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DnD help


New member
Heya heya! So a few of my friends want me to be their DM (Dungeon Master) for DnD because i know how to play and the baisic rules. I told them to wait yntil we're not in school so we can voice call so it's faster. The problem is, school's almost out and i still dont know what kind of campaign i'd like to do. Does anyone have any ideas? I have a few maps sketched out and some encounters, but i just dont know what way i want to take the campaign. And all my players are new, so it'll be challenging teaching them the rules as we go.

HardKore Keltoid

RAW Cultist
Validated User
What kind of encounters do you have, then? What level are you starting at and where will they be ending?

You have maps? Good, what area is this set in?


a.k.a. Mr. Meat Popcicle
Validated User
I find teaching new players is best done in play. And as a DM it's best not to over plan anything.

For brand new players I make available pregenerated characters for their first adventure, with further allowance that they may create their own characters if they wish. Because D&D specifically does not do character creation well for brand new players.

Once characters are made I come up with a very basic scenario, one where the call to action (to use literary terms) has already been followed. The classic setup "starting out in a tavern" staring at each other is not a conducive way to start an adventure for new players.

Start simple.

Beginning play where the call to adventure has already been answered is a great way to kick things off. "You answered the ad to rid monsters in the mine, you each have been offered 50 gold pieces for the work." Is how I started playing D&D decades ago. Then we cut straight to the mine.

Of course it doesn't have to be a mine. But typically a monster killing adventure is an easy set up for the DM. It gives the players a clear goal, a reason to be there, and an avenue for success. As the DM you only have to worry about what is in the location that you're currently adventuring.

Remember as the DM you don't have to write an entire campaign and story before play begins, in fact that would be counterproductive to do.

It's a good practice to describe things in a vague manner. And then when the players ask for more specifics about something, come up with details as needed.

You don't need, "In the oligarchy of Graymare the Nine Lords have decreed death to all monsters, which has driven the Brown Nose goblin clan to the brink of starvation. Ironton, a bustling mining operation has been halted due to the Brown Nose goblin tribe holding up in the Ironton mine. Gerhalt the local Shire Reeve has posted bounties of 50 gold pieces for each goblin head."

That's a lot and the players will likely glaze over after the first ten words if you try to read that aloud to them.

A better intro would be something like: "A sheriff in the town you're in posted a goblin bounty. Rumors abound that there are goblins in the local mines."

Then let the players ask the questions they want to know for details. "What's the village name?" "Ironton." "How much is the bounty?" "50 gp per head." Players ask their own questions help with immersion, and immersion helps the players feel like they are making meaningful choices in the story.

Keep it simple, especially when starting out DMing. Only plan for the next session. That's what I do. No need to plan an entire story arc. Plan a session, play a session

You'll have good ideas where the game will go at the end of each session to plan for the next session.

In my campaign I have no idea where the PCs will be two sessions from now, but I know where they were when they ended the last session, and roughly where they want to go next session. So I plan one session in advance.

As for what to plan, a couple encounters, people, and descriptions of places they are likely to interact with aren't a bad idea. But it's easy to get overwhelmed at this stage so don't over think it. A place description doesn't need to be more than a sentence long, a NPC doesn't need to be more than a name and a few words of description. An encounter doesn't need to be more than a monster or two and a brief description of the environment.

Notes might be like:
"Ironton mine dark, dank, smells like burnt out torches. Scraping sounds deep within."

"Sheriff Gerhalt, balding, buff, but tubby. Middle aged human. Construction worker voice."

"Ironton mine encounters. 1d6 goblins pg XX. 1d4 giant rats pg XX. Bugbear chief pg XX.

Typically I write down the stats and little information blurbs about monster tactics. Like: "guerilla tactics, hit and run. Bug ear is goblin chief. Goblins may plead for mercy, starving people."


Registered User
RPGnet Member
Validated User
If you're playing 5e I'd just start with the Starter Set if the players are new to the game.


Building something out of Scrap
Validated User
Try to find a couple of pre-written adventures to run. it will give you all a chance to learn the rules, and work out what parts of the game you like. it will also give you time work what adventure that you want to run.

Remember though, not all GMs come up with their own games, there are some GMs that do nothing but run pre-written adventures 100% of the time. Don't feel that you have to do that creative work of writing your own scenarios before you are ready too. You'll make mistakes as a new GM, so get them out the way on some-one else's adventure. That way, when you feel confident enough to unleash your own creativity on the players, they'll be so much more amazed at how good your adventures are compared to the pre-writen ones ;).

Einar Stormcrow

Plot-relevant NPC
Validated User
I'll second the recommendation on the Starter Set. Phandelver is a solid adventure. It gives a lot of advice for someone just starting out. And if you want to continue on from there with some other published adventure, I believe some of them even give advice for picking up where the Starter Set leaves off.

Barring that, you really can't go wrong with some premades and a simple dungeon. As was said before, you really don't have to overthink it all in advance. Just have an idea of where you might like to see it go. And this is coming from a chronic overthinker. It's good advice I wish I had an easier time taking myself.


Registered User
Validated User
Never be afraid to grab a module, adventure, or even campaign off the shelf. You can learn a lot about adventure design. And a lot of them are really good! The Night Below is probably my favorite adventure of all time.

And if money is an issue, there are some good adventures available online.


New member
As a DM your mind is the story. Highlight or note ideas or you story in your mind. You should have a good imagination and keep the game flowing. Have your monsters and NPC noted make sure to make them memorable. (For example Innkeeper that is over hyper or old old lady that is an awesome archer). Note small details but use your mind to tell your story. You have to be quick on your feet as well you have to embody your NPC's, Monsters, and environment remember you are the game as well as the storyteller. If you want to write it all out do it but like the others on this tread don't over do it, you have your book and resource to look at. Make sure your area is spread out, and you have all your material.
It is fun and make it fun people just want a story and an adventure.


Registered User
Validated User
Don't think about your story too hard. The players will probably derail it pretty quickly. So keep things loose, and have fun.

(And don't be afraid to change games if it's not working. I started a group of new players on Planet Mercenary, which I loved but it just had too many rules. We switched over to a minimalist system, Tiny D6, and it worked a lot better for them. So don't get too wedded to your first system, your first module, whatever. Be flexible.)


Registered User
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Don't think about your story too hard. The players will probably derail it pretty quickly. So keep things loose, and have fun.
Truth. Though as a new GM you won't fully understand it until the intricate plot you've spent hours building between sessions crumbles to the ground at first contact with the party. It won't necessarily happen immediately, but eventually it will.

The secret WHEN that happens is to ask for a bathroom break so you can regroup. While in the restroom set aside your disappointment an anger about all that work being for nothing so that you don't take it out on the players.
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