Starting with a group of first timers


5th Edition (And Beyond)


So a little background first:

Been playing and Gming rpgs for at least 22 years.
Haven't played D&D since the 3.x era.

the story:

I recently purchased the beginners box for 5th as this edition has piqued my curiosity.(also lets face it,players kinda need to experience classics/mainstream systems at least once)

My girlfriend and a few other friends who have never played before (but range from avid to casual video/board gamers) asked if I can run the introductory adventure for them.

Now I have introduced people to rpgs many times before, but never so many newbies at the same time, I don't think.

I don't want to screw this up for them as first time really matters
( yes still talking about roleplaying :P )

Any tips?

One of them is an actress, so potentially, I might have to up my voice and theatrical game..

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

There is a really good cheat sheet that describes Actions, Bonus Action, etc., plus some really basic rules for some items, conditions, Advantage/Disadvantage, etc.

I wish I had a link, but I don't. :-( Maybe it's on the web?

Anyways, give everyone a chance to shine, keep things moving, and be on the watch for people getting frustrated.

Also, be willing to "cheat" so people have fun. Let them improvise and do cool things. 5E is really rules-light and elegant, and that lets you, as the DM, run really fun sessions. No need to look stuff up in a book. When in doubt, pick an ability score and make them roll against a DC of 10 or 15 or whatever.

Also, up your voice and theatrical game. ;-)


SmiloDan wrote:

There is a really good cheat sheet that describes Actions, Bonus Action, etc., plus some really basic rules for some items, conditions, Advantage/Disadvantage, etc.

I wish I had a link, but I don't. :-( Maybe it's on the web?

Anyways, give everyone a chance to shine, keep things moving, and be on the watch for people getting frustrated.

Also, be willing to "cheat" so people have fun. Let them improvise and do cool things. 5E is really rules-light and elegant, and that lets you, as the DM, run really fun sessions. No need to look stuff up in a book. When in doubt, pick an ability score and make them roll against a DC of 10 or 15 or whatever.

Also, up your voice and theatrical game. ;-)

Thanks! I was also thinking of letting them describe the cool moments and successes or when they do something cinematic , at least the ones who aren't shy and are ready to do so. Otherwise I will take charge, showcasing their moment.

What else? I should push them to role-play and describe and putting themselves in their characters shoes, but in a way that doesn't scare them. There's that comfort zone for a lot of people when they start playing..

I guess in a way this experience will not be a lot different to, say , teaching university first years!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Definitely encourage descriptions of cool actions.

Give out lots and lots of Advantage for when they do cool stuff, or describe something, or engage and give detailed descriptions of what they are trying to do. Also when they remember and use information you gave them. Just hand out Advantage like crazy. Not so often that it loses value, but enough that it encourages creative thought. Also use it to encourage teamwork, which is a big part of TTRPGs.

You can also use Disadvantage if someone wants to try something really risky and stupid. It's better than just saying "No." and it can act as a bit of a warning. "Sure you can try to dive off the cliff and into that barrel of water. Make a DC 20 Strength (Athletics) check with Disadvantage."

If some people are dominating the conversation and/or situation, (gently) reach out to the quiet and shy folk and try to draw them out a bit. Don't let some players boss other players around. But let leader be leaders. It's a delicate balance.

One of the great things about 5th Edition is that the math really works to lead to PC success. An average 1st level PC will have +4 or +5 on their attack roll (probably +5 or even +6), against ACs of 8 to 12 or 14 or maybe 16, so they hit most of the time. PC Saving Throw DCs are 12 or 13 or so, against monster/NPC saves of -2 to +0 or +2 or maybe +4, so spells and other special effects also usually work. PCs like succeeding!


Nice. Where do you stand on handouts?

I was thinking of giving out campaign coins (in a pouch) at least once

sometimes present parchments or scrolls I ve made

and maybe breaking out those item cards I bought from paizo during my 3.x campaigns era...

I have a fertile imagination and don't necessarily need to see my items but I wouldn't mind it if I was given a card of it as a player.

On the other hand some people somehow seem offended if you give them premade drawings / cards of items (my own personal sketches they always like but I don't have the time anymore..so I use web artwork sometimes)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I like them, especially if they're not TOO disruptive. My PC once got a cursed, magic dagger in a very low magic campaign, and the DM got me a prop IRL, but I wanted to hide the dagger (it kept making me want to do evil things!), so I ended up just sticking it under my chair.

Before it was my turn to DM 5E, our prior DM gave us lots of handouts from his 5E conversion of Rise of the Rune Lords, and they were really neat.


Interesting.

I guess now that 5th has been around for a while, we should expect even more 3.x conversions to pop up


Oh, almost forgot (heh)

Which Forgotten Realms Lore-book would you recommend?

I mean aside from the 5th Ed. specific supplements..

I found these a few years ago:

1)

Elminster's FR

and

2)

The Grand History of the Realms

and seeing as to how I might return to my beloved FR for the first time since the 00s (and the then canon Realms present) I thought I could collect all the help I can get. Also, I like the idea that they are edition free / in-universe tomes.

Logic dictates that the most recent one is probably more inclusive. But since I don't really care for any 4th Ed. history there's a possibility any of them is well written for my goal..

Anyway, Cheers ^_^

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

My favorite 1st & 2nd Edition D&D campaign setting was Planescape. It had some ties to the Realms. And Dragonlance, Mystara, Dark Sun, Greyhawk, Al Qadira, homebrew campaigns, all the Outer and Inner Planes, and maybe even Elder Realms? Outer Realms? Eldritch Realms? That plateau of Leng place.


I'll get both books and post something about them here then :)

But since you mentioned it, Planescape has been among my favorite settings for D&D along with FR and Mystara. My first character ever was lost between planes (originally hailed from Baldur's Gate)


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Have fun! To date, I've taught 10+ people how to play tabletop RPGs and I have to admit, I prefer inexperienced players to experienced ones.

They come to the game with new eyes and, as a result, are more imaginative and innovative than experienced players who have a tendency to focus on the game mechanics they know so well.

You also don't have to deal with experienced players' bad habits.

New players or not, I would play to your strengths as a GM. Let the theater buffs be theatrical. If that's not you, try it out and you might be pleasantly surprised. But don't force it too much. You be you. They be they.

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Yeah, I love how new players are always trying to do new stuff. "Can I climb that tree and jump on their heads?" "Can hide behind that barrel and trip them with my cane?" "Can I sneak up behind them and choke them with some wire?" "Can I bribe the guard with a fresh baked pastry?" "I open up each drawer, look at their contents, and look for false bottoms and secret compartments." "I poke it in the eyes! Is it blind?" "I'll shoot the trigger to the trap." "Can I use Sleight of Hand to pour my vial of acid in her spell component pouch?"


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I've run the starter set adventure twice now. It's a really good intro.

One specific warning:
The dragon in Thundertree is a really, really tough encounter. First time I ran this, the PCs wanted to go get the necklace fairly early on, and then they used pretty terrible tactics when they went after the dragon (let's make lots of noise entering the building, then bunch up in the doorway). The dragon took out most of the party with its breath weapon, and if I hadn't pulled punches, it would have been a TPK. Which isn't a good experience for new players.

I'd recommend encouraging the players to postpone that section til after the sections clumped together to the east, try to have them level 4 before they go to Thundertree. And/or have the druid give them some substantial information on what the dragon is capable of. And maybe have him ask them what possible tactics they can use to avoid all getting caught in the breath weapon.


Dustin Ashe wrote:


New players or not, I would play to your strengths as a GM. Let the theater buffs be theatrical. If that's not you, try it out and you might be pleasantly surprised. But don't force it too much. You be you. They be they.

I tend to be very descriptive, more about narrative and less miniatures. With voices I used to be good, I don't know if still due to surgery.. It ll be fine, I tend to worry too much about details :)


Cintra Bristol wrote:

I've run the starter set adventure twice now. It's a really good intro.

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks! Will keep in mind :)

Cheers Everyone! Great advice all around!


Actually, a final question about the starter characters, since we havent played yet-- is there any way for me to find a pre-made high elf eldtritch knight?


@stroVal wrote:
Actually, a final question about the starter characters, since we havent played yet-- is there any way for me to find a pre-made high elf eldtritch knight?

Yes, you can find one on the official D&D website: here.


@stroVal wrote:


I'll get both books and post something about them here then :)

But since you mentioned it, Planescape has been among my favorite settings for D&D along with FR and Mystara. My first character ever was lost between planes (originally hailed from Baldur's Gate)

There is a trilogy of adventures in the realms set in Daggerdale

- The Sword of the Dales
- The Secret of Spiderhaunt
- The Return of Randal Morn.

They are really easily converted to 5e, effectively just wing it and use monsters like for like. Approximate if there s a creature you can't find.

I've combined with the Secrets of Galath's Roost (3.0 dungeon magazine), Doom of a Daggerdale (2nd ed adventure) and the adventure beneath Shadowdale in the 2nd Ed FR Campaign boxed set For a great little campaign.

They are really imaginative and exciting with some great NPCs. If you google the adventures you will see them on a drive Thru RpG I believe.


The Sword wrote:
@stroVal wrote:


I'll get both books and post something about them here then :)

But since you mentioned it, Planescape has been among my favorite settings for D&D along with FR and Mystara. My first character ever was lost between planes (originally hailed from Baldur's Gate)

There is a trilogy of adventures in the realms set in Daggerdale

- The Sword of the Dales
- The Secret of Spiderhaunt
- The Return of Randal Morn.

They are really easily converted to 5e, effectively just wing it and use monsters like for like. Approximate if there s a creature you can't find.

I've combined with the Secrets of Galath's Roost (3.0 dungeon magazine), Doom of a Daggerdale (2nd ed adventure) and the adventure beneath Shadowdale in the 2nd Ed FR Campaign boxed set For a great little campaign.

They are really imaginative and exciting with some great NPCs. If you google the adventures you will see them on a drive Thru RpG I believe.

I am aware of, but have never run, thank you for reminding me! :)


Dustin Ashe wrote:
@stroVal wrote:
Actually, a final question about the starter characters, since we havent played yet-- is there any way for me to find a pre-made high elf eldtritch knight?
Yes, you can find one on the official D&D website: here.

But isn't that just the regular Fighter with a bit of an Elvish flavor?


@stroVal wrote:
Dustin Ashe wrote:
@stroVal wrote:
Actually, a final question about the starter characters, since we havent played yet-- is there any way for me to find a pre-made high elf eldtritch knight?
Yes, you can find one on the official D&D website: here.
But isn't that just the regular Fighter with a bit of an Elvish flavor?

At 3rd level, the character takes the eldritch knight archetype. So it's exactly what you asked for. :)

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Dustin Ashe wrote:
@stroVal wrote:
Dustin Ashe wrote:
@stroVal wrote:
Actually, a final question about the starter characters, since we havent played yet-- is there any way for me to find a pre-made high elf eldtritch knight?
Yes, you can find one on the official D&D website: here.
But isn't that just the regular Fighter with a bit of an Elvish flavor?
At 3rd level, the character takes the eldritch knight archetype. So it's exactly what you asked for. :)

And as a High Elf, you get a wizard cantrip to cast right out of the gate. There are some warriorish cantrips in Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide if you're feeling fancy.


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When my regular PF group needed a break at one point, one of my players ran us through the Starter Set adventure so we could try out 5E. We were all experienced gamers, so he let us build our own characters using the PHB rather than use the pregens. (He was the newest of us to tabletop, and it was his first time GMing--and he was instantly hooked!)

I have since acquired my own copy and started running it for my kids and a friend's kids. They are ages 11-16 and had played some RPGs before, but for mine, it's their first real sustained "campaign." We've been on a hiatus after completing the first two parts, but hopefully will be picking up again with the short side quests sometime soon.

New players, esp. kids, pose some interesting challenges to GM. They don't know the rules yet, their role-playing will be awkward at first, and their perceptions of the hobby (if any) may be weirdly skewed. You have to be extra careful to communicate everything clearly, and avoid making the kinds of assumptions you might have when dealing with veteran players. But it can be very gratifying to watch when a new player has that epiphany when they "get" this role-playing thing, because their excitement lacks the jadedness that we long-time gamers seem all too prone to at times.


Dustin Ashe wrote:
@stroVal wrote:
Dustin Ashe wrote:
@stroVal wrote:
Actually, a final question about the starter characters, since we havent played yet-- is there any way for me to find a pre-made high elf eldtritch knight?
Yes, you can find one on the official D&D website: here.
But isn't that just the regular Fighter with a bit of an Elvish flavor?
At 3rd level, the character takes the eldritch knight archetype. So it's exactly what you asked for. :)

Ah, I see, I was under the impression it started off at lvl 1 like the Duscblade for 3.5 :)


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5th ed is very easy to teach to new players. We have had an explosion of gaming cafes in my locale and have introduced 5th ed to half a dozen people who have never role played before.
Been using The Last Prayer of the Dying an intro mod, which was KS by local people too!


Gaming cafes are the new best thing. A great way to promote the hobby

Sovereign Court

Gaming cafe, eh? That sounds like the best thing ever. Especially if they are open late.


In the UK and Greece (places I live around the year) they are the new rage.

A heavier focus on board-games though. But its not like there aren't rpg players that frequent them (some places have separate areas for that even)

By the way, Lorathorn your comment could have been worked into a latte pun :D

or I am too tired :p

Sovereign Court

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haha, latte. It might have been too frothy to be a substantial joke. :p

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