i always used crystalball and crystalball lite.
I'm trying to DM for the first time, I've got plenty of plot and story, though I've never actually played Pathfinder (I've played D&D 3.5e a long time ago, though never DM'd) I've got the books and of course know of the SRD but I was hoping on suggestions of reference for how you guys create your Campaigns? I'm guessing most just use Notepad or some basic word editor, though I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to any tools (Aside from generators, like I said, Story and plot is no problem, it's apply it to mechanics and determining how to pace encounters, or what CR to reference, how many creatures for each encounter...).
The biggest problem: I don't know who my players are at the moment, I'd like to be under the assumption of a minimum 45 Minute session, varying longer to 2 hours (Or more, Once I get how long an encounter takes down I'll have randoms set aside). Getting things accomplished, having them flow well without things getting dull is my main worry, I love dialog and I'm pretty wordy, the players I know will most likely attend like story but also like regular action, I've gotten the suggestion of 3 encounters for this time frame, I'm thinking a Party of 3 - 4 to start out without NPCs (I will compensate with items if say, No one rolls a healer type, or something which can mend the parties wounds).
Any suggestions, hints or resources welcome.
Personally I use Wordpress and host it on my PC so I have all my notes for stuff in the game. And online as a subdomain of other sites I have. If you are looking for most of that it is in the GMing Chapter of the Corebook. I know it seems wierd to say it but if you read that chapter it will answer most of your questions. As for pacing that is something that comes from 2 things: knowing your players, which you can not do yet; and practice. Keep notes of how long things take and you will be better the next time. Hope this helps some.
Last edited by dmderek; 05-13-2013 at 10:46 PM. Reason: to add on
I'm anew GM too so maybe we can compare notes from time to time? I use Evernote and http://d20pfsrd.com a lot. I especially like Evernote because I clip a lot of material off of PFSRD and it allow the hyperlinks in the clipped info to stay active! I can also Cut & Paste all relevant info from the last session into a new note for the next session. Every session I have notes from the last session and a very handy search feature in Evernote as well.
APPS: PFRPGrd (you can look up rules faster than looking them up in a book even when you know the page #)
Storyteller- very cool sounds and free app.
Music: Midnight Syndicate
I hope this helps make your games more enjoyable and run smoothly!
be aware of the differences between that d20pfsrd and the actual prd on paizo's site. there are quite a few.
I'm in love with Evernote, I also use Google Docs for players to be able to edit their own documents in my _Google Drive. Crystal ball was interesting. I've tried to find a simple excel version, though every sheet I've found excel for mac freaks out about either macros or something else, trying to save a character sheet with it sometimes works, but won't let me edit it again properly. I'm confident it's just the mac being stupid because i've had no problems with windows.
Just remember that this is your first time at being the DM/GM. Don't think that you will not have stumbles as the game goes along. Also, even those of us that have been running games for awhile at one point started out just where you are right now. Be sure to ask lots of questions here on P&PG. There are lots of folks that can give you answers/suggestions for your game. Although I have not played in or run a Pathfinder game, I would be glad to give you some ideas that can be used no matter what game system & version you are using. Good luck and hopefully you game will last a long time.
"You go 50 feet and come to a Y."
Use a Wiki. Use a Wiki.
What I would consider the absolute best, although not the easiest, way to make a campaign is to organize your info in a database format. Kind of like this: at all times, there are Places. These Places have Events, People, and Objects going on in them. And there are Relationships between pretty much everything.
But since that's probably more complex than it has to be, just make a Wiki with those four types of pages. Each page (place, event, character, or object) has its own relevant history on it, and you'll need one running page that has a summary of each session - since the sessions you play are what the players are most likely to remember.
(What's a Wiki? It's a really easy way to link lots of webpages together simply by doing [[this]])
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As of right now I'm reading over some of Paizo's free modules to try and see how they pace things, really my own worries at this are creating my own monsters, and balancing the battles based on CR. I'm also a huuuuge fan of letting the characters build how they want as long as they have story behind it. Now I don't mean one will be level two while the others are level one... Say (and I know this will most likely happened based on one of the characters playing), I have one person who LOVES engineering, loves to modify himself mechanically, now there won't be anything like that nor any form of steamwork in my world, but I would allow magic tech, metal creations with a magical power source, now I can't say I've googled a pristiege class for him yet but I do like the idea of creating my own special built content for my setting, not come copypasta from a homebrew site.