View Full Version : First time DMing newbies

2011-06-19, 12:10 AM
They all more or less get the idea. But it's still a dizzying prospect. I've only DMed for a year, and I'm somewhat intimidated. Any suggestions?

2011-06-19, 12:13 AM
I recommend starting them with a few, unconnected and fairly easy modules so they can get a firm grasp of the basics before trying to get them involved with any sort of real plot. Also, introduce a couple of well written NPCs into the game world to get them introduced to the concept of roleplaying. (I also recommend giving them some Roleplay XP at the end of each session, to help promote RP for the entire group.)

2011-06-19, 12:45 AM
Sounds good. I was planning on something like that, but really needed a better opinion than my own. Thanks.

Honest Tiefling
2011-06-19, 12:50 AM
Do these fine folk have much of a roleplaying background? Played any CRPG or the like? I would ask about that to get an idea of where they are.

2011-06-19, 12:59 AM
I strongly suggest that you only introduce an absolute maximum of 3 people to the game at one time. This especially applies if you're going to be playing 3.5e .

Ideally, only 1 person should be new to the game or inexperienced in any session. Increasing that number to 2 can be very tricky and hard to keep up with. Taking the number of new players all the way up to 3 can be extremely difficult and cause a very long list of problems. If you're doing that number, be ready to take things very slowly and make sure to keep things as simple as possible.

I would suggest forcing the players to create their own character sheets on their own and not handing ones out to them. The process of creating a character will make them value the character significantly more and teach them about the game. For example, when they fill out their saves, they'll start learning about what saves are. When they fill out their AC, they'll learn about what the different components to AC are. The best way to understand what all the information written on a character sheet means is to write it out yourself.

Making sure that there are enough Player's Handbooks at the table is also important. It would be best if every player had their own copy.

I've personally found it very helpful to get a marker board and write up some very basic rules on the board for the players. I always keep up a section that shows the components of a player's turn: Standard Action + Move Action (or Full-Round action), swift action, and finally free actions. If you write them on the board as boxes with the Full Round part above the Standard + Move actions then players can look at it to get a quick reference on how it all works.

It might be best to spend most of the first session just creating character sheets. The process is time consuming, but extremely important.

As far as the first adventure goes, I would suggest using a premade module that has been designed for level 1 players. My personal favorite is A Dark and Stormy Knight (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/oa/20050329a). The adventure has traps, an intro fight against a group of weak monsters, multiple options for the PCs to choose from (so they don't feel railroaded), pre-written background information to learn about with proper knowledge checks, several well written fights, a good boss fight, and a great opening with an effective method of introducing PCs to one another if they decided that they haven't met yet.

2011-06-19, 01:08 AM
When it comes to modules, I think Hunter chose possibly the best module for newbies to start out with. Not only does it give you a right-off-the-bat intro for all your players, but it's easy enough that they shouldn't have too many problems, but complex enough that they'll learn a bit about their roles and the hazards of being an adventurer.

A module I might recommend as a second dungeon would be The Burning Plague (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article1.asp?x=dnd/oa/oa20000801a,3), as it's a great introduction to diseases and provides a couple of challenges I found to be amusing to play with as DM, and my group found fun to overcome.