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Organizing Obsidian for D&D | SRD & External Resources

As your journey with Obsidian continues, your vault grows. You create new information and add information from other sources. But what is healthy growth and what is bound to set you up for disappointment?

We’ve come a long way in learning how to organize Obsidian for D&D: the big picture and principles are clear, you can avoid problems with plugins, and tags/properties are in your toolkit. But as your vault grows, we want to inspect and adapt it along the way.

We’re setting our vault up for D&D and other TTRPGs. So you’re bound to come across amazing plugins that support everything from tracking initiatives to rendering stat blocks and more. Wouldn’t it be great to import the entire 5E System Reference Document (SRD) to your vault so that you have every monster, every magic item, every rule, and more? What about other resources? You can find imports for everything from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything to Kobold Press’s Tome of Beasts. Import it all? Not so fast.

Tip 1: The Golden Rule

The golden rule that I’ll mention only once: don’t be a dick and put pirated material in your vault.

Tip 2: Organize External Content

External content is just that: external. Someone else created it and likely maintains it. It could change. As such, we should identify and organize external content in our vaults. This will make it easier to update or replace in the future when the creator makes changes. For example, 2024 revisions to D&D might introduce desirable changes to SRD monsters.

Organize any external content using tags (ex. #external) or an External folder. You might even have sub-folders for different systems: External/5E vs. External/PF2.

Tip 3: Add External Content When You Need It

Here’s where I lose the popular vote: don’t import formatted (markdown, styled, plugin-friendly, etc) external resources wholesale. In my opinion, it’s a high-effort, low-value approach. For example, don’t go out of your way to learn complex processes or scripts to import the entire 5E SRD at once as hundreds or thousands of individual notes, neatly formatted and linked. You won’t use half (or more) of those in the foreseeable future. And you may not always like how they’re formatted or organized.

A better way is to add notes to your vault organically when you need them. Are you considering a few magic items from the SRD for your next session? Go ahead and add them. Want to dive into the lore of an SRD monster and adapt it to your world? Add it. Keep forgetting a specific rule? Time to add it. This is a more sustainable method that allows your vault to grow with you and your preferences.

If you still want the entire SRD as a local copy to reference, just add the PDF to your vault.

Take control over your external resources and your vault will grow with you instead of beyond you. You’ll also save yourself time and future headaches.

Game on.