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New to Tabletop D&D - seeking guidance

Caomhnoir de na Iomproidh Buí
Tide
Caomhnoir de na Iomproidh Buí
  • GW2: Tideturner.1032
Posted On: 05/26/2015 at 07:41 AM

Hi all, I've been interested in tabletop rpg for almost 15 years now, and recently my twice a month boardgaming group of friends showed some slight interest in playing some tabletop RPG, so off i went to a tabletop game store and got myself a D&D starter set.

I've been trying to digest all the information that is written in their handbook for a few days now.

Since the odds are pretty much 100% that I will be the DM for at least our first ever adventure, am wondering if anyone in the family have got any sort of inputs on how to get things going as smoothly as possible (I am not sure how well received the game will be for my friends).

Currently I have got:

- The D&D starter set, which includes:

A story guide (for DM)

A rule book for beginners in D&D

1 set of dices (D4 - D20)

5 pre-made character sheets

- I've downloaded and printed empty character sheets (it is probably still too early for us to create a new character by ourselves from scratch)

- I've managed to get hold of the 3 guides that is available currently, the DM Guide, Player Handbook, Monster Manual.

 

In addition, may I ask whether if there is a need for me to purchases some miniatures too for the game? (I've seen some D&D runs in youtube and all of them uses miniature, is this a need to run the game smoothly?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

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Ban Fili de na Ulchabhan Corcra
Soren
Ban Fili de na Ulchabhan Corcra
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Replied On: 05/26/2015 at 08:18 AM PDT
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Hey Tide!

What version of D&D are you playing? 5.0?

d20srd.org is a great resource even though it is geared for 3.5 (things are still applicable as far as classes and all the baddies =p)

As far as mini's go my group uses them for flavor. What style mini's you use is totally up to you. We use mostly Warhammer & D&D mini's for the bigger mobs and for minions we've got in the habit of using some for of edible goodness (mainly startbursts, choco tuffels, blue whales & whatever else fits in the square). Makes killing things all the more desirable as if you kill it you get to eat it =p

Biggest 3 tips I can give you as a former DM is 

1) No matter how well thought out and cool your story is the party is going to find a way to break it horribly and often not do what you want them to do (or have done it in such a round about way you have no idea how it was possible for them to get to where they needed to be), so being able to change things on the fly is an important skill. 

2) Don't be afraid to railroad the group if they get too side tracked, off-course, or start running in circles. Sometimes a gentle nudge, or, as our current DM says, "A gentle hammer to the face", is required to keep things moving.

3) Have fun with it! Encourage Role-play! Have fun with it!

 

For reference check out
http://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/2aynff/advice_to_new_gms/
http://www.gamersintuition.com/article.php?t=dungeonmasters
http://www.goblinscomic.org/dungeon-master-tips/

If you meet yourself on the testing track, don't make eye contact. Lab boys tell me that'll wipe out time. Entirely.
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Caomhnoir de na Iomproidh Buí
Tide
Caomhnoir de na Iomproidh Buí
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Replied On: 05/26/2015 at 08:37 AM PDT

Thanks for the tips Soren! 

Yup, its version 5.0. The storekeeper was introducing me pathfinder, but I asked my friend which should I get and he suggested D&D 5.0 > Pathfinder > the rest of D&D.

I'll check out the websites that you suggested too, plenty of information for me to absorb.

So looking forward to my first attempt to adventure/controlling minions.

 

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Ridire de na Capall
Valin
Ridire de na Capall
  • ESO: @Jvari
Replied On: 05/26/2015 at 08:40 AM PDT

"1) No matter how well thought out and cool your story is the party is going to find a way to break it horribly and often not do what you want them to do (or have done it in such a round about way you have no idea how it was possible for them to get to where they needed to be), so being able to change things on the fly is an important skill. "

 

This - a thousand times this...and I'm super guilty of doing it when I was actively playing.  :)

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Saighdiuir de na Aracos Donn
Pyrrhic
Saighdiuir de na Aracos Donn
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Replied On: 05/26/2015 at 10:43 AM PDT
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Miniatures can be kinda expensive (if money is an issue), you can always have the players use miniatures and the DM use tokens. If you feel crafty you can make your own tokens: http://newbiedm.com/2008/11/22/newbiedm-tutorial-counters-tokens-or-pogs/

or if you are feeling technological, you can use Maptools: http://www.rptools.net/

We use maptools for our D&D 5ed games. I upload digital maps and host the game on my Laptop and a player connects as a user and we stream the map on to a TV. It takes a little extra work but I rarely spend a dime on accessories. 

 

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Tiarna de na Ulchabhan Corcra
Jairone
Tiarna de na Ulchabhan Corcra
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Replied On: 05/26/2015 at 12:42 PM PDT
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There's tons of free icons available online for printing tokens if you have a good printer.

I've also played before where we used various other objects, from dice to coins to a can of spray deodorant as enemies.

The story is what your players do.  You merely set up the world.  I have, before, decided that if they didn't want to go with the quest I kept dropping hints about, they didn't have to.  As you get more experienced, you can set up a much larger narrative, involving events in multiple areas of the world such that they get to try to figure out what is going on wherever they wish to go... but for a first campaign I'd suggest you railroad a little.  You can have them dealing with some curse, or otherwise coerced into having a common goal, and then just give them the environments to deal with it.

Characters are a huge part of what makes the game fun.  Take the time to roll up your own.  The templates can help you figure out what things are supposed to look like, but honestly there isn't too much confusing about making the characters.  If you find yourself wanting to know more about making characters, there are a handful of experienced players here who can answer questions, and even help you figure it out via Mythweavers (myth-weavers.com) which has 5th edition character sheets online for free.  We have a handful of various characters for Oreos current campaign on there.  Just let us know if you want to learn, and what times would work well so it can be set up!

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Ban Fili de na Griobhta Dearg
Briseadh
Ban Fili de na Griobhta Dearg
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Replied On: 05/26/2015 at 01:46 PM PDT
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All the main points I think have been made already based on the fact I have tabled topped since 1980 when a friend got a starter boxed set of the D&D version of the day for Christmas.

1) Have a plan and story with at least a dungeon and some things for them to deal with - RP NPCs as well as mobs to kill are needed.  After all, they need to be hooked into going on the adventure and make the story flow.  =)

2) The dice can be your enemy.  LOL!  Given the right circumstances and the one too many ONE rolls on your dice and bam, even the big ole red dragon might expire too quickly.  However, the dice go bad and good for everyone and just add to the flavor.  =)

3) You don't need anything fancy for the fight layouts.  Okay, I've gone from paper maps with Xs on it to huge setups with cool looking things for the mobs and the characters.  One college crew I gamed with set up the living room with lots of folding chairs and a 4x8 slab of thick playwood as a table.  We then had it covered with a full scale grid that worked with our minaiture sizes and between all of us we had enough miniatures and tokens to make it pretty cool.  The mat layed over the table was erasure board pen writeable and clean up.  Yeah, definitely overboard, but it was a combo of college and working guys with some money in the mix.  ::chuckles::

To sum up number 3, all you need is something to help the crew see where they are and how far away things are for fights only.  And like someone else did, edible oponents works too.  Yes, I killed the might dorito so it is mine!  ::munchmunchmunch::

4) Have fun and enjoy the process of learning how to play the game.  There is a lot to it, but starting out it can be pretty simplified just to get the gyst and as time goes on more flavor and stuff can flow right on in as the characters level.

5) Always expect the unexpected.  =)  

I probably said a lot of what the others did, but for the most part it can be a lot of zany fun.  I don't do it in person now, but I do play with a crew on Wednesday nights that is mostly Gaiscioch doing it on the internet virtually.  I've done that on and off since the first crew set up in Dec 2012.  Now we are all learning 5.0 versus Pathfinder and all the other D&D versions.  ::chuckles::  Sometimes knowing other versions and games too well throws you off with the little changes thrown into an updated version.

Don't mess with Mama Bear, I might hug you too tight. =D
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Caomhnoir de na Iomproidh Buí
Tide
Caomhnoir de na Iomproidh Buí
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Replied On: 05/26/2015 at 07:21 PM PDT

Many thanks for all the informative inputs folks, appreciate all the tools that you've all recommended and I will check them out - gonna take some time to figure out my options. 

I just got invited to an existing group that run weds night D&D today, so I will be getting some hands on experience prior to having to run the show myself come Sunday! I'm pretty hype up currently actually, finally get to do something that I been wanting to do for so long, haha.

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Bandraoi de na Iolair Bán
Kitty
Bandraoi de na Iolair Bán
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Replied On: 05/27/2015 at 03:44 AM PDT
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Word of advice, do not use edible tokens like M&Ms or skittles, you will find out they are tasty and soon you will run out of tokens.

"Be the player you want to meet".- Foghladha
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Ard Tiarna de na Ulchabhan Buí
Elth
Ard Tiarna de na Ulchabhan Buí
Replied On: 06/01/2015 at 05:48 PM PDT
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It's been a long while since I played D&D, I think 3.5 had just released when I got caught up with real life and couldn't make the time to play any more.

I was a miniature painter for most of my childhood and probably kept painting Reaper Miniature hero models long after my D&D group all moved on to other things after marriage, careers and kids became priority.  It's an expensive hobby and once you get good, you tend to want to avoid using the hero models on the table because you don't want your good work to be chipped with wear and tear.

Rather than worry about using miniatures (since they cost so darn much); I used to use a white board; erasable markers and colored plastic markers.  A white board will save you a lot on paper and pencils for quick drawing maps or party positions and if your table is big enough you can place it laying flat in the center so everyone can see whats going on.

 

DMing is hard work but very rewarding.  The greatest Dungeon Masters are the ones who can improvise when the players don't follow the story path, and improvise in such a way that the players still feel immersed in the imaginary world they are in.  It helps to have a few side-trek adventures or adventure ideas on hand for when players decide to run in the opposite direction.

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Caomhnoir de na Iomproidh Buí
Tide
Caomhnoir de na Iomproidh Buí
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Replied On: 06/01/2015 at 11:23 PM PDT

Just a little update on how the my first DM experience went.

I made a grid map by combining 16 pieces of A4 paper, and drew main battle locations on transparent plastic sheet, which I placed on the grid map when the PC reaches the specific area. For PC and monster miniatures, I used MS paint, printed a number of portraits, pasted on cardboard and cut them.

I kept re-reading the story before-hand in preparation, and thought that my friends (all 1st time tabletop RPG players) would just burn through the contents, and so I prepared 3 dungeons in advance.

Alas I was proven wrong – they got stuck at the first encounter for 2 hours.

They managed to bring down the goblins that were ambushing them, but were unable to ascertain their next course of action – even if they had managed to find out a probable path that leads to the goblin hideout.

It is fun though in a way as I had to add in additional encounters, to which resulted in some memorable actions.

For one, I added in a goblin patrol (which consists of a goblin and a wolf) to engage them, to my surprised instead of fighting the wolf the dwarves fighter decided to cut a piece of meat from a dead horse nearby to distract it.

 

At the end of the session, only half of the first dungeon has been explored. But it is a good pace though and everyone seem to have had fun, which is what the session is all about.

 

I’m still trying to grasp the rules and learning how to act an npc and better describe the story, but I’m definitely looking forward to the next session!

 

Thanks again for the input and links for resources!

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Bandraoi de na Iolair Bán
Kitty
Bandraoi de na Iolair Bán
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Replied On: 06/02/2015 at 03:21 AM PDT
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It sounds like the first session was a huge success!!!

Hooray! :D

"Be the player you want to meet".- Foghladha
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Seaimpin de na Ulchabhan
Oreofox
Seaimpin de na Ulchabhan
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Replied On: 06/02/2015 at 08:40 AM PDT
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Glad the first session went well. And combats can take quite a long time. There's a meme picture that says "D&D: A game where a 3 hour walk takes 2 minutes and a 2 minute fight takes 3 hours". It is so very true. The good thing is, with 5th edition, combat has gotten faster as there aren't various numbers of +1s to keep track of and add to the dice roll.

I personally prefer maps and minis as it is easier to get everyone on the same page with how the area around them looks. Of course, I use a virtual tabletop (roll20.net) which makes that so much easier. Dming can be tough, and it isn't for everyone. I enjoy it for the most part, though I do wish I could play again, instead of just DM. But, I am trying to get better at being DM so I can finally break in my homemade setting, and get people to like it hopefully as much as I do.

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Ban Fili de na Griobhta Dearg
Briseadh
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Replied On: 06/02/2015 at 02:00 PM PDT
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Glad it went well.  

If I had the ambition and even the desire to spend the money on the 5.0 rule stuff, I would try to make my world virtual so Oreo could play instead of DM.  LOL!  Unfortunately the idea of doing that is a bit much.

Don't mess with Mama Bear, I might hug you too tight. =D
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Ard Tiarna de na Ulchabhan Buí
Elth
Ard Tiarna de na Ulchabhan Buí
Replied On: 06/06/2015 at 08:38 PM PDT
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I’m still trying to grasp the rules and learning how to act an npc and better describe the story, but I’m definitely looking forward to the next session!

 

If in doubt on rules, roll a dice behind your screen and go with your gut feeling (the dice is just to make the players think you know what you're doing).

 

Story telling is all practice.  Just like public speaking, the more you do it, the better you get and the more confidence you have.  The fact that you are still halfway through the first dungeon is great, it means your players are interested if they are taking their time poking around.

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Seaimpin de na Aracos
Dirkdaring
Seaimpin de na Aracos
Replied On: 10/17/2015 at 12:19 PM PDT

  once you get into it , you can eventually, try some of the modules like Ravenloft, or branch into Dark sun, Gamma world, or Boot hill  .

 

 Have fun. 

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Seaimpin de na Ulchabhan Gorm
khy0te
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Replied On: 10/18/2015 at 03:24 AM PDT
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Dungeons and Dragons: Where a 3 hour walk takes 3 minutes and a 3 minute battle takes 3 hours.

 

Glad things went well for you always glad to have more tabletop gamers in the world.

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