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Greetings wonderful ReaperMini Forumers,

I need help to plan for this! A friend of mine is developing a table top RPG - we are in beta right now - and we have played a few games. Last game he asked if I would like to DM in a couple of weeks. I'm really excited but I never done it. 

 

Was hoping I could get some advice from some of you Master DM's about how to track, keep up with, and make an exciting game. I have a few ideas about a journey the hero's will take; something very "Monster Hunter" style with the end goal of helping a person/village/etc. 

 

Thank you in advance~

 

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||//Helpful links related to this topic\\|| - Add after original post for reference.

 

  1. DM/GM Power
  2. What to do when your players are utter monsters devoid of sympathy?
  3. How to Be a Dungeon Master
  4. D&N Quick Tips - Video
  5. Five Ways to Be a Better D&D Player - Video

 

Edited by Arc 724
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Two things:

 

  • You're a judge, not a conductor. Give them things to do, but don't make them do them.
  • The story is about the characters, not you. Help the players make the story awesome.

 

GENIUS- and thank you for bullet pointing it.

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Was hoping I could get some advice from some of you Master DM's about how to track, keep up with, and make an exciting game. 

 

I will second Doug's advice.

 

For me when I DM:

  • A loose outline of encounters (RP, Combat, and Noncombat) which I'd like to take place in the story. I don't make them hard and fast, I will put them in where I want them to be as I can find a reason/way of incorporating them anywhere the characters are at, you can too if you just keep it loose and put them in where they make sense to the story. This keeps it off the rails, making it feel very sandbox where they have a lot of choices, but it still allows you to advance your story and campaign on the fly.
  • Give the characters a reason to become invested, ask for short back-stories from everyone so that you can give everyone some time to shine and be in the spotlight with personal quests or story hooks. 
  • Never straight up say, "No" without first listening to why someone would like to do something, but remember you do have the final say in the matter if you don't think it makes sense or is against the spirit of your game.
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I find it useful to have a list of names appropriate to the feel of the campaign. You don't have to assign them to anyone, but there's always someone who wants to talk to the orphans playing in the street, or question the guard, or whatever, and naming them all "Bob" won't add to the verisimilitude.

 

:;):

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I find it useful to have a list of names appropriate to the feel of the campaign. You don't have to assign them to anyone, but there's always someone who wants to talk to the orphans playing in the street, or question the guard, or whatever, and naming them all "Bob" won't add to the verisimilitude.

 

:;):

That, Sir, is a brilliant idea! thank you.

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I find it useful to have a list of names appropriate to the feel of the campaign. You don't have to assign them to anyone, but there's always someone who wants to talk to the orphans playing in the street, or question the guard, or whatever, and naming them all "Bob" won't add to the verisimilitude.

 

:;):

That, Sir, is a brilliant idea! thank you.

 

We used to give our DM a hard time and bust his chops by asking for people's names.  He came up with another simple solution.  If you need to know a person's name, and he isn't a specific named NPC.  You get to name him, he would then record the name.  Puts the onus back on us.  We also had a long list of randomly generated names that we could just select from in a pinch if the person turned into someone we might actually need to know beyond just merchant #3 on the left.

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To add on to the existing concepts presented here:

The idea about the names is completely and utterly correct; I have a book, somewhere, that I bought off DriveThruRPG that has huge lists of names. It's cheap, and extremely handy.

But on top of that, I try to make a point of having a slew of potential encounters -- NOT combat encounters, necessarily -- sitting by. Y'see, my players like to monkey with the window dressing. On one occasion, an entire planned written adventure wound up getting derailed (well, postponed) because they happened to pass an empty storefront, and they suddenly decided it might be fun to buy the place and turn it into an inn. Or a bar. Or a gambling den. Or possibly a bakery...

I don't want to plug products, but I will throw out these names, because they're cheaply purchased, and HANDY to the point where the money shrinks into insignificance:

TOOLBOX, by Alderac Entertainment Group, available through DriveThruRPG; tons of pregenerated materials, side stories, and ideas. They also make ULTIMATE TOOLBOX, at three times the price.
PC PEARLS and GM GEMS, by Goodman Games; not sure if these are available anywhere in PDF, but they are wicked handy and cheap even in hardcopy. Well worthwhile.
 

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The idea about the names is completely and utterly correct; I have a book, somewhere, that I bought off DriveThruRPG that has huge lists of names. It's cheap, and extremely handy.

I think one of our players bought this, or something similar for the DM by way of apology.

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 Never get personally atached to anything in the game, whether it be an NPC, location or plot device - if you put it within arm's reach of the players, there's a damn good chance they will break it, either accidentally or intentionally.

In fact, you should be the first one to suggest they stomp all over the daisies in your garden and give them ample opportunity and motive to do so. A DM should be like that kid who spends hours and hours building a really cool fort for his army men out of sticks and dirt, and then invites his friends over to help him destroy it. ::D:

 

 Cooperate with your players and let them help you build your world - if not by directly naming and creating parts of it then by paying attention to what they do and what they like, and giving it to them. Your world is limitless, and there is nothing so big that your players can think up that won't fit in somewhere in your world without destroying your original vision for that world, even if you have to cut that new thing up and rearrange it a bit.

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The internet has all kinds of random generators for role-playing.

 

Here are results from one that does places (I had it set to Inca Names -- Towns and Cities):

 

  1. Tomachi: Population 67, primarily dwarf, some gnome. The thorp is defended by a strong stone wall. It is governed by a consortium of wealthy merchants, whose weekly meetings often turn into drunken brawls.
  2. Cashuaman: Population 890, mixed elf and nymph. The village sits upon an island in the middle of a lake. It is governed by a noble aristocrat, the elf lord Guara. The most prominent tavern in the village is The Knave and Flask.
  3. Tambo: Population 1600, mostly human, some halfling. The town sits upon a mountainous crag, accessible by a single bridge. It is governed by an order of knights and warriors, who are secretly backed by a lich named Iman.
  4. Huara: Population 2000, mostly dwarf, some human and gnome. A few major roads run through the center of the town. It is governed by the priests of the dominant temple. Huara is known for its agate quarry.
  5. Pircaja: Population 10800, primarily human, some elf and half-elf. The city is defended by a stone wall and a nearby castle. Two factions struggle for control of the city, several wealthy merchants and a court of aristocrats. Pircaja is known for its silver mines.
  6. Tambo: Population 7000, mixed human and dwarf and gnome. The city sits upon a mountainous crag, accessible by stone bridges. Governance of the city is shared by several wealthy aristocrats and a noble aristocrat, the human lord Chalca.
  7. Picchualla: Population 850, primarily human, some halfling. A series of low stone walls divides and encircles the village. It is governed by a council of elders, whose weekly meetings often turn into drunken brawls.
  8. Tamba: Population 100, mostly human, some dwarf and gnome. The village is built around a ring of ancient stone monoliths. It is governed by a council of wealthy landowners, led by a male human named Guama.
  9. Picchu: Population 10600, mixed dwarf and gnome. Most of the buildings are constructed from massive stone blocks. It is governed by an arcane sorcerer, a male dwarf named Cuyuchi. The Abbey of the Cerulean Sky is a common destination for religious pilgrims.
  10. Pomonga: Population 1000, mixed human and elf. The town sits upon a mountainous crag, accessible by a single bridge. It is governed by a council of elders, who are secretly backed by a djinni named Nasa. Pomonga is known for its iron mines.
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I like to take computer generated stuff like this and pick and choose the interesting bits.
 

  • Tomachi: Population 67, primarily dwarf, some gnome. The thorp is defended by a strong stone wall. It is governed by a consortium of wealthy merchants, whose weekly meetings often turn into drunken brawls.
  • Cashuaman: Population 890, mixed elf and nymph. The village sits upon an island in the middle of a lake. It is governed by a noble aristocrat, the elf lord Guara. The most prominent tavern in the village is The Knave and Flask.
  • Tambo: Population 1600, mostly human, some halfling. The town sits upon a mountainous crag, accessible by a single bridge. It is governed by an order of knights and warriors, who are secretly backed by a lich named Iman.
  • Huara: Population 2000, mostly dwarf, some human and gnome. A few major roads run through the center of the town. It is governed by the priests of the dominant temple. Huara is known for its agate quarry.
  • Pircaja: Population 10800, primarily human, some elf and half-elf. The city is defended by a stone wall and a nearby castle. Two factions struggle for control of the city, several wealthy merchants and a court of aristocrats. Pircaja is known for its silver mines.
  • Tambo: Population 7000, mixed human and dwarf and gnome. The city sits upon a mountainous crag, accessible by stone bridges. Governance of the city is shared by several wealthy aristocrats and a noble aristocrat, the human lord Chalca.
  • Picchualla: Population 850, primarily human, some halfling. A series of low stone walls divides and encircles the village. It is governed by a council of elders, whose weekly meetings often turn into drunken brawls.
  • Tamba: Population 100, mostly human, some dwarf and gnome. The village is built around a ring of ancient stone monoliths. It is governed by a council of wealthy landowners, led by a male human named Guama.
  • Picchu: Population 10600, mixed dwarf and gnome. Most of the buildings are constructed from massive stone blocks. It is governed by an arcane sorcerer, a male dwarf named Cuyuchi. The Abbey of the Cerulean Sky is a common destination for religious pilgrims.
  • Pomonga: Population 1000, mixed human and elf. The town sits upon a mountainous crag, accessible by a single bridge. It is governed by a council of elders, who are secretly backed by a djinni named Nasa. Pomonga is known for its iron mines.

 
I will edit this post later with a mash-up of the stuff I underlined, which to me will be more interesting than the individual pieces.

 

Edit:

(raw pieces)

defended by a strong stone wall. It is governed by a consortium of wealthy merchants, whose weekly meetings

sits upon an island in the middle of a lake.

prominent tavern in the village is The Knave and Flask.

accessible by a single bridge.

an order of knights and warriors, who are secretly backed

known for its agate quarry.

defended by a stone wall and a nearby castle.

known for its silver mines.

Tambo:

city sits upon a mountainous crag, accessible by stone bridges.

A series of low stone walls divides and encircles the village.

governed by a council of elders, whose weekly meetings

Abbey of the Cerulean Sky

Pomonga:

secretly backed by a djinni named Nasa.

 

Finished Product:

 

Tando-Pomonga: population 33029, sits partly on an island, defended by a strong stone wall, in the middle of a lake. The island is accessible by a single bridge. The rest of city sits upon a series of mountainous crags, bunched together along the lake-shore, connected to each other by stone bridges. These crag-top wards of the city are defended by stone walls and a nearby castle. The bridge to the island connects to the castle.

A series of low stone walls divides and encircles the lower slopes of each ward on the landward side. These walls enable terraced farming. Tando-Pomonga is also known for its silver mines and an agate quarry.

The city is governed by a consortium of wealthy merchants, whose weekly meetings are held in a prominent tavern known as The Knave and Flask. The Abbey of the Cerulean Sky, a popular shrine, is governed by a council of elders, who also meet weekly. They are secretly backed by a djinni named Nawsa. An order of knights and warriors serves as the Town Watch but is secretly backed by the consortium of wealthy merchants.

Edited by TGP
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A DM should be like that kid who spends hours and hours building a really cool fort for his army men out of sticks and dirt, and then invites his friends over to help him destroy it. ::D:

That is a wonderful description. I think I shall plan for that as well! 

 

I had a idea to mentally walk through the center of the hunting town and come up with branches of stories for each and every person that they pass by and try and tie them in later, etc. 

 

Good, bad, ugly, ideas?

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