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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Silus's Avatar

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    Oct 2010

    Default DMing for new people (Help D=)

    Ok, so next week I'll be moving back home to Texas. While there, I hope to get my cousins into D&D (Pathfinder I'm thinking, as I have all the books already). They're (If I remember correctly) 7, 9 and 13 (or at least in that range). As far as I am aware, they have never played a tabletop RPG before, though they did enjoy playing Munchkin.

    So, assuming I can convince my aunts and uncles to allow them to play (Hopefully I can), what would the best way to go about setting up games for them?

    Here's some ideas I already had:

    1. Cut and dry good guys/bad guys. Towns and villages are good, Orcs and bandits are bad.

    2. Start with the core races and core classes and once they get enough experience (Playing that is, not XP), let them take a look at the Advanced classes (Inquisitor, Summoner, ect. ect.). Maybe let them dip into them to start out with if I help them understand all the whatnot.

    3. Simple mission/quests. Orcs are raiding trade carts, go and stop them for a reward, things like that. Again, make it very cut and dry until they get a little older to comprehend the moral grey areas.

    4. Low level games. I don't really intend to take them higher than level 5-7 until I think they're ready. Again, they're young, and never played a tabletop RPG.

    Anything else I should consider? Module/quest ideas? No Tomb of Horrors, I want them to have a good time.
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    "The Barrier World" Google Doc
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Oct 2009

    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    Definitely not tomb of horrors, but put a few good/evil decsions in there, like whether to help the poor guy or the rich guy, but offer the same reward for both.
    With quests your along the right lines, sort of. a small dungeon is normally good for new guys, with a few low level traps to show them what could happen if they don't watch where they're stepping

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Banned
     
    BlueWizardGirl

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    Nov 2010

    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    1.Simple is best, yes. A good trick, is simply take any standard plot from any adventure type cartoon.

    2.This won't matter much. But as soon as you say 'you can't be that', they like will want to be...and they will whine and cry and complain. It might be better to just let them be anything. After all any spellcaster is 'advanced' and some of the other classes are not so hard.

    3.Yes. Cartoon plots are great, again. Nice simple and direct plots.

    4.Well, if you start at 1st level...

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Silus's Avatar

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    Oct 2010

    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    I'm thinking for traps that I'd go with simple stuff: Falling nets, swinging logs, arrows, ect. ect..

    As for the classes, I'm just a little hesitant about the advanced stuff. They're young, and I don't just want to throw them in the deep end.

    And starting at lvl 1 is probably what I'm going to do. Best way to learn is from starting at the beginning huh?

    I'm also pretty leery about the moral decisions right out the gate...Again, they're young. Maybe something simple like a Robin Hood decision? I dunno...
    Awesome avatar by linklele
    "The Barrier World" Google Doc
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    Spoiler
    Show


    Awesome avatar by Akrim.elf and Ceika

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Mar 2009
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    Portland, Or
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    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    Do they know anything about D&D? I mean, do they need a crash course in medieval fantasy?

    Assuming they know the basics of sword and sorcery, I would just straight up ask them what they want to play. They should be able to tell you simple character concepts that you can mold into archetypes such as wizard, barbarian or rogue.

    It shouldn't matter if the party isn't balanced. Just make sure there's plenty of healing potions on hand. And if you do start them out at 1st level double their hitpoints.

    Newbies always need more hitpoints.

    Perhaps try game concepts? First make it a very clear cut game. A princess kidnapped? The Duke of Something needs the Macguffin of Evermore from the dungeon of Doom and Stuff.

    Then perhaps open it up a little more. Take them to a decent sized town and ask them what they'd like to do. They might surprise you. They might start exploring, and encourage that. Make sure they get rewards each time they try some fun role playing.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Jan 2011
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    Foggy Droughtland

    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    7, 9, and 13, and never played a tabletop RPG? Hell, never played a tabletop RPG regardless of age? Are you sure you want to start them on D&D...? You'll spend the first hour of play just helping them figure out what everything on their character sheet means...

    Okay, I exaggerate. Half an hour. Possibly an hour or more for character building even sticking to core; diving into things outside core for new players is unwise (wanting to on their part is a non-issue if they don't know it exists). And they're going to have to get used to playing the first several sessions not knowing all the rules of the game they're playing in a game that's rather reliant on rules. This can be bad (I had a character die in my second session because the DM never told me I could take ten and hadn't read carefully enough to realize the lethality of the situation).

    And seven? That's young... And you said the parent's aren't enthusiastic...

    In the end, my advice is either to give it a couple years or use a different system. Or both; that might be best.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Apr 2006
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    East Coast
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    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    I have an interesting suggestion that I used for a group of new players. I used it when DMing younger people in 3.5. The first session was a throw away game. It let them fine tune their characters after creation and taught them some basics. I called it Boot Camp.

    You basically act as a genenal and walk them through basic combat, magic, skills and at the end have a "major" combat to let them test out everything. That teaches them most things, lets them learn how the team will interact and they can start thinking about how they want their characters to act. Also it prevents them from losing a character to death or boredom with their character before the campiegn begins.

    Just a suggestion. :)
    Last edited by Yugari; 2011-03-15 at 05:25 AM.
    "By the prickling of my thumb, something wicked this way comes."--Ray Bradury

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

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    Jan 2010
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    Far west texas
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    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    Whereabouts in Texas? I'd ask for people at a local game shop if you can, see if they have any suggestions. Lots of parents like to get their kids into games early. You should also get an experienced player to join as sort of a rolemodel, if you can.
    Last edited by Jinn Master; 2011-03-15 at 05:26 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Silus's Avatar

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    Oct 2010

    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    Quote Originally Posted by BayardSPSR View Post
    7, 9, and 13, and never played a tabletop RPG? Hell, never played a tabletop RPG regardless of age? Are you sure you want to start them on D&D...? You'll spend the first hour of play just helping them figure out what everything on their character sheet means...

    Okay, I exaggerate. Half an hour. Possibly an hour or more for character building even sticking to core; diving into things outside core for new players is unwise (wanting to on their part is a non-issue if they don't know it exists). And they're going to have to get used to playing the first several sessions not knowing all the rules of the game they're playing in a game that's rather reliant on rules. This can be bad (I had a character die in my second session because the DM never told me I could take ten and hadn't read carefully enough to realize the lethality of the situation).

    And seven? That's young... And you said the parent's aren't enthusiastic...

    In the end, my advice is either to give it a couple years or use a different system. Or both; that might be best.
    I'm actually not sure on if their parents are going to allow it or not. I don't see a problem, but I figure I would ask first to be on the safe side instead of going "Hey, gonna take your kids and play some D&D".

    The seven year old is smart as a whip as well. The one I'm leery about is the middle cousin. Little worried that he might be too hyperactive to sit down and play some D&D, though I'm not opposed to giving him a try.

    And I plan on starting them out slow, explaining how to make a character, what things mean, all that sort of stuff. Nothing like "Here's a book, flip through this 'kay?".

    Quote Originally Posted by Sillycomic View Post
    Do they know anything about D&D? I mean, do they need a crash course in medieval fantasy?

    Assuming they know the basics of sword and sorcery, I would just straight up ask them what they want to play. They should be able to tell you simple character concepts that you can mold into archetypes such as wizard, barbarian or rogue.

    It shouldn't matter if the party isn't balanced. Just make sure there's plenty of healing potions on hand. And if you do start them out at 1st level double their hitpoints.

    Newbies always need more hitpoints.

    Perhaps try game concepts? First make it a very clear cut game. A princess kidnapped? The Duke of Something needs the Macguffin of Evermore from the dungeon of Doom and Stuff.

    Then perhaps open it up a little more. Take them to a decent sized town and ask them what they'd like to do. They might surprise you. They might start exploring, and encourage that. Make sure they get rewards each time they try some fun role playing.
    I....think they have some Fantasy game experience (The oldest played WoW for a time), and they all took an almost immediate liking to the Munchkin card game. They're almost all video gamers as well.

    The doubling hit points thing I'll probably do, along with the healing potions thing. I doubt that if they make their first characters that one will be a healer. I'm forseeing at least one magic user and maybe a Ranger (I tend to use pop culture to help explain things, and mentioning Aragon will probably tip the scales that way).

    I'm thinking the way I'm gonna start things out is that they all grew up in the same village and already know each other, and that they're off to see the world and make a name for themselves.

    I eventually intend, assuming their experience with Pathfinder goes well, to introduce other games, like D20 Modern, Deadlands, Shadowrun and Call of Cthulhu (CoC when they're older of course), though I think D20 Modern would be easier for them to digest as a starter.
    Awesome avatar by linklele
    "The Barrier World" Google Doc
    A post-post apocalyptic steampunk magitech Pathfinder setting.
    Spoiler
    Show


    Awesome avatar by Akrim.elf and Ceika

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Silus's Avatar

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    Oct 2010

    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinn Master View Post
    Whereabouts in Texas? I'd ask for people at a local game shop if you can, see if they have any suggestions. Lots of parents like to get their kids into games early. You should also get an experienced player to join as sort of a rolemodel, if you can.
    Eastern San Antonio, out near Randolph AFB. There's like....nothing out that way. Like...one gaming store on Randolph Blv and it's more of a comic store than anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by Yugari View Post
    I have an interesting suggestion that I used for a group of new players. I used it when DMing younger people in 3.5. The first session was a throw away game. It let them fine tune their characters after creation and taught them some basics. I called it Boot Camp.

    You basically act as a genenal and walk them through basic combat, magic, skills and at the end have a "major" combat to let them test out everything. That teaches them most things, lets them learn how the team will interact and they can start thinking about how they want their characters to act. Also it prevents them from losing a character to death or boredom with their character before the campiegn begins.

    Just a suggestion. :)
    That...is brilliant.

    *Steals*
    Last edited by Silus; 2011-03-15 at 05:33 AM.
    Awesome avatar by linklele
    "The Barrier World" Google Doc
    A post-post apocalyptic steampunk magitech Pathfinder setting.
    Spoiler
    Show


    Awesome avatar by Akrim.elf and Ceika

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

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    Jan 2010
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    Far west texas
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    Male

    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    They might love Mutants and Masterminds, or the old Marvel superhero game. Both are much easier to learn than DnD, and every kid wants to be a superhero.
    Sorry that there won't be any game stores nearby. Maybe you can check meetup.com- they always have something.
    Last edited by Jinn Master; 2011-03-15 at 05:33 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Silus's Avatar

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    Oct 2010

    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    Hmm....well, I suppose I could look into that. I'd probably be more comfortable with Pathfinder, as I already own the books (Player's handbook, AdvPHB, and the two Bestiaries). Figure it would be a little easier for them if they had the books to flip through and refer back to whenever they needed to.
    Awesome avatar by linklele
    "The Barrier World" Google Doc
    A post-post apocalyptic steampunk magitech Pathfinder setting.
    Spoiler
    Show


    Awesome avatar by Akrim.elf and Ceika

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Jan 2011

    Default Re: DMing for new people (Help D=)

    I'm going to be DM'ing for all new people too, so I've been facing this problem. Luckily, mine are a little bit older (and are interested in reading the books [some are even asking to use third party material already]).

    I keep thinking through how to explain the basics, and there seems to be two solutions that stand out to me:

    1. Play a throwaway session (or minor adventure) to teach everyone: This is what my DM did the first (and so far only) time I've joined a campaign. We started out on one side of a rock and a river, and had to set up a plan after hearing some noises. We managed to be taught stealth, perception, cover, held actions, and basic magic during a simple fight with some orcs.


    2. Treat it like what it is: In the campaign I will be DM'ing, the players will all be casters (two druids, a witch, and a cleric) in an all-caster school. The school is designed to bring students from nothing to their full potential (whatever level I decide to end the campaign at), so the school has 'Beginner' courses. I made these to be tutorials without explicitly calling them tutorials.

    For examples: You could probably start them out in the army, go through a few basic drills/an attack, then set them loose. Maybe an honorable discharge or the kingdom got wiped out while they were away.
    Last edited by akragster; 2011-03-17 at 08:05 PM.

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