Welcome to Librarium Online!
I used to play on a weekly basis, but I've been out for about a year and a half, and now I want to get back into the game. I know it sounds insane, but I only have the Player's Handbook, and I'm charged with DMing my new group (a bunch of relatively new people as well) so I'm asking what should I buy/arrange/do to set all this up? Much thanks given for advice and help.
Pain is life, while I feel pain I still live, and while I still live I will seek vengance.We are few but strong in will
The last with pagan blood
We fought the world with burning steel
Now we sit in Hall of Gods
Well, I've DMed for a few years and here are some of
things I've learned.
1) Make sure your playing environment is quiet and there's
enough room for everyone. If you use miniatures and maps
(I don't) make sure you've got enough room on the table
to display them.
2) Give everyone time to speak, but try to keep things
moving on. I find it handy in combat to ask everyone
their action in turn and then get them to roll the dice.
3) Allow some time for "comfort breaks", cigarettes, etc.
4) Remember that you don't have to follow all the rules
exactly. If you don't like a part of the rules, don't use it.
Warn the players beforehand if it's a major part of the
rules, though. Their character choices might
have been made with a particular rule in mind.
5) If a player disagrees with a ruling you make, the following
guidelines may help:
Allow the player to make his case in a couple of minutes
maximum. If he can produce a rule to back his case up,
then you could change your ruling, if not, tell him/her that
if he still disagrees you'll discuss it after the game. Then
continue with the game. This way you'll only annoy 1 player
instead of all of them. After the game, he may be able to
convince you he was right.
6) Try to keep your rulings consistent. Nothing annoys a player
more than not being able to do something they've just
seen a monster do without a good explanation of why not.
7) Allow the players to do (stupid) things that the scenario
hasn't allowed for. You can always fudge things later to
get the party back on track.
Don't be afraid to punish players for bad choices they make,
sometimes you should just let the "dice fall where they may".
9) Keep a notebook with you and write down useful things
in it (NPC names you make up on the spur of the moment,
party order, current HPs for each PC, that sort of thing)
10) You have the final say on any rule.
11) Enjoy the game!
DnD 3.5 specific things
If you're playing DnD 3.5 then you must get the DMG.
As a player you'll know most of the rules, but the DMG
gives you the rest of the info you'll need.
The monster manual is useful too.
Character sheets are probably a must if you've got new players.
There's a lot of extraneous info you can ignore, but feats/
skills etc are much easier to deal with on pre-printed character
sheets rather than scraps of paper.
If you're running a pre-bought scenario they usually have
all the info you need to run any encounters, but remember to read
through the whole thing.
If you're running one of your own scenarios you must make
sure you've got all your encounters detailed, and all the NPC
names/stats at hand.
One final tip, don't let the players use any character classes
you're not familiar with (i.e. ones that are in supplements
you don't have access to). You can always buy/borrow the
any extra supplements you think are useful once your game
is up and running.
Hope this is helpful,