D&D 5E Help with new DM

First time poster short term lurker.

I don't think of myself as new to D&D but I am sure most of you will. I have twice tried to DM once a Adventure League adventure and once a homebrew and both went different types of bad.
I have been playing on and off for a little over 10 years and most of that time was table top D&D. I do have a few other systems I tried and I count Pathfinder 1 as D&D for that.

So one of my friends who calls himself a forever DM has asked someone to take over Thursday night game after this campaign ends so he can play. None of the experienced DMs are interested. HOWEVER, I have a concept and I want to try again. However the 2 times I ran it was like a single adventure over a couple of nights never a campaign.


I have ideas I have stolen from a life time of comics, tv shows, movies, and novel reading. I however have no map, no art, no ability to draw either unless I am making a way worst order of the stick. The game itself is right now online to account for being far away and having family things. So I do have some leeway with stuff.

I need to make a pitch, and I gave it to one friend and she said it sounded great, however it was mostly me stream of through talking and going a little manic. Now I need to be more organized. I tried to ask on redit and got some okay suggestions but also a bunch of pushback, I am hopeing that someone here or some of you may be more help. I have been reading up here for some time.

No one in the group is interested in playtesting the new 1D&D, I have looked at it and like some of it even though I have not played it. So we can assume we are using the 2014 PHB and I as DM get to pick if I add any other books. The DMs I have been under have allowed most WotC stuff and some 3pp stuff and even made up their own but that feels a bit overwhelming right now.

I have only really played 5e and PF 1e for D&D but I also played some superhero RPG from Palladium that I can't remember the name of and the V20 M20 W20 and WW20 games enough to have a grasp of those rules and settings, and I have tried savageworld and Shadow run and rifts but only with very limited success. I read some stuff on older editions of D&D but never played them, so that is my gaming experience.

SO here is my crazy pitch… and this is one fantasy world not spelljammer: I hope you have heard of Stargate. If not here is the elevator rant, a group of aliens that pretend to be gods of different pantheons create soldiers and a really dysfunctional feudal emprire… I assume everyone knows what starwars is, if not the important part is the sith, a dark psychic cult of psi warriors that wants to rule the universe. Less likely to have seen/heard is Thunder cats, a fantasy setting that is really post apocalypse super high tech with a series magic/tech stones that are totally not infinity stones that grant massive power when put in weapons. Really really less likely to know is Necroscope, important part like SW is the villains a empire of flesh crafting alien mushroom creatures that act like vampires in every way that can create thralls of power. Now some comics stuff Dr fate is a person possessed with a god of order as a way to act as an avatar. The 'host' is powerful as is but with the helm they are pretty close to the god. Gem world is kind of like the anti dr fate, it is a world made by gods of chaos to have fey like magic with gem based magic. Ghost riders are angels and demons or maybe both bound together with human hosts to do things on the prime plane. Spawn is an entire army of lesser spawns that are beings that made by making infernal deals for there souls but are powered by necromantic symbiot armors…

Okay so there are 3 or more pantheons of gods, and they are at war. However they can not enter each other's domains, and they FEAR entering the natural ground of prime material or fey/shadow/elemental planes. So they make Avatars that do. This is where the stargate stuff comes in… instead of aliens pretending to be gods they are real gods, however like the ghoal system lords these guys are at war with each other for influence but with avatars on PM and the Jafa are paladins. They rule about 2/3 of the world. There are a handful of freehold that are 'protected settlements' that a second pantheon says they will protect but it is really a bluff cause that pantheon is at war with a demon host (this is like the asgaurd) There is then a third pantheon of neutral fey gods (like knox) that just want to be spiritual advisors and avoid the war… but they may be more powerful than the others. The Demon host that the second pantheon is at war with has two ways to corrupt people on the prime (see warlocks) that allow them to create spawn like creatures to fight that war. Once upon a time there was a greater set of gods, a pantheon now long since gone (ancients and Ori) that had control of everything… the magic items they made are sought by everyone cause they are the most powerful artifacts. However some of them have the essence of the god in them (helm of nabu like). They had two types lords of order and lords of chaos. The lords of order stayed on prime realm and the lords of chaos went to the fey wild where they made a gem world. However there is also ANOTHER realm… the shadowfel, and it is ruled by mushroom like parasites that are basically flesh crafting vampires, and they have there own empire there in the shadows.

I have this idea of a group of adventurers that grew up under the thumb of the 1st evil pantheon… but remember each lord, each god has there own army and area so the PCs might have been at war with each other at some point… that have heard stories of 'protected freeholds' but have not been to one yet, and will stumble on an ancient temple to long forgotten lords of order. I also want a secret conspiracy to overthrow the gods, but it to be an EVIL sith like psychic consepracy but I don't know how to work that in.

As you can tell this is all over the place. I may be overdoing things for a first time. I may need to think through more. I need to figure out what I am allowing and I need to actually craft the world and the adventure and then I can pitch it maybe better. Any help or insight from other DMs would be appreciate (I know you are here Tommy, so tell people if you post that you might be a player)

my first idea is I like the Strixhaven rules where you make friends with NPCs to get bonuses, and you can study lore books to get bonuses, but not in a school setting
my second idea is I like the new setting Dragon Lance feats that allow for fighting style type things
my third idea is I like the Kender but I want a kender that is less chaotic and easier on party cohesion

my first fear is I have no idea how druid will work with all this
my second fear is I don't have 'normal' low level threats here like Orcs and Kobolds
my third fear is half the name of the game is dragons, and we often have dragon slaying as at least an option, but my ideas don't use dragons
my fourth fear is that I don't know what to allow people to play


MY BIGGEST FEAR, I may not be cut out for this.
 

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HammerMan

Legend
Welcome to enworld. That is ALOT to tackle on a first go. However let me give some suggestions.
Inkcarnet for mapping. Inkarnate - Create Fantasy Maps Online Will be a start to help you.
What online table are you useing I may have more suggestions. However even just googling D&D battle maps can help


Are you planing to use Egyptian and Asgardian deities or are you doing more D&D?

Also you mentioned having warlocks be like spawn, that will make all of them infernal or hexblade pact I assume.

And NOTHING is wrong with saying “no druids” but as an experienced DM let me tell you nothing brings out Druid ideas faster then saying no druids.
 


billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
It's definitely a lot you've got swirling around there. I suggest taking a little time to make sure you've got stuff written down, maybe a table or two to list things out - just so you're chronicling all of your ideas.

And yeah, it sounds like a lot to manage for someone relatively new to DMing. I also think it would be a lot for your players to take in as a big info dump. So I'm going to recommend keeping the horizons you're working with a bit narrowed for a while. Let the players know the things their PCs would know but introduce the more secretive elements of the setting like the vampiric fungus in the Shadowfell or extra conspiracies gradually, as they level up and uncover more information in various adventurous endeavors. That'll probably also help you stew the material for a while and develop your ideas further. Plus, it works well with the general stages of character development in D&D - relatively mundane local adventures for a few levels, branching out to more complex stuff as characters gain levels and power, etc.

By the way, I'd say the 5e kender in the DragonLance book are much easier on party cohesion now compared to their debut. No blatant excuse for stealing from the other PCs.

And welcome to ENWorld.
 

ichabod

Legned
You have a lot of big stuff. Which is okay, you need a big picture. But you also need the small stuff, especially to start.

First, boil down the pitch. Three to five short bullet points, using clear and concise sentences, with thought taken as to how they work together. Cut everything else out so that you don't get lost in the big stuff.

Second, work on the small stuff. Figure out where the PCs are going to start, like a village or a neighborhood. Flesh out some NPCs for that area, and resources there that the characters can use. Figure out a few interesting locations around that starting location, maybe flesh them in with a few details. Then figure out what the first adventure is and plan that out.
 

Okay first BIG THANKS for the welcomes and let me try to gather my thoughts and slow down
Sorry I got excited when I posted

Okay, so the game would start in the evil feudal empire, and that is where the PCs would know. I however would not hide all the inspiration.

I assume that the players will only know snips of this in game, even if they out of game know the sources.


So to start,

Inkcarnet for mapping. Inkarnate - Create Fantasy Maps Online Will be a start to help you.
great idea, thank you I think my DM uses this
What online table are you useing I may have more suggestions. However even just googling D&D battle maps can help.
We use roll20, and discord. I also have joined 2 subredits about maps and have down loaded from here and there a bunch of free stuff I have no idea if or how I will use.
Are you planing to use Egyptian and Asgardian deities or are you doing more D&D?
no, unlike the source material I want to keep real world stuff out. So take the evil ghouled and make them more D&D pantheons. I have a bunch of ideas, not sure yet. I like Bane, Raven Queen, Wee Jas, and Kord though.
Also you mentioned having warlocks be like spawn, that will make all of them infernal or hexblade pact I assume.
no I figure the fey pact made a deal with those old lords of chaos remanent, and I don't know how I am doing great old one but I am sure I could work it but I am hoping that no one asks.
And NOTHING is wrong with saying “no druids” but as an experienced DM let me tell you nothing brings out Druid ideas faster then saying no druids.
LOL... that is so my group.

It's definitely a lot you've got swirling around there. I suggest taking a little time to make sure you've got stuff written down, maybe a table or two to list things out - just so you're chronicling all of your ideas.
Yeah, I opened a new ONENOTE and am making tabs as we speak. I am not the most organized so I am trying.
I also think it would be a lot for your players to take in as a big info dump.
yeah I need to narrow this down. Like I said above, I want them to in game only know legends of things outside there small area and then find out some of the legends are wrong.
Let the players know the things their PCs would know but introduce the more secretive elements of the setting like the vampiric fungus in the Shadowfell or extra conspiracies gradually, as they level up and uncover more information in various adventurous endeavors.
yeah, I need to figure out how not to just blurt out every idea I have.
By the way, I'd say the 5e kender in the DragonLance book are much easier on party cohesion now compared to their debut. No blatant excuse for stealing from the other PCs.
Yes, that is what I am going with.

You have a lot of big stuff. Which is okay, you need a big picture. But you also need the small stuff, especially to start.
yup... I need to make a town inside the evil feudal empire and populate it. That is my favorite part making characters this time it will be NPCs
First, boil down the pitch. Three to five short bullet points, using clear and concise sentences, with thought taken as to how they work together. Cut everything else out so that you don't get lost in the big stuff.
yeah... that I suck at, when I start talking I go on and on. I need to work on that, any suggestions?
Second, work on the small stuff. Figure out where the PCs are going to start, like a village or a neighborhood. Flesh out some NPCs for that area, and resources there that the characters can use. Figure out a few interesting locations around that starting location, maybe flesh them in with a few details. Then figure out what the first adventure is and plan that out.

I have an image in my head of a town with a mine to the south and farms to the north but is on the edge of two parts of the feudal god run empire. So it isn't the front line, but you could maybe see the front line with a spyglass.

I think I need a good idea for a god to be in control, and the one that is close by. I then need to work on fun NPCs
 

aco175

Legend
I would echo the others in saying that there is a lot going on. I would suggest starting with a basic home base where the group will be spending the first few levels and develop some of that. Have some basic ideas on how the PCs will be hooked into the big picture. Maybe someone hires them to get something. They meet some 'good' guys that does not lead to a fight and the PCs might come around to larger things and the guy that hired them is the bad guy.

It is kind of like the Star Wars movies. We think Vader if the bad guy, but then we get the Emperor after we battles Vader for a while. Luke and Han may have heard of the bad guy Vader or even the Emperor (likely), but never interacted with them for the first few levels of their advancing. OR, a movie thing is meeting the bad guy and getting a beatdown like Clubber Lang in Rocky3. Then the PCs have a dislike to the bad guy and want to make a comeback. They go on a collection mission to get the items needed to bet the impossible, like training with Yoda or having a workout montage before coming back and finally winning.

Structure your campaign like a movie and have the first 5 levels small and introduce things a little bit. Have a minor town lord be the bad guy and beat him. Then the group is known some and a vader-type comes looking for them for a few levels. They can suffer some defeats as they collect the items or knowledge to defeat him, but win in the end around level 10-12. If the game is still going strong, then introduce the Emperor as the biggest bad for a few more levels. Keep just making parts as you expand to world and not try to make everything at once.
 

Okay so town that has almost no militia cause everyone that can fight is conscripted except the nobles kids.
the town is close to a training area for the soldier though so soldiers come into town during 'down time' and on there way to the front. The old the young and the not worth being paladins are miners and farmers... but the owner... um well 'owners' of the mine and the farms are paladins that are partially retired.

I need a library, and a secret or two and a bar... oh I bet being close to a training ground there are multi bars some upscale and some seedy. I bet there are "you know wink" workers at one or more of those, and I bet there is a blacksmith to equip not just the farms but those training areas for soldiers. OH and temples and shrines and lots of religus stuff. what am I forgetting about religions?
 

Structure your campaign like a movie and have the first 5 levels small and introduce things a little bit.
that is an amazing idea... plot out a movie or series of movies but of course have it be general so the PCs can change things as they go. maybe treat it like a streaming show and plot season 1 villians with a reveal and a twist for setting up season2...
Have a minor town lord be the bad guy and beat him. Then the group is known some and a vader-type comes looking for them for a few levels.
vader type... got it, need a dragon (character type not D&D dragon) to be like a mini boss
They can suffer some defeats as they collect the items or knowledge to defeat him, but win in the end around level 10-12.
oh... oh wow 10 levels I was just thinking like levels 1-5. we almost never get to 20 so 10 levels is like most of the campaign.
If the game is still going strong, then introduce the Emperor as the biggest bad for a few more levels. Keep just making parts as you expand to world and not try to make everything at once.
 

Alamouda is a town controlled by the great and powerful God Hextor. His avatar is far from here in Hexhold, and legends say he has grown 6 arms and can wield 6 weapons.
Hextor is not REALLY at war right now, or at least this is as close as he gets. His Palidens are trainning and amassing though because a few leagues east of Alamouda is the walled city of Testaur.
Testaur is on the boarder with the great and powerful god Kord and his domain. Kord is ALSO amassing troops waiting for the day that the war will heat up once more.

Alamouda has a mine that has adamantine and diamonds within it, almost 2 hours south where there is a small camp where miners stay when working. It also has both orchards and farms to the north less then half an hour. Both of those give 70% of what they produce to the Lord Hextor. the 30% they have left they sell to people in and around the town at a HUGE mark up.
to the west almost a half days ride is a mountain that has been cut in half both vertical and horizontally. on top of the one of themesa made from the mountain is a training facility for Paladins and Knights of Hextor on top the other is the school for the clerics of hextor. The Bridge that connects them is made of a strange gold metal.
It is not unheard of for clerics and paladins to get long weekends and even whole 2 weeks off of training and come into Alamouda to blow off steam.

Alamouda has two 'major' casters in town other then the clerics that rule it as a theocracy. A teifling 'wizard' named Valen that lives in a crooked grey tower on the outskirts of town and sells alchemical mixtures. and the retired solder elven wizard Alana Brightblade who runs the local library with a few acolytes and apprentices.

Alamouda is run by 3 corrupt "high priests and priestesses" that are in charge of tax collecting and keeping the streets safe. They have hired a half orc name Tanner to keep the piece but he is the worst monster in town.
 

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