View Full Version : Wanting to DM a game, any tips?

2011-07-13, 04:11 AM
So, I've always thought dming a game sounded like a lot of fun. However, i am new to roleplaying in general. Even though I've got a few people who said they are down, I am nervous. I want them to have fun, and not end up a horror story on the internet. I think I am socially graceful enough to not be a complete asshat, but I am inexperienced. So I want to know if this sounds appealing.

I am in the process of acquiring Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2ed, first of all is this a good system?

Second, I think that, story wise, I want the antagonists to be mostly Skaven. I figure due to the nature of the Underempire, no matter what race or nationality they want I can have skaven be present.

Basically, there will be reports of small skirmishes with the Skaven in the area, and rewards offered for the heads of skaven. If the party decides to go hunt Skaven, cool. If not, then whatever they are doing they will come into the ratmen somehow. Looting ruins? A band of gutter runners had the same idea. This will bring the point across that there is a skaven menace in the area.

Eventually, a local ruler's household will be attacked, leaving the lord and most of his family dead. His heir will call to arms everyone willing to help, as well as raise the reward.

Basically, the party is free to do what they will. I'll probably add some region specific villains and hooks, but they will probably involve Skaven in some way. Crazy wizard in a corner of the empire? He'll have a Skyre wizard supplying him with magical weaponry and soldiers crazy enough to use them.

Ultimately, the Clan Warlord and a chief assassin will be the main villains, who the party will have to deal with or watch the region get overrun. Killing the warlord will cause the horde to sunder, as all his officers try to take over. But for the most part, the Skaven will just be in the way. I don't want to railroad, but at the same time I want an overarching plot.

Any dming tips are welcome, not just those story related.

2011-07-13, 04:53 AM
Well, first thing you need to know is that system is very hazardous to your players health from memory. Death my being pricked by a rusty pitchfork kind of deadly so keep that in mind. A Skaven Warlord will make mincemeat of the party so don't let them go it alone.

Anyway, my personal advice for a first time DM is to run a pre-generated scenario/module whatever the system calls it. Explain that to your players and hopefully they won't try to run off the rails too much. The goal of the GM is not jsut to tell a story but to run the world itself, yo seem to know Warhammer Fantasy well enough so you just need to familiarise yourself with the rules. Common actions your players might take (skill checks and how basic combat works) need to be either memorised or atleast become very familiar with them.

After you get the rules (both physical and 'rules' of the world) you can start worrying about how setting down obstacles, opposition and environments. Given the setting its ok for events to go over the top of your players heads, they are small fry to begin with and setting them on a small task is ok.

Honestly, as your first attempt at GMing, its ok to railroad, you need to get a feel for the players and what they like to do as much as how the game and even how roleplaying itself works. Let the big freeform stuff come naturally. Eventually you'll hit the point where you can naturally come up with a solution should your players decide to go off the rails. If you do, run with that.

Personally beyond the above, don't try and follow any complicated suggestions until after your first session, then you can take a look at where you did well or did badly. You will make mistakes, every GM makes them repeatedly every session, some are just good at recovering/hiding the mistakes. Enjoy yourself over all. If what your doing isnt something everyone enjoys, consider why.

2011-07-13, 05:02 AM
Yeah, I've also got a few modules incoming that I was going to look over, and see what seemed good.

Anyway, i saw a post saying that in DnD, they had a Staff of True Ressurection with like 3 charges, I was planning on implementing something like that. Seeing as how i don't have the books just yet, I don't know if such a thing exists in the rules. If not, I'll give them something like that Elf (either Teclis or Tyrion, can't remember which) that was an amulet that when he die, it shattered and revived him. Just so I don't overestimate the party and kill most/all of them.

2011-07-13, 06:29 AM
Okay, your a GM, if you want it to exist, it can exist.

2011-07-13, 09:54 AM
Okay, I've read most of the core book, and ... wow. I think the system looks fun as a tactical game with story elements. However, implementing a fully fledged story seems like it would be more about the environment than the people, as they tend to die. I mean, the miscast table actually says "time to roll up a new character."

I really hope the mortality of the characters doesn't turn them off, because I really like the system.

2011-07-13, 11:21 AM
Thats what I find the beauty of both this and the Dark Heresy system, your so very fragile that combat is really given all the weight it needs to be. It is a last resort for your characters. Given that I'm a big fan of the corrupting influence of chaos, it makes power particularly tempting as you can actually change the whole dynamic of gameplay...for something as simple as their soul.

If your friends are familiar with the wargame, run a combat to begin 'just to show them the rules' against a fairly even match (tabletop wise). Then show how horribly painful this can be. Explain to them, they are not the Bretonnian knight riding atop his steed, they are not a firemage burning a path of destruction, not a priest of sigmar lead an army of the faithful cleansing the taint from the land.

They are but men. Rock. Ooooooooooooooooon!

2011-07-13, 12:07 PM
However, if your friends are new to warhammer and roleplaying in general they may not like the high casualty rate. Warhammer is a huge, detailed, complicated setting and if they already know it they could get invested into it; however if they not its just randomly dying left and right.

Also, Id suggest to try doing a short one-two session adventure to get the hang of it. Try to make it self conclusive with a clear end and achievement for the players. Then you can re-evaluate and decide if you want to correct it for next time or continue with those same characters,

2011-07-13, 12:53 PM
As a regular dark heresy GM, I would say thusly:

1. People who play warhammer RP are going to like it warhammery. So don't stint on the environment. This doesn't mean every room of every slum needs a flowing paragraph of description - it means that even if you find yourself way off the beaten path, a few small reminders of "black, grey, and dirty" will help create that feel. Its the little things, tied with the overarching themes and familiar institutions (to the players) that will make the setting stand out.

While solid descriptions and an incredible story line will score you big GM points, simply reminding players that they are in Warhammer will provide some low hanging fruit - easy pickings, even for an utterly new GM. All you have to do is know the setting.

Plus, for new players, the occassional reminder that modern tolerance is...not so much...quickly puts you in the right mind set. Once again, cheap thrills, but hey there's nothing wrong with that so long as the players have fun.

2. Lethal is good. Lethal is amazing. It makes investigation, social maneveuring, and tactics paramount. it makes the decision to go in swinging an actual decision, not something you do just because the problem happens to be that a way. It helps frame how cheap life is: hey, if pcs can die without much thought, then...the guys who burned this village? Can probably kill us. And we will be as unimportant as those dead farmers...

Also, it means even the most min-max talent optimizing munchkin can be killed stone dead. Which can be hilarious if they tend to solve things by trusting their mighty build.

The flip side is that you need to be careful not to slaughter the party by mistake. An occassional death or maiming is a friendly reminder that fights ARE dangerous. TPKs by GM overmatch is Bad TM (unless they behaved in legitimately stupid manner - We charge the Orc warboss and his 30 skar boys from our hiding spot in the trees)

If you do send a boat load at them via scripted event, be generous on allowing escape if they are smart enough to run...

3. How to make characters who die alot still personable tips

Custom feats - When a PC does something amazing, or lives through a life altering event, add a little custom feat. Nothing exceptional or balance changing...just a little reminder that this one is special. For instance, it might be "you now definitely know the sound a crossbow makes being cocked. +2 to perception rolls against ranged ambushes."

Remember your dead - I create a small book of the honored dead for DH characters who die in the same cell. Complete with a sufficiently warhammery quote, and three or four lines detailing the circumstances (which, working for the Inquisition, is usually a blatant lie - older players have to explain to new players that when it says "died heroically saving the population of city X" it actually meant "suck started his autopistol after he went insane but the Inquisitor doesn't need that published."

If a player lives, make them special. Then, when they are ruthlessly slaughtered later, its a story point.