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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lerky's Avatar

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    Default Mission: Impossible

    I'm fairly new to the DM scene, me and my group have played D&D for 3 years, but due to schedules we rarley get the chance to play.

    Yesterday we got together but we had the same issue every single time, no one really payed attention. They say they want to play and they look forward to it but when we finally get together it seems they want to do everything but D&D.

    How am I able to get these guys play like a normal group without seeming tyrannical.
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    Proud Activist of The Goblinoid Sub-Type
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tygre
    Let us all hail to the might of Lerky!
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowsen
    Lerky, you have proven once again, that you are a being of tremendous might.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Dar
    Now that you are a god o mighty Lerky,we must strat building a temple to honor and worship your name.[and art]


  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Keld Denar's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    It depends on what age catagory you have.

    I'd almost suggest something like a speech wand. Some trinket that players can only speak when they hold it. DM is immune. That might keep people from yacking between turns.

    Other than that, try to keep it more engaging. Reward players for remembering details, and make things a little harder if they don't, reminding them afterwards to drive your point home. That kind of thing.
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    AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY!
    _________________________________
    A beholder’s favorite foods include small live mammals, exotic mushrooms and other fungi, gnomes, beef, pork, colorful leafy vegetables, leaves, flower petals, insects, and birds.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    also check how your giving them the story then think of it from a players point of view. would you if you where playing actualy pay attention to yourself. if you would not then theres you answer. also ask the players why they where not paying attention because who knows maybe one of them had a bad day or something. bad moods can be contagious.
    wanted:
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  4. - Top - End - #4
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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    What is "everything but D&D?"

    Do you have video games sitting around?
    Is your sister totally hot and flirting with them?
    Do you have a giant plasma screen and blue ray player?
    Do they play kick the can?
    How does the whole thing get distracted?

    More details please.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian View Post
    Is your sister totally hot and flirting with them?
    If so, is she over the age of 18? Can I have her number?

    I believe the greater issue is one of two things: Either they're so used to running into campaigns where goofing off is allowed (and if you're new the DM, you might have contributed to said goofing off, and they believe it's okay under you) or they don't want to seriously play, they just want an excuse to hang out. You need to find out why before you can find out how.
    — Nicolaos of Aepternacos


  6. - Top - End - #6
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    It's the same basic approach as for doing anything: you must create an environment that helps achieve what you want.

    This means no laptops, no watching TV, no playing videogames, no playing cards, no reading books, cell phones turned off... get rid of all the distractions, and no one will be distracted.

    Once everyone has agreed to these rules, just tell them off when they break them. Keep doing this. You have to be consistent. People, regardless of age, can be conditioned like this: they need to learn how to play effectively, without distractions, and the GM sometimes has to be harsh about this.

    If no one seems interested in concentrating on the game, just suggest that you could call it off for the day.

    That said, maybe there's a problem that hinders their concentration? How far in do you get before people drift off? If character generation, for instance, is a problem - maybe because there's only one set of books - there's a lot of stuff you can do to correct that, like pre-creating characters (just ask what race and class everyone prefers, and create the PCs before the session).

    Whenever I play with my mates these days, we spend about half the time (4-5 out of 8-10 hours) just talking and catching up, because we hardly ever get together like that outside of gaming. We don't perceive this as a problem, because the whole point is to get together to have fun. It doesn't matter so much whether we do that by chatting, playing a board game, or playing a RPG.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    It depends on what age catagory you have.

    I'd almost suggest something like a speech wand. Some trinket that players can only speak when they hold it. DM is immune. That might keep people from yacking between turns.

    Other than that, try to keep it more engaging. Reward players for remembering details, and make things a little harder if they don't, reminding them afterwards to drive your point home. That kind of thing.
    They're teenagers, around 13-14. The thing is I tried that (The rewarding thing) but then they do something and say "I deserve a reward now."
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    Quote Originally Posted by zakk2to2 View Post
    also check how your giving them the story then think of it from a players point of view. would you if you where playing actualy pay attention to yourself. if you would not then theres you answer. also ask the players why they where not paying attention because who knows maybe one of them had a bad day or something. bad moods can be contagious.
    I'm personally using a Wizards of the Coast made campagin and I flipped through it and found it very interesting and engaging. This is just me though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian View Post
    What is "everything but D&D?"

    Do you have video games sitting around?
    Is your sister totally hot and flirting with them?
    Do you have a giant plasma screen and blue ray player?
    Do they play kick the can?
    How does the whole thing get distracted?

    More details please.
    heh heh, the hot sister comment I find amusing because I have two younger sisters.
    We do however have a few video games and a blue ray player and a plasma screen TV...and a home theather. It is a lot to get distracted by but they rarley want to do any of that, recently they tried to lock my friend's younger brother in a closet while playing, and they even tried to prod one of them into confessing who they had a crush on (which even lead to leaving the table and going into a secret place)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neek View Post
    I believe the greater issue is one of two things: Either they're so used to running into campaigns where goofing off is allowed (and if you're new the DM, you might have contributed to said goofing off, and they believe it's okay under you) or they don't want to seriously play, they just want an excuse to hang out. You need to find out why before you can find out how.
    yeah, I've had this problem. I never contributed to the silliness but I never really tried to punish them for it, my personality isn't really built that way but maybe it's a good thing
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsotha-lanti View Post
    It's the same basic approach as for doing anything: you must create an environment that helps achieve what you want.
    yeah, I tired that, we do it in my basment now but it's kind of like an ADHD, where they just want to bounce off the walls.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsotha-lanti View Post
    If no one seems interested in concentrating on the game, just suggest that you could call it off for the day.
    I thought of trying this but never really have. Maybe I will and suggest we play Wii or something, or would that help the problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsotha-lanti View Post
    That said, maybe there's a problem that hinders their concentration? How far in do you get before people drift off? If character generation, for instance, is a problem - maybe because there's only one set of books - there's a lot of stuff you can do to correct that, like pre-creating characters (just ask what race and class everyone prefers, and create the PCs before the session).
    it's right when the sit down. They start talking about all this random stuff than when I finally get their attention turns out a few of them have to go to get drinks while I give the introduction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsotha-lanti View Post
    Whenever I play with my mates these days, we spend about half the time (4-5 out of 8-10 hours) just talking and catching up, because we hardly ever get together like that outside of gaming. We don't perceive this as a problem, because the whole point is to get together to have fun. It doesn't matter so much whether we do that by chatting, playing a board game, or playing a RPG.
    Yeah, this is fine, as long as you can still play the game at least. But they do it all the time.

    another thing is how paranoid they get and try to make a simple situation complicated. It took them (no exaggeration) 30 minutes to get on a bridge, not cross it, just get on it. They were so paranoid that it would collapse and one player insited on shooting a rope across the chasm using his bow and arrow and using that to get across the chasm.
    also: sorry about the spoilers, but I imagine some people just skip over posts because they look too long (I certainly do sometimes) and I figured this would make it look smaller.
    Last edited by Lerky; 2009-01-17 at 09:32 PM.
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    Proud Activist of The Goblinoid Sub-Type
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tygre
    Let us all hail to the might of Lerky!
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowsen
    Lerky, you have proven once again, that you are a being of tremendous might.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Dar
    Now that you are a god o mighty Lerky,we must strat building a temple to honor and worship your name.[and art]


  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    are they justified with their paraniod behavoir? do bridges fall apart under them 9 times out of 10?


    also have you ASKed THEM why they are distracted?
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lerky's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    Quote Originally Posted by zakk2to2 View Post
    are they justified with their paraniod behavoir? do bridges fall apart under them 9 times out of 10?
    nope. Other than the Thunderstone they found when they lifted a cart, and spikes shooting out from a wall when they opened a treasure chest, nothing has happened to them in the form of traps. I think the bridges thing is because it was kinda rickty (but the description said the ropes were sturdy) and from the media. And then when I told them they're being ridiculous and that it's a fine bridge, one of them practically jumped out of his seat and said "He's trying to convince us to go across! It's a trap"
    eventually they left the table declaring me the "enemy" and whispered a solution to each other. Finally one rebel decided to cross the bridge, I almost felt bad when the Darkmantle's swooped down on him.

    Quote Originally Posted by zakk2to2 View Post
    also have you ASKed THEM why they are distracted?
    actually, this seems like the best advice. I'll have to do that and than try ignite some new rules 'round the table.
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    Proud Activist of The Goblinoid Sub-Type
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tygre
    Let us all hail to the might of Lerky!
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowsen
    Lerky, you have proven once again, that you are a being of tremendous might.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Dar
    Now that you are a god o mighty Lerky,we must strat building a temple to honor and worship your name.[and art]


  10. - Top - End - #10
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    Oh heck, 13-14? At that age, we spent most of our "game sessions" basically brawling, indoors or out, and any playing that happened pretty much took place after we were physically too exhausted to keep at it, or when we happened to have a "calm day."

    It's not impossible to get some gaming done, just hard. It'll be sporadic and random. Not a lot you can do about that, frankly.

    Having alternative activities could work - something everyone can participate in actively at the same time, preferrably. After a few hours of doing something else engaging, everyone might feel more like playing - or they might not.


    Also, yes, talking about playing is always, always a good idea. It's a complex cooperative activity, and should be discussed.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    if they are young male teenagers add action to any roleplaying equastion should work somewhat. maybe boredum is the answer to the why they do it. if so:
    1 add more fights
    2 describe effects of spells with more flashyness
    3 description+violence=attention
    wanted:
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  12. - Top - End - #12
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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    I think you might be treating this too much like a job rather then a hang out, for me D&D is like poker for geeks. I love hanging out with my buddies tossing around the d20 and some jokes. Not really taking anything seriously. Maybe your players view it this way also.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RS14's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    I'd also suggest not spending too much prep time. If they probably going to get distracted, at least you'll not have spent days setting up the campaign.

    In the case of the bridge example, I'd probably have found an excuse to throw a random encounter at them from behind, preferably something too heavy to cross the bridge and tough enough for them to consider flight. Maybe a huge monstrous centipede, if they're level 1.

    also: sorry about the spoilers, but I imagine some people just skip over posts because they look too long (I certainly do sometimes) and I figured this would make it look smaller.
    Worked for me.

  14. - Top - End - #14
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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    The problem is hormones. If they are 13-14 years old just wait a few years and they will calm down. Getting older helps. Also not being a virgin helps too.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian View Post
    Also not being a virgin helps too.
    O___O

    Oookay. Anyway, to the OP, try adding amounts of gratuitious gore to the descriptions. You don't "Attack the bugbear for 13 points of damage," you "Slice the bugbear through the side, blood spurting as your steel pierces the foul beast's flesh." Speak it with emphasis. Crits must be fantastic. Especially when they kill. I'm talking, cutting someone through vertically, head exploding, organ busting fantastic descriptions. Unless a member is squimish....

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    if you cant drown a whole continent with the blood from each session you doing it wrong.
    wanted:
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    Quote Originally Posted by zakk2to2 View Post
    if you cant drown a whole continent with the blood from each session you doing it wrong.
    No no no no no no no.

    "If you can't drown a whole continent with the blood from each session, u r doin it rong."

    Grammar, sir! You can't just go about omitting important copulae willy-nilly!

    ....

    On topic: they're thirteen or fourteen years old? I'm afraid you're going to have a rough time. I don't think you can really be helped. They're going to be ... unfocused ... for a year or two yet, and forcing them to concentrate on the game may be more trouble than it's worth.
    Last edited by Inyssius Tor; 2009-01-18 at 01:19 AM.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    u $pel!n gud b[_]tt /\/\yn i5 |>et+er!1!1!!!one1! lol wut?
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  19. - Top - End - #19
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    Quote Originally Posted by zakk2to2 View Post
    u $pel!n gud b[_]tt /\/\yn i5 |>et+er!1!1!!!one1! lol wut?
    For those fine people who need translation: "Your spelling is good, but mine is better." Though now it lacks that humourous (dammit spellcheck, accept Canadian spelling already ._.) element which made it a comment worth reading.

    I don't really see why it's much of a problem, but then again I can read even heavily butchered English without too much trouble.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    Quote Originally Posted by Willfor View Post
    (dammit spellcheck, accept Canadian spelling already ._.)
    This may help, if I peg you correctly as a Moziller.
    Diamond Mind avatar provided by Abardam.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    its my instant reply to grammer nazis but lets not derail this thread to much and get back on topic about how to keep teenagers attention.
    wanted:
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lerky's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    Quote Originally Posted by zakk2to2 View Post
    its my instant reply to grammer nazis but lets not derail this thread to much and get back on topic about how to keep teenagers attention.
    when you say it like that it's a bit creepy...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9000 View Post
    Anyway, to the OP, try adding amounts of gratuitious gore to the descriptions. You don't "Attack the bugbear for 13 points of damage," you "Slice the bugbear through the side, blood spurting as your steel pierces the foul beast's flesh." Speak it with emphasis. Crits must be fantastic. Especially when they kill. I'm talking, cutting someone through vertically, head exploding, organ busting fantastic descriptions. Unless a member is squimish....
    now, I've tried this but can't get into it. It's nto that I don't want to, I really do, but I overlook going into detail so easily that it even annoys me. But once I finally get into this habbit it's an idea of coming up with interesting ideas, I can't say the Orc's head flies off every single time. The first thing that came to my mind was, play more Fallout 3, but I'm wondering where I can get ideas for details

    while asking for advice, I need a few help with general DMing as well. The main thing I have issue with is drawing maps. Me and my friends use a material where we can write on it with expo markers and it erases but the problem is, when they get to a new location I have
    • erase the old map
    • count the dimensions of the new map
    • draw the new map usually making it shorter and messier than in the picture given just to save time
    • and repeat

    there has got to be a faster way. I thought about drawing the map on graph paper than hand it to a player so they can draw it, at least than I don't have to lean over my DM screen.
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    Proud Activist of The Goblinoid Sub-Type
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tygre
    Let us all hail to the might of Lerky!
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowsen
    Lerky, you have proven once again, that you are a being of tremendous might.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Dar
    Now that you are a god o mighty Lerky,we must strat building a temple to honor and worship your name.[and art]


  23. - Top - End - #23
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Keld Denar's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    I dunno exactly what your financial situation is, but one thing you can do is get a few of the vinyl 1" grid maps. They are wet erase, so they clean up really quick with a 99 cent squirt bottle (or a salvaged empty Windex bottle, though don't reuse a bleach based cleaner bottle, it'll strip the mat). Then you can use those neato figs they sell in the game stores for more interesting battles at the same time. If you get 3-4 of them, you can predraw them, allowing you to quickly swap mats between encounters. Between encounters, gets someone to erase a used one, though this doesn't help the redraw issue.

    If you want to do it on the cheap, you could pretty easily make a 1" grid mats with a ruler, a good sharpie, a fair bit of free time, and the ability to get them laminated. Most office style stores will do laminating for a small fee. You could probably make up 10 or so for about $10, with about half of that being laminating costs. To save even more money, draw grids on both sides, since you have to get both sides laminated. Then you can draw on them with wet or dry erase markers, which allows you to predraw up to 20 maps. I couldn't even imagine more than 20 combats in a single real life day...that would be WAY too long.

    If you have a TON of spare cash to burn, something fun to get would be the dungeon tiles. They should sell em at most gaming stores. My buddy Dave got a few of them, and they make setting up rooms, outdoor encounters, and all kinds of events take minutes. Since you are dropping a bunch of cash on those, Steelsquire spell templates are nice, especially for ongoing spell effects like Solid Fog and whatnot. A set of those will run you about $20 to get 10', 20', and 4' bursts, as well as 15' and 30' cones in diagonal and straight. Very useful for making combats go quicker because you can just lay them on a 1" grid to determine who gets fireballed and who doesn't. Lots of toys for gamers with money to burn.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fax Celestis View Post
    AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY!
    _________________________________
    A beholder’s favorite foods include small live mammals, exotic mushrooms and other fungi, gnomes, beef, pork, colorful leafy vegetables, leaves, flower petals, insects, and birds.

  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Shalizar's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    You may want to try and shrink the number of people in the group possibly. I have DMed a few times, and when i have had a large group, like around 7-10 people, it falls apart very quickly because it is difficult to manage that many people when they dont want to play that badly, but when i have less, like 1 or 2, it goes very quickly and we can finish in a few sessions.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lerky's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    Quote Originally Posted by Shalizar View Post
    You may want to try and shrink the number of people in the group possibly. I have DMed a few times, and when i have had a large group, like around 7-10 people, it falls apart very quickly because it is difficult to manage that many people when they dont want to play that badly, but when i have less, like 1 or 2, it goes very quickly and we can finish in a few sessions.
    yeah we currently have 6 people and they all seem to vary on how much they want to play. Although I have thought about kicking one guy out, 'cause he's a major disturbace, but we're all pretty close friends and don't want one to feel left out.

    @ Keld: you are a genius, you should host your own podcast about D&D sessions on the cheap:smallbigrin:
    but one problem with tiles is how easily they got knocked around and moved, although I'm gonna have to look into these Steelsquire spell templates considering they sound like something I could use.
    Last edited by Lerky; 2009-01-18 at 06:22 PM.
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    Proud Activist of The Goblinoid Sub-Type
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tygre
    Let us all hail to the might of Lerky!
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowsen
    Lerky, you have proven once again, that you are a being of tremendous might.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Dar
    Now that you are a god o mighty Lerky,we must strat building a temple to honor and worship your name.[and art]


  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Keld Denar's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    Linky

    Now with pretty pictures!

    I used to see a lot of these when I used to play Living Greyhawk. Make the game go SOOOOOOO much faster.

    EDIT:
    More neat stuff
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2009-01-18 at 06:26 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fax Celestis View Post
    AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY!
    _________________________________
    A beholder’s favorite foods include small live mammals, exotic mushrooms and other fungi, gnomes, beef, pork, colorful leafy vegetables, leaves, flower petals, insects, and birds.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    Linky

    Now with pretty pictures!

    I used to see a lot of these when I used to play Living Greyhawk. Make the game go SOOOOOOO much faster.

    EDIT:
    More neat stuff
    thanks, that LoS thing well defiently help our group
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    Proud Activist of The Goblinoid Sub-Type
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tygre
    Let us all hail to the might of Lerky!
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowsen
    Lerky, you have proven once again, that you are a being of tremendous might.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Dar
    Now that you are a god o mighty Lerky,we must strat building a temple to honor and worship your name.[and art]


  28. - Top - End - #28
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    instead of laminating paper or what not use a dry erase board. all you have to do is draw a grid on with permanent markers. also for maps only draw what the see dont lay out the whole map. this way you only need to draw as much as they find and they dont know what to expect behind the next door.
    wanted:
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    (lame jokes need not apply)

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Lerky's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by zakk2to2 View Post
    instead of laminating paper or what not use a dry erase board. all you have to do is draw a grid on with permanent markers. also for maps only draw what the see dont lay out the whole map. this way you only need to draw as much as they find and they dont know what to expect behind the next door.
    yeah that seems pretty good, my math class has a few of those and because their stiff they don't need to be adjusted but they might be too big, I can't fit everything behind my DM Screen.

    another thing I have issue with is memorizing the encounter but because of the heat of the battle I tend to forget or overlook stuff. How do you people memorize encounters?
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  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Keld Denar's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mission: Impossible

    Don't. How much prep work do you do for encounters? I like to use note cards for init. Each player has a note card, and they write their characters name, saves, spot/search/listen, and init bonus. Then, each combat, you call each player and ask for their init. Then you roll your monsters init on cards and arange from high to low. If a player delays in combat, hand them their card, which allows them to jump back in at any time after whoever's current turn finishes. If a player readies an action, turn the card sideways so that it sticks out of the pack and can easily be recalled when the triggering condition is met. If its not by the time you get back to that player, then they take their turn as normal. Label 1 card END OF ROUND, so that its easier to keep track of short duration effects, like a Ghoul's Paralysis.

    Now, if you do this, you can write up your monster cards ahead of time. Write down a few of the important things, like special attacks (and associated DCs) and typical combat maneuvers (trip modifiers for wolves, etc). Don't keep track of HP on these though, or you'll be flipping cards a lot to look them up, and its easy to get out of order.

    This keeps your combat a bit more orderly, and allows quick reference of monster special abilities. A little bit of prep work, but if you are using a published module, you know exactly what your players will be fighting ahead of time and can prep stats.

    Note cards are also rediculously cheap, somewhere in the realm of $1 for a stack of 75 or so. 2 bucks should last you all year.
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2009-01-19 at 01:21 PM.
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