DM'ing

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DM'ing

Postby thade » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:48 pm

Okay, I'm doing the first ever (as far as I know) IRL game of Mythos this Thursday. So far it's been the most ridiculously over-complicated preperation I've done for any RPG. As someone who has only DM'd one session before, and is now DM'ing for 6 or 7 people, I can reasonably say that I have no idea what I'm doing.

If anyone who's ever DM'd a long-term game, or one with lots of players could give me some tips, that'd be great.

Thanks
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Postby Olothontor » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:07 pm

First piece of advice: never over-plan. Players will NEVER (I repeat, never) follow the path you've so neatly laid out for them, no matter how obvious it is. They will bypass all of your neatly planned stuff, and pretty soon you're making up the whole adventure as you go, which is dangerous.

Given that you're going to be making up parts of it anyway, the better plan is to at least vaguely detail their playing space. Give them a sandbox to run around in, with a plot in it somewhere. Let them find it. The best way to do this is usually to have them all in one place at the very beginning and have some unavoidable plot-related event go off in their midst. From there, if they want to play the game, they'll tag along with you for a bit. From there, just make sure it's interesting.

Mostly, the kind of game you're running depends on your players. Your players are there to have fun; don't run a game in which they won't have any fun. I guess that's obvious, but some people tend to overlook that aspect of DMing, and it leads to poor games.

Now, 6 players is a lot of players to deal with for your FIRST DMing game. You're a brave soul. Especially since 6 players means you've got that much more of a chance to get a truly BAD player, and bad players will fuck your shit up, no matter your level of experience. The only thing experienced DMs can do is fend them off, and then you end up dreading running that particular game. Inexperienced DMs only... weep softly when bad players crop up.

I'm rambling, though.
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Postby thade » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:11 pm

Good advice, but I'm concerned by how descriptive you are. Sounds like someone had D&D trauma... :lol:

Also, i forgot to mention it, but only one of my players has ever done anything like this before. I'm dead.
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Postby Olothontor » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:20 pm

Not only are you a first-time DM, you're also dealing with 5 new players?

God's speed.
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Postby thade » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:26 pm

On the plus side, I do know all the rules by heart, and it is simplified. Plus, we can stop any time we need to.
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Postby Hoboman » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:27 pm

Five new players and a new GM?

Ok, here is the key: Go back to the basics.

6. RPGs are just another form of "pretend". Get them to think less of the rules and more about the story you are building

7. Do not get your ego involved. A good DM is one who does not forget their main job is to offer a fun game.

8. RPG rules are made to be ignored. NEVER let the need for a rule get in the way of good game flow.

9. Keep things moving. If things seem to be slow they will loose interest. Keep them involved and they will have fun.

10. Avoid one-on-one play. Always keep the group in the story. Otherwise you will lose them all.

I would also suggest food breaks. Play for a couple hours and then stop. Have a food break. This gives them time to talk about the game without derailing your game.

Good Luck. :D
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Postby thade » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:30 pm

All good advice, thanks.

Does anyone have any 'tricks' they use to speed up gameplay?

Also, the way I designed Mythos is that most of the work is on the DM side. The players don't need to know that much about the rules.
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Postby Olothontor » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:34 pm

Well, usually the only time gameplay becomes stagnant is
    a). Any of the instances Hoboman mentioned, or
    b). When the players are absolutely lost in the sandbox, timeline, whatever.


Whenever 'b' happens, usually the best course of action is to bring the plot to them. Give them a nudge in the right direction, offer up a new option, open a few doors, or simply have the fight pop up on them.

If you're hung up on something not plot related, have a fight pop up. That's usually enough to kick players back into gear; a short fight scene and they're ready to get going again, especially under the right circumstances.

Don't over-abuse the random encounter thing, though; too many fight scenes start to become more grinding, plus that means you're losing game time that would be better served by story progression.

Here, take a look at this: http://www.gnomestew.com/gming-advice/p ... e-template

That's a great blog for DMs, and not just that article. Browse around and see what you can find. Awesome advice for everything, and a good resource for old and new DMs alike.
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Postby Robot Monkey » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:44 pm

:protip: Lay out violent punishments for those who go off-path.

(I.E. heinously overpowered monsters and traps when someone goes off the path.)
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Postby thade » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:49 pm

Great link, oloth. I think my biggest concern is time. Also, I just realized that I can fudge the dice if I have to. The first session will probably be just the intro, the battle, and maybe a random encounter if time permits.


Robot Monkey wrote::protip: Lay out violent punishments for those who go off-path.

(I.E. heinously overpowered monsters and traps when someone goes off the path.)


I prefer lightning.
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Postby Robot Monkey » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:11 pm

I was just saying, that'd be good if you wanted them to stay the path, but it tends to be more fun if they choose their own path.
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Postby Hoboman » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:54 am

Robot Monkey wrote::protip: Lay out violent punishments for those who go off-path.

(I.E. heinously overpowered monsters and traps when someone goes off the path.)

If you have to force the players to play what you want them to, you have failed as a DM. A good DM can get the players where he wants them to be without resorting to cheep tricks like this.
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Postby Robot Monkey » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:49 pm

Hoboman wrote:
Robot Monkey wrote::protip: Lay out violent punishments for those who go off-path.

(I.E. heinously overpowered monsters and traps when someone goes off the path.)

If you have to force the players to play what you want them to, you have failed as a DM. A good DM can get the players where he wants them to be without resorting to cheep tricks like this.


Robot Monkey wrote: I was just saying, that'd be good if you wanted them to stay the path, but it tends to be more fun if they choose their own path.
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Postby thade » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:08 pm

...and then that happened.

OK, so the thing went well...ish. The hardest part was getting them to stop talking. Any advice for that?
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Postby Cpt. Zipps » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:20 pm

Keep combat to a minimum, it bogs down the game.
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