.

Since that day, Braden has released hundreds of builds, gotten his friend Justin onboard as lead designer, and more recently got me on board to help with writing and promotional stuff. Recently we launched our Open Beta so that everyone can try the software for free.

All that being said, I’d say things are going better than we could have imagined!

Any changes or updates you plan in the near or distant future?

We have a packed roadmap with big ambitions. In the first part of this year we plan to add public sharing features, an improved editing experience with more multimedia blocks and layout options, and the ability to publish and share “content modules” – interactive adventures, worlds, or whatever you want. Later this year, we will start thinking about a mobile app, improving our Atlas, and our most highly requested feature: The Timeline.

How many people are working on the project?

Right now Braden and I work on this full time, and Justin works on it whenever he can find time around his other job. Things will really be perfect once we are able to get Justin working full time with us!

Any other RPG tools you use frequently?

Personally, I regularly use D&D Beyond whenever I’m playing 5e games. Discord is great for organizing games and Play By Post. I also use my own generators from Here Be Taverns and Watabou’s generators quite often.

How long have you been into tabletop RPGs?

I was actually a late bloomer. I’ve been obsessed with RPG videogames and fantasy books since I was really young, but it took me a while to realize they all stemmed from D&D. In 2011 I was getting married, and I asked my brother to organize my first D&D game for my bachelor party. He did, and I’ve been playing TTRPGs ever since. Nowadays I’m really enjoying the OSR scene and the wide variety of indie RPGs.

Can you tell us a little bit about the back-end tech that makes the site shine?

LegendKeeper has a unique technical architecture. The heart of the app is actually served on the front end as a React app. The React layer is backed by our own collaborative document system built with Yjs – a library for Conflict-Free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs). When you edit or add things to the app, the work is put into an indexdb queue and then synced to our server using web workers.

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This allows the app to be lightning fast AND work offline. We think of this as our “backend on the frontend”. For the “server” backend we use NodeJS running a Prisma client that writes the documents to postgres. Honestly we want to rip Prisma out because it’s an old version and too much complexity for our simple needs.

What is your favorite tabletop RPG system?

Fav RPG system at the moment is Knave. I’m super excited about all the work the designer Ben Milton is putting out. I’m getting copies of Knave 2nd edition through his Patreon and it looks incredible so far!

Of the many polyhedral dice, which is your favorite and why?

It used to be the d20 because of the novelty, size, and sheer FEEL. But lately it’s the d6. d6 is so accessible, so useful for Knave, and so aesthetically perfect.

Of the many polyhedral dice, which is your favorite and why? It used to be the d20 because of the novelty, size, and sheer FEEL. But lately it’s the d6. d6 is so accessible, so useful for Knave, and so aesthetically perfect.

Anything else you would like to add?

I’ll just say that, as far as we’re concerned, LegendKeeper is still at the very start of its quest. We have ambitions that will take years to come to fruition. We hope you’ll give it a try, and come along for the journey. We want to know what would make it the perfect tool for your own creations.

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