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Felirc
2009-09-22, 11:56 AM
I find myself with an urge for the first time in my life. I wish to DM a D&D game for my friends. Now, I've read all the threads over the years about good DMing, and I'm sure I'll make a mistake or two ("I am going to screw up. Iím probably going to screw up badly. But itís ok and Iím not going to worry about it." =P).

I'm going to be DMing, for the first time, with a group that has never played an RPG before. With this in mind, I'm going back to when I first fell in love with D&D to try and figure out what it was that made me love this hobby.

Unlike, I'm sure, most of you, I was introduced to D&D by the Baldur's Gate series (and still love them very much to this day). So, in an attempt to recapture the feeling of playing through Baldur's Gate for the first time, I'm going to be using 2nd edition Forgotten Realms.

Now that the history is out of the way, what I want from you guys is quite simple. I want to know what's iconic about D&D to you. What was it that made you suddenly love this game?

I know people are different, and everyone is likely to give different answers. But, with my goal being to introduce a bunch of grown men to role-playing, I can't help but wonder what I should add to smooth things along.

So, in addition to what you think makes up the iconic game, I also have one other question. I did not want to start my first game off in a tavern, but upon review of what makes D&D so D&D, I can't help but think it would be a perfect beginning for these players.

For those that have stayed with me through my wall of text, I ask simply:

What was the defining thing about D&D that made you love it so?

and

Should I start my game off in a tavern?

-Felirc-

Vangor
2009-09-22, 12:09 PM
Now that the history is out of the way, what I want from you guys is quite simple. I want to know what's iconic about D&D to you. What was it that made you suddenly love this game?

Beholders. With massive cones of antimagic. Firing disintegrating and petrifying eye lasers. While floating.

Mando Knight
2009-09-22, 12:10 PM
The most iconic bits of D&D are dungeons and dragons. It even got in the title. Make a maze filled with monsters and puzzles, and put a massive monster at the end. Chests that go "do do do dooo!" when the party opens them are optional.

jiriku
2009-09-22, 12:16 PM
A dungeon with a dragon at the end of it is definitely high on my list of classics. A dungeon with lots of monsters, glittery treasures, and a handful of traps is even better.

Dixieboy
2009-09-22, 12:19 PM
Evil wizard tied up in a twoer from wich he prepares to do... something.

To get in you need to go through a cave that leads to a dungeon in which a dragon rests to guard the final door.

Hoard and traps are obviously compulsory.

Elfin
2009-09-22, 12:23 PM
Of course you have to start in a tavern. It would be wrong to not start a new player's first game in a tavern.

The defining thing about D&D for me...that's a tough one.
First, I like the magic items. They're just so danged cool.
Secondly, the monsters. Sure, it's badass to have a gold-hilted adamantine sword encrusted with diamonds that's alight with holy fire, but imagine wielding it against devils, demons, undead monstrosities, and dragons.

Most importantly, though, I like the stories. There's nothing I enjoy more than weaving an epic tale, and when my friends and I are playing the heroes and creating the story together? Hard to beat.

As for an adventure idea, I'd second the dungeon with a dragon at the end.

The Rose Dragon
2009-09-22, 12:25 PM
Iconic D&D?

Having an unsightly system behind it.

Iconic AD&D?

Gnome thief / illusionists. No game is complete without the fast talking crossbow-wielding gnome thief / illusionist.

The nerve of WotC to make the favored class of Gnomes Bard and not Wizard. :smalltongue:

jmbrown
2009-09-22, 12:26 PM
Ironically my love of D&D originally had nothing to do with the game itself or the rules but rather the fact that I was playing in a persistent world with my friends. When one of your buddies kicks down a door springing an acid trap in your face? That's fun. Picking up your friend whose a halfling rogue and tossing him across a chasm so he can backstab the big bad evil guy? That's fun. Creating a diversion by singing and dancing on a table so the wizard can cast a charm on a greedy merchant without drawing attention to the fact he's casting a spell in public? That's fun.

When you get a good group of people who know each other and are mature enough to handle the game the real fun presents itself. The game itself is secondary but a good set of rules undoubtly escalates the amount of fun being had. I've been frustrated, I've threatened to quit, and sometimes I have quite for extended periods of time. But when it comes down to it, a fun roleplaying game is a game you come back to.

To put this in DM terms, let the players do whatever the hell they want. Don't bog them down with rules at the beginning. All of their actions should be answered with yes or no. Make it clear there are consequences but don't spring unfair situations on them because they're ignorant of the finer details of the rules.

In my first game we all played Stupid Evil characters that wouldn't fly in any other DM's table. It wouldn't fly in a more serious game but we had fun. The next game was a serious endeavour and a lot of fun but every few times we manage to group together we go back to playing the stupidly ridiculous farcical games that drove us to the table in the first place.

Doc Roc
2009-09-22, 12:34 PM
Iconic D&D?

Having an unsightly system behind it.

Iconic AD&D?

Gnome thief / illusionists. No game is complete without the fast talking crossbow-wielding gnome thief / illusionist.

The nerve of WotC to make the favored class of Gnomes Bard and not Wizard. :smalltongue:

One of these days, you're going to say nice things about some 'haus other than white wolf, and I'm literally not going to know what to do.
Make that day soon. :smallbiggrin:

Hadrian_Emrys
2009-09-22, 12:34 PM
jmbrown has it right. With new players, a game is best run simply and almost free-form. Let the players run around the sandbox and watch as the story unfolds simply from their actions. The trick is to be fact on your feet, and bs when you need to. When they tire of causing trouble, have that massive dungeon hook waiting for them in the starting tavern.

The Rose Dragon
2009-09-22, 12:45 PM
One of these days, you're going to say nice things about some 'haus other than white wolf, and I'm literally not going to know what to do.
Make that day soon. :smallbiggrin:

You mean like the nice things I said about TSR, Eden Studios, Green Ronin and pretty much everyone but WotC? :smalltongue:

Vangor
2009-09-22, 12:45 PM
Should I start my game off in a tavern?

Forgot about this. We establish in our campaigns a few basic methods of the beginning. We are either in a tavern, lost our memory, on a caravan, or in prison.

Taverns are fantastic because players are immediately thrown into a location with people of varying social standings, persistent discussion to be listened in on, an easy in to most tables what with purchasing alcohol, and often connected to an inn to establish a base of operations. Quests are allowed to progress anywhere, and the characters are in a hub to receive the first few in order to foray into the city or countryside.

Loss of memory is a fairly simplistic story telling method, but creates an absolute sense of being lost with a necessity of exploration. Useful for stories which can be told without infodumps, and has a bonus of demanding characters make sense of the visual cues. One unifying quest works well, and being mysteriously brought to a locale speaks of significant power, which is exciting.

Caravans give an obvious quest to the party, the chance to mingle and establish themselves as individual adventurers banding together, as well as learn from the NPCs about the area. Has the added bonus of not only giving the quest to the adventurers but the motives to the NPCs, and for people who enjoy social aspects of d&d but maybe lack direction this is a significant boon.

Prisons are often for action oriented groups. I don't mean hack and slash types necessarily, but people who want progression in a session. The quest is obvious, to escap, and the motives of the NPCs are clearly defined, to stop or assist (for other prisoners). Everyone has significant roles to play. Gives opportunity for various story elements of being simply told or shown, and subsequent returns can be made.

Any of those four should be good ways of starting a campaign. In terms of socializing, taverns are terrific while amnesia probably lacks. In terms of action, prisons are terrific while taverns probably lack. In terms of exploration, amnesia is terrific while caravans probably lack. In terms of direction, caravans are terrific while taverns are the lowest but shouldn't lack.

Not hard and fast rules by any means, but play to the style of the party.

Doc Roc
2009-09-22, 12:55 PM
You mean like the nice things I said about TSR, Eden Studios, Green Ronin and pretty much everyone but WotC? :smalltongue:

Hehehe, Jaja. It's true. I just couldn't help poking at you.

msully4321
2009-09-22, 12:56 PM
Yes, you should start in a tavern. If you are going for "iconic", starting in a tavern is a must.

Also, I second the suggestion for "dungeons and dragons". Especially dragons. You can't go wrong with dragons.

The Rose Dragon
2009-09-22, 12:57 PM
Hehehe, Jaja. It's true. I just couldn't help poking at you.

The good part is, I'm justified in it this time, since the first post explicitly says "Second Edition", which is not D&D, but AD&D.

PairO'Dice Lost
2009-09-22, 02:52 PM
If at all possible, the main bad guy(s) should be an iconic D&D monster other than a dragon--illithid, beholder, bunch of drow, whatever, just make it something unique to D&D. Then have a young-ish dragon as its minion. This lets you introduce iconic monsters but still have the dragon to fulfill the &D promise

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-09-22, 02:56 PM
Elf chicks.

BobTheDog
2009-09-22, 03:11 PM
A tavern. A scream. A crapload of zombies. :smallbiggrin:

Starbuck_II
2009-09-22, 03:11 PM
Looting the body.
Plus how sleeping people are (always) willing.

Zincorium
2009-09-22, 03:42 PM
For me:

1. A wizard did it. There are all sorts of weird and unexplained things roaming about/built on places they really shouldn't be. The PCs expectations should be challenged constantly.

2. Story. While it's got a very bad, and not undeserved, reputation, Railroading PCs to take part in the plot was both tradition and expectation in the games I grew up in. The PCs doing unexpected things was encouraged, their ignoring of the plot hooks was answered with ninjas.

3. Heroism. In other words, Dare to be stupid. Jokes aside, attacking the Dread Gazebo is a paradigm. If something seems strange, or dangerous, it should be purged with steel and fire, even if the off-chance exists that it's friendly. Black and white, red vs. blue mentality rules the day.

4. Ask the DM. If what you want is not explicitly allowed, just ask your DM, usually with a really cool reason why you want it. Good DMs will work with their players to keep them happy for relatively trivial work. And I personally would rather see a verbeeg tempest than dwarven fighter 3294734.

Paulus
2009-09-22, 03:50 PM
Here is what you do. You get a group with a thief, tank, spellcaster, and healer. Then, you kick down the door, unleash firey Armageddon, halve anything in the way with your sword then halve it again, while being pumped full of righteous divine power, save the princess, rescue the town, wait with tension as the thief picks the lock to the expensive treasure... collect treasure, return to the town you just saved for fanfare, hero worship, and loving appreciation from the King himself and then... realize it was only the beginning! For the great Dragon of Rage and Hate waits upon a mystical mountain top plotting to end the very world and only YOU can stop it! Can you handle the challenge? CAN YOU SAVE THE WORLD!?


But. that's just me.

Korivan
2009-09-22, 04:04 PM
I know exactly where you're coming from. I too started with the Baldur's Gate series. Still amongst my favorit PC game ever. DnD pen and paper we started at 2nd edition.

What I've always loved about DnD is that no matter what, no game was ever the same. Sometimes we started out as slaves, others as childhood freinds just heading out of town. We would start our own fortresses and turn them into towns, or act as mercinary's and hire ourselves out all across the continent.

Though in my honost opinion, 3rd beats out 2nd by a longshot. Just becase the amount of options for character chreation is immense. That, and we had some really bad players that almost left a bad taste for ALL RPGs. We left them behind in 2nd and switched to 3rd.

bosssmiley
2009-09-22, 04:47 PM
In general: this (http://www.goblinoidgames.com/labyrinthlord.html)

In particular:
"Loot the bodies!"
Ten foot square all-masonry corridors.
Nonsensical dungeon ecologies.
Backstabbing.
Trapped everything! (chests, statues, plinths, doors, mirrors, etc.)
Save vs wacky $#!% (death, petrifaction, wands, death rays?!)

HCL
2009-09-22, 05:02 PM
Humans dwarves elves hobbits halforcs and gnomes. And the gnomes have pointy hats

Ledeas
2009-09-22, 08:51 PM
I find myself with an urge for the first time in my life.

Now that the history is out of the way, what I want from you guys is quite simple. I want to know what's iconic about D&D to you. What was it that made you suddenly love this game?
I know people are different, and everyone is likely to give different answers. But, with my goal being to introduce a bunch of grown men to role-playing, I can't help but wonder what I should add to smooth things along.
What was the defining thing about D&D that made you love it so?

and

Should I start my game off in a tavern?

-Felirc-

My best friend and I starte role playing in 1992. We still play 2nd ed.
My first wife and I met through D&D (her a Halfling Cleric, me the DM)
My Daughter is getting ready to start playing.

The thing that makes this game the best game ever (for me), what makes D&D stick out (for me) is the friendships between the players.

I would suggest you put them all together in service to a Lord allready OR start them off as childhood friends that have gone off and returned (al a Dragonlance)

Time is your next ally. 3 years of playing and these people will have silly gameing stories that we all have.

I hope the campaign has gone well for you.

Edit: Grown men...mostly add beer. If you have someone that loves to cook, throw in a meal.

taltamir
2009-09-22, 08:57 PM
Drow, Dragons, Mind flayers, and Beholders are as Iconic as you get methinks. :)

Mark Hall
2009-09-23, 09:35 AM
For me, the Iconic beginning adventure is Keep on the Borderlands. While I don't recall any dragons, there's tons of humanoids, evil priests, and bandits. The humanoids have relationships with each other and the priests, so you can either do kick-in-the-door style or you can use these things to your advantage.

Last time I ran, there was a ranger, a monk, a fighter/cleric, and an illusionist. They TRASHED the bandits, then swung into the Caves of Chaos and went straight for the priests (who the bandits were helping to supply, I decided).

Felirc
2009-09-23, 01:35 PM
Wow, 26 replies in one day. O.o Guess I'll just have to start from the top. :smalltongue:



Beholders. With massive cones of antimagic. Firing disintegrating and petrifying eye lasers. While floating.

Something about your Avatar makes me not all that surprised to hear this. =P


The most iconic bits of D&D are dungeons and dragons. It even got in the title. Make a maze filled with monsters and puzzles, and put a massive monster at the end.

A dungeon with a dragon at the end of it is definitely high on my list of classics. A dungeon with lots of monsters, glittery treasures, and a handful of traps is even better.

I've worked out how to get them into the first dungeon, here's hoping they enjoy a little hack & slash with their role-play. =P


Chests that go "do do do dooo!" when the party opens them are optional.

I couldn't help but chuckle at this. =P


Evil wizard tied up in a twoer from wich he prepares to do... something.

To get in you need to go through a cave that leads to a dungeon in which a dragon rests to guard the final door.

Hoard and traps are obviously compulsory.

I thought about going the tower route for my dungeon, but the area I've chosen just doesn't work for it. =\ I'm also wondering if there should be a hoard of money, or should I give them a smaller reward and let the NPCs show some nice appreciation.


The defining thing about D&D for me...that's is a tough one.
First, I like the magic items. They're just so danged cool.

Liberal sprinkling of magic gear, check! =P


Most importantly, though, I like the stories. There's nothing I enjoy more than weaving an epic tale, and when my friends and I are playing the heroes and creating the story together? Hard to beat.

While I agree that stories are paramount, I'm tempted to start off a little light on some of that, just while they get the hang of things. I mean, if they had role-played before with a different system I think it would work better, but I imagine that they're going to feel kinda awkward at first and that doesn't contribute well to an epic tale.


Iconic D&D?

Having an unsightly system behind it.

I've spent years collecting different systems, and I can't help but agree. Still, there's something comforting about the unwieldy-ness of it all. =P


Gnome thief / illusionists. No game is complete without the fast talking crossbow-wielding gnome thief / illusionist.

The nerve of WotC to make the favored class of Gnomes Bard and not Wizard.

And turnips, we must not forget those! =P


To put this in DM terms, let the players do whatever the hell they want. Don't bog them down with rules at the beginning. All of their actions should be answered with yes or no. Make it clear there are consequences but don't spring unfair situations on them because they're ignorant of the finer details of the rules.

I don't think I'll have too much of a problem with such things, I did spend several years only RPing in a rules light/non existant system. =P


Forgot about this. We establish in our campaigns a few basic methods of the beginning. We are either in a tavern, lost our memory, on a caravan, or in prison.

Oh, I can think of tons of ways to start a campaign. It was more along the lines of an iconic D&D location to start an adventure, I feel I'd be almost remiss in my duties as a DM to not start new characters there. =P


Yes, you should start in a tavern. If you are going for "iconic", starting in a tavern is a must.

That's what I figured. =P


The good part is, I'm justified in it this time, since the first post explicitly says "Second Edition", which is not D&D, but AD&D.

I tend to agree (about WotC), but I've always had a soft spot for AD&D, so I might not be a fair judge. =P


If at all possible, the main bad guy(s) should be an iconic D&D monster other than a dragon--illithid, beholder, bunch of drow, whatever, just make it something unique to D&D. Then have a young-ish dragon as its minion. This lets you introduce iconic monsters but still have the dragon to fulfill the &D promise

Since so many people have recommended dragons, I figured I'll try to answer you all at once. While I would love to include most of these in the first adventure, almost everything listed is rather high level (certainly far beyond a level 1 party).

I mean, I could add a dragon into the first dungeon or so, but I think that might take some of the fear out of their first encounter with such a thing. I want them to feel generally confidant about how they're doing before I throw in things like dragons and beholders.

However, as I do agree that iconic enemies are very important, I think I'll throw some of the iconic bad guys from the forgotten realms at them. I'm leaning towards the Zhentarim at the moment, but I might go for some Red Wizards. Of course, there will be plenty of Goblins and Kobolds for good measure as well.


A tavern. A scream. A crapload of zombies.

I never really go into D&D zombies, too little brain eating for my taste (AFMBE on the other hand...).


Plus how sleeping people are (always) willing.

=P


4. Ask the DM. If what you want is not explicitly allowed, just ask your DM, usually with a really cool reason why you want it. Good DMs will work with their players to keep them happy for relatively trivial work.

This is one of the main reasons I want to start them off with second edition. In third it's a matter of digging through the 20 or so books that I have to find something appropriate. However, with second edition, I'll gladly work with them to try to give them what they want. I figure it'll help them spend more time thinking about their character rather than trying to dig through rules they don't understand yet.

There's just something nice about a lighter rules system when it comes to DMing. =P


I know exactly where you're coming from. I too started with the Baldur's Gate series. Still amongst my favorit PC game ever.

Glad to see I'm not alone. =D


Though in my honost opinion, 3rd beats out 2nd by a longshot. Just becase the amount of options for character chreation is immense.

That's actually one of the main reasons I decided against it. I'm a sucker for rules systems, the more complicated the better. At the same time, however, I realise that most of my friends aren't. With this in mind, I'd rather give them something with less character options and a little more DM intervention for their introduction.


In particular:

* "Loot the bodies!"
* Ten foot square all-masonry corridors.
* Nonsensical dungeon ecologies.
* Backstabbing.
* Trapped everything! (chests, statues, plinths, doors, mirrors, etc.)
* Save vs wacky $#!% (death, petrifaction, wands, death rays?!)


*Cackles evily at the traps he places on litterally everything*. =P


And the gnomes have pointy hats

=P


I would suggest you put them all together in service to a Lord allready OR start them off as childhood friends that have gone off and returned (al a Dragonlance)

Well, this is going to somewhat depend on them. I'll have them getting together to make characters (hopefully) sometime next week.


Edit: Grown men...mostly add beer. If you have someone that loves to cook, throw in a meal.

I would love to, unfortunately given our current space issues we're going to be using a FLGS for at least the first couple months. =\


For me, the Iconic beginning adventure is Keep on the Borderlands. While I don't recall any dragons, there's tons of humanoids, evil priests, and bandits. The humanoids have relationships with each other and the priests, so you can either do kick-in-the-door style or you can use these things to your advantage.

I've actually never played in a premade adventure, so I'm a little bit at a loss to your references. However I do intend to try and make all my opposing groups seem like they could be real people, you know with reasons for doing what they do. =P

Okay, if anyone actually read all of that, I'm impressed. =P Please forgive any mistakes, it was a rather long post and I don't really have time to go over looking for any typos or anything.

I'd like to thank everyone for their answers (and feel free to contribute more if anyone can think of anything.). If I didn't reply to anyone, I'm sorry I must have accidently skipped over you while writing this up.

-Felirc-

The Rose Dragon
2009-09-23, 02:26 PM
And turnips, we must not forget those! =P

...Neelish Troick never had any turnips.

He did have a cat familiar who kicked ass, though.

BobTheDog
2009-09-23, 02:33 PM
I never really go into D&D zombies, too little brain eating for my taste (AFMBE on the other hand...).

Make it ghouls, then. Though since you're using 2e I guess ghouls wouldn't be a very "welcoming" first fight... :smalleek:

Yora
2009-09-23, 02:35 PM
I just got a copy of True20 into my hands. And it soon made me think "Why've I been into the "D&D iconism" all these years?"

Custom ordered weapons from the magical smith down the street; a box full of potions in the luggage; Demon Lords from Hell residing in more or less random caves to gain 12 followers; Wizards that will teleport you back to your home city (please make an appointment); village priest that can cure severed heads (no appointment required)...
Not that it's a bad thing, but now that I'm getting older (with 25 I'm practically retirement age) I've getting a growing interest in types of fantasy, where "less is more".

gdiddy
2009-09-23, 02:55 PM
The moment that sold me on DnD was the first game I ever played in that broke the DM's plan.

I was playing a tourney knight (a elite array unoptimized guy that I had been given as a starter character) who was supposed to be the rational lawful good character. Someone was insulting a woman who was a guest of my lord at court. Without warning the DM, I challenged the jokester to a duel at dawn and killed what was supposed to be a persistent bad guy entirely by playing in character. He was 5 levels higher by me, I just crit a bunch of times over the course of the fight. He was like an XP and magic-item filled piŮata.

It was just a moment where the game made sense suddenly. The dice, the characters, and the story meshed up perfectly. It was why people play. I didn't kill the bad guy. The bad guy got himself killed by mouthing off in front of people with honor and who defend the honor of others.

Flying Dutchman
2009-09-23, 03:20 PM
#1 undead, espeically skelatons

#2 sweet weapons

#3 puzzels, Good puzzels make everything awsome

SimperingToad
2009-09-23, 07:21 PM
The thing that hooked me was the imagination of it all. I first played the Holmes edition. Here we were, playing characters (with no names back then, just 'my cleric', 'my fighter', etc.) who delve into dangerous situations, usually underground, wielding swords, spears, and spells to trounce the baddies, be they orcs, skeletons, or gobbos. For a bunch of nine-eleven year-olds, this was the height of cool. It still is.

Another thing is, if we didn't fully comprehend something, we could make it up as we went along. Freeform. But then, we sometimes houseruled games like Monopoly, too. :smallbiggrin:

Ledeas
2009-09-23, 09:15 PM
He was like an XP and magic-item filled piŮata.

That sir is an Iconic D&D moment all by itself.