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Designing Sessions for New Players
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I'm going to be running D&D 5E for some new players on Thursday and I was curious if you guys had any tips or advice when designing an adventure for new players.

What do you want to run?

Have your players expressed any desire to have a particular type of campaign?

Are you more into combat or roleplay (don't lie; everyone says roleplay initially but quite a large number like the combat sections more)?

What types of enemies are you having?

What classes do the players want to use?

How do you plan to have them meet up? Or is that already going to be established due to the above question?

These are the questions we need answered before we can help.
Introduce rules as they become relevant, not all at once. A huge rules dump takes time and confuses them, but you don't need that for and RPG.
First off, character creation and the massive amount of rules will scare people away. Ease 'em into it. Let them know that the book is big because it's filled with so many options; and they only need to pick and understand their own. Help them make and choose their characters by summarizing the different races and classes.

Start with a very generous plot hook, or as /tg/ would call it, railroading. They're new to this, they don't know what the hell to do with being dropped in a tavern in the middle of Faerun.

Have a learning curve. The first one or two encounters should be very simple: one bear, two wolves. Slowly sprinkle in tactics, intrigue, exploration, open ends, etc.

Use inspiration, hand-outs, and in and out of game prompts to get them roleplaying. The important thing is to lead by example; if you want them to talk in character, you're going to have to too.

YMMV, but just a month ago I got my friends into the hobby, and the first session, that I had no idea how good would go, ended up lasting 8 hours and ended only because we were all tired.
If it is a one-shot'ish sort of thing you should seriously consider making their characters. Think about the players and then build characters you think they would like - not that you like - but that they would like. Stick to mechanics, let them flesh out personality.

Consider a 'pre' sessions that is purely combat. Walk them through the basics, let them thump some orcs, make it easy if a bit long. go over To-Hit, AC, Saves, HP, some Actions, that sort of thing.

Then start the 'session'. Go heavy on the Adventure, a bit less so on the RP (though be ready to go heavy there, if they follow that path). I'd suggest keeping things pretty simple, maybe not 'rail road, but certainly be ready to lead them around if needed.
I'm playing in a game this thursday (today) You wouldn't happen to be in WA would you?
I'm currently doing the same thing and I've never played dnd before but we can't find a DM.
This guy has the right idea. I would also like to add a addendum to that, and use one of the preexisting modules that Wizards has put out, once you're a bit down the road and everyone has a decent understanding of who and what they are and how to use their character. It'll give you some nice solid frame work to function within.
Get your ideas from everywhere, improvise a much as possible within your general idea of what to do.

Be lively as the NPCs, and don't get to attached to them, their deaths are highly probable.

Character creation takes time, and be versed on the rules and have the extra materials that WotC published ready if your are using them.

Try your hardest to get players to role-play, ask them questions continually on what their characters are and record the their answers. Ask a player once a session some detail they might not have thought of yet. And work into the story as you can.

Combat isn't hard to run but is hard to make fun, be dirty to the players but don't cheat. Make enemies gang-up on the wizard and wrestle him to the ground so they can stab him. Make them force the paladin into charging at them, and above also use them as their descriptions are in the MM. Not just numbers upon numbers that can fight the players' numbers better.

Don't hit them with your master-crafted setting in giant lectures and don't tell them everything. Get them to want to know who the King is by showing his domain, and NPCs going on about the curfew that is far too restrictive. Then why is there a curfew? A thread right there can lead to so many things.

Above all else, give them a good time. Being a GM is hard, that's why not a lot of people to do it. Sometimes you will have to sacrfice what you want to do for the players wants, to a point.
But the most important thing, is to get them to want something and have to work for it. Don't let them kill the King so easily. They have to plan over sessions to do it. The journey is more important than the end.
If they're new players, they don't give a shit.

Make up a generic quest hook and a dungeon and let them realize that they aren't actually as interested in the hobby in they thought they would be and then they can leave.
I take it your efforts to get other people into the hobby have failed.
Why would I ever waste my time on people who aren't already involved in the hobby I'm a part of? It's not my job to teach them shit, it's their job to teach themselves. And if the lack of a coddling mentor is enough to keep them from ever taking part, then good riddance.
>hey anon, what are those games you play? They sound fun can you teach us?
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It's funny, I did just this a while ago.

I built a very simple adventure. The village of Blue Hollow was under siege by savage werewolves and the undead by night. They were the people that a few desperate farmers recruited, coming back to the village along with a wagon loaded with supplies.

On the way there they ran into bad weather that forced the wagon to stop for the night a few miles short of the village. In the night, they were attacked by the undead and I did a combat tutorial.

They protected the farmer and the wagon though the night then made it into Blue Hollow. The local witch told them her theory about where the undead were coming from, the abandoned tower of a necromancer that had vanished and was presumed dead ten years ago. A gentle reminder from her about werewolves also got them to go to the blacksmith and get some silver weapons, in return for a promise to help the village.

They stayed in the village that day to rest from the road, that night they fought off the undead from the walls and drove off a werewolf, thinning their ranks.

The next day they sent off and went to the necromancer's tower..

The funny part is this was all WAY more simple then I normally do. There was player agency, but mostly them being led by the hand though a story.

They loved it, but now when that group gets together they want to play that sort of game! They hate it when there is a point where they don't have a clear idea of what they are supposed to do next.
you must become the DM
That's what I'm saying. I'm currently trying to do that.
Oh thank god this thread happened.
Okay. I am a first time player. Today, for the first time ever I played D&D (or... it was yesterday at this point but I haven't slept yet)
I had a BLAST
> I played with my two roommates and a friend of one after a HUGE wait of trying to get two more people to join the group (We went through so many people just not showing up)
> We played 5E.
> I frequent /tg/ because of my unending love of 40K
> Our one roommate would be the DM and helped us all make our characters individually
> I rolled up a Warforged Paladin
I honestly, for my first time, wanted to play as a character I knew well
He would be a Space Marine (but, you know, not from space)
> A former Soldier
> I have taken an oath of Vengeance
> The best approach to a problem would be the simplest and more direct.
> My honor is my life
> My hatred of my enemies is blind and unreasoning
I was kinda' pumped.
And then the only problem I had came up
> The DM asks us all to introduce our characters and sort of explain how we got where we are
Now I should mention that he was new to DMing, myself and the other roommate were completely new to the game, the DMs friend has only played a few games.
> Noone really goes into depth
> roommate
> Tem Zorat ( Not sure on the spelling offhand )
> Blue Dragonborn Monk
> After the death of his family he enters Monkhood to, I guess, repent for his family's sins
> The DMs friend
> Charr'ly (it was something else but the DM looked him square in the eye and said "...really?". I had missed the joke)
> Gold Dragonborn Sorcerer
The guy seems cool. I think I'm just weird around new people. Didn't catch his backstory really
> It gets to me
So far it's been really lax. We're new to the game. Just playing to have fun because we're friends.
> I fucking freeze
"I... uh... well... he's a... or was... y'know... a soldier... "
"I worship um... Bahamut..."
So we play.
> I don't think I'm throwing anyone off.
> Fucking kobolds.
> Off the bat we're attacked.
> I lose half my life instantly
> We then rebuddle bye overkilling them all but one
> I decide to intimidate it into telling us what's going on
"Okay. Well what, exactly, are you asking it."
"O-oh... well... what, yknow, is up... with the town... or... what... why... he's attacking"
> This goes on through the session.
Even though it's a session of just friends and we're not being super in depth I can't keep from feeling embarrassed...
When I do sort of put on a voice, I don't think it's the same one twice.
> Once it's mighty and booming.
> Once I was Christian Bale's batman...
> One time it was almost like my attempt at Protoss...

So. I really wanted to ask /tg/ some questions as a first time player
What helps with staying in character?
and what would help me flesh my character more?
( I feel like because I don't know as much about the setting that I'm at a disadvantage )

My only saving grace, to me, came when a small pirate child, whose family we had just saved, asked me what was in my sack
> The DM says the child is uneasy that the sack is moving and whimpering
> The kobold I forced to confess had tried to flee
> Our party's prisoner
> I looked the DM in the eye
"Bahamut judges the wicked."
> I do not look away
"Fuck man, really? He's just a kid. He is shocked and looks like he's about to cry. You're like super Lawful good."
> I explain that there is right and there is wrong. Commit evil and punishment is all that waits you. There is no other choice.
> I am awarded an inspiration point
"And that child will never commit a crime as long as he lives"
Steal from modules.
First off, disregard any notion of running a long campaign. Start with a one-shot, and make it as straightforward as possible. And by straightforward, I mean "give the players a simple problem to solve, and then let them go at it".

The PCs come to a village that has been taken over by bandits. The bandits walk all over the villagers, eating their food, drinking their wine, and having their way with the women. Have a pair of bandits harass one righteous villager in front of the PCs, so the PCs can see these guys are clearly assholes. Let the PCs react to this however they like, and then just follow the narrative from there.

If you really want to push the players to take action, have the bandits turn on them, and demand they hand over their weapons, armour and other items as a "toll" for staying in "their" village. If the PCs won't fight to protect innocent bystanders, you can bet they'll fight to protect their own interests.

There could also be a few different ways to resolve the situation succesfully. The PCs could seek out the bandit's leader, and kill/apprehend him. The PCs could incite an uprising among the villagers, and help them oust the bandits themselves. Or the PCs could try to escape the village, and contact the local lord - it's his job to protect his fief, after all. Whatever the PCs choose, make sure the bandits do all they can to stop them. But be sure to pull your punches: you don't want your new players' first experience to end in a party wipe.

The fact that you don't have to rely on solutions pre-ordained by a designer is the biggest advantage D&D has over videogame RPGs. Play up that fact to newbies, and they'll soon be hooked.
I'd say it depends on who you're playing with and how it was sold to everyone.
My group was just about having fun and hanging out. Not so much nerding out. Our DM had never done so before so he had to look at the books alot. Afterwards he told me he felt like maybe he were bored with waiting for him and we weren't. So y'know - don't panic. Just try your best.
>Even though it's a session of just friends and we're not being super in depth I can't keep from feeling embarrassed...

Dude, it's fine. Yeah, it's silly and stupid- most games are. You're basically playing Pretend like you did when you were five, just a bit more structured now. So what? Embrace it. You're noticing how silly you feel a lot more than anybody else does.
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