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Author Topic: First Time DM  (Read 1113 times)

eCK0

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« on: March 06, 2006, 11:40:22 am »
So, I've been playing some RPGs for a while, and now I think I want to take the step of becoming a DM.  For my first campaign I want to do D&D3E.  Anyone have any suggestions of books or reading material to start getting me into the right mindset of a DM?
 

Limper

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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2006, 11:43:22 am »
Quote from: eCK0
So, I've been playing some RPGs for a while, and now I think I want to take the step of becoming a DM.  For my first campaign I want to do D&D3E.  Anyone have any suggestions of books or reading material to start getting me into the right mindset of a DM?


Talk with your prospective players and see if there is a story you are all interested in telling. From there its pretty easy. Just remember that its about having fun and you as well as your players should be having fun with it.
 

Varaj

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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2006, 12:01:18 pm »
Number one mistake I have seen first time GMs make is start to get into the habit of thinking they need to beat the players.  Remember it isn't a competition but an avenue for everybody to have fun.
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eCK0

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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2006, 12:08:52 pm »
Well, here's my idea.  At the moment it'll be me, a first time DM, and two players, one beginning, one intermediate.  I think I'm going to make this basically a learning campaign, one strictly for building your character, not much story, mostly action.  This will help the players learn the process of rolling and role playing, and help me get a feel as DM of how they want to play.

Since there's currently only two players, I'm going to have them start out as already good friends, and I'm going to have an NPC that they've never met join them and the adventure will start from there.  I'm thinking Fantasy Earth/Middle Earth type deal for a setting.
 

Limper

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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2006, 12:09:21 pm »
Quote from: Varaj
Number one mistake I have seen first time GMs make is start to get into the habit of thinking they need to beat the players.  Remember it isn't a competition but an avenue for everybody to have fun.


Excellent point as the DM you ALWAYS win so you can readily procede to telling a fun story with the PC's being the main characters in the tale.
 

Limper

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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2006, 12:10:29 pm »
Quote from: eCK0
Well, here's my idea.  At the moment it'll be me, a first time DM, and two players, one beginning, one intermediate.  I think I'm going to make this basically a learning campaign, one strictly for building your character, not much story, mostly action.  This will help the players learn the process of rolling and role playing, and help me get a feel as DM of how they want to play.

Since there's currently only two players, I'm going to have them start out as already good friends, and I'm going to have an NPC that they've never met join them and the adventure will start from there.  I'm thinking Fantasy Earth/Middle Earth type deal for a setting.


Given all that... sounds like a plan. Just remember that if they want to do something not on the plan work with them and you'll build a great core for all future games.
 

Name Lips

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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2006, 12:23:01 pm »
Here are some basic tips:

Let the player's cool ideas have a chance of working. If they want to purchase a special magical item to tunnel straight down to the final chamber of the dungeon, bypassing all the encounters you spent hours creating, let them. Don't disallow actions or make them automatically fail just because you haven't prepared for them.

Likewise, let them use their cool abilities. Many DMs try to restrict things like teleports, divinations, and raising spells. They claim it's a way of removing overpowered things, or making a flavor that fits their campaign, but this is usually a thinly veiled attempt to remove power from the players' hands and put it back in the DM's hands. This is unnecessary. The PCs have cool and powerful abilities - let them run with them.

Second, don't get bogged down in rules discussions in-game. It slows it down pointlessly. Maybe you're wrong about a rule. Maybe the player is. In game, your word goes. After game, you can look up the rule and do it right from then on. Doesn't mean you're a bad DM to get a rule wrong every now and then.
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Knightcrawler

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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2006, 12:35:04 pm »
Quote from: Name Lips
Second, don't get bogged down in rules discussions in-game. It slows it down pointlessly. Maybe you're wrong about a rule. Maybe the player is. In game, your word goes. After game, you can look up the rule and do it right from then on. Doesn't mean you're a bad DM to get a rule wrong every now and then.


This is extremely important point.  Its your game, you control it.  With just two players this is less of a problem.  The DM's word is the final say during the game.  Afterwards if they want to talk thats fine.  I've had games sessions actually end because some boob wanted to argue a rule.
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Krishnath

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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2006, 01:21:30 pm »
Quote from: Knightcrawler
This is extremely important point.  Its your game, you control it.  With just two players this is less of a problem.  The DM's word is the final say during the game.  Afterwards if they want to talk thats fine.  I've had games sessions actually end because some boob wanted to argue a rule.

Strangely, I have never had this problem, and I am not really what one would call a good DM. But since my players are more interrested in dungeoncrawling than interacting with NPC's anyway, it works.
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willpax

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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2006, 08:25:30 pm »
In addition to the excellent advice given, I'll add that being a DM is a great way to really stretch yourself in terms of role playing. It takes a special skill to make an npc vivid and memorable without stealing the screen time from the real stars of the story--the players. Start collecting cool and random fun details that you can give your npcs for quick individuation. Give the players a fun world.

Another good principle: if you haven't told the players, then it hasn't really happened. Let your own plans be flexible. Your winning condition is for everyone else to have had a blast while playing.
Cherish those who seek the truth, but beware of those who find it. (Voltaire)

eCK0

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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2006, 12:06:03 am »
Thanks for the awesome advice guys, I'll take that all into account :)
 

kryyst

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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2006, 08:03:00 am »
Another thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is be prepaired.  The first time you DM is going to be a slightly hectic experience.  All eyes will be on you after all.  So think ahead of time what you want to do.  Make notes of important NPC's, places and things.  That way when a player asks something you'll already have (hopefully) thought of the answer ahead of time.  This will help you to keep your confidence up and remove that feeling of being behind the 8-ball.  It will also help build the confidence of your players in you.

Some people may disagree, but I would suggest that you don't run a pre-bought adventure for your first run.  I would however suggest that you read a few of them just to get an idea for the sorts of GM info that is required.  I would even advice stealing your ideas from a bought campaign.  The reason I advice a bought campaign is that as a GM you want to know the campaign inside out, if the first one you run is a bought campaign, no mater how many times you've read through it, you'll be constantly flipping to it.  If the players ask something that's not written, well you'll be in a page turning frenzy trying to find an answer that isn't there.  If however this is a game you've thought of you'll know if the answer is there or not.  So you save that panic moment when the answer isn't in front of you.  You just know -already- that you'll have to improvise.
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eCK0

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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2006, 10:27:37 am »
I probably will read some already made campaigns, but I've already decided that I want this campaign to be made up of mostly my ideas.  I'm making it easy on my self by just using regular rules and settings, but after that, I want the feeling of accomplishment that I came up with it :)
 

Nicephorus

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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2006, 11:05:23 am »
Whatever happens and no matter what the players do, don't pee your pants.  And if you do, don't stand up to yell at a player.
 
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Bullitt

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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2006, 03:36:53 am »
The best advice I can give is that you make sure that your players understand that you are the one that has the final say. Definitely give their ideas a chance to work, and take all the other advice you've been given to heart, but in the end, it is you and you alone who is telling them the story. This is especially important when rules debates erupt around the table. Some players will min-max their characters and then try to rules-lawyer every rule to the farthest possible extreme so that they can do something illogical and overpowered. When that happens, make a call and move on. Don't sit there and argue with them. If it becomes a problem with an individual, make it clear to them that you can do anything you want in your game, up to and including killing their character.