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DnD help

vitus979

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Snack break / pizza run also works.
These days I'll just say it to the party. "You guys have done something I haven't planned for, and need a little time to process what's going to happen based on what you've done."

For a new GM and a new table I'd probably sneak out. In college our GM would say "smoke break" because he was the only one of us who smoked. :)
 

Stryst

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This is something that varies GM to GM. I write pretty complicated stories with a couple of backup plans, because I don't feel like I'm especially quick on my feet. My partner has a 3 x 5 with bullet points and just sort of makes up details on the spot.

One piece of advice that will probably come to you a lot as you get more GMing under your belt is to keep a notebook. You are going to have to make up NPCs and locations on the fly, and it can be hard to remember that blacksmiths name you pulled out three sessions ago.

Plan loosely, be comfortable spontaneously adding things, and keep notes.
 

Nooch

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If you're not sure what kind of story to create, have the PC's give you a four or five sentence backstory and build it out of that. The characters will start on day 1 with motivations and they'll appreciate their ideas being used. Also, don't be afraid to bounce back suggestions to change a PC's backstory a little to help it fit with the rest of the players. Just make sure you don't change the overall concept of what their doing.
 

Myth

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I, too, keep a notebook, but in my case it is to remember the stuff I made up so I can use it again.

Keep track of what is important to the players, and give them more of that. Give each character an occasional chance to shine.

Some starter techniques:
1) Lost Mine of Phandelver is in the Starter Set. It is a pretty good introduction. There will probably be deaths; there were for us, as we were overconfident.
2) Have them roll stats (or point-buy, or standard array, whatever), pick races, and choose backgrounds. Give them an intro adventure as teens or kids. Next adventure starts years later, when they are grown and have classes and stuff.
3) Start in the middle. Passengers on a coach headed to a new town. Travelling in a caravan attacked by bandits. Fighting off pirates on a burning ship.
 

cranebump

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Consider using Dungeon World as a reference, particularly for world creation and design of "Fronts."

As already warned, don't over-prepare. Or, as DW puts it, "Play to see what happens."
 

Myth

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Consider using Dungeon World as a reference, particularly for world creation and design of "Fronts."

As already warned, don't over-prepare. Or, as DW puts it, "Play to see what happens."
Particularly this. One of my current GMs takes it personally when we ruin one of his future plotlines. This often leads to moments of ugliness in an otherwise fun evening.
 

cranebump

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Particularly this. One of my current GMs takes it personally when we ruin one of his future plotlines. This often leads to moments of ugliness in an otherwise fun evening.
Yeah, it can be disheartening if you think you've got some whiz-bang setup, only to see it fall apart. I've grown to accept this as a feature rather than a bug, as I've grown older and gained more experience. I mean, I've had "derailment" occur to plain, simple blindness to the obvious. Case in point: I spent a great deal of time designing a ruined temple in a thick jungle. Had everything all mapped out inside, with a presumed idea where the players might go, once inside. However, because it was "crumbling," I had holes in the roof. Right there on my map. Players scaled the walls, walked on the roof, and scouted through the holes. Went right to the treasure room.:) Live and learn, I guess...
 

Malrex

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I never write long, detailed stories. What the characters do IS the story...so I just provide the groundwork, short background, and more importantly--a timetable of potential events. I think your approach is great so far. Through play, the players will show what is most interesting to them and you can develop that route as you go, rather than wasting time on a story that the players may try to derail. I'm more of a 1e and 2e player though.
 
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