View Full Version : Help! DMing for new players and I have no clue what to do (4e, probably)

2010-12-26, 07:41 PM
So a friend of mine recently brought up playing D&D for reasons I am not quite sure of. Before I knew what was happening, he had conned a whole group of us into joining in. Since I am the only one with any experience playing D&D, it fell to me to DM, both because I have books and because nobody else wanted it. Since I have my 4th edition books at school with me, I was planning to use that. I rather stink at explanations, so things might end really quickly with me running from my former friends and their assortment of weapons and kung-fu talent.

The group is composed of:

My friend, the instigator of this whole thing. We'll call him "The Instigator" for what should be obvious reasons. When he brought this whole thing up, he mentioned playing a bard. I think he just likes Elan.
His wife, who was ambivalent about it until we convinced her best friend to join. We'll call her "The evil one" because I find it amusing. Her favorite characters to write are pirates, including pirate Santa Claus.
Her best friend who will have no social life whatsoever due to being in the final semester of a master's program. We will call her "Mavis" for reasons nobody is quite sure of. She claims the title "Queen of the Amazons" in an only half joking fashion, but is also a fan of Ancient Greece(though she hates Rome with the fiery passion of a thousand pointy evils). Also, she likes going on about predator points, eating ground hogs, and amassing huge kill counts.
The Instigator's and my mutual friend who joins us in many of our wacky hi-jinks. We will call him "scout" because we have called him scout for about as long as I have known him. Him I can give less info about, mostly because I haven't thought as long about making him happy at D&D as the others.
Myself. I don't know how I volunteered to dm, though it might have involved much of our past shared gaming experience being munchkin where The Evil One, who is an awesome cook, loves the card "bribe the GM with food". I will refer to myself as Rockphed for consistency reasons.

I was thinking of using the Tears of Blood campaign setting that the board developed, though since that was 3.5 material I would need to adjust things a bit. I would need rules for firearms, and I would need to create ability score bonuses and other rules for two or three races(since three of the races can pretty much be imported as is, and two or 3 of the races can probably be ignored for now).

Alternatively, I could run the game in a more normal setting that I make up whole cloth. The benefit is that I don't have to write new rules except for any race I make up on my own, while the penalty is that creating a setting whole cloth is, while fun, a lot of work.

As a third option, I could find a free or cheap 4e campaign setting to use and run with it. I don't like this as much because, while it is really easy, I prefer having a bit more creative control. I probably want to find a campaign setting or adventure so I can get into the DMing mood, but I am unsure I want to run one.

Also, I need advice on running with scissors developing a good adventure. I have no recent experience with DMing or playing D&D due to groups moving away and concentrating on school, so I aside from "roll the die, compare to target", I remember little about how things go.

One of the big reasons I am worried is because as a group, their experience with D&D is OOtS and Munchkin. They have also, as a group, done plenty of free form RPGing, which the instigator was GMing. His then girlfriend, now wife, The Evil One still complains that she got killed off often, though I actually accrued the best death list. It was starting to look like a roguelike high score screen for a while there. Which is the other benefit of 4e: it is much harder to kill people by accident than 3.5.

So, having rambled on for a while, I suppose I should actually ask the playground for advice, links, commiseration, and prophesies of doom. Or whatever else you want to heap on me in the hopes of keeping me sane or driving me over the edge slightly faster so you can loot my corpse. Either way works.

2010-12-26, 08:06 PM
The first thing that comes to mind is not to homebrew races, classes, or setting. Just go with what's in the books. That isn't to say you have to play FR or Ebberon as a setting. You can call your setting whatever you want, but just use the rules in the books.

I would also recommend against psionic classes (except Monk) and against dark Sun (unless you are very familiar with the setting). Classes with power points gain powers differently than other classes, and DS has some weird quirks.