View Full Version : new dm

2008-02-24, 11:31 AM
I'm a new dm and I need as much tips as you can give me. My pc's basically have add and the advanced plot I'm doing isn't keeping their attention. Any tips and I would be grateful.

2008-02-24, 11:54 AM
There is an "advice for (new) DMs" thread in progress here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73071) with a ton of good advice so far. There have also been a bunch of "help I'm a new DM" threads recently, so if you just look back through the first two or three pages of this forum you should find lots of advice.

Specific help will require more information, but at first blush, I would say it sounds like your players are looking to have a laugh and you are trying to keep them on a deep and meaningful plot. This is a losing proposition. Be sure to be aware of what they enjoy and cater to it. By the same token, you have to enjoy the game too so you might simply ask them to run with it when you try to do something a little more serious. Communication, and give and take, are key. Of course, players who won't actually focus on the game are problematic and there is a whole heap of good advice available here and elsewhere on how to keep their attention.

You might consider picking up or borrowing a copy of the Dungeon Master's Guide II, which has lots and lots of advice for DMs on how to organize a game and manage a table.

So, assuming my guesswork above was totally off the mark, can you give more detail on what you're not happy about with your game?

2008-02-24, 12:06 PM
Presuming that you didn't mean that your players themselves have ADHD, I would not worry too much. It is natural for PCs to flit about with all the attention span of a gnat on LSD.

Firstly, check that the game that you are running is actually the game that your players want to play. They might want action, with fight after fight and as little time devoted to background and exposition as possible, when you've prepared a gripping (but slow-paced) political adventure. Alternatively, the converse may be true.

Similarly, check that they are motivated by the plot hooks that you are putting in front of them. Whilst it is true that all PCs are motivated by XP and loot, quite how they get said XP and loot differs; some groups might want to be the heroic champions whereas some are content to be neutral mercenaries.

If your plot is detailed, with many NPCs, lots of background and history and pre-prepared, flowery descriptions of everything in the world, then your PCs might be getting so swamped with detail that they can't see the wood for the trees. Whilst NPCs, background, history and description are vital to the game, it is possible to have too much of a good thing; be a succinct as possible, and be prepared to re-emphasise key points if your players miss them.

There's my copper piece on the subject; you'll get my other one if you let us know a bit more.

2008-02-24, 01:38 PM
One of my favorite groups of players were a bunch of squirrels. EVIL squirrels (No, really, one player had a half dragon awakened squirrel named "Orange Juice," and he was mighty). While what we did to keep things under control might not exactly help your situation, I figure I may as well throw 'em out there.

A. We had what was called the "GM Dagger." It was a small but pointy letter opener that was used to keep the players (myself included) in line. For greater disturbances, we had the "PC Machete." Rare were the times that the latter needed to be whipped out, but again...pc squirrel named Orange Juice.

B. We endured about thirty seconds of Invader Zim, Blazing Saddles or Spaceballs quotes before we started throwing dice, soda cans or anything else in reach. A friend and sometimes DM had the one Call of Cthulhu game this group ever attempted ruined by some radio static that the players turned into the "Bleeps, Sweeps and Creeps" guy.

C. While this group was, well, deranged, they were also incredibly dedicated to the game. By doing things that interested them and threatening them with imminent death, things generally went smoothly and with nary a hitch. Besides, we all had fun whether or not a damn thing was accomplished.

D. That's another thing. Do things that your players find interesting. If you don't know, ask. Engage them. I've always found tailoring the game to your players so much more effective than tailoring your players to the game...which is why I cannot run a module to save my life.

(Example, this group loved being evil. Just...loved it. They loved coming up with intricate plans of how to slaughter whole cities from the inside out, often beginning with the citizens turning on each other. Gruesome details, wailing victims and the gnashing of teeth. They'd spend hours at Denny's on the weekends plotting for my games. Scared the hell out of the surrounding patrons. God, does that make me proud.)

So, yeah. You . . . your mileage may vary. I know strange people.