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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Lightbulb Practices and Tactis for Introducing New Players to 3.5 ???

    One of my 2 regular players has found someone new who he things would be a good addition to the group. The group is only 3 people including myself and this new guy seems sufficiently geeky enough, since he makes zombie t-shirts in his free time.

    So, I don't want to screw things up. I want to introduce him to 3.5 properly, without over-complicating or overwhelming him with information.

    That is why I've made this thread and am looking for information, suggestions, and advice on the topic of introducing players with Zero tabletop gaming experience into D&D 3.5 .


    My current thoughts are as follows:

    1. Start things off with a very bland and basic Level 1 adventure. I was going to use A Dark and Stormy Knight from the WotC website. It was the first adventure I DM'd and it seemed to work well back then.
    2. Help the person build a character with input from a maximum of 2 people. I've heard 3 people try to give advice at the same time and I've developed the impression that advice by committee is a terrible idea.
    3. Keep things Core-Only.
    4. Use some form of simple ability generation method. I'm not sure which one I favor, but 4d6 best 3, arrange them how you like sounds good.
    5. Have absolutely no DMPC type characters and no NPC tag-alongs. Let the 2 experienced players and 1 new player handle things.


    Do you guys have any advice in general, advice on those bullet points, or suggestions for how to handle introducing a new player to this wonderful, yet quite complex game?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Practices and Tactis for Introducing New Players to 3.5 ???

    The first suggestion that comes to mind is not to start them on D&D 3.5; a number of folks do this and are soon hard-pressed to move on to other games or systems. Still though, seems that's not what this thread is about, and 3.5 is an okay place to start if nothing else due to the available sources and community.

    1, start them off on a simple class. They want to play a spellcaster? Give them a Warlock or a Binder so that the actual mechanics of the character don't overwhelm them with a need or drive to char-op and power-game. They want to play a thief? Rogue should be simple enough. Ranger is fine for an archer. Fighter works well as a warrior, as do Barbarian or Paladin as long as you're starting from level 1. Swashbuckler is fine for a finesse or "graceful fighter". Don't hit them with the Tome of Battle stuff yet, and avoid core spellcasters at first if you can (both with the new players and returning ones; otherwise you wind up with a rather poor juxtaposition of the kind of problems 3.5 has in class comparisons).

    2, be patient with them; they won't get the basics at first, and things like Saving Throws, BAB combined with Strength or Dex, and skill modifiers are going to be confusing and numerous in their incidental mistakes in calculation and use. 3.5 isn't a Difficult system to use but it does require something of a learning curve to get proficient with; if anything, try to involve puzzles and confrontations that have more to do with people, ideas, concepts, politics and the like rather than simple confrontation and number crunch conflicts. This will allow them to play the game despite uncertainties about the specific numbers because they won't be the primary medium of the game; words and actions will be.

    3, Work with the new player's preconceived notions and ideas, play to them, but slowly wean them away from direct video game reference and methodology; remind them of how their choices can affect the outcome of events in the game, and how they are Not restricted in their actions. Direct them if they're stagnant or lost, but try to encourage the Players to drive themselves and the narrative rather than making it a simple progression of events, place A to place B to event 1 to place C and event 2 before giving a final rest/prep before the Final Boss may be what they're expecting, and you can make it look like that, but try to see if they can't be made to find Place B and C before they get to A, or trigger Event 2 early so as to force Event 3 and mitigate the Final Boss before they're even in the same room by solving the problem in the first place.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground

    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Default Re: Practices and Tactis for Introducing New Players to 3.5 ???

    I would let him play what he wants to play. If he wants to play a wizard, let him play a wizard.

    The most important thing, imo, is to have whatever he is playing to use as few books as possible, or be able to present to him easy to reference stat blocks.

    Warlock is good because almost everything is in CArc. Beguiler and Druid, not so much, as they require multiple books.

    Let him reroll a couple bad scores if you do 4d6b3 (which every first time player should do).

    Playing a caster isn't that hard, really, just point him towards the good spells and explain to him what makes them good. Throwing a couple magic missiles or burning hangs isn't terrific fun, in the way of blasting.

    If he wants melee, weapon focus and cleave. Nothing too option-y, just so he can absorb some of the system without choice overload.

    Tome of Battle might actually be really good here. Other than maybe a feat, you could pretty much play entirely out of that book. It's also got good mechanics for dynamic combat.

    New players want to grab things and trip things and generally grope the hell out of monsters, until you start looking up grapple rules and making attacks of opportunity. Then those flying tackles aren't going to look so good, as they get foiled with a claw in the throat. So either roll with it as a DM and don't have everything provoke AoOs if you didn't burn too many feats on doing something as simple as tripping someone (seriously, two feats and an "IQ" of 130? wat). Or setting sun swordsage.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Central Kentucky

    Default Re: Practices and Tactis for Introducing New Players to 3.5 ???

    I'd stay away from core-only. I'd stick to Tier 3-4 classes, system open. I'd stay away from multiclassing. I'd ask the players what sort of character they want to play, both in the person and personality, and 'how do you see your character helping the group not die when a monster goes RAAR! Feel free to describe it in MMO or even modern infantry terms, I can translate.'?

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