View Full Version : [3.5] DM'ing need some help

Ricky S
2008-12-29, 05:35 AM
Ok so my group doesnt like dming so we have decided to have a 5 session campaign then switch dm and start a new one. So each of our sessions are about 4 hours and I was wondering what level I should play at and whether anyone has some good gaming ideas. This will also be my first time DMing so I dont want to be boring at all. Any ideas on what I should do? There are ususally 3 or 4 players depending so its generally a normal four party group. Im not a complete noob though so i dont need basic rules just so ideas, you know what I mean (Or maybe you dont)

2008-12-29, 06:09 AM
5 room dungeons are your friends:

Example dungeons:

Just keep in mind that it doesn't have to be a dungeon, "5 scene adventure" might be an equally well fitting name.

Level range, hm... I'd say 3-9 is pretty easy to master. Below that the players die too easily, above that chances are that the players options will overwhelm you.

General tips: Just make sure all are having fun. Don't try to beat them. They want a couple of hours fun, so make sure each of them has a moment of awesome :)

2008-12-29, 06:10 AM
Why not tag-team DM'ing duties. Each runs for 5 sessions on a rotational basis, but collectively you build a campaign? This can be really interesting, seeing where other DM's take ideas that you come up with and vice versa.

As to your questions, you're kind of not providing a lot of information. What exactly are you interested in running? What do your players want from the game?

Level that you should run is completely up to the group to work out if it's going to be a one-off short adventure any level can be fine. I've run short adventures for levels 2 through to 30. It comes down to what you want to achieve at the end of the day (adventure). The higher the level of the characters, I suggest pre-generating characters, as power curves can vastly differ and with a short adventure, you need to ensure that the characters can a) survive or have a chance of survival and b) have the skills necessary to match what you need them to,... ie if you're going to have the adventure in a Dungeon covered by a Dead Magic zone, you'll need characters that can open locks, disarm traps etc.

Short games can apply themselves equally well to tragic, futile games or super heroic save the world games. You need to decide what you're going to do.

Ricky S
2008-12-29, 07:07 AM
Oh sozzle, more info. well it generally an equal mix of hack n slash and rping. So I was thinking along the lines of having some sort of murder or puzzle that leads through a city and then in dungeons/sewers, with a big showdown and boss. I think I will probably have 5th level as the campaign. although i might do 6th so they can have one level of prestige classes. What would be the appropriate amount of monsters for a single session? or should i just have multiple of the same with a couple of elite monsters to toughen things up. anyway there will be a BBEG in the dungeon

Sir Giacomo
2008-12-29, 07:24 AM
Since the time schedule is fairly tight, the plot should not get too complicated, and you said some hackn'slash would be OK, you could try to do it this way:

Try some sort of "arena" scenario in a city.

The setting: the group of 5th level adventurers has been captured/enslaved/whatever and starts the "adventure" in a pit fight as gladiators. The thieves' guild leader is providing this sort of "entertainment" to the wealthy and powerful of the city.

Basically, for each of the five sessions, you'll put up a different kind of enemy in the arena, increasingly difficult (to create suspense). At the end of the fifth fight, the party will be considered a winner, with their freedom the reward.

This way, you can keep things very simple. The pcs should realise that the arena and their cells are heavily guarded, also by magic, so that escape through other means is not an option (in case of enough spare time, though, you can have them attempt it).

Each session, the arena will be set up with different traps (remember the gladiator movie?) and oddities that make the combat more unpredictable.

Then, simply use the DMG encounter guidelines, or even simpler, with the srd monsters use the encounter calculator of penpaperpixel.org (http://www.penpaperpixel.org/tools/d20encountercalculator.htm)

So, for instance, you could in the first session put up enemy creatures of CR 5 (in case of a fifth level group). And in the final session, there could be a whole npc group of the same level.

For atmosphere, you can insert some npc interactions with fellow gladiators (maybe some become the pc friends, but will die lateron or actually have to fight them in the finals or whatever). Plus the usual "Roman arena" atmosphere, complete with the "morituri te salutant" and the Hollywood thumbs up/down stuff.

- Giacomo

Ricky S
2008-12-29, 08:07 AM
Ok thats a pretty cool idea. I think i might do that for my dm session. maybe tweak things a little but sounds really good to me. also thanks for the links and ill suggest the tag teaming to my fellow gamers

2008-12-29, 08:10 AM
Just keep in mind that divination magic can spoil the fun in murder mysteries, and that spoiling divination might spoil the fun for the players.

Something I like to do with a newer group is this:
Group gets hired by an obviously good guy (cleric of a good god or some organization affiliated with the church of a good god, something like that). Job is to spy on an evil sect and get the holy mcguffin of truth from them. This involves finding the sect, their hideouts, finding a good strategy to get in and retrieve the McGuffin, etc. He might insist on no blood shed.

They do their job, get some reward, etc.
Next session: They are told that Mr. GoodGuy wants to see them in an urgent manner @ some official place they haven't met with GoodGuy before. Party gets there to find out that the Mr. GoodGuy there isn't the one that hired them before. This one is the real deal, and he tells them either that a) some gang of bandits has robbed him of the Holy McGuffin and that he really needs it back because it could be used for Great Evil (tm) in the wrong hands or b) that he knows they were fooled by Mr. NotTheGoodGuy and he gives them a chance to redeem them self.
If they killed somebody, they might also be charged with the resurrection costs (make sure that they find enough money to cover that, though).

And from here your options are endless, since Mr. NotTheGoodGuy might just be a figurehead for some EvilOrganization. Which autmatically gives your group a nemesis and allows you to create some sort of coherent story (fight evil organization).