5E An inexperienced DM is asking for your pennies ...

Nickolaidas

Explorer
*sigh*
Okay, here's the thing. It's a long story, but if you're not bored, give it a read.

I played D&D revised 1st edition (the Rules Cyclopedia one) for a few years as a player controlling a six-member party, with my older (by two years) brother playing the DM. In our late teens, we had university and school responsibilities and my brother grew out of it, while I wanted to play like crazy. But alas, I live in Greece, where D&D is all but unheard of, and I had to settle with the occasional D&D video game.

After a few years, I grew out of D&D, while my brother wanted to play like crazy. Role reversal. We didn't play again. Years passed. 3rd edition came. We both wanted to try it out. And this time, I would be the DM. We bought the core books, I tried to learn the rules, but I got ... so lost. Attacks of opportunity. A badly-written (imo) Greyhawk campaign setting. My complete and total lack of experience as a DM. I botched it, and we played only half an adventure.

More years passed. I bought the 4th edition core rule books, started a campaign (with the players being my brother and his wife), my laptop broke down and I lost 50 pages of self-written material on info, NPCs, city building, etc. I gave up (again).

Years passed. I bought the Pathfinder books, and decided to give it a go (me the DM, my brother the player, his wife grew out of it). Both having a crave to play. We played three adventures I wrote. But ... my brother's tastes changed, somewhat.

Over the years, my borther became a rabid fan of strategy / conquest video games such as Rome Total War and Crusader Kings. His ideal version of a (video) game is a medieval vanilla fantasy setting with a human-only party invading other countries, conquering them and eventually taking over the entire world - with a lawful good alignment to boot.

We had a few discussions to see how that would work with Pathfinder, amongst other issues (for example, I advised him that with a goal like that, he was better off to play a lawful-evil party). I didn't buy any Pathfinder Campaign Setting books so I began making my own world. It ended up too large, I made a bit smaller. But as I worked on it, I realized that what I really loved is dungeon crawling, while my brother considers the notion a bit childish and is more interested to play a militaristic, conquest-y campaign. Which, I think, demands a lot of time, research and effort on my part. Not to mention a hell of preparation and lore-making. Another problem is that I'm not well-versed in conquest medieval campaign, while he is a master at it, having played all those games in the PC. Therefore, my inadequacies are immediately obvious to him, and we spend more time (and sessions) with him educating me about how kingdoms work and whatnot, and hardly play.

Add to the fact that 3.75 D&D (Pathfinder) is needlessly complicated and badly written (anyone who read Ultimate Campaign will probably know what I mean), and I offered moving on to 5th edition.

So, we're now in a spot where I have 5th edition rules for god-knows-when-we'll-need dungeon crawling, City Building rules from Pathfinder Ultimate Campaign, and Mass Combat rules from 1st edition. A few hours ago I had a talk with my brother about the horrible writing of Ultimate Campaign, and how the freakin book doesn't give you rules on how to deal with an enemy claimed hex. So now we're discussing about me adopting Birthright rules for conquest, 1st Edition for Mass Combat, Pathfinder for City Building, and 5th for the dungeon crawling.

And I'm not sure if I want to do all that. I think that what I like to do is Dungeon Crawling. What D&D (imo) was made for. My brother finds it boring, but he (says he) doesn't have a problem playing a 'kiddie' campaign in order to kill time. My problem is that I don't want to run a campaign he finds boring, and I don't have the time (and the mood) to make a campaign composed of 5 different games in order to give him what he wants (which won't satisfy him anyway since the conquest games he plays have set the bar way too high).

Is he a bad player for wanting all this stuff because he's spoiled by the video games? Am I a bad DM for not giving my player what my player wants, simply because I find it tedious and a bit of a drag? Are we both bad for trying to enforce our wants and needs and should probably go our separate gaming ways?

Thoughts?
 
Your game seems like a bookkeeping nightmare. I would honestly stick to what you're comfortable running. If he doesn't like it, he can go find another game.

The loss of a player may put a temporary hindrance on a group.

The loss of a DM is the death knell for it.
 
I also game with my (twin) brother, but our gaming styles are relatively in-sync.

Part of being a good DM is giving the players adventures that they enjoy. He wants a campaign based on world domination. But it’s also important that the DM have fun. You want dungeon crawls. I think it’s possible to simply provide a campaign based on conquering and commanding kingdoms, but throw in dungeon crawls now and then. Maybe a kingdom’s crown was lost in a dungeon, or the only way to end a siege is from the secret entrance to the dungeons…

I don’t think it’s time to call it quits, though. Not unless your brother demands that only his gaming needs are met. If he doesn’t get that being a DM is a balancing act, and that sometimes someone else gets to have their fun, that’s a problem. Sometimes the power-gamer gets to slaughter hordes of goblins, and sometimes the actor gets to have a deeply immersive scene with their in-game family.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Are we both bad for trying to enforce our wants and needs and should probably go our separate gaming ways?
Neither of you are bad for trying to enforce your wants and needs. After all, they are your wants and needs!

Normally, this is where I would try to offer some type of compromise. But given what you've written, I doubt compromise is possible. You should seek out a group (either as player or DM) that is more in tune with your wants, and your brother should do as he wants.

If you have trouble finding a real life group due to your location, then you should try internet play, or PbP for a while. See if that works for you.

Good luck!
 

BoldItalic

Visitor
If you are not in contact with people in Athens who play D&D, have you considered playing online?

edit - Ninja'd by lowkey :)
 

Nickolaidas

Explorer
If you are not in contact with people in Athens who play D&D, have you considered playing online?
You mean with webcam or something? Not sure if it is my style ... and I don't think I'd feel comfortable playing with complete strangers. I remember what the DM's guide in 3rd edition would say something like: "Don't play this game with people you wouldn't want to hang out in real life."
 

Nytmare

Adventurer
Is he a bad player for wanting all this stuff because he's spoiled by the video games? Am I a bad DM for not giving my player what my player wants, simply because I find it tedious and a bit of a drag? Are we both bad for trying to enforce our wants and needs and should probably go our separate gaming ways?
As Lowkey said, neither one of you is "bad" for liking different things. As is often pointed out on these boards, it's like asking which one of you is "wrong" for liking different flavors of ice cream. I do think it's funny because you usually hear complaints of video games' influence on RPGs for things other than real time strategy and wargame aspects.

It sounds like he's willing to compromise at least a little, and I don't think it would be hard for you to build a 5th Ed game with a sprinkling of Birthright. It's also easy (and kind of exciting) to imagine a fantasy world at war where everyone is scouring the globe looking for secreted away artifacts that will sway the tides of battle in their favor. I'm imagining a kind of stereotypical medieval world where magic is just starting to wake up again and where a bunch of things that have been considered fairy tales for centuries are now recognized as prophecies and portents. A little bit Game of Thrones and maybe Saberhagen's Book of Swords.

What do you think is exactly what your brother is hoping to find in a game? Is there another board or wargame that hits his sweet spot that you can borrow from or try to emulate? Is he looking to build up an empire and generate troops and armies and march them around on a continent scaled map? Is he looking for a slightly zoomed in version where he's in control of individual soldiers?
 

Nickolaidas

Explorer
For the record, there are some playtest mass combat rules for 5e. They were released in the second Unearthed Arcana article a year ago. Take a look here: When Armies Clash.
I know it, downloaded it. It doesn't suit him because he wants gigantic battles (2000 soldiers vs 3000 soldiers for example). When Armies Clash is set for a much lesser scale.

It sounds like he's willing to compromise at least a little, and I don't think it would be hard for you to build a 5th Ed game with a sprinkling of Birthright. It's also easy (and kind of exciting) to imagine a fantasy world at war where everyone is scouring the globe looking for secreted away artifacts that will sway the tides of battle in their favor. I'm imagining a kind of stereotypical medieval world where magic is just starting to wake up again and where a bunch of things that have been considered fairy tales for centuries are now recognized as prophecies and portents. A little bit Game of Thrones and maybe Saberhagen's Book of Swords.

What do you think is exactly what your brother is hoping to find in a game? Is there another board or wargame that hits his sweet spot that you can borrow from or try to emulate? Is he looking to build up an empire and generate troops and armies and march them around on a continent scaled map? Is he looking for a slightly zoomed in version where he's in control of individual soldiers?
What I bolded. Basically he wants to begin with a village hut and end up taking over the entire world. Elves, dwarves, orcs, gnolls ... everything is just a challenge for him to conquer, a future army unit to take under his command. He's obsessed with 'leaving his mark on this game world'. I'm not saying that's a bad goal, but it requires a LOT of work from my part. The magic waking up you said is something I thought about, although it makes non-human races at an immediate disadvantage, since they won't have the same time to expand as the human races had and it will mostly be a (demi)human soldier fest.
 

Shendorion

Visitor
It sounds as if you and your brother are incompatible when it comes to playing tabletop games. Neither of you are "good" or "bad;" you just want very different things out of the game. He wants something tactical on a large scale with a lot of world building, and you want something more intimate and focused. You can't both be served at the same time playing together.

If this were me, I'd find something else to do with my brother, play D&D with other people (if at all,) and encourage him to find a tabletop wargaming group.
 

Nytmare

Adventurer
I know it, downloaded it. It doesn't suit him because he wants gigantic battles (2000 soldiers vs 3000 soldiers for example). When Armies Clash is set for a much lesser scale.

Basically he wants to begin with a village hut and end up taking over the entire world. Elves, dwarves, orcs, gnolls ... everything is just a challenge for him to conquer, a future army unit to take under his command.
Oof, that makes things more challenging...
 
You mean with webcam or something? Not sure if it is my style ... and I don't think I'd feel comfortable playing with complete strangers. I remember what the DM's guide in 3rd edition would say something like: "Don't play this game with people you wouldn't want to hang out in real life."
Just chiming in to say that I play nearly solely play-by-post, and while the most recent campaign I started up consisted of just over half strangers, I chose players wisely and with the intent that perhaps we'd all foster friendship among ourselves. Like you, I only want to spend time with people I can relax around, people who are either friends or potential friends. I was very careful to whom I extended invitations to play in my newest game. That's a departure from past games, where I did open recruiting and then selected characters/players to join based on the character concept they submitted. This time around, I identified gamers with whom I was already good friends, or who I'd observed over time to be friendly and/or funny, or good writers. It's worked out really well so far. I'm enjoying all of them, and they seem to be really enjoying the game, and one another.


And webcams do NOT feature in our game. It's purely text-, map-, and image-based gaming. Done right here on EN World, in the Talking the Talk and the Playing the Game sub-forums.
 

Nickolaidas

Explorer
Just chiming in to say that I play nearly solely play-by-post, and while the most recent campaign I started up consisted of just over half strangers, I chose players wisely and with the intent that perhaps we'd all foster friendship among ourselves. Like you, I only want to spend time with people I can relax around, people who are either friends or potential friends. I was very careful to whom I extended invitations to play in my newest game. That's a departure from past games, where I did open recruiting and then selected characters/players to join based on the character concept they submitted. This time around, I identified gamers with whom I was already good friends, or who I'd observed over time to be friendly and/or funny, or good writers. It's worked out really well so far. I'm enjoying all of them, and they seem to be really enjoying the game, and one another.


And webcams do NOT feature in our game. It's purely text-, map-, and image-based gaming. Done right here on EN World, in the Talking the Talk and the Playing the Game sub-forums.
How can I find people / websites to play by post? And how does it work with the dice? Trust to each others 'words'? Or does the DM roll for every single action, whether it is a monster's or a PC's?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Is he a bad player for wanting all this stuff because he's spoiled by the video games? Am I a bad DM for not giving my player what my player wants, simply because I find it tedious and a bit of a drag? Are we both bad for trying to enforce our wants and needs and should probably go our separate gaming ways?

Thoughts?
You both want what you want. If you can't come to a compromise that works for both of you, then I suggest not wasting any time on it. Play some other kind of game together like a board or card game.

I do get the objection to dungeon crawls though. They are easy to make into the worst sort of gaming experience. But if the DM is skilled, they can be a great deal of fun. They're among my favorites to run.

You mean with webcam or something? Not sure if it is my style ... and I don't think I'd feel comfortable playing with complete strangers. I remember what the DM's guide in 3rd edition would say something like: "Don't play this game with people you wouldn't want to hang out in real life."
That book is full of all kinds of awful advice and this is some of it. Strangers are just friends waiting to happen. Find a compatible group online. It's really easy nowadays. I just ran an online game this past weekend for two people I've played with before and two complete strangers. It was awesome and everyone is clamoring for the next game already.

Edit: I've even run a game with [MENTION=6777052]BoldItalic[/MENTION] as a player. He was a stranger at that time as well. It was a fun game!
 

BoldItalic

Visitor
A bit of knotted thinking:

In a D&D game, two of the characters spend their short rests playing a board game where they compete to build imaginary empires. In between, they are doing the usual D&D stuff. The background to their adventures is a campaign where great events are taking place as two rulers compete to build empires. You can see where this is leading ...

edit -added

Yes, I played in one of [MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION]'s online games with three other guys who were total strangers to me. One was from Europe and two were from North America. And it was great :)

edit - added more

There's a pbm forum right here on ENWorld. Start with Talking the Talk. There's a mechanic whereby the web server does the dice rolls and the results appear in your posts, so everyone knows no one is cheating.
 
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Nickolaidas

Explorer
It's midnight here and I get up early tomorrow, so I take my leave. Guys, thank you, really, for all the advice and comments you gave me so far. Really appreciate it.
 
How can I find people / websites to play by post? And how does it work with the dice? Trust to each others 'words'? Or does the DM roll for every single action, whether it is a monster's or a PC's?
I do all my PbP on EN World, and so can speak only about the PbP environment here (there are other websites that offer PbP, though). Here's a link to the Talking the Talk forum, which is where games recruit and we have our out-of-character chitchat threads: http://www.enworld.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?64-Talking-the-Talk. I don't think any games are openly recruiting/starting right now, but in the past I've had good luck approaching an existing game and just flat-out asking whether there was space for me to join. And here's a link to the Playing the Game forum, which is where we do the actual gameplay (each thread is a separate game): http://www.enworld.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?15-Playing-the-Game.

For dice rolling, you can either use the EN World die roller, or you can use offsite rollers, e.g.: coyotecode.net, orokos.com, invisiblecastle.com are examples. My go-to is coyotecode.net because it's user friendly and never broken. Orokos is just fine, too. I avoid invisiblecastle because the site is down very regularly. I also use the EN World die roller very often. Here's the standard language I include in my OOC threads about die rollers:

[sblock]If you haven't done PbP before, the custom for using dice is to either use the EN World dice roller, or use a third-party online dice roller and post a link to your roll. If you opt for the EN World roller, this is the nomenclature you use:


{roll}1d20+3{/roll}
{roll}4d8{/roll}
{rollv}2d6{/rollv} -- displays each roll separately

You replace the { } with [ ]. You can name your dice rolls, too. This:


{roll=Initiative}1d20+2{/roll}

will yield this result:


Initiative - (1d20+3)[22]

Sometimes, however, the EN World dice roller misfires when one attempts to name multiple rolls in the same post. That's why a lot of us don't use the naming feature.

Also, editing posts with a die roll can be tricky. You can edit text in a post that includes a roll, but you cannot: 1) edit a roll; or 2) edit in a roll after a post has been submitted. This comes up, for example, when you roll a natural 20 and need to roll critical hit damage; if that happens, just post a second time with a die roll for your crit. If you have the Great Weapon Fighting style and a greatsword, either use the [rollv] convention, or include two separate rolls for each d6 of the greatsword's 2d6 damage.

If you opt to use a third-party online dice roller, please do NOT use Invisible Castle; that site functions irregularly. Reliable easy-to-use online die rolling sites I like include: coyotecode.net, and orokos.com. Orokos.com requires a (free) user account. Coyotecode.net does not. You will very often see me link to dice rolls on coyotecode.net. There are other online dice rollers, and you are welcome to use any of them that appeal to you.


Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?473086-Out-of-the-Abyss-OOC#ixzz3zi7U4UOL[/sblock]
 

Jediking

Explorer
How can I find people / websites to play by post? And how does it work with the dice? Trust to each others 'words'? Or does the DM roll for every single action, whether it is a monster's or a PC's?
I use Roll20 (free with membership options), and there is also FantasyGrounds (subscription). Both of these use virtual table tops and Roll20 has been fantastic for me. I have only played with 'strangers' online at the start, but have not had many bad experiences. There are built in character sheets with macros that allow you to control your own character.


And for your brother wanting to play a world-conquering strategy game, it seems like it will be a huge effort to adapt it to D&D. It sounds like you have tried nearly every edition of D&D and have not found much tread with it. D&D can be a versatile game, but it strongest with dungeon-crawling or encounters with 4-6 players in a party*. Trying a new system that offers armies and territory, like Warhammer, may be better suited for you both.

*not that it can't be adapted into numerous ways to play.
 
Sounds like Becmi is what he is after, going all the way up to immortal level - but the thing about Becmi is it starts at B...level 1.

Nothing wrong with a super objective to aim at but start smaller. Then build out. And dungeon crawling can be part of that or instead more wilderness based but each area is essentially a dungeon format - just without walls and further apart. All a dungeon really is is a collection of encounters in a handy binder, conveniently close together, making a whole.

The same can be done out of the dungeon. The tunnels and corridors are glossed over or touched upon in the same way that the three hours ride over the plains is, but both end at either a door or the edge of a wood/chamber or a clearing/guardroom or village.

So he wants to rule the world. He has to pass seven tests and acquire three potent weapons before he can do so.

5e works well for this, so long as he is invested in the super objective while dealing with the smaller scale building blocks.

It's late, I'm probably not making any sense.
 
S

Sunseeker

Guest
I tell my players: if there's something NOT in 5E they want to use, THEY can convert it and I will review it, no promises beyond that.
 

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