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Author Topic: D&D on Ell: A Teaching  (Read 985 times)

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Offline chronosmakerTopic starter

D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« on: June 17, 2008, 09:10:07 PM »
Dunno if this is the right place, but I was wondering if anyone, or anyone-s, would mind/be interested in teaching me how to DM on something like the forum? I oh so much want to DM since I never got the chance, and I thought this might be a bit simpler since its more RP than rules.

Anyone mind helping me learn and maybe starting a campaign after I get my head wrapped around it enough?

Offline Sabetha

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2008, 09:52:08 PM »
Hmmm...what exactly are you looking to learn?  Coming up with a story/encounters?  Managing your players?  Trying to balance the campaign?  There are some aspects of DMing that I feel I could help with, but...not others.

Offline chronosmakerTopic starter

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2008, 09:55:55 PM »
Pretty much all aspects. I never got much of the chance seeingas I live miles from anything of note. I mean I write, I can come up with plots usely, but adapting them to the game I'm not too sure. After that, I have ideas, but I'd rather learn than guess. So any help in any way would be wonderful.

Offline Sabetha

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2008, 10:02:52 PM » you have a DMG and Monster Manual?  Have you played D&D from the other side of the screen before?  Usually, I come up with a few bad guys I want to play, or a quirky plot idea to torture my group.  Then I think about what kind of setting this would need...a swamp or forest,  city or abandoned tower, and page through the MM to place obstacles in the way.

I learn well through reading, so the parts of those books that talk about creating your own monsters and crafting encounters worked well for me.  Another useful resource is to go through some of the online modules you can find for free and take/change pieces to fit whatever story you want to tell.

BTW, if anyone else catches this thread and wants to chime in, I won't be offended.

Offline chronosmakerTopic starter

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2008, 10:05:24 PM »
I have both, not 4th edition though, but by the sounds of it thats not much of a problem. Its jsut the problem is sometimes just reading it doesn't make sense to me. Sometimes I need to actually talk with someone about it to get an understanding.

Offline Sabetha

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2008, 10:07:49 PM »
Well...I don't have much experience DMing on a forum, mostly I prefer free-form online.  But it hasn't been that different from table-top the time's I've tried it.  So if you're looking to start up a game, I could maybe co-GM with you?  Let you mostly run the show and help you when you had a question?

Offline chronosmakerTopic starter

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2008, 10:09:28 PM »
That'd be great. And really I jsut want to run a campaign period. I jsut suggested forum since, well, we ARE here.

Offline Sabetha

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2008, 10:11:06 PM »
Makes sense...want to PM me with what you have in mind?  We can do a bit of plotting then open up a Players Wanted thread.

Offline chronosmakerTopic starter

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2008, 10:11:43 PM »

But the thread is still open, to anyone else who is looking here.

Offline Jeramiahh

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2008, 11:56:16 PM »
Well, with a fair amount of experience in this regard, myself, on this forum, though primarily GMing solo games, I can definitely offer some advice.

First, expect to take it slow, combat in particular. If you get through a round a day in a group game, you're doing well. Even solo games are slow; I started a weekly tabletop game and a solo game on here at almost the same time (The game on here actually came first.) The tabletop game is nearing the end of the 5th act; the PbP here is nearing the end of the first. And it started six months ago, albeit with only 350 posts.

Second, do everything in your power to make things go quicker; don't have people roll for every little thing. I end up doing a lot of rolls, myself; opposed checks are a common one, for instance. It's hard to justify having an entire post (and 1-3 days!) for "Ok, roll an opposed check to see if he grapples you."

Third, encourage description; unlike in real time, where people want to keep the game flowing, PbP means you have lots and ots of time to spend detailing movements and actions. Use it. Take your attack roll, and turning it into flowery prose, describing how you clash with the enemy. And this is as much advice for the DM as the players; ham up your monsters, make them monstrous. Don't just say "The small band of orcs advances towards you." Try "The ragged band of slavering, bloodthirsty orcs raise their blood-stained weapons, hooting and hollering, and they race forward in a frenzy to see which will be the first to draw your blood."

The fewer players, the better; especially online, but IRL, too, people have a tendency to drop out, and here, they'll give you far less warning. I write my games, now, to make sure players are easily removable/replaceable.

To go with some of the above notes, have a copy of every player's sheet. This may sound like a 'duh' to some people, but I know some GMs who never even bother to look over player's characters... and then wonder why things go wrong. It allows you to roll things for them, offscreen (though informing players that dice are rolling can be an effective tool for intimidation...) and take over the character, if the player up and vanishes. Not an optimal solution, to be certain, but necessary, in some cases.

If you have any other questions, please, feel free to drop me a line. I love to blither on about this stuff all day, even when I'm supposed to be writing up the intro to another game right now.

Offline chronosmakerTopic starter

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2008, 12:03:51 AM »
Very good advice, I'll definitely be talking to you some more.

Offline Xillen

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2008, 04:37:39 AM »
As for 4th, there's not too many people with those books yet, and a lot of people still have their 3.5 books, so it's not a problem at all to roll a 3.5 game, especially if you're more familiar with that engine.

I prefer to simply roll ALL the dice myself when I'm DMing a game over a forum. I can just grab an actual die, or a simple click and happen dieroller installed on my computer, not having to worry about having them stored on websites. Elliquiy does have a dieroller built into the forum, so DM's can check if that's really what the players rolled, but A, it can make the game go slower, and B, I have several people that don't even really know what to roll when.

You should set a bit of plot for yourself, making sure to have game equivalents for the stuff that requires dicerolling, mostly combat and traps (If the group is just gonna talk to a peasant to ask when he last heard those weird sounds, then you don't need to stat that peasant out, they're just talking). By this, you should already have an estimated level for the player characters, and as your first time DMing, lowlevel is highly recommended.

Then simply open a post on the players wanted board, and include:
- A simple glance at the plot, to catch players' interest.
- The engine you're using, as well as what materials are allowed and what experience players need (this depends on how much you want to do. If you're fine with helping people make their character, or make their character for them, then they don't really need experience. The SRD ( ) could provide the neccesary requirements.
- The type of game played (what board will it be on? Do you want a certain matchup of genders? Are people playing crossgenders ok? etc...) as well as the amount of players you're looking for.
- Character generation rules. Here, it's actually pretty useful to use a point-based system, to prevent players from making a lot of roles that have dire influence on their character. Include the starting level/xp, starting gold, if races with LA are allowed, etc...

when it looks like you're actually getting somewhere, you'll probably want to create three threads on the most appropiate small games forum:
- Characters, where players can post their character. An alternative is having the players PM you their characters and posting them yourself. I like players posting them themselves. With their avatar next to them, it's easy to find the right one.
- An OOC thread (Out of Character) where the players can ask general and specific questions about the game, and have a bit of chit-chat. Informing players that they gained xp/leveled up is also best mentioned in this thread.
- An IC thread (In Character) where the actual story plays out. Your first IC post will most likely be describing the room the characters are gathering in. It's common sense to have all players post once in the thread before you write your first reply, so everyone had a decent chance to make their introduction, but after that, this will no longer be required. Out of combat, (unless you only have say 2 players) it is best not to use a specific posting order, as that will only slow down the game even more.

In combat, roll the initiative for all involved characters (including NPC's) and post a list, possibly with a line marker at the top. You can copy paste the list, moving the line marker around to show who's turn it currently is (it should always be the turn of the person right below the line marker). You can hide NPC's from the list when they haven't made an action yet, or when players are not aware of their presense. Players can actually write their actions in advance, possibly including some IF's. If, by the time it's their turn, and their action no longer makes sense in the current situation, just discard their earlier written action and give them the possibility to write a new action. Most of the time though, you should be able to apply their old action and speed the game up, by dealing with two player actions in one post.

You might also want to look at some of the System games going on on this board. They might give you an idea about how such games are run.

Greetings, Xillen.

PS. Someone else happened to have a similar question on a different board:

Offline Sabetha

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2008, 08:07:57 AM » looks as though others are focusing more on running a campaign on a forum than I am...they might be better sources for you.  What I've been helping you with is more runing a mixed that can move between a forum and table-top.  I'd be more focusing on actual mechanics than it sounds like some people do; a lot of that is because my group loves the mechanics of the game, the math of it all. 

So If you're interested in that, let me know.  If you want to play more as Jeremiahh and Xillen describe it won't hurt my feelings, and I'll still be willing to help you out too, we'll just back off of trying to stick within the raw...

Offline Xillen

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2008, 08:21:14 AM »
Sabetha> Well, that was something that needed to be cleared up, since he was planning on playing it here, as far as I understood. This is more or less the "extra" when you actually want to apply the game to a forum.

Of course, that still leaves the general stuff of DMing to learn about, minus one thing perhaps. If you play over a forum you don't neccesarily need to plan the minor details ahead of time, as you can just look into them when the time comes.

Offline Sabetha

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2008, 08:29:39 AM »
I wasn't complaining.  I hope it didn't sound like that...

To be honest I'm glad that people are chiming in on the aspects I'm not as experienced in.  I haven't done much DMing over forums and none here on E.  In addition, since my usual group is so into the math aspect, it might not have occurred to me to suggest taking away a lot of the dice rolling from the players.

Offline Xillen

Re: D&D on Ell: A Teaching
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2008, 08:59:17 AM »
Well, for those that know when to roll what die, you can let them roll themselves, as well. That's what Jeramiahh is doing in his DoD campaign. All the players know how to play D&D there, though.

If my character attacks another character, I make the attack roll and the damage roll on the die roller here on E, so he can verify them. I'll include them at the top of my IC post, and then describe my actions below them. If I already know it's a hit or miss from earlier attacks, then I can just include that in my writing, else I'll leave it open. If my attack doesn't succeed, the damage roll is simply ignored. It's also not uncommon to post the DC for roles ahead of time, so players know if they succeed a check or not.

Though if you're playing a group game, then calling for "spot check" or "initiative" is just needlessly slowing down the game. It simply speeds up a lot more if you handle these as the DM.

Online, you already post the characters in a thread, so it doesn't matter. If you'd play IRL, it might be useful to ask for an updated copy of someone's character every once in a while, so you more or less know what kind of powers they have. This is also useful to actually let people use their abilities.

For example, a fighter has rather obvious abilities, and they'll come into play when he enters combat anyhow. A ranger on the other hand, has nature-related abilities, including the ability to follow tracks. Therefor, it would be interesting if, at some point in the story, the party would be helped out a lot if could follow a certain track, making the ranger's player feel like his character is useful :)