Help for a begging DM


Advice


I have started working on a war campaign without any DMing experince so I would like some tips on creating a campaign from scratch, thanks.

Liberty's Edge

Run, Just Run wrote:
I have started working on a war campaign without any DMing experince so I would like some tips on creating a campaign from scratch, thanks.

I would suggest something like the river kingdoms 6 mod set as a starter until you can get more familiar. Any of the modules could be run just as they are and each has plenty of info and explanations to help you get started. Then once you feel comfortable running things you can slowly get away frome the mods into soething yo have taken he time to create yourself.

I would create something small first and very open ended so no matter where your playes go you can cover it either by module or quick creation. Try to stay away from linear styles as it limits both yours and your players creativity. In my opinion.

I have ben DMing since 1976 so I feel I have some input but this is based strictly off my personal opinion.

Ps take time to make and outline of your campaign or adventure, doesnt have to be to in depthbut enough so yo can expand or follow the storyline you have set as well as results from you players actions.

Hope that helps


thanks


Kingmaker might be a bit too much as a GM's debut campaign: The Adventure Path focusses on the characters running a whole kingdom and introduces kingdom-building rules. That might be overwhelming for new GMs and players. Also, it's quite open, and "sandboxy", i.e. there is a lot of unstructured time for the heroes

Serpent's Skull might be a better choice, as it's a more structured campaign, which might be better for a new GM.

Beyond that, there are a few general things you might want to consider at first:

  • How generous do you want to be with the characters? This refers mainly to how they get to generate their ability scores.

    There are basically two ways to do that: Either you let them roll or you let them determine them according to the purchase system.

    I'd suggest using purchase, since that way there is no chance of extreme rolls throwing things out of whack (if someone rolls really well, he'll have a powerful character. Especially on lower levels, the ability scores have a huge influence.)

  • Do you want to use game aids, electronical or otherwise?

    Personally, I got myself a Combat Pad, which helps you track initiative, among other things. It's a magnetic board and 20 or so magnets, all of which can be written on with markers. You write the combatants' names on the magnets and then you can just put them in order according to initiative. You can also handling initiative changes (like when someone delays an action) quite easily with it. And I usually track enemies' HP on the board (it has a large notes section).

    Beyond that, I use a laptop as GM. It's by no means necessary, but I found it a very useful tool. I have access to the PRD (so I can quickly reference spells, monsters, and everything else), and I also have all the PDFs (you get them for free as Pathfinder subscriber), so I don't have to carry around all books when we're not playing in my home and still have all my books.

    I also use MapTool. Normally, that tool is used to play online, but you can also run two instances - one as server with GM login and another as client with player-only rights. I hook up a second screen to the monitor, which is facing the players. Then I take the maps (I get them out of the PDFs) and add them there. The programme allows you to hide maps under the fog of war and reveal them piecemeal as players explore. It saves me or the players the hassle of drawing a map while they explore (which we never really liked to do, as we often had small misunderstandings, or the mapper imagined something wrong and then the map wouldn't fit any more, etc. Plus, it eats up time). And without map, things can get confusing fast.

    I also use a tool called Michas Jingle Player. It's a window with 30 buttons which you can assign sound files to. When you click one, it starts playing. You can also set them to loop, so they play until you stop them again. It can handle several sounds playing at once. I use it mainly to have music running - a great mood setter - but others use it for sound effect (like the creaking of a door, moaning wind, the howl of wolves, etc.)

    Speaking of music: Not everyone likes that, but I'm a huge fan of background music. It just has to be the right stuff. You don't want to run regular music (i.e. something you'd hear on the radio). Instead, use soundtracks. Film soundtracks are useful, but computer games can be a real treasure: Most computer games these days has music in .mp3 or .ogg format, either directly somewhere in the install directory, or in one of the game's archive files (and there are tools to easily extract that stuff from games). I get particular use out of the music from Heroes of Might and Magiv V, as well as Disciples III, Neverwinter Nights 1+2, some Baldur's Gate 1+2, Witcher and others.

    Somewhere on the boards, I think there are lists of good titles for each of the Adventure Paths, stuff that catches the mood well.

  • Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
    Run, Just Run wrote:
    I have started working on a war campaign without any DMing experince so I would like some tips on creating a campaign from scratch, thanks.

    EVERYTHING on this site. But especially Don't Prep Plots and Three Clue Rule/Node-Based Design.

    The quick gist is, don't plan how the PCs will act in an encounter. Plan what is there and how it will react to the PCs. And when you have something you want the PCs to learn/get pointed to, have THREE things that will tell/point them the way you want, not just one. Because two of the three things you put in, the PCs will miss/misinterpret.


    thanks for all the help


    Don't mention it. Always happy to help a newblood on his way to showing his players what real fear is ;-)

    Sczarni

    @KaeYoss: maptools really that good? We're always looking for new ways to tweak our gameplay, & that sounds right cool. I assume a projector works well in place of an additional monitor, also.

    That sfx program sounds made to order, as well. Thanks for sharing!


    psionichamster wrote:
    @KaeYoss: maptools really that good? We're always looking for new ways to tweak our gameplay, & that sounds right cool.

    I really like the maptools. They perform admirably at what I want of them. Note, though, that I use the maps only for illustrative purposes, i.e. we don't use the programme to move around (it can do that, too), or to chat or anything. We still have an old-fashioned battlemat.

    But the stuff I want it to do, it does well.

    And in Kingmaker, I've been using a few more things: I made a big unified map of the stolen lands and track the exploring and kingdom expansion on that (using labels on the hexes: X for explored, C for claimed, R for road and F for farm). I also use tokens to add symbols for resource, cave, landmark hexes and so on.

    And we track the cities (well, only one, our capital Nepenthast, for now) with it, having the city grid and placing buildings on it as tokens.

    psionichamster wrote:
    I assume a projector works well in place of an additional monitor, also.

    Yes. In fact, A lot of people put it on the ceiling so it projects right onto the table. That way, you can get the scale right and use it as battlemat!

    And a friend and fellow GM is building a roleplaying table - cut a hole in the table, put a big flat-screen TV in there and use that to display stuff.

    psionichamster wrote:


    That sfx program sounds made to order, as well. Thanks for sharing!

    I used to just run stuff via WinAmp, but this is a lot more convenient (even though I'm not using special effect sounds).

    Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Help for a begging DM All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.