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  1. #1
    Riddle Me This The Count's Avatar
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    how to run DND campaigns

    I, being the DM, am wondering how you run your campaigns, and more spicificly, how you run each adventure, all the way down to the details of the rooms they are in
    ill start

    they use graph paper and colored pencils, or letters, to mark the PCs positions on the paper, and i tell them all the dimensions of the rooms they are in, very little detail and normally they see all monsters in the room

    please holp me with pointers and tips


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    Hi,

    I tend to use citadel minatures to represent PC's NPC's and monsters (either fantasy or LOTR), i've laminated a couple of A3 sheets of paper with 1 inch squares on to use as floor plans, i use board marker to draw on the actual plan of the room (each square represents a 5 foot square, and the lamination allows me to wipe of the plan after the session). When writing my dungeon i write a room description to accompany each area on my map. This description describes the room (obviously), objects and creatures in it and also any interesting points which need mentioning..... That's about it really!

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    LO Zealot Gojiratoho's Avatar
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    Well, I've never ran D&D, but I've played for the last 14 years with the same DM, I can tell you some of his tricks to keep us on edge and nervous.

    When he describes a combat, he doesn't give us exact numbers. If there are 10 goblins he'll say "there's about a dozen enemies".

    For long range fights, he grabs more dice than he needs to hit. So if 4 archers (8 shots) are firing on us, he might grab 12 dice. Then he just counts the solids or dice of a certain color for the actual shots. The remaining dice are to throw us off.
    Gyauayuayuayua! Ja! Ve vill crush da little girly men in deir little girl men awrmor! Ve vill see owur enemies driven befowur us, und hear da lahmentaytions of deir wemen. Und from owur home planet, de stayte uf Califowurnia, ve vill lawunch owur mighty offensive. Even if you kill us, ve'll be bach!! Gyauayauyauyauyau!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gojiratoho
    Well, I've never ran D&D, but I've played for the last 14 years with the same DM, I can tell you some of his tricks to keep us on edge and nervous.

    When he describes a combat, he doesn't give us exact numbers. If there are 10 goblins he'll say "there's about a dozen enemies".

    For long range fights, he grabs more dice than he needs to hit. So if 4 archers (8 shots) are firing on us, he might grab 12 dice. Then he just counts the solids or dice of a certain color for the actual shots. The remaining dice are to throw us off.
    I like those two tricks!

    I do solely Play-by-post, so I have to spend a lot of time describing each room. Usually, I make sure that nobody can see anybody else's rolls, and nobody can see another person's character sheet. I think that really adds to the suspense.

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    Riddle Me This The Count's Avatar
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    how well do you describe each room, i usually so , for is=nstandce, there is a table, and three chairs with three goblins in each one of the chairs that is if they dont already get that from the pictures of a chair a table and 3 dots (what we use to signofy monsters)

    do you use graph paper to map out the dungeon or what, i do and i fin d that it raelly takes away from the experience, like they are just playing a game, that if their character dies it doesnt matter, and not how i want them to feel,lide the PC means something, like it is a real world
    how do you accomplish this?

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    Librarian from Hell Andusciassus's Avatar
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    I've been playing for many years now...twenty or so and this is how I do.

    I'll start to describe the most dominant sensory experience of the room first. It could be the smell of it as an example.
    "When the door opens you can all feel the stench. Your lungs are filled with the smell of dead bodies."- This will give the players a feeling for the room and that's important. NOw they know people have died in here, that someone (or something) dangerous is around and they might even become a bit careful.
    Then the second most important sensory impression and so on.
    "It's dark and all you can see are red goblins eyes watchin every step you take, you can hear them whisper"
    It might take a while before the physical attributes of the room are described, the size of it and such as those are far from the most important characteristics.
    We never use maps, due to the reasons you mentioned. It takes away the feeling. So what if the players do not share the exact same picture of the room, as long as they can "see" them selfs in it and know what to do.
    The same goes for any other situation, like fights etc. It is far more meaningful to tell the players about the pain the feel from their wounds or how the breath of the Orge smells then where diferent people stands. Just imagine what a loss of moment it would be to have battlereport diagrams interupting the fight between the fellowship of the Ring and the goblins in Moria. "Then Aragon walked three meters to the right and Gimli two meters straight ahead".

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    Riddle Me This The Count's Avatar
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    i hae always felt that way, but the PCs dont seem to want to change the way we play, i has been attempted, and shot down like a duck when they are the hunters

    i, to boot, am not the most , how to say, most outgoing or a public speajer, so it hampers our game play, and yes, I have asked others to take hold of the DM throne, but because either i am the only one who read(and understood) all the rule books OR they are all to chicken to take the resposibility.

    Also, the description adn life of the PCs is not the way i had planned, the only see bars and taverns as a chance to either pck pocket or make bets to see who can drink the most, not that they get to know the bartender or know the local officials and, for some strange reason, want a fighter who can pick pocket, but still wear full plate and have super strength(roughly 16-1

    but we do have hope with a sorc who takes charge and Makes his own quests, not ask for one example:
    PC1: so , do any of the villagers have any complaints?
    ME: none that they want to discuss with some one they dont know
    PC2: does any of them now abuot the Merchant of Versai?
    ME:a few rummors, but nothing definate(flying by the seat of my pants now, but glad they arent all lazy)
    PC1: can i go up to the king and threaten him at knife point to getgold?can i steal from him?

    etc

  9. #8
    LO's unofficial Jester Visitor Q's Avatar
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    377 (x8)

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin the Warrior
    i hae always felt that way, but the PCs dont seem to want to change the way we play, i has been attempted, and shot down like a duck when they are the hunters

    i, to boot, am not the most , how to say, most outgoing or a public speaker, so it hampers our game play, and yes, I have asked others to take hold of the DM throne, but because either i am the only one who read(and understood) all the rule books OR they are all to chicken to take the resposibility.

    Also, the description adn life of the PCs is not the way i had planned, the only see bars and taverns as a chance to either pck pocket or make bets to see who can drink the most, not that they get to know the bartender or know the local officials and, for some strange reason, want a fighter who can pick pocket, but still wear full plate and have super strength(roughly 16-1

    but we do have hope with a sorc who takes charge and Makes his own quests, not ask for one example:
    PC1: so , do any of the villagers have any complaints?
    ME: none that they want to discuss with some one they dont know
    PC2: does any of them now abuot the Merchant of Versai?
    ME:a few rummors, but nothing definate(flying by the seat of my pants now, but glad they arent all lazy)
    PC1: can i go up to the king and threaten him at knife point to getgold?can i steal from him?

    etc

    You haven't got enough control over your players by the sound of it. First thing first assert the fact that you are GM (or DM whatever) and if the players want you to organise and run the game then it is done using your rules. That applies literally you don't like a rule in the book, discard it, this is an RPG not a wargame note the name of your title Games Master not Games Referee or Games Steward.

    So for example if you don't want to use maps don't, it is not a matter for a discussion (what is this a democracy?). Next time you describe a room in a Dungeon with orcs in it start with your description and ask the PC with highest initiative or priority (or however it works in DnD) what they are going to do if they say they want a map ask again what they want to do, if they are still asking for a map just skip them they are obviously surprised by the enemy, go to the next player same format.
    Combat should run like this
    DM: Ok you enter the room the smell of rotting flesh assaults your nostrils but you barely have time to register it as you notice too foul looking creatures staring up at you in surprise, they are goblins! PC1 how do you react?
    PC1: Em Ok what does the room look like is their a map?
    DM: Do you do anything?
    PC1: I was just wondering where the
    DM:Right you are to surprised by the goblins obviously. PC2 how what do you do? The goblins seem to be overcomingt their surprise and reaching for weapons.
    PC2: Idrawmyswordandattack (invariably the next player in line acts very quickly)

    After a while you can get it to the point where players realise they only have about three to five seconds to react in real time before you pass them over. If you are being really strict (which you don't have to be depending on your players) then this rule applies if they start slowing the game down with rules quibbiling (only applicable if the player knows the rules anyway don't use this on new players as this is harsh).

    Combat should become so fast and deadly (remeber that you can fake dice rolls so the monsters do pretty much what you want see below under cheating) that the PC's will be more wary of it, in the heat of the moment spells and the like get forgotten.





    Sooner or later the PC's will realise combat is being worked out in real time if they don't say what they are going to do within a couple of seconds then they do nothing. This not only makes combat a lot faster but it also allows you to control the pace of the game, producing maps and diagrams when you want to. I hope that explanation makes sense.

    Next point with peasants and towns you need to make it more realistic or at least more characterful, have people talk to them about random rubbish (I hear the cotton industry has gone to the dogs its the tariffs the king has put up, or Only last week the mayor of xxxx was burnt for foul magical practices. He was feeding his cat blood, he was heard saying "Drink your bloody milk") in amongst this put rumours that are true, "there is a vampire down at the docks killing the locals" This makes the PC's doubt the missions they are given, is it a wild goose chase or is it a real quest, they will want to talk to the peasant or merchant or whoever to verify the story.

    Armour and Players- If your players are always wearing their armour then it is going to get tiring every hour after the first three that your players are wearing armour they get minus to stats, forget whether this is in the rules or not remember the number one rule you are DM.

    Pick pocketing and players- If this is what they do all the time then either give them a scare pick pocketing a merchant who has a mean streak and used to be a mercenary or adventure himself. Or alternativly just say that thiefs are so prevailent no one keeps lots of gold on them (I mean how much money do you have on you at any one time). Finally pick pockets should be hung up or beaten to an inch of thier lives if caught forget trials.

    Not knowing the enviorment- If the players don't take an interest in the enviorment or local personalities make them, set an adventure outside a dungeon, make it a murder investigation or a horror game or anything that only involves a big climatic fight at the end, with a few minor henchmen to keep the more thuggish players interested. The players should never think that they can do what they want to who they want if "PC1: can i go up to the king and threaten him at knife point to getgold? can I steal from him?" this happens say sure you can, ask the players what exactly they are going to do, play it by ear but remember that the king has infinite mooney guards and acess to magic, the player no doubt will get a quick short sharp beat down. Incidentally don't go over board (i.e the Kings champion defeats them) just make the kings regular guards a lot better this will make the PC's realise not only does the king hire good guards but they aren't even his best soldiers.

    Cheat- Your players probably cheat sorry but they do.
    You have to take the power back, cheat but better. This is great for demonstrating that fighting isn't always the best strategy. BY fudging the dice rolls (which should be kept out of sight) then you can make minor ambushes bloody affairs. Cheating is a delicate art. Don't have a goblin or something rubbish beat up your players as the PC's will see through this and become frustrated and proabaly quit, also don't put in really powerful monsters like daeamons and dragons at every turn, instead bump up the stats of all the monsters by 10 or 20% or alternativly do the one more round rule (basicaslly the monster always survives for one more round than it should) or the fight till it does damage rule (harder to pull off especially with weak creatuers but basically the creature won't die till it causes at least some damage). Don't bother justifying this to your players they shouldn't even know you are doin it.

    That said [/B]it isn't all about controlling your players remember that they just want to have fun and fair play to them.
    You need to have a few resposnes ready for simple questions like have the peasants heard of such and such Merchant?. Best thing to do is determine whether the NPC does or not know the answer to the question if he doesn't determine whether he is talkitive or not, if he is talkative he will ask questions like maybe what does he look like? etc. The key is to make every NPC a person not just a statistic or another victim for the PC's.
    Basically don't allow vauge descriptions of conversations even for ordering drinks or food make the PC's and yourself act out the exchange it puts it far more in character.
    If the PC's want to have drinking contests get pints of water and make them have an actual contest (between each other obviously not with you) trust me drinking five pint of water in two minutes is no joke some one will probably spew.

    Finally a few things to throw into an adventure to spice it up
    -A pick pocket or renowned thief steals from the adventuers the mini quest is to get their stuff back
    -Beggars, orphans or other mundane misery to remind the playes it is not all fun and games.
    -PC's are accused of a crime falsly they must prove their innocence.
    -The PC's are given a long and convulted quest, turns out the dungeon, ruined city is deserted, there is no treasure or gold to be found.
    -A disgruntled merchant (maybe one they stole from) puts a contract out on the PC's life.
    -Famine hits the land the PC's can't even get food run with this what lengths will they go to survive (killing peasants they would normally protect etc)
    -Xenophobia at some of the non-human races how do the players react?
    -The next dungeon has a lot of riddles init the players have to work them out to go further into the dungeon (note the players themselves have to work out the riddles not just pass an Intelligence test

    Bare in mind though that all this should help the players to roleplay and treat the gaming world with a bit more fun, it shouldn't make you a dictator, if the players want to have pointless conversations in character with each other or NPC's let them its part of Role Playing. Equally if the players take the time to plan out an attack well in advance don't rush them, if they go into a room without thinking then naturally they won't have time to plan out their attack.


    Finally public speaking etc is a skill you can develop practice makes perfect. In fact being the DM of a role play group is a perfect chance to practice this very valuable skill which you will need for job interviews etc. Being able to think on your feet is also a good skill that comes with practice. If worse comes to worse and you need time to think, throw in a fight or some other plot device that you can run on auto pilot giving you time to think about your next move.




    Hope all this helps and wasn't too convoluted.
    Last edited by Visitor Q; May 21st, 2006 at 20:02.
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    Vey nicely done Berny Mac, and Martin, just remember the DM is effectively the god of D&D, if you don't like something change it!!
    Inquistion force WIP. Pics on posts 17 and 23.

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    Riddle Me This The Count's Avatar
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    i think the problem is that not everyone agreed with the way to play.
    i wanted it to be a world, a story
    my brother wanted it to be a kick in the door game, and only a game
    my older cousin screwed around and drew pictures
    my younger cousin was too dumb to get into the game
    adn my younger brother did only what my other brother told him to

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