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Swords and Wizardry / ODnD / OSR advice?

S&W DnD 0e OSR GM

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#1 smokingwreckage

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 05:07 AM

So, novice GM, one novice (10 year old) player. We both love miniatures and nice, bought or printed dungeon tiles.

I'm looking for hot tips, novice-friendly adventures, whatever you've got to help a complete newb.

Naturally, he died because a wizard exploded.


#2 Inarah

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 07:42 AM

Free terrain tiles from WOTC. http://www.wizards.c...nd/mi/20041007b
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#3 kevinm

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 11:51 AM

NOTE - Most of what I say below is general GMing stuff. You probably already know most of it (even though you say you are a novice GM) and, if so, you can just ignore me! :)

Well, I dont have any advice on ready made adventures for novices. What I typically will do for the first session with new players (a party that is made up of all, or mostly, players who are new to RPGs) is take a One Page Dungeon (http://campaignwiki....Dungeon_Contest **) and then flesh out a background or back story for it and set the adventures at the mouth of the Dungeon ready to explore and let it rip from there. Basically, I will "railroad" them to the Dungeon but then I give them complete reign do to what they want...even if that means walk away. This gives beginner players a structure and motivation to go do something exciting and is less overwhelming than putting them in a tavern with a dozen options for different adventures. (Of course, ready to play modules wouldnt have that sort of problem either.) Yet, it still lets me be creative in the overall setting, story (initial plot and seeding of additional hooks), and motivation for the party.

**I love the 2011 adventure "The Heart of the Minotaur" but it would require some modifications to be good for a small party of low level adventurers.

Here is a tip if you havent played much OD&D...OD&D is very deadly for low level adventurers and S&W is no different. I recommend rolling up (or pre-rolling if you son isnt into character creation) a few extra PCs. Additionally, if your son has experience playing other RPGs he can always play as two characters. That way if one dies he has a second one ready to go and already involved in the action - the game wont grind to a stop or slow crawl with a single death. (Also, I wouldnt even mention non-human multi-classing to a new player. It always seems cool to play a Fighter/MU/Thief Elf but they take just enough more time and work for their player to generate/understand to be problematic and die just as easily as a normal Elf Thief would.)

To speed up character generation and get right to game play create a few "kits" (one or two per class) of non-weapon Equipment that contains what every adventurer would need (bedroll, 2 days "iron" rations, torches/lantern, rope, poll, etc., varied per kit of course) plus some class specific stuff (spell book or holy symbol, thief's tools, etc.) plus one or two "role play" type items (a clay pipe and tobacco, a brass kettle, a green handkerchief with the name "Harold" cross-stiched into it). Have these options laid out, priced, ready to go so that once your son has rolled up a character he can buy his gear without having to spend 10+ minutes looking and and asking questions about each item. The weapon list is much easier to manage and more fun to contemplate so I will let new players go wild with whatever they want to buy.

Lastly, what I typically like to do as the GM for low level beginner sessions (and I would recommend it if you feel that you can handle it) is to offer the party their choice in hiring several NPCs (usually 2 or 3) from a pool of about twice the number that the party can/should hire (great NPC generator here: http://www.barrowmaze.com/meatshields/). I do this after they have spent their gold on Equipment and Weapons so that they not only have everything that they need. but also so that they dont have enough resources to hire ALL of the best NPCs. The NPCs will range from Level 0 commoners up to Level 1 or Level 2 adventurers but the party has no idea beyond some basic descriptions of each applicants physical appearance/gear, their attitude, and their hiring cost. Of course, I mix it up and make some Level 0s or sub-par Level 1s cost just as much as the "good" Level 1s and Level 2s.

I will run the NPCs actual actions (with their own motivations in mind) but the player(s) are responsible for giving them orders as they see fit. They are their employer after all! These NPCs can always turn into a PC in a pinch and give a little bit of depth/security to the PCs in the game.

Other than that, just dont bite off more than you or your playes can chew as far as running and playing the game is concerned. Make sure to give your new players structure or in game guidance (NPCs or setting based motivation), when I have failed to do this my players have become overwhelmed and paralized by the "lack of rules" and the worry about what they "should be doing".

Free $0.02 - I am of the "dont fudge the dice" mindset. Even with biginer players. If their first experience is fun and memorable dieing wont be enough to keep them away from playing. They will learn that their survival/victories are earned and not given and each one will mean even more.

#4 smokingwreckage

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 06:44 PM

The game is for my daughter actually. Gotta get some campaigns in before she gets interested in boys.

I don't fudge dice. I might give the players one or two "No Way!" tokens to trade in per campaign to annul a truly disappointing death, still thinking about that.

Thanks for the tips on kits and NPC's, which should also add some possible "dies to prove the situation is serious" guys.

Reading a few things on 0e gaming has given me some ideas. One idea is that the core of the game is that player skill, not character powers, is what gets a character through; cunning and unorthodox use of resources are a major part of the game. Instead of Check For Traps, a player might poke the ground ahead with a pole.

Naturally, he died because a wizard exploded.


#5 haldir

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 07:48 PM

They do have action points in newer version of D&D, even Pathfinder (optional). I think a token to erase something is nice idea. I mean how many times in a movie or whatnot do you see a hero avoid the inescapable death scene. Just make them earn them in the course of a adventure. Doing things that you feel warrant a token or whatnot & of course don't reward allot. Set a limit of them. That way they'll use the ones they have.

I think all versions of D&D or whatnot make the player think but the early editions do tend to bring out the player more. Growing up on basic D&D & 1st ed D&D I know I have.
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