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[DnD 5E] No! Sleep! Till quests end!

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  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    Just got back from my Murder Hubbies game where we finished LMoP. Great fun.

    The party wasn't quite fresh when they started the boss battle. Round 1, I landed a Suggestion spell on the Barbarian and he went to frenzied rage town on the Cleric. I took pity on them and ruled the suggestion complete. Subsequently had 2 or 3 party members down on any given round for the whole boss fight. They squeaked out a victory on the end, but it was a close thing. Exactly how I like it! :)

    Now we do that one shot, and then I/we need to figure out which module is next!
    ToA, SKT (not my first choice due to structure and story issues), Bumped up Dragon Heist or straight into Mad Mage.

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  • KhildithKhildith Registered User regular
    My life overflows with D&D these days.

    Every two weeks or so I am DMing an SKT campaign that is at 7th level currently. I found myself burned out so we took a hiatus from Thanksgiving until early February but we're back on track now. I'm really looking forward to whats coming up, though at least one of my players reads this thread so I can't talk about it much!

    I play in a monthly Strahd campaign that is also level 7! My dex fighter just gained himself a Shield Guardian somehow and we left last session at a huge cliffhanger.
    Possible Strahd spoilers!
    My party returned to Vallaki to find that Ireena had been kidnapped by an employee of the Burgomeisters. We were all exhausted with no spells or powers left between us, and our cleric used her last third level spell to cast Sending to find out if we could afford to sleep before assaulting the mayor and his minions.

    We should have remembered that Strahd can overhear Sendings in his realm and he responded, thanking us for letting us know that Ireena wasn't hidden from him anymore. So we left off last session with no resources about to assault a potentially fortified unknown position in a race to reach the girl before the vampire can! Very dramatic.

    I'm also in an irregular Eberron campaign and the DM has thrown fire elementals at my poor abused Warforged Paladin twice in the last two sessions! Can warforged get ptsd?

    And just a few days ago we started a Dragon Heist campaign where I'm playing a (future) Mastermind Rogue who thinks he is classy and dresses like a Victorian gentleman including ill-fitting monocle. Should be good fun!

    SmrtnikSteelhawkoverride367Hexmage-PAMrVyngaard
  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    edited March 9
    my 9th level party slew Mother Olhydra last night in the Elemental Plane of Water

    long story short, Cleric of Melora took up the trident Wave and became a conduit for divine wrath, taking on the avatar of Sekolah (who is one of Melora's dead Exarchs in my world)

    they had a dope Kaiju battle in an infinite water cyclone on the interior of it; the non-kaiju players had to do skill challenges at 200 miles per hour to safely get to the intact wreckage of a boat for safety and also to fire giant fuckoff diamond tipped harpoons at the demigods while whirling around the centrifuge

    it was as they say Pretty Cool

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    Concerning the evil characters in my party, part of me wonders if those players are okay with playing evil characters because evil in D&D is generally sanitized. Kinda like how running over a ton of people in Grand Theft Auto doesn't feel bad. If they were palling around with demons and all of a sudden one of the demons was like "hey bro, do me a solid and throw this puppy off a cliff, alright?" I'm sure there would be more of a reluctance to sign up with team Evil.

    However, if you try to do a scenario like that with the intention of trying to get the character to reconsider being evil, you might A) make some people uncomfortable or B) find out the player would be totally fine with having their character do something really evil.

    I was considering such a scenario earlier. The Lawful Evil character is concerned with accruing power and influence among the fiends, while the Chaotic Evil character has killed a bunch of innocent people for no reason but will not hurt a child. The party has recently gotten a young tiefling boy as a follower, and a nobleman who is secretly an avatar of Graz'zt that the Lawful Evil character is supposed to assassinate is about to visit where the party is.

    My idea is that the nobleman is aware of the LE PC's intentions and hires the CE PC, saying that he wants the CE PC to secretly come along on his boat when he invites the LE PC on a short sailing trip. The nobleman gives the LE PC a very appealing offer (in the neighborhood of ten-thousand gold pieces, an ASI, and a very rare magic item) to spare his life and work for him instead. The nobleman then calls out the CE PC to ask if she'd be interested in a similar offer. If she also accepts the nobleman has a bound sacrificial victim under a cloth wheeled out on deck, saying that as soon as she kills this victim both she and the LE PC will have what they desire.

    The nobleman then removes the cloth to reveal the tiefling boy. If the CE PC protests, the nobleman attempts to use Dominate Person on her to force her to approach the boy with her blade drawn, saying "you've already killed so many for no personal gain; what's the harm in just one more, especially when you'll profit so much from it?" If the LE PC tries to stop her the nobleman argues "people promise the souls of their unborn children to fiends all the time; you're not going to make it far in the Hells or the Abyss if you can't stomach even something like this."

    If they both keep resisting the rest of the party will just so happen to show up (in a way I haven't decided yet) to lend their aid in fighting the demonic nobleman and freeing the tiefling boy.

    What do you guys think about this scenario?

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  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    Oh yeah, that's a great move, very Star Wars-y. Similar to how some Sith in the Knights o/t Old Republic got made. Or something better written, like Dr Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog.

    You basically tell the characters: this is the point of no return, either become Evil or turn away forever.

    Elendil wrote: »
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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited March 9
    Aldo wrote: »
    Oh yeah, that's a great move, very Star Wars-y. Similar to how some Sith in the Knights o/t Old Republic got made. Or something better written, like Dr Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog.

    You basically tell the characters: this is the point of no return, either become Evil or turn away forever.

    But what if a player takes the bait? How are some Neutrals and Goods supposed to adventure with someone who killed a kid at a demon lord's request (or stood aside and did nothing as a demon lord forced someone else to do it)?

    EDIT: I am suddenly more interested in the idea of a Disgaea-esque campaign set in the Abyss now, btw.

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  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    A side conversation with the evil players and an agreement that if they take the deal they reroll and their former PC becomes an NPC is the standard solution here. Alternatively the players of the good PCs may be fine with it if their characters never find out

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited March 9
    I'd think some players, especially ones who play good characters, are less inclined to confront another player who is playing an evil character over said evil character's actions, at least for the sake of the party and the game continuing.

    Going into it more, the LE character is doing his evil off-screen for a long-term goal, while the CE character is doing their evil in front of the players on a whim. I guess it's like the difference between a Republican politician and a serial killer.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    Got my first PC death in the campaign I'm running. She was the Chaotic Evil one, so she manifested in the Abyss as a barlgura with no memory of her previous life. One of the paladins actually could have used revivify to bring her back to life, but refused on account of her prior evil deeds. Rather than be mad about this, the player said she had been wanting to play a wizard anyway.

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  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Got my first PC death in the campaign I'm running. She was the Chaotic Evil one, so she manifested in the Abyss as a barlgura with no memory of her previous life. One of the paladins actually could have used revivify to bring her back to life, but refused on account of her prior evil deeds. Rather than be mad about this, the player said she had been wanting to play a wizard anyway.

    Well of course a CE character would say that.

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  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    So I started playing in a game with a barbarian/monk my dm is going to allow me to set my shield as my kensai weapon, cause he's dope also because i keep hurling it around as an improvised weapon and can now use it as a melee weapon along side flury... fuckin captain America build is a go. I think my 10th level build might be 3 barbarian (bear totem)/5 monk (kensai), 2 fighter (protection style).

    Ken ONipsMrVyngaard
  • hlprmnkyhlprmnky Registered User regular
    Re: the “how to handle huge setpiece battles” discussion from a couple days ago, I have in a running notes doc I keep called “Cool ideas I stole from the PA D&D thread” this gem from back in late 2017, which I unfortunately cannot credit appropriately as I just took the words, not the username (see ‘stole’, above, I guess):
    The other way, which would take a bit more cleverness and may or may not be cooler: the army is difficult terrain. In Lord of the Rings, did Legolas or Aragorn ever take real damage from any of the nobody orcs? No, it was only ever the dangerous stuff like the cave troll that did more than scratch them. So the players can only move at half speed through the mob of grunt orcs, under the assumption that they are hacking and slashing every couple of steps. The other orcs represent the genuine threats, which the players have to navigate the crowd to get through: perhaps skill checks like Intimidate might let them move at full speed for a turn as the horde steps away from the terrifying barbarian, or the Wizard might use a fireball to clear a path. Meanwhile the important orcs don't count the horde as difficult terrain and get new (or reflavored) powers that control the horde to deal extra damage or otherwise impede the party. Maybe the orc shaman sends the horde into a frenzy and now ending your turn in the horde causes you to take a small amount of fixed damage. The orc commander might insist that the horde pile in on one character, preventing them from moving at all.

    Yes, all that is more complicated than just saying "yup, 3d10 orcs" but if they're not going to be an appreciable threat anyway than why bother spending time having each one attack? Better to spend 10 minutes planning than an hour of each player saying "I swing my sword at the next closest orc, 12 damage, pass turn."

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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited March 11
    Death Tyrant fight from tomb of the nine gods (I upped it to death tyrant because I had introduced it earlier in the campaign and the party suicidally attacked his lair for no reason and killed him, so I had him back as undead for the Tomb of the Nine Gods level 3)

    Outside of the "beholder's" lair, there was a big panel that said "Summon an ally!" and you could pick various creatures from a lobsterman with a banjo all the way up to Drizzt Do'urden. An investigation would have found tiny print saying that it was an ally for the beholder

    The strongest ally on there was "Drizzt Do'urden", so they picked him, and had to face the beholder and a level 11 fighter/1 barb/8 ranger (who was charmed, but still Drizzt, so he wouldn't kill any of them if he could help it). To counterbalance drizzt being drizzt, I had him summon his panther on turn 1 as a bonus action and Guenhwyvar not being charmed, ignored Drizzt's orders and just jumped on the Death Tyrant, dragging it to the ground and generally making its life miserable

    Drizzt got 3 turns of absolutely chewing the faces off the party before the druid Greater Restoration'd him, ending the charm, which banished him from the fight as well - but left his panther assisting the party all the way till the end, when the Death Tyrant went down 2 party members were stone, one had lost one of his arms, the bard's apprentice and Xandala the sorceress needed to be collected with a dustpan, and Random Civilian was fruitlessly trying to chew on people as he had been zombified. Bard cured petrification with Ring of Winter easily enough and all was well. They are using the (straight jacketed and gagged) zombie as a pack mule

    override367 on
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  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    I feel like I'm cheating the system multiclassing Profane Soul Blood Hunter with Warlock. But I bet I'd be more powerful with just one class.

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  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    Death Tyrant fight from tomb of the nine gods (I upped it to death tyrant because I had introduced it earlier in the campaign and the party suicidally attacked his lair for no reason and killed him, so I had him back as undead for the Tomb of the Nine Gods level 3)

    Outside of the "beholder's" lair, there was a big panel that said "Summon an ally!" and you could pick various creatures from a lobsterman with a banjo all the way up to Drizzt Do'urden. An investigation would have found tiny print saying that it was an ally for the beholder

    The strongest ally on there was "Drizzt Do'urden", so they picked him, and had to face the beholder and a level 11 fighter/1 barb/8 ranger (who was charmed, but still Drizzt, so he wouldn't kill any of them if he could help it). To counterbalance drizzt being drizzt, I had him summon his panther on turn 1 as a bonus action and Guenhwyvar not being charmed, ignored Drizzt's orders and just jumped on the Death Tyrant, dragging it to the ground and generally making its life miserable

    Drizzt got 3 turns of absolutely chewing the faces off the party before the druid Greater Restoration'd him, ending the charm, which banished him from the fight as well - but left his panther assisting the party all the way till the end, when the Death Tyrant went down 2 party members were stone, one had lost one of his arms, the bard's apprentice and Xandala the sorceress needed to be collected with a dustpan, and Random Civilian was fruitlessly trying to chew on people as he had been zombified. Bard cured petrification with Ring of Winter easily enough and all was well. They are using the (straight jacketed and gagged) zombie as a pack mule

    I just have to say this is fucking awesome.

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  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    edited March 11
    What the prevailing opinion around these parts on Princes of Elemental Evil the Apocalypse?

    Any good for a 5th level party straight outta Phandelver? Fun for the DM too?

    Steelhawk on
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited March 11
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Death Tyrant fight from tomb of the nine gods (I upped it to death tyrant because I had introduced it earlier in the campaign and the party suicidally attacked his lair for no reason and killed him, so I had him back as undead for the Tomb of the Nine Gods level 3)

    Outside of the "beholder's" lair, there was a big panel that said "Summon an ally!" and you could pick various creatures from a lobsterman with a banjo all the way up to Drizzt Do'urden. An investigation would have found tiny print saying that it was an ally for the beholder

    The strongest ally on there was "Drizzt Do'urden", so they picked him, and had to face the beholder and a level 11 fighter/1 barb/8 ranger (who was charmed, but still Drizzt, so he wouldn't kill any of them if he could help it). To counterbalance drizzt being drizzt, I had him summon his panther on turn 1 as a bonus action and Guenhwyvar not being charmed, ignored Drizzt's orders and just jumped on the Death Tyrant, dragging it to the ground and generally making its life miserable

    Drizzt got 3 turns of absolutely chewing the faces off the party before the druid Greater Restoration'd him, ending the charm, which banished him from the fight as well - but left his panther assisting the party all the way till the end, when the Death Tyrant went down 2 party members were stone, one had lost one of his arms, the bard's apprentice and Xandala the sorceress needed to be collected with a dustpan, and Random Civilian was fruitlessly trying to chew on people as he had been zombified. Bard cured petrification with Ring of Winter easily enough and all was well. They are using the (straight jacketed and gagged) zombie as a pack mule

    I just have to say this is fucking awesome.

    Here's the stats I came up with for Drizzt, I had him focus on Goading Attack against as many people as possible as I played him as believing the party were good adventurers under the spell of a powerful lich

    Mvygx3q.png

    override367 on
  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    @hlprmnky By all means, steal from me! I've only gotten where I am today by stealing from the shoulders of giants.

    Steelhawkhlprmnky
  • awsimoawsimo a perfectly cromulent human; definitely not a robot Registered User regular
    I haven't played D&D since 4e, but watching The C Team has given me the bug again, so I picked up the 5e Starter Set and I'm going to start running my very first campaign.

    Any tips for a newly minted DM? Any and all advice is appreciated. I have a couple people who will be first-time players, so I'm particularly keen on pointers to get newbies involved.

    ElvenshaeIvelliusSteelhawkJustTeeGlal
  • XagarXagar Registered User regular
    -Ask your players about tone before starting.
    -Tell your players what books they can use to make their characters from before starting.
    -Don't be afraid to direct the story or keep things moving. However, things like this should usually be options that the players can choose.
    -Don't be afraid to direct the table as well - a little bit of chatter or trying to optimize their turn is fine, but if it goes on for too long, you should hurry things along (politely). Keep in mind how much time you have, and start thinking ahead of time how you are going to end the session.
    -Don't over prepare. You should know your set pieces / plot elements that the players may or may not encounter, but other things can be improvised. NPCs need a motivation and a personality (quirk), then you can improvise their dialogue.
    -It's OK to subvert expectations, but don't do it all the time - playing it straight is fine.
    -Call for Stat & Skill or Tool checks instead of just stat checks. For example, picking a lock can be a Dexterity/Thieves' Tools check, and your barbarian scaring some kobolds can be a Strength/Intimidation check. Make sure you and your players know how proficiency bonus works.
    -Every combat should be interesting and unique in some way. Change up the terrain, find an excuse to put some other bad guy in there, make a custom stat block (one of my favorite DM things), design an encounter around a certain party member.
    -Make sure to roleplay how intelligent the enemies are. Humanoids should be attempting to flee, dumber ones shouldn't be able to prioritize targets well, that kind of thing.
    -Enemies having strong defensive abilities is irritating. Don't do it unless you build in counterplay (a cooldown? it can be dispelled or countered with a damage type or attack type? it's a limb that can be damaged?)
    -Reward people for using their imaginations in combat.
    -If a bad guy is ever in sight of the party, expect them to die.
    -Certain CRs do not really match the threat they pose - this is actually an issue with HP scaling at low levels. Make sure to compare possible bad guy threat compared to your actual party's abilities. For example, a hobgoblin's damage bonus can instantly KO a level 1 character, and instantly kill on a crit.
    -Make sure you're actually following the combat rules such as cover, concentration, using reactions, prone status, advantage/disadvantage, and alternate actions like dodge/dash/help/hold action.
    -For a new campaign, I would suggest starting in medias res, with a battle or setpiece that evokes the players' chosen tone. If you need to do any intro "you meet in a tavern" thing, you can flash back to it later or just skip it.

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  • SniperGuySniperGuy Also known as Dohaeris Registered User regular
    My streamed D&D game reached a finale last night and I was very excited to reveal some things.

    General premise was players were recruited in a "race" to retrieve 5 gems scattered about a huge sprawling warehouse. The warehouse included rooms that had growing trees and grasslands in addition to rows of storage. There were shelves of basically infinite numbers that contained all manner of tiny figurines and knick knacks in the warehouse rooms. Take an item from the shelf, place it in a special bowl that was all around, and you'd go inside the item and have to complete a challenge. Sometimes a simple puzzle, sometimes a whole dungeon or other world. When finished you'd pop back out of the item and it would "activate," turning into a minor magic item. You could go back in to make the item stronger. Some of the gems were in these items and some weren't, but other teams were competing and whichever team got the most gems when all were recovered won.

    We had gotten down to one gem left. The players had retrieved one, but other teams had gotten the remaining three, so a single gem remained. They found it around the same time as the remaining teams did, resulting in a big brawl between a bunch of drow, a bunch of knights/clerics, a cadre of wild mages (who tosses wild magic bottle grenades), and one half giant who had strapped a beholder to his chest named Bartholomew. The gem was in a room guarded by an Iron Golem and they moved carefully around while Bart fought the Iron Golem and directed beholder eye beams into the crowds of mooks. Through careful application of AOE abilities and the paladin using a clever Misty Step, they were able to snag the last gem without anyone getting killed and slammed it home into the item bowl.

    A flash of light and sound drowned out the combat and the party awoke at a table in the Yawning Portal, a feast set in front of them and their race sponsor, a mysterious woman named Chora, sitting in front of them congratulating them on their victory. She explained that she was a caretaker inside the Warehouse of Many Things and that because her team won, she would be able to put the warehouse somewhere that it would do the most good. Then she explained that although they had been going inside of various items, the warehouse itself was inside an item the whole time. The five of diamonds in the Deck of Many Things. The spellplague scattered the deck around but they had restored it to its full power and her to her rightful position in charge of the deck.

    As a reward, she offered them the chance to draw but with one caveat. As champions who restored the deck's power, she would defend against one negative effect for each of them.

    The paladin chose to draw three. His first card would have changed his alignment to evil, but Chora blocked that. His second draw disintegrated his magic items, although he wasn't carrying many, except for a bag of holding containing most of the party's wealth. His third card granted him a single Wish spell which he chose to save until later.

    The warlock, having heard of this deck before, chose to draw a single card. It would have reduced her XP by 10,000, but Chora stepped in. The warlock breathed a sigh of relief.

    Finally, the group's cleric chose to draw 2. Her first draw was The Fates, allowing her to change a single event in the past. She chose to hold on to it, ruminating about changing the outcome of a war her family had been involved in. Her second draw would have permanently reduced her saving throws by -2 but Chora stopped it.

    Chora thanked them for their assistance and congratulated them again before stepping out of the tavern, and the party chose to go their separate ways.

    It was a blast the whole way through and we're going to start up another game in a few weeks with new characters and I'll be playing this time instead of DMing. I am looking forward to it!

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  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    awsimo wrote: »
    I haven't played D&D since 4e, but watching The C Team has given me the bug again, so I picked up the 5e Starter Set and I'm going to start running my very first campaign.

    Any tips for a newly minted DM? Any and all advice is appreciated. I have a couple people who will be first-time players, so I'm particularly keen on pointers to get newbies involved.

    Xagar gave you some solid advice there. One slight change I'd make is that if you are all new players would be to stick to what's in the Starter Set, which is excellent, and if you want to expand your options then you move onto other sources.

    Elvenshaeoverride367Ivellius
  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    edited March 14
    awsimo wrote: »
    Any tips for a newly minted DM? Any and all advice is appreciated. I have a couple people who will be first-time players, so I'm particularly keen on pointers to get newbies involved.

    Keep it simple.

    Don't try to do a Final Fantasy, world-spanning, epic-novel-series threat to existence with interconnected enemies and rivals and misguided good guys who plot within plots to finally reveal their true form right out of the gate ...

    Like, start with some goblins raiding a farmhouse. Then, you can have it affecting several farmhouses in a larger region ... then it turns out that the goblins are raiding because [X], and go from there.

    Get people into the action early and keep things moving. Don't start them in a tavern with, "What do you do?" Unless that sentence is immediately preceded by "Suddenly, a man jumps up and points at a patron seated at the bar, saying 'That's not Bob! That's Steve the Red, the Renegade!' just as a swarm of [X]es crash through the windows."

    Have your combats work in waves, where [X] goblins attack, and a couple of rounds later, [Y] goblins join the fray. That way, if you screw up your combat planning and make things accidentally too tough or the dice have gone cold for the party, it's trivial to just not have a wave arrive, or arrive late, or ...

    Don't play out the mop-up phase of combat unless your players really want to - it's okay to say, "The remaining goblins, looking at the destruction you have wreaked upon their warband, turn tail to run ... You can let them, or we can say you quickly chase them down as they flee."

    Incent the behavior you want your players to exhibit. Don't run a cash-poor game and then stock your monsters with lootable and sellable equipment if you don't want the players to gather it and try to sell it a la Diablo. Don't place lots of deadly traps all over if you don't want your players doing the 10' pole trick everywhere. Etc.

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  • JusticeforPlutoJusticeforPluto Total Goober Registered User regular
    My group played on Tuesday. We had spent three turns hunting down a party members(Bob) kid (Bob Jr) for 3 sessions at least. We had finally found him the session before this one and saved him from certain death.

    Now, the wife of Bob was still missing. Bob decides to bring Bob Jr. along because he has been training his kid to be a Blood Hunter like him, it's good practice. First fight we get into, Bob get dazed while grappling with a golem. Said golem then charges Bob Jr and pulverizes him. Limbs flew off, and what was left of him was in chunks. My friend decided the best course of action was to wrap up Bob Jr in a tapestry to see if someone could "fix him".

    Frankly I'm really looking forward to to his long over due reunion with Ms. Bob.

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  • ZonugalZonugal The Holiday Armadillo I'm Santa's representative for all the southern states. And Mexico!Registered User regular
    awsimo wrote: »
    I haven't played D&D since 4e, but watching The C Team has given me the bug again, so I picked up the 5e Starter Set and I'm going to start running my very first campaign.

    Any tips for a newly minted DM? Any and all advice is appreciated. I have a couple people who will be first-time players, so I'm particularly keen on pointers to get newbies involved.

    Steal anything you want to make an interesting story.

    All media/literature is up for grabs.

    Steal it, slather it in a new set of paint, and throw it at your players.

    2mw6ukw.jpg
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  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    edited March 14
    Zonugal wrote: »
    awsimo wrote: »
    I haven't played D&D since 4e, but watching The C Team has given me the bug again, so I picked up the 5e Starter Set and I'm going to start running my very first campaign.

    Any tips for a newly minted DM? Any and all advice is appreciated. I have a couple people who will be first-time players, so I'm particularly keen on pointers to get newbies involved.

    Steal anything you want to make an interesting story.

    All media/literature is up for grabs.

    Steal it, slather it in a new set of paint, and throw it at your players.

    I had great success in my 3.5 Eberron campaign liberally stealing ideas from the first three God of War games.

    In fact, remember the Steeds of Time? Where Kratos untethered the giant horses and they pulled a whole Island?



    I pretty much stole that whole set-up, but in my game the Valenar steeds pulled an entire Aerenal island temple up from under the ocean depths for my level 20 players to face their final battle as servants of Vol against her Undying sister who was guarding an artifact that would facilitate Vol's final victory and blah blah blah. It was epic!

    I also stole a number of puzzles from that series too! So many.

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  • XagarXagar Registered User regular
    Oh! Also, make them watch "Never Split the Party," the LEGO version, preferably.

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    awsimo wrote: »
    I haven't played D&D since 4e, but watching The C Team has given me the bug again, so I picked up the 5e Starter Set and I'm going to start running my very first campaign.

    Any tips for a newly minted DM? Any and all advice is appreciated. I have a couple people who will be first-time players, so I'm particularly keen on pointers to get newbies involved.

    Besides the already good advice

    -dont roll if the resut is inconsequential. If there is no penalty for failure then you suceed eventually.

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  • italianranmaitalianranma Registered User regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    awsimo wrote: »
    I haven't played D&D since 4e, but watching The C Team has given me the bug again, so I picked up the 5e Starter Set and I'm going to start running my very first campaign.

    Any tips for a newly minted DM? Any and all advice is appreciated. I have a couple people who will be first-time players, so I'm particularly keen on pointers to get newbies involved.

    Besides the already good advice

    -dont roll if the resut is inconsequential. If there is no penalty for failure then you suceed eventually.

    This is fine advice, but I find it helps sometimes to still roll for inconsequential things simply to teach players how dice rolling works and what skills are appropriate when; it provides a baseline consistency. Speaking of consistency I've got two checklists I use for planning and running sessions.
    1. What light source(s) are available: default is everything is brightly lit. Options are indoors or at night with spaced out torches or candles or pitch black (wilderness, dungeons)
    2. What is the current weather*: default is clear/no obscurations. Options are heavy rain (increases Athletics/Acrobatics checks, creates difficult terrain, Advantage on saves v fire, disadvantage on saves v lightning), light mist/fog/smoke (can hide when 30' away, ranged attacks >30' made with disadvantage) or thick mist/fog/smoke (>10' acts as low-light, >30' is totally obscured). *these weather rules are my own personal house rules.
    3. What height differences are there?: default is level terrain. Options are walls, second stories/levels (like the upstairs portion of a tavern a. la Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), pits & pit traps, deep water, steep slopes, and also the stairways, ladders, and ropes to traverse these levels.
    4. What obstacles exit?: default are there are none. Options are tall grass (obscuring terrain), furniture or trees (cover), rubbish heaps (difficult terrain that could be flammable), mud puddles/oil slicks (easier to push/knockdown), or dangerous terrain (poisonous bogs, lava, fire).
    5. What is dynamic in this encounter? default is a static fight to the death. Options are reinforcements, a time limit (in rounds: think glowy sky laser from DC movies), moving/shifting terrain (fighting on boats/trains), a chase scene, or unpredictable third parties.

    I usually pick two or three things from that list for each encounter recognizing that the first two affect ranged combatants more and the second two affect melee combatants more, and usually saving the fifth thing for climatic encounters.

    The second checklist I use often is how I describe a new scene, trying to do so in the most organic way possible:
    1. Transition to the new scene from the previous one via the sounds they hear from this new room. Otherwise start with...
    2. Is it light in here or dark? Where is the light source coming from?
    3. Is there anything moving? I describe the most obvious first (i.e. creatures or large contraptions) down to the most subtle (rat scurrying in the corner)
    4. What obstacles or objects are in the room? I start with the largest and tallest and usually move down from there.
    5. If there are any walls or other partitions, and any visible exits.
    6. what do I hear (if I didn't already describe it) or what sounds have become louder/more pronounced?
    7. what do I smell (starting with pleasant smells and progressing to disgusting).

    If possible I write that all in advance while prepping an adventure so I can just read it off to them. I use my "reading a bed-time story" voice for describing new rooms so the PCs know to shut up and listen until I'm finished. Well, unless I'm going to end the description with "roll initiative," then I put some excitement into it, but I still follow that order.

    The only other advice I have is that games get sour when feelings are hurt, and player feelings generally get hurt when the world doesn't work according to their expectations. So if you're ever confused by a player's action (i.e. "I'm going to tell the constable we're about to commit murder"*), ask them what they hope to accomplish by doing so or what they expect to happen ("Well, he thinks I'm a kooky weirdo anyway so he should just laugh this off but also distract him from looking too closely at what we're about to do"). And then just let the dice roll. The general table of DCs (starting at DC10 = easy) is pretty much my go-to for whatever whacky hijinks.

    *yes this is a real example.

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  • italianranmaitalianranma Registered User regular
    also a huge pet-peeve of mine is hiding important plot information behind Perception, Investigation, Persuasion, or any other rolls. If the PCs need the info to progress the plot, they get that info with the barest of efforts. If they don't know how to ask for this information (because they're new to RPGs or they've become side-tracked and forgotten what they're after) a helpful NPC reminds them to ask or search for it.

    I still make them make Perception rolls, but the result is purely how cool I make their characters sound while finding this info.

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  • NarbusNarbus Registered User regular
    edited March 14
    Re: rolling. The following, swiped from the AngryGM, has smoothed out a ton of issues at my table.

    Players don't ever get to declare they are making a check. Players say what they are doing, and how they are doing it, then the GM adjucates the results. This may involve a dice roll, or maybe not.
    For example, a player does not get to say "i roll to intimidate the guard". The player should say "i want to get the guard to let us in by showing off all my knives while I demand entrance." Then you decide how to resolve that. Maybe it's an intimidation roll. Maybe the guard is secretly a golem and there's just no chance of the intimidation working.

    Which brings us to the second point.If a roll is needed, then there needs to be a chance of success, a chance of failure, and a cost to failure. If you don't have all three, don't roll. It's a waste of time and messes with their sense of agency.

    Narbus on
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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited March 14
    Aside from the example with the guard that's pretty spot on. Better games integrate that right into their DNA from the start.

    Edit: That was a bit harsh there. Unless the guard has no reason to fear being killed the fact he'll be immediately avenged shouldn't stop it. Desiring martyrdom or being magically compulsed would be better examples.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • NarbusNarbus Registered User regular
    Aside from the example with the guard that's pretty spot on. Better games integrate that right into their DNA from the start.

    Edit: That was a bit harsh there. Unless the guard has no reason to fear being killed the fact he'll be immediately avenged shouldn't stop it. Desiring martyrdom or being magically compulsed would be better examples.

    Yeah, good point. I updated it a bit.

  • italianranmaitalianranma Registered User regular
    edited March 14
    I get where that advice is coming from, and I agree with it in a lot of respects and systems, but I think for beginners in D&D it's better to simply stick with the terminology and keep it consistent. The governing rule when players want to affect the world in a significant way (and there is the risk of failure etc.) is that they roll a d20 and add something (which should be predictable to the player) and if they roll high enough they achieve what they want to. So in that above situation (intimidating the guard) I'm not miffed if the player just says they "roll to intimidate." I like to ask how they do that and I want them to describe their actions because that's important and fun for my group, but that's not true for everyone. Some people really just want to play something akin to a tactical board game, and I'm fine with that. But to keep it consistent I usually tell them the DC just prior to their roll so the risks are clear. In that situation, "Ok, but this is going to be a Very Hard roll at DC 25" would be what I say to the player. I'd also probably tell them why in character; "'Oh? You got a few cutters on ya, do ya boy? Well me an' my lads 'ave a few as well. DON'T WE BOYS!' and behind the guard the door opens into a crowded room full of more guards playing cards, smoking, sharpening their weapons, and generally looking surly." Who knows though: maybe that character rolls really high and can achieve the impossible!

    The reason why I disagree with the above advice (i.e. using DM fiat to control player actions) is that the players may get the perception that you railroading them in certain ways. The danger is that if you solely interpret the actions of the PCs (instead of having them explain to you their expected outcomes) there can be a huge mismatch in expectations. For example, in a game I played back in college I had a DM who wouldn't let my character use the Intimidate skill because he felt that my slim roguish character wasn't physically imposing enough to use intimidate in most circumstances, which was 1) not according to the rules as written, and 2) was a big area of frustration for me since I had put a lot of my character's budget into social interaction skills. Now this can work in certain circles, and I think it works better in some games, but generally I find it frustrating as a player and that it leads to arguments.

    edit: aww, you edited your example while I was typing. If it literally is impossible then yeah I might forgo the roll... but I might not. I find that a lot of new players especially closely associate rolling a die with their character taking an action. And if they don't get to roll, the feel as though they didn't get their chance to act.

    italianranma on
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  • NarbusNarbus Registered User regular
    edited March 14
    If you bake this stuff in from the beginning, then you end up missing a lot of the problems you bring up, and a lot more.

    Case in point. Lets say a gnome wants to intimidate an orc. That's what the player wants to do Deciding how to adjudicate this requires you, as the GM, to know the how. if you use your method, then suddenly you have to figure out how a gnome can intimidate an orc. On the face of it, it's not going to work. But your player already rolled and hey its 19 + 4 so here you are. Thats not agency, thats RNG, and that yanks the player out of your game if they realize it or not, because the player rolled. Their done. Now YOU have to find a way to justify it. You're yanking agency away from the player because you're the one figuring out how they do what they do, and you're making a ton of work for yourself.

    Instead consider my way, and now the player states they want to do it by using an illusion spell to make them appear bigger. Or maybe they throw a dagger just along the orc's head. Or any of a number of ways to achieve their goal. The player looked at the tools at hand, and decided how to leverage them to achieve their goal. Thats actual agency.They didn't lean on a lucky roll and make something up after the fact.

    Narbus on
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    I'm of two minds on it, because I have a player who is not good at coming up with arguments, but his character has 20 charisma and deception expertise

    I feel like i'm robbing him of his character's whole deal if I make him rely on only what the player can come up with

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    I'm of two minds on it, because I have a player who is not good at coming up with arguments, but his character has 20 charisma and deception expertise

    I feel like i'm robbing him of his character's whole deal if I make him rely on only what the player can come up with

    Yeah, "I intimidate the orc" is fine for in-person games, though as a DM I'd for a bit of direction on what they're going for.

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  • NarbusNarbus Registered User regular
    I'm of two minds on it, because I have a player who is not good at coming up with arguments, but his character has 20 charisma and deception expertise

    I feel like i'm robbing him of his character's whole deal if I make him rely on only what the player can come up with

    "I want to make the guard leave by lying to him" is a completely legitimate what/how statement. There's no need for the player to do more than that.

    Smrtnikoverride367ElvenshaeitalianranmaTynnan
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    If there are any times in which characters should know things that players do not. Do not hesitate to tell players.(you may wait until it looks like there is a misunderstanding to avoid having to info dump on people).

    But in general, if player assumptions are wrong they're likely make choices against character beliefs or social norms. They will be unhappy if you let them given you could have straightened things out

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