First time DM


Carrion Crown

1 to 50 of 52 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Hey guys,

This is going to be the first time I have DM'd a game, and I was wondering if there was any general advice you guys could give to make the first few sessions run smoothly. I have a good grasp on the rules in general, but not sure how well I will convey the story.

Any advice is appreciated.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

At the risk of being snarky, "don't run Carrion Crown" (assuming that's your plan, as you posted in that forum). It's a horror path, and horror games are much harder to pull off than more traditional types.

Also, the scope and breadth of an AP is a lot to take in for a new GM. I would recommend against APs until you know your strengths and weaknesses, and then pick the specific AP that works for your style.

I would recommend running a stand-alone module first. Something like Godsmouth Herecy, Master of the Fallen Fortress, or Crown of the Kobold King. Cut your teeth on something far more managable first.

Also, with modules, you can choose when the PCs level up. The higher the level the game, the more difficult it is to run. You want the PCs to grow with your mastery and your comfort level. AP plotlines will "force" you to level up in order to stay on track, which is often very quickly. You don't want that.

Try out some modules, learn what you like, and what you're good at, then I'll look forward to seeing you back here in six months. I wish you the best!


I appreciate your advice. I have already come into possession of the first book of this adventure path, and after reading it over and seeing what you posted, what if I ran the AP like a module with the possibility of continuing it depending on how the first book went, or is there something that would set the difficulty of running this book apart from running one of your suggested modules?


And by the way, I don't think you were being snarky at all. If I didn't want advice I wouldn't ask for it. I appreciate your honesty.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Preston27 wrote:
I appreciate your advice. I have already come into possession of the first book of this adventure path, and after reading it over and seeing what you posted, what if I ran the AP like a module with the possibility of continuing it depending on how the first book went, or is there something that would set the difficulty of running this book apart from running one of your suggested modules?

The Carrion Crown adventures are very standalone. You could run the first one, walk away, and never miss a thing.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Preston27 wrote:
I appreciate your advice. I have already come into possession of the first book of this adventure path, and after reading it over and seeing what you posted, what if I ran the AP like a module with the possibility of continuing it depending on how the first book went, or is there something that would set the difficulty of running this book apart from running one of your suggested modules?

Yes. A number of challenges to overcome. I'll highlight only two in this post.

---Combat

The PCs are expected to gain 3 levels over the course of the book. Just as soon as you are getting "used" to how much feels like a fair encounter, it changes again, so you never get a chance to develop a "gut feeling" for what's fair. A standalone module that does't level up the PCs would present a lot more stable evironment for you to learn how much to throw at the PCs.

This is important because you can't just run this (or any) module "out of the box." For example, say you're in a fight in one room, but there are monsters stationed in the adjacent room that would have a good chance to overhear the battle, and thus join in. Do they join in? That's up to the GM to decide. "Chaining" encounters is an important part of realism, but also if you do it at the wrong time, you end up killing your party. It takes time to learn "how much they can handle." Also, there are these "wandering monster tables" to fiddle with. Learning how much of these to use is an art-form, not a science. And learning that art takes time.

There are two major dimensions to party-power: "how much can they handle in a single-combat?", and "how much can they handle before the next rest?"

Carrion Crown will have them leveling up every or every other rest, so you'll never get a chance to get a "baseline." This means you are very likely to kill your party, since you likely fall into the logic of "well, last time they fought X, everything went okay, so now they can fight another X." But because you didn't account for attrition, the party dies.

---Story

You are expected to tie together parallel events. Namely: there's this cool dungeon, but there's also these series of town-centric events. In order to "weave" back and forth between these two milieus, you'll have to have a strong sense of pacing and narrative control. And that takes time to develop. If you've never run another module before, you don't have a good "baseline" for what a "good pacing" feels like. And doing a big stretch of dungeon or big stretch of town all in a row can kill a session and turn off PCs who aren't "getting what they came for."

Since this is a horror mod, this is doubly and tripply important. The ambience of when to spook them, when to build tension, and when to release it, that's hard for even a veteran GM.

Also, this is a mystery module. You therefore want to make sure the PCs get all the hints and info at a measured, steady pace. If they get them all up-front, then that's lame and destroys the same of discovery and mystery. And if they get them all at the end, then they have been fighting shadows the whole time and have just been confused. However, since you're a new GM, you'll be tempted to follow the rules, and give the PCs info based on the results of their die rolls. One thing you'll learn from experience, is that you never want to "follow the rules" when it comes to mystery games. However, knowing exactly how to "break the rules" (and have your PCs not find out AND have fun with it) is quite tricky.

---

I don't want to dissuade you or discourage you! I want you to have a successful GMing career. And in order to do that, I want you to have a strong, positive first several experiences.


I think you'll be fine running Carrion Crown...just don't try to over do the horror aspect, and don't sweat it otherwise.

As a first time GM, I suggest reading the adventure several times. This goes for any published adventure, not just CC. Be familiar with the plot, the NPCs, their motivations, and any thing that might come up that you're not super familiar with. Things like traps, or haunts, or specific skill systems (like the knowledge checks from the first CC adventure). It's easy to think you've got everything under control, but trust me, you don't...and that's fine. Neither do I, nor does anyone else. Everyone needs a refresher on something or another, the sign of a good GM is knowing that...and taking the time to actualy refresh.

I'll try and post more later, on specifics of running Haunting of Harrowstone.


Erik: I think I am still going to try to run this AP, as the group is really excited about it. I am going to talk to them and see if they would rather me run something simpler to start with before diving into this. I appreciate all the information you have provided regarding the difficulties, and I will take them under much consideration to help me out along the way.

Fraust: I have read it about 4 times, and am going to be reading it at least once or twice more before I start. I look forward to a future post regarding specifics on running this particular AP.

Either way, if they aren't having fun, I will switch to something simpler and put CC on the back burner.

Thanks for the replies, guys.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The following is a piece of advice that I give to all DMs and I believe that it is especially relevant for new DMs : I strongly advise that you buy the Initiative tracker pad and the condition cards (both of them on sale here at Paizo.com).

They will be very very helpful in managing combat scenes.


I was looking at both of those at my local gaming store and was going to get them when I had the extra cash. The initiative tracker pad in particular caught my interest. I will probably end up being able to get one or the other before I start my game, would you recommend purchasing one over the other to start off with?

Sovereign Court

Preston27 wrote:
I was looking at both of those at my local gaming store and was going to get them when I had the extra cash. The initiative tracker pad in particular caught my interest. I will probably end up being able to get one or the other before I start my game, would you recommend purchasing one over the other to start off with?

Initiative Tracker would be my suggestion.

Keeping track of initiative is good, knowing who is delaying or readying an action can also be done. I use the tabs to record AC as well so I don't have to look elsewhere and I run monster hit points in the side bar.

The number rail at the top is really handy for timing as well (when does the player stop being paralysed? How many rounds before the floor gives way? etc.)


Nice. Glad to hear you're off to a good start. Have you read through the information on Ravengro as thuroughly as well? The party is likely to spend a bit of time there, and need to get vested in the town. Which, by the way, is not always easy...it being made up of agrophobic gossipy bigots and all.

Which leads into specifics for this adventure. Make the majority of the NPCs unlikeable, but not ALL of them. It's hard to get detailed on this, not knowing your players or the characters they've constructed, but use what you know of their backgrounds (both PC and player), to make a small handful (I would strongly recomend you include Kendra in this handful) to be interesting to interact with. This may take the form of a friendship, or it could be a semi-friendly competition. As in you don't like Bob the builder, but you like to be the one who shows him up at the local farmers market deal, and don't want anyone else to mess with him.

Also, it's very likely the party will get their first big load of information from Lorrimor's books, and head straight to Harrowstone seeking justice for their obviously murdered friend. Don't nessisarily try to squash this, but be prepared to keep them from raiding the place in a single go, and on the other hand, keep them from running their heads straight to the chopping block. Again, you know your party, so think of ways to manipulate them into doing what they need to do to survive and be entertained.

Other than that, I have questions. What's the party make up? Are the others new as well? Have you played much before?

Liberty's Edge

GeraintElberion wrote:
Preston27 wrote:
I was looking at both of those at my local gaming store and was going to get them when I had the extra cash. The initiative tracker pad in particular caught my interest. I will probably end up being able to get one or the other before I start my game, would you recommend purchasing one over the other to start off with?

Initiative Tracker would be my suggestion.

Keeping track of initiative is good, knowing who is delaying or readying an action can also be done. I use the tabs to record AC as well so I don't have to look elsewhere and I run monster hit points in the side bar.

The number rail at the top is really handy for timing as well (when does the player stop being paralysed? How many rounds before the floor gives way? etc.)

I agree 100%.

Initiative tracker first (and keeping your thumb on the pages describing the conditions in the CRB). Condition cards later (as conditions will become increasingly common with the increased CR).


Fraust wrote:

Nice. Glad to hear you're off to a good start. Have you read through the information on Ravengro as thuroughly as well? The party is likely to spend a bit of time there, and need to get vested in the town. Which, by the way, is not always easy...it being made up of agrophobic gossipy bigots and all.

Which leads into specifics for this adventure. Make the majority of the NPCs unlikeable, but not ALL of them. It's hard to get detailed on this, not knowing your players or the characters they've constructed, but use what you know of their backgrounds (both PC and player), to make a small handful (I would strongly recomend you include Kendra in this handful) to be interesting to interact with. This may take the form of a friendship, or it could be a semi-friendly competition. As in you don't like Bob the builder, but you like to be the one who shows him up at the local farmers market deal, and don't want anyone else to mess with him.

Also, it's very likely the party will get their first big load of information from Lorrimor's books, and head straight to Harrowstone seeking justice for their obviously murdered friend. Don't nessisarily try to squash this, but be prepared to keep them from raiding the place in a single go, and on the other hand, keep them from running their heads straight to the chopping block. Again, you know your party, so think of ways to manipulate them into doing what they need to do to survive and be entertained.

Other than that, I have questions. What's the party make up? Are the others new as well? Have you played much before?

I have only read through the information on Ravengro once, so I will be sure to look over it a few more times.

There are 4 members in the party. There is a Priest (3rd party class, can be looked up on the d20pfsrd), a Barbarian, a Holy Gun (Ultimate Combat), and the fourth member was debating between Rogue/Bard/Sorcerer, so it seems like it will be fairly well balanced. None of us are new, one has only played pathfinder a few months but has a decent grasp on the rules and strategy. I have been playing pathfinder for half a year, and have played about 4 years worth of 3.5.

Dark Archive

Preston, I applaud your decision to run Carrion Crown, I know you will do just fine. I hope you and your players have a lot of memorable times with the start of a great Adventure Path.

My two quick suggestions:

Read the GMs reference to the Haunting of Harrowstone; a lot of questions that may come up are already covered there.

Secondly, be aware that the Trust point mechanic is broken and you may need to tweek this to suite your group; there are some great fixes for this on this board.

And a bonus suggestion: Do not hesitate to ask both your own players and us here on the boards any further questions you may have, even if its simple opinions or further advice. That's what we are here for.

Best of luck, and may your players confirm their crits.


I run Carrion Crown as my first time DMing, also I only played 6 month 4e before that.

We have 2 experiences players of which one has long time 3.5 experience.

I think I have a decent take on the rules. 2 of our also just started with me.

If you are up for the challgenge I would suggest to go with Carrion Crown. Its fun!

My players had lots of fun in the first adventure and are now enjoying the second!

Feel free to ask any questions. Ice Titans Journal helped me a lot!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As a new DM don't try to run before you can walk. Using a published adventure path is a good idea even if there are some complications. There is usually a lot of discussion and advice on the messageboards. Read through the adventure, making notes as you go to help you (either pencil things in the margins, highlight sections, use labels to bookmark pages or put post-its on your GMs screen(another useful purchase if you haven't got one). Look up any rules you're not sure of in advance. Being an experienced player will help you with the rules and the pacing. You probably know what you and your group like so can tailor your style to fit. Don't second-guess yourself or look to the players for guidance too much. You're in charge. Ask for help once in a while if you need it, take time-out to double-check an important rule or piece of information, but don't let the game bog down. Cut the players some slack but expect the same from them. Give a sucker an even break if the dice aren't rolling their way and be generous when you can. If things start taking a turn for the worse, take a break at an opportune moment and review your options. Most importantly, have fun!


A large part of GMing a game is being able to ad-lib and add things on the fly. A good example of this would be the "hey whats over that hill" syndrom that all players have. It will happen even in a scructured linear game so be ready for it.

Make sure you have a strong grasp on the rules as well as the over all story. I can tell you what i've done for my CC game if it will help.

Spoilers a plenty and a fiarly long read:
A horror game Is probably one of the hardest to run. You ned to set up the atmosphere for the players. This is going to involve alot of rewriting on your part and alot of description of the environment. Anyway ill get started.

My game started with the PC meeting up on the way to the professors funeral. It was scheduled at midnight so it was dark out. I added that it was raining to increase the over all gloom , this also give me more to work with later on. So anyway they see some creapy stuff on the way including a hung man that has reanimated as a zombie ( still helpless because he cant get down and not worth any xp) and the ghost tracks that was one on the optional events. I thought it would be nice to set the tone right off.

They get to the funeral and we get introduction out of the way. We do the first combat and finish the funeral. I added a npc to the book with a full back story. He was a priest of pharasma under father grimburrow and a very close friend of kendra. This npc made its alittle eeasier for the PCs to interact with the rest of the town.

Next they headed back to kendras ( filled out the house description because I added alot of events the center around it ) for the will reading. They read the will and open the box of books only to be attacked by the whispering way cultists looking to steal the the professors journal. The cultists attack is lead by Vrood who you will read about in book 3. He takes the journal and escapes into the rain leaving a few loose pages behind ( what you rad to the players ). This helps because I have one crazy player who will sit there and read his entire journal begining to end and I didnt want to deal with that.

So anywy you can see I changed quite a few things and we are just up to the will reading. The best advice I can give you is to take what is writen and put your self into it. Be prepared for player to mess up whatever they can get thier hands on and learn to ad-lib on the fly to solve problems. Knowing when to go into full description and not to is a helpful skill as well. Some times giving the players just enough info to let thier mind fill in the blanks with whatever horrible thing it can is priceless.

Edit - Anothering that helpped me alot , espcially in this very time based AP , was printing out a calander.

Grab any month with 30 days in it. Put day 1 as funeral and first letter , then skip to day 30 and write last letter. Fill in the days between. This will give you a very easy way of tracing whats going on on any given day. Even if the PCs arent there.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

You know, all of this may make the poor guy think he has to be some kind of ubermensch with infinite grasp of the rules, a fully stocked larder of equipment, and all sorts of lesser experience in order to run a fun game.

It's not true.

The whole point of the game is to have fun. If you and the players accept, as you must, that you will not be rules experts the first time you play, and that you (*gasp*) may actually not know things and yet play anyways, you'll have a blast.

No need to have encyclopaedic knowledge of the rules. Just have fun. All the game really needs is someone who can read the stuff on the other side of the GM screen so that the PCs can have fun figuring it out.

So I say jump in head first. Run the adventure path. What have you got to lose? It's fun, and you'll learn FAR faster by doing than by reading 42 posts of advice on the boards.

Advice: when you run across something you're unsure about ... MAKE IT UP. Sure, go back later and look it up, but rather than drag the game to a dead stop while people go rules hunting, just do whatever makes sense. Nobody will care. Really.


Thanks very much for the words of encouragement everyone. I can't wait to try my hand at this.


gbonehead wrote:
Advice: when you run across something you're unsure about ... MAKE IT UP. Sure, go back later and look it up, but rather than drag the game to a dead stop while people go rules hunting, just do whatever makes sense. Nobody will care. Really.

Except your closest friends, who, because they know you and don't feel the same pressure to be agreeable to someone new, will usually have no qualms about bringing the entire game to a screeching halt just to get the rules exactly right (usually when a player want to do something outrageous like trip a snake or wall run). You're usually right, but they will still demand a full stop and rules check. That's ok too. Just be aware that your closest ally normally in the group when you're a player can become the most quarrelsome player when you're a GM, and that player is a good candidate for the job of "rules checker". (In my groups, it's always the guys I've known and played with for 10+ years who create the largest arguments.)

My best advice is to be up front about what you think will be problems: Tell the players there might be "loading times" because you have to figure out how an encounter is supposed to run, ask them to check up stuff they are unsure about and a this might not be a good game to test out that Samurai/Druid/Monk-grapple build if you haven't had grapple-characters in any of your previous games (example, of course. I'm not hatin' on grapple). But your players probably know all this, since you've played with them before. Jump in, have fun.


Not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but is the Oracle class from Adamant fairly balanced?


gbonehead is right. All you need is a DM , who has read the adventure and feels prepared enough to run it , and players who want to have a good time. All of our suggestions are more or less just to help you along. A lot of us here have been Gming for a long time. The best thing to do is get right in to it and learn from doing. Find what kinda of GM you are and over time use your exp and style to help mold the story to you and your players.

However , here is a list of thing that I know will help make things easier for you.

The calender I mentioned in my other post. It will keep track of whats going on any given day for you. At that point you only have to keep track of the PCs and how they are interacting with things.

Grab some Que cards and write a few stats of your player on them. Perception , Ac , Hp and Saves being the most important. After that add what ever you want to them. These card are going to help you by not having to ask every 22 seconds for that info. Preception is also a different story. When the PCs walk into a room with a hidden something you need to be able to roll thier preception to notice it with out having to ask them. Remember you roll if they walk into or by something , they only do it if actively using the skill. Having it handy will prevent the next 2 hours of gameplay being

Player -24... do I see it now.
GM - No dude theres nothing.
Player - You wouldnt have called for a preception check if nothing was here....28
GM - Dude you missed it just move on
Player - No , that was a natural 20 thats auto success.
GM - Skills are subject to auto success and auto fail bro
Player - yes they are dude look it up.
GM - @$%@# whatever , one sec
22 mins later
GM - says its right here , you cant auto succeed with a 20 on skills
Player - Whatever. /whispers to other player
Player - Ok the bard is going to use the skill song for +2 with lingering music then the next round the other 4 players including then bard is going to use assist....that gives me another +10
GM - ......@!#$ this im getting a soda.

/bitter rant off
......

Edit - Another thing you can do to make life easier is to put one of those sticky tags on the edge of rules pages for quick reference. Grapple , conditions ( prone/fatigue/stunned/ect.. ) and trip attacks are usually big offenders on the time wasted chart.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

jorgenporgen wrote:
gbonehead wrote:
Advice: when you run across something you're unsure about ... MAKE IT UP. Sure, go back later and look it up, but rather than drag the game to a dead stop while people go rules hunting, just do whatever makes sense. Nobody will care. Really.

Except your closest friends, who, because they know you and don't feel the same pressure to be agreeable to someone new, will usually have no qualms about bringing the entire game to a screeching halt just to get the rules exactly right ...

Yep. And you, the GM, are entirely within your rights to say, out loud, "I don't feel like stopping the game to figure this out. I'm going to do it X way and we can figure it out later." Anyone doesn't like this, you can just gently repeat yourself. It works with little children, it works with angry ex-wives, and it works with annoying gamers - sometimes it's hard to tell them apart :)

I do that with regularity, in a group that has been playing the same campaign since 2006, because there's already a million other ways to bring the game to a screeching halt. Like most combats involving spellcasters :)


I've found that a laptop with internet (or notebook or iPad) purely dedicated to PRD-searches is a great game aid. Having a bunch of tabs open on relevant stuff (complicated spells the PCs use a lot, grappling, Universal Monster Rules, underwater combat) can really speed up the rules-checking process.

Sovereign Court

Preston27 wrote:
Not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but is the Oracle class from Adamant fairly balanced?

I don't think that Adamant have an Oracle class.

Oracle is a class from Paizo's Advanced Player's Guide.


Not sure what I was thinking, meant Priest.


Ok, here's my five cents on the Priest:

Compared to the cleric, he gets:
- channeling upped to d8 (pretty good with Sun and Glory)
- 4 more skillpoints (pretty good)
- Bardic knowledge (pretty good)
- Gets an extra domain: Knowledge (a bonus domain is badass, but Knowledge isn't that good)
- one more domain spell per day (not that awesome, but good)
- Can spontaneously cast domain spells (pretty good with three domains)

He loses:
- proficiency with favored weapon, unless he has War domain
- proficiency with medium armor and shields (pretty bad)
- average BAB progression (pretty bad)

My assessment:
- The Priest only looses stuff which is relevant for a front-line cleric and boosts his spellcasting. That's not an entirely even tradeoff, but not CRAZY. 3 domains and spontaneous domain casting, however, is a bit over the top.
- In addition, he gets a pretty badass increase of skills and knowledge-stuff, but that's only overpowered if it overlaps with another character in the group.

My Verdict:
The Priest is a bit to powerful, but not gamebreakingly so, mostly because it's a rebuild of the cleric where you take out all the parts you don't want (and that's usually a sign of cheese). A cheesily built totally legal paladin is still better. If you remove the Knowledge domain (3 domains is just too good) and the bardic knowledge, I would say the Priest is ok. Maybe give him back favored weapon prof.


The first session went fairly well even though I made a few mistakes. They ended up deciding to go the the false crypt the first night, and they had no problem with the giant centipedes, even though I sent a second wave of 3 in during the second round.

Sovereign Court

Preston27 wrote:
The first session went fairly well even though I made a few mistakes. They ended up deciding to go the the false crypt the first night, and they had no problem with the giant centipedes, even though I sent a second wave of 3 in during the second round.

Glad to see it went well. I'm a little late to the advice giving party and most of what I would say has already been noted above, but I would also recommend you have a list of names readily available. My group tends to do the weirdest things, so you sometimes need a name for the dishwasher at the tavern that someone decides to befriend for whatever reason.


sputangs advice is good. If you are writing a name of generic names, you also may want to write something unique about each name, a quick generic description that gives the players something to remember. Here is a good list: 100 descriptors for nondescript NPCs. For each character also reserve some space where you can write down who you assign the name to or you will get confused who is who.


Initiative Pad!!!! Condition Cards!!!

all nice and good... Do-It-Yourself...why buy...especially if your $ is resticted.Why not use PEN and PAPER?

Initative Pad:
- Write all Player (Charakter names) on a pice of paper
- prepare before you play pieces of paper with the Monsters name and PREROLE the Init
- now when the encounter comes along...have teh player role and sort the paper pieces in the right order.

Condition Cards:
- use WORD or Pen and Paper and WRITE the Conditions out. Print and use.


DM Advice
The best advice I can think of is pre-game preparation. Spend some time preparing the game. Before each GameNight/Day...
spend an houre to reading up on what you guess the group will be heading into.

Especially look at:
- story plot
- dungeon layout and rooms. pay attentions of where doors are, if tehy are open or closed or locked etc.
- if there are Monsters, read the Monsters page in the beastarity
- prepare the moster. make maybe a small note of its HP, so you can count it down and its Spells etc (to strike off as used)
- if there are story plots..make notes.
- check out my GM Material for other ideas
- If you use figures and tiles for combat get yourself some self sealed Freezer baggs and bag creatures and tiles for differnet room in them.
- keep a journal of what you allready did. Especially when you play maybe only once a week.
- have the players write down stuff...let them do the work. If tehy dont remember a clue...their problem.

Dont get stressed if you have a problem with something, ask you players and dont feel shy to call a Soda-Break for the players. So you gain time figuring out what to do next.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Preston27 wrote:
Not sure what I was thinking, meant Priest.

The Priest is overpowered in campaigns where resource managment is not an issue for the most part, like Kingmaker ( because in that campaign you normally have one encounter per day ).

In campaigns where resource managment is important, like Carrion Crown, the disadvantages of the class are more apparent. The Priest has very poor defense, as the Cleric spell list has not very many good defensive spells, like the Wizard/Sorcerer spell list has, i.e. no Mage Armor, Shield, Mirror Image, Fly, etc.

For some reason, this seems to cause Priest players to intentionally min-max their characters to suck even more at defense than they'd otherwise do. I had Priests in two separate campaigns with completely different players and their physical stats ended up like that:

Player 1
STR 8
DEX 8
CON 12

Player 2
STR 8
DEX 12
CON 8

In short, if you need to make a gory example of a character to show that this campaign has some serious stuff going down, allow a Priest. ^^


As a heads up, with Pathfinder combat, what I've found that works best to keep people on their toes and make them sweat, without outright killing PCs (nothing wrong with that by the way, just not something you want to happen every session) is more attrition based combat than coming up with one or two intense combats.

Like the centipedes you mentioned, that encounter is fairly easy (as it should be) and not going to make the PCs sweat much. Later on, when they get into the dungeon though, try to keep a steady stream of things coming at them (by steady I don't meen every round or two add in another bad guy, but try and give them multiple encounters each time they get into the prison), and don't be afraid to throw in something small from time to time while they are trying to patch themselves back up.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Super-random bit of advice: Bathroom breaks.

Don't let people get up to go to the bathroom (or get snacks, or go for a smoke, etc) when it's "not their turn" or somesuch. Because something always happens while they're gone and then you're waiting on them. Also, under that stategy: you as GM will never get a break.

Every now and again, at appropriate points in the action, call for a formal break. Ten minutes or less. Everyone steps back from the table and goes to the bathroom, gets more soda, etc, but especially it's a small chance socialize OOG or otherwise offer meta-commentary that would be disruptive during IG roleplay.

It sounds small, but doing semi-often formal breaks has been transformative to my home game. Attention and focus goes way up, and there's a lot less off-topic chatter.

Be deliberate about how you organize your time.


I've been GMing on and off for 20 years, and I'm learning stuff in this thread! Thanks everyone.

My advice is to get things started with a bang. Short combat, sudden revelation from an NPC, something quick and easy to get everyone focused on the game and their characters again. A little taste of victory gets the session started with players feeling positive.

Oh yeah, PCs generally like feeling successful. It is fine if the players survive encounters without folks dropping into negative hp all the time.


SPOILERS:

Ran 2 sessions, and it is going well, except for being cut short both times due to extenuating circumstances. The first night in town they went to the crypt with permission of the temple (there's a bard with very high diplomacy). When they came across the scene of the V on the memorial, the barbarian tracked the blood back to Gibs' shack, and the party showed the sheriff. While the sheriff was placing Gibs under arrest one of the characters noticed the blade in the pile of wood. The only real research so far has been the priest beating the 25 knowledge DC for the information on the whispering way, and he convinced the party to go to the prison "before it's too late". The session ended with the players wondering what they've gotten themselves into after the Slamming portal haunt slammed doors in their faces, and I think they are genuinely scared.

I'm wondering how I am going to handle 1st level characters in the prison. I told them beforehand that I wasn't going to be taking it terribly easy on their characters.


SPOILERS:

Oh, and I'm really hoping they go back to town at some point. I haven't gotten a chance to run any of the town events yet. I may have done the children jumping rope the day of Gibs' funeral if that were the case.


Oh yeah, about the bathroom breaks Erik. We have a smoker in the group, so about once an hour there is a break for a little while, it works out quite well.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Preston27 wrote:

SPOILERS:

Oh, and I'm really hoping they go back to town at some point. I haven't gotten a chance to run any of the town events yet. I may have done the children jumping rope the day of Gibs' funeral if that were the case.

Unless your party is amazingly sturdy/lucky they'll have to go back to town to rest up at some point.

Spoiler:
The only relatively safe place to rest in the prison is the warden's office.

My players have been back to town to rest a number of times. They're staying at Kendra's house and she's asked them to make sure they get back before dark each day - as she's worried about them and doesn't want to spend the night alone... Mind you, even without Kendra's request, the party has ran out the front door of the prison a couple of times and so were quite happy to head back to Ravengro for some R&R.

Also...:
The PCs need to be in Ravengro a few times to find out about the further letters being written in blood, the growing undead threat to the village (Event 4: Restless Dead), etc.


MartinB wrote:
Spoiler:
The only relatively safe place to rest in the prison is the warden's office.

Well,

Spoiler:
They can also hide out in the Workshop, so long as they do no attack the inhabitant.

But with the town being just down the road there really isn't much reason to stay away.


Preston27, it seems you are doing quite well! Sounds like you're all having a fun time.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Tobias wrote:
MartinB wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Well,

** spoiler omitted **

But with the town being just down the road there really isn't much reason to stay away.

Yep, completely agree. :)


Third session tonight. Will I get to post in the obituaries? We'll see!


I was wondering if spells such as disrupt undead could damage a haunt. In the wording it says if you hit undead with it the undead takes positive energy damage, and there is a blurred line between haunts and undead that makes this hard for me to rule on. For tonight's session I allowed it (and Father Charlatan still almost killed the barbarian) to avoid a lengthy holdup in the game.


Preston27 wrote:
I was wondering if spells such as disrupt undead could damage a haunt. ...

There where some questions about that before on here. Best is to search. You do that by using the seach window on the upper left in the CC message board.

These you shold give a read:
http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/adventurePa th/carrionCrown/archives/dMsONLYHaunts
http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/adventurePa th/carrionCrown/archives/questionOnHaunts
http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/adventurePa th/carrionCrown/archives/newbieGMHowToFightHaunts


Thanks very much, will search through those threads.


Preparation example for TotB
I thought I just give an example of how I prepare for an evening of play…and hope that some other will show their way.
I start by checking on my notes what happened last week, mostly that’s out of my brain as I do have a brainy real-life-job…
Then I start mapping out what the player could achive this night.
As for details:

Spoiler:

For last time check this
For tonight we have the following:

  • Travel OrcRaid->Coutaud->Leipidstadt
  • Lepidstadt
  • Describe Big Carneval athmosphere with Burning Man
  • Kin Sets up camp in City
  • Dr Crowl
    [list]
  • University
  • Worker outside
  • All destroyed inside
  • Prof tells story if ask
  • Prof is sad about loss of Prof
  • PC investigate (maybe)

  • Judge Daramind
    • Sad abut prof loss
    • Gives mission
    • Pays fee
    • Sends to Defender and University

  • Courthouse
    • Defender
    • (show that he was chosen to fail)
    • Give overview of Trial Timetable
    • Give overview on Court rules (Magic etc)
    • Give list of witnesses to PC
    • Interview Beast
    [/list]

    I think that’s properly all that will be achieved this night…but in case I prepared Morast


    • Investigate Morast (Kin!?)
    • Travel Lepidstadt -> Morsast
    • Town of Morast
    • Witness (make friendly!)
    • Row out to Island
    • Island
    • Fight
    • Investigation
    • May confront Witness with face
    • Row back
    • Travel back


  • I then read this part of the AP and have a look at the monsters and have a thought about how they will fight and how the terrain will look like. I get the tiels and minitures I need and prepare a battle-sheet (HP's, Initiaties and spells (if any) of the Monsters

    As Clausewitz said "no battle plan survives contact with the enemy" ... u never kow what PC's come up with...so refer to Douglas Admams "Don't Panic"


    Well, I finished off the first book with relatively few hiccups, and my players seem to be enjoying it quite a bit, begging me to run book 2.

    At different points in the lower level of Harrowstone I had a character at 2 constitution (Mourning Maiden), one at -7 HP (Gray Ooze), and one at -11 HP (Splatter Man). They found Vesorianna after pretty much everything else, and I had made them so paranoid at that point that they thought she might gain power and attack them if they gave her the badge. All in all, it was a lot of fun.

    1 to 50 of 52 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
    Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Carrion Crown / First time DM All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.