View Full Version : Help for my Next Game

2011-06-26, 01:07 PM
I recently started playind D&D with my friends and have gotten hooked deeply in the whole world of things, mixing it with the humor (Multiple references from OOTS) and with serious. Sadly, my friend Dom is the only one who really understands the rules. When it was my turn to DM, I was prepared though I hadn't gone over the rules a load of times, so I kind of went on a whim. Sadly it didn't work as planned and my game ended being butchered so after three sessions I had to cut it short though I wasn't even finished my original story. I did fufill my promise and leveled my friends up one level but I was still pretty sad that it didn't turn out as planned.

One of my mistakes was I left most of my game to pure chance and didn't put in enough loopholes that would get the PC's getting where I wanted them to go. Another was, as my dear friend Dom stated, I didn't study the rules too much and since I didn't remember them, it made things appearently confusing. Either way, like I said, it didn't end well.

Wanting to make my next game as best I possible can, I was wondering if I could get some advice on DM'ing that could help me with my problem. Since I want it to be good, I'll probably start working on a campaign well before it's my turn to DM. I also want help with an expanding group sa two more people may be joining our group soon enough. So if you can, it's much appreciated. Thank you.

2011-06-26, 01:24 PM
This (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76474) may be helpful.

2011-06-26, 05:13 PM
Ah, thank you.

2011-06-27, 12:17 PM
RaeofLight12 - Could you explain what you mean when you say "left most of my game to pure chance"?

As far as rules are concerned, it's important for a DM to remember them for a couple reasons.

(1) Consistency - even if you don't follow the rules as written exactly, as long as your rulings and mechanics are consistent many players will be fine...

(2) Structure - especially for players who also know the rules, following what the book says, or having a set of clear (written out) house rules helps reassure players that the game has a good base to work from.

Jay R
2011-06-27, 04:22 PM
Being a DM is not merely an advanced form of being a player, just as refereeing a basketball game is not the same as playing one. You need a different skill set. And it takes time to develop it. So you need to work up to it slowly. A football player doesn't start by playing in a championship game; first he trains and practices, learning the skills in drills and exercises.

You need to do the same thing. Practice running two-person melees, then three or four, a few times, by yourself at home. Better yet, get a friend to come over and run the "PCs". The first time you perform a scene should be in practice, not on stage.

First, you need to know the rules better. Since there are so many available rules, a newer DM should arrange for a scenario that reduces the options. If you have a scenario that could include air combat, mounted combat, sea travel, political intrigue or mystery solving, you've given yourself a harder task just being ready for it.

So a starting DM's scenario should have fewer player options (though they should still have important choices within the environment you've chosen). When I started playing, first-time DMs usually started with a dungeon crawl, which eliminated the need to study rules for massed battles, politics, riding, etc. Putting most of the quest in a forest does the same thing. If you're already comfortable with ship-to-ship travel, put them on a boat. But plan a scenario that takes place in an environment that you understand the rules for.

Next, look into what kind of PCs are involved. Do you know what spells or other options to expect? Go re-read the player rules for character classes you don't often play.

Also, plan your possible encounters carefully. Running the game on whim or by chance is possible, but it's advance DMing. Don't do that until you have lots of experience running it with careful planning. It's like an acrobat who doesn't use a net. It's fine when you've done this stunt a hundred times, but not when it's new to you - as you learned. Newer actors memorize lines; only experienced actors can improvise.

Finally, think about all the NPCs that are likely to show up. Do you know how to play those characters? A player only has to know how to play one. I strongly recommend avoiding extremely high wizard or priest NPCs unless you are used to playing them as PCs.

In short, to be a good beginning DM, do beginning DMing, not advance DMing.

(Also, you've learned something important from your first attempt. Use that experience to help you be more patient with DMs who are disorganized.)