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Thread: New DM

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  1. #1
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    New DM

    The DM of group the group I'm in has decided he needs a break, or were going to take a break for a couple months without games, he's just getting burned out. No one else was willing to try running a game so I steped up and said what the hell, I could give it a try. After talking with him we decided that he's going to run games every other week or so. I decided to start out with a mid lvl pre-built module, "Legacy of Madness" (made in 2001).

    Basically I'm looking for advice. I've only really been playing since last August, and I've only been in this group for the last 3-4 months(got out of the military and moved back home.) We have a couple long time vets including the other DM, and there are a couple newbies, they've played a little less time than me.

    Is there anything I should be on the look out for, anything that might throw a monkey wrench into my first session as a DM?

    Also, here are the house rules/books I set up for the game:

    Hey guys. Just wanted to say what's up and let you know I'm running the game this coming Saturday. I'm not going to change much, if any, of the house rules normally used. Still going to be a 36 pt buy, still going to use max HP each lvl for these next few games at minimum.

    As far as books allowed, the Core books, Unearthed Arcana(All SRD Material) + PHB2 + the Complete books, Tome of Battle, Tome of Magic & BoED/BoVD. No Psionics.

    All party members are neutral or good aligned, no evil and start at lvl 8. Instead of normal starting wealth though, you have 34000 GP, that's almost 25% more than normal, but you just might need it. >

    If you play a Ranger your effective druid level for your companion is equal to your Ranger class level, not 1/2 your class level like normal. I've hated that rule from the get go and all Rangers in any game I run that have a companion(not all do) will use this to calculate their companion. This doesn't change anything for a druid's companion.

    If you want to go into a PRC, let me know. I most likely won't have any problems unless it requires some odd entry requirement like for the Vassel of Bahamut(from BoED). No setting specific PRC's other than the Harper classes from Forgotten Realms.

    Races, let's stick to "Basic" races. No +LA races, no Warforged...But elf/dwarf/gnome/halfling variants are ok.

  2. #2
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    36 Point buy???? Hory Kow

    36 point buy is insane.

    The book suggest 28. We have always used a 28 and it is fine. Unless they do not get the level 4 and level 8 up stat increase. But even then that is pretty insane point buy.

    With that big of a stat buy system you could cut the starting money since you are giving them about 160,000gp worth of stat items if they had to buy them.

    Wow...

    Just wow.

  3. #3
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    The best advice I could probably give is to speak with Tesral on this site. He has been at it for a long time and is very knowledgable.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annshadow View Post
    36 point buy is insane.

    The book suggest 28. We have always used a 28 and it is fine. Unless they do not get the level 4 and level 8 up stat increase. But even then that is pretty insane point buy.

    With that big of a stat buy system you could cut the starting money since you are giving them about 160,000gp worth of stat items if they had to buy them.

    Wow...

    Just wow.
    Yeah, I know it's a lot, but that's normal PB of the group. The crazy thing is it's not a weighted buy, it's actually 36 stat bumps. So it's possible, under our system, to have scores of 18, 18, 18, 10, 10, 10...Yeah, I know it's a lot, but the baddies we fight end up being equally buffed.

  5. #5
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    Considering that you are running with higher level characters (I would recommend 1st for new DM, but oh well) you have to gauge the PC's by the characters they build and how they decide to work together.

    If they are seasoned players then you may find the combat challenges might be not so challenging at first (especially with a 36pt build). Adjusting foes takes time and bit of skill to bring them to the correct challenge level.

    But what is more memorable to a PC is the atmosphere you present. I don't know the Legacy of Madness Module and if others have run through it that may cause some of the "surprise" elements to be lost. Read through the material thoroughly and make sure you have an overview of the entire plot and mechanisms in the adventure--esp. if your party likes to wander about into areas not covered--forcing you to adlib. If that happens too often then have them wander into encounters/sections that are part of the module so you utilize all the material without having to dump it.

    and have fun.

  6. #6
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    Congratulations and welcome to the ranks of the eternally unprepared! Being a Dungeon Master requires you to be quick on your feat, discerning of what the players enjoy, an eloquent storyteller, good at roleplaying enemies, allies, and NPCs of all kinds and professions, a solid knowledge of the rules, etc. None of us will ever master all of it perfectly, and thus we are eternally unprepared

    All of this can be overwhelming, but being a DM also gives you a way to experience tabletop gaming that you could never have as a player. As a DM, you can really make any world come alive, and for one thing in your life have everything exactly the way you like it.

    The one bit of advice I'd have is to be humble. Let the players know that you are starting, and need their help to keep the story moving, and that you expect them to follow your rulings. Let them know you are in charge, but willing to listen.

    I agree with Wizarddog that your first few sessions would be easier if you started with low level players, but thats a matter of choice. It will help that you are using a module, but that is quite a bit to chew on for your first time around.

    It sounds like the players like a solid challenge, so hold nothing back. Since this is a standalone module, you can let loose and if the PCs get killed, so be it (of course I don't mean trying to kill them, but it sounds like your group likes living on the edge of life and death). Be sure to change one or two things so you get a taste for the creativity being a DM allows and to make the module your own.

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

    If you are in the DC metro area and like to trade D&D minis (1.0 or 2.0), please send me a PM!

  7. #7
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    Garry's First Rule of Fantasy
    --All RPG is fantasy, even if it is not.
    --Do not change reality more than necessary to make your Universe work.

    This isn't likely to be a large consideration in a preprepared module. However it is something to keep in mind. If you run into a situation that is not covered, and physics gives you a simple answer, go with it.


    Write to your audience.
    -- Know your players.
    -- Ask what they like and what they want to see in the game.

    Again you are starting with a module, so the first hit is free. However you are going to be writing your own material, at the least judging which modules to use. I use modules. I don't always have the time to write a new from the start adventure.

    Discuss things. Ask what they want to see and what they expect from the game. I try to do this ever few session, a little meta gaming time to see what goals the players have for the PCs.


    The Rule of Yes.
    -- Unless there is a compelling reason to say no, say yes.
    -- A roll is not required for everything, even if a roll is required.

    Not much to add here. Don't lean on the dice too heavily. If the PC is looking for a green shirt in town, they find it. If they need five horse shoes, the blacksmith has them. Unless there is a compelling reason. If the town is impoverished and on the verge of starving out finding anything might be a task, but that is a reason.


    Keep encounters open ended.
    -- An encounter with one solution is bad.
    -- I do not write encounters with a solution in mind. I present the problem, and let the players tell me how it will be solved. Remember they are creative too. Use that.

    I cannot emphasize this enough. Frustrated players are bad. What to you might be an obvious solution might to the next person never come up. Look back to the Rule of Yes. Use any reasonable solution, be open to solutions you didn't think of. Remember that your players are creative people too, and the game is a cooperative effort. If you didn't want them writing part of the story, write a novel.


    BE FLEXIBLE.
    -- Don't script. Players will do the unpredictable.
    -- When that happens, punt. If an encounter is important, it can be fit in elsewhere.
    -- Only you know how the scenario is assembled. No one will smite you if you shuffle the parts.

    This again is very important. shuffle as required. An unused encounter can be recycled into another module. One of the things I love about computers is it make it easy to cut and paste bits from scenario to scenario. I constantly rewrite on the fly. Remember also Skippy's rules of engagement. "No plan ever survives contact with the enemy." Your plan for the game is unlikely to get through the first encounter intact. Know this, accept it and be ready to improvise as required.

    One of the physical tools is I only print my scenarios on one side of the paper. I'm not wasting half the paper, after I bind the scenario (which I do) I have that clean side to make notes and adjustments. I use them as well and refer back to them when writing the next part of the game. Notes are important, use them.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

  8. #8
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    these guys were 8th level?
    "well, g'night! dont let the flesh eating demon bed babies bite!!"
    facebook.com/houstonderek

  9. #9
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    Yup

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    Hey, congrats on a successful game. You know how I know? Cause it went all night without a complaint.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Dweller View Post
    Yup
    cool, sounds like they used the extra little of bit of a boost you gave them to good effect! i prefer a somewhat "low power, nitty gritty" type game when i dm, but i do like a "let it all hang out" epic type game when i play on occasion, and it sounds like y'all had a great time!

    good job
    "well, g'night! dont let the flesh eating demon bed babies bite!!"
    facebook.com/houstonderek

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