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  #1  
Old 03-21-2019, 07:18 AM
Paul7926 Paul7926 is offline
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Potential DM (DnD 5E) how to get started?

Hello

I'm not sure if this is really the place to ask all this and it's a bit rambling but here goes:

To get straight to the point I have big dreams. I'd like to be a Pbm DM (DnD 5E) and I have some ideas for setting and plot lines that are, at present, very prototype in nature. I have some experience from years ago in playing and running IRL games but they were very hack and slash in nature and had very little role play. I'm pretty sure that going all out and creating everything before starting is probably not the best approach. Yes it might work but I don't think many people can claim to have written a best seller without having a few draft versions along the way. So I'm after some opinions from experienced DM's about the viability of the options I believe are available to me.

My first thought was to remove as many variables as possible. To me this means starting from the very basics and trying to run the adventure in the DnD starter set. The biggest downside I can think of with this is the fact that finding people who want to play that, with all it's restrictions, might be difficult. The plus side is that it's a minimal outlay and with some adjustments I think I could make it work.

A slightly more ambitious idea might be to get a published module. That would still provide a framework for me to use and might attract more players. It would need a little more outlay on my part as I'd need the DM guide as well and I'd probably not want to dive into something written for higher level players but it's an option. It probably still has a limited audience as anything published is going to have been played by a lot of people.

To get around the problem of people having already seen the content perhaps a home written one-shot is viable. This is going to need a lot more work my side to get it up and running and runs the risk of it possibly not being very good.

What approach would you veterans suggest? Is there another option I'm completely missing?

Thanks.
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:00 PM
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Option:
Start small. Run a few shorter games to get PbP experience.
This will get you more comfortable running here and get more people likely to join your game.

Option:
Use a published module as a basis, but change a few numbers and few encounters. Remove, replace, or add encounters...change plot sequence...change ending. You can have a solid stater, then vary it on your own from there. At that point it doesn't matter if someone has seen that adventure, its different now.

-me
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hmm...that shouldn't be there.
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Old 03-21-2019, 10:09 PM
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If it helps, here’s my experience as someone recently in your shoes.

I joined RPX a few months ago as a returner to the game, having been an old AD&D player back in the day ...

On joining RPX I tried a few games (thankfully accepted into them - thank you kind DMs!). To get a feel for the place.

More importantly I found a few players who like the kind of game I like, They are a good gang and they encouraged me to have a go ...

So I was able to start knowing I was running a game with some people I knew (for a couple of months) and whose style matched mine.... So I took the leap. That said, some people I am now playing with I had not played with before.

I started with a published module (Yawning Portal had loads - Value For Money - and I started with Sunless Citadel because it’s renowned as a great starter module.)

But I’m amending it, making it my own. PBM takes some time - and I could not bear to spend a year just reading out someone else’s words. But the bones in the published modules are good and I know the module will work. I can then make the story and characters my own.

The nice thing about a published module is there will be a few people who have done it before, so you can have a look around the site see how they have handled it in the past. In my case Arachobia is running it about four steps ahead of me so I watch how he does it. The interesting thing is my game and his are entirely different in tone and detail.

Its still early days - so I can’t say I know how to make it a success, but I’m pretty happy with how its going so far, so my advice:

Get to know some players first. that way you have a core who like to play the way you do

Use a published module to make sure the bones of the approach work ... these have been play tested.

But make it your own to stop it being a case of just reading out someone elses words.


Feel free to dip into my attempt if you like (search my posts - the Dark Citadel) ...


Final advice. DO IT. Its great fun and the community here is really supportive. We all want it to work.

Jon

Last edited by Jon; 03-21-2019 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 03-22-2019, 08:24 AM
Paul7926 Paul7926 is offline
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Thanks everyone for the thoughts.

I think I'm going to pick up 'lost mines' as most people seem to agree that it's a good starting module. I'll spend some time deconstructing it to see how it's put together and then do an edit on it to make sure it's different enough that it should be enjoyable for players. Play about with the NPC's and their motivations, the encounters and the pacing for example. If nothing else if I ever find a few people interested IRL I can run it more or less as is anyway.

I got plenty of time so no need to rush into running anything before I'm happy with the changes.
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Old 03-22-2019, 12:43 PM
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What Jon wrote would be a good thing to include in an advertisement in a spoilerbutton.

[spoilerbutton=My GM Background]Blah
Blah
Blah
I'm awesome
blah[/spoilerbutton]

 


It will let the players know what to expected, especially for a GM new to PbP without online evidence. Once you have a few games under you belt, you can put "GM Style" links.

-me
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:00 PM
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I can tell you what approach not to take. Dont' dive in head first into doing a sandbox for a world that your'e literally making up on the fly. Also don't have battles that have over 100 combatants that you generated individually, nor have a way to plot battle maps without doing so automatically.

Not that I did that or anything.....cough cough....
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  #7  
Old 04-15-2019, 06:56 PM
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I started with Lost Mines and made sure to pick a good group of rookies and a few veterans as well. I was upfront that I was a rookie Dm and that I would be learning as we go. I originally used Google draw for maps but have found using Roll20 much much easier. The great thing about Dm'ing PbP is the slow pace gives you time to dig deep and really work for the tone you want. There are also great resources out there for picking other dm's brains in the same campaign. I am a member of the Lost Mines of Phandalin DM group on facebook. It is great for finding out ways to change the book adventure.
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:07 AM
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I will add one more suggestion. Give one of the open/shared games (e.g., Dungeon Delving, West Marches) a try. First, the adventurers and world are already there. Second, you have a group of fellow DMs with whom you can consult. Third, you can get a co-DM if you would like. I have created an adventure and had the Co-DM run the combats, tagged along as a player with a new DM and merely done a review of an adventure outline. Third, it is a great place to meet other people (players and GMs) that you can invite to your future games.
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  #9  
Old 04-26-2019, 03:22 AM
Paul7926 Paul7926 is offline
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Well after some hesitation and a false start where I went away and tried to create a world in far too much detail I've decided to bite the bullet. I'm going to run a small module as a one-shot and just see how things go. I must admit that when I set up the game application I was pretty sure that nobody would be interested but it seems I already have 4 people who want to give it (and me) a try so it looks like it will actually happen.

Wish me luck!
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Old 04-26-2019, 05:37 AM
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Good luck!

And thanks for stepping up.

J
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:45 PM
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Another tip! Once you have a good core group, stick with them! Many players here also DM and they are good sources of lore and advice to sustain your game. You won’t be surprised to hear that Begon, Jon, creed and I all play together and DM for each other. We also use Discord to communicate regularly. Communication creates a strong gaming group just like IRL.

Good luck!
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