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NotBettyWhite

New DM - Map Makers? Just The DM Tips?

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Howdy -

 

Like many of you, I am now inspired to get a campaign going with some buddies. This is the first time DMing, and am looking for some decent (free if possible) map makers that you use. There are many on the web, and wasn't sure if those out there in Nerd Poker-land had any preferences.

 

Also, if you have any tips for a first time DM pass 'em on. My group and I are fairly new to playing (I played 3.5e back when it came out). We're playing 5e, and it definitely seems a lot more streamlined. I have the three core books, dice, an account on Roll20.net, etc... I have the materials, now need the skill.

 

I'm anxious (and a little nervous) because I want it fun - and not awkward & boring. ... It's like wanting to kiss that girl who never really paid any attention to me... And then when we finally have that moment where we could suck face, I end up talking about the comforts of sweatpants and 8th Grade... She then walks away wondering what the hell just happened... I stand there pissing myself... ... I don't want that to happen DMing my campaign. Ya dig?

 

Roll 'em if you got 'em... Thanks!!

 

-NotBettyWhite

 

 

 

(Edit: Also told my buddies to listen to this episode: https://soundcloud.com/nerd-poker/going-in-recons-blazing)

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To be honest, I usually just Google "dungeon map" and print something. Anyway, here's a map generator:

 

https://donjon.bin.sh/d20/dungeon/

 

I'd keep it simple at first; a small town with a few interesting NPCs and a dungeon nearby. No need to create a huge mega-dungeon. Maybe some ruins with 4 to 6 encounters stocked with your favorite monsters, possibly throw in a trap or puzzle.

 

When all else fails, talk to your players and ask them what they want. Common sense would dictate that you should do this first, but I find a new group doesn't really know what they like initially. It usually takes a few sessions and out-of-game discussions.

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Excellent. Thank you. Spending Father's Day rolling up some maps.

 

We're going to do a fancy pants lunch session and throw some icosahedrons to piss off the locals. This site is nice!

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To be honest, I usually just Google "dungeon map" and print something. Anyway, here's a map generator:

 

https://donjon.bin.sh/d20/dungeon/

 

 

Have to +1 DonJon!

 

Glad you picked up 5e! I find it to be my favorite version of D&D. Very accessible and easy to house rule. Also helps bring some of the RP aspects up front with the characteristic/trait/bond/flaw for players who are not comfortable with making a backstory.

 

Here are some things I find helpful as a DM

  • DO NOT SCRIPT OUT YOUR ENTIRE CAMPAIGN! Have some loose ideas and a skeleton story structure that the characters flesh out. This helps keep things organic and prevents you from wasting hours of your time if your players say "fuck that" and bypass all your story hooks (something a listener of NP should be familiar with)
  • Remember that the rule books are just guidelines; not the law. Adjust them as you see fit so that your table has fun. Also remember that you have the final say in any judgement calls; be stern in your decisions but not overbearing
  • Roll most of your rolls in the open, helps prevent you from trying to weave the story the way you want it to flow and puts it in the hands of the characters
    • There are some rolls I tend to roll behind the screen like Insight checks, checking for traps & Investigation checks that way the players don't meta game based on the roll outcome

    [*]Feel free to influence your party based on Inspiration! If a player is learning toward one decision based on something they feel they should do but you know their character would act differently (based on their traits/flaws/bonds) lure them in with inspiration to go with what their character would do

    [*]Make a little reference sheet about your players' characters that just touches on highlights (example linked below)

 

Link to my Turn Tracker that may come in handy (made for 5e)

Example of a character reference sheet

 

Let me know if you have any questions

 

Edit:

Mapping Suggestions besides DonJon

  • MapTool - pretty nice free to use mapping tool, includes fun things like fog of war & lighting
  • Dungeon Painter - free flash based map creator
  • Dundjinni - pay to use but relatively low cost compared to others out there

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[*]DO NOT SCRIPT OUT YOUR ENTIRE CAMPAIGN!

 

This is important. I have wasted plenty of time and energy trying to anticipate every detail. Don't do what I did. It's a good way to get burned out by chasing your own tail.

 

...and, yes, tell us how it goes!

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Very cool! Thanks for the resources and tips! This is exactly what I was looking for.

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So this is rad. We found a nifty cafe in the Seattle area where there are D&D, Pathfinder, and other table top games.

 

The community there will have signs that say, "Will DM For Beer", and seem open to having a bunch of new people showing up to get quick tutorials on character creation, basic combat/rules, DMing, etc... Did I mention the beer?

 

Thanks for the support. We are all excited to start playing.

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Well... An update on the first night testing D&D 5e in the real world... It's hard to get people vested when there are a lot of questions about building a character. Luckily, I had spent a lot of ... sad, lonely, no sex, a lot of weed, hours researching how to semi-quickly build a character to at least get something going.

 

However, the crew I was with were more worried about getting every little detail right, and questioning if they should be lawful good, or chaotic neutral. ... And the discussion on whether to have an arcane focus or component pouch took a couple pints - because no one could find anything about arcane focus (what is this?) .... There are a lot of "things" in the PHB which seemed to instantly scare and confuse new players.

 

By the time we were close to finishing character creation, some wanted to play something else, others wanted to finish the fine touches on their character... ... One was way too high to know where the fuck he was, and was off on his own little mind journey. ... In the end, we never were able to get started. ... Which is fine because everyone had a tiny taste of how D&D works. You can potentially invest a lot of time into this. I am trying to keep it simple, and move things forward in an entertaining way.

 

I feel we could finish out the character building and begin with the Starter Set.

 

Thanks for the responses Trogdor & SublimeBW. They will definitely come in handy when we are ready to roll.

 

 

 

(Dunno if we can plug venues Mr. Astro, but we were at Card Kingdom / Cafe Mox in Ballard)

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Arcane Focus. This is something that still confounds players in my group and we've been playing for several months.

 

My take: An Arcane Focus allows a caster to ignore the required spell components and just cast the spell (similar to wands in Harry Potter). You can NOT use an Arcane Focus if the spell components require money. For an example of this, look at the Find Familiar spell. It requires 10 g.p. in spell components.

 

A spell focus can literally be anything the Player wants it to be (the DM has final say on this).

 

ETA Though I've never played it, Mines of Phandelver in the Starter Set is considered a great adventure and a good introduction to 5e. If you go to any 5e forum and ask about it, I'm sure you'll get a ton of advice.

 

PS I find any edition of DnD is much better when I'm high. ;-)

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PS I find any edition of DnD is much better when I'm high. ;-)

 

Creativity... It's either I do that or wonder around Enchanted Forest outside of Salem... Which is rich in content for those interested.

 

Is there another thread on the NP forums where we can just shoot the shit and talk D&D? ... The game itself is fun, and having a talented set of comedians riff and occasionally role die is fine by me. Cheers.

 

 

Edit: Attached is a feature in Enchanted Forest which I like to call "The Cock Gobbler"... Not shown is the racist log ride.

 

ZYfYpT4.png

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Is there another thread on the NP forums where we can just shoot the shit and talk D&D [/Quote]

 

Aren't we doing that here? :-)

 

BTW Racist Log ride? err...what?

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There are a lot of "things" in the PHB which seemed to instantly scare and confuse new players.

 

I started DMing a 5e game with some fellow rookies about 6 months ago (not too long after I finished Sark's episodes of this podcast, which is not a coincidence). This is something we still come against as a problem.

 

I have one player who can't tell the difference between flavor text and useful stats. I think she's starting to come around through repetition. She keeps saying she'd do a lot better if she didn't smoke weed during our games, but nobody's twisting her arm or anything...

 

I also spent a lot of time with each player agonizing over every detail of race/class/background/etc. The best thing to happen was that one of the characters got killed in the second session. The player rolled up a newer, much better character in about 20 minutes. It's really easy to get bogged down in the details and forget that you're still just playing a game. It helps not to be too precious about your character, or else you could spend the whole game hiding behind a shield.

 

Also, we started by running the Phandelver starter set. After 3 or 4 sessions, I could tell that the story was not really fitting with the kind of game I want to run and the kind of game they want to play. After that, I started diverging more and more from the script. We're all having much more fun. So don't treat the text as gospel, it doesn't need to be.

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Here's a little about my situation...

 

In the area where I live, Wizards of the Coast is well supported by Hobby Stores. It has a lot to do with (A)dventurers (L)eague, which is convention style DnD intended to introduce beginners to 5th Edition. Although this style of play is not exactly my cup of tea, I've met quite a few players through AL. Hopefully in a month or two, I can start DMing a game there.

 

Meanwhile, I'm playing a 6th level Evoker Wizard named Navin Johnson and flinging fireballs every chance I get. I found this Hobby Store through the Wizards of the Coast store locator.

 

Pic of the place where I play.

 

https://m.facebook.com/events/695814107215930/

 

Two of those tables are playing DnD, the rest are playing various board games.

 

(I'm in this pic. Right below the guy facing the camera that's standing and drinking a water. I'm sitting in profile, arms folded with a black shirt.)

 

Side note: I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before a couple of months ago, I only played with family and friends at home (roughly 25 years). This has been an awesome first time experience playing in "public."

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Just came across this.

There's also https://www.dungeonstome.com which generates random dungeons based on a similar system to the Dungeon Master's Guide.

It's free to use.

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