View Full Version : Teaching a newbie

07-03-2009, 07:09 PM
I have been gaming for a long time now. In all previous editions when I want to teach a new person I usually start them with a fighter and then teach them the basics. In 4th I do not think that will work as well. I have already told them they will have to read the PHB, but does anyone else have any advice?

07-03-2009, 08:06 PM
I don't think there is a simple class anymore, all of them are about the same complexity.

I would go with a striker. Maybe a ranger or rogue since they don't use magic, and most people grasp weapons before spells. Just leave out the backstab (combat advantage isn't the easiest thing to explain) and the Hunter's Quarry (so all they need to do is fire arrows) and it shouldn't be so bad.

07-03-2009, 08:49 PM
Thanks for the advice, I was toying with the idea of helping her to make a ranger.

07-03-2009, 09:29 PM
Personally, I think all players, and especially new players, enjoy the idea that their characters have certain special abilities. I keep the class features as written, but concentrate on using the scenario to accustom the player to the game. For fourth edition, in my offline game, I sat down with the less-experienced players and discussed what each of their abilities was good for. I also made use of cards, regular index cards in my case, for both their powers and their abilities, so during the game session, a player could look up all of their character's abilities easily.

What I've done in the past is to present an encounter with a narrative gloss as an opportunity to describe the character's normal options, but then explicitly let the player decide whether he or she will choose an option I presented or do something else entirely.

One of the new players started as a wizard, and mastered the concept and execution of controlling tactics very quickly, including using her orb-based encounter power at appropriate instances. So in my experience, any complexity of the classes didn't present any obstacles.

07-04-2009, 08:19 AM
I didn't mean for rules of the class to be removed, I just meant leave that topic out until they were comfortable with the basics of the class.

I guess there's the question of whether or not the new player has some pen and paper game experience. If so then things like Hunter's Quarry marks and Combat Advantage may not be so bad. If the person is learning their first RPG then I'd want to keep it as simple as possible until they understand the terms better.

The index cards for the abilities are a good idea too. If you have access to the WotC character builder it will include a set of flash cards when you print out the character sheet. Those would be perfect since they include a description as well as all relevant bonuses.

07-05-2009, 09:19 PM
I have already told them they will have to read the PHB

That's the last thing I'd have any new player do with any new edition. It's a lot of data and very little context. If they want to read it on their own that's all well and good, but if they want to figure out the game and how to explore what it offers, I'd focus on the KISS method.

For 4th Edition D&D that would mean giving them a one to two line description of the classes, using an automated generator to make whatever they enjoy the most in short order, and then using index cards or the character generator cards to show them their abilities.

From that point they have enough of the rules to try to interact with the game and the DM can handle the rest. I tend to focus on what the person wants their character to do more than what rule they want to invoke as my base DM style, and it helps new folks. They can say what they want to do and then I can walk through the rules that adjudicate it. Everyone wins. :)

07-07-2009, 09:07 PM
If you're going to leave out combat advantage, hunter's quarry, or warlock's curse, you'd better put them back in as soon as the player gets the basics down- those damage-boosters are the only thing that makes strikers remotely interesting (in fact, it's what makes them strikers).

Most games that have a level mechanic do so to control the steady increase in complexity of the game. There's little complexity to learn at level 1, and as you advance, things like status effects, powers, and rules get more complicated.

The best way to keep the complexity down is to restrict the game to the first PHB. The game plays fine with the original rules, and the additional options complicate things rather quickly.

07-12-2009, 09:32 PM
So I am going to try to have them make a ranger, they are interested in ranger so that works. They seemed to be an easier to play in 4th.

07-14-2009, 11:22 AM
I think you find that newbies on 4th will pick up the game pretty quickly. If you expect them to make a really optimized PC (as many believe its the end all of PC created) that might not happen. They will learn the game quickly because the other players will rely on him/her to do his/her part and give advice.

As far as reading the PHB, why is that such hard thing? They will simply read the sections that apply to them. They can read all about the class that interest them, the powers, the feats, and the basics of combat. If they need clarification, they will ask.

This not rocket science, this is 4th edition.:)

Amon Alden
08-12-2009, 01:30 AM
I just recently started playing again, the last time I played was about 20 years ago and it was 2E. I like 4E so far. I think it helps to read the PHB certainly, but not required.

As far as character creation, a copy of the DDI will take care of any new player as it goes step by step and explains every power, feat, etc. A fair DM would help in early play to let newbies know when they are making bad decisions or when they should or should not use encounter or daily powers. Remember, the whole point of this is to have fun. If the player is having fun, they will continue to play.

Definitely do not leave out beneficial class powers. I would rather have a game go at a tortoise's pace than not have all my abilities, powers and feats available for me. In the early going remind players of these things as well. Once they level up though, it should be DM vs. Player, unless you feel they still just quite aren't pulling everything together.

08-26-2009, 04:34 PM
Personally, my approach is to give them a brief description of the classes, then ask them which one sounds the most interesting, letting them choose which to play.

Once they have a class I would have them start looking at that class with me. I wouldn't have them worry about more than about the first 2 or 3 levels worth of powers for 4th ed. though because frankly, its going to take a while to get beyond that anyway. Make sure they understand the powers they took, let them pick their feats (though I would likely recommend a few to try to keep them from getting overwhelmed) then just start playing.

The key is to be patient with them. If they are interested in the game, they'll get the hang of it. If they don't like it, they probably won't but then there's really not much you can do about it.

All that being said, I have to agree that a bow ranger in particular, is pretty straightforward. A healing-centric cleric is also pretty straightforward and would not be a bad choice (though the fun aspect of that class can be debated ad nauseum).

Grandore The Giant Killer
08-26-2009, 04:49 PM
Honestly I'd ask him what type of character he wants. What style of player he wants. what is the player looking for in the character. Answer all those questions before choosing a class. I find it easier to teach what the player is interested in. Like when I first joined D&D I was asked what style of character I wanna be. I said "I like powerhouse characters." So I was a Barbarian.

08-26-2009, 05:29 PM
When I was introduced to my first campaign all of a month ago my DM asked me which race and class best represent me or what I wanted to be. So now I'm an elf paladin, cuz I like to fight for justice, work with my hands, and have a sensitive stomach (elves take a -2 con, +2 Dex remember.) so ask him:

Which of the races best represents you?
and which class best represents what you do or want to do?