View Full Version : Advice Please

2010-04-05, 06:24 PM
I'm soon to start running a campaign of D&D 3.0. The only problem is that my only D&D experience consists of a few solo adventures between me and my brother. Furthermore my players are my brother, with the same limited experience as me, and 3 friends who have never played D&D and don't know the rules. I'd be immensely grateful if any of the many DM's on this site could offer up some tips

2010-04-05, 06:28 PM
As a second time DM, my advice should be taken with a grain of salt, but the thing I found most helpful was to make good notes of what encounters I planned on running that session, where I intended for the players to wind up, and the general gist of the session as a whole (social encounters, major plot events, etc.) The obvious problem with this is that players are heartless monsters who want nothing more than to do something you totally didn't expect (:smalltongue:), so make sure you have some ability to change up your plans on the fly. In short, prepare any details of the session that come to mind beforehand. It will save you time at the table and make things run much more smoothly than flipping through sourcebooks and making dungeon floorplans up off the top of your head.

2010-04-05, 06:31 PM
You might want to update to 3.5, as almost everything core is available for free at d20srd. (http://d20srd.org)

I suggest that you give some lead time for the players to learn the rules, but my players were able to learn quite well with a couple of months to study and some guidance.

I'm also of the "plan adventures ahead" school. As a starting DM it might be a good idea to get your hands on a published adventure. The Wizards of the Coast website has a bunch of free adventures in PDF format.

2010-04-05, 06:54 PM
If you have newbie players then you should probably start by giving them something to do. Ideally this should be based off their character backgrounds and interface into your campaign plot. Expecting newbies to be pro-active might be a bit much. This should also give them a reason to be together.

Or you could go for "in media res" e.g. you are walking down a street when some event kicks off, which kind of forces the issue and needn't involve any background stuff whatsoever, which (for newbies) might be handy.

It really depends upon what your campaign theame is, this is your big opportunity to shove them in a useful direction.

2010-04-05, 07:01 PM
As AslanCross said, it would be worth your time to update to 3.5. That said, start small and easy, as much for yourself and your players. Small town needs help from goblin attacks or something similar (while very common starting point, there is a reason why it is common), work your way from there. After a few sessions, your PCs will become comfortable and start things without prompting.
Oh, if they need to start moving and don't get the hints you drop, add fire. Wait, I take it back. Start with fire. :smallwink:

2010-04-05, 07:32 PM
use a module, perhaps even one of the small, "one night games" modules available on the web.

don't be afraid to set up rules before the game... everyone rolls in turn, everyone helps the others, no arguments, etc.

don't hesitate to simply read the module descriptions for rooms, monsters, etc..

don't hesitate to stop and take a break from the game to explain what is happening, what is about to happen, etc.. a do-over is still allowable for learners. give them a mulligan or two if they make mistakes, and don't hesitate to say "oops guys, my mistake. that thing is xxxxxx (still alive, ten feet further away, etc.).

2010-04-05, 10:09 PM
I'd be immensely grateful if any of the many DM's on this site could offer up some tips

First, create a world.

Put your players in it (pick their starting levels, although I suggest level 1).

Set fire to the world (orcs invading, sun is about to go out, whatever...).

Ask the players how they plan on surviving. :smallbiggrin:

If you're looking for a world setting, here's a free one:
World of Prime (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=2849&filters=0_0_0_0).

2010-04-06, 08:09 AM
Many thanks.
I've had a look at 3.5, will most likely upgrade.
I've got a world and a long term story its just getting them into my main plot I'm having trouble with...
But this has helped :biggrin:

2010-04-06, 09:09 AM

1. You may wish to use a module. That will give you a coherent plot and puzzles and a good example of what an adventure should look like. When you're first starting out it's quite easy to completely forget important elements. (my first game I realized towards the end I had not given any loot at all ever)

2. Remember not to give your players too little or too much. While endless descriptions are bad, "You are in a room what do you do" is equally bad.

3. If something doesn't seem right, make a note of it. It probably isn't. I can't TELL you how many ways my group has messed up the rules. (Attack of Opportunity is still a dreaded phrase at our table)