Im a noob DM


Advice


Hello comunity!

I have just started with pathfinder and never have played other rol games before. A group of friends (also noobs to this world) have designed me Dungeon Master. I need help to think the best and easy party characters in a noob group. I was thinking on a Barbarian, a Paladin, a Wizard, a Cleric and a Figther.

One of them have answered my question about what he wants and said some kind of necromancer. I think i'll need help to build that one, cause i have never seen anyone playing that before.

Thank you!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------------------------
PD: if someone thinks that my English is bad, don't worry, I'm from Spain and i have the A2 lvl on Cambridge English (it's like... very poor lvl)


Hey welcome :).

So typically DMs don’t pick the classes the players play without direction. Also Wizards and Clerics are two are the more difficult and complicated classes to play as they are prepared casters. This requires a lot of book keeping, planning and forethought to work well.

Might I point you towards the Sorcerer and Oracle as more beginner friendly alternatives.

Do you have direction of what kinds of characters the other players would like to play. Regarding the necromancer, An Oracle of bones or a Juju Oracle would probably be the most straightforward way to achieve that.

I’m sure several people on these boards could help you with this.


Necromancers are extremely complicated because of the vast amount of bookkeeping involved. I would highly advise against this because you're a new DM and you're working with new players, but if your player is truly married to playing a necromancer, then Brewer's Guide to Undeath is a great place to start. This guide gives you a general overview of how it works and even gives you some sheets for tracking your minions. Not sure how high of level you're planning to go, but Necromancers absolutely suck until they have the spell Animate Dead, which usually occurs around lvl 6-8 depending on the class they choose, and after that, they turn into tiny gods with literally hundreds of minions. Mind the "s" on hundreds, too. I have a lady in my current group who is playing a Gestalt level 14 JujuOracle/GravewalkerWitch, and she's easily over 400 minions right now, probably closer to 500-600 tbh.

Anywho, some pointers as being a new DM:

Get tech savvy, and quick! Microsoft Excel is a DM's dream program. I can track everything on individual sheets, and then hide the sheets when they're not relevant, and then bring them back up again if they become relevant again. One of the worst feelings in the world is when your player didn't take good notes on something, and then asks you for the answer, and you don't have it either. So take good notes! And make them easily accessible/findable. Your players will ask you the most ridiculous questions and you need to have answers.

Combat Manager is also a DM's dream program. It's an app you can download to any laptop, Ipad, or Microsoft Surface and it has a whole library of monsters, spells, and all kinds of stuff. I personally use a MS Surface with Combat Manager on it and I don't know what I'd do without it. I can generate random encounters easily in about 1-2 minutes.

There's two schools of thought when it comes to DMing, and there are those who PREPARE, and those who REACT, but it's best if you're good at both. You're going to need to get really good at impromptu performing because your players can literally go do anything. You might come up with a whole scenario to play out at a local tavern, and your PC's are going to skip that and go straight for the Mayor's mansion without ever even visiting the tavern, so be prepared to "wing it" a lot. But good preparation makes for good impromptu, so I'm not saying you shouldn't prep, but just be prepared to wing it, a lot. You can always "recycle" those encounters somewhere else when your PC's completely bypass them. One thing I do to help with the Impromptu stuff is to have a premade list of male and female names for every race the PC's could possibly run into, humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, dark elves, aasimars, deities, orcs, w/e. Your PC's are going to go into a shop and say "Good eve sir, my name is Leilendia Starwind, what pray tell, is your name?" And you need a list of random names for situations just like this.

Help your players create characters that are visceral and important to them! They need to FEEL like they're Leilendia Starwind the Elven Sorceress, and the best way to do that is with an awesome backstory. Whenever my players create characters, I have a "character recipe" that I use. The player has a minimum of one unsolved mystery, an obligation/duty, a motivation, and a secret objective.

Here's a few examples of what I mean:
Unsolved Mysteries:
murder in the family, stolen family heirloom, born under an auspicious sign, a curse, strange voices telling you to do things as a child, visions, Prophecy/Chosen One, etc.
Obligations
Owes money/favors, the PC is beholden to an Organization or Deity, Job/Profession, Code/Honor, Mentor or someone the PC respects/fears, the PC serves a Lord/Lady, someone in the PC's family is in trouble and the PC needs to save/free them, etc.
Motivation:
Fame, Riches, Power, Resolution of their Unsolved Mystery, Free Slaves (because the PC was once a slave), Find mcguffin or person or family member, destroy or save an organization, or "one last job before I retire"
Secret Objective: (not required, but can be really fun)
Undermine the other players (if evil), Take over the world/region/organization, the PC is a Spy and has to send back information to actual allies, steal an artifact or a prototype, etc.

For more compelling characters, it's best if the PC has two or more from each category, but one is fine too.

.

And then lastly, Worldbuilding and Villains:

I have found the best way to make a campaign is to build the world first, then build the villains and figure out which villains would be against each other, and which villains might ally with one another. Figure out the villains' mysteries, obligations, motivations, and secret objectives just like your PC's will, and your villains will be memorable!

Don't actually worry about creating a story for the players to follow, just come up with what the villains are doing. You cannot expect your PC's to follow a linear path of a story that you create from A-Z, they're going to go do whatever the heck they want to do anyway and you can't stop them from doing so. You're going to find out real fast that any "plans" you might come up with are going to be completely destroyed or bypassed entirely by your PC's. So it's best to just come up with what the Villains are doing rather than what the PC's are "meant" to do.

But most of all, have fun!


Number one rule as a DM, don't be afraid to say no.

Necromancer is a hard concept and generally considered pure evil in Pathfinder, but you can change what you want. The most successful Necromancer I've seen to date has been a cleric that summon spammed. Summon Good monster gives summons the diehard feat (letting them fight when at negative HP instead of just vanishing), so the undead/skeleton traits aren't completely out of place.


My advice: You are the GM. You are responsible for the world, and especially the adventure. The players are responsible for their own characters. You should help them make their characters. Especially to make sure they don't make any mistakes and understand their own abilities. You need to understand them too, but that shouldn't be your focus. You need to focus on being ready to lead them through the adventure.

For your first game, its always a good idea to use a pre-made adventure. Pick an adventure that starts as 1st level. Do not start at higher levels. You don't know the game that well, neither do your players. You can pick a short adventure, or you can choose an Adventure Path. Adventure Paths take you from level 1 up to level 16-18 by the end.

Before players start making characters, tell them a little bit of campaign background. They should have a feel of what the adventure is like. Leading a crusade against Demons is different than being enforcers for an evil empire!

Make sure people make characters that fit in your campaign. You probably want to make sure the characters not only fit the campaign, but also work with others in the game. Having a party full of wizards isn't generally a good idea. You want variety in ability so they can face any challenge you throw at them. But having 2 characters who can't work together is bad too. Paladins can't associate with evil beings by choice...and Necromancers are generally evil. Very few Necromancers refuse to use undead, and creating undead is definitely an evil act.

Actually, Paladins are a huge pain in the ass. It is great if the party wants to be all lawful and good. It is miserable when anyone wants to be chaotic or evil. Especially when that non-lawful good player wants to make the Paladin fall. Unless you thrive on players fighting each other try to make sure the party supports each other before play starts.


Ryze Kuja wrote:

Necromancers are extremely complicated because of the vast amount of bookkeeping involved. I would highly advise against this because you're a new DM and you're working with new players, but if your player is truly married to playing a necromancer, then Brewer's Guide to Undeath is a great place to start. This guide gives you a general overview of how it works and even gives you some sheets for tracking your minions. Not sure how high of level you're planning to go, but Necromancers absolutely suck until they have the spell Animate Dead, which usually occurs around lvl 6-8 depending on the class they choose, and after that, they turn into tiny gods with literally hundreds of minions. Mind the "s" on hundreds, too. I have a lady in my current group who is playing a Gestalt level 14 JujuOracle/GravewalkerWitch, and she's easily over 400 minions right now, probably closer to 500-600 tbh.

Anywho, some pointers as being a new DM:

Get tech savvy, and quick! Microsoft Excel is a DM's dream program. I can track everything on individual sheets, and then hide the sheets when they're not relevant, and then bring them back up again if they become relevant again. One of the worst feelings in the world is when your player didn't take good notes on something, and then asks you for the answer, and you don't have it either. So take good notes! And make them easily accessible/findable. Your players will ask you the most ridiculous questions and you need to have answers.

Combat Manager is also a DM's dream program. It's an app you can download to any laptop, Ipad, or Microsoft Surface and it has a whole library of monsters, spells, and all kinds of stuff. I personally use a MS Surface with Combat Manager on it and I don't know what I'd do without it. I can generate random encounters easily in about 1-2 minutes.

There's two schools of thought when it comes to DMing, and there are those who PREPARE, and those who REACT,...

Thanks for all your advice. It will be a lot useful for me, especially the "character recipe". I'll use it. Now I'm going to start talking to the party about what characters they feel more comfortable.

Thank you for all!

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Im a noob DM All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.