Author Topic: Need suggestions for new players  (Read 1307 times)

Offline Slaughterhouserock

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Need suggestions for new players
« Topic Start: November 08, 2011, 03:45:10 PM »
As the title states, I'll be running a game for some friends of mine that know pure fuckall when it comes to D&D.  I'm ok with this as I have taught people how to play in the past.  I have, however, run into a problem in figuring out what I should run for them.  Does anyone have any suggestions for a newb-friendly adventure?  I would prefer something low level to keep things somewhat simple, but anything will suffice.
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Offline weenog

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #1: November 08, 2011, 08:43:54 PM »
No specific adventure suggestions, but advise that you should do something that is not a straightforward combat grind.  If you give them the idea that "hit the thing with the other thing" is the way you win, and situations where that kind of problem-solving is useless never come up, they might get the wrong idea about how the game works, and be hard to correct later.
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Offline littha

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #2: November 08, 2011, 08:55:50 PM »
Run Tomb of Horrors, then drink their tears   ;D



in all seriousness though don't do this, I suggest finding a nice simple to run and play dungeon with a couple of not too hard puzzles and some skill challenges just to get them to try out each mechanic.  I would also suggest building characters for them beforehand with full stories to give them an idea of what to aim for, building characters with no game experience is a daunting task and usually not the best idea.

Offline solara

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #3: November 08, 2011, 09:09:40 PM »
Run Tomb of Horrors, then drink their tears   ;D



in all seriousness though don't do this, I suggest finding a nice simple to run and play dungeon with a couple of not too hard puzzles and some skill challenges just to get them to try out each mechanic.  I would also suggest building characters for them beforehand with full stories to give them an idea of what to aim for, building characters with no game experience is a daunting task and usually not the best idea.

Talking to them about what sort of character they want to play and then building characters for them is definitely a good idea. I did this in a group where several experienced players (a few, including me, knew how to optimize, too) were playing with a new couple, who loved a different system and wanted to try DnD. It turns out they didn't like DnD as much as WoD, but we all still had grand fun and they got to play effective characters that did what they wanted them to do from the beginning.

Offline Slaughterhouserock

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #4: November 09, 2011, 03:23:03 AM »
No specific adventure suggestions, but advise that you should do something that is not a straightforward combat grind.  If you give them the idea that "hit the thing with the other thing" is the way you win, and situations where that kind of problem-solving is useless never come up, they might get the wrong idea about how the game works, and be hard to correct later.

I've never been one to run a straight combat game.  I like a good plot that gives players a chance to use their brains as well as their characters abilities, so that shouldn't be an issue.  Now if only I knew of a decent intro adventure to throw at them that fits the bill.

Run Tomb of Horrors, then drink their tears   ;D

in all seriousness though don't do this, I suggest finding a nice simple to run and play dungeon with a couple of not too hard puzzles and some skill challenges just to get them to try out each mechanic.  I would also suggest building characters for them beforehand with full stories to give them an idea of what to aim for, building characters with no game experience is a daunting task and usually not the best idea.

Maybe once they've got a game or two under their belts. :P

That's what I plan on doing.  I'll sit down with them individually, figure out what they want, and build it with them so they can ask questions along the way.
The DM giveth and the rogue taketh away.
I have a 5 in Charisma and Diplomacy is a cross-class skill.  Hopefully I don't piss off too many people.

Offline RobbyPants

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #5: November 09, 2011, 06:06:06 AM »
As the title states, I'll be running a game for some friends of mine that know pure fuckall when it comes to D&D.  I'm ok with this as I have taught people how to play in the past.  I have, however, run into a problem in figuring out what I should run for them.  Does anyone have any suggestions for a newb-friendly adventure?  I would prefer something low level to keep things somewhat simple, but anything will suffice.
I don't have any suggestions on specific adventures because I don't usually play published modules/adventures.

Are the PCs created yet? If not, I'd suggest starting them around level 3. This keeps it almost as simple as level 1, with less of the "OMG crit you're dead!" problems. I'd try to keep things easy in terms of class suggestions.

I agree that a "just plain combat" approach might be too boring. There are boardgames for that. I'd suggest throwing in some good RP possibilities, and when designing encounters (social and combat), try to come up with at least one creative way for them to solve/bypass/trivialize the encounter to see if they can figure that sort of stuff out. IMO, my favorite D&D memories always come from thinking out of the box. It's up to you how many hints you want to give them.
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Offline Basket Burner

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #6: November 09, 2011, 08:40:03 AM »
Make the game at least level 3, but not too high.

Don't design specific solutions into the encounters. Instead, let the players figure out what works and what doesn't.

Make their characters for them and make them well. Premades have a number of problems, but making them well bypasses some of them and for new players it's best to avoid letting them develop bad habits.

Offline Mooncrow

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #7: November 09, 2011, 12:01:25 PM »
I agree with pretty much everything Basket Burner said.  3 is a great starting point, and doing premades does a dual job of .1 making sure that they're not playing a useless build, and 2. teaches them the basics of good character building.  What I usually do is talk to them about the concept that they're interested in, and then draw up a few different builds for them that do what they want.  Then run them through a couple of quick one-off encounters so they get an idea of what playing is really like.

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #8: November 10, 2011, 01:27:19 AM »
Definitely agreed on starting at 3rd. It'd be a nasty experience to get randomly one shotted for their first game.
As for premades, I'd, if possible(its time consuming), sit down with the player individually and walk them through character creation, pointing out the good stuff that fits their concept. Thats about it for the mechanics side, getting them to get into character on the roleplay side depends on if they've done anything of the like before.
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Offline Slaughterhouserock

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #9: November 10, 2011, 04:13:53 AM »
As I said previously, I do plan on working out their characters with them.  I've helped introduce the game to new players before, so that's a non-issue.  I was just looking for suggestions on any adventures anyone might have had success with running for new players.  By that I mean, something that has a good mix of problem-solving, combat, skill use, and chances for roleplaying.  I've never been the best at coming up with homebrew games, so I usually just play published adventures and adjust them to the party as needed.  There seems to be a consensus that third level is an ideal starting level, so I'll just start looking through everything I have that starts around there.
The DM giveth and the rogue taketh away.
I have a 5 in Charisma and Diplomacy is a cross-class skill.  Hopefully I don't piss off too many people.

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #10: November 10, 2011, 04:53:21 AM »
Ah, I mostly tend to wing it myself(for scenarios, that is), so not a lot of advice there. Sounds good for an urban mystery adventure though.
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Offline Basket Burner

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #11: November 10, 2011, 07:00:53 AM »
I agree with pretty much everything Basket Burner said.  3 is a great starting point, and doing premades does a dual job of .1 making sure that they're not playing a useless build, and 2. teaches them the basics of good character building.  What I usually do is talk to them about the concept that they're interested in, and then draw up a few different builds for them that do what they want.  Then run them through a couple of quick one-off encounters so they get an idea of what playing is really like.

You can do the premades that way, so that they are more interested in their characters. The important things are to make sure they can do their job and don't get into bad habits.

As for modules, I don't know of any at that level. It'd be best to just make up something simple.

Offline sirpercival

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #12: November 10, 2011, 08:41:36 AM »
There was a convention game that I saw run a few times that was designed for brand new players.  Basically it stole from literature in that the PCs started in a D&D version of the Gap Chasm (Xanth), with no memory of who they were or what they could do.  The players kind of felt their way through character generation in game, as they would say, "well, I want to do this!" and they would discover they had skill points in thus and such skill, or knew how to use thus and such weapon.  They would learn the mechanics of how to deal with different situations as they came up and explored their surroundings.
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Offline Slaughterhouserock

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #13: November 10, 2011, 01:55:02 PM »
There was a convention game that I saw run a few times that was designed for brand new players.  Basically it stole from literature in that the PCs started in a D&D version of the Gap Chasm (Xanth), with no memory of who they were or what they could do.  The players kind of felt their way through character generation in game, as they would say, "well, I want to do this!" and they would discover they had skill points in thus and such skill, or knew how to use thus and such weapon.  They would learn the mechanics of how to deal with different situations as they came up and explored their surroundings.

I was never a fan of Amnesia Tropes, so I'd rather not go that route.  Especially since these people are in their early thirties and have seen it done to death in various other media forms.

*Warning, links go to TVTropes.  Clicking risks losing hours of your life.
The DM giveth and the rogue taketh away.
I have a 5 in Charisma and Diplomacy is a cross-class skill.  Hopefully I don't piss off too many people.

Offline Soundwave

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #14: November 11, 2011, 12:30:42 AM »
War settings are always fun. Great way to introduce players to the basic concepts with easily definable objectives and a clear sense of progression.
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Offline Bard

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #15: November 11, 2011, 01:19:32 PM »
About the story and the type of game:
It really depends on their taste... I've used Eberron premade adventures to great success to introduce D&D to some of my friends leveraging their love for "pulp/steampunk" games like Hollow Earth Expedition and Deadlands.
Just try to think something they like or the gameplay style they like more if they've already played other RPGs and make it "familiar" to them. Still try to mix in a bit of everything a bit at a time so they'll get a nice overview of all the aspects and parts of the game.

About the characters:

Avoid giving them full spellcaster classes, at least for the first levels since D&D rules aren't that simple (or few) and full spellcasting requires quite a bit of skill and knowledge (of the game, the rules and the spells) to be used effectively. Wizards and Archivists especially made more than a newb of mine run away scared and whine about it being too weak and useless (true story!).
Sucky classes (considering "almost none" to "none" as far as optimizing and multiclassing go - at least for the first game) and one trick ponies like Monk, CW Samurai, Barbarian, Fighters, Paladins, etc should IMHO be avoided too.

Cleric is an exception since it works quite well anyway (even if you pick bad spells you could always convert them into heals, and you're still a gut in a fullplate with a huge axe, no cloister tho, since you don't want them to go healing into melee with a leather armor).
Other than that ToB classes/PsyWar/Ardent/Stalwart Battle Sorcerers/Mystic Ranger from Dragon Magazine and other hybrid classes like those are a good "intro" to spellcasting for people who like it (basically anything that can cast, doesn't have a huge list to choose from or spontanous casting AND a fallback way to be useful is good). Those classes have also the huge bonus for first-time players to work somewhat well without any multiclassing or minmaxing.

« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 06:34:53 PM by Bard »
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Offline kitep

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #16: November 11, 2011, 07:20:51 PM »
Isn't there a list of adventure ideas in the DMG?  And more lists in some of the various splat books?  Or you could always send them looking for one of the magical locales listed in one of the complete books.

I think there's a rule that all first adventures have to start in a tavern :)  I prefer to have some loud commotion going on that all the heroes run toward (while all the smart people are running away).

Offline weenog

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Re: Need suggestions for new players
« Reply #17: November 12, 2011, 03:33:42 AM »
Bah, taverns are overused as it is.  You want to give a motivating factor that will spur even the selfish, lone wolf characters?  Start the first adventure with a destructive vehicle crash that strands the party (and probably no other survivors) in a killing wilderness like burning desert, freezing glacier or barren rock mountains.  Not dying because there's no way I can handle this environment and its creatures (if any) on my own is a pretty strong motivating factor.
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