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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    JNAProductions's Avatar

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    Default Beginner DM Help

    I'm getting together what I hope will be my first real, more than two times D&D group. I've tried it a few times before and it just kinda falls through. Mostly, no one taking the game quite seriously enough, which I don't think will be as much an issue with this group. (Plus I have modules, so I'm better preapared than usual.)

    However, I want it all to go as best as possible. So, to all the more experienced DMs out there, any newbie advice?

    In addition, are there existing tileboards for Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat? And if not, what'd make a good gameboard?
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Beginner DM Help

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    I'm getting together what I hope will be my first real, more than two times D&D group. I've tried it a few times before and it just kinda falls through. Mostly, no one taking the game quite seriously enough, which I don't think will be as much an issue with this group.
    It's a very common problem, though. It's common enough that it's a good idea to talk to the group about what you're hoping for, and asking what needs to happen to get to that.

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    (Plus I have modules, so I'm better preapared than usual.)
    Careful, though. Having a module doesn't automatically make you prepared. Another common thing is for players to leave the bounds of the module, requiring the GM either to awkwardly rope them back in (which it likely to lead to them not taking it seriously) or to improvise.

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    However, I want it all to go as best as possible. So, to all the more experienced DMs out there, any newbie advice?
    Involve your players. If a player asks you a question you don't know, as the player what they think the answer is and go with that.

    Don't sweat the rules. Getting the rules exactly right is no guarantee of a fun or even a fair game. Focus on moving forward and making cool player ideas work.

    Be a GM who says "Yes, and..." instead of "No." This is hard at first, but it gets easier.

    This advice works for every edition of D&D and lots of other roleplaying games. I hope you find it useful. Good luck.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kid Jake's Avatar

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    Default Re: Beginner DM Help

    Don't worry too much about them taking things seriously, it's meant to be fun so just focus on that. My players often get the most enjoyment out of setting fire to my carefully laid plans and pissing on the ashes, in turn; my favorite moments usually come from blindsiding them with the hilarious consequences of their actions. So long as everybody leaves the table laughing about how things went I consider it a success.

    Most of my early games failed because I tried too hard to make an epic story for my friends and they resented being pushed towards a specific outcome. Once I started letting them play their game (the PCs) while I played my game (the world around them) we all started having a better time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winter_Wolf View Post
    At least we can say Kid Jake has style. And possibly is insane.
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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    JNAProductions's Avatar

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    Default Re: Beginner DM Help

    To clarify, I mean not bothering to stay in character or anything. I'm not overly concerned about the main plot, and more just that a story is made by the players.

    As for the modules, I'm hoping they'll stay somewhat on course. I'm not the best at improv. However, they're also all inexperienced, so hopeful that'll cut down on shenanigans.

    Also, thank you for the advice, both of you.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Beginner DM Help

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    To clarify, I mean not bothering to stay in character or anything.
    Not everyone is very comfortable with that. Talk to your players about your expectations and find out from them about theirs.

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    As for the modules, I'm hoping they'll stay somewhat on course. I'm not the best at improv. However, they're also all inexperienced, so hopeful that'll cut down on shenanigans.
    In my experience, the opposite is true. The experienced players have gotten tired of messing around and want to play. New players are not necessarily messing around, but are trying out freedoms other games don't give them. If you describe mountains in the distance, they can actually go to those, and might want to right now. Just be aware of this kind of thing, and go with it as much as possible. If you're having trouble coming up with adventure on the spot, admit that to the players and ask what their expectations are. Then work with those ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    Also, thank you for the advice, both of you.
    You're welcome.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Beginner DM Help

    ...

    Welp, good I've got a friend who will, at the very least, give me all the help I could need in terms of world-building. Gameplay wise... *Gulp*

    For the in-character bit, I didn't even think of that. I know at least one guy (same as above) will be all over in-character shenanigans, but as for the rest, I'm going to check literally right now.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Beginner DM Help

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    ...

    Welp, good I've got a friend who will, at the very least, give me all the help I could need in terms of world-building. Gameplay wise... *Gulp*
    Go easy on the worldbuilding, too, unless you enjoy it for its own sake. There is such a thing as too much, and if you're only doing it because you're hoping the players will explore it and enjoy it, you're likely to be disappointed.

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    For the in-character bit, I didn't even think of that. I know at least one guy (same as above) will be all over in-character shenanigans, but as for the rest, I'm going to check literally right now.
    Good for you. If they're not into acting like their characters, explore alternatives. Some people just describe what their character is doing. "Rogar laughs heartily." "Rogar stammers awkwardly." etc.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Beginner DM Help

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    To clarify, I mean not bothering to stay in character or anything. I'm not overly concerned about the main plot, and more just that a story is made by the players.
    Then you're already over the two biggest hurdles for a DM. The next two are to not sweat the small stuff as a wrong decision now is better than a correct one ten minutes later (unless the players riot), and to be prepared to apologise when you screw up. It will happen, and happens to everyone.
    Currently in playtesting, now with optional rules for a cover based sci-fi shooter.
    Games for Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, and Silver Age Marvel. Skins for The Gorgon, the Deep One, the Kitsune, the Banshee, and the Mad Scientist

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