Questions before GMing my first session this Sunday


Beginner Box


Played some RPG before, but never game-mastered. This Sunday we're gonna hit it off with the Beginner Box. While preparing for the session, some questions arose which I hope some of you could clarify:

1) Potions in treasures: Do PC have to identify their magical properties everytime a potion is found? If not, how to describe the potions - just make something up with or without revealing it might be magical?

2) Descriptions that are not in blue boxes but described in the standard text: Do I just tell the players this, or only if they ask?

3) Distances: For example if a creature "awakens" if a PC is 1.5m close (1 field). Does this mean right next to the creature or with one field inbetween?


1) Up to you. You can make all potions of cure light wounds the same in appearance or not. Same for other potions. They know something is magical with a detect magic spell or other ability that specifically says so. There are rules in the Core Books for using Spellcraft to identify items. Not sure about Beginner Box. I don't think they need to know something is necessarily magical before they try to identify it. Even if they suspect something is magical I have always allowed a spellcraft to identify.

2) The details not in the blue boxes are things the PCs may or may not know/learn from different skill checks or specific questions they might ask, etc. for example, "I examine the body of the dead goblin" a PC says. Then you would reveal if there is any other information, after appropriate skills checks if required by the text or not.

3) Not sure what you mean by "awaken", but based on your description that would be right next to the PC. That is no squares/fields in between.

Remember, you are in charge. There is no right or wrong way to GM. As long as everyone is having fun, including you, go with it.

Good luck. You will do fine.

EDIT: Be sure to come back and tell us how it went!

MD


I have a question! The math with the PreGens confuses me. For the damage being done, are STR and DEX mods already being factored in?

For your own characters, when using a two handed weapon, for example, the damage done after a successful attack is what's listed in the weapon description plus your DMG mod plus half your DMG mod rounded down, yeah? So the DMG mod is added to the attack bonus then DMG mod plus a half is added to damage?

Oh, an' another one, is there a limit to how much characters can carry?


Thanks Molten Dragon for your replies. Very helpful! I'll be back with either more questions or a report on how it went :-) It's an all female group (except me), so it's gonna be interesting!

Molten Dragon wrote:
3) Not sure what you mean by "awaken", but based on your description that would be right next to the PC. That is no squares/fields in between.

With awaken I meant a creature that was lurking in the shadows and only attacking when a player is "1.5m close" to it. So your answer was spot on.


@ vs Kevin.

Not sure about pre-gens.

Yes to your question about strength bonuses.

Your carry weight is also based on your strength it should be listed either near the strength description or in equipment. Technically there is no limit but you start to take penalties to your dex (I think) after so much.

Hope that helps.

EDIT: Just quickly flipped through the BB manuals and there does not seem to be any weights attached to equipment. Just use your best judgment I guess. Nobody can carry full plate armor and twenty long swords around. I would just go with what feels right and everyone can agree on.

MD


Beginner Box does not presume you keep track of weight carried. But if that runs against your sensibilities as a GM, you can set restrictions as Molten Dragon says above.

In the Beginner Box, the detect magic spell automatically identifies held items. (See the Game Master's Guide, pg. 48.) FYI, in the Core Rules, you must use that spell in tandem with your Spellcraft skill to identify magic items, and potions have their own rule where Perception helps you identify it (no Spellcraft skill or detect magic spell needed).


Thanks to both!


Just a quick update, haven't had time for more. First session went great, we're doing another tonight! Everyone enjoyed it ;)


Totally forgot I've written a couple of points the group was uncertain about after the last session:
1) Clerics: What's special about their holy weapons?
2) Clerics: How many "orisons" can a level 1 char cast? Looking at SRD, it's 4?
3) Can a char use untrained skills? Is there difference between BB and core rles?
4) Which spells hit automatically? Can the atackee perform a saving throw?

Grand Lodge

To the best of my knowledge...

1) The 'holy weapon' of a given deity is generally something that is outside of what cleric's generally can wield proficiently. Clerics of Sarenrae can use a scimitar, which is not a simple weapon. If you double check letter 'E' on page 16 of the Hero's Handbook, you'll see that all listed 'Holy Weapons' are not simple weapons but rather martial weapons.

2) As per letter 'K' on page 18 of the Hero's Handbook: Write orisons in Section K. Orisons are a weak type of cleric spell that you can use over and over again as much as you want, up to once per round. You don’t have to prepare orisons—you always have them available. So yes, a cleric can cast any of those 4 spells each round if they wanted to.

3) Consider these entries from page 34 of the Hero's Handbook: If you don’t have any ranks in a skill, your Total for that skill is just your Ability Mod for that skill (if you have one) plus your racial modifier (if you have one). and the [b]Trained Only[/i] section that follows: If a skill has a gray bar instead of a black bar, you must have some training (at least 1 rank) in that skill to use that skill. If you don’t have any ranks in it, you can’t make the check at all.

4) Generally speaking if a spell calls for a touch or ranged touch attack roll there is no saving throw. Conversely if the spell has a saving throw it hits everything in the area of effect.

For some specific cleric examples, cause fear, doom, hold person and sound burst do not require hit rolls because they call for saving throws. Spiritual weapon on the other hand does not allow a saving throw because it makes an attack roll each round.

For some specific wizard example, check out ray of frost, acid arrow, and scorching ray (hit roll, no save) vs. burning hands, web, fireball, and lightning bolt (not hit roll, but save). Magic missile may seem like an outlier to this logic, but you get no save because it uses an attack roll...that just happens to automatically hit :)

Hope this all helps!


That's tremendeously helpful, Mark - thanks for pointing out the specific pages as well.


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Just a quick update, we're still meeting up! I've done the deadly mines and now transitioned into Crypt of the Everflame, still with BB rules. I'm now going to try transitioning to the full rules, as the core rule book should be in my mailbox by Friday :-D


That sounds great! Happy gaming. If you get stuck in the Crypt, you can always check out this thread. http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2jtjz?Crypt-of-the-Everflame-GM-Reference

Asmo

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Sorry I missed this thread! Lots of nice advice and support here. Good job, folks! :)


Sooo... Meanwhile things progressed nicely. We will play our 6th session tomorrow, concluding the Crypt and heading on the "masked" sequel. I'll plan a short encounter inbetween to weave in some backstory that my players provided. Speaking of which - wow, have they picked up on the bait. They are drawing their characters in full color, write page-long backstories, buying Core Rule Books. It's incredible, I've unleashed a torrent of creativity in the minds of the ladies! My girl-friend has been drawing a lot when she was younger and was often sad she did not find the motivation anymore. She now spent several evenings drawing her dwarf wizard, how great is that!

I myself also went on a shopping spree and bought: Core Rulebook, Bestiary, Expert Rules, GM Advice and some almanachs and modules. Feels great to finally possess real RPG books! Kind of fulfilling my boyhood dream here, lol.

So I'd like to extend my gratitude to you guys here who helped me in the beginning and conclude the beginner box thread by some last questions:

a) When giving out loot, should I immediately tell them value or write it down for myself?

b) It seems like the beginner box gave out a LOT of gold and items, way more than it is suggested in the core rules. I have backtracked and calculated the wealth of the characters and even without their own gear and weapons they'er quite wealthy. When I now plan for future sessions I see that the loot I can give out is very sparse. For example, from level 3 to 4 it goes from 3k to 6k gold. Which means I can give 3k gold per player, resulting in 12k total treasure for all four. Or is this not relative, but rather absolute and I could should provide roughly 4x6k=24k when reaching level 4?

c) How do I get people to search rooms? They tend to miss a lot of evidence and loot when I'm not forcing them or actively pointing to stuff. Should I just let them roll for perception to "train" them? Or are there more subtle ways?

d) I'm scared of introducing my own hooks, NPCs and encounters beause I fear of introducing elements that will not fit into the logic of the main plot line. My players are quite an intelligent bunch and pick up on plot holes very easily. I tried to explain them to be a little gentle because I am a beginner as well, but I'm still a bit reluctant and this might reduce my creativity..

Thanks for any pointers for any of these questions!

Grand Lodge

DerCed wrote:
a) When giving out loot, should I immediately tell them value or write it down for myself?

This depends on the kind of game you are all looking for. If the players find this sort of thing enjoyable, by all means obfuscate it away from them. If it becomes more number tracking that is slowing your game down that nobody likes...just tell them.

Quote:
b) It seems like the beginner box gave out a LOT of gold and items, way more than it is suggested in the core rules. I have backtracked and calculated the wealth of the characters and even without their own gear and weapons they'er quite wealthy. When I now plan for future sessions I see that the loot I can give out is very sparse. For example, from level 3 to 4 it goes from 3k to 6k gold. Which means I can give 3k gold per player, resulting in 12k total treasure for all four. Or is this not relative, but rather absolute and I could should provide roughly 4x6k=24k when reaching level 4?

The way to think about it is as they go from level 3 to level 4 they should pick up about 3k in loot (coins, gems, magic items etc) and have a total treasure/gear value of 6k when they reach level 4.

Quote:
c) How do I get people to search rooms? They tend to miss a lot of evidence and loot when I'm not forcing them or actively pointing to stuff. Should I just let them roll for perception to "train" them? Or are there more subtle ways?

Hide treasure and then don't award it. If a room has a hidden cache of gems that they don't find via a DC 20 Perception check, then they just missed out on some of their loot. When they complain that they don't seem to be getting enough treasure, helpfully suggest they go back and search for it. I would encourage them to search the room by asking them what are they looking for or look at. In what way are they searching? Then after they explain what they envision their characters doing, ask them to make a Perception check.

Quote:
d) I'm scared of introducing my own hooks, NPCs and encounters beause I fear of introducing elements that will not fit into the logic of the main plot line. My players are quite an intelligent bunch and pick up on plot holes very easily. I tried to explain them to be a little gentle because I am a beginner as well, but I'm still a bit reluctant and this might reduce my creativity..

Sadly, this is going to be a bit of a 'fall on your face' learning experience. The best way to come up with stuff they love it so know your group. But you don't really know your group without trial and error over years of game play with them (typically). Don't be afraid to make mistakes, that's what learning is about. You do need to put a critical eye on your ideas and ask yourself if they do or don't make sense. Start to think about it the way you see your players thinking about it. Then you can learn from them and start to anticipate their methods. Also, if you have something planned and a player speculates something different that you think sounds better or makes more sense don't be afraid to switch things up!


DerCed wrote:
I'm scared of introducing my own hooks, NPCs and encounters beause I fear of introducing elements that will not fit into the logic of the main plot line. My players are quite an intelligent bunch and pick up on plot holes very easily. I tried to explain them to be a little gentle because I am a beginner as well, but I'm still a bit reluctant and this might reduce my creativity..

Take it in steps to build up your confidence. Accept you're going to make mistakes - the alternative is not trying.

You can start simply with one off random encounters unrelated to the plot, for example random encounters with monsters when travelling A to B or perhaps an opportunistic pickpocket.
Don't plan on the PCs taking certain actions - they quite likely won't. Figure out what the NPCs are trying to achieve, and how, and if it turns out it wouldn't work, then they overlooked that.


You're running the Masks of the Living God module, yes? It might help if you said your specific question in relation to that module, either here or in the Pathfinder Modules section of the boards.


DerCed it looks like you have mastered the most important rule of the Game - you all win when everybody at the table (yourself included) is having fun.

Congratulations.


Mark, thanks a ton for your answers, helps me a lot.

Chief, I'll follow your advice and work my own content into the campaign step by step. I had a good opportunity for it in the last session as I had to introduce the companion owl of the wizard in the group. I allowed my players to reboot their characters before they reach level 3 and she decided to replace the arcane bond ring with an owl :) So I set up some goblin bird hunters that caught a lot of birds with large nets, the net also caught the owl who was on a messaging mission.
The next chance I'll have when one of my players leaves the country for two months and I'll have to do a solo-side-quest for her via e-mail so she does not lose too much XP :)

The Rot Grub, I'll start with the Masks module in 2 weeks! I had a look around the boards and got a lot of good threads. Also I found an aweseom podcast where the immortality modules are discussed at great length (even including a Q&A with the original author!): http://www.pathfinder-podcast.com/ (the oldest three posts on page 3)

The 8th Dwarf - thanks!


DerCed,

This may be something you're already doing, but if you're running modules/scenarios, skim through them a couple of sessions beforehand and use the NPCs/info in there for stuff they'll do prior so when you introduce them the players will have that all-important recognition factor.

When I ran Crypts, I introduced the Ranger in Masks as a contact/mentor to one of the players (there's some trouble in Kassen, check it out for a couple of weeks), and their eyes lit up when they found out that their NPC was the key contact during Masks. When you get the chance to foreshadow anything you know is coming up in future sessions, do it - players feel more like they're a part of the overall world.


That's an excellent suggestion, jwes55. I was thinking about this once when I read through another higher level module but thought it was too complicated to weave it in. But I should really do this, great tip.

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