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My first ever GM experience (entire thing is a spoiler)

Beginner Box

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There are going to be spoilers throughout this post (I'm essentially going to outline everything we did in the Beginners Box and what I did as the GM), so please, read with caution if that matters to you.

Anyway, this past Friday my friends and I played the Pathfinder Beginner Box campaign, and it was awesome. Besides one or two D&D games played collectively , we were all new to Pathfinder and all things roll playing. I had never GM'd a game up until that point and I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. The group of us consisted of all 20 something males who like video games, beer, and anything fun.

The game was originally supposed to start at 6:30, but my roommate and I stopped at Lakefront Brewery (we're from Milwaukee) to pick up a few cases of beer before and were running a little late. Our friend has been working at the brewery for a couple years, so he lets up stop by occasionally and take some of the "shorts" (beers that weren't filled enough to sell). Riverwest Stein, Fixed Gear, Pumpkin Ale, and their IPA were loaded into my car and we drove off to my buddy's place to being playing.

After arrival and setup, I went over the rules with my 4 friends. We were going to use the pre-generated characters to cut down on the complexity (as I stated, we aren't familiar with these types of games), and we sat down to get ready for the adventure. My phone rang and when I answered another friend of mine was calling and seeing what we were up to. Now, I had the honor to play with this wild cat in my only D&D game ever back when we were in about 8th grade and knew our game would be more memorable with him there (we still talk about that legendary game regularly, but that is a story for another time).

So after adjusting a few of the encounters for a 5th person, we awaited his arrival and had a quick smoke break.

Statue and entrance- After everyone was seated at the table (including the last second addition (naming his identically rolled fighter "Darth Path")), we began. The players plotted around in front of the cave and did a rather long investigation of the statue out front (looking for traps, feeling it, checking for magic, asking about it features, etc). One player, tiered of the few who continued the investigation, started poking his sword through the green moss, and out popped the goblins.
I didn't make him use an action to take out his sword since he was using to poke through the moss, so after initiative rolls, he won and started by attacking the goblins (who numbered in 3 now since we added a PC). The characters killed two goblins, but "Darth Path" critically hit the goblin so I described the goblin as being decapitated. Darth's instant reaction was to pick up the head and tie it too his belt. "Yeah, sure. Whatever you do it."

Fountain- After the room with the treasure and mats, the players made their way into the fountain room. I described the fountain, the glowing, and the noises, and the players decided to throw their torches at the sound from the north. "Uh, alright that's fine." Wait wait wait, they decide, this is a bad idea (...ya think?) and poke around the fountain some more. Darth decides to go run out down the path toward the voices (obviously) and as he runs I describe that he starts to hear the voices grow louder.

"Oh s~$+!" mid run. "I put out my torch on the ground and stop right here!" Seems like a good thing to do, so that's what he does. Turning around toward the fountain he says "I want to take a drink from the fountain" as my roommate simultaneously says "I want to dive in the fountain" They look at each other with wild eyes and some sort of dungeon competition is on.

The two sprint for the fountain and I decide that they have to roll for initiative to see who gets there first. Double 20's. Alright, "So as you Darth skid up to the fountain and put your head in to drink, you Velaros dive headfirst into the two foot deep fountain and take 1d4 damage" (I wanted to show that there are consequences for random/odd actions. 1d4 seemed like an alright future deterrent)

"What? Why do I take damage?" I explain that he dove headfirst into a shallow fountain. "But doesnt it have to roll to hit me?" "No", I say. It for sure hit you. Rolls a 2. "As you slam your face into the rock bottom of the fountain, you can't help but sucking water into your mouth." "You come out from the fountain, bloodied, but notice the glow from the water travailing down your chest and into you stomach." Roll d10, rolls 10. "Desna grants you +2 AC, +whatever to whatever, or +whatever to whatever for the rest of the game" Now, I wasn't sure how else to make him choose than by giving him the option, so after stating this all the players drink and get various bonuses (while Valeros continues to tell people that he knew that if he got to the well first that he would get the best reward (everyone rolled lower)).

Goblin feud-After finishing up with the fountain, the rogue decides to stealth into the area where he hears voices. I couldn't remember/figure out how to calculate this, so i just on the fly decided that since he was a rogue and far away from the goblins that it was a relatively easy stealth roll (DC15) as long as he stayed in the shadows. He succeed in walking close enough to observe everyone, and since the goblins were fighting with each other, they didn't notice. The rogue returned to the group, and reported his findings.

The rogue decides he wants to sneak near the goblins and throw a dagger at them. I say "alright", and we do the same stealth check. Rolls something low, doesn't pass. "You begin to sneak toward the goblins".
The goblins see the rogue, and everyone quickly turns toward him and the king shouts "Hey you! What you doing?" The rogue shoots his head to the others sitting around the table "Holy s$&~! They can talk!" Looking back at me quickly, "I throw the dagger! I throw the dagger!"

Rolls a 1. I describe how the dagger travels end over end and hits the goblin in the chest as if thrown by someone who has never thrown anything in their life, and the fight begins. Wasn't exactly sure how to handle the situation for him initiative wise, so just deiced that since he caught me off guard, that he caught the goblins off guard and gets to participate in the next round of combat like everyone else. After a ton of crappy rolls by the goblins (4 surrounded him and not 1 hit) the party finished off the underlings and moved on the king. I wanted them to have a chance to really roll play, so after seeing his men all swing and miss at the rogue, I tell them that the goblin king throws himself at the feet of rogue, taking him for a god. Combat stops

They tied him up and had him lead them around to the water (I had him mention the water a couple of times), the goblin king tripped on the rocky floor while walking and let out a yelp as he fell. They picked him up and kept walking, but the goblin fell again and yelped once more. The party instantly looked at each other and said, "It's a trap. Kill him" But by then, I had my "giant" dire rats crawling out of the walls to aid their king (gave them double health, hence the "giant").

The fight ended with the king escaping and running to the edge of the water, only to be tackled in by Valeros who charged him and rolled a 4 on a DC10 to stop from tackling the both of them into the lake. They saved both Valeros and the king again, but stabbed the king in the leg (Had them roll for damage, not to hit since he was tied up, but didn't add the damage modifier since they weren't trying to kill him and didn't swing as hard).

The King at this point was on thin ice, so after a few off-color remarks to the wizard, the party decided enough was enough. The wizard walked up to the badly injured king (3hp remaining), and held his head under the water of the lake. I had him roll a DC20 with no mod 3 times in a row to see if he could get his head out of the water. Not a 20, not a 20, not a 20. Dead.

At this point, we had drank about 30 beers and had probably 4 smoke breaks, so as the clock hit 1am, we called it a night.

Everyone who played said over and over how much fun they had and how they can't wait to play again. I had to make up a ton of s~@% and I know I didn't do everything correctly, but we had a blast.

Thanks to everyone in this forum, and the Paizo website, as the topics you discussed helped me greatly on my first ever GM attempt. Can't wait to see where this takes us.

Edit: Spelling and stuff

This is just the beginning, good luck to ye!

3.5 Loyalist wrote:
This is just the beginning, good luck to ye!

Thanks! If you or anyone else has any tips on notes on anything I did/didn't do, they would be much appreciated. This first game was fun, but I know I fudged some stuff.

Fudging is a part of being a dm. Doubling hp is fine as long as you give it a CR beef. You can make your own monsters too, I've been doing this of late.

I've got some advice, relax, go with it. Yeah, do your prep for the games, run games that the players will just love, and that you will be thrilled to dm. Do not become a di£k dm, don't push them around too much, force your way and viewpoints. Remember you are an objective world and the source of the adventure, so mellow out and have a laugh. If you see dickery on the horizon, try to shut it down before it happens. Over time, you will run a certain type of games, and hopefully keep your players on board. Will all that beer, relaxing doesn't seem to be a problem.

Also really throw in some situations that could kill the players once in a while. Make it exciting, and at times make it hard. There is a balance here though. You can grab small adventures from all over.

I'd recommend this one next. My players loved it. ortress

Jesus Christ Jr. wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
This is just the beginning, good luck to ye!
Thanks! If you or anyone else has any tips on notes on anything I did/didn't do, they would be much appreciated. This first game was fun, but I know I fudged some stuff.

I suggest that if a PC is about to do something that seems stupid, check to make sure you're on the same page - eg "Are you diving head first into the shallow fountain?" d4 damage is equivalent to being stabbed by a dagger, remember a 10' fall does d6, so it was maybe harsh; 1 point of damage would have got the point across if the player was definitely being rash. If they're diving they'd presumably have their hands in front of them. If someone was dropped on their head into the fountain then d4 would seem reasonable.

If you're unsure what info to give, you can ask the player for a Perception check, eg to see if they spot that the fountain is too shallow to dive into. I'd default to DC 10 for a typical task, DC 15 if it's hard to spot - note that a 15 means the average person with a +0 modifier succeeds only 30% of the time.

Thanks for the advice S'mon. Everything the players wanted to do struck me with a bit of panic trying to remember what was supposed to happen, so slowing the game down and saying "Are you diving head first into the shallow fountain?" would help greatly.

Sounds like you had a good time and were able to "on the fly" rules as needed to keep the game going.

That's all you need to do. You can look up rules later and then just send an E-mail to your people to let them know how it will go in the future.

Well done sir.

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