Hey guys, I'm new to Role playing games and after lurking on here I'm intrested in Dnd. The problem is I don't know anyone who's played it before. I have a group of friends willing to try. But I think I'll have to DM. but I'm curious on tips on how to not suck.
it's going to suck the first couple of times. things will feel uncomfortable, sometimes awkward, you'll run into scenarios you didn't plan or envision and just be at a total lost
relax. play through. have fun, don't be too serious.
and remember pic related
First and foremost, you're going to suck, just try to learn from your mistakes.
Try to keep things moving fairly quickly in combat (and elsewhere to a degree), even if that means you have to fudge a rule or two now and then.
Try not to let the characters get stuck at some obstacle. D&D doesn't really have rules for it, but "fail forward" is a good way of doing things. If they come to a locked door, for example, try not to have them just fail to unlock it / break it down / whatever if they roll badly, but rather have them open it noisily in some way (and potentially alert guards in the process). Unless, of course, there are other ways to continue, in which case do whatever.
Published adventures are great for getting into DMing since, while you don't know they'll be super amazing, you can usually trust them to not be terrible (and you can look up reviews online for many of them).
Run a module, tell everyone the buy in is snacks for shareing, give out blowjobs at the end for good roleplay.
You pretty much learn as you go. Write a plot you think everyone will enjoy, and keep it simple. don't be afraid to get rough with encounters too, it's better if they just barely make it out, and feel like they really could have gotten killed
Accept the fact that your first game will suck and maybe one person in that group will ever want to play tabletop again. It's not gonna be your fault, it's just that people tend to have a warped idea of what tabletop is like until they actually play it, at which point they find it's not to their liking.
As for sucking balls, play a published module at starting level. Running through how someone else does it should give you a good introduction and it'll help the session not be too boring or get bogged down.
Give us a run down on what you've done so far to prep. If you haven't prepped do you have any idea's what the players are even expecting out of it? Its fine if you don't have the answers to these but it would go a long way than generic help.
Obligatory comment to make, you may wish to try other RPG systems, not necessarily D&D. Similarly to how not all cars are Volvos, not all RPGs are D&D.
But, that's up to you!
I tend to try to get my players involved in making a homebrew setting, that usually gets them properly motivated when their boss in their home town has sent them on a quest and they've promised a lavish feast when they get back safe and sound.
First thing first. Instead of planning out every session like a story, make it a chain of interchangeable plot hooks and points instead.
>Players are supposed to find a necklace and you put it into the mayor's private study on a mannequin behind a bunch of guards.
>Players instead decide to go investigate local rumors about a cult brewing up trouble in the fishing district.
>Give the cultists the guards' stats and loot while having the necklace instead appear on the statue of the cultist's god.
Just like that.
Play The Witcher and watch The Hobbit.
They are two pretty overused two media sources but they still gave me inspiration for your very first couple sessions.
Don't make the Charcters split up during the session if possible. Try to create encounters that will make evey player feel usefull.
If after the first time players don't show up it's not your fault. Prepare adequate number of snacks.
Most important thing is to always make everyone do something, noone wants to just wait for their turn to act, and they'll start feeling bored and just using their mobiles.
Try to make the session end with a good boss fight followed by an open ending, so that the players will feel accomplished and will want to return to see what happens the next time.
If a player creates a weird situation try to make up rules on the go and try avoiding checking the rulebook every 5 minutes.
/tg/ stands for totally gay, are you some kind of newfriend?
I have acquired the starter set and the read through most of the players and dm's handbooks and they all made there own character I think I'm just gonna do the starter set but I don't wanna just read straight from the book all the time. You know? Also how do I encourage them to play there characters and not themselves
>watch The Hobbit.
Eh, I don't know about this. The songs are catchy, but Bakshi's animation turns a lot of people off.
It's also not very good inspiration if you want to create an adventure where the party stays together (Bilbo gets separated from the dwarves on three separate occasions, and each time is plot-relevant), where every member is relevant (the fuck did Bombur do?), and good boss fights (1-shotting a dragon does not climactic TRPG combat make).
When we played through the starter set we ended up freeing some fae and a handful of goblins, our dm played off that later when we got kinda kidnapped-shifted in to the fae during the night and had to do a favor for Oberon to get back.
I know none of that is in the starter set but we were down a guy that session and the Dm wanted to try sum OC donutsteel.
What I am trying to say is if you want to try using some of your own stuff just throw it in there as an extra sidequest.
Buy or make a dm screen with quick reference charts on the back, it's useful so you don't have to keep referencing the rulebook, also, make sure before play that everybody constructs their character sheet completely, nothing slows down game play like having to stop play to figure out some twit's Basic Attack Bonus is because they didn't think it looked important to fill in, and then realizing that their sheet is literally barely half complete, and your monster was about to attack their non-listed will, which you now also have to work out to continue the encounter.
Making sure everything is done properly during preptime will always save you work later.
Try to start out with a relatively light system. This can present a bit of a problem with D&D, because you're either stuck with a modern system that's on the high side of rules-medium (5e), or an old school system that's rules-light, but rather ad hoc, with no central mechanic (Basic D&D--Moldvay Basic in particular). There are various retroclones and knockoffs that give you a little leeway, ranging from the very minimalist Swords & Wizardry White Box, to Castles & Crusades, which gives you the relative minimalism of old school D&D with the central mechanic of modern D&D. S&W WB is simpler than Basic, but is still ad hoc (and the mechanical options are even more limited, though the White Box Heroes supplement can give you access to more classes, at least). C&C is much less ad hoc than old school D&D, but it's also more involved than Moldvay Basic, occupying the light end of rules-medium (and also straying a bit from D&D orthodoxy with its SIEGE engine).
Also, it's worth mentioning that even the simplest edition of D&D rests on a pretty sophisticated (but often invisible) set of assumptions regarding the proper way to play an adventure, get treasure, and so forth that are necessary to maintain the tricky balance of classes and class abilities as characters increase their power tenfold through leveling. You can absolutely play D&D and have fun without recognizing many of these underlying factors (and I'd say that very few people really appreciate them all, including not a few of the edition designers, themselves), but the results will be less than ideal.
>Also how do I encourage them to play there characters and not themselves
You don't. Its there first time playing and RPing. Best you'll get is them being awkward at RPing and they'll find comfort in the ability to RP better if thet transplant themselves into the characters shoes.
Like someone said earlier. You're all new to this, it won't be pretty and its probably going to turn at least one off trpg entirely and make the rest hesitant.
Best you can do is give it your best and try and convince as many as you can to try it again.
Expect maybe 2/10 to be permanent players and then you 3 can transplant to an active local group.
For the rest it might not be what you want but having the book is a good idea. You're entirely new to this and having the source to fall back on is the best bet you got. If you really don't like the idea just have the book nearby and fill the a notebook full of little notes.
On the subject of notes, always have a notebook or some such to write things dowb that happen. They don't have to be word for word of events but summaries like "paladin fell" "rogue lost an eye" "town saved from lich" etc. help you and your group keep track of things that happened between sessions. Can't tell you how many times i've had moments where someone in the group has to point out something we've forgot like a password or enemy location or some BBEG finishing hint that we entirely forgot making us do shit the hard way or why we got TPK'd.
Thanks guys I got a few hours to kill before our first session. Also I'm pretty new here (hurr durr newfag) and someone explain in detail who is "that guy" like I know it's a shitty player but what are the characteristic of that guy and how can I avoid it
I personally like to have every "event area" or story beat have 2 or more factions either causing the problem or in need of conflicting help to keep the players feeling like they have true agency on the world and on quests.
Your first session is going to want to have some RP *at the start* and then lead into a simple combat encouter so that people can get the rules down.
This combat encouter will take up approximately 3 hours as people look up "how that one rule went again". This is why you start with the RP bits, because otherwise people will be like "what a shitty experience, nothing even happened."
If you're comfortable giving your players a lot of interactions, you can move the first encounter to the second session, but I doubt you will.
Listen to the first chapter of The Adventure Zone.
It's a podcast where everyone is basically brand new to D&D. What it does right is not get caught up in the details and keep the story moving while the players have fun with the ridiculous plot.
What it does poorly is not know the rules a couple years in.
And that brings us to games that aren't D&D. You can find lighter, easier to grasp games out there than any edition of D&D, but you shouldn't expect them to be flawless either. Game design is tricky, and it's hard to make something as sophisticated as an RPG without there being any glaring flaws at all. In many cases, you have to sacrifice one thing in order to get another, making perfection an impossibility. So one thing that's helpful is to decide what's important to you and what you're willing to throw under the bus to get it.
For a starting GM, simplicity and ease of play is extra important, and this often comes at the expense of verisimilitude ("realism") and sophistication of options. But that's fine. You can fill in the gaps through improvisation. There are bunches of barely-there games out there ranging from things like Lasers and Feelings (one page) and Risus (several pages) to Old School Hack (maybe a bit over a dozen pages if you don't count the space graphics take up). These tend to give you either a very focused experience (Old School Hack is almost a dungeon crawling mini-game) or only the barest guidelines to running a broader range of things (like Risus).
And then there is something like Barbarians of Lemuria, which is a full-length game, but one with a very minimal set of rules given this fact. You're not likely to find much mechanical intricacy in systems like this, and what rules there are might not even be particularly tight, though it matters a lot less than in rules-medium or -heavy games, as they rely more on the GM to make arbitrary judgments, and tweaking (or ignoring) one aspect won't have a bunch of unforeseen consequences, and potentially ruin a precariously balanced superstructure.
>the characteristic of that guy and how can I avoid it
You know that guy, who REALLY makes you fucking angry because he does that thing? And the majority of people at the table hate him too but they're too polite to tell him not to do that thing, or have been his friend for ages and it'd be rude, and so on?
THAT GUY. THAT IS THAT GUY.
The main thing to do is just man up and tell someone if they're pissing a lot of you off over an extended period of time, and if necessary, boot them.
But don't worry about it too much, it's unlikely one will turn up and be TOO bad. Usually they're ok dudes, and just sometimes annoying!
Another podcast to consider is "Drunks and Dragons", they start out with almost no understanding of the rules, but the DM creates one hell of a world and great NPCs, plus the players are funny.
One important thing is to remember that you're also a player. Don't make yourself or your players get the impression that you have to be the guy who does all the work.
Have your players know the rules too. At least the ones that directly affect their characters and the moves they use. If there's a guy in the group who actually read the rules and remembers them, make him your deputy. Have him look up rule passages while you continue a scene, so people aren't sitting around bored for 5 minutes everytime there's an uncertainty. Don't insist on knowing everything about the system, you're new too. If something takes too long to look up, just handwave it. Look it up after the session.
I'd sit down and have a talk with your players beforehand about expectations for the game. You want to make sure everybody's on the same page so that they aren't working at cross purposes. You don't want one guy trying to play a zany "anything goes" game with a Jar Jar inspired character while somebody else struggles to achieve the depth and seriousness of The Godfather. The end result of that would be at least one person being very frustrated or pissed off.
You might also want to explicitly endorse a certain degree of meta-gaming. The players should keep in mind that they're playing in a game for fun, and try to steer their characters away from doing things that would ruin this. That means trying to find excuses to cooperate with one another and to act in ways constructive to having a successful adventure. There are plenty of experienced players who never really do this sort of thing, and it's hard to achieve good results if you've got a group full of people like this.
Yes, playing in character and acting in accordance to your character's motivations is a good thing, but the welfare of the overall game is more important than your character's integrity. It's every player's job to create a character that will work well with the group and the campaign, and to sacrifice the integrity of that character if they don't manage to achieve this. The player's should absolutely be trying to behave in a manner that aids the GM in producing a fun and successful campaign. (Of course, the GM should keep in mind that his job is first and foremost to entertain the players and not just force them to be actors in his own fanfic.)
Best advice I heard here is the "Yes, but-" rule.
basically, never turn down a players idea; but impose some kinda monkey paw on it if its ridiculous. An example:
>player: I want to slam the ground in the dungeon to make a shockwave that stuns the enemies
>DM: Ok, but if you roll under a 15 you collapse the dungeon on yourself
It will make for the most epic moments and keep players engrossed. If given the chance, your players can make 3/4 the campaign for you.
Biggest rookie DM mistake is lovingly handcrafting a world full of rich and meticulously detailed NPCs. The first thing your players will try to do is kill your most important NPC, ignore your subtle plothook and befriend your initial kobold gang to take over you carefully crafted city.
Also good advice I heard here is practice "Schrodinger'sDungeon". If a player asks "Is there any flammable objects nearby?" but your map only has some random metal things in the room, maybe there fucking is (even though there wasnt any in your notes). This will greatly increase player interest.
Get into character, when talking with NPC's.
Seriously, players are bored hearing exposition. You need to really get into the spirit of roleplaying, and give them good, memorable characters to be invested in, or else the game will suck.
Yeah. It will be really embarrassing at first, and probably always, but your friends won't care, they'll just have fun. Some of the best moments happen when you're just going with it
Why exactly do we have this thread? Like, do any of you seriously expect any new player, or anyone at all, to read these mountains of text telling them what you think a good DM is?
He's new, he's an idiot, and he doesn't care. You're not posting for anyone's benefit.
What you have pictured there is Rankin and Bass, brother. Bakshi did Lord if the Rings, not The Hobbit. His work freaks people out because its that wierd rotoscoping thing, pic related.
>Play The Witcher
I would go even further with that and say specially play The Witcher III: Hearts of Stone Expansion.
Great crash course on how to motivate players, set up good villains, create interesting and dynamic quests and social roleplaying scenarios, and how establishing tone can really help your adventure be memorable and engaging.