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  #1561  
Old 06-26-2017, 07:32 AM
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Just grab a pre-made character. I'll let you make adjustments or re-build them later. I think Adventurer's League lets you make any changes you want (even changing race and class) up until you hit level 5. That sounds like a fair rule.
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  #1562  
Old 06-26-2017, 09:29 AM
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I am totally up for trying to make this happen tonight but there are a LOT of issues still up in the air on my end. In no particular order:

Is it too late to hard sell everyone on Maptool over Roll20?

How are we coordinating getting everyone into the game session/chat/whatever?

Does anyone have their character yet and what are you playing? Balanced parties are overrated but it's still nice to know who there is to bounce off of.

How do you actually make a 5e character? This is literally my first time even touching the system* past super early playtest versions. Is there an SRD? Any house rules to be aware of about stats/HP/starting equipment/whatever?

Also did I miss a proper pitch for the campaign itself? i.e. "The PCs are all a bunch of _____ who know each other from ______ who have gathered in ______ in the town of _______ (which is basically a generic fantasy version of ________) and been tasked with ______ing ______. You can generally expect most adventures to involve _______."

* Pretty sure I have an actual handle on at least 90% of the mechanics through osmosis, it's just character creation's in that other 10%.
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  #1563  
Old 06-26-2017, 09:50 AM
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My dream character is a Kenku who was formerly a wizard's apprentice. He would cast spells by imitating the incantations of his former master and other spellcasters that he's encountered. But actually playing a Kenku sounds difficult and, well, annoying to the other players...
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  #1564  
Old 06-26-2017, 10:14 AM
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Ugh. I forgot how much work it is to coordinate something like this...
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  #1565  
Old 06-26-2017, 11:03 AM
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I haven't heard anything about what time people are free to play. Does 6 work?

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Originally Posted by Büge View Post
Ugh. I forgot how much work it is to coordinate something like this...
Once I post the thread things will be easier, but I wanted to run a game tonight to see what sort of things I should mention in the thread. A little chaos now will help things in the long run. Are you in tonight?

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Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
My dream character is a Kenku who was formerly a wizard's apprentice. He would cast spells by imitating the incantations of his former master and other spellcasters that he's encountered. But actually playing a Kenku sounds difficult and, well, annoying to the other players...
Do it! You don't have to annoy people with random sounds, just narrate what your character is doing or trying to get across. "Birdo makes the noise of coins falling into a purse," or "I use a few different voices to get across that we should scale the wall." It would take a little creativity, but I think it sounds cool.

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Originally Posted by Googleshng View Post
I am totally up for trying to make this happen tonight but there are a LOT of issues still up in the air on my end. In no particular order:

Is it too late to hard sell everyone on Maptool over Roll20?

How are we coordinating getting everyone into the game session/chat/whatever?

Does anyone have their character yet and what are you playing? Balanced parties are overrated but it's still nice to know who there is to bounce off of.

How do you actually make a 5e character? This is literally my first time even touching the system* past super early playtest versions. Is there an SRD? Any house rules to be aware of about stats/HP/starting equipment/whatever?

Also did I miss a proper pitch for the campaign itself? i.e. "The PCs are all a bunch of _____ who know each other from ______ who have gathered in ______ in the town of _______ (which is basically a generic fantasy version of ________) and been tasked with ______ing ______. You can generally expect most adventures to involve _______."

* Pretty sure I have an actual handle on at least 90% of the mechanics through osmosis, it's just character creation's in that other 10%.
We're using Roll 20 tonight since I spent some time learning it, but if I don't like it I'm up for trying maptools. I'll send a session invite later today once things are set up.

The party makeup is likely to change each time you play, and characters will be different levels as the campaign progresses. 5e doesn't really require a balanced party either since you can heal up on short rests. It's ok to coordinate, but I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Here are the basic rules for 5e:

http://media.wizards.com/2014/downlo...rules_v0.2.pdf

It has the entire player's handbook, except that it only has human/elves/drarves/halflings as races, and fighter/cleric/rogue/wizard as classes and the spells that are relevant to those options. You can also use the pregenerated characters I posted earlier. They're really good, you may want to take a look before you start making your own. Beyond that, you need a copy of the player's handbook for other race/class options, and there are a few other books and playtest material out there with additional options.

I'm holding off a bit on the campaign pitch until I post the main thread, but basically you're exploring the wilderness around a frontier town, and you are going to have a lot of control over your exact background and reason for being there. You're in a party because it's dangerous and you want to survive outside of the town.
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  #1566  
Old 06-26-2017, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
Once I post the thread things will be easier, but I wanted to run a game tonight to see what sort of things I should mention in the thread. A little chaos now will help things in the long run. Are you in tonight?
I can't make it tonight, no. Sorry.
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  #1567  
Old 06-26-2017, 01:47 PM
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I can't make it tonight, no. Sorry.
No worries! There will be more opportunities.
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  #1568  
Old 06-26-2017, 04:01 PM
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I'm just gonna use a pre-gen for now, I think; the Human Druid.
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  #1569  
Old 06-26-2017, 04:35 PM
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I hate to flake because that's the reason I haven't been able to play with my in-person friends for the last, like, 6 months, but we're short at work today and someone called in sick. I'm covering and am not sure I'll be able to make it tonight.

On the positive side, I've got my Kenku mostly rolled up, so I should be ready for the next session.

I'm free most Sundays (any time) and am typically off work Monday nights after 5:00 PM Central if that works for anyone else.
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  #1570  
Old 06-26-2017, 04:42 PM
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No worries! I think it's pretty likely I'll run some games on Sundays and Mondays.
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  #1571  
Old 06-27-2017, 08:47 AM
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Sundays are actually better for me too.
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  #1572  
Old 06-27-2017, 08:58 AM
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Yeah, I raid in FFXIV on almost all Mondays, so Sunday games would be where I'd join.
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  #1573  
Old 06-27-2017, 03:21 PM
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I'm studying tonight but I'll be in the Roll20 room for as long as I'm here and available. If anything happens I'll probably be ready for a break by whenever it starts. Alternately, I run a 5e game myself so if anyone wants help in chargen I'll tab over once in a while. be in #talkingtime.

When we move that we're starting at six, uh, what time zone are we talkin' about here?

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My dream character is a Kenku who was formerly a wizard's apprentice.
My character is already a kenku fighter so roll up and we'll murder them get it

Last edited by R^2; 06-27-2017 at 03:54 PM.
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  #1574  
Old 06-27-2017, 03:35 PM
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Sorry, I can't run a game tonight, I'm going to a play. I'll post the game thread tomorrow and I'll have more info in there about scheduling. I'm in the Central Time Zone, I'll make sure to emphasize that going forward. The crow jokes are already starting!
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  #1575  
Old 06-27-2017, 03:56 PM
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Should this game get its own thread split off, leaving this topic for more generalized discussion?
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  #1576  
Old 06-27-2017, 04:04 PM
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Hear ye, hear ye! I make a motion to move to move discussion to another thread.
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  #1577  
Old 06-27-2017, 04:42 PM
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Yeah, sorry for letting this go on so long. I have a thread just about ready that I need to touch up. I'll try to get it up tonight.
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  #1578  
Old 06-27-2017, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R^2 View Post
My character is already a kenku fighter so roll up and we'll murder them get it
*immaculately imitated sound of a high five*
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  #1579  
Old 06-28-2017, 12:05 PM
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Hmm, I did want to try throwing together a celestial-blood (UA) Sorc build. maybe I'll do that in the possible case I play a session.
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  #1580  
Old 06-28-2017, 12:14 PM
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I want to start playing D&D (5e) with some friends. I have a bit of experience through playing (only four sessions, though), two were at two of the sessions with me, where we three learned how to play at all, and two will be completely new to how D&D works. I will take the role of DM. My plan is to just play with them through the starting campaign "Lost Mine of Phandelver".

Any tips for being DM? I expect this to be a very casual game, and the lack of experience means that I have to give suggestions and additional infos. Let's see:

- I don't want them to die. The first encounter is with four hidden goblins (two of them archers), who might surprise the group. How hard is this encounter for first time players? Should I drop one of the goblins? In general, should I drop the difficulty a bit, to make sure everyone survives? As mentioned, this will be casual and beginnerlevel, and I can't imagine anyone being motivated to continue playing if they lose their character in the first session.

- As I understand it, when a PC hits 0 HP, he is uncontious, but has three dice roles to get one HP back. Or any other character can use an action to do first aid and stabilize him (so the PC has one HP back). Is this correct?

- How can I encourage the players to follow the campaign and do the sidequests? Not necessarily for this, but in general. I don't want to straight up tell the others that they have to follow it, because it's my first time as DM too, and I wouldn't really know what else to do, if they decide to just go off wandering somewhere else.

- For spellcasting, the class can prepare spells from the list and cast some of them, depending on level. For example, a lvl 1 cleric can prepare four spells from the list. He can cast two of these spells because of his two spell slots (or one two times). After resting, he can again cast two of the four spells. Correct?

- I imagine that the players don't want to read through all the possible spells, so I would like to suggest them good ones, or just tell them which they will have access to. Which ones are good for to have for clerics and wizards in low levels (lets say up to level 3)?

That's all I can think of for now. Anything else I should keep in mind for new players?
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  #1581  
Old 06-28-2017, 12:32 PM
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I can only really speak to (1), but modern modules aren't designed as PC murder machines. They'll be challenging, but nothing in the module should be deliberately geared towards mulching your players outside of the party waltzing into a big gathering of goblins or whatever. As long as you have one or two people capable of some healing, they should be fine.
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  #1582  
Old 06-28-2017, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyblue View Post
Hmm, I did want to try throwing together a celestial-blood (UA) Sorc build. maybe I'll do that in the possible case I play a session.
Join us in the thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FelixSH View Post
I want to start playing D&D (5e) with some friends. I have a bit of experience through playing (only four sessions, though), two were at two of the sessions with me, where we three learned how to play at all, and two will be completely new to how D&D works. I will take the role of DM. My plan is to just play with them through the starting campaign "Lost Mine of Phandelver".

Any tips for being DM? I expect this to be a very casual game, and the lack of experience means that I have to give suggestions and additional infos. Let's see:

- I don't want them to die. The first encounter is with four hidden goblins (two of them archers), who might surprise the group. How hard is this encounter for first time players? Should I drop one of the goblins? In general, should I drop the difficulty a bit, to make sure everyone survives? As mentioned, this will be casual and beginnerlevel, and I can't imagine anyone being motivated to continue playing if they lose their character in the first session.

- As I understand it, when a PC hits 0 HP, he is uncontious, but has three dice roles to get one HP back. Or any other character can use an action to do first aid and stabilize him (so the PC has one HP back). Is this correct?

- How can I encourage the players to follow the campaign and do the sidequests? Not necessarily for this, but in general. I don't want to straight up tell the others that they have to follow it, because it's my first time as DM too, and I wouldn't really know what else to do, if they decide to just go off wandering somewhere else.

- For spellcasting, the class can prepare spells from the list and cast some of them, depending on level. For example, a lvl 1 cleric can prepare four spells from the list. He can cast two of these spells because of his two spell slots (or one two times). After resting, he can again cast two of the four spells. Correct?

- I imagine that the players don't want to read through all the possible spells, so I would like to suggest them good ones, or just tell them which they will have access to. Which ones are good for to have for clerics and wizards in low levels (lets say up to level 3)?

That's all I can think of for now. Anything else I should keep in mind for new players?
Yes, the start of the adventure and the first two levels in general are reasonably deadly. Feel free to cut a goblin here & there. Also, be careful about using surprise, and don't have the enemies focus fire on one character or go after weaker characters exclusively.

Unconscious characters make a death saving throw each round. After 3 failures they die, and after 3 successes they're stabalized at 0 hp and regain 1 hp after 1d4 hours. If they roll a 20 they instantly regain a hit point. Or, someone can just use healing magic or a potion to get them back up instantly. Your Cleric/Bard/Druid definitely want Healing Word- it lets them heal from range as a bonus action, perfect for getting downed characters back in the fight. For the Wizard, Sleep is very powerful for the first few levels. Make sure magic users have at least one damage dealing cantrip too.

Have fun!!
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  #1583  
Old 06-28-2017, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FelixSH View Post
- How can I encourage the players to follow the campaign and do the sidequests? Not necessarily for this, but in general. I don't want to straight up tell the others that they have to follow it, because it's my first time as DM too, and I wouldn't really know what else to do, if they decide to just go off wandering somewhere else.
This one is probably best handled by pre-game discussion. Let them know that you'll be playing a pre-written module which is intended for the players to explore certain content. You'll be happy to do a little improvisation as necessary, but the players will be expected to follow the general hook of the module. If, in later sessions, they want to explore the world more then you can adjust your playstyle.
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  #1584  
Old 06-28-2017, 02:59 PM
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One suggestion I'd offer, especially for new players, is start them at level 2. Most classes don't increase appreciably in complexity from level 1 to level 2, but the extra HP and spell slot makes a shockingly big difference in survivability. At the same time, their damage output, saves, and skill checks are unchanged, so the difficulty of encounters and challenges isn't going to change much, apart from dramatically reduced odds of accidentally killing someone.

Also, particularly for new players, don't be afraid to remind them of options available to their character if they seem stumped. I'd suggest reminding them of two that could fit a given situation and letting them pick them. Don't be afraid to give them hints about a monster's abilities - "that one looks tough"; "it looks small and weak"; "it doesn't seem very smart"; "its screeches chill your bones". D&D presumes that players are familiar with monster abilities, at least in broad terms.

For spells, I'd recommend guiding your players towards spells that will be useful for the adventure, and away from bad options. (Eg, Charm Person, not good. Locate Object, either breaks the plot or is worthless. Not much point to Hold Person if they'll never fight humanoids. Identify schmentify.) Find Familiar, Command, and Color Spray are much better than they initially appear.
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  #1585  
Old 06-28-2017, 06:37 PM
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I think playing at 1st level is underrated really. Nice to spend at least a good chunk of an adventure not being able to just power through things and being forced to be careful and considerate before becoming Big Damn Adventurers.

The trick for GMing a 1st level party though is to engineer early encounters to seriously tilt the odds in the players' favor. There's two really good ways to do so in my experience:

#1- Don't have them fight stuff that does HP damage. There are a fair number of monsters that either do something other than HP damage (stirges in 3.X/Pathfinder for instance do a few points of con damage then go take a nap, a few really wimpy things that attack for like d3-2 damage and can't really reasonably kill you, human or human-like jerks who aren't really inclined to face murder charges and so just knock people out and rob them, etc.).

#2- Optimize things for the PCs tactically. They're defending from an attack coming in hours or days and have time to plan, the things they're fighting are asleep when they show up, or on really uneasy footing for some reason, etc.

And I'd almost certainly avoid giving anything they're fighting access to ranged attacks early on because that's giving free attacks to the enemies at a level where it's pretty much all just about being the first to land a hit.
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  #1586  
Old 06-28-2017, 07:26 PM
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I don't think you need to start them at level 2, you can just softball it as a DM. Make up a reason they can get free healing and revives for a while, have monsters capture instead of kill if the players "die", or just fudge things behind the screen.

Getting to level 2 is really exciting for new players, and in 5e you can usually hit it like halfway through your first session.
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  #1587  
Old 06-28-2017, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traumadore View Post
have monsters capture instead of kill if the players "die",
The difference between "hit to kill" and "hit to KO" is literally "I decide that this is not going to kill the guy" as you hit him. Only melee attacks count, so Fighters are better at subduing than Wizards, who are likely to be using cantrips as their basic attacks, but monsters? Man, monsters that are CR1 and less aren't using cantrips, they're hitting with claws and clubs and stuff.

Monsters, particularly evil humanoids, gloat. A goblin who captures a human and drags it back to camp is suddenly King Shit of Turd Mountain. Tie that pink-skinned bastard up and make sure he knows his fate is the big iron cookpot, and hey, isn't that water boiling yet what's taking so long? Ham it up. Taunt the PCs with the goblins rifling through their packs and divvying their possessions as loot (just like the PCs would have rifled through the goblins' pockets had the fight gone the other way).

The PCs are one criminally easy Acrobatics check to wriggle out of the half-rotted and poorly-knotted ropes the goblins tied them up in, and then your players get the satisfaction of vengeance. Sure, the PCs got overwhelmed and defeated, but now they've turned that around into a victory! It'll make a better story that way anyway.
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  #1588  
Old 06-28-2017, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FelixSH View Post
Any tips for being DM? I expect this to be a very casual game, and the lack of experience means that I have to give suggestions and additional infos. Let's see:

- I don't want them to die. The first encounter is with four hidden goblins (two of them archers), who might surprise the group. How hard is this encounter for first time players? Should I drop one of the goblins? In general, should I drop the difficulty a bit, to make sure everyone survives? As mentioned, this will be casual and beginnerlevel, and I can't imagine anyone being motivated to continue playing if they lose their character in the first session.
Before I respond, there are a lot of DMs who will tell you what you should/should not be doing, and that advice is well met, but ultimately you need to figure out what works for you and what works for your players. Some DMs embrace a very open world game or a "let the dice fall where they may" attitude whereas some DMs require a rough script to guide players toward or fudge rolls to keep things exciting (or to help PCs). Some players see every problem as a nail to hit with their warhammer or will maximize their characters to do one thing incredibly (sometimes frustratingly) well, while other players are going to want to talk through every situation or will be blissfully ignorant as to how to maximize their character.

My advice for the first session is keep it simple. There's going to be tons of rules questions, but instead of pausing the game to look up a rule, adjudicate it and write it down to look up *after* the game. Don't ask players to make dice rolls unless failure can still lead them to their destination. If they seem lost, put a fiugurative giant neon sign up to direct them. And when something happens that clearly excites the players, lean into it!

Finally, don't be afraid to solicit feedback. What did they like/dislike about a session? What excited them, what bored them? What do they like about their characters what do they dislike? What would they like to see more of, what would the like to see less of?

As to your questions...

The DMG can help you calculate difficulty (well, more like ballpark it) but how challenging a fight is *calculated* and how difficult a fight *is* are not always one in a same. Until higher levels there can be a lot of randomness. I'm not familiar with the module but its got some really tough fights from a raw challenge rating perspective (https://skaldforge.wordpress.com/201...-of-phandelver). So caution is well advised, but noting again that encounter difficulty is not a science and that challenging fights can be fun for players!

Perhaps think about what you would do *if* the PCs lost. The goblins don't need to kill them. The could do everything from rob the PCs of their gold (and dump them on the edge of town, bruised but alive) to capturing them and throwing them in a cell. You can even set it up, hitting that the goblins have been committing robbery and the like, but never *killing* anyone.

You have plenty of options too to modify the encounter. Add a flat -1 to hit or damage, cut monster hp in half, fudge dice rolls if things are getting hairy. Or run the goblins as tactically stupid (I.e. Not focus firing). You can also rationalize a retreat or have the goblins demand the PCs collect their unconscious friends and leave if they clearly are crushing them.

But I honestly recommend starting the encounter straight to start with and see what the PCs do. Just have a plan in your pocket if things go sour quickly.

Quote:
- As I understand it, when a PC hits 0 HP, he is uncontious, but has three dice roles to get one HP back. Or any other character can use an action to do first aid and stabilize him (so the PC has one HP back). Is this correct?
Not quite, but Patrick gave a good summary below. Toss a few potions in early for emergencies.

Quote:
- How can I encourage the players to follow the campaign and do the sidequests? Not necessarily for this, but in general. I don't want to straight up tell the others that they have to follow it, because it's my first time as DM too, and I wouldn't really know what else to do, if they decide to just go off wandering somewhere else.
This is sacrilege for some DMs players but here is my advice: don't be afraid to railroad your players from time to time. Sometimes they need to catch a train, especially if the other option is having them spin their wheels and get bored. Just make it clear *why* their characters would want to follow the tracks.

So frame the problem for them. Tell them (through a colourful NPC) what happens if they don't do the quest. Outline the rewards. Make it clear that the alternative to going into those mines is far less lucrative, and far less exciting. Heck, turn it around: ask each of them why/what their character would want to do any particular quest (money? Fame? Vengeance? Lawful Good?), and present that motivation if it's lacking.

The honest truth is if a PC would rather faff about in the woods rather than play the adventure you prepared even with your best efforts (especially as a new DM!) to encourage them towards the plot, they're probably not someone who you want at your table.

Quote:
- For spellcasting, the class can prepare spells from the list and cast some of them, depending on level. For example, a lvl 1 cleric can prepare four spells from the list. He can cast two of these spells because of his two spell slots (or one two times). After resting, he can again cast two of the four spells. Correct?
Preparing spells differs between classes slightly. A level one cleric can choose Wisdom mod + cleric level worth of spells from their list. They can them spontaneously cast spells from that list up to their maximum per day/long rest (2 at level one). They can be the same spell. At a long rest, they can choose new spells to spontaneously cast if desired.

Quote:
- I imagine that the players don't want to read through all the possible spells, so I would like to suggest them good ones, or just tell them which they will have access to. Which ones are good for to have for clerics and wizards in low levels (lets say up to level 3)?
Keep it simple. For clerics, Light, Mending, Sacred Flame + Cure Wounds, Detect Magic, Guiding Bolt, Sanctuary. For wizards, Acid Splash, Mage Hand, Shocking Grasp + Magic Missile, Mage Armor, Detect Magic and Burning Hands.

Note, all relatively simple spells, and none of which (save Detect Magic) requires concentration.

- Eddie
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:55 AM
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FelixSH FelixSH is offline
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Thanks a lot for all the advice.

We now have a date for the first session, in roughly two weeks, so I still have time to get to understand how everything works in detail. I'm excited.
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:34 AM
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Paul le Fou Paul le Fou is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie View Post
Keep it simple. For clerics, Light, Guidance, Sacred Flame + Cure Wounds, Detect Magic, Guiding Bolt, Sanctuary. For wizards, Acid Splash, Mage Hand, Shocking Grasp + Magic Missile, Mage Armor, Detect Magic and Burning Hands.
Guidance. Guidance!
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