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D&D 3E
1st-Dec-2004 09:56 am

Okay simple question: But first a statement! I have never DM'd a game and I am going to run a 3.5e game. Question: What are some suggestions, guidelines, comments on DMing that may help a newb run a successful...well nearly successful campaign?
1st-Dec-2004 03:07 pm (UTC)
For a first campaign?

You'll hear a lot of advice I imagine, but if you really want it to work, start from the basics: make a dungeon, and have a town nearby.

Then expand the setting as necessary.
1st-Dec-2004 10:18 pm (UTC)
ah so simple thanks!
1st-Dec-2004 03:10 pm (UTC)
1. Make maps. Maps help you know where things are. This makes you seem more knowledgable.

2. Don't force your players to do anything. If you want them to go to town X, and they just won't leave town Y, find creative ways to do it. DO NOT;

a. have everyone in town Y tell them they are not wanted and should leave, maybe to town X
b. Magically teleport them all to town X without reason, explanation or saving throws
c. Have the king/mayor/prince/head clown/president of town Y ORDER them to go to town X.
d. Most subtly, try not to even let them know you want them to go to town X. Make them think THEY decided to go and YOU just let them.

a. Have a merchant accidently drop a hint that the items he's been getting from town X have been of great/poor quality lately.
b. Have the pc's jumped in an alley. when they defeat the theives, they find a pin on one of them wtih a crest. When they take this to be identified, it is a family symbol of a powerful family in town X(it could just be a coincidence that the theif was of that family, but maybe not)

See how you can be tricky like that?
The more freedom your players have the more they will think they are in control and like the game.

3. Get a background from your characters. Where did they come from? How did they become the way they are? Where is their family. This helps you pull in character specific things later on.

4. Drop "plot threads". These are events/hints/symbols that don't mean ANYTHING to the "quest" the pc's are currently on, but you can use it later on to build to greater things. Honestly as far as quests go, you may want to play the computer/xbox game Morrowwind. For a beginning dm that can be a great learning tool.

5. Finally(i gotta get back to work, may post more 2nite), check out http://www.angelfire.com/goth/gaming/dm/accessdm.html It is a page I designed on my site to help new/old dms. Also you may want to look at www.angelfire.com/goth2/gaming/ and click the first picture link. This is a campaign I play in which is a great example.
1st-Dec-2004 10:19 pm (UTC)
wow awesome! thanks so much!
1st-Dec-2004 03:27 pm (UTC)
Start with the villains. Develop their personality, motivations, plans, and resources. Not their game stats - the PCs shouldn't encounter the villain in the first adventures (other than in a purely social encounter, or in another encounter where they have no reason to attack him), but what makes them tick.

Then you can the PCs stuble across one of the villain's schemes and foil it in one way or another. And from this, you can gradually get them more and more involved in these schemes until they find out who the villain really is - though the villain might find out who they are before that and send his henchmen after them!

Two questions:

- What campaign world are you using?

- Who are the PCs?
1st-Dec-2004 10:24 pm (UTC)
villian developement is a great idea...thanks i understand more of what i need to do

im using my own campaign world

and the PC's havent been made yet...when i said new game i MEANT new game hehe so they still have to make their characters and i have to go from there
1st-Dec-2004 03:29 pm (UTC)
I think the most important thing is to take as many notes as you can during game play. It's hard to do, but really pays off. You'll think you can remember everything, but trust me you won't. Especially take notes on what interests the players, what makes their eyes light up. You might improvise a character or scenario that is totally irrelevant to your master plan, but obviously intrigues them. If you make a note of it, then you can write more about it and work it in for the next session.
1st-Dec-2004 04:26 pm (UTC)
oh god what a great suggestion! I forgot about that one. It is really cool when you go back to the inn and the bartender is still named bob, not kevin or attika. Consistancy helps the suspension of disbelief. Good one!
1st-Dec-2004 10:26 pm (UTC)
yeah thats what one of the DMs does in another jots down everything all i see is him writing sometimes and DMing to.
2nd-Dec-2004 01:56 am (UTC)
You can also have one or more players take notes too. I maintain a website for my campaign. One of the players posts notes there. He doesn't post the DM insider info or "notes to self" stuff, but they still help. One, I don't have to remember all the details. Two, I can learn a bit about what the players want based on what the notes focus on. If they don't even mention one part or give it two sentences, I can probably deduce that it wasn't great for them.
2nd-Dec-2004 02:47 pm (UTC)
yeah i think one of the players will be taking sides notes because he usually does in other games. and the website is a great thing...my FR DM has one up and its always fun to look at and remember the good old times hehe
1st-Dec-2004 03:32 pm (UTC)
One simple rule to remember: Don't panic.

If you screw up really badly, you can just kill them all and start with a fresh batch of players. :)
1st-Dec-2004 10:28 pm (UTC)
Thats awesome advice! haha
In case of emergency: KILL
1st-Dec-2004 05:01 pm (UTC)
Play, play, play. Only by being a player can you really figure out what it means to DM. It helps to have a campaign setting handy that your're familiar with, too. A big, well-fleshed-out campaign like Forgotten Realms, or a small town of your own devising helps to put your single andventure in a larger perspective.
1st-Dec-2004 10:30 pm (UTC)
Yup im playing and playing and hehe i am playing a FRCS on a weekly basis actually....but i think what some are saying is start small and work from there. thanks!
1st-Dec-2004 05:44 pm (UTC)
keep it simple. someone else said it but it bears repeating, start with:

you'll end up having to make details on the fly but its better than getting bogged down with things like the king's nephew's penchant for elderberry tarts if they never even get to meet the guy.
1st-Dec-2004 10:31 pm (UTC)
haha keep it simple stupid....i like it...thanks!
1st-Dec-2004 10:07 pm (UTC)
Remember, always, that you are in charge. Don't be an overbearing asshole, but don't worry that you're not running things quite right, either. Be prepared and willing to wing it, to ad lib, and frankly to just make shit up as you go along.

In the same vein, do not be afraid to pretend to roll dice when you need to. The game is no fun if you make it all fall out the way you'd like it to- which, as the DM, you very easily can. But once in a while, at your discretion, it is perfectly acceptable and even beneficial to the game as a whole if you cheat- either in the players' favor, or against them.
1st-Dec-2004 10:35 pm (UTC)
The current DM i am playig with does it pretty much down the middle. I wont be an ass, but i wont be easy. Fairness and toughness im sure will play a part. thanks!
3rd-Dec-2004 03:44 am (UTC)
town and dungeon is just as good as 'orc and pie' (if you dont know it..google it)

Keep a diary of gameplay.
take tons of notes.
encourage players to keep charachter diaries. This way you know their moods when you're not playing.
be descriptive!!! We all know what a goblin looks like..but try thinking of it from the perspective of a blind person!

The last of the suggestions I found to be very true. I simply used monster names during one adventure, then the next adventure I used no names, but discribed the mobs to the players. My god..they thought they were up againt unknown DM-created monsters.

EDIT: Also, have players roll their d20's along with their damage dice in order to cut down on time ^_^

and have a backup boss/villan incase they cakewalk through it. I once had a player roll 3 natural 20's on a boss mob. Going by the instant-death rule via the dmg, it kinda threw me for a loop. hence why i suggest having a backup^^
3rd-Dec-2004 02:42 pm (UTC)
hehe cool all very nice
i like the back up boss villian idea...that happened once before in another game where the DM was stunned and we're like that was it? thanks!
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