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D&D 3E
advice for a new DM? 
27th-Jun-2007 01:49 am
Currently my husband is DM'ing and he doesn't get to play. I want to try my hand at being DM, but since I've never done it before I am kinda nervous.

The campaign I'm hoping to run is Ghostwalk, and I would appreciate any and all advice for a new DM.

Thanks!
Jess
Comments 
27th-Jun-2007 12:01 pm (UTC)
Keep it simple. Don't use any more resource books than you're comfortable using--a core campaign never killed anybody.

If the campaign has been going on long enough that the players are all happy with the way your husband's campaign is going, then you can just use whatever sourcebooks he used, and let the players police themselves as far as character balance is concerned.
27th-Jun-2007 02:05 pm (UTC)
Use a module or otherwise published storyline for your first adventure. Having a plot for you means you can relax and focus on the mechanics. You can get into your own stories soon enough.

27th-Jun-2007 05:06 pm (UTC)
Keep things simple, and if you're having trouble with a rule, go with what you feel is right and puzzle it out later. Games slow down and become less enjoyable if you're forced to look to a book every other minute.

Also, this handy bit of info provided from the DMG itself actually, if you don't know what a certain situation (beneficial or detrimental) would do to a die roll, just make it a factor of 2. +2 for good situations and -2 for bad situations. It'll help out, I swear.

Also don't worry about nitpicking over monsters' hit points. Keep a general number in your head and do the mental math, but if it comes down to its having one or two, don't worry over much. :]
27th-Jun-2007 09:56 pm (UTC)
for 'mini boss' encounters, have a backup mini boss in the event your players roll a natural 20 then back it up with the rolls for instant death (provided you're playing with the 3crits in a row and you die rule) and end up killing your 'miniboss' encounter creature in the first round.

beware creative use of magic spells, for they are the bane of many a new DM. fireballs to boil tanks of water, stone to earth'ing the rock moorings of the castle gate walls. permanent light cast on an npc's eyebrow piercing/nostril piercing/helmet in order to blind them in combat. tricksy players are eeeeeeeeeeeebil.

dont let your players put you on the defensive. dont let them pressure you into indulging rules that will otherwise ruin your game.

29th-Jun-2007 03:44 am (UTC)
The most important thing to remember, I think, is that every DM has their own personal style. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to do it. What may work fabulously well for one DM might be a terrible campaign for another.

The key to being a DM is to keep the game fun for your players. It will take time, patience and practice to learn what your group is looking for in a game, so don't get discouraged if the first campaign doesn't move mountains.

At the same time, also make sure the game is fun for YOU as well. Remember that you have final say, and don't let rules-lawyers or whiners bully you into doing things you aren't happy with.

And, as someone said above, try to have your plans in order, and make sure you have a good grasp on the game mechanics before you start. Games do slog down when you have to look up rules, or the next plot twist in your adventure. As you get more advanced, you may even have to wing it and improvise if your storyline isn't moving along at a good pace.

Bottom line for me: keep it fun, and you'll do fine.
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