View Full Version : [3.5]Good prewritten module for 2 totally new players?

2008-12-13, 08:13 AM
hey all,

my girlfriend and a friend of mine (also a lady) have decided it would be 'funny' to play a game of dnd with me teaching them and DMing.

I think one of them wants to be a caster of some description, the other a barbarian. They've both read that 'confessions of a part time sorceress' book that wotc put out, so they have a vague idea of how some of the rules work.

i'm trying to find a good simple (but fun/funny) prebuilt, and preferably short module to run them through. any suggestions? I'm thinking some opportunities to do more than just 'hit things and steal their stuff' would be good, but i'm no great shakes as a DM, so keeping it simple would be good. The max party size will be 3, so i might have to reduce the CR of any combat encounters a bit.

does anyone think it'd be a good idea for me to run a DMPC just for this game, to balance out the party (and possibly do some healing) and keep them on the right track to some degree? I don't want to baby them through it too much but i want them to feel like they've 'done well'.

any other tips for DMing for new group/all-female group?

thanks guys :)

2008-12-13, 08:20 AM
I've never had much luck with modules; freedom and planning things out ahead of time rarely work well together.

I would see nothing wrong with tossing in a DMPC, or two. Well, multiple DMPCs gets confusing ("Okay, when I wear THIS hat, I'm speaking as the orc, and when I wear THIS hat, I'm the party cleric, and when turn my head sideways it's the mysterious voice"). But yeah. You may also wish to consider upgrading them to gestalt, as two gestalt players works out to roughly four regular. In a general sort of way.

2008-12-13, 08:25 AM
As someone who runs solo games very frequently, gestalt is not the way to go with new players... the game's confusing enough, as it is. My recommendation? Give them a wand of CLW for healing, and just let either of them use it with no check, bump them up to 3rd level, and run them through any number of free, 1st level modules. There's a whole collection of them on the Wizard's site... The Burning Plague is one of my favorites. A fun moral decision, interesting battles, and a clear enemy at the end.

2008-12-13, 08:33 AM
Palace of the Silver Princess. It has dungeon crawl, a bit of wilderness and even a little politicking in the towns. The Vale that the adventure takes place in is a good little setting for further adventures as well of almost any style.

As to a DMPC, I'd be more inclined to try and get a 3rd player, someone who is experienced (well at least to some extent), so that they can the role of mentor to the new players whilst you concentrate on running the game. Of course, you need to ensure that any 3rd party you get is the kind of player who will play any character that is needed and is able to let the ladies take as much of a dominant role in the decisions as they would like.

If you can't, then yeah - a DMPC to fill a gap would be useful so that they have a fallback option, you can gently prod them in the right direction if they stray or get confused.

2008-12-13, 08:39 AM
the reason i want to do a module is that it makes it easier to deliver a 'package' in one quick session. if they get too sidetracked we'll never finish anything, so they won't get the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finishing a good quest.

it's a long shot, but if my girlfriend got properly interested in dnd i'd be well pleased.

2008-12-13, 08:48 AM
Give them something complex. Start them at level 5, so they aren't one hit kills waiting to happen. Consider using max HP per level for the first game. Explain why.

Now put them as guards of a safe containing gold/jewels/magic item. Have them start out by arriving at the building, and talking to the employer. This gives you a chance for bluff checks, sense motive, and perhaps intimidation. Present the options as a video game might. Example: A: Nice, B: Not nice, C: Try and intimidate him into more money for the job. That way they can fill in the dialogue as they like, but have a general idea of what they're trying to do.

Of course, the employer is trying to have the contents of the safe stolen for the insurance money. Throw a couple of level 3/4 rogues at them. Play smart, but slightly bumbling. Should be able to win with out too much trouble, but not like feeling like you let them win. Unless you get one of those smart ass players that proceeds to cast grease on the safe and it's surroundings. Then you can feel free to wipe them out completely. *grumble*

2008-12-13, 08:49 AM
good ideas all round.

i had forgotten about the burning plague. it really is the perfect introduction to 3rd ed.

i've been in 3 different campaigns that started with that one. i just pretended i didn't know it and tried not to 'metagame' it, and it's been an interesting 'DM barometer' seeing it run by a few different people.

it's short, punchy, and perfect. :-)

i'm thinking if i dumb down the encounter levels a teeny bit, and play a cleric DMPC, things should go well.

alternatively, i could start them both off at L2 to give them a bit of a boost, and leave the encounter levels the same. I really don't want to kill them off... it can be offputting in one's first game.

2008-12-13, 01:22 PM
Well, if you decide not to go with "Burning Plague," what about "Something's Cooking?" I think it's also free on the WotC site, and it's great for a low-level, light, fun game. I mean, you fight a calzone golem, for Pete's sake, so you know it's nothing TOO serious. It might depend on the two people playing, though - if they think it's TOO silly, you've lost them.

2008-12-13, 02:19 PM
'A dark and stormy knight' may be good, but a little too difficult as initially written for 2 new players.

If they enjoy it enough to keep going, the sunless citadel (3.0) is fun albeit a little long. Though it's hard to balance it for smaller parties with 2nd level chars (more monsters and pc's get swarmed. Too few and they just roll through them). It's also easy/not necessary to convert it to 3.5 rules.

Was going to say 'somethings cooking' as well...

2008-12-13, 04:44 PM
I recently introduced 2 of my nephews to DnD (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98057) due the the players ages I ran that with 2 PC's, 1 GMPC (fighter) and 1 popup healer (who turns up like a fairy godmother, scolds PC's for getting injured and then vanishes again).

with adults I'd probably run 2 NPC's to balance the party (rogue and cleric) while seeking additional players to make up the numbers.
If you really want to just have one NPC consider the humble bard who will fulfill all your healing, lockpicking and information providing needs, a one stop shop.

2008-12-13, 05:40 PM
Frozen Whispers. Totally. I ran this for a friend of mine once, in a 1-player one-shot, and it was a lot of fun. The whole snowy forest scenario is very evocative, too, which helps with folk who might find the whole elves and wizards aspect of it a tad bit silly.

Plus, if you want to mod it any, you can change the cabin to be more of a mystery and play that out more.