Friday, January 27, 2012

New DM Advice

The Boy has decided to take the plunge and run a one shot Labyrinth Lord game next week.  Two years ago, he referreed a game of Savage Worlds - doing very well I might add, but has not been back to that side of the screen since then.

He's eleven years old now, which was the same age that I started DMing.  However, he has four years of experience playing rpgs, so he has a huge leg up, and I anticipate that his first game will be about 17 bazillion times better than mine.

The Boy is a bit apprehensive about the prospect of DMing, and the advice his old man has given him probably hasn't calmed his nerves any.  I can be somewhat of a morose, haphazard, lazy, doom-and-gloom style game planner.  (Just try to kill them - all - horribly - with random monsters and traps far tougher than them.  A lot.  It's easy! Story?  Pffft!)  Works for me - but maybe not anyone else.

So, The Boy would gladly appreciate any advice from OTHER PEOPLE on how to DM, pull a one shot together, etc.

Thanks in advance. :)

- Ark

13 comments:

  1. The worst thing you can do is focus on any little mistakes you make during play. Brush them off and get on with the next thing in the game. Nothing you do is going to ruin the game, but obsessing over minor slips can really harsh the mellow.

    Also, if you have to choose between being the Grim Reaper or Santa Claus, lean towards the guy with the curvy knify thingy.

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  2. 1) Improvise like mad. If it seems like a good idea at the time, go for it. If it works out, great! If it fails, beg forgiveness by saying "I'm still new at this."

    2) Don't be afraid to say "no" to your players. You are the referee. That said..

    3) When in doubt, err on the side of awesome.

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  3. Don't be afraid to make stuff up on the spot. If the players want to do something that sounds reasonable and there is no roll that covers that situation, let them roll for it. Give them a chance to succeed. It gives the players a sense of hope. Once they start feeling that, you've gottem.

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  4. Know your stuff and be prepared. If you're running a published module, read it over a few times until you've really got a feel for how it works - not because you necessarily have to run it as written but because you'll be better prepared to wing it if you have/want to.

    If you're running your own stuff, try not to force your vision of it on the players; they're going to want to do all sorts of things you didn't think of and that's awesome, let them try. That said, don't be afraid to let them fail either - if there's no risk, there's no reward!

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  5. 1) R.A.W.(Rules as Written) can be thrown out if it gets in the way of F.U.N.(Freaky Underground Ninjas)

    2) Give your Orcs silly names, like John and Greg. I'm serious here, it helped in controlling combat, it gave a sence of wonder to the encounter. I remember tripping over the names of the Troll in the Hobbit and then seeing Goblin shields in Warhammer Fantasy with rocket ships on them.

    3) Traps are great but can become very annoying, don't fall into the Kobold trap, of trapping everything.

    4) Let the big villian have a big speech etheir when he dies or before the final fight. It set up a memory for your players they won't forget.

    5) Relax

    ERIC!

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  6. I am totally stealing "Err on the side of awesome." That needs to be a t-shirt.

    My advice, when almost everything has been said? Never let 'em see you sweat. If they foil your grand scheme, let them think that was your plan the whole time. And smile proudly at them.

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  7. Oh, I almost forgot:

    If you think you did a terrible job, but all the players had a blast, then you did a good job.

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  8. Have fun. Have fun. Have fun. And have fun.

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    1. Freaky Underground Ninjas?

      Word Verification of the day: Unboo: what the living do to ghosts.

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  9. Some advice:
    1 - keep it simple
    2 - with traps, interesting is often better than deadly
    3 - let them have as much rope as they need to hang themselves really well
    4 - go with the flow of the random die rolls
    5 - if you find that they wander into an area where they will face lots of enemies consider if the description of the area will allow you to hold some back and trickle them into place as others are killed. it gives the impression that the number is even higher than it is and sets players on edge worrying about getting overwhelmed. I did this last session and it had my players ready to run for the hills.

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  10. Thanks everybody for replying! The boy enjoyed reading the responses and is looking awfully crafty now. I am worried.

    - Ark

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  11. How did it go? Has he run the game yet?

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    1. Yup - he ran a game. There is an update here -> http://rathergamey.blogspot.com/2012/02/outsourced-game-report-and-sketchdump.html

      - Ark

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