Hello everybody! I had a successful first run of the Beginner's Box with my group. It was my first time DMing, and i was incredibly nervous. All of my players had little to no experience, but it went very well. Everybody had a great time.
One question i ran into while running the dungeon. Where do you place the minis when you enter a new room? After the monster is defeated, i let my players explore the room however they see fit. When moving into the next room, how do they arrange themselves? Obviously, we don't roll initiative unless a combat is beginning. Do they just place their minis where they want? Or only near the door? Or do they have to move in single file, one at a time?
Thanks for your help!
Usually, when the PCs are moving through a potentially hostile wilderness I ask them for their march order. This is generally whatever the formation they are moving in. It could be as simple as a line or something complex with the scout up 50 ft and everyone else in a triangle. Normally, I don't use the battle mat at all, just describe what is happening and what they do. If I need to do combat, I draw the area and tell the PCs what area they can put their characters in. I assume that PCs, as career trouble makers, will take the best tactical positions. They can only do them after I draw the map.
In dungeons, it depends on the type of dungeon. If it is a more exploration-themed dungeon, like sparsely populated caverns, I proceed like in the wilderness.
In a traditional crawl, I do the following steps until the dungeon is done.
1. Draw what they can see.
2. Ask them where they want to go, and what they do there. E.g. The party is in a ruined library, the wizard wants to read the books, the fighter stands guard and the rogue searches the skeletons.
3. I move their minis as far as possible in the direction they want and announce any events that happen on the way. E.g. Traps, combat, perception checks etc...
4. Resolve events/combat, then draw what new things they can see.
Go to 1.
Some adventures lend themselves better to the first way, others to the second.
You should let the players place their minis on the game space, but make sure they indicate how their mini is moving to that spot (important for when traps are there).
If you move a player's mini, be sure to ask them if that is how they want to move and where they want to go. In fact this is a good thing to do before starting any encounter.
Do not let them move their minis while you are describing the area or introducing monsters, etc.
Before or instead of using initiative, I'll go around the table to let each player have a turn, if they want one.
Sometimes the players are fine with letting one or two of them decide what the group is doing while the others chime in once in a while. This is fine as long as everyone gets a chance to do something if they want.
Generally, I let the players place their minis until one of them spots something that triggers an encounter. At that point we start initiative and they move from where they are.
When monsters are behind a door, this usually means there is one PC in front of the door to a new room and the rest are behind the first PC as they wish. Once the door is opened, initiative starts and minis move from where they were when the door opened.