Dungeon Master Tips in 140 characters or so #15

Question #1: Do you have any tips to help players get familiar with game rules.

WyattSalazar: Play a single encounter using a pregen against a few random weak critters with your GM. Learn through experience.

adamdray: Download the D&D 4E Quick Start rules and read them. Sums up the basics quickly.

SlyFlourish: Take it slow. Start at level 1. Start with combat against minions. Ignore skill challenges for a while and stick to skill checks.

countingku: Sit them down and play, and make sure they ask questions as they go.

sajflorida: Forget the rules. Let your imagination fly. Think what your character would do, not the rules that may govern it. Let the DM rule

delibriand: listen to the first DnD podcast with the Penny Arcade guys. They were rookies to 4th edition, and Chis Perkins rules!

KatoKatonian: I try to introduce players to rules as they happen. Every time rule comes into play, I repeat how the rule works to reinforce it. I tell them right off that bat that if they only remember one rule, it’s that in most cases you roll a d20 and add to it.

JoeGKushner: start with the basics; read the fing book!

bensrpgpile: Listen to a 4e game podcast (many choices). Look at your character sheet ahead of time. Browse a PHB. Never be afraid to ask Qs.

dreadgazeebo: grab the “quickstart” rules off the wizards site where they have “Sample dnd” it covers a lot in a few pages

WolfSamurai:Buy. A. PHB. I see so many people struggle with the rules and realise that they haven’t even bought a copy to read. (more) Instead they just try to learn at the table without ever looking at the rulebook themselves or just by using DDI.

ethankillett: I try to relate it to a video game or a real life situation. A lot of my new players come from WoW so it’s easy to relate things.

LeStew: run a session or 10… Easiest way to learn the important rules and what’s important

symatt: new players can just jump straight in and play with no rule knowledge and seasoned players help and teach

psychopez: Have them listen to the first encounter of the first Penny Arcade/PvP podcast. Gives them enough ground to ask better questions.

Macadosche: Download the free character builder, use it to build your 1st character while you flip through the PHB to ease the learning curve

Alberand: I find the best way is to play a few rounds with them, explaining things as we go. For reading, quickstart rules from WotC site.

countingku: I think the best way to get familiar is just playing and answering questions as you go.

Rugsrat: tip Take it slow. Set it up like video game tutorial (move here, hit this), preferably one on one with the new player.

Question #2: What do you do when some of your players can’t make it to the game?

WolfSamurai: Depending on how many are gone, I might cancel. If there are only 1-2 missing, I hand their PCs out to other players.

theprint: If 1 player can’t make it we play anyway. If 2+ can’t make it, we play boardgames/a standalone instead.

ethankillett: I have an NPC McGuffin that whisks missing characters away for special op missions in the Astral Sea.

theweem: In my campaign we don’t play – but missing games is rare so that works out well

KatoKatonian: If it’s just one, and it’s okay w/them to continue play, their character fades to the background but still receives XP.

GeekyLyndsay: Legit reason, the group guides the character’s actions in a sort of party democracy. Bad reason, DM guides the character. You don’t want the DM to guide your character.

jmpress: if the players lets me know early enough, I try to reschedule with the rest of the group. If that doesn’t work, we play without. But if two or more people can’t make it to any night of that week, we cancel for the week.

DrOct: If it’s just one we’ll play without them. More than that we’ll cancel or play a board game or something else.

bensrpgpile: For missing plyrs, we have some1 @ the table just double up or invite a stand-in. I never just sit that char out = hurts story.

deadorcs: We have the attending players play the missing player’s character. We have 6 players, our quorum is 3.

Macadosche: That character becomes an NPC run by group decision. They can only use at-wills. Keeps dm from nerfing encounters, xp stays even.

ObsidianCrane: I have Companion versions of the PCs now so we play with the other players managing dice rolls etc

pdunwin: We cancel. I push for 1-offs of #dnd or another system, but there are never any takers.

psychopez: Play without them, have someone else play the char. A player misses a few in the row, alt chars and delves til they come back.

Level30yinzer: we reschedule. More important to us to play together than to stick to a rigid schedule.

SlyFlourish: have a pool of six players with 1 on call. If I can get five we go ahead. If less, we cancel for next week. I usually have six.

IllusiveDreams: Most of the time, someone else would pick up the missing PC & play them that session. If multiple people missin, than off.

DaveTheGame: I have 10 players who I schedule on a week by week basis, so we almost always have a game if I’m ready to run.

priesmeyer: Our old group had a quorum rule. If we could get 4 of 6 we went ahead.

Alberand: Never been short enough with this group for cancellation. PCs whose player is absent are still there, but “off-screen.”

LeStew: usually just go on without them, as if they’re just off screen.

symatt: I shadow there PC or write in a reason that their PC had to do something elsewhere

MynameisJard: We have a character-building session (PCs walk around town for odd jobs that turn into mini-adventures)

b_s_lynn: We play any how, because it is once a month

thetwixt: If it’s just one player, Spontaneous Existence Failure and I NPC. More than one, one off or Munchkin.

digitaldraco: I usually postpone and we’ll play something else. I loathe the awkwardness of a PC suddenly “disappearing” in-game.

DMfumbl: if it’s more than 2 players, I’ll cancel, otherwise I run the PC, but in a way that the other PCs shine

DMSamuel: Run something else usually

Question #3: In a year how many first time players do you DM?

deadorcs: Less than 1. All my players have at least 1 year experience playing #dnd in some version.

GSLLC:  Couldn’t begin to answer. I run #dndenc, et al. Boatloads.

pdunwin: Usually a few. Some at Game Days, some at personal games.

Alberand: Several dozen, at least, due to monthly Meetup games.

DMSamuel: probably only 4 to 5, sadly. new to my table, 4-5 per year, new to 4e #dnd, maybe 1

JesterOC: My average is less than zero.

AlioTheFool: Me too.

bensrpgpile: We seem to get 1 new player a session as it’s fun to mix in co-workers (great team bond kinda thing). So I’ll say on avg, 12.

WolfSamurai: In the last year or so, I’ve taught about a half-dozen. I don’t anticipate teaching a lot more soon though.

Macadosche: one or two

geekken: Regular static group and pretty tough getting new players. I’d say maybe 1/year

LeStew: very few…

Level30yinzer: we have a handful of neighborhood teens we introduced to the game. I’m delighted every time they come back for more.

digitaldraco: Usually zero, but I’m always happy to introduce someone new to the game!

symatt: not GMed dnd for a while now but when I could I had a new player every week

KatoKatonian: This year I have DM’ed five first-time players, and two additional “first time playing 4e”

DMfumbl: haven’t had a new to the game player in a while, but like bringing new folks along

Question #4: What was the best purchase you made this year?

JesterOC: Best so far is my continued DDI subscription.

deadorcs: The year’s not over 😉 However, I suspect it will be my set from Dwarven Forge that I’m saving for. Hoping for next week.

LeStew: ddi subscription second to that delve book and Eberron Campaign guide

AceDrummer_CLB: Dark Platypus – Bendy dungeons and status flags, hands down.

symatt: the Players Strategy Guide. It is deceiving the amount of use you can get out of it.

WastexGames: DMG2 and MM3 tie for best purchase so far this year.

ChrisSSims: Geez! Hard question. I have to say Demonomicon has some darn cool stuff in it, and I don’t like demons that much.

dreadgazeebo: Probably MM3, Darksun CC or my Paizo flipmat

WolfSamurai: I’m with @jesterOC, the best D&D purchase I’ve made this year continues to be my DDI subscription.

ConflictAddict: Dracolich mini. Hands down, the best one they’ve made.

DMfumbl: dungeon tiles and flipmats… I like my visuals

ArcaneSpringbrd: Monster Manual 3, by a longshot.

DrOct: Wow, tough question! Maybe the MM3? I also really liked The Plane Above, Underdark, and Demonomicon…

psychopez: My world works games PDFs I just got yesterday, used in conjuction with my Battlegraph dry erase boards and Dungeon Tiles.

DMSamuel: DMG2, probably, and Underdark, also ddi and my YETI mic

thetwixt: Has to be the ddi subscription, esp after realizing Dungeon & Dragon mags work great on my nook e-reader

IllusiveDreams: Best purchase was probably the darksun books. Next best is MM3 or DMG2

pdunwin: My DDI subscription.

AlioTheFool: My laptop. It’s by far my most useful tool for #dnd. I bought most of the books this year but haven’t read any of them.

countingku: Best purchase, I am going to have to go with DDI, Character Builder make like so much easier.

Macadosche: The Chessex dice set I gave my best friend, the computer-only RPGer. Their siren song is leading him to#dndenc next week!


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