View Full Version : Stories from first time DMing.

2013-03-28, 06:12 PM
I would like to collect stories from people about the first time they DMed. I'll go first

I FROZE, I had my two best (manipulative) friends in the world in my room and I suddenly discovered the joys of challenge rating. My plot had thousands of holes (being generous in calling it that) My artistic ability was in the pits for map making and it was little more then a dungeon crawl of random encounters for the first few sessions.

But then It started to shape up, Combat fell by the way side and Actual Role-play happened far more often. Balance was always an issue and the chars were far to overpowered from earlier mistakes I had made. But I adapted and ran it for what it was worth.

2013-03-28, 06:54 PM
first time i took the DM reins was nerve wrecking to say the least. i had a great story wrote up in kind of a horror setting with vampires, werewolf's, and ghosts, i have a pretty good imagination and am going to school to be a writer, so i had no problems writing a good story and filling it with interesting chars, this is were my talents for Dming at the time ended

once i dropped the players into my world things started to unravel at the seams.
they....they....they were murder-hobos!!! :smallfrown: *sobs into hands*

they killed my townspeople, my nps's, my quest givers lol everyone

lol all in all the campaign was fun and i rolled wit the punches as best as i could for a brand new DM and being a relativity new player. the players said they had fun and they really enjoyed it. we finished the campaign in six months and we still talk about times from the campaign, i still DM the same group of murder-hobos (epic level town guards help to keep them under control most of the time) and we still have fun. starting a new campaign this coming Monday as a matter of fact. although i will be a PC this time

2013-03-28, 07:47 PM
My first session went quite well. We began in a lovely country village during their fall festival. There, the mage of the group spent his time being berated by his father for taking so long at "magic college" and was forced to work the bellows at his family's forge, while the murder-hobo dwarf spent his time stealing things (from the mage's dad). The rest of the group spent their time at the games - winning the archery contest but being beat into a pulp by the local kids in the "grand melee" (a game of swatting each other with sticks), and falling on their faces during the race.

Later in the evening, during a feast, a bunch of crazed berserkers tore up the village and the most "moral" of the group failed to save two children because he tried to save both instead of picking one (they were quite a ways apart). After barely fending off the attack, the mage was further embarrassed by his dad when he was scolded for not using his expensive college training to save the village. When the mage pointed out that going to the tower was mandatory and his dad didn't pay anything - he was whipped with a switch until he was raw.

Good times.

2013-03-28, 10:21 PM
Mine went pretty decently, I'd like to think.

The first session was me and a couple of friends. They started the main campaign by battling some Kobolds and a few rats. They took the Kobolds rather easily...the rats, not so much. They killed one, then fled the area to rest. Returned, killed two more, then fled once more. Then the third time, there was a "mysterious" cave-in, but they managed to get them that time.

Next session, they ventured into Umbra Cavern to make it to Horation. They had to make multiple strength checks to keep a new third party member from willingly tripping various trips. They soon came upon the boss, a Young White Dragon and two Guard Drakes, which they attempted to intimidate/train to follow their orders. After various failures, they decided to just kill the thing.

The Rogue nearly lost his life to the Guard Drake, but thanks to the Paladin and their special weaponry, they barely made it out with their lives.

2013-03-28, 10:41 PM
My first real campaign DMing is still going right now. I had looked through these forums and other D&D sites, and so I created a vague, sandbox-style world with mildly developed countries and places, and I was ready to start filling in details in new players if my players decided that being "licensed adventurers" employed by the South Kingdom wasn't what they wanted to do.

So far, my players have accepted every quest given to them by their quest leader, gone straight to their quests without getting side-tracked, and accomplished their objectives as efficiently as possible, even starting to pick up on the plot hints I put under their quests and forming long-term plans in line with the original campaign idea. They are following the rails that I only very sketchily laid down for them, and they have told me that they are having a lot of fun.

It's making me have to actually develop the main plot into finer detail, which is a good thing. I was just kind of expecting murder-hobos and ended up with good, hardworking adventurers. It's slightly unnerving.

2013-03-28, 11:27 PM
My first runs as DM (started out with 4th E) had me and my freinds. None of them had ever played before, and I had only a little experience form playing with my aunt. We had a fair amount of fun, but my RP was horrible.

Started a Fresh campaign (using NEXT rules) and it's going MUCH better. I'm giving a lot of though to how my charecters react to what teh players do. 1st session I nailed the personality of my ogre named 'Tong'

"me Tong. Tong allowed smash any who not allowed in cave. Are you allowed in cave?"
"Tong told only let waist high men into cave. You chest high! Waist high only! Waist high only!!!:smallfurious:"

(I rehersed him for like 2 weeks :thog: ). I also learned that I need to do some really fast thinking; After the group's first combat encounter, they decided they wanted to skin the wolves for thir pelts :smalleek: .

Jay R
2013-03-28, 11:34 PM
I had decided to give any player a powerful mentor, so I had The Prophecy.

For one week, about a month before the campaign started, all attempts to see the future gave exactly the same message, even the ones, like tea leaves, that usually never work at all.

"There will be a slave who comes across the desert. He will grow in power and might, until he is a great power. But the one who grants him aid will grow in power beyond all the gods and demons."

[Each PC started as an escaped slave who made it across a great desert, of course. This was primarily just an excuse to provide everyone with a mentor and source of plot hooks. No PC knew about The Prophecy, and I had no idea what it meant. I had faith in the PCs' ability to disrupt the system enough that it would eventually be fulfilled.]

So I ran a game for a single person who had never played D&D before. It was 1978. Having made it across the desert, he looked for the tavern, where I had in fact stashed several potential mentors. He entered the tavern and said, "I look around for somebody who look like Alec Guinness. I want to meet a Jedi knight."

Say what?

Well it happened that there actually was an inter-dimensional nexus on a nearby mountain peak (seemed reasonable for a landmark called the Tooth of Time). So I rolled a percentile, giving him a 1% chance.

And I rolled an 01.

So I described several people, all of the potential mentors I'd already designed, a few potential problems, plus one more - an old man in a brown robe, who lived in the desert out of town. When I mentioned him, the player said, "I don't want to talk to that bum. I go over to the guy in the black robes."

Yes, he turned down the actual Jedi knight described as well as I could, to go offer his services to an evil high priest.

I honestly don't remember what happened after that.

2013-03-29, 02:30 AM
Zelphas: Lucky you. You are among the rare elite whose first campaign was not a poorly directed farce. :smallwink: Keep up the good work!

My first time at the DM seat is too much a source of shame even to this day to discuss openly here. I'll summarize with some of the less shameful facts:

It was a Lost World style adventure, with the party on a spire of rock rising from an unaccountably frothing sea. No explanation was given for how they arrived.
The only inhabitants of the island were the PCs, many dinosaurs, and a shameless DMPC of the worst possible nature whose only purpose was to be more powerful than anyone else and dispense scrolls to get the PCs out of trouble. There's something else even worse about this NPC, but that shall never be told :smalleek:
At some point (I don't remember why) I tried to get the party druid killed, so I created a type of plant with berries identical by every test to blueberries that required a save vs. death at -6 if ingested. I ruled that the 13th level druid was incapable of distinguishing them from the real thing, and he ate one. He lived, however.
There were some ruins on the island which consisted solely of many, many stone beds and corridors. I didn't know what else to put in them. Each one also had an escape hatch onto the roof.
When I got tired of the party, a Tyrannosaurus would pop out of nowhere and step on some people.
The campaign ended when everyone died and we all agreed it never happened.

The only good thing about looking back on my early days is to reflect on how far I've come... A few other dreadful mistakes I ran long ago included:

A hopeless assault on a Lich's castle; the Lich was 25th level (in version one!) and did nothing but fly around in the air dropping bones onto the heads of the characters. They got fed up and left.
A trip to a strange walled city in the middle of the ocean; the city was protected by a wall a hundred feet in height and a hundred miles in circumference - on the other side of the wall was an unimaginable number of sharks. The ruler of the city was selected purely on the basis that he had murdered the last ruler. Predictably, one of the PCs (a thief) assassinated the ruler and took over the city. The unpredictable part is that he liked it and basically retired to rule the place, later surviving the near-total destruction of the planet by his isolation.
A four month campaign in which the characters wandered deeper and deeper into the uncharted east, encountering... Nothing. Four months of wandering in the wilds and random encounters. Eventually they found a cave society of elves who made the party warrior their field marshal because he was higher than first level; he led them to war against a different enclave of elves and they all died. The highlight of this adventure was one of the characters falling off the back of a giant flying beast and splatting.
An awful little trek into a mine complex which unaccountably housed the main villain, an incredibly powerful magical sentience housed in an enormous ruby. It wiped the entire party in one round, except for a lone mage who ran away.

... :smallyuk:

2013-03-29, 10:25 AM
It's making me have to actually develop the main plot into finer detail, which is a good thing. I was just kind of expecting murder-hobos and ended up with good, hardworking adventurers. It's slightly unnerving.

I'm having a similar experience with my players in my first campaign. I'm especially surprised given how much I've messed with them in some absolutely mean ways.

One mission they were on involved assisting a local noble where another noble in the area had hired mercenaries to harass the villagers under the other noble (mainly burning crops and bandit type behavior). The PCs ended up kicking the mercs pretty badly and when looting their corpses, found among other things a letter. They read the letter to find out that it was a letter from that mercenary to his sweetheart back home saying he would be home soon.

But yeah, they seem more than willing to follow the vague rails. Although it is interesting that one player who is much more involved in the world than most of the others is picking up most of the plothooks even when those plothooks were designed for other PCs.

2013-03-29, 11:56 AM
My first campaign, back in ADnD (2nd ed was out, but we didn't have those books, and frankly, I'm thankful getting started on the original, wacky as THAC0 is) was a bit rail-roady, but I suppose not too terribly much.

It was an island, ravaged by some unknown evil. There was a helpful hermit-style guy, based on an entirely unrelated OC I had at the time. During the day, he was a well-dressed if somewhat-unkempt mid-20s man, but at night, he would become the dreaded Were-dragon.

Not the term I used, but a close description. It was essentially a very draconic version of the alien-panther from Avatar, more than a decade before that movie would be a thing (Now that I think about it, doesn't that thing look an awful lot like a well-muscled displacer beast?). Four forelimbs, all that jazz, and a breath-weapon that manifested itself as a beam.

Anyway, the creature was positively lethal, but it turns out it was the guy's natural form, and he used his power to protect the island from a far more dangerous evil imprisoned within- Caliga! (yeah, using Latin analogs for character descriptors as names was totally a thing). Caliga was essentially a reaper-style baddie, replete with a big ****-off (scythe-like) axe and "ash-control" powers, including a refluffed mist form.

It became the players job when they unwittingly poisoned the weredragon (an accident) and had to destroy Caliga completely since the dragon would be unable to restrain him further. Whole thing ran about three sessions, and I'd be hard-pressed to call it a "campaign" but there it is.

2013-03-29, 12:06 PM
I remember my first Game I DM'd. I went nuts on the story, but it was well organized. I've always been a rules Lawyer so DMing came really natural, and I still rarely play, I like DMing more. I had been playing for like 2-3 years prior so I knew what I was getting myself into as well.

My group was
True necromancer
Red Wizard of Thay
Thayan Knight
Dwarven Battle Rager

My first real villain was a Male, half dragon Medusa who turned people into Mithril instead of stone

In Ravenloft you can't leave normally, but I've never found a place that says you can't communicate outside of ravenloft. Few people probably know people outside anyways. My long overall story was Azalin Rex communicated with Demons to have them with combined effort(I think I used 12 Balor's) summon him to another realm. They did, except Raveloft started to bleed into Toril. Until they defeated Azalin and then it all shot back.

Azalin disappeared for 2 years, we've always said that's where he went in my groups now.

The True Necro was the only one who actually lived but went to Ravenloft. someday I'm going to run a long term game where he is on the other half of the continent and starts going insane and rallying an army and it turns ravenloft into a Azalin vs My brothers characters war. He was a necro but always fairly neutral, he wouldn't resist ravenloft for long...

The most memorable part was, I gave the Medusa a vorpal chakra. One time they walked in on him and He readied an action, I said he is going to throw a warning shot at the druid who started to cast a spell.
Me: Your spell fails
Him: Don't i get a concentration?
Me: Sure.
Him: Ok../rolls
Me: You fail, your head falls off.

good times.

2013-03-29, 03:08 PM
Heh... I remember I first DMed when I was 12 or 13 years old, just out of curiosity, and because my brother wasn't there to be our DM that night.

I remember I miscalculated CR and the party died in the 2nd or 3rd encounter... lol.

My line of thought went something like this:

"Well, there are 4 players and they are all 2nd level, so that's 8 levels! Okay, I'll make them fight two CR4 creatures and it'll be balanced!"

Obviously, they were slaughtered. We started over again, and this time I put 2 CR3 creatures. Again, it didn't take much for a TPK to happen. None of us could figure it out what was wrong. When I showed them the CR for each enemy, my friends all agreed with my flawed logic.

I ended up recycling some encounters my older brother used against us in the last campaign, since I knew they could defeat those.

Only 2 days later my older brother would tell me that was not how the CR system worked. lol.

2013-03-31, 02:49 PM
It was during our groups obsession with zombies and thus I ran a campaign that took place in a zombie city. I got them into the city through a needlessly complex sewer-based dungeon with goblins. Once they got into the city, they met up with a group of prostitutes who had managed to survive. I had them get attached to several of the ladies through various amounts of dialogue. Killed off many of their favorite girls when the brothel/temple they were staying at got attacked. Killed my first PC with a Boneclaw...a creature my players still fear. Gave him a free res because i was feeling generous.

In a lot of ways that first game is still my favorite. Sure we didn't understand the game mechanics all that well, but damn if we didn't have a blast anyway. Still has some of the most memorable moments I've ever had in a game. Tried to re-run it later and it worked, but not nearly as well.

2013-03-31, 02:56 PM
The Elves burned. The Village (with assorted villagers) burned. The dwarf lost his testicles and the fighter OD:d. I thought i did OK though.

@Lemmy: Isnt that how the CR system works? Damn...

2013-03-31, 11:15 PM
@Lemmy: Isnt that how the CR system works? Damn...
Heh... Either you're joking, or your players are in for a rude awakening... Whatever the case, I'm sure you'll end up laughing about it some day... ^^

2013-04-01, 08:13 AM
Heh... Either you're joking, or your players are in for a rude awakening... Whatever the case, I'm sure you'll end up laughing about it some day... ^^

Yeah, luckily for my players the only time I DMd was with a different system.

2013-04-01, 08:42 AM
The first adventure I ran came with a wayside shrine that was completely pointless and had nothing for the players to do there except passing it and continuing on their way to their destination. It also had the even stranger detail that the tree next to it was a treant that would only reveal itself if the players started damaging the shrine or the tree.
Being a first time GM who never even played as a player, I did not skip the part and told the players that along the road, they come to a shrine.

And after about 5 minutes of wondering, why that shrine would be worth mentioning, one of the players actually did try to hack at the tree to see if that triggers something.

I think that was even the first encounter I ever ran. Fortunately, they decided to flee before the treant started to beat them to death.

2013-04-01, 09:51 AM
My players have split up and each one walked his own pay, without ever forming the party and having a single encounter, because everyone was feeling like playing an egoistic loner.
Oh, and no one took the quests too.

2013-04-01, 10:14 AM
My players have split up and each one walked his own pay, without ever forming the party and having a single encounter, because everyone was feeling like playing an egoistic loner.
Oh, and no one took the quests too.

I gotta ask... How exactly did they spend the whole gaming session? Saying "I wallow alone in the dark" time and time again?