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/tg/ - Traditional Games


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53262293 No.53262293 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

Hey /tg/, I got an idea from a friend to create a D&D group, and plan to run 3rd Edition. Problem is I haven't DMed much before, and don't really know much about creating a campaign for it. I've got plenty of time to create a campaign sorta, but would love general advice on creating dungeons/adventures/worlds.

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>> No.53262361

>>53262293
Play a better edition lol

>> No.53262439

>>53262361
but i want to put my physical books to use and 3rd edition is what i know most

>> No.53262450

>>53262293
0. Play a better game.

1. What do you and your friends want to play? When we know that, we can help you out.

>> No.53262541

>>53262293
>Hey /tg/, I got an idea from a friend to create a D&D group, and plan to run 3rd Edition.
...because you have lots of experience with it? Because otherwise it's a terrible idea. Honestly, I think you should still start with a minimalist system so you can focus on the basics of running a game (group management, storytelling, actual role-playing, etc.) without getting bogged down in math and rules crunch, but I can understand why you'd want to run something familiar.

Anyway, your topic is really too broad to be able to meaningfully address it, at least without writing an encyclopedia full of conditionals. I mean, I can give you some generalities, but like adages, their application to your personal experience may vary. Talk with your group about expectations and tone beforehand, so that everybody is on the same page with the type of game it will be, how silly or senselessly violent it's okay to be, and that sort of thing.

Don't overdo things starting out. Don't spend forever creating a world when you don't know what you're doing yet. Just craft an adventure. It's okay to have an idea of where things might go from there, but don't dwell on it. Put essentially all your prep into the first thing you're going to play -- what you anticipate being a three-session arc at utmost. Once you've played through that, you can go from there, using the shit you've learned to better plan things for the future (because things *will* turn out different from your expectations).

Don't worry about doing a crappy job. GMing is like any other complex skill; you can't expect to be awesome at it when you start out, but you get better at it with practice. You'll probably do some stupid shit and make some rookie mistakes, because (guess what?) you'll be a rookie. Just have fun and make sure your players know that it's a learning process.

>> No.53262648

>>53262439
>but i want to put my physical books to use and 3rd edition is what i know most
Just realize that it's a much more difficult game to run than some of the other options out there. Being familiar with it certainly helps, as does playing fast-and-loose with the rules, but I must admit that my experience running 3.x was that I felt at times more like the game was running me than I was running it. There's just so much bullshit to have to contend with.

>> No.53263021
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53263021

>>53262293

1.) Play the game you and your players like. I've grown to hate 3e but it's your game.

2.) You can look at "making a campaign" in two simple ways: either start with the party and work out, or work out the details of the world and work inward. I stick to the latter, but if you're not picky about the nitty-gritty or the overall scope the former can be refreshing. I, myself, like to look up maps until something jumps out at me and gets me in the zone. Find something that'll give you that frission of inspiration.

3.) For creating worlds, look at the sort of media and stories and illustrations that excite you. Whether it be pulpy fantasy, science-fantasy, high adventure, gritty Hyborean, it doesn't matter as long as you enjoy it. Ultimately, you want to be excited about running just as much as the players playing, so you should run a game that YOU would want to play in. That enthusiasm trickles down to the players.

4.) Dungeon design, for me, is a matter of verisimilitude. I like the old hat stuff, like wizard towers, because they seem to have been left behind for a purpose. Look up some OSR stuff, or old modules (the Jacquays stuff is great). Sometimes all it takes is a great layout and a good excuse to separate a good dungeon from a great one.

5.) "Adventures", broadly, are something for the players, so make an effort to cater to things they would be interested in. Incorporating character backstories and player interests alongside adventure hooks will give you enough juice to get started, and the players will do the rest.

6.) DON'T BEND OVER BACKWARDS TO BE ORIGINAL. Obviously you don't want to be a shameless plagiarist, but if you're new to this stuff you don't want to collapse under the weight of ambition. There's something to be said about a strong execution. Even the corny "dragon kidnaps princess" staple still has the means to entertain if done well.

7.) When designing a campaign, try to avoid excess "plot". PREPARE for things. Players surprise.

>> No.53263040

>>53262293
I finished running my first campaign, 5e, wrote the story and made all the maps from scratch. Things I would do differently:

- Run a short, pre-made campaign first. Get a feel for what it'll be like and what you should focus on when you're running something you invested in.

- Don't try to plan too much in advance. Players have a way of ignoring 'obvious' cues and being railroaded doesn't appeal to many players.

- As an extension of not planning ahead too much, make maps where you *know* players will end up in advance, but hold off on most others. Make some genreic ones if players do something unexpected and you need a quick encounter.

>> No.53263442

>>53262293
Ok, so first of all, this will sound like a no brainer and a little patronizing, but you would be surprised how many DMs have no brain:
Read the damn rulebooks through. Get your players to do it too. Make sure everyone knows how to play the damn game. Got that bit? Good.

Now that's out of the way, let's cover something else. Controlling your game. You probably already have a great idea for a story or setting or whathaveyou, and you don't want to be that tyranical DM who railroads and fucks players for thinking outside the box right? Worry more about the players getting bored and not taking initiative (as in decision initiative, not the die role).
From the very start, even before the first session gets penned for friday, ask the players to create characters for -your- game. You need them to know what kind of setting they're in for so they can tailor characters for your game. They don't have to be soulbound prisoners of fate, but it helps a lot if the player characters have a reason to exist in your setting and a motive to take part in the adventure. Don't be afraid to tell a player their character isn't suitable if they roll up a character that doesn't fit the setting (like a brooding loner who only works alone in a dungeon heavy game or an evil character in a party of Paladins).
When it comes to your story and world, don't plan for your story to go exactly one way. The more you set your story in stone, the more likely you'll find yourself fighting against your players when they do something unexpected. You can't plan for the unexpected anyway, but giving yourself leeway by loosely planning backup scenarios can help. It may not be perfect, and you may even have to improvise, but it's better to improv when you have backups to pull from, as opposed to 'rocks fall'. It may help if you think of DMing as playing a game with the PCs more than writing a story for them.

>will cont. if I don't fall asleep

>> No.53263480

>>53263442
Ah fuck it, everyone's already said what I was gonna say, but way more concicely.

>> No.53263563

Run a pre-made adventure if it's your first time GMing D&D.

If that seems like a big commitment, just run a series of scenarios.

Filmmakers learn to make good films by watching tons of films. Novelists learn to write good novels by reading a bunch of novels. A GM learns to write good campaigns by playing lots of campaigns. There's no tricks, advice, or shortcuts we can give that will let you skip all that work.

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