D&D 5e - My next gaming frontier

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tehnoodnub

Team Captain
Dec 3, 2012
394
245
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Collingwood
I cut my teeth on video games, then largely transitioned to board games about four years ago. I've always wanted to play D&D but never had a group of friends interested in RPGs. However, the transition into board gaming really opened up some possibilities and I've met some people who are willing to give it a go. So, as the instigator, and playing with a group of people whom have never played a tabletop RPG, I offered my services as DM. So, here I stand, on the precipice, about to begin a game of D&D 5e with SIX totally novice players. I feel a mixture of excitement and dread to be honest. Initial planning began about 8 weeks ago and I've used a bunch of online tools to co-ordinate planning and get everyone on the same page. I initially ran a demo with two of the guys to demonstrate various elements to the group (it went well enough) and since then I've been reading, watching and listening to as many resources as I can to prepare. Knowledge-wise, I feel ready but I know it's going to be a huge challenge. We've set a time to create characters in about two weeks and then we will begin playing the week after. We'll be running the 5e Starter campaign, Mines of Phandelver so for the next three weeks I'll be studying it intensely.

So, my first question is, have a likely bitten off more than I can chew? And, does anyone have any specific words of encouragement or anecdotes they'd like to share about their first experience as DM?
 

Chief

Chugging Adrenochrome
Dec 1, 1999
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This is a game that says "Ages 12 and up" on the cover :)

It can be a complicated undertaking - I was pretty anxious starting out running a campaign for my son and his friends. But you get the hang of it.

Remember that you can make stuff up, ignore dice rolls if you think, say, one player has been hammered too much or hasn't hit anything all night. Right now, for my son, I get a bit of an idea of what HP a monster has, then I keep track of things vaguely. A 7-10 HP monster might take two good hits, or I might let it live so the next kid can have a whack at it, then I announce it is dead.

As long as everyone is OK with fudging rules in order to keep the game moving it will be OK. If you have a rules Nazi or a crybaby in your group then it can make it harder.
 

tehnoodnub

Team Captain
Dec 3, 2012
394
245
AFL Club
Collingwood
Generally speaking, I'm a rules Nazi but my desire to create an epic adventure and ensure the players are having fun will definitely override that as I'm not competing with them anyway.

I guess my main concerning is making sure I'm prepared, not having to check rules (I can probably avoid this since the players will be none the wiser if I make a mistake) or flipping through the pages of the adventure. I'm generally fairly capable when it comes to organising things for myself but transferring those skills to the experience of being a DM and running the show (in some manner) may not be easy. I'm looking forward to the challenge.
 

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DarkPhoenix

Cont-Roo-Versial
May 26, 2009
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I cut my teeth on video games, then largely transitioned to board games about four years ago. I've always wanted to play D&D but never had a group of friends interested in RPGs. However, the transition into board gaming really opened up some possibilities and I've met some people who are willing to give it a go. So, as the instigator, and playing with a group of people whom have never played a tabletop RPG, I offered my services as DM. So, here I stand, on the precipice, about to begin a game of D&D 5e with SIX totally novice players. I feel a mixture of excitement and dread to be honest. Initial planning began about 8 weeks ago and I've used a bunch of online tools to co-ordinate planning and get everyone on the same page. I initially ran a demo with two of the guys to demonstrate various elements to the group (it went well enough) and since then I've been reading, watching and listening to as many resources as I can to prepare. Knowledge-wise, I feel ready but I know it's going to be a huge challenge. We've set a time to create characters in about two weeks and then we will begin playing the week after. We'll be running the 5e Starter campaign, Mines of Phandelver so for the next three weeks I'll be studying it intensely.

So, my first question is, have a likely bitten off more than I can chew? And, does anyone have any specific words of encouragement or anecdotes they'd like to share about their first experience as DM?
I've really been getting into D&D lately, have never played but I'd really like to give it a shot.

Have been watching a few podcasts which are really fun and easy to watch.

Would recommend watching the Yogscast Live channels series "High Rollers", they do a 2-3 hr stream every Sunday and out of the 4 players (Trottimus, Kym, Katie and Matt) 3 of them are brand new to the game.

The DM Mark Humes is absolutely fantastic (for want of a better word) babying them through their first couple of episodes until they get into the swing of it, and it might give you a few ideas on random checks and stuff you can do. For example from memory theres an episode where one of the players jokingly says something makes them throw up and after a few seconds thought Mark asks him to roll a check to see if the nearby beast hears/smells it, just small things like that.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvSp-8FGBzxnsRLDk73O4c-5ymN1KeNNb


Another series I've been watching is the Acquisitions Incorporated PAX D&D games, The DM being Chris Perkins (pretty high up at Wizards of the Coast) and the players being celebs such as Wil Weaton, Patrick Rothfuss etc. Chris is a great one to watch if you want to learn how to weave a story as a DM, he makes you see whats in his mind with intricate explanations of the surroundings and people.
 

Underarm

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 13, 2011
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Another solid stream is Critical Role - about 65 episodes up so far (250+ hours) and I'd rate their DM Matt Mercer as one of the better ones out there. They're all voice actors in games too
plus 1 for critical role. They're all storytellers in their Job, and it shows in their game.

Its live and unedited which is a big plus. I can't get immersed in edited hour long dnd shows.
 

Cooties

All Australian
Feb 18, 2015
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plus 1 for critical role. They're all storytellers in their Job, and it shows in their game.

Its live and unedited which is a big plus. I can't get immersed in edited hour long dnd shows.
Yep the thing I hate about Critical Role is that it's so good it's ruined other D&D shows for me :p
 

fleabitten

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 16, 2012
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Heading to a game this morning with my daughter (almost 17). We've had about 20 attempts at playing at home with her younger sister but I never quite managed to get the game style right to suit both of them. Younger daughter is still interested but not as much as the elder, so we're going to play with strangers for a while and then maybe reintroduce it at home.
 

Chief

Chugging Adrenochrome
Dec 1, 1999
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Anyone used Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds to play 5e or other D&D modules?

Considering trying to get a game together but unsure what path to go down.

BoomerRoo
We used Roll20 for one session with a laptop attached to a screen on its back. I don't know what the DM though of it but we haven't done it again. One of the group is living interstate for a year so we might get it going again so he can continue to play.
 

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DarkPhoenix

Cont-Roo-Versial
May 26, 2009
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We used Roll20 for one session with a laptop attached to a screen on its back. I don't know what the DM though of it but we haven't done it again. One of the group is living interstate for a year so we might get it going again so he can continue to play.
Yeah, I'm considering using it for a premade module (Lost Mines etc) as finding it impossible to find a face to face game at the moment.

Want to get a few people together once a week or fortnight and work through the content.

Can't decide the 2 programs though, they both seem really good.
 

DarkPhoenix

Cont-Roo-Versial
May 26, 2009
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Last week DMd my first session (Lost Mines of Phandelver aka the starter box module) for 4 friends who had never played D&D before. They as a whole seemed to love it (except for one guy who put in zero effort the whole night, sat on his phone and then declared to someone else the next day he didn't like it as a concept).

Photoshopped some maps and printed them out for better engagement which really hit the mark for the players.


Also got invited to a friends place next week to start a new campaign as a player. Will be playing a Kenku Ranger (2 weapon fighting), which should be interesting. As Kenkus are essentially mimics I'll be adopting the other ranger in the party as my "bond" character and emulating her.
 

fleabitten

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 16, 2012
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Have been DMing my daughters and one of their male friends for the last few months. It's going really well. We're still pretty early in the Lost Mines adventure but we're spending plenty of time on the roleplay side of things, fleshing out the story. Not even sure I'll stick with the pre-written module much longer as there are already some nice adventure hooks forming out of their characters' stories.
 

Chief

Chugging Adrenochrome
Dec 1, 1999
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We're playing a Gamma World campaign online on Roll20. I like it - not really a big need to get all detailed and optimise-y with classes.

This week, we ran a plant monster over with a car and killed him and then killed lots more of them, and saved this old guy who was hanging out in a dirty old van and the old guy gave us treats.



Kill-the-plants.jpg
 

iluvparis

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Apr 1, 2005
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We're playing a Gamma World campaign online on Roll20. I like it - not really a big need to get all detailed and optimise-y with classes.

This week, we ran a plant monster over with a car and killed him and then killed lots more of them, and saved this old guy who was hanging out in a dirty old van and the old guy gave us treats.



View attachment 872473
Is this all done online via a browser or are you using webcams or something?
 

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