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    Zeful's Avatar

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    Default Designing the Game

    I'm trying to get back into DMing after a long absence, because I enjoy the story-telling part of it. I just am really bad at designing the encounters and intigrating them into the plot. I end up making stuff up as I go along, which never really works out.

    Does anyone have any advice for dealing with pre-campaign work of setting up the campaign?

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Sstoopidtallkid's Avatar

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    Default Re: Designing the Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeful View Post
    I'm trying to get back into DMing after a long absence, because I enjoy the story-telling part of it. I just am really bad at designing the encounters and intigrating them into the plot. I end up making stuff up as I go along, which never really works out.

    Does anyone have any advice for dealing with pre-campaign work of setting up the campaign?
    Some people have had good luck with co-DMing. May work for you.
    [/sarcasm]
    FAQ is not RAW!
    Avatar by the incredible CrimsonAngel.
    Saph:It's surprising how many problems can be solved by one druid spell combined with enough aggression.
    I play primarily 3.5 D&D. Most of my advice will be based off of this. If my advice doesn't apply, specify a version in your post.

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    Lawless III's Avatar

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    Default Re: Designing the Game

    I'm the same way when I Dm. Premake the enemies that you're going to use for encounters. If you can't predict which ones will come up, make up some generic ones that you could throw in anywhere. Even if you do all your battles off the top of your head (as I have done myself many times,) don't let on to your PCs that you are. If the battle runs smoothly and everything dies about when it should, they won't care if you had it all written beforehand.

    Also, check out the "So you wanna be a Dm" thread, it's stickied. It helped me SO much.

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    HamsterOfTheGod's Avatar

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    Default Re: Designing the Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeful View Post
    I'm trying to get back into DMing after a long absence, because I enjoy the story-telling part of it. I just am really bad at designing the encounters and intigrating them into the plot. I end up making stuff up as I go along, which never really works out.

    Does anyone have any advice for dealing with pre-campaign work of setting up the campaign?
    Buy an adventure path and run that.

    Or build your own world but use commercial modules as your plots. For, you want pirates, find a pirate module you like, scale to level, tie the module plot to your campaign and voila.

    Or if want to insist on designing your own adventures, you can still use commercial modules to help you. Read through some that are similar in level and setting or what you want to run. Lift off individual encounters that suit you.

    Eventually, with practice, you will become good at designing encounters. Until then, learn from the sources that are already out there.
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    bad Erf-poetry

    and other sillyness.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Designing the Game

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ab/20060728a

    Dunno how useful you'll find that series, but it might address some thing or other you were thinking about... and it does deal with the topic at hand...
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
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    To Do: Reboot and finish Riptide

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    Doc Roc's Avatar

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    Default Re: Designing the Game

    The Age of Worms adventure path by Paizo is very good and very hard. It's a nice place to get back into the game, and meshes nicely with the upcoming Pathfinder update.
    Lagren: I took Livers Need Not Apply, only reflavoured.
    DocRoc: to?
    Lagren: So whenever Harry wisecracks, he regains HP.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Designing the Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Tidesinger View Post
    The Age of Worms adventure path by Paizo is very good and very hard. It's a nice place to get back into the game, and meshes nicely with the upcoming Pathfinder update.
    Is it collected anywhere? As all I've seen is the task of buying each individual issue the individual adventures were published in which... seems to add up to more than an equivalent book would cost.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
    Homebrew
    To Do: Reboot and finish Riptide

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Designing the Game

    i suffered from the exact same problem in the past- tons of ideas, but could never sit myself down to work through them, especially monsters statistics, trap stats and so on. sitting down to write an entire adventure always looked so daunting, i used to postpone it until i had to wing it at the table.

    but then a freind of mine gave me some advice, that works for me: split the task to many small tasks. a few nights before the game, when you have most of the adventure outline in your head, schedule an hour- hour an a half each night to deal with writing and detailing to yourself what you need.

    the first design session should be writing the outline of the adventure, and write down to yourself what are your:
    - players interest: what parts of the adventure would appeal to each player. i would mark these to be given special attention.
    - key elements (encounters that are realy importent, BBEG, special theme or rules such as the adventure being underwater, or magic working differently and so on). these should be given some thought and work
    - adjustable elements (patrols, a fort's defensive strategy, encounters that can appear in different places, or that change in different places). these elements deserve less work, something on the lines of a basic framework and guidelines. if you have the time fill them more, if no, then don't.

    second and third session you deal with the key elements, giving consideration to players interest.

    any other session you give attention to the adjustable elements. and anything else that might need doing.

    that's a realy basic framework, but it had served me well.

    Kol.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

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    paladin_carvin's Avatar

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    Default Re: Designing the Game

    I generally fly by the seat of my pants. I spend most of my time out of game helping the characters work. The last few times I've played there have been few battles because I play with newbies. A non-gamer sees a bunch of goblins sneaking in the woods, the response is 'can I communicate with it?'. I love newbies. Anywho~ work on your spur of the moment abilities and you may be set.

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