Attempting to start a D&D group.

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Jebus90
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Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby Jebus90 » 23 Sep 2011, 07:13

Hey guys,

As the title says I'm trying to start up a D&D group. Were all based in Dublin but we have no experience with playing tabletop games. Everything i know about D&D comes from the Baldur's gate and Neverwinter Nights pc games.

So whats the best way to go about this?
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby 8bitmaster » 23 Sep 2011, 07:41

easiest way to start, is find someone who has done it before, preferably someone who has a good idea of how to DM already. That way they hopefully still have books and have an idea of how it works so you start faster. Otherwise it has a possibility of lingering into nothingness.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby Myrph » 23 Sep 2011, 09:34

Yeah, definitely try and find someone who has DMed before or has some experience with the tabletop format.
Failing that, picking up copies of each of the core books and one of the starter sets (such as this one for 4th Ed), as it provides a mini campaign with pre-built characters that you can use to get into the style of play.
Its also worth checking out the official website, as I believe they offer some free resources to help complement play, as well as campaign ideas, small prebuilt campaigns and other useful stuff that you can use/reference/plagiarise for your own games.

Also, just remember to have fun. Its a game, essentially, and is only as serious as you guys want to make it. If at any point you stop having fun, then something is definitely going wrong somewhere!
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby War Monkey782 » 23 Sep 2011, 09:57

Don't be afraid to make up something on the fly or do something dumb. I always tried to bust down doors for dramatic effect and eventually the DM started removing doors from every place we visited. We came upon a village where all the doors had been stolen by kobolds and we had a lot of fun trying to recover them.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby LogicSword » 23 Sep 2011, 17:20

I started a D&D group a couple of months ago. My one piece of advice is to actually read the book before hand. At least once. The number of times I've missed something I should've announced at the start, or had to check some fact I should definitely have known is ridiculous, just because I tried to dive straight in.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby octopimpostor » 21 Dec 2011, 07:39

I just started a group with my friends. OMFG is it fun. I got an experienced DM and one other guy who had played before. 3 others had never played. We played pathfinder.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby Duckay » 28 Dec 2011, 17:40

Another good idea, if you're not sure about some ideas you're having, may be to find someone online who knows the game and ask them what they think. Using someone as a sounding board can help quite a bit.

And try to remember to include your whole party, even those who are a bit quieter or who have different strengths to the others.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby EikoandMog » 31 Dec 2011, 22:02

I found the DM manual for 4th ed way handier than just info for making campaigns. There's a lot in there on how to run a good group.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby RedNightmare » 02 Jan 2012, 00:14

If you just want to give it a try, get yourself a Red Box and just go. That should give you a good feel for the game.

If you guys want to go for it completely, here's my advice:
Seeing as this is your first go at RPG's, I advice the Essentials line from 4th edition. It limits the options a bit for players, but in a game that drowns you in choice, thats not necessarily a bad thing. Whats more, they are super beginner-friendly and cheap compared to the other books.
The Dungeon Masters Kit and Monster Vault are also great buys. The DM Kit has everything a DM needs and more to start out (excluding monsters). Don't be afraid to DM without ever having played. Just accept that you'll be learning as much as the rest and making mistakes left and right. DMing is easy (especially in 4th) and alot of fun. I started DMing right of the bat with 4th and never looked back (DMed a bit in 3.5, but that wasn't my cup of tea).
And there is a book for running campaigns in Neverwinter these days, if you want to stay close to what you know.

One last tip for the DM: Chris Perkins' Dungeon Master Experience column on the D&D website. It's completely free to read (no DDI needed) and they recently compiled all articles from his first year: http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4dmxp/20111229. The articles contain awesome DMing advice and always get me psyched to DM.


Just don't be afraid to do it wrong, because you can't. the only thing you have to do is have fun. If your having that, your doing it right.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby Duckay » 03 Jan 2012, 22:03

More generally, a diverse party is often a huge help.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby JackSlack » 03 Jan 2012, 22:26

Yeah, a big bit of advice: Create a party together, not each individually, if you at all can. It lets people create ideas collaboratively and is a great way to avoid "You all met in a tavern" syndrome.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby JackSlack » 03 Jan 2012, 22:31

Also, this is the best piece of advice I've ever read. It comes from Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering, an excellent advanced guide to GMing. That said, this bit is nicely easy to grasp for anyone.

Whenever your players stump you with an idea, stop yourself and think of four things.

1. What would be the most obvious thing to occur?
2. What would be the most challenging thing to occur for that character/characters?
3. What would be the most surprising thing for that character/characters?
4. What would be the thing they'd most like to have happen?

Then, pick which of the four you think works best.

Also, do not be afraid, ever, to call a break and take ten minutes to decide something. You obviously won't want to do this every time, but there's no harm in pausing on the big calls.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby Duckay » 03 Jan 2012, 22:46

JackSlack wrote:Also, do not be afraid, ever, to call a break and take ten minutes to decide something. You obviously won't want to do this every time, but there's no harm in pausing on the big calls.


Especially if doing so would ramp up the tension a little bit.

JackSlack wrote:Yeah, a big bit of advice: Create a party together, not each individually, if you at all can. It lets people create ideas collaboratively and is a great way to avoid "You all met in a tavern" syndrome.


Also very true. And if you have to create them individually, which does sometimes happen, try to give them something to link them together so there's a "reason" for them to be together. That something can be broad or specific, but it helps get around that "three disconnected characters side by side" thing. Especially if you're heavily into the actual roleplay part.

Caveat: I've played a few tabletop games, but don't have a whole bunch of experience with D&D specifically.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby RedNightmare » 03 Jan 2012, 23:48

@JackSlack: I personally would add 5. Does it really matter? If not, let the players decide. Great for when they ask for a name of a tavern and you draw a blank.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby LogicSword » 04 Jan 2012, 00:33

Can anyone recommend a good quest to start off with (after the red box) ? Preferably one with all the required maps in.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby Duckay » 04 Jan 2012, 00:53

RedNightmare wrote:@JackSlack: I personally would add 5. Does it really matter? If not, let the players decide. Great for when they ask for a name of a tavern and you draw a blank.


Although be prepared for the inevitable ten minute debate over silly details if you do that. My Unknown Armies group did that once over naming a café that appeared in one scene, everyone convinced that everyone else had sourced their suggestions from '90s sitcoms and not agreeing on which ones. It was weird. Hilarious, but weird.

But I'm told that's the kind of thing that happens around any given tabletop gaming table.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby RedNightmare » 12 Jan 2012, 03:34

He Jebus90, you may not have heard this news yet, but Wizards announced they are working on 5e edition and my gut tells me we can expect that somewhere halfway 2013. I don't really know how this will affect you and us other players (we haven't seen any of the new rules yet), but worth keeping in mind.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby psychopez » 12 Jan 2012, 06:27

For the DM, pick up the DM cheat sheet from http://slyflourish.com/

This is all the DM really needs to run a game. Need to make up a monster on the fly, boom, pick a level and you have the average stats for that level. Player does something silly and you need to know the easy/medium/hard DCs, boom, there it is for that level.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby benvoliothefirst » 17 Feb 2012, 11:06

I love this thread!

Is there a consensus on how long a person should be a player of a certain system before they become a Games Master? Or is it different for everyone?
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby Jamfalcon » 17 Feb 2012, 11:45

I don't think there's a certain required amount of time, especially since different people learn at different speeds. Ideally, I would say someone is ready to be a GM once they have a grasp of the rules that is close to or as good as that of their players. You don't want to have people constantly correcting you when you're running a game. That doesn't mean the GM needs an exhaustive understanding of the rules. If nobody in the group has ever played before, the ideal person (from a rules perspective) is the one who has the best grasp of the rules, even if nobody is very knowledgeable.

That said, the creativity aspect of running a game is (in my opinion) more important than the rules side. Knowing all of the rules makes a game run smoothly, but creating a good story/setting/cast/whatever makes the game fun and memorable. If you're running prewritten adventures of course that isn't such a requirement, but the ability to improvise well is still really essential.

My advice is if you aren't sure, try running something. Don't plan out a huge campaign that will last years, but maybe a short adventure that'll take two or three sessions. See how it goes and if you think GMing is for you or if you prefer to be a player. Even if that adventure doesn't work out great, it will show you what you enjoy about running a game. GMing is a skill like anything else, and it needs practice to improve. You can play for years and it will give you a certain idea of what the GM has to do, but the only real way to get the hang of it is to do it.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby RedNightmare » 17 Feb 2012, 13:21

In my experience, a good read of the rule books can go a long way. I had DMed (quite badly, looking back) in 3.5 but when 4th rolled around I jumped into DMing right away, without ever having played it.
If you like improvising, donning different roles and personalities, then Game Mastering may be for you. just try it, only way to find out how it suits you.
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Re: Attempting to start a D&D group.

Postby psychopez » 17 Feb 2012, 18:18

The DM needs to generally have 3 skills:

1) Organization
2) Improv
3) An aura of honest authority

DM needs to oraganize the players before hand and have some sort of starting point for the players to leap into. The DM needs to be able to ditch what they've planned and roll with what and where the players want to go (even if it's what the DM has planned but skinned and themed differently). And the DM needs to be someone that the players, at the end of the day, can say, "Yeah, I didn't like that call or decision, but it was fair."

Who ever fills those roles the best out of a given group is probably the best fit for that group.
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