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13 hours ago, Alask said:

All the talk in the other thread about starting up a new campaign has inspired me and I've joined a local d&d group on facebook and arranged to join a game in a few weeks. It's quite unlike me as generally I'm not very forward about doing things where I have to meet new people. I really enjoyed our short lived campaign that graham ran though and have had a hankering to play some more since then. I've just been putting it off, for not really any good reason at all. Mostly just the whole new people thing and me not being particularly outgoing. I'm trying to be better about that though, so have taken a first step..

 

Anyone have any (preferably positive) experiences to share of joining d&d groups where you knew nobody before? It's a 'west marches' style, so rather than an ongoing campaign it's all individual-ish episodes that tie into a wider story with in theory different mixes of people each session depending who's about and what people want to do. I figured actually for a first time, that's maybe a bad way to go. It's not a major commitment and if I decide it's not for me after a session and don't go back I'm not creating any sort of issue in someone campaign either.

 

Not too sure what to play though. I'm leaning towards a gnome wizard, I figure wizard is basically useful no matter what and nobody is going to expect me to be the face of the group as a wizard. Also less spells to remember than a cleric or druid and given we might be a mix of levels I can hide at the back as a wizard and still be helpful where as if I was up front I might be a bit twitchier if I'm level 1 and the guy next to me is level 3.

 

 

 

 

 

Nice one, let us know how it goes :D I've gotten the bug from Graham's sessions too. Painting some minis with a view to roping some mates into playing at some point this year. Would love to join a group like this but scheduling doesn't allow for it currently. Good luck!

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15 hours ago, Gord said:

I'm really keen to attempt to dm a couple of one shots if either of you are interested?

 

Definitely sign me up!

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I don’t have time to commit to a campaign and haven’t played for decades but could do a one shot. 

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I’m quite busy at the moment, but I could squeeze in playing in a one shot if it makes the difference between having enough players and not. If you get plenty of respondents then I’ll bow out gracefully. 

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On 27/01/2020 at 09:49, Graham S retired said:

Is it in London, your West Marches campaign? 

 

Sorry, was meaning to respond to this and forgot. It's Leeds, rather than London. Seems like a new group, only going three months or so but loads of members already. Quite the demand I guess.

 

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If you are short then I am tempted as I never get to be a player :D - depends on night and  stuff but will keep an eye on the thread.

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I wasn't really sure where to put this, but myself and some friends are playing a D&D campaign I've built in the Neverwinter Nights engine. We recently came off a 4 year campaign in 5e using Roll20 but for something different I wanted to try this. It's basically a world I've built in the toolkit and then I use the DM client in NWN as they play through it. It allows you do to some really unique things in a D&D campaign mostly involving physical representation of things and space. I did a short(ish) video on some neat things you can do in the engine if anyone is interested. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiGqF6GUTZc&feature=youtu.be

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On 27/01/2020 at 10:36, Kzo said:

 

Nice one, let us know how it goes :D

 

It's going pretty well! Played two sessions now and enjoyed them both, although I was pretty close to deciding not to go to the first one. Going to a random games cafe to meet people who I don't know and probably won't recognise on sight is not really my comfort zone. I did it though and certainly felt much easier on the second occasion, partly because one of the guys from the first one was there. I figure once you know a couple of faces these sorts of things get progressively easier? So if anyone else is thinking of doing something similar and not sure about it I definitely recommend just doing it.

 

As it happened the first session had 2 other wizards already in it and I figured a third was a bad idea so decided against playing a wizard. I've started a bard instead, which I think will be quite good once I get a couple more spell slots and a DC that isn't trivial to beat. I do feel a little bit jealous of the wizards at the moment on the basis they're getting back spells on a short rest and nobody is asking them, "and what do you say to do that" everytime they cast magic missile whereas my vicious mockery is a bit more prone to follow up questions. Still after slightly putting my foot in it with an "oi fatty"  (:doh:) insult in game one I'm doing a lot better on picking insults that are only insulting to monsters and not potentially insulting to anyone at the table. 

 

Mind you in the event I end up dying I'm totally coming back as a barbarian smack people in the face with an axe character. Simple, fun, everyone likes watching you get hit instead of them.

 

So yeah, it's good. Probably not quite as good as an ongoing campaign would be, but certainly a lot better than the nothing I was doing a month ago. Also now I've got something to compare GrahamS too I can say he's definitely in my top 3 DMs. 

 

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Sounds awesome, at least they aren't making you sing (yet)!

 

Do you then keep the character and level up and so on between games or is it one and done and you could have a new character each session?

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Yes, keep the same character between sessions and level up. No multi-classing though! If you die you can make a new character with half the xp and gold of the old character. Alternatively if you're bored of your character you can retire them and apply the same rules as death.

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Introduced my children (11, 9, and 5) and my god son (12) to D&D this weekend. Played the first section of Lost Mines.  They really enjoyed it!  
 

My youngest rolling his character's stats (Smasher a dwarf fighter) 18, 16, 15, 8, 14, 4!

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My wife out the blue has suddenly expressed an interest in playing D&D. I’m going to get the Essentials kit as it seems the most user friendly two-player way in for us both, as DM’s and players. She’s never played and I’ve barely played actual D&D at all.

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6 hours ago, The Hierophant said:

I can’t get my wife interest in any sort of role-play :( 


Tell her she gets to join you in your dungeon, where you are the master.

 

Bound to work.

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11 minutes ago, jonamok said:


Tell her she gets to join you in your dungeon, where you are the master.

 

Bound to work.


Y’know I hadn’t thought of it in quite those terms, but now you mention it I think we have discovered the source of her resistance. 

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Just seen a couple of videos featuring Dungeondraft.. a newly released quick & easy battle map creation app..

Particularly like the way you can just 'paint' caverns, scenery etc and add dynamic lighting..

Not pricey either - $20, DRM free - including future updates and more assets - though it's got hundreds already..

Exports for printing, into Roll20 etc..

Some user designs from the reddit.. where users have been able to put together these sorts of maps in mere minutes..

 

lgd08wcvcok41.png?width=960&crop=smart&a

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j6ad087ssjk41.png?width=960&crop=smart&a

 

 

 

 

 

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On 03/03/2020 at 20:50, jonamok said:

No idea at all what got her interested?


Hmmm, well I am endlessly buying boardgames, go to conventions, have gotten her into comics and we watch a lot of sci-fi and fantasy stuff. I guess it’s a natural progression, plus she does am-dram, so I guess D&D is a pretty good fit.


Hopefully once we get going with two-player D&D Essentials we’ll also be more inclined to take on Gloomhaven and Pandemic Legacy type stuff instead of watching Netflix.

 

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Ah, fair enough, she was pretty much a roleplayer waiting to happen. Have fun.

 

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Survived DMing my first game on Saturday!

 

Properly buzzing, all the players said it was great craic and are keen to continue. Could definitely improve on a few things and grateful for any advice on the queries at the bottom of the post.

 

We played Lost Mine of Phandelver on Roll20. Had far too many players at 7 PCs plus only 1 of the group had any idea how D&D is played (listened to a bit of Adventure Zone) so it was like herding cats. I really struggled to keep up with trying to keep the players moving without telling them exactly what to do, managing Roll20 with minimal practice and had to abandon reading the source text and go from memory as it was too much multi-tasking. I had played out this session before with Graham in the short-lived RLLMUK Beginner campaign which was the only reason I managed to get through it.

 

Spoilers for Lost Mine of Phandelver up to Chapter 1.

Spoiler

 

Had to add a few more mobs to the goblin ambush which ended up taking ages with a lot of swinging and missing and it being everyone else's first time playing. No PCs went down and, following a short rest, they began to follow the goblins' trail.

 

Party managed to get the jump on the goblin lookouts. I rail-roaded them a bit away from trying to climb the chimney as (1) the TAZ guy was metagaming it and knew it was a shortcut to the boss; and (2) I thought I would TPK them (or kill at least a few PCs) if they came up 1 by 1 into Klarg's room with half of them failing DCs to climb it etc. and nobody making much attempt at stealth.

 

Most of the party got washed out twice by the waterfall trap and they are under the impression that this will keep happening. They eventually made it onto the bridge and into Yeemik's room. The bard wanted to negotiate and I wanted him to succeed but he didn't roll to well and everyone else kept attacking (even let him contest dex vs the rogue to knock his shortbow out of the way - he failed :P). They cleared the room with 1 party member on 2 failed death saves and Sildar unconscious having been thrown off the cliff.  We had to end there as it took us ages to get to that point so going to open next game with Sildar gasping back to life.

 

Could use a bit of advice on:

 

(1) Given that they have now rescued Sildar and he can tell them that Gundren has already been sent away, I'm worried about them just leaving the cave now.  I'd like them to fight Klarg so any ideas  on how to entice them to continue would be appreciated. I could probably have Sildar say they need to see if Klarg has any info on where they went etc.. They are all out of spells and a good chunk of health down - I'd like to avoid them taking a long rest as I'm not sure how to manage this in-world (Klarg would obviously discover them in the cave?), but I want them to have a nice epic battle with the boss.

 

(2) Game speed. Affected by a lot of factors and I expect this will improve as the players learn what they can do / efficient ways of doing things and I get more familiar with Roll20 but any tips to help chivvy players along or how to suggest courses of action they might take would be helpful. They're are bunch of headless chickens and I was having to direct them a fair bit to the point I wasn't able to focus on the other things I needed to be doing. Any good videos or short guides I could send to my players maybe about e.g. how to approach a dungeon?

 

(3) Gently encouraging RP. Not too worried about this right now but as we get into town and need to have conversations with NPCs it would be nice to get this off the ground a bit. I'm happy to do (bedtime story calibre) voices but won't require this from PCs. So far I've had them describe their killing blows and made them refer to each other by PC names only. I wrote all their backstories / used the default NPC ones so they don't have much connection to their characters yet.

 

(4) Any time-saving / convenience tips for Roll20 greatly appreciated (particularly for the DM!). We are using character sheets on D&DBeyond with the Beyond20 extension.

 

(5) Anyone who has played LMoP - this is a long way off and we might never make it that far but the Big Bad seems a little bland. Has anyone changed him a bit and what was your experience? Would like to start laying some seeds for his plots etc. if possible.

 

 

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I think you might want to consider whether 7 is too many, especially online. I'd run different groups of 3 or 4 for a while around Phandalin (you've got LMOP and Icespire Peak for subquests) and then occasionally have an event game (fighting a dragon!) where everyone is on at once. If you're light enough on your feet with regard to plot, you might be able to make each episode enough of a standalone so it won't matter too much if different people phase in or out on any particular night. I've found people don't need strict continuity to cover for absences, everyone understands the practicalities. Phandalin is a good homebase where everyone can live, then set out on an adventure for the night. 

 

Keeping combat moving and fast enough is really hard with new players (and for experienced players) and by the time it's your turn again after 6 other people have slowly decided what to do and asked about the rules again is a real drag.

 

I'd fight the urge to direct them too much. I know it's very tempting, especially if you have good ideas if they take a particular path and nothing in mind if they do something different. So much of the magic comes from them feeling like they're choosing freely (even if you've subtly loaded the dice: they're often quite predictable given the right incentives). You've got enough to do without being their team leader too. There's a tension here, in that it's important you keep things moving, but I'd do that with your own pawns (goblins attack!) and not by making them do stuff. I do  sometimes remind players of cool things their character can do, but they often look disappointed if they feel I'm hinting too heavily. If you feel a player is metagaming because he's heard TAZ, don't stop him from doing something, change things up so he's surprised.

 

Going from memory / abandoning the source text is totally fine. It's your own unique adventure now. Canon is what you invent in the moment. No one knows the "right" story, and being alive to stuff your players come up with or you think up is usually what people remember with fondness.

 

1. Let them leave the cave if they want. If you want them to meet Klarg, think of tempting enough bait so you can hook them in. If they do want to rest in the cave, let them, get them to describe setting up camp and then hit them with some wandering goblins, make the place feel alive, new players might find this surprising.

2. I found that combat was the main thing to try to speed up. D&D is very rules heavy in this area. There are a few cheat sheets online to prompt them with their usual actions. My methods for doing it around the table apply less online (basically I want people to know when their turn is coming up, and have their main options on their character sheets). To a certain extent I'd let them be headless chickens. They're low level characters, perhaps they don't know how to efficiently clear a goblin cave, so you can lean into that. You can also ask them in general terms what their character would want to do, and then try and interpret that into actions for them, as a way of teaching them the rules.

3. Talking to players in character yourself is what I try to do here. And if they talk out of character to each other I let the NPCs hear them and react to what they say. It's a bit stressful for new players who don't want to look silly or do it wrong.

4.

5. He was fine for me. Big bads often go down fast anyway (I had a cool blazing rooftop fight and a speech planned for Glasstaff and he got hit from behind with a fireball scroll and never got to speak). BS had some cool abilities (darkness, spider climb) and I had a doppelgänger impersonating a player so it was quite a good fight in the end. I do see people online beef him up in terms of lore (some made him an actual spider / drider), but I didn't think that would mean anything to my players. My players take more pleasure in taking these guys out than they do listening to me monologuing. Definitely cool laying down seeds of potential plot and see which ones spark their imagination, and then take those things and elaborate on them.

 

 

 

 

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I found reading about "West Marches" campaigns gave me some ideas for dealing with a larger player base than I have around the table on any one night, although my Waterdeep campaign isn't really a WM campaign.

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Cheers for the advice Graham.

 

Re 7 PCs - I agree that it's too many to run efficiently but we set this up primarily as a way for my friend group to socialise during the lockdown so don't want to split them. 6 of the 7 are doctors so they'll all be getting hammered in a week or two which should cull the numbers per session anyway!

 

I'll definitely send them a cheat sheet for combat and this will hopefully speed up as they become familiar. I'll try the NPC reactions to OOC chat, that should get a laugh ^_^.

 

The doppelgangers seem like a cool tool to play with. Maybe I could have one morph into an absent player or Sildar or both, that'd be really fun. Could set up a quest if they discover the deception to rescue the player who has been captured and replaced!

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What's the most useful bits of Roll20 to know as a GM? Maybe that's a ridiculously broad question I don't know.. I've been playing about with the free Adventurer's guide to Wildemount adventure to maybe run it and just see if I can understand what's actually important to know about. Watched a couple of tutorials, but that's about it.

 

So far the things I've thought of as must know items:

 

1) How to set and clear fog of war (and Ctrl+L on a token to see what they can see).

2) Moving stuff between the layers, so putting hidden monster tokens on the GM layer and then dropping them down to the Object/Token layer when they reveal.

3) Pinging the map so you can make it clear what you're referring to.

4) Opening character sheets direct from tokens (which I actually had to google).

5) Moving between pages/maps.

 

Anything else you find yourself using a lot when you're GMing? I'm guessing with a pre-prepared adventure there's less need to know how to quickly find Monster X and add him to the map and obviously you've got all the notes fairly readily accessible.

 

Also anyone used dynamic lighting? The idea sounds neat, but I'm not sure in practice whether it'd just be irritating to not be able to see the map areas you've already been to. 

 

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