How to get into D&D

minirhyderminirhyder BerlinRegistered User regular
Hello fellow nerds!

My group of friends and I (four of us) want to play D&D. None of them have played, I played two times before but it was a while ago. We don't have anyone who could be a DM for us, and so we are unsure about how to even start this venture.

How does one become a DM? What are the pre-requisites? Is there required reading? Any knowledge you can serve up is welcome.

Thanks!

MrVyngaard
«13

Posts

  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    The DM needs to know the rules as much as a player does plus just a little bit more for things like making balanced encounters.

    Anyone can be a DM. Just have to be willing to spend some time planning stuff between play sessions. Like having a general idea of what will happen and planning some encounters, mapping a dungeon if needed, etc. Also helps if it's someone that's good at telling stories.

    With a player's handbook you have most of the info you need but I also found owning the dungeon master guide helpful my first time to get used to dm'ing a game. And the main monstrous manual is good to have a very big selection of creatures with detailed stats.

    There's also the option of playing with Pathfinder, which is pretty close to D&D 3.5. Pathfinder released their core rulebook under open gaming license so they are easy to find for free. It's nice to have a quick access to the rules and try to run some games to check out the system but it's still better to have the books. With the books you get more details and explanations for all the game mechanics plus their are always filled with lots of awesome artwork.

    PSN: PatParadize
    Battle.net: Fireflash#1425
    Steam Friend code: 45386507
  • MegatinMegatin Registered User regular
    There is a starter kit that comes with the core rules, a premade adventure, and some prebuild characters so you can jump right in:
    http://dnd.wizards.com/products/tabletop-games/rpg-products/rpg_starterset

    For a group of complete newbies, that might be better than jumping straight to the full books, which could be a bit overwhelming. (It's also a lot cheaper, I think)

    ShadowfireIncenjucardavidsdurionsCelestialBadgerGreen
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    The starter set is really good at teaching the rules and laying groundwork.

    Maybe also consider checking out Dungeon World. It's like a rules-lite version of D&D, more focused on the story. Could be easier to get new pen and paper players into.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Not a Fictional Character Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    The Critical Failures sub-forum here is a great place to get advice from a myriad of DMs and players: http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/206224/d-d-5e-the-greatest-best-thread-god-has-ever-given-man-on-this-earth#latest

    A major thing is to decide as a group what you want out of the game. DMing a hard core by-the-letter game dungeon crawl challenge differs from a game where "oh hey let's throw a Kobold party!" takes up three sessions. Either way, don't stress the details too much early in, and expect to get a lot of small details wrong. The most experienced DMs still don't know the swim rules most of the time.

    ElvenshaeToxKalnaurRhesus PositiveGreen
  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    The way I explain D&D to new folks is there are a bunch of rules which is great. But the best sessions are closer to an improv set than a recitation of laws.

    The DM should be someone who can "Yes, and" their way through a story but also know when to tell the players "no, that's not possible here" because although dungeons and dragons is boundless in imagination, there still needs to be some guidance for a fun story to play out.

    I like the starter set for a full group of new players, that way you can all find out who is more likely capable and willing to fill the DM role. It might happen that it doesn't click for any of you right away and you'll either try to recruit another friend or do it in rotation.

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
    IncenjucarCommander ZoomQuidSpoit
  • Grunt's GhostsGrunt's Ghosts Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    I'm currently working on a Youtube Channel (hopefully once I learn this animation program out) that is about Roleplaying Games and there is a whole project that is DM advice.

    So some tips for new DMs

    1- Know the basics of the system. You are the console to them, the Xbox One, so to speak. But if you don't know how the game runs, it could be a buggy mess. So before you run some games, make up a mock character or two and run them through a basic game on your own. A simple battle, just to get a feel for the game. Once you feel like you understand it from the player's point of view, it will be slightly easier for you to create challenges that are fair for them.

    2- Say "Yes but..." I see that davidsdurions has said something about being able to say Yes and No, but I personally never say no. I say "Yes, but..." Do they want to fire a harpoon and try to scale a flying dragon? Yes but that's going to require a hard Dex roll to hit and some Climbing Skill challenges next round. They want to convince a King to let them marry the Princess to an Orge? Yes but you are going to need to get 5 successes before 2 failures in Cha debate. Always give them a shot in the dark chance to succeed. Otherwise, they aren't going to want to play.

    3- Don't build a massive world, just start with basic concepts and built with the group. So many times as DMs we want to build this massive sandboxes full of factions, history, cities, places, ect. But the truth is that you aren't going to see a 10% of that world in game. So instead, come up with the basic idea of what your campaign is about and a starting point. For my 13th Age game "Search for the Dragon's Hoard", I had a basic idea, that Emperor sent a one of a kind ship filled with gold to cross the Iron Sea and it has gone missing, and the starting point, thieves' guild wants the players to recover the gold and the ship but first they have to get a ship, and when from there. Most of the stuff came from the players asking questions about the mission and their backgrounds. The idea of stopping in Drakkenhall to get a submarine in case the ship sunk was from a player asking how to recover sunken gold. The stop in the Lich King's land was because of the necromancer in the group. Pirates that would have been rivals was from the bard's back story. And so on and so on. But I barely planned it out beyond the first few steps.

    4- Ask "So what did you think of that session?" at the end of each one. You are new, so are they. Each person has a different idea of what a D&D game is suppose to be. So ask them after each session what they liked and didn't like. Don't get mad if they hated something you loved, learn and try to do something better. We only learn if we listen and we can only listen when the players let you know. As time goes on, you'll learn your group, start to tailor your game more for their liking and soon everyone will have fun. It might sound like it's an annoying thing to do, but trust me, I've learned more from this than any post, video, or book will every teach you about GMing.

    5- It's not DM vs. Players, it's a group experience. Quite a few times I've seen DMs who believe that their job is to kill the players, fuck with everything they want to do, and they see themselves like a Pen and Paper Jigsaw from the Saw movies. Each session is a death trap. Each encounter made to wipe the whole party. Each riddle too hard to solve. I guess they secretly jack off to the thought of crushing player's dreams, but that is not what you are suppose to be doing. You are not even suppose to lead the group, you are to adventure with them. They are in charge of their destinies, you are suppose to make it interesting. Dig into their character's stories, into the world that they see, and challenge them will necessary, but don't try to fight against them each step of the way unless your group just wants to play the Dark Souls TTRPG. What they say has just as much importance as what you say and don't be afraid to let them build the world too. It makes it feel more personal and their characters more important to the story at large.

    Grunt's Ghosts on
    DarkPrimusCommander ZoomThe Big LevinskytinwhiskersAtaxrxesBoozerThe EnderKalnaurMrVyngaardKristmas KthulhuPLARhesus PositiveGreen
  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    I feel it's worth pointing out that D&D has turned into a bit of a Q-tip. Nowadays there's a number of pseudo medieval sword & sorcery style games that use a d20-based mechanical system.

    Besides actual D&D, there's 13th Age and Pathfinder, which look, feel, and play a lot like D&D, depending on edition. To that end, there have been 5 editions of D&D, and the three most recent editions are all popular and well liked. There are other systems as well, I just can't think of any off the top of my head (and those are the only ones I've played). There's also games like Dungeon World, which is much, much different under the hood, but can still absolutely play and feel like a D&D style game.

    If you have a local game store, I'd strongly recommend checking them out to see how the crowd is. If you don't, check online meetups and see what's available in your area.

    Wishlists! General | Gaming | Comics | Twitter! | Dilige, et quod vis fac
    ElvenshaeIncenjucarKalnaur
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    I've been a GM for about three years now, and depending on your level of creativity and commitment being a GM can be an awesome experience. It got me working on my art way more than I ever had to make the battlemaps we use in the online Roll20 tabletop (which I very much recommend looking into as it can be much, much easier to get folks able to commit to a time if it is from the comfort of their home rather than having to drive out to a gameshop or house.

    The only thing I would add is the following motto: Rules are just tools, and the game never stops. Never, ever debate rules or procedure on the table and stop the game to do so. As GM make a snap decision that will be the most fun for the players at the time and then research the "correct" answer between games. Nothing kills a good game session like a quibbling argument over a damage modifier.

    If you need some battlemaps, I make those and give them out free. Check out my thread in Artist's Corner or the link in my signature for the most recent ones I've done.

  • KelorKelor Registered User regular
    I highly recommend checking out the D&D series that Gabe and Tycho did with Scott Kurtz as well.

    It is from an older edition, but done well enough that I was able to understand most of the surface rules of the game just from listening. They've all been recently compiled and rereleased in podcast form on iTunes.

    Even if you're intending to go with a more recent edition, it's an excellent way to learn how someone takes the role of DM and runs a game and their group is of three characters.

    CelestialBadgerbowenEnc
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    It got me working on my art way more than I ever had to make the battlemaps we use in the online Roll20 tabletop (which I very much recommend looking into as it can be much, much easier to get folks able to commit to a time if it is from the comfort of their home rather than having to drive out to a gameshop or house.

    As an old-school D&D gamer, playing online sounds very sterile to me. A great D&D game is not only a game but also hanging out at your friends' house for 4 hours eating snacks. Like a party without the booze. (Or sometimes with the booze if that's the way you play.) I'd consider online play if your group is too widely geographically separated to play together regularly, but not if you are all in the same town.

    Quid
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    Enc wrote: »
    It got me working on my art way more than I ever had to make the battlemaps we use in the online Roll20 tabletop (which I very much recommend looking into as it can be much, much easier to get folks able to commit to a time if it is from the comfort of their home rather than having to drive out to a gameshop or house.

    As an old-school D&D gamer, playing online sounds very sterile to me. A great D&D game is not only a game but also hanging out at your friends' house for 4 hours eating snacks. Like a party without the booze. (Or sometimes with the booze if that's the way you play.) I'd consider online play if your group is too widely geographically separated to play together regularly, but not if you are all in the same town.

    We've done both, historically, but now that most of us are across the country we hop on discord, use video chat, pull out our desired brews, and have a blast. Even for a smaller game in town we do it because usually we play from 6-1 and after the number of rounds that go through usually folks aren't wanting to drive at that point.

    The other advantage is that Roll20 consolidates your rolls, character sheets, and macro outputs in a single place. Even for F2F its a great thing to use their tablet app in place of a paper sheet to speed up gameplay. Having dozens of encounters going by with quick turns, with the delays being decision making rather than dice collection, math, and rules lawyering, makes for a better game I feel.

    Also having the ability to use something like this as a battlemap without having to actually pay to print it is pretty great: https://falleron.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/kingsbridge-parade-street-festival.jpg

    It gives me a lot of tools as a GM to really set environment and have notes right there on the map so when its time I have lots to build from with the more spontaneous elements of play rather than needing to constantly check my notes for scripts or character identities. Being able to add music is also pretty great as well, especially if you have a lot of good ambient themeatic scores that augment your storytelling.

    Enc on
    Commander Zoom
  • The Big LevinskyThe Big Levinsky Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    I would recommend D&D 5e for your first system over Pathfinder. Pathfinder is extremely rules heavy. I'm finding that 5e is more streamlined than 3.5 and Pathfinder, yet less video-gamey compared to 4e.

    5e also has this neat system for randomly determining backgrounds - like all the charts and stuff are right there in the main book. I was in a situation about a year ago where I had to run a game for a bunch of people I didn't really know - many of whom had never played tabletop RPGs before. I had everyone randomly generate their backgrounds with the caveat that no two people could have the same background. Then the first session was them doing like an interview with an official at the "Adventurer's Guild" where they were signing all the paperwork or whatever to form an official adventuring company. The final rule was the everyone had to play in the first person and talk as their character.

    I spent a few minutes and interviewed the players one by one - asking them questions about their backstory and prodding them to flesh out their character's personality and motivations. It proved to be a really good ice breaker and helped me get a sense of how each person wanted to play and ideas on how to merge their backgrounds into the story. If your friends have never played before, this might be a good way to get them invested.

    Also, check out The Adventure Zone if you have not already done so. Far and away the best D&D podcast in the biz and the McElroys start out in your exact situation. They've never played 5e before and only one of them has ever even played a table top RPG.

    The Big Levinsky on
    EncGrunt's GhostsMrVyngaard
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Definitely seconding 5th edition for new players. A lot of us more seasoned love it as well, but it is especially friendly to new players and doubly those new to roleplaying. It's also a pretty sleek system as far as keeping the game going rather than worrying about math and nested rules.

  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    The one thing about the adventure zone, and IDK how much of this is editing since they basically do like 4 hours of recording for every hour of actual show, but imo the story/plot of their game a lot of times strikes me as very on rails. I tend to save up episodes and listen to them while taking a long drive, and a lot of time it seems like there isn't really anything that the PCs can do that will change the outcome/direction of the arcs. It feels very dictatorial rather than co-operative.

    Which in some ways is fine. Most first campaigns are like that. Most of the premade D&D modules are like that. Honestly the campaign I'm running now is more like that than I'd like it to be.


    I just started to listen to Friends at the Table, which is GM'd by Austin Walker-formerly of Giant Bomb-, and the Episode 00 of their fantasy setting campaign(which uses Dungeon World not D&D) was very enlightening in terms of how to build an interesting world and characters(the audio quality is not great, but apparently they improve it later on in the series). It's something I want to get the rest of my group to listen to before our next campaign, because I think having more dynamic characters makes it easier on the GM to make a more life like world. But D&D doesn't do a great job telling players how to do either.

    Do the work, Call People, Have Conversations, Defeat Trump
    https://www.mobilize.us/peoplesaction/event/293197/
  • Grunt's GhostsGrunt's Ghosts Registered User regular
    The key to being a great DM is to keep your players on the rails but never letting them see the rails and make them think they were driving the train the whole time.

    I'm lying there. The Adventure Zone is a great podcast to listen to, but I don't think it really captures what a normal D&D campaign is about. They play very loose with the rules (then again, so did the 5E designers) and towards this last arc, you wouldn't hardly be able to pick out that they are playing 5E, it sounds like they could be using FATE with d20 dice, really.

    Now, a podcast from some of the fine folks of Penny Arcade Forums, That DnD Podcast used 4E as the first game they played and then later a 5E Game of Thrones like game, then Dungeon World. But their podcast sounds more like my games of D&D and less like a theater production, which isn't bad thing for a podcast like the Adventure Zone.

    DarkPrimus
  • The Big LevinskyThe Big Levinsky Registered User regular
    The key to being a great DM is to keep your players on the rails but never letting them see the rails and make them think they were driving the train the whole time.

    I'm lying there. The Adventure Zone is a great podcast to listen to, but I don't think it really captures what a normal D&D campaign is about. They play very loose with the rules (then again, so did the 5E designers) and towards this last arc, you wouldn't hardly be able to pick out that they are playing 5E, it sounds like they could be using FATE with d20 dice, really.

    Now, a podcast from some of the fine folks of Penny Arcade Forums, That DnD Podcast used 4E as the first game they played and then later a 5E Game of Thrones like game, then Dungeon World. But their podcast sounds more like my games of D&D and less like a theater production, which isn't bad thing for a podcast like the Adventure Zone.

    I would hesitate to say that there is even such a thing as a "normal" D&D campaign. That's the beauty of the game... it's so many things to different people. The Adventure Zone is pretty much exactly what a regular D&D game is to me (though I use the rules a bit more, I would have absolutely let Taako cast Spectral Mount to save Merle) - probably why I like it so much (aside form the end of Petals to the Metal I don't think it's all that railroady). I don't think I've ever seen a source book that didn't start with a blurb which said that the rules are there to use or not use as you see fit and that rules should never get in the way of the story.

    That's another thing to consider when starting a group - on a scale of board game to improv acting group, where do you want your game to be? I've played 4e like it was a pure board game before. We would tell the DM where we wanted to go, what skill checks we wanted to make and he would read us the results of that skill check. If there was combat then he'd break out the map and we'd play a tactical miniatures game not unlike Warhammer 40k or something. Conversely, some of the best games I've run had maybe a few, scattered skill checks, with the rest being four hours of character interaction. Both are very valid ways to play.

    Quid
  • minirhyderminirhyder BerlinRegistered User regular
    So I pulled the trigger on the starter kit. We'll see how it goes.
    I think before we can dive into the podcasts and other media, we need to try our hand at it and see what goes wrong.
    Thanks for the help, all. I'll update the thread with how the first session goes.

    CelestialBadgerdavidsdurionsQuidElvenshaeShadowfireCommander ZoomThe Big LevinskyIncenjucarThe EnderKalnaurMrVyngaardEmperorSethRhesus Positive
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Also, assuming you guys don't already have sets of polyhedral dice, the big buckets o dice of amazon are pretty decent.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00W9PJMPS?psc=1

    Do the work, Call People, Have Conversations, Defeat Trump
    https://www.mobilize.us/peoplesaction/event/293197/
    ElvenshaeShadowfireMrVyngaard
  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Oh yeah, your dungeon master should have one of these:

    Critical Hit LED D20 Die

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004AQ7U9Y/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_0vx7xbD16WA2P

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
  • WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    We're getting ahead of ourselves, Has Minirhyder even rolled a d20 to check if he can learn to play DnD?

    I wanted to play DnD in high school but I rolled a natural 1, and had to play pogs instead.

    WiseManTobes on
    Steam! Battlenet:Wisemantobes#1508
    EncElvenshaeShadowfireToxNaphtaliminirhyderTofystedethThe EnderMrVyngaardRhesus Positive
  • ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    I've never played D&D, but I have GM'd a scifi game for the past 4+ years.

    My GMing notes:

    - Doing some sort of pre-built one-shot adventure might be good for getting the basic rules down, but of course the most fun comes from when players make their own characters and the GM makes their own story. My recommendation is that when everybody's got their characters made for the big campaign, but before it starts, do a one-shot non-canon game with the characters dropped into the middle of the shit, so they can see how they actually handle. In my case, for example, I had the characters walk into a bar and get into a random bar fight. This gives them a chance to reroll or adjust before getting too deep into a campaign to easily shift. This is also additional practice on the game mechanics and such.

    - My #1 rule is to never waste the player's time. Players will not always do what you expect them to do, and sometimes they might do things that seem completely dumb (but that might just because they don't know what the GM knows). Maybe I have a locked, heavy duty door, and the key is in the pocket of the unconscious guard lying right in front of it. But they never search the guard and instead spend fifteen minutes wandering to the complete opposite end of the base looking for...something. Well, as GM, I consider it to be my job that they find...something. Maybe it's not a key, maybe they find explosives to blast the door open with, or maybe I quickly improvise up an alternate path and they find a secret maintenance hatch or something. That doesn't mean players always have to succeed even when they do something really stupid, but it's generally more important to me that the game keep flowing at a good pace and that people have fun without getting frustrated.

    - Not something I've had to deal with myself, thankfully, but something that some people need explained: playing an asshole character in an RPG, particularly one that's an asshole to the other players, isn't usually taken as "roleplaying" so much as it is "being an ass". Characters can be mean and crude and even evil, sure, but if a character is designed such that it's going to often be in opposition to the party itself, there's bound to be trouble. Particularly for new roleplayers, I'd want to make sure all the characters in the party were ones that could at least work together 90% of the time.

    Commander ZoomMorkathRhesus Positive
  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    minirhyder wrote: »
    Hello fellow nerds!

    My group of friends and I (four of us) want to play D&D. None of them have played, I played two times before but it was a while ago. We don't have anyone who could be a DM for us, and so we are unsure about how to even start this venture.

    How does one become a DM? What are the pre-requisites? Is there required reading? Any knowledge you can serve up is welcome.

    Thanks!

    Suggestions!

    For getting started:
    1. Getting the starter kit is good, but if you guys have all decided to give it a shot then picking up a copy of the players handbook is pretty much a no brainer and (as a bonus) you guys can pool your funds to share it to cut on the cost for your first handbook.
    2. Check out your local hobby shops and comic book stores; they'll often times have someone running a seasonal campaign and that will usually take the stress off of you guys regarding GMing.

    For GMing
    Gming is one of those things that you learn to do by doing it and what might work for one group might go over like a lead balloon with another one since different groups want different things out of D&D; some people will want to meander through massive labyrinths filled with puzzles and traps while others might want to do super tactical combat that stresses group synergy and rules mastery while still others might want to focus on having solid characters telling interesting stories.

    My suggestion would be to do some simple stuff to get a feel for the kinds of stories that the players want to do and what it is that you want to do as a GM, then try and find some middle ground for future adventures.

    Richy wrote: »
    But I think the resistance I’m getting more has to do with “rawr! Loklar said it! Rage!” than anything else.

    No, it has to do with the fact that you're done nothing but throw lies, blatant flasehoods, and downright dumb statements at us so far.
    The Big Levinsky
  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Don't. Play one of the many games that put players as much in the role of storyteller as the GM. Vanilla WoD.

    The Crowing One on
    3rddocbottom.jpg
  • The Big LevinskyThe Big Levinsky Registered User regular
    Don't. Play one of the many games that put players as much in the role of storyteller as the GM. Vanilla WoD.

    Could you elaborate on that? "WoD" is World of Darkness, right? I've played both (mostly old and some of the new) and I haven't noticed any discernible difference in relationship to DM/Storyteller and player.

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    In a good game of D&D the players are as much in the role of storyteller as the Gm.

    AuralynxTNTrooperShadowfiredavidsdurionsElvenshaeTomantaToxRainfallOatsTofystedethCommander ZoomPanda4YouKalnaurRhesus Positive
  • FaranguFarangu I am a beardy man With a beardy planRegistered User regular
    Can't agree with Enc enough. Player involvement in crafting a shared narrative really makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

    What I like to do when there's a system that I'm learning at the same time as the players is start with an existing adventure - the shelf modules are fine, and there's a ton of actual play podcasts that you can use an introductory adventure and riff off of. This is so you have some kind of skeleton to fall back on when your improv skills run dry.

    During the initial adventures, get the players to give you as much backstory on their characters as they want to provide. Pay attention to any situations that characters inadvertently shine in. Then after you get a feel for the party, you can start to create your own adventures that have hooks tailored for the players.

    When I started an Edge of the empire game with my group, I used the first one or two adventures from the Campaign podcast, mostly because I liked the idea of giving a five year old Force powers. One of the players naturally took a more nurturing role towards the NPC, and the group noticed and commented on it. The player later expanded on that, saying that the reason for the quick bond was because her character had been forced to give up her child to a prominent Imperial family. I made sure to make the planet that family lived on a priority stop for the crew.

    AuralynxThe Big LevinskyElvenshae
  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    I had a dwarf who thought the world was being controlled by a society of under ground goblins illuminati style. The rest of the party thought he was insane but the DM would slip in little shreds of evidence to make them think twice.

    steam_sig.png
    EncCelestialBadgerElvenshaetinwhiskersThe EnderPLARhesus PositiveInfamyDeferred
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    Here are two great resources to get you started with cheap, solid pre-packaged adventures. I just began playing myself, after 20 years out of the game, and this is where I went to find a few low level canned adventures to get me started:



    http://www.drivethrurpg.com/index.php
    and
    http://www.dmsguild.com/

    DM's Guild is sanctioned by WotC, and the content is slightly different on both sites, but they share a cart and are pretty clearly linked together.

    I just finished with The Bandit's Nest from this set here: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/147040/Dungeons-on-Demand-Volume-One

    Was perfectly easy to understand and well-suited to a bunch of new players. Note that since it's a 3rd party adventure, you'll need a copy of the Monster Manual for full stats on the 3 creatures your players will encounter.


    For reference, this is how I started my campaign. Each member found this flyer, and attended a group interview / sales pitch...


    o5UZjam.png

    spool32 on
    ElvenshaeShadowfireEncTNTrooperRainfallCommander ZoomfightinfilipinoHonkMrVyngaardRhesus Positive
  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Most gaming stores host a night for people interested in D&D to play a basic intro game. Just find a board gaming store that has tables and they probably have a night already set aside for it.

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
    Smrtnik
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    In a good game of D&D the players are as much in the role of storyteller as the Gm.

    This. The amount of involvement in the story and level of roleplaying vs. rollplaying depends more on the. DM and group dynamics than the system used.

    If both the DM and group are new, D&D is a good choice precisely because of how much structure and support there is, so the DM can focus more on story and smooth encounters than interpreting loosey goosey rules and navigating books with bad indexes.

    That said, WoD is pretty swell.

    steam_sig.png
  • CarnarvonCarnarvon Registered User regular


    Very informative, runs through everything, and starts you off on how to make your first sessions.

    Everything about being a game master feels very intimidating. You have multiple books of 300+ pages each, packed with rules and interactions, and it's all written for people who already know what they're doing. It's like trying to learn arithmetic by reading abstracts from physics journals.

    The crux of every D&D system since 3.0 has been "Roll a 1d20 plus some modifiers against a number set by the GM". All that changes is the modifiers and the number set by you, the GM. Whenever there's something you don't understand, tell the player to roll a 1d20. Pretty simple.

    Also, most people don't realize this going in, but the players make the vast majority of the content. My favorite starting adventure is A Dark and Stormy Knight, which is eight pages long (of which 3 is disclaimers and one is a map), and takes upwards of four hours to complete with a fairly competent group of players. That's like 20 minutes a paragraph.

    Being a game master is a rich and wonderful hobby, and I have never regretted getting into it. Really. Give it a shot.

    Commander Zoomdispatch.oThe EnderMrVyngaard
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Carnarvon wrote: »
    Everything about being a game master feels very intimidating. You have multiple books of 300+ pages each, packed with rules and interactions, and it's all written for people who already know what they're doing. It's like trying to learn arithmetic by reading abstracts from physics journals.

    If I don't know a rule, and I don't know where to find it, I just make it a simple skill or stat check. If the players want to challenge me, they can do it after the game, and we can use the proper rule from then on. This is better than bringing the game to a screeching halt for 10 minutes while you flip through indexes.

    TNTrooperCommander ZoomKalnaur
  • minirhyderminirhyder BerlinRegistered User regular
    Time for an update.

    So I've been reading the rules and the adventure book from the starter guide and getting comfortable with how things work, what the DM is responsible for, and what to generally do.

    It looks to me like it would be helpful to have a few pages of notes when you're DMing, is this a thing people do? If so, what pieces of information are typically a good idea to jot down in preparation?

  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    minirhyder wrote: »
    Time for an update.

    So I've been reading the rules and the adventure book from the starter guide and getting comfortable with how things work, what the DM is responsible for, and what to generally do.

    It looks to me like it would be helpful to have a few pages of notes when you're DMing, is this a thing people do? If so, what pieces of information are typically a good idea to jot down in preparation?

    For D&D you're going to want the monster stats you're going to use handy. If I'm not running a premade adventure I'll sometimes print them out or just put them all in the same document if I'm going to run from a laptop.

    For general games, the very first thing I'd suggest is having all your players fill out index cards. On the cards go their character names. Sometimes I'll put useful info on here, like spot/perception like skills or initiative modifiers. When you're referring to their characters use the characters names. It makes a difference and can help them get into the right idea. You can also use the cards as an initiative tracker, put them in order with the first person on top, last person on the bottom. When the person on top goes, put their card onto the back. Others prefer white boards so everybody can see and plan.

    Also, are you really in NYC? I find it baffling that you couldn't find at least a one time event to get your feet wet and help everything gel with you. Don't mistake me, a game with friends will be better than those sorts of games like 99% of the time but it can really help you understand what's going on to just play a game even once.

    This tool here might help you find something:
    http://locator.wizards.com/#brand=dnd

    It seems to default to including Magic stuff at some point though so you'll have to fiddle with options. You're looking for "Adventurer League" stuff right now.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    There are lots of open games in NYC. The Compleat Strategist runs them in its basement (but it's a bit of a hole.) Meetup.com has dozens every week.

    AuralynxMrVyngaard
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    minirhyder wrote: »
    Time for an update.

    So I've been reading the rules and the adventure book from the starter guide and getting comfortable with how things work, what the DM is responsible for, and what to generally do.

    It looks to me like it would be helpful to have a few pages of notes when you're DMing, is this a thing people do? If so, what pieces of information are typically a good idea to jot down in preparation?

    In the games I've run, I've had notes for each major area they progress through, as well as each major discussion/encounter etc.
    I also keep all the monster stats handy in an excel sheet which makes damage tracking easy. Bring whatever you think will be good as a "glance" reference, as you should try not to break the continuity of the adventure unless it's to look up obscure rules. Also, on most things you should feel ok winging it, as GM fiat is a thing and rules lawyers are obnoxious.

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    minirhyder wrote: »
    Time for an update.

    So I've been reading the rules and the adventure book from the starter guide and getting comfortable with how things work, what the DM is responsible for, and what to generally do.

    It looks to me like it would be helpful to have a few pages of notes when you're DMing, is this a thing people do? If so, what pieces of information are typically a good idea to jot down in preparation?

    This is essentially all the ready made modules are. Lot's of notes written for you, basic outline and some scenarios.

    Elvenshaespool32KalnaurSmrtnik
  • The Big LevinskyThe Big Levinsky Registered User regular
    A quick reference rules guide for what you can do in combat would be advisable. Having a couple of copies of that floating around the table probably wouldn't hurt either.

    Also, when making Perception rolls, ask the player what their perception score is and roll in secret. Then make a big show of looking something up even if there's nothing actually there. Don't tell them if the roll is good or bad, just tell them they didn't see anything.

    PLA
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    I keep a scratch index card, to track monster hp and treasure awarded, and write all over the printed adventures. Get some bookmarks for helping yoi find things fast.

    If you have an iPad, use it for your player map!

    Definitely keep as many or as few notes as you need. Also get some fun object to use for awarding Inspiration, if you use that rule!

    Googly-eye rock will be my next marker...

    schuss
  • HonkHonk Honk is this poster. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Someone surely mentioned it earlier but just one thing that I've gathered by being a player and never DMing. My DM says balancing encounters has been fairly difficult for him. Like what type of monsters can we take on and have a challenging fight, while not making it a suicide mission. So to start out he used some pre-made stuff but changed the locations up, but essentially used the combat encounters from the pre-mades. That way he got some experience conducting and scaling those things.

    There's a margin for error because as experience has shown me it's easy to either have a fight where the players roll really good and just chew through what was supposed to be a challenge, but it's also just as frequent that we all roll super low and almost die from what was supposed to be a pushover encounter.

    If you're whole group is starting from scratch and wanting to get into playing I would as a DM probably cheat a little. Like occasionally flub the result of a dice roll or be lenient towards the death element in the game. In my point of view as long as it's fun then that's great!

    PSN: Honkalot
Sign In or Register to comment.