Monday, March 24, 2014

Ivory RPG - Report

Going through all the effort of having an expedition is pointless if you don't have a result. At the end of every expedition, there is a report, a summary of information acquired or lessons learned. For most expeditions, this is the entire point of the expedition. The end product is knowledge.

Reports and lessons don't write themselves. Any group should have a process to both record and review this information. For example, all ships have logs and expeditions have journals. Each endeavor records information in a purposeful way focused on their own needs. The capturing of this information is not ad-hoc. The capturing of this information is embedded into the very way that these expeditions behave.

Any Ivory expedition will need to figure out what information that it intends to observe, who will record it, and how the expedition will structure itself to ensure the collection of that information.

Historically, many expeditions kept journals. In these journals, the members of the expeditions wrote their observations. At the end of their adventures, they turned these journals over to somebody else and never did anything with them again. In more recent times, they may have used these journals to write books about their adventures, but more often than not, these unedited documents went straight into some library as reference works.

Logs are very similar to journals, but they are even more dedicated to collecting information in a structured way. For example, navigators kept logs of the temperature, the currents, and the weather. Some expeditions brought reports with them, and the news stories provided something of a log that readers enjoy. A travel log is all about the ordinary human experience of going someplace, written in an entertaining yet informative way. A bill is a log of how much something cost and the amount that an entity seeks for reimbursement.

Expenses provide documentation as well. In that, you have such information as equipment needed, people hired, and expenses paid. Huge amounts of information can be gleaned from this. Scholars working on the economy of ancient Sumer love finding records of expenses because they can tell so much about the society of the day based on that information.

Most presentations of information get feedback. Its rare that information flows in on direction. Most receivers of information usually request further information, clarification, or observation.

So as planning is part of the game, as a feature, not a bug, so too is the recording and distillation of information.

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