View Full Version : Starting a playgroup for new players....Tips, advice and help?

2011-01-30, 09:04 PM
While I still sometimes play 3.5e online with a small group of friends I will admit that I am rather rusty seeing as I spent several long years for the most part away from 3.5e and more focused on freeform Forum-based anime RPs. However, despite that I have a small online group with whom I occasionally play with but I miss the charm of D&D in RL. However, despite not knowing anybody in RL to play with I have several friends who are familiar with RPGs via MMOs and/or forum-based RPGs who have interest in starting a small RL group...the catch?....None of them have ever played a game of D&D in their life.

So, I have a daunting challenge on my hands. Not only do I have to start up and lead a new playgroup but nobody other then myself in said group has any experiencing with D&D.(Though they are all well versed in other RPG forms, mainly videogames.) Thus, I want your help. Please give me any tips, advice ect... on what to do to not only get a steady group going, but also teach said group all about the game at the same time.

2011-01-30, 09:08 PM
For the quickest way into the game I would suggest finding out what they want to play as an archetype and then build their characters for them. Present them with said character sheets and give them a basic rundown of the game (Roll d20, add appropriate modifier) and then throw them into the fray.
The slightly longer option is of course to have them read the books in their free time.

2011-01-30, 09:19 PM
The biggest thing I've found for new gamers is to treat them all like people, not incompetent n00bs. Don't go into this expecting them to pick up the rules and nuances of 3.5 DnD in the first session. Personally, I wouldn't expect them to pick it up within the first month. (4e would be another story, it's a little more newbie-friendly).

Character creation can be simplified by rolling dice for stats, until they understand what stats do, and how many points they should put into a given stat using point-buy (:smallyuk: personally, I hate point-buy), for the particular class they want to play. Don't expect heavy optimization. (Just to be safe, you probably shouldn't expect any optimization.) If you're heavily into optimization (which I suspect you aren't, since you seem to enjoy free-form games) then DMing for new gamers isn't for you.

Start off small. There are (were?) some short adventures you could get from the WotC website, like "A Dark and Stormy Knight," and others like that. (Also, the Book of Challenges" has some very short encounters in it.) Keep it light-hearted and fun, and don't be "THAT DM." You know, the one that's out to kill the characters right from the get-go.

It's up to you, but I would probably fudge a little in the character's favor for the first session or two, just so they don't die right away, and get disinterested.


2011-01-30, 09:19 PM
1. Ask 3-5 friends if they'd be up to try playing D&D in the upcoming week.
2. Choose a rules system. BD&D is probably the easiest to pick up and use; 3e is probably the hardest. I like Warrior Rogue & Mage (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=82643&affiliate_id=5405), especially for newbies.
3. Take them all step-by-step through character building, as a group. If you're dedicated to 3e, don't expect it to go quickly. You might want to have some example level 1 characters at hand. Stick to one sourcebook.
4. Run a simple adventure. Something's been eating the livestock outside of town and somebody needs to go and investigate, or something. Add a couple monsters, a mysterious cave, a couple more monsters, and you'll be off and playing.

2011-01-30, 09:45 PM
The adventure is not really an issue since luck ally I happen to have a few pre-build adventures that are meant for low level characters and such and are perfect for newer players. While I will eventually run them through my own adventures I feel starting them out with some pre-made stuff to get their feet wet and get the basics down. As for OP I kinda suck at OP myself though I fall into the camp of "balance" as in I am not one of those crazy optimizers who always play uber builds with like 5 different PrCs but at the same time I do not like to play purposely weak characters for the sake of RP....Simply put I like to RP but also like to have a character who dose not feel useless in combat, though I do not force such a thing on anybody, let alone new players and I certainly understand OP-related issues since I STILL can't pull of a lot of the tricks most high optimizers can and if I am playing in a high OP game I usually just steal somebody eles' build or get somebody with more OP knowladge...so I can still empathize with them to this day...so low-no OP is not a worry...

Also, as for character creation, this is 3.5e, it's rather difficult. However, seeing the way I am I will ask them about what they want their character to be able to do/what "archtype" they want to play and then point them to the right class...

Also, another shot of good luck is that said players(I have 3.) seem to lean towards the alignment(s) I am most versed in(any evil).