View Full Version : Training room for new players 3.5

2009-08-01, 12:58 PM
I have a few new players to the game. They are used to video games with tutorials teaching them how to play, not reading a book filled with rules. we tried the learn as we go approach, but it's detracting from the fun of the game, so I had the idea of a training room where they can practice various aspects of D&D like: abilities, modifiers and when to use them, skill checks, combat (breaking it down to round by round and second by second, including ALL the different tactical actions and how to do them), how to use equipment, and how to level up.

Before I went crazy trying to develop this, I asked the 3 new players if they are interested and they were. We have set up time outside of the normal game to do this.

Has this been done before? Has anyone made a room like this before? Any ideas? tips?

Jair Barik
2009-08-01, 01:12 PM
If you have Neverwinter nights look at the first area of that, it makes a good example of a D&D tutorial.

Basically have NPC's to interact with, training manikins to bash up, harmless traps to disarm and locks to pick...

2009-08-01, 01:18 PM
For a more "fluff" kind of angle to use for this situation is have your players find a homemade magical item that transports them to a demiplane (more like a curse) and they can't get back to their home world until they complete a set number of tasks. Kind of leads into a low level dungeon with really low challenges that will help them understand mechanics with no immediate threat.

Tempest Fennac
2009-08-01, 01:25 PM
I agree with Bagel's idea (I tend to learn best from doing things to be honest).

2009-08-01, 01:28 PM
Piggybacking off of the NWN idea, what about a custom spell used by a NPC wizard that transports the PCs' minds to a training facility? Kinda like The Matrix, only with magic instead of robots.

Totally Guy
2009-08-01, 01:29 PM
The problem with the concept of a training room is that only a completed character can use it. There's more learning in creating the character than there is in playing it.

Maybe you could have each character as a level 1 commoner with all 10s do a mini adventure. The climax of this is that they are transformed into a level 1 player character. But then you might as well teach it like normal.

How did you learn? Just let them do it and let them make mistakes. Allow them to fix the mistakes once they notice they've made one and why.

2009-08-01, 01:30 PM
If you don't want to use Bagel's idea, I think you could fluff it as the PCs' "basic training," administered by a guild they're all part of, an exploration company they're trying to join, or a military unit they've been drafted into. Not only does it get around the "how do you know each other again?" thing, but it provides a training center that actually fits into the story.

I do like the idea of making it sort of a short dungeon crawl. They have to start out with a small "combat" vs. some non-lethal summoned creatures/illusions (teaches combat rules, etc.), a trapped and locked door that deals 1 point of nonlethal damage when triggered (for exploration dangers, skills), a section with climbing ropes or something (for non-Rogue skills), and at the end a short real combat vs. their instructor, which isn't LETHAL but still dangerous (i.e., they could still get knocked out, etc.).

Berserk Monk
2009-08-01, 09:10 PM
My brother just showed me the grid one day, explained movement, attack rolls, and the rest of the basics. I would advise just starting off with mostly roleplaying and low-level challenges for a awhile.

2009-08-01, 11:05 PM
Hmmm, I've been thinking about doing something like this modeled after CoD4 training.

Well, you'd have to start right from the get go, play it just like Mass effect or something. Asks them what have for a concept, what they want to be, and work from there, giving information and advice on feats and such.

Then do a mock dungeon, and include fun things. Have a voice or writing telling them what to do ("HIT THE TARGETS!" "RUN DOWN THE STAIRS" "JUMP!" "OVER THE TOP!") and describe the effects of their mechanics. Have some weak traps, like one that attempts to trip them, and explain what just happened.

Have some fun with it, and include some things like ranged weapons, effective cover and other things like bullrushing. All dependent on the character, of course. But by making it an obstacle course, you can reset it every time, and even time it to see what is the best time they can do it in in rounds. Might get two runs of it through, and it would give them a good handle of how the characters feel.

Now, that would give them some idea of how the combat mechanics work, as well as skill checks. But RP, that's up to you to provoke, and should come to them naturally after a bit.

Edit: Heck, maybe toss your other players through it to see how they handle it, and which character would hold the record. Would make it an interesting event if more players joined later

2009-08-01, 11:26 PM
Most of the level one modules for free on the wizards' site actually probably qualify for this.

A Dark and Stormy Knight. Burning Plague. A Wreck Ashore(?)

...Though having someone's grandma appear as a ghost to tell them to "Search for traps, Pookie!" (http://www.urealms.com/episodes/trailer1.html) and then to "Search for invisible traps Pookie!" (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/unforgotten-realms/49-Episode-One-The-Remaking-of-Heroes) would be pretty awesome.

And basically an adventurer's guild/camp/school giving lessons is another alternative. haha.

2009-08-02, 12:24 AM
I normally just help them stat out.
then at the end of that session run a single fight.
eg get mugged by bandits.

Youy could do the classic game tutorial.
but that would just mean that the wizard has once killed an insect with a crosbow.
has once picked a lock.
and your fullsword weilding warblade, has once used a dagger. and *SHock horror* a shield!
But after that he'ld go back to gutting kobolds with magic missle anyway.
or doing a manover and swinging his massive sword over his head before, cuttign a goblin in twain.

I say just play, preferable from lvl 1

Tempest Fennac
2009-08-02, 12:41 AM
I second Coidzor's grandma idea due to being a huge Unforgotten Realms fan. :smalltongue: Starting them off as Commoners with 10 for everything sounds dull (I tend to ask new players about the sort of race and class they want to have before making suggestions for how to make a character as strong as possible*).

*For instance, if someone said they wanted to be a humanoid wolf character with close ties to nature, I'd suggest a Lupin Ranger or Shapeshifter Druid (normal Druids are probably a bit too complicated for most new players).

2009-08-02, 02:15 AM
^: :smallbiggrin: danke Tempest.

ooo! ooo! ooo! You could have the tutorial sequence be part of an "It was all a dream!" foreshadowing something in the plot or an area where they'll have to go.

And maybe when they come into the area for realz they'll find some subtle-to-blatantly-obvious hints that maybe it wasn't just a dream...

Or possibly pull a Lufia II Intro where they play out a final showdown with the BBEG before transitioning to their actual characters....nah...

Another idea is to have them basically being lead by an annoying DMPC who is basically ordering them around as their CO in some kind of environment and then once they reach the end, have him turn out to be evil or something so they get the satisfaction of having a boss fight against him.

Possibly you discover evidence in the cavern that he's one of the goblins which has somehow infiltrated the regiment or whatever... Hmm, I should probably think about that and express it better.... ah well.

2009-08-02, 10:06 AM
We haven't done a training room per se, but we've had training missions. It'll be a one shot game with pre written characters. It's kinda half way between learn as you go and a training room. Just make sure you cram most of the mechanics into one night's worth of game.

2009-08-02, 10:20 AM
My first DM actually ran something like this.

We had three "new" players, including myself. The DM essentially set us against three kobolds and told us how to do things such as charge, attack, and roll saving throws.

The most memorable part was for Will saves when a dragon showed up and said "Boo."