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45907470 No.45907470 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

>mfw going to DM my first D &D 3.5 session on Friday

Can you guys give me any tips?

>> No.45907495

>>45907470
>obligatory don't play 3.5 comment

But seriously you should probably tell us what class you're planning on playing so we can tell you if you're gimped or not.

>> No.45907521

>>45907495
I'm dming
The players and I only know 3.5

>> No.45907537

>>45907495
he's DM

Also nobody cares about your optimal "builds" and minmaxing

>> No.45907542

>>45907470
Read the rules.

I'm assuming you are making characters in the first session, so be aware of party dynamic. That said, don't feel you have to play something you don't want to just to fill a gap.

>> No.45907599
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45907599

Just try to keep options open for the players and don't railroad them. And be ready to think on the fly. Other than that, have fun and keep it fun for the players.

>> No.45907605

- for the first time, stick to core only
- if it's your first time GMing in general consider using pre-made module
- if you're not sure something is too strong/too weak for the player, make sample PCs on the same level and take them through your encounters
- as a GM, you can overrule any dispute, but leave that power for when it's really necessary, least you become a tyrant
- don't get bribed by food or other such petty treats into favorism, that's poor sport giving in to lewd favors is acceptable as long as the person is cute

>> No.45907714

>>45907495
oh fug im going blind
>>45907537
I don't like to encourage minmaxing but 3e has so many trap options it sometimes has to be done. At least if you want to avoid being useless.

But as we've already established I'm fucking illiterate so it's a moot point.

>> No.45907733

>>45907470

Just a few things of the top of my head.

>be familiar with the rules
>be familiar with the setting
>have a list of NPC names ready to use incase you need to create NPCs on the fly. be sure to note down anything about new NPCs in case the players come back to them
>create some generic cookie cutter encounters to which you can apply GM paint in case of the players taking unexpected paths
>keep power levels in check. players who become too powerful too quickly can be a nightmare for new GMs to handle
>keep all players at the same powerlevel
>if you intend to use GMNPCs use them nudge the players in the right direction, but don't have them solve everything for the players
>make sure to give everyone about the same spotlight time. if someone has been quiet for a while, check if there is anything they would like to do
>maps can be helpful, but you don't need the whole world. focus on the areas the players will interact with
>expect the unexpected
>reward ingenuity
>encourage players to think as their characters would, not as they as players would
>punish stupidity, but don't go too far. you may wish to give warnings when players are about to do something ridiculously dumb

>> No.45907768

>>45907470
Don't let people play Fighters or Monks if you plan on letting the game go on for any length of time.

>> No.45907890

>tell what your game will focus on
>have one basic mook stat block
>have advance mook stat block
>use the d20 ecl calculator to get an idea of how many npcs for combat for players
>plan multiple milk runs

Don't be stingy or merciful with the loot. Most of the "treasure" a low level party should find should be basic potions and scrolls.

Some sample encounters for 1st level could include
>one wolf and pack of feral dogs
>a few small sized spiders
>party members+ in standard mooks
>party members in mooks+ one advanced mook
>1 horrid rat and half a dozen small rats

>> No.45908702

>>45907714
Any system so unbalanced that it forces min/maxing upon the players is a system best left to die a quiet death.

>> No.45910699

>>45908702
So gurps is out and so are the new star wars rpgs.

>> No.45910915

-be willing to say "yes" to things you didn't expect your players to do
-be willing to say "no" when they want to do something their characters physically can't do
-don't suck

>> No.45912133

>>45907714
Or you could, role-play your character and trust your DM not to fuck you.

I know. Revolutionary.

>> No.45912203

>>45910699
kek. If only GURPS fags could see the truth. Sadly they will always push a system that is inherently inferior because it's the one they spent the most time learning

>> No.45912306
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45912306

>> No.45912404

>>45907470
Run a better system

>> No.45912410

Don't know if it's been mentioned yet, but CR's are basically fucked. They work roughly in most cases but be ready to adjust when you throw in the odd under CR'd death machine or over CR'd pillow fighter.

>> No.45912646

>>45912203
How are you forced to minmax in a GURPS campaign if the GM doesn't go full retard and hands out skill points like candy? 3d6 is also much more predictable than d20. I'll admit most of my experience with GURPS have been modern or scifi so maybe it really is a shitshow. I've only been playing RuneQuest these days and while I would never choose GURPS over it I would choose to play a GURPS game over D&D. At the end of the day GURPS is infinitely better in the way it handles defense with armor being DR and avoiding or parrying attacks being its own roll instead of shoveling it all into AC. Holy fuck what were they thinking with that? It might be 'inferior' but it's certainly superior to every edition of D&D.

>> No.45912667

>>45912646
*really is a shitshow with fantasy campaigns

>> No.45912867

>>45907470
See
>>45912404

>>45907733
These are all great tips, and I highly suggest using them. I just happen to suggest using them with Rules Cyclopedia D&D instead (with a couple tweaks to compensate for RPG aging), or a different RPG entirely.

Aside from 3.PF being never that great to begin with, anyone who requests a DM run it (which is how I'm imagining you got into this) is usually a garbage player.

>Friend thinks he could run 3.PF.
>Someone else requested it.
>That someone else refuses to play other RPGs.
>I told him it was bad news.
>He thought he was invincible.
>Remind yourself that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer.
>2 sessions later, his girlfriend hates RPGs now.
>Good job, guys.

>> No.45912969

>>45912646
Wholly point buy systems that big take ages to create characters for and the same slow criticism applies to most of your points. Separate rolls for parrying and dodging sounds all nice and simulationist, but it slows gameplay down unnecessarily, particularly if you're not running a super lethal game.

>> No.45913299

>>45912410
Relevant point; mostly CR is fucked in regards to

>Creatures with bullshit special abilities.
>multiple creatures.

Pit your 3 man party against enough skull spiders (ok it's from pathfinder but I'm sure there's a 3.5 equivalent, hell, it's balanced in 3.5 too if you don't do this) to equal 2 or 3 CR worth.

Unless they're a bunch of Uber high con barns or someone lands a well placed burning hands they're fucked, but the CR system says they'll be OK.


Swallowed whole is another good example of a special ability that's absolute bullshit, and will wreck an unprepared party.

However, if you stick to low numbers of enemies that just lob normal attacks at people and don't fly or something, it works fairly accurately.

If your players are also new though, I'd only give them challenges rated as easy at first.


Once you've got more experience it shouldn't be nearly as much of a problem to include more complicated challenges without unreasonably tpking your players in a virtually unwinnable fight.

Another tip, from personal experience.


If you do want to include some nasty mechanic, like gratuitous fear auras, mind control, Swallowed whole, equipment destruction, or grapple focused enemies, introduce it with easy encounters.

Maybe have your players encounter a smaller weaker younger version of a monster, or a single one when normally they hunt in packs, etc.

Then when they run into a large group, or the big daddy monster, they will know how to deal with the problem, and at worst, when they all die they won't feel pissed off at dying to some mechanic they could not have anticipated that made the encounter unexpectedly hard

It also helps you warm up a hit as a DM and see if the mechanic impacts them as much as you thought it would, so you can adjust the final encounter up or down a bit. cont

>> No.45913326

>>45913299

cont

This goes for a lot of other things too, like traps. Don't just spring a do or die falling ceiling trap on the party, if you have a massive Boner of Indiana Jones themed traps, start wth some non lethal darts, and work your way up to falling boulder runs and decending spiked ceilings.


This really goes for all systems that are supposed to involve the players overcoming obstacles.

>> No.45913349

>>45912969
You're retarded.

>> No.45913582

>>45907470
>only knows 3.5
>first time dm-ing
So you're a first-time DM as well? Lets go over a few simple things, then.

- Go over your notes a bit before your session. Practice introducing the campaign until you are speaking eloquently. You don't want to be too shy/nervous.
- Try not to make the session too focused on combat, and try not to rail-road too hard. These are both gonna happen - you are a first time DM, it's inevitable - but at least be aware of it.
- Don't be afraid to use rule of cool and/or improvise mechanics. This makes the game more fun.
- For 3.5, balancing encounters is really fucking important, and it's often much harder than just adding up CR. A good rule of thumb to do balance on the fly is that increasing enemy HP makes the fight longer, increasing damage makes the fight cost more (in terms of player resources), and giving enemies crowd-control makes the fight harder. If your encounters are too short, you can also have another wave of enemies conveniently arrive as reinforcements.

>> No.45913726

>>45912969
That's not been my experience in GURPS. The GM gives you the relevant options, opens up his chargen software, and tells you how many points we're using. You can pop out something decent in like 15-20 minutes. The overloaded with options is more of a GM issue.

This isn't GURPS exclusive either 3.5 has tons of trap options and third party shit so it's not that much better. Even worse if you roll up a caster. My first time playing it I had a cool DM and players (even if they were munchkins) who trimmed the fat and helped everyone pop out a character in 20 minutes at the most. That's what it should be like for every game.

Also I never found GURPS slow. Everyone can more less figure out their rolls the first few times and the combat tends to be deadlier anyway. Which you can criticize if that's not your thing since there are pretty much no saves to save your ass here.

I feel like the character creation thing and combat speed is a criticism of someone who doesn't play pen and paper RPGs. Yeah character creation is the slowest part of any game and you can always find ways to speed it up. Besides you don't need to do it often. You can also figure out combat in any game really fast and GURPS is no exception to this. 1 extra roll is not going to hurt. You might not even be using called shots or other simulationist rules which makes things go even faster. It's just, you don't forget your modifiers, armor check penalties, attacks of opportunities, type of actions, or roll your eyes when you need to confirm a crit. So how is GURPS somehow more slow or crunchy?

>> No.45913969

>>45913726
I use pencil and paper to draft characters, I can see how an autogen sheet would help a lot in gurps, but the main problem I have with chargen is that nothing is segmented. Every time you buy a skill, stat, or anything you have to weigh it against literally everything else in the game. Divided it up into feats, skills and the like limits what you have to compare for each choice making things a touch easier.

As for combat at least with guns you have to worry about number of shots to take and the situational bonuses to accuracy. Our GM did go for called shots and that was another layer of complexity. Also chargen is done once only if you never die which as we've noted it's more lethal than some other systems

>> No.45913983

>>45907521
If all of you know the system, then you're in a better place than most first time DMs.

Prepare a bit of the world. A small town, perhaps. Know a bit about the rest, such as the names of major people and some character trait or scandal for a few of them. Mention them if relevant, but they might not come up.

Have 2 or 3 local problems. Know how to scale them for better or worse players. One should be related to the overarching plot if you know what you want to be doing in that department. Recurring enemies are good if you have any ideas. Foes should run away and beg for mercy. These can become recurring enemies. My Cleric is specially preparing to fight an Erinyes who has escaped death at his hand twice. Hired mooks can become resources, in debt to the merciful party.

Get a list of names. Make up a notable feature for each. Something the PCs can sense, like a busted leg or an afro. These are your randos, your notable bar patrons, your locals in need of rat-killers.

I mean it when I say 'make shit up'. My party rammed an oversized minecart into an Evil Earth Elemental and jumped off. The Rogue almost died. The Soulknife leapt off the cart and caught the Rogue's hand while the Cleric offered to blow a 6th level spell to save him. The panic was real. That's a great feeling as a DM.

Most importantly, tabletop isn't a combat simulator. A disgusting, degrading escape and heist can be a character defining moment when they walk out covered in shit with a haversack of gold. You learn more by putting characters in 'impossible' noncombat than anywhere else, because you learn what they're willing to do.

One last bit: Make them speak in character. "I tell the guard-" No. What does Avernus SAY? What are his words? Speak them. Having namecards (Like the ones you had in preschool, with a folder piece of paper with the name on the front) is a big help. The decoration is nice too.

DMing is hard work, but it's meant to be fun too. Bona fortuna!

>> No.45914707

I don't want to be an asshole, but there are systems that do the same thing as 3.5 but far better. While 3.5 can be fun, I'd recommend looking into Fantasy Craft for a better alternative. Even if you've already read the book and learned the system, many of the core principles are the same between the two games, so it isn't a hard switch.

With that out of the way, real tips:
>You don't need to look up every rule in the middle of the session. Just do what feels right, jot down the rule, and look it up later. Looking everything up really bogs down combat.
>Potions are great to give as treasure since many people don't buy them and new players can be overwhelmed with shopping choices if you give them cash.

>> No.45915340
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45915340

>>45907470
1/3

>> No.45915355
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45915355

>>45915340
2/3

>> No.45915521

Thanks guys, this has been really helpful.

>> No.45915563
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45915563

>>45915355
3/3

>> No.45915605

>>45907470
Learned this the hard way.

Go ahead and plan out a general, GENERAL, direction. Maybe main baddie? Maybe there's just generic shit going down? BUT do NOT force them to it. Don't "HINT HINT HINT" that shit either to them. Let them do whatever. Roll with what they decide. Make sure you present options to them. If you leave them in a room with only a door and a key, and they decide to try to dig a hole with the god damn key, let them. Work around it.

This is just a personal preference myself, but if what they're doing willllll get them fucked, like majorly, maybe it isn't bad to go "That's what you want?" but avoid tone. Make it sound like you misheard them. Then do whatever it is. Even if it's going to the king and bitch slapping him.

It's THEIR adventure, not yours.

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