D&D 5E Good Lord - I'm Taking Over 20+ Teen D&D Players

Retreater

Legend
A little background. I'm a librarian by trade, and word has gotten around that I'm experienced in the RPG hobby. A library in a neighboring county has created a successful D&D program with over 20 teenagers participating on a biweekly basis. The problem is that their staff member/resident DM/etc. has resigned his position. So now I've been asked to teach others on their staff how to DM (many the first time playing the game) to be ready in a couple weeks. I'll be there to help transition the club to new DMs, show them how to run, etc.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? Or do you have words of encouragement? Or just want to laugh at the predicament of the resident ENWorld pessimist who regularly laments "I'll never be able to run an in-person game of D&D ever again."
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
A little background. I'm a librarian by trade, and word has gotten around that I'm experienced in the RPG hobby. A library in a neighboring county has created a successful D&D program with over 20 teenagers participating on a biweekly basis. The problem is that their staff member/resident DM/etc. has resigned his position. So now I've been asked to teach others on their staff how to DM (many the first time playing the game) to be ready in a couple weeks. I'll be there to help transition the club to new DMs, show them how to run, etc.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? Or do you have words of encouragement? Or just want to laugh at the predicament of the resident ENWorld pessimist who regularly laments "I'll never be able to run an in-person game of D&D ever again."
I've never been in that situation, but I'd say running the stuff folks through Loat Mines of Phandelver and doing a detailed breakdown of what you did and why after the sessions is a good way to start.
 

Oofta

Legend
Does "good luck!" count as words of encouragement? :)

I'd give the staff members some pregens and then do some simple scenarios for the staff after explaining basic concepts. It doesn't even have to be an adventure per se, just "how do you handle a fight, how do you handle social scenarios". Walk them through actions, attacks, that sort of thing.

I was also going to mention LMoP (ninja'd by Parmandur), it's a great starting point but you kind of want to give the staff an overview first where you walk them through step by step. If you can monitor/co-DM some of the initial sessions that would be helpful as well. I don't know the exact setup, but even if there are multiple DMs you can kind of be a backup. Also encourage them to discuss any issue they may have after the games.

Also, don't worry too much. Kids pick this stuff up all the time and it doesn't really matter if they're doing it "right". Good luck!
 

lol sucker!

You're lucky in that you need to train the trainers, and not the teens. I'm also assuming that the teens already know how to play, they just need adults there who can "manage" the teens and keep things moving along. More organizer than DM. Hopefully some of the teens are DMs. If not I would emphasize trying to get that up ASAP.

As such, I would not focus on the rules, but the techniques to manage a table and keep play progressing. Start with a short one shot, like Impenetrable Fortress of Dib. Then a quick overview of character creation. Then talk about how to keep play progressing. The importance of Rulings over rules, and to shy away from a competition, but focus on a story and team work to overcome challenges. And on sharing the spotlight.
 

G

Guest 7034872

Guest
I advise keeping a psychiatrist on retainer who can prescribe anti-anxiety meds.

Okay, no. More seriously, if they've never even played before I'd just take them through something really basic like Keep on the Borderlands. That thing works well as a set of training wheels.
 


I used to do that weekly.
1) Take notes on who's who and who's playing with whom. When I had 16 different groups playing every two weeks, you can not imagine how much taking notes was important.

2) Keep it simple. Most integration need only to go up to level 3-5 range. Then they are good to go on their own.

3) Use only the rules in the PHB. They will read the rules, and some will be even contesting your ruling. Be ready to show them rule #0, the DM has the final say in a ruling. Be consistent from group to group.

4) Use "basic" adventures. Such as the: Keep on the Borderland (B1). Goodman Games did an astounding job with their conversion, but you do not need it. Most "basic" modules are on the Dungeon Master Guild as PDF. As a Librarian, you have access to a good printer I am sure. This means you only have to procure yourself 4 or 5 adventures to get the party going. I would go with: Keep on the borderland, The Lost City, Rahasia and Horror on the Hill. These are fairly easy to convert and not overly complicated. You could also go for the 3ed introduction adventures but the "basics" ones are really easy for a young audience to grasp and acclimate to.

IF you want to go up to level 5, then the "X" series will help a lot. But I would go with AD&D ones. Those with level 3 to 5 will be especially good. The Temple of Elemental Evil might also be a good choice. But usually, going up to 3rd and letting them go is the better solution. Be ready to have phone calls for clarifications at times.

5) If they have a DM (or one that is willing to take the role) just coach that person as that person is DMing. Help these persons to learn how to prepare and run the game. Just be a watcher and act as Co-DM. It works wonders.

I could go on, but these are the basics.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Has anyone been in a similar situation? Or do you have words of encouragement?
I teach people to play the game, though never for a job - that's new!

I also know a lot of librarians due to my wife's occupation and IME librarians are generally awesome and teen librarians (who I assume you're working with here) doubly so. They're going to be interested in seeing how this stuff works if only from a professional perspective given that D&D is growing in libraries by leaps and bounds. And if there's already a club that large at the library it's very likely that they're going to be interested just from that perspective. (Also if there's a club that big the job might be easier than they think - the local library clubs around me have members who DM their own side games in addition to the staff member who is generally DMing for the new people who show up and need to learn the game).

The library probably already has an extensive collection of books. I'd honestly probably use either the Essentials Kit or Lost Mines as a demo for them. And since you're training DMs, you want to make time when you're done to show them the material you ran the game from, notes you might make, generally what your DM process is like on the other side of the screen. Demystifying DMing is a good way IME to get folks on board with running games.
 


payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
A little background. I'm a librarian by trade, and word has gotten around that I'm experienced in the RPG hobby. A library in a neighboring county has created a successful D&D program with over 20 teenagers participating on a biweekly basis. The problem is that their staff member/resident DM/etc. has resigned his position. So now I've been asked to teach others on their staff how to DM (many the first time playing the game) to be ready in a couple weeks. I'll be there to help transition the club to new DMs, show them how to run, etc.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? Or do you have words of encouragement? Or just want to laugh at the predicament of the resident ENWorld pessimist who regularly laments "I'll never be able to run an in-person game of D&D ever again."
I've never done adventure league, but I did run through a bit of Pathfinder Society. Paizo had really good modules for rando parties to do in about a 4 hour window. I'd find a few and learn them as best you can. Teach them to the new DMs. Get the students a copy so they can learn to DM too.

Keep in mind clubs tend to have a lot of different personalities. In PFS I always set my mindset on meeting new players and just enjoying the hobby together. It really helped when I ran into immature players and/or playstyle conflicts. I just settled back and remembered its about community and not the best game I can run. This club sounds like it will be more important to teach the ropes than expect a seasoned game from them.

Good luck!
 

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