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53551219 No.53551219 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

Hey everybody! I am DMing for the very first time. We are using D&D 5e, and I could use any tips that any experienced DMs have. Any tips or tricks would be much appreciated.

>> No.53551226

Dont give in to pressure
fudge rolls for the spirit of the game
never use a players backstory against them

>> No.53551246

>>53551219
WebDM put out a video this week if you haven't heard of them then you should at least see what they have to offer to you

>> No.53551247

>>53551226
What do you mean not use a player's back story against them? would it be a bad idea to try and incorporate the back stories into the world and maybe make some stories around them? Thank you for the advice.

>> No.53551257

>>53551246
Thank you! I'll look them up.

>> No.53551258

>>53551246
Also two more things don't force anyone to do anything and have fun

>> No.53551259

>>53551247
Players don't appreciate there family and loved ones being murdered just to make your game more 'dramatic'

>> No.53551275

>>53551247
Also try to stick to the 3 main books for the first few sessions

>> No.53551299

>>53551259
Gotcha! I'll keep that in mind. That sounds like something that could be really bad.
>>53551258
Awesome. My mind set right now is to go into the game to not tell anyone no. If they want to try something ridiculous, let them and let it become an amazing moment. Fun is the goal.

>> No.53551311

>>53551275
Gotcha. Taking notes here. Yeah I have those three books all marked up and tabbed so that I can find everything easily.

>> No.53551333

>>53551311
Try and keep your sessions to 2-4 hours so you don't burn out and start making bad decisions

>> No.53551364

>>53551299
That last part could be really bad and it could ruin the game early on if it becomes everyone trying crazy antics they're heroes not a circus act

>> No.53551409

>>53551333
Gotcha. Don't let myself burn out. Thank you!
>>53551364
Oh okay gotcha so let them try stuff, but within reason. Find a happy medium. Total freedom within reason.

>> No.53551449

>>53551219
Remember that encounters don't always need to be violent.

Sometimes giving them a spook might just mean showing the the shadow of something massive in the forest.

A good way to give an alternative to fighting is riddles, it can be as easy as making the door to the dungeon require a correct answer to a riddle or making a highly leveled monster give them their freedom in exchange for an answer.

Remember the journey can be an adventure in itself. Making something additive makes the journey feel more real, you can do that by teaching them the different things the surrounding land has/is/does.

A break from constant combat can be nice. A pool with nymphs in it that'll give a buff for a few days or some pixies that'll enchant an item can make for a memorable adventure that takes zero time.

>> No.53551469

>>53551449
Awesome! those all sound like great things! thanks for the help.

>> No.53551494

>>53551469
I also enjoy making the players sometimes build their new weapons rather than find them. If a player kills a ghost with a knife maybe that knife becomes enchanted. Don't over use that concept but sometimes a bad ass action deserves a bad ass magical enchantment.

>> No.53551508

>>53551494
Oh that sounds sick! I love that idea. could be a nice break from rewarding with loot.

>> No.53551522

>>53551508
If you want we could swap discord and I could help you if you ever need some advice post-game/pre-game

>> No.53551525
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53551525

>>53551219

>> No.53551527

>>53551219
>using 5e
there's your first problem

>> No.53551546

>>53551449
>A good way to give an alternative to fighting is riddles, it can be as easy as making the door to the dungeon require a correct answer to a riddle or making a highly leveled monster give them their freedom in exchange for an answer.
>riddles and puzzles
Don't do that, unless you are prepared to let the players have more than one answer. Because if there is only one correct answer to the riddle or the puzzle that you give them, then they are going to get frustrated with the game very quickly. And the GM will get frustrated with the retardation of the players really quickly too.

>> No.53551612

>>53551522
not sure what you mean by "discord". I'm new to /tg/
>>53551546
Oh okay, noted. Be careful with riddles.
>>53551527
I was told 5e is a good place to start with D&D, and then to move to pathfinder or 3.5 from there.

>> No.53551675

>>53551612
>and then to move to pathfinder or 3.5 from there.
Newfag get out REEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.autism

But seriously, 5e might be an okay place to start... but once you have played it for longer periods of time you will quickly understand that it is not a game you want to play.

May I suggest the Legend of the Five Rings, Warhammer: the fantasy roleplaying game 2e, Dark Heresy 2e or even GURPS? These systems (and settings) are better balanced and thought out: I would recommend you give them a chance, if you like to read.

>> No.53551684

>>53551612
>I was told 5e is a good place to start with D&D, and then to move to pathfinder or 3.5 from there.
That is some truly horrible advice.

>> No.53551691

>>53551612
Discord is a VoIP, like Skype. But better.

>> No.53551712

>>53551494
heh, my PCs found a stone egg. it's not magical in the new magic sense, but one of my PCs is from a very different culture background recognized it as a legendary item granted only for the best warriors. you just have to swallow it. well, he did it at a crucial moment, they fought a really nasty vampire. it fused him with his weapon, temporarily giving it epic artifact powers, so they overpowered the vamp really fast with it. he can call out the weapon at will, and now it has a blood sucking trait, +d6 damage that is added as temp hp. plan to give it more power when they kill some big guy, always staying thematic, like if they kill a huge fire demon it will spit fire or something. it's fun for me, not sure the player appreciates it, but that's my fault in the execution probably.

>> No.53551731

>>53551675
>>53551684
Well seems that I have been given some bad advice. Damn. If the advice is that bad, why do these people work at hobbyshops. Thanks for the suggestions. I have already invested in 5e, so we will start here and then move to something better. Noting those suggestions for the future. thank you!!
>>53551691
Ohhhhh gotcha. My computer actually doesnt have a webcam, so not really a great plan. I'll post on this board if i need some more advice, post session.

>> No.53551754

>>53551219
>We are using D&D 5e
use something good

>> No.53551793

>>53551731
>why do these people work at hobbyshops
Maybe it's just a job for them, like any other and they don't actually play the games and, as such, don't know any better.

Still, ignorance is no excuse.

The problem with DnD 5e is that there are certain characters that are going to be overshadowing the other characters at a certain level in the game: the wizards are blatantly overpowered after level 10 and can basically make or break encounters with only one or two spells, even. Clerics and druids are the same: extremely strong, much more than fighters, rogues, rangers and barbarians.

Another problem, that extends to all games that play with a d20 is the bell curve to succeed/fail at any given time. You can make this problem less annoying if you avoid having the players roll to do something that they are supposed to be good at, when the price of failure is not very high.

Another thing is the "CR" of monsters. Those don't really work. Because there are certain monsters that can wipe the floor with the party even though their CR is "appropriate". Or, alternatively, the players wipe the floor with the encounter which was supposed to be challenging.

For Discord, you don't need a webcam, just a working microphone so that you can talk with the players. It was generally thought for videogames, but works for online RPGs too.

>> No.53551826

>>53551731
>If the advice is that bad, why do these people work at hobbyshops.
Because it's the most profitable advice. D&D requires you to buy more crap and at a higher price than most RPGs. For the price of the basic materials needed to play D&D 5e (which was designed for marketability, not for a good play experience, as was evident from the playtest), you can buy about five better RPGs. Afterwards, the supplement treadmill keeps draining your wallet.

>I have already invested in 5e, so we will start here and then move to something better.
Please don't fall for the sunk cost mentality. You have already wasted your money on D&D, so don't waste your time on top of that. Learning a bad system now and then approaching a better system with the bad system's skewed assumptions will only make it harder for you to learn and play the better system.

Also, shouldn't you be able to return the books?

>> No.53551906

>>53551731
Don't listen to anyone on /tg/ that tells you this or that system is terrible. All systems produced by an actual company (and not by some guy on the internet) are fine and you will have a fun time with them.

>> No.53551937

>>53551793
Awesome! Thanks for all of the advice! I'll keep this in mind.
>>53551826
My stupid hobby shop in my small ass town has a return policy of "7 days, but if it's not in the cellophane or box, non refundable". Normally I'd have used amazing but they had a sale going so I figured with the info I'd been given from both the hobby shop person (my bad should have known better) and some friends, that it would be a safe purchase, getting the 5e stuff. Damn I really fucked up. But, with this advice I'll make it work for the first few sessions for use to get some idea of what to do and then switch to one of those systems you guys suggested.

>> No.53551941

>>53551937
Used amazon not amazing sorry typo.

>> No.53551956

>>53551937
Anon, 5e is pretty good. It is certainly fun to play and pretty easy to pick up. I would recommend you at least try it out before discarding it, I know my group and I started with 5e and really enjoyed it.

>> No.53551980

>>53551937
While the anons have a point of D&D not being all that great, 5e isn't the worst thing in the world to play, it's surely better thought out then the clusterfuck that is 3.5 and Pathfinder (And I say this as a /pfg/ degenerate)
The best analogy I've heard is that 5e is tofu, it's pretty terrible by itself but a good cook can still making something out of it. But yeah, I second >>53551956 give it a go, see how the group likes it.

>> No.53551990

>>53551937
>to get some idea of what to do
Better use it as a lesson on what not to do.

>> No.53551991

Get good at improving and be organized

>> No.53551994

>>53551956
That's encouraging that at least someone likes it. Good to know thank you. As a general note I have to go afk for a while. If the thread is still up in a few hours, I'll respond to any other posts.

>> No.53552007

>>53551980
>t. disorganized pleb

>> No.53552021

>>53551937
Alright, I might have overmemed a little bit. 5e is not THAT bad, you just have to play it with non-spergs. Since you seem to be a normie and probably have normie friends, you might have fun with it.

Hell, I still play 5e because I found a group that is not made up of people who min-max but rather come around to tell a story together. Remember: if you and your friends are on the same wavelenght, you will have fun.

You just need to make sure to state your expectations for the game before you begin playing.

Like, ask them what they want to play and tell them what you expect to run
>I would lilke to play a guy who works for a desertic noble, ARABIAN NIGHTS style, with trecks through the desert, exploration of ruins and some court plots, such as another noble trying to gather the support of our noble's subject to take over his domain and we have to protect him from it.

Give examples of the kind of story that you're expecting, in the best case scenario. And the tone of the game.

>It will be lighthearted, up to a point: I do want to take the game moderately seriously at certain times. I would rather you don't do "random" things, like trying to steal from the king while you are in his presence or try to steal armor off of guards like in Skyrim. That is not how my game works: it's not a videogame.

But, if you can take anything away from this thread it should be this: do not go from 5e to 3.5 or PF. It would be the worst decision you could take.

>> No.53552042

>>53551219
Be prepared to bend the rules a little to increase fun.

Don't get bogged down or crunch numbers too hard, remember that the game's supposed to be fun for everyone involved.

>> No.53552098
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53552098

>>53551219
First time GM Advice thread?

First time GM advice thread.

First piece of advice: ask your players if they want you to roll openly or behind the screen. And brace for TPK and the shitstorms that it brings.

>> No.53552121

>>53551906
Don't spread this lie.
I actually suffered and wanted to completely stop rpg tabletop because of Pathfinder. The GM and players were nice, but seeing my monk be utterly crushed and humiliated by everyone on the party was not a pleasant experience at all.

>> No.53552128

>>53552042
This x1000
If the rules get in the way of fun, change the rules. Player wants to be vampire? Let them, make drawbacks and advantages for being a vampire. Also try to give magic item, loot, etc that the players want and will enjoy. For example, if your paladin is an axe wielding northman, and you want to give him a holy avenger, refluff it as an axe, this will make your pcs much more happy. The most important thing is that the party is balanced internally and everyone feels like they have a job or role. Every player should have a few things they excel at, and you should give them opportunities to shine. If you have a historian wizard, throw in traps, puzzles, enemies, and fluff that he uses the history skill to find out about or help defeat.

Another thing is I recommend not letting your players roll for stats. While it will make some of them feel awesome/more powerful, it will invariably leave one player severely overpowered/underpowered. This will ruin the game for the players who are overshadowed in everything they do for the rest of the party. I recommend using the array of stats as it leads to reasonably balanced characters and discourages excessive min/maxing.

>> No.53552386

>ITT faggot op says that he wants to play shitty 5e
>advice is to ignore rule
Seems legit

>> No.53552483

>>53552386
Does it trigger your autism when the dm bends rules to make the game more fun?

>> No.53552492

>>53552483
Nope, it annoys me when tumblrinas come to my chink basket-weaving factory and say "trigger" though. Faggot

>> No.53552615

>>53552492
Fuck, you got me, i'll go back to tumbler land and get me some boiipucci

>> No.53552658

>>53552615
>implying you don't get fucked in the ass on the daily

>> No.53552755

>>53552658
h-how did you know anon? *blushes* d-do you want to try it sometime? I'll do my best to make you happy ^_^

>> No.53555442

Well, this thread just went to shit

>> No.53556278

>>53552128
>>53552121
>>53552098
>>53552042
>>53552021
Awesome!!! Thank you all for the advice. I've screen capped everything and I'm going to make sure to use it when we do our sessions. This will all be a HUGE help.

>> No.53556364

>>53551219
Your absolute unbreakable main priority should be making sure everyone is having fun.

>> No.53556723

>>53556364
This includes the GM btw. If the players are doing something that is not fun for you, tell them to stop that shit.

>> No.53556891

>>53556278
Good luck anon, and have fun

>> No.53558047

>>53551226
>You should only fudge rolls if you want to lose the sacrosanct trust of your players forever.

>> No.53558381

>>53556364
>>53556723
Yeah that's pretty much the biggest consistency in all of the advice I've been given.
>>53556891
Thanks. I'm sure we will have a blast. I've got a got a great story and world lined up for them to play with. It's all about the execution now.
>>53558047
Yeah ive heard a lot of different theories on this. My thought is to let the dice fall as they may, unless I make a really big DMing mistake?

>> No.53558569

>>53551219
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.)

>> No.53558767

>>53558381
Yeah the dice need to fall as they may for a consistent gaming experience. As you say the only exception for this is if you make a mistake in terms of the rules. It's usually best then to just be upfront about this and retcon it as best as possible.

I think too many GM's build up an aura of secrecy around their game, hide things , fudge things and don't explain things properly which I feel only creates barriers for the players who know so little about what is happening anyway as they don't have all your notes in front of them.

If you're open and honest it breeds a far more relaxed atmosphere. Even *if* your game is quite high lethality.

>> No.53558772

>>53558569
Also, the reality of your world should be at least a little bit elastic. Don't completely compromise the integrity of what you have, but do try to accommodate your players. In addition to trying to give them the kind of game they're interested in (if they seem to love battle but tune out during exploration, have more of the former, and spend less time on the latter), give them the benefit of the doubt on their plans and actions, asking yourself if there's a reasonable way they could work out. Having a rigidly structured and unforgiving reality is problematic as the players will always have an incomplete picture of what's going on. You can't possibly describe every nuance, and even that which you do describe is conveyed by words which have different implications to different people.

In general, try to minimize the number of times you tell your players "no, you can't do that" or "no, that won't work." That just shuts them down and can be frustrating. Saying "no, but..." is superior to just saying "no", because it gives them something to work with.

>> No.53558838

>>53558381
Well while you should usually let the dice fall as they may there are times when the game will benefit from a fudged roll especially when the roll isn't very far off the desired result. This guy discussed and I mostly agree with him but he seems a little too for fudging in my oppinion. Watch with a pinch of salt:
https://youtu.be/Ule5rhaW2j0

>> No.53558913

>>53551731
5e is fine. It's an okay place to start. A simpler system would make things easier, but 5e isn't bad, and it has the added bonus of having a large player base. Realize that somebody is always going to hate whatever system you talk about (and here on /tg/, they will be very vocal about it), especially if that system is popular (which 5e certainly is). So take the hatred here with a grain of salt.

>> No.53558989

>>53551219
Have notes, be prepared to burn them. If you have a ton of notes and a carefully choreographed encounter, expect the players to ruin it somehow. Be prepared to throw out rules or ideas for the sake of making something flow better, and remember: The only reason you roll dice behind the screen is for the sound they make.

>> No.53559120

>>53551731
>>53558913
I realize you're already set with the system you're playing, but this may give you a bit of perspective regarding the best starting systems...

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 rather wonky SIEGE engine)

*You'll also find that, mechanically speaking, the character-building options are very limited in old school games. One fighter is very much like the next from the standpoint of the rules. Of course, a good GM will improvise, modifying rolls based on backgrounds and so forth ("rulings, not rules" is a bit of a slogan with the old school crowd"), so it really just encourages a different play-style. Still, many modern players may be used to a wider range of options when it comes to character creation, and may have a bit of trouble adjusting.

>> No.53559156

>>53559120
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.

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)--which tend to promote gaming experiences that are, let's say, less than entirely serious--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).

>> No.53559166

>>53559156
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.

>> No.53561487
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53561487

>>53551219

1.) Don't plan, PREPARE. Grab-bags of names/locations/stores/items/encounters means you don't have to dig deep on the spot.

2.) Ask questions--both for yourself and the players. For yourself, ask how the setting ticks, how things fit together, whether what you're doing makes sense (i.e. has verisimilitude), and whether the players will enjoy it. For players, ask for clarification on all things they intend to do; it helps keep you on the same page, especially early on.

3.) Pic related. Consider how players will affect the story, and have contingencies to easily build around them.

4.) At the end of the day, run a game YOU would enjoy playing. That enthusiasm trickles down to the players.

5.) Players are spending time to enjoy a group setting, so devise some means to ensure everyone gets a fair shake. Ensure nobody steals the limelight (intentionally or not), plan around what happens if people split up, and build a structure so the table is a round one.

6.) Be cautious about how you weave the narrative. A single character/player having great significance in the world has one way it can go well (they achieve a character arc) and many ways it can go wrong (scheduling conflicts, personal issues, TPKs, etc.)

7.) Build the backdoor. Find ways to mingle new and old NPCs/PCs ahead of time, so that a player/character having to leave for however long feels plausible.

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