View Full Version : Help with Group of Complete Novices IRL

2009-10-09, 10:56 AM
So, a group of people approached me to ask about starting a D&D game. They have no virtually no experience with RPGs, and the little they do is mainly in 4.0. Since I exclusively play 3.5, any suggestions on how to introduce them to the game without scaring them off?

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-10-09, 10:57 AM
Throw OotS at them and make them desire to play 3.5e?

Mando Knight
2009-10-09, 11:03 AM
2 Questions:

1.) Why do you play 3.5 exclusively?
2.) Why do the others have only 4e experience?

2009-10-09, 12:14 PM
Everyone makes out like 3.5 is this big scary thing to learn. Don't throw the entire book collection at them at once, and it'll be okay.

See if you can find a low-level, short adventure to run them through, then help them build characters using the core books only. Start off with one session where you do nothing but build characters. Go over the rules, provide some advice on feats and skills, stuff like that. One very important thing to do, though: let them actually build the character. First group I was in, I never really learned how to build a character because the other players always did it for me. Not good. Provide guidance and help, but let them do the actual work and decision-making. If you plan on doing any amount of roleplay, nudge them in the direction of thinking about their character's backstory and personality and whatnot while they're building.

Then run them through the adventure! If they're already into D&D, well, the rest will probably be history. Good luck!

2009-10-09, 12:48 PM
1.Help them build their characters and give them 'simple-to-play' classes to start. Dragonfire Adept and Warlock are great for this, as its hard to muck them up. ToB classes with single discipline access work ok too(not stone dragon or desert wind, or white raven in a low melee group). (Oh, you want to play a monk type character? Here's a setting sun swordsage. You want to play a pyro? Here's a dragonfire adept. Etc, etc.)

2.Use higher point buys, low CRs, and about L5-L10. Any higher level, and too much experience is required to play well, too much lower, and the game is too lethal for newbies(The cat just killed me, WTF!?!?).

3.Make sure all the roles are covered. Specifically, knowledge-monkey, skill-monkey, utility caster, party face, healbot, batman, tank, and glass cannon. If you lack the players to do this normally, use gestalt, cohorts, or multiple PCs per player.

4.Seconding the OotS, but also include Goblins - Life through their eyes. You'll have them chomping the bits after they read them through.

5.First time players would rather face 6-8 CR 4s than 4 CR 6s(at least I would). Threatening with more numbers rather than more power makes it easier for the players to assess 'challenging' from 'dangerous'. (Three of those guys were a pain, and now there's 12 of them? We better run!)

6.Make sure they have regular successes. Failing or struggling of the first 90% of a story might work in fiction, but it isn't nearly as fun in roleplaying. Start with short adventures, that are easily and quickly completed, and slowly elongate to taste.

2009-10-09, 01:34 PM
So, a group of people approached me to ask about starting a D&D game. They have no virtually no experience with RPGs, and the little they do is mainly in 4.0. Since I exclusively play 3.5, any suggestions on how to introduce them to the game without scaring them off?

Tomb of Horrors.

2009-10-09, 01:52 PM
So, a group of people approached me to ask about starting a D&D game. They have no virtually no experience with RPGs, and the little they do is mainly in 4.0. Since I exclusively play 3.5, any suggestions on how to introduce them to the game without scaring them off?

Other than a few encounters in which the monsters have absurdly high AC, Paizo's Rise of the Runelords is a good module series. It starts at first level and gradually ramps up the difficulty while leaving ways for the PCs to escape. I'm running it now and it seems to work pretty well for newer players.

2009-10-09, 01:55 PM
When I started playing there were three of us and none of us had played before, but the DM had a lot of experience. He started us with Age of Worms and it was awesome, albeit very very challenging for us.

2009-10-09, 02:05 PM
Being a new player myself and having joined a 3.5 game where I meant to join 4E, my experience might help you out a little:

First off, 3.5E isn’t really that bad in comparison to 4E. The intimidating thing is always going to be the sheer number of books/options available that can cause some fairly serious trouble in the brain if you intend to look up all of it at once. I know I was scared. But when I showed up for the game, I was sat down, given the player’s handbook and a few other pieces of info, and had one of the “character creator” experts in the group sitting with me to help me out and teach me the basics. It was incredibly helpful. Be there to help them with calculating stats/bonuses/AC, etc. etc.

Run a low level game (preferably at level one!). Part of the difficulty I had in creating a character was the fact that I was starting at level 4, which meant I wanted to have some kind of idea of what I was doing with the character himself. It wasn’t easy. If you start them off at level one and then give them some easier encounters/events to get them a few levels quickly as they settle into their characters, they’ll not only have a bit more fun, they’ll get a real feel for their characters and start to actually learn what they’re doing.

Rhiannon’s advice is exactly the type of situation that would appeal to me and can really help new players grow. Don’t give them all the books at once. Once they’ve started learning the system, they’ll seek them out on their own (but be sure to help them!)

Above all, be awesome, be a little lenient, and be willing to deal with headaches. (“Why do you keep power-attacking with a one-handed weapon when you keep missing?” “Because when it connects I want to take his head off!”)

2009-10-09, 05:47 PM
Tomb of Horrors.

You fiend!

Thinking of that though...I wonder if ToH will be updated to 4.0.

Anyway, back on topic: I think Godskook may have it right, but my gut is to keep it even lower level than that, as even at lvl 5 there are a lot of options available, and it can be very confusing to new players. Because they've played 4th edition, it may not be as bad as totally new players, but it wouldn't hurt to be cautious.

2009-10-09, 06:13 PM
I'd say if you want to introduce people to 3.5 and get them comfortable with the system just go core. Core classes and core rules. Allow the core prestige classes from the DMG to let them get used to that aspect.

I would say AVOID more then the core books for the first time around, especially things like ToB, which either people love or hate (Full disclosure: I'm much in the hate category). The crazy amount of supplemental material is what may turn off new 3.5 players. Let them learn the system and don't intimidate them with tons of unnecessary fluff, and the tons of non-core rules. That can come later after they know the core system.

2009-10-09, 07:47 PM
Temple of Elemental Evil isn't bad though you'd have to update it to 3.5.

Really, you need to think about what kind of genre you want?
Kick in the door: hack/slash
Fantasy action

Heck, you could easily run 4th edition modules/adventures on 3.5.

Keep on the shadowfell can be converted to 3.5 easily. If they only played it; just change certain parts.

Another free one is Wizard/s Amulet (although you need to modify it as it assumes you have either a Sorc/Wizard and the mentor)

Burning Plague isn't bad from experience.

Something's Cooking has a Calzone golem:

Either way, I'd start then off as 2nd level. 1st is very hard on survival. 3rd is good, but any higher and they'll have too many choices (feats/spell is caster)

2009-10-09, 07:57 PM
it is hard enough to find time to play, i am absolutely disgusted by the sheer amount of hours i am spending studying 3.5 between sessions. And it looks like there is no end is sight... it seems to stem from WOTC policy of making a million books (And then obsoleting them) rather then making simple flexible generic rules (I read the gurps core book and fell in love... one book has more content then 20 wotc books).

Anyways... what do you actually have against 4.0 specifically?

To those suggesting "campaigns" or comics... those are called plots not mechanics. They have absolutely nothing to do with edition... You show them OOTS or TOEE and they will say "cool, can we play this using the 4.0 rules"? (yes you can actually)

2009-10-12, 08:09 PM
taltamir: I play 3.5 and d20 modern because I'm familiar with it. I bought the 4.0 PHB and didn't like it. Didn't like the power system, didn't like the lack of adventuring gear (I like to use lots of odd strategies as a player), don't like how its all combat focused. I once played an entire session in 3.5 without making an attack roll or saving throw; we forged notes, bluffed guards, and in convinced one guy to lend us his sheep for the night (long story short, we all died anyway). 4.0 makes it a lot harder to do that.

And since I'm DMing the new players, it would be best if I knew more than my players about it.

Starbuck: I'm thinking roleplay-hack&slash. 2nd level sounds good.

Tyndmyr: No I'm not going to do that on their first day. But on the second day...