D&D 5E New DM help if you would be so kind

D

dco

Guest
Depends, if there is only travel involved you can describe it in one go until they have an encounter (social or a fight), reach a town or a road inn. If time is important make them roll the dice to see how fast they travelled.

You can also be more concise and describe what the see each day, let them make some rolls of riding, survival...ask them how they pass the night, if they want to do something like hunting or searching for herbs, etc. This is better if you let them roll one random (or not) encounter per day (nothing, enemies, social, natural obstacles...) on a table you have prepared. Good also if the players are searching something or if your adventure is a sandbox and there are adventure sites they can find.

In any case try to make things interesting and if you see the players get a bit bored throw an encounter, that usually gets their attention.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Satyrn

First Post
Maybe use a NPC to round out what the team lacks. Arrange to have him killed by the bugbear, leaving it wounded enough for a 3 party group(20hps? I dunno).


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I really liked playing in a group of 3 PCs. Everyone tends to stay much more focused in combat and more involved outside of it (although that might have just been because we players were a good fit for each other).

Anyway, I felt the way the game played out more than compensated for any lack of versatility or power we had by being one character short of a standard party.

So I suggest not compensating for this lack and avoid the risk of accidentally running a DMPC.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
I really liked playing in a group of 3 PCs. Everyone tends to stay much more focused in combat and more involved outside of it (although that might have just been because we players were a good fit for each other).

Anyway, I felt the way the game played out more than compensated for any lack of versatility or power we had by being one character short of a standard party.

So I suggest not compensating for this lack and avoid the risk of accidentally running a DMPC.

I agree. From when I was playtesting 5e to now, I kind of feel that 3 PCs is actually the perfect number for using the encounter guidelines. It is challenging enough, but not too challenging. But, I played/DMd more experienced players so that might be why 3 worked well..instead of 4 or 5.

As for common downfalls of players turned DM, here is the one that I struggle with most (in my own experience). As a player, you never really know what is going to happen next. The secrets and the unknown raises the tension level. When you are a DM, you always know what is going to happen so that you can't really gauge if the players are feeling the tension. As a result, as a DM, you never truly feel like you've challenged the players unless you get them to the brink of TPK. This is not how players think. Since they don't know what is going to happen next, sometimes even when they take minor damage or no damage at all, it is the looming possibility that they could take damage, or be killed outright that raises the tension level. Take advantage of this with narrative and variety of encounters. Not knowing when a more difficult encounter will crop up is key to developing tension. If the players think all encounters will be too difficult, there is less tension. If they think all encounters will be too easy, there is less tension. Mix it up.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
Damn. I'm thinking like a player aren't I? That's Interesting.

So....What are the other most common pitfalls for long-time players as new DM's?

I think a big thing to remember is that the goal is more about having fun than it is in sticking to your script. Be ready and willing to change things as needed based on whatever your players seem to enjoy or be interested in.

I ran a published module for my long time players and there was a bit in the backstory about a serial killer type of character that menaced the main town years before. It's mentioned in the module but is solely there as backstory....it never actually comes into play.

My players became so focused on this and began investigating it so much that I didn't want all that to be a waste, so I came up with an idea that I put into place and had the Mayor's right hand man be the killer. We got an entire session out of it, and it wasn't supposed to be anything that really mattered.

This is just an example. Be open to player ideas and theories. Sometimes they can be great opportunities.
 

cmad1977

Hero
I really liked playing in a group of 3 PCs. Everyone tends to stay much more focused in combat and more involved outside of it (although that might have just been because we players were a good fit for each other).

Anyway, I felt the way the game played out more than compensated for any lack of versatility or power we had by being one character short of a standard party.

So I suggest not compensating for this lack and avoid the risk of accidentally running a DMPC.

Yes. A DMPC is an awful idea. I figured that with 3 new players you can have a 'mentor' type figure to cover anything they missed and to illustrate an element of the game their skills don't cover in order to make them aware of that element. The NPC doesn't survive the first session.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

cmad1977

Hero
Basically I'd say
1: keep it simple and 'tropey' to start. People need something familiar to grab onto in most cases. Especially when their new.
2: be ready to kill your babies. Our ideas as DMs are awesome, but sometimes the players just don't see how cool they are! Don't force it on em.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
The DMPC, if there is one, should be:

- less powerful than the PC, but useful
- an underling
- interesting but less *cool* than the PC

As far as 3 players... I've GMed many games with 3 players and it's a joy. You can be a lot more focused than with a ton of players. The only problem - and it's a big one - is that if anyone is missing, you have to cancel the session.

As far as the PCs, it means that the PCs can't be hyper specialized, they need to be able to cover more "roles" than in a large party. Also, there can't be any "stay behind the lines fragile types" because with only 3 PCs, there isn't a front line anymore!
 

Antilles123

First Post
Re: Travel, I always try to sense how my players are feeling.
If they are going to a new place on a new adventure and seem keen for some descriptive travel, then I will describe some things along the way and maybe do random encounters.

If they really just want to get to the next place because they already know what's there and they just want to push the story, I'll mostly ignore the travel e.g. returning to town with a rescued captive. They've already been there, they just want to dump the captive and move on.

3 characters is OK. I'm running Lost Mines of Phandelver with 3 now. They always seem to be able to handle slightly more than what I expect, probably because:
- we rolled for stats (so their stats are good)
- we use feats and multi-classing
- the players are quite experienced.

Generally I will hold some monsters back (Tip #1) just in case they get smashed. I play online on Roll20, so it's easy to hide monsters out of sight if needed. If the fight is already challenging, I'll leave them out. Otherwise I'll let them free to make it harder.

We also had a huge fight recently when I made some monsters (about 20) attack the town. To even the odds, I had the town guard and some Zhentarim warriors help out (Tip #2) so they weren't swamped. I didn't really know how that would go, but it ended up being a challenge but not a massacre either way.

Another option is to think in advance what might happen if the characters die. Do they get taken captive instead? It doesn't always have to be death (Tip #3).

I always aim for fights that are just hard enough to knock characters unconscious so they're scared, but then fight back and survive. Close to death is perfect, but TPK isn't always fun.
 

Uller

Adventurer
LMOP has a bugbear (not alone) that the players can fight at level one. I have run 3PC parties through it without any PCs dying. 1st lvl PCs drop, that is to be expected and not necessarily avoided (by the GM), it is far different than them dying. A Bugbear really isn't necessary at level 1 though, a few ranged goblins are more than capable of scaring the heck out of PCs at that point.

When we played LMoP, one PC dropped in the room with the wolves so we left him "resting" and eventually faced the bugbear with only three PCs. Only one was left standing by the end. It was pretty dicey but also fun. TPK is a real possibility so it depends on how your players feel about that. (I think it is a good thing...makes them feel like they really accomplished something). If you are worried about it use a hobgoblin with max HP or maybe two goblins with max hp to be the "boss".
 

rgoodbb

Adventurer
Thanks everyone. I have some awesome ideas to add.

The three newbies in question are all lovely ladies. Two in their 50's and one in her 20's. They have no idea about optimising and I am sure that won't be a priority for them. I think I will add more story as I go based on their comments and maybe add some sort of very basic (for me mainly) hamlet/village mystery so we have all bases covered.

If anyone's got ant ideas on a small mystery, I would be delighted to hear from you.

Thanks again for all your time and input.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top