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Old 01-15-2020, 12:50 PM
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GM advice?

Hey guys. I wonder if I could get some opinions from more experienced GMs on here about handling the age old problem of other peoples baggage vs your own desire to play.

-

Ok, so it goes like this- I always knew i'd love Dnd but never had the chance to play it. I As a teen i used to do a lot of non dice based open PBP RPGs and even ran a site for ten years, so I had some experience, just no tabletop.

Then two years ago I finaly manage to scrape together a group of buddies and end up playing some 5e with an amazing GM. We played lost mines of Phandalin together and I loved every second of it! it was what I always hoped it would be!!

Fast forward a year and we uproot and move to portugal. I was back at square one with no one to play with, but now with a feirce hunger for what I had experienced! I figured that If i wanted to play more DnD i'd have to be the boss! so I drummed up some interest and got 2 groups worth of people interested in playing with me as DM.

I wrote a campaign based loosely on a free one-shot adventure, but expanded with loads of my own stuff and planned to run it twice for the different groups.
So I run the campign for the first group. I think i did a good job overall, even though my own knowlegde of the stystem was pretty fresh and shakey. I found it kinda stressful having to be in control, especialy improvising, but put it down to first time nerves and overall i really enjoyed it. The players seemed to enjoy it, though some clearly more than others.

Some of the players lacked the focus I would have liked (the focus and enthusiasm I felt when I was playing back in england!) they would just chat over anything which was not their turn and then never really know what was going on, or be ready for their turns, expect other people to know their moves ect. We made it through, playing a session a week for 12 weeks (next time i think i'll bi-weekly) and and everyone seemed happy and even said they'd be up for continuing the adventure.

I thought maybe i'd preffer to try running the second campaign from a book as it might be less mentaly taxing for me, so I bought dragon of ice spire peak.
Meanwhile, I start writing the continuiation of the first groups adventure (you know how it is! you get into it with the characters so i wated to at least make a start on it while it was fresh in my mind) and it's more or less at a playable stage now minus the last act.

Then I have a chat with one of the couples (it was 2 couples and my husband) and basicaly they want to carry on playing but they dont want to play with the other couple!

...and the other couple are asking me when will we be playing again?
now i'm a big emotional softy and I don't want to hurt anyones feelings! I dont want to split a group, I just want to play, and I feel annoyed with myself because i've invested time into the setting & characters & story. One of the players from the 1st couple was really enthusiastic and i'd love to continue to play with her but not her husband (insitgator of 'i'm not playing if they are playing' debaucle)

I don't know what to do. Should I just bail on the group or try patch them together? I'm pretty sure they would all come together and play again if i pushed for it.

Honestly the whole situation has made me loose my enthusiasm for running the second group, but i'm sure if i just got it started then i'd enjoy it...
I also found the material for Dragon of ice spire peak sort of uninspiring, but again... maybe because it's a new format to me i should just try it and see how it goes? I'm thinking I could go back to my origional plan of running first game again for the other players.(anyone do this, and does it ever get confusing for you to have 2 instances of the same game?) I just feel hesistent and confused now after this first experience!
  • I'd love to hear some thoughts on the situation, I guess similar things must happen all the time?!
  • Also if anyone has any thoughts on using pre-written campaign vs my own world/story (homebrew? is this right context for that word or is that more to do with rules?)



thanks guys, sorry for the ranty post!!
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:58 PM
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Well, the first thing is first, why did they not want to play with the other couple? If it's incompatible play styles, lack of focus, etc, then that's something could sit down with everyone and try and work it out like adults. I'd be more than happy to offer more specific advice on this topic if you've narrowed down the trouble spots.

If on the other hand, their issues are personal, relationship-based, or something even stickier, you may not have the attachment necessary to work it out. You're their GM, not their couple's therapist.

I had something like this happen when I ran Shadowrun games at my local game store. Apparently one of the members had said some pretty inappropriate things after the game on a few different occasions and they weren't comfortable gaming with them anymore. What I ended up doing was telling everyone the game was over, due to time constraints, moved the game elsewhere, and cut the troublesome player out of the loop while snatching up new players from elsewhere.

You have to do a cost-benefit analysis oh how much trouble it would be to fix the group, vs how much effort it would be to rebuild it with new parts. At least it isn't waring family or decades-old friends. It's much harder to cut around those people ~_~

Remeber, the point of gaming is to have fun. If everyone isn't having fun then you need to make some changes

Good luck chummer, it sounds like you could certinly use some!
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Old 01-15-2020, 04:13 PM
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Since Imveros expertly covered the group part I'll flounder my way through the module part

Kidding!

Icespire is meant to be an introductory module for first time players - while you stated you are still shaky on rules the fact that you were able to complete your first campaign tells me you'd be fine to continue on with your homebrew.

The module is meant to be simplistic in design and structure so the (assumed) new players know "oh, there is a dragon about and we need to do jobs to get geared to handle it." There are supplement games to it that actually provide more depth and what not but I would honestly recommend running your homebrew further.

Take the land you worked hard on crafting and enjoy it. You could even sprinkle in some content from IceSpire thats been re-visioned for your world to serve as mini-adventures your teams could get into along their way to various places. Your players obviously enjoyed your world, so let them continue enjoying it


best of luck and happy adventuring~
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retry View Post
Since Imveros expertly covered the group part I'll flounder my way through the module part...

Icespire is meant to be an introductory module for first time players - while you stated you are still shaky on rules the fact that you were able to complete your first campaign tells me you'd be fine to continue on with your homebrew.

The module is meant to be simplistic in design and structure so the (assumed) new players know "oh, there is a dragon about and we need to do jobs to get geared to handle it." There are supplement games to it that actually provide more depth and what not but I would honestly recommend running your homebrew further.

Take the land you worked hard on crafting and enjoy it. You could even sprinkle in some content from IceSpire thats been re-visioned for your world to serve as mini-adventures your teams could get into along their way to various places. Your players obviously enjoyed your world, so let them continue enjoying it
Ah thanks, that's very reassuring to hear you say that! I think I will probably run it here too once I'm more familiar with the forum format.

What you say about Icespire makes sence too, with the whole 'notice board' quest thing feels a lot more easy for people with no experience to follow. I like the idea of mashing in some bits and pieces too, always nice to have a little source for quest and encounter ideas!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imveros View Post
Well, the first thing is first, why did they not want to play with the other couple?
I think it was a combo. They bought up the fact that the other couple were never ready for their turns etc but mostly it was personal issues- They said they don't like being around the couple because of how they act to eachother (squabbling etc). In addition they hated that they also sometimes bought their kid (which, to be fair, I also hated...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imveros View Post
you have to do a cost-benefit analysis oh how much trouble it would be to fix the group, vs how much effort it would be to rebuild it with new parts. At least it isn't waring family or decades-old friends. It's much harder to cut around those people ~_~

Remeber, the point of gaming is to have fun. If everyone isn't having fun then you need to make some changes

Good luck chummer, it sounds like you could certinly use some!
Yeah wise words. I'm thinking maybe I will just ditch that game for now, try my luck with the new group and maybe in the future I'll get a chance to put together the ultimate dream team once i've sussed who's really up for getting propperly involved from both groups.

I guess I need to be more aware that not everyone is gonna be super sucked in like I was, many people just want to give it a go ect and I need to be patient!




Thanks both for your advice
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:29 AM
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I don't know how you do with establishing ground rules at your games, but I find them to be very helpful in building a group. This is especially true if you're the one hosting (because then you're also setting the rules for your home). Write down a list of things you're fine with, things you may allow, and things you will not tolerate (besides the obvious) and make sure they are known up front. For example, one thing I don't allow any of is bringing outside issues into the game. All arguments, squabbles, shouting matches, etc are left at the door or I will get eject happy until the person can play nice.

It probably wouldn't save this group, but it may manage to protect the next one.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auron3991 View Post
I don't know how you do with establishing ground rules at your games, but I find them to be very helpful in building a group. This is especially true if you're the one hosting (because then you're also setting the rules for your home). Write down a list of things you're fine with, things you may allow, and things you will not tolerate (besides the obvious) and make sure they are known up front. For example, one thing I don't allow any of is bringing outside issues into the game. All arguments, squabbles, shouting matches, etc are left at the door or I will get eject happy until the person can play nice.

It probably wouldn't save this group, but it may manage to protect the next one.
That's a great idea, thanks. I will definately be implimenting this!!
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Old 01-18-2020, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auron3991 View Post
I don't know how you do with establishing ground rules at your games, but I find them to be very helpful in building a group. This is especially true if you're the one hosting (because then you're also setting the rules for your home). Write down a list of things you're fine with, things you may allow, and things you will not tolerate (besides the obvious) and make sure they are known up front. For example, one thing I don't allow any of is bringing outside issues into the game. All arguments, squabbles, shouting matches, etc are left at the door or I will get eject happy until the person can play nice.

It probably wouldn't save this group, but it may manage to protect the next one.
This is good advice. I call this the "dinner guest" rule. I host two different game groups at my house. One is made up of geezer professor-types and the other is made up of students. But they both have to abide by the same rule—we will not put up with any behavior at the game table that we would not put up with from a dinner guest at a dinner party.

In other words, if you behave in a way at the game table that, if you had behaved that way at a dinner party at my house, you wouldn't have been invited back, then you don't get invited back to play games. The same rule applies to me. If, when I invited you for dinner, I acted like an ass, you wouldn't come back if I invited you again. I expect that if I act like an ass as a GM you won't come back. Every week, we are all earning our right to get invited back next week.

Last edited by Gordo; 01-18-2020 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:42 AM
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The following is very subjective and based on incomplete information. Feel free to take it with a pinch of salt.

1. If you're feeling shakey about DM-ing 5e, I don't think it's a good idea to run two groups. It feels like adding pressure on top of pressure.
2. My impression is that you weren't happy with Group 1 anyway, due to the lack of focus at the table. I know how that feels. I have a group like that, but because they're all 20+ years friends, I don't feel like I can just ditch them. I don't think you need to feel the same way. I think you can reasonably ditch the dead weight.
3. If you feel obliged to run both groups still (and I understand that), run each group in alternating weeks. In other words, Group 1 in Week 1, Group 2 in Week 2, and so on.

That's really where I lose insight on how to handle these groups.

As to the adventure, don't overcomplicate things. If everyone's a novice, then the Starter Set and Essentials Kit are just fine. And it gives you time to learn the game too. However, my personal feeling is:
1. Lost Mine of Phandelver is simply a better adventure than Dragon of Icespire Peak.
2. My instinct for playing these two adventures is to slow down XP gain a little and use some of the individual adventures in DoIP to bulk out LMoP.

Eventually, even novice players will begin to notice how restrictive the WotC adventures are. There's not an awful lot of player agency. At that stage, I'm not sure I really recommend moving to other WotC adventures. Once you're comfortable with DM-ing in 5e, I think the more enjoyable path is to transition to homebrew:
1. Firstly, homebrew adventures in established settings.
2. Then, after a while (and depending on how well things are going), homebrew adventures in homebrew settings.

And lastly, I'd like to give one piece of advice for new GMs struggling with remembering the exact RAW:
1. Stuff the RAW. You're there to have fun. Make up something that sounds about right, admit that you've done so, and promise to look up the proper rule by the next time that group plays.

Last edited by Telcontar; 01-21-2020 at 07:51 AM.
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