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Daisychain
2010-07-29, 09:34 AM
Hi Everyone,
I've been playing 3.5e for almost a year now, and my group has decided they want to play an overpowered campaign. Interested in trying out my storytelling skills, I volunteered to be the DM. We've decided to base the plot around the TV show Leverage; which for those of you who have not seen it, is a cross between Robin Hood and Oceans Eleven. I'm extremely excited, but also terrified because my players are: a rules lawyer, my boyfriend, and the best DM I've ever played under. Also, combined, my players have an average of 5 years experience with the game. So you know, no pressure. I'm afraid I'm not going to be as creative as they want me to be, and I won't know the mechanics well enough to satisfy my rules lawyer. Any thoughts or suggestions about plot and DMing in general would be amazing. Thanks. ~Daisy

AslanCross
2010-07-29, 09:43 AM
That's a really big challenge. I started DMing with almost no playing experience (I've only played CRPG versions of D&D before), though I did handle a group that was completely new.

One thing I suggest before anything else: Talk to the players and get them to lay down their expectations beyond what the campaign will be about. Let them know your reservations. I think that way you won't be second-guessing the players, and vice-versa.

Now about the rules lawyer: First, avoid situations where you'll wander into rules ambiguity where he can strong-arm you. Second, let him know when the rules lawyering is getting in the way of everyone's fun. Third, if push comes to shove: Rule zero.

Cyrion
2010-07-29, 09:47 AM
Don't be afraid to steal plots from books or movies, especially ones the others haven't read/seen. Then embellish them to make them work in a D&D session.

Dealing with the rules lawyer- use him to your advantage, but always after the fact. If he wants to quibble over something, say "OK, we'll check on that after this combat and make sure we're right for the next, but for now we're going to do it my way so that we don't get bogged down."

Also, remember that you are the DM. You are free to adjust rules so that they make the game more fun and more playable for your group. However, you must be consistent in your application and up front in telling people how things work so that it's not a random surprise.

Prodan
2010-07-29, 09:48 AM
You have a DMG and it is in hard cover.

caden_varn
2010-07-29, 09:54 AM
I agree that is a good plan to talk to the players beforehand about expectations. I've generally found that players are much more understanding and laid-back about games with new DMs than the DMs expect them to be.

Sleepingbear
2010-07-29, 09:59 AM
Hi Everyone,
I've been playing 3.5e for almost a year now, and my group has decided they want to play an overpowered campaign. Interested in trying out my storytelling skills, I volunteered to be the DM. We've decided to base the plot around the TV show Leverage; which for those of you who have not seen it, is a cross between Robin Hood and Oceans Eleven. I'm extremely excited, but also terrified because my players are: a rules lawyer, my boyfriend, and the best DM I've ever played under. Also, combined, my players have an average of 5 years experience with the game. So you know, no pressure. I'm afraid I'm not going to be as creative as they want me to be, and I won't know the mechanics well enough to satisfy my rules lawyer. Any thoughts or suggestions about plot and DMing in general would be amazing. Thanks. ~Daisy

This isn't as bad as it seems at first blush. It doesn't seem likely that your boyfriend and the best DM you've ever had are going to be overly critical of you on your first time out of the gate. For the most part, the only pressure in this situation is what you're creating for yourself in your own mind. Be as creative as you can be and don't worry about it too much.

As for the Rules Lawyer, it kind of depends on what kind of Rules Lawyer they are. Most people use the term to describe the sort of player that warps or twists rules to their advantage at every oppurtunity. The best thing to do in that case is brush up on your rules before the game and to take a moment to consult the books during the session as required. If it comes to a matter of interpretation, point out that as DM, it's your view of what the wording means that matters, not theirs.

If on the other hand they are the sort of rules lawyer that simply wants the rules to be consistant and evenly applied (such people do exist), then that can actually be an advantage to a novice DM. Make them the 'Guardian of the Rules' by consulting them when you are unsure. If they don't have a rule on the tip of their tongue, they'll know just where to look it up in a hurry.

It's okay to make mistakes. Learn from them and move on. Odds are, you're being harder on yourself then your players will be. If you're still unsure, ask for advice and constructive criticism, especially from the DM that you already admire.

Private-Prinny
2010-07-29, 10:01 AM
The plot is easy enough to pull off. [Tier 1 class or Aristocrat] has taken [MacGuffin] from [Commoner]. You have to steal it back. They have fortified defenses, so you have to find a way through them.

I have one thing that I always do when dealing with Rules Lawyers (considering I'm one myself). When they contest a ruling, tell them to build a case. When they're ready, they have exactly 1 minute to prove themselves correct. The game will continue until they have the right page, double check their facts, etc.

If they're right, admit it frankly. If they're wrong, don't rub it in. The important thing is to not break stride for longer than you have to.

BobVosh
2010-07-29, 10:05 AM
So You Wanna Be A DM?: A Potentially Helpful Guide (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76474)
Under out Notable Threads (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124685) sticky thread.

Dizlag
2010-07-29, 10:16 AM
I've been using the "listening to my players" technique recently when running a Savage Worlds campaign. If you really listen to what your players are saying to you, to each other, and what not you really can get more out of the game.

Here's an example from last saturday night's game ... I knew the group was going to be on a train to El Paso to guard the President of the railroad. I knew there was going to be an assassination attempt on the President and I knew the assassination was going to be a diversion for a robbery. Other than that, I was going to make it up as I went listening for ques and ideas from my players as I went along.

Now, when one of the players being a mechanic for the railroad was walking them through the train, a player asked him if there was any on the train. The 'tour guide" player said yes but it was secure. I, as a DM, didn't even think about dynamite when prepping the adventure and let them roll with it and smiled on the inside thinking someone is gonna go BOOM! Sure enough, I used it and let's just say in a very "pulp action-ish" style a hat box was tossed out of the side of the train just in the nick of time before exploding ... however, 3 sticks of dynamite were still missing and the search was still on.

So, by listening to my players roleplaying and their out of character comments to each other I learned what would be fun for them and that is my #1 rule as a DM ... just have fun!

Don't worry about it ... have a framework for an adventure as Prinny laid out and just roll with it. It will take practice and a little bit of prep-work, but remember to listen to your players and have fun!

Dizlag

EDIT: clarity edit

Earthwalker
2010-07-29, 10:43 AM
Not sure if this is what you are looking for in terms of advice.
Being a new GM can be daunting but you already have the link to the New Gm thread and very useful it is too.

Here is an idea for a campaign setting, for you. Firstly I have no idea what you mean by an over powered campaign can you please elucidate ? I suspect all this isnít going to be useful for you butÖ

If you are wanting to set up the players as Robin Hood / Oceans 11 type deal then place them in a lawful evil (or lawful natural with evil tendencies) kingdom. Make the whole deal with a vile king, evil lords and best of all corrupt village sheriffs. The serfs are down trodden and no one seems to care.
Set up some reasons in player backgrounds to hate the status quo and let them run with smashing the system. I would suggest to begin with have an anonymous contact that gives the players details on tax collector routes and other useful information for setting up hooks for adventures. Let them contacted magically by some sending so they get information but canít ask loads of questions.
You can start with simple things like robbing tax collectors. (this will get tougther as the local sherrif gets wise to the players tactics) Once they get famous for being good guys having commoners asking for help with stolen mcguffins. You can also weave a grand conspiracy working from the shadows, controlling some of the lords and maybe the king.
Once the PCs get a few levels then let them decide how they are going to find out information and in where things go.

Another_Poet
2010-07-29, 10:48 AM
If they have ~5 years D&D experience on average, they know that a new DM will always have some problems. They're your friends (and boyfriend); they'll forgive the errors and stick with you.

Don't take any guff from the rules lawyer. Rules lawyers are often extra hard on a new GM. Don't take his word on how stuff works. If you don't have time to look it up then just make a ruling and stick to it.

ap

WarKitty
2010-07-29, 10:53 AM
Ditto on clarify what they expect from a DM. The biggest one I found was don't be afraid to make a mistake. Or to admit it. I've had to say to my players "Ok I wasn't expecting that and I don't know how to react, can you give me a minute?"

I might also recommend doing a short campaign to get started. Gets everyone in the feel of things, but if anything is just *not* working you're only living with it for 2 or 3 sessions.

Daisychain
2010-07-29, 10:54 AM
So by overpowered campaign I mean essentially a 14-20 level campaign in which my players get to play their broken characters. My boyfriend is playing a conjurer/archmage/master specialist, rules lawyer is playing a variant of the whisper knife rogue, and my favorite DM is playing a Warblade. All of these combine to create, in my eyes, a toxic cocktail for encounters/my inexperience as a DM. I do really like your ideas about plot though Earthwalker. And all of your posts are giving me much more confidence. Thank you.

Prodan
2010-07-29, 10:56 AM
None of that's truely broken...

WarKitty
2010-07-29, 10:57 AM
So by overpowered campaign I mean essentially a 14-20 level campaign in which my players get to play their broken characters. My boyfriend is playing a conjurer/archmage/master specialist, rules lawyer is playing a variant of the whisper knife rogue, and my favorite DM is playing a Warblade. All of these combine to create, in my eyes, a toxic cocktail for encounters/my inexperience as a DM. I do really like your ideas about plot though Earthwalker. And all of your posts are giving me much more confidence. Thank you.

Post major opponents here for feedback...I do it sometimes, the more experienced peeps have helped me refine a few of my Big Bads to be appropriately challenging.

Also, never underestimate mooks. They may get one-shotted by your players, but they can still slow them down enough to let the Big Bad get some shots off.

Earthwalker
2010-07-29, 11:25 AM
So by overpowered campaign I mean essentially a 14-20 level campaign in which my players get to play their broken characters. My boyfriend is playing a conjurer/archmage/master specialist, rules lawyer is playing a variant of the whisper knife rogue, and my favorite DM is playing a Warblade. All of these combine to create, in my eyes, a toxic cocktail for encounters/my inexperience as a DM. I do really like your ideas about plot though Earthwalker. And all of your posts are giving me much more confidence. Thank you.

Think you may have gone past a level I can help you with.
I would still suggest starting with having a benifactor magically contact the players to offer a plot hook or two. Then this benifactor become an ally. This will hopfully give the players some focus, and mean you can run the game early on like the show. Basically someone has been wronged and the player characters are here to put it right.
In time the BBEG will be revealed and can be dealt with.
If your players are not going to look here it might be an idea to run plot ideas and plans past the group here as they will give you advice how you can best defend your bad guys and ideas for security.
I am seeing your campaign at the start to be like oceans 11 where the players need to get in somewhere and steal things running different cons and using there unique abilities.
I am still going to think of some ideas of plots and let you know.