To fellow D&D players

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So I have a friend who wanted to get a D&D game together sense I told him about my other game I play and told him id DM if he found people and well he found people to play it they all have no experience or anything.

Iv never been a DM before and wanting to know where to start for looking for info or anything we will be playing 3.5 or 4th ED

Any advice would be good

OK, I've long left D&D behind for other systems that I find more enjoyable, but
I'm still heavily in to tabletop RPG's--just not D&D.
Remember that every member of the group is there for fun--including you.
Try to help everyone have a good time while having a good time yourself.
You might try visiting your local game store and seeing what materials they have
available. I believe that D&D has materials--including pre-made adventures--
specifically set up for starters.
Often times whoever is running/working at the store is a game enthusiast
and will be more than willing to help.
From the very start you need to start trying to read your group of players, and
determine what each one actually wants/needs in order to have an enjoyable experience.
Does one need epic battles? Set some up! One wants lots of character interaction--make
time for it. One wants to explore a rich fantasy world? Make detailed maps & histories.
One wants the last slice of pizza--uh, no fight to the death for that. (^9
Anyway, try thinking back to your early experience with the game, and what it was about
it that got you hooked, and has kept you playing until now. And don't be afraid to
"borrow" adventures that you have been through as a player (happens in my RPG group all the time).
Oh--and don't let any of the players 'buffalo' you--listen to reasonable debate about decisions,
but remember you are the final arbiter. Yes, even *over* the books.
Excelsior--hope you have fun.
BTW--Princess Luna Avatar! Yay! Yay! Yay! Yay! Yay!

3.5 works for "Role Playing"--actual, you know--role playing. 4th Edition...doesn't.

Go after Pathfinder if you want an updated version of 3.5. The game makers Wizards of the Coast, I think, have admitted that 4th edition doesn't work but that they won't come up with 5th edition for another few years out of fear of fan rage from players who did buy the 4th edition burning the company's home office down because now the fanboys would need to buy ANOTHER bunch of $40 books.

On the plus side the 4th edition does something NONE of the previous editions ever did--it actually instructs you HOW TO DM!!!

Mind blowing, to be sure. Especially since they were printing "DM's Guides" since the early 1980's.

I've still got the originals somewhere. They totally rock--though a dog chewed on my 1st gen Dm's guide.

This is going to seem like a weird suggestion, but read Darths and Droids. The comic's content itself may or may not give you insight, but the author comments below often have some suggestions worth noting...at least after it gets its groove going. On a grander scale it also works as an interesting commentary regarding the virtue of player agency vs. railroading, which had a very direct mention in the 16th comic. To quote:

By this stage it should be obvious that the players have completely messed up the GM's plans for this campaign. He never expected them to go down to the planet at all. But, like all good GMs, he's willing to wing things a bit and see where they lead to. Even so, there comes a time when you just have to call a time-out and invest some more effort into coming up with something so that the players don't catch you completely flat-footed.

We've deliberately set this up as a contrast to the gaming style portrayed in DM of the Rings, which is very much about the DM railroading the mostly unwilling players into his pre-established story. While good for comedic value, it's not how most of us would want to play a game, if we had the choice. The Darths & Droids GM is much more flexible and willing to work with the players, so that they can take whatever actions they choose. While usually more fun for everyone involved, it can get a bit hairy for the GM at times.

That's far from their only gem, but it is perhaps one of the more valuable ones.

There's one thing in particular though that I want to stress. I've seen various GMs make their own characters to be part of the party. By appearance, it seems a very common impulse, and it does have the apparent virtue of being able to re-focus the players on the main quest. If you have this instinct, fight it. Fight it hard. It's not impossible to pull off, but it's very hard to do, especially for less experienced GMs. Tvtropes actually gives a decent rundown of some of the pitfalls if you're curious, but it is tvtropes, so open it at your own risk.

Asita:
This is going to seem like a weird suggestion, but read Darths and Droids. The comic's content itself may or may not give you insight, but the author comments below often have some suggestions worth noting...at least after it gets its groove going. On a grander scale it also works as an interesting commentary regarding the virtue of player agency vs. railroading, which had a very direct mention in the 16th comic. To quote:

By this stage it should be obvious that the players have completely messed up the GM's plans for this campaign. He never expected them to go down to the planet at all. But, like all good GMs, he's willing to wing things a bit and see where they lead to. Even so, there comes a time when you just have to call a time-out and invest some more effort into coming up with something so that the players don't catch you completely flat-footed.

We've deliberately set this up as a contrast to the gaming style portrayed in DM of the Rings, which is very much about the DM railroading the mostly unwilling players into his pre-established story. While good for comedic value, it's not how most of us would want to play a game, if we had the choice. The Darths & Droids GM is much more flexible and willing to work with the players, so that they can take whatever actions they choose. While usually more fun for everyone involved, it can get a bit hairy for the GM at times.

That's far from their only gem, but it is perhaps one of the more valuable ones.

There's one thing in particular though that I want to stress. I've seen various GMs make their own characters to be part of the party. By appearance, it seems a very common impulse, and it does have the apparent virtue of being able to re-focus the players on the main quest. If you have this instinct, fight it. Fight it hard. It's not impossible to pull off, but it's very hard to do, especially for less experienced GMs. Tvtropes actually gives a decent rundown of some of the pitfalls if you're curious, but it is tvtropes, so open it at your own risk.

Listen to this...entity!

And read Shamus Young's other series DM of the Rings, which the creator of Darths and Droids did first.

You can learn so much about role playing, RPG players, and DM'ing from these two series. And they're funny as all get out--especially for those of us with RPG experience.

I definitely recommend learning the material quite a bit so you can answer the thousand questions that are likely going to come. Also, this isn't a bad website for DM tidbits, a few good ideas on there if you ever get stuck.
http://dungeonsmaster.com/
Number 1 rule of being a Dm is just being able to think on your feet. You need backup plans to your backup plans. The players will never ever do what you expect.

on that note, I've always had better luck DM'ing if I keep my edventures/quests in basically a rough draft stage. I come up with a hook, goal, objectives, ways to accomplish them, and a few key characters. The rest is all freestyle or painstaking hours of rendering details for every possible scenario.

Copper Zen:
3.5 works for "Role Playing"--actual, you know--role playing. 4th Edition...doesn't.

Go after Pathfinder if you want an updated version of 3.5. The game makers Wizards of the Coast, I think, have admitted that 4th edition doesn't work but that they won't come up with 5th edition for another few years out of fear of fan rage from players who did buy the 4th edition burning the company's home office down because now the fanboys would need to buy ANOTHER bunch of $40 books.

On the plus side the 4th edition does something NONE of the previous editions ever did--it actually instructs you HOW TO DM!!!

Mind blowing, to be sure. Especially since they were printing "DM's Guides" since the early 1980's.

I've still got the originals somewhere. They totally rock--though a dog chewed on my 1st gen Dm's guide.

I think you misspelt Roll-playing there.

See you don't need a system for Role Playing, at its best it's totally systemless. You certainly can do it in 4th edition though the only reason to do so is if you want to break it up with fun, if a touch slow, tactical combat.

You can also do so in 3.5/Pathfinder but the only reason to do so is if you like scouring rulebooks for arcane and utterly stupid class/class/ prestige class/ feat combinations to break the game.

If you want to roleplay though either will do, so long as you stay away from grognards who have a strong preference for whatever system you aren't running. All round I'd recommend something like FATE or Savage Worlds to avoid it grinding to a halt. But 4e does do quite well in having an interesting sub-game to play in case things dry up or players are having difficulty getting into it.

Great advice for DM-ing - don't 'take over' anyone's character. As the DM you give the setting, but you gotta let the players act out in it - you describe things and do NPC actions, but player actions have got to be their own. For example, a character is talking with an NPC -you give the NPC lines, but the players decide how they react to the lines - you can't go 'You respond with', you have to let them do it, otherwise it goes from 'Friendly game of D&D' to '5 PC's sitting around watching a DM play with himself'. Even if the players decision is to stab the NPC and wear his entrails for scarves, you gotta let them do it - you can then bring in consequences for doing this (i.e. city guards called by a nearby witness, the way their wearing the organs is the exact ritual to summon a lesser demon, alignment damage, etc.), but you can't make the decisions for them.

The only time taking control of someone elses character is really acceptable (outside plot-demanding mind control, but if you do that seriously talk it over with the Player in question) is when they're being a massive douchenozzle or Mary Sue and your setting them up for a Bolt of Divine Retribution, as a way to get rid of their horrible character or dickish behaviour.

Other good tips - be adaptable, be flexible and whatever you do, don't get pissed if everyone goes off the rails. The hardest part about being a DM is making shit up on the fly, because you've gotta basically be two steps ahead of your players. A useful thing I found doing was planning out what I would like to happen, then planning out what could possibly happen when everyone goes off the rails - it doesn't prepare you fully, but it's great for giving you something to work off once everything's gone to hell. Always ask yourself - 'what would happen if my players killed the quest giver instead of accepting the quest?' (this might just be me though, as I tend to go through at least one quest giver every session. Problems of playing with mostly Evil-aligned characters).

Other than that... put traps in the doors themselves. New players check the floor and chests; veteran players check the ceiling. Nobody ever checks the door. Don't throw it at them straight away, but when they get complacent with traps and start disarming all of them instantly, just throw a random door-trap in to spice things up.
Trapping the treasure is a bit of a dick move, but can be a good way to round off a dungeon that was particularly cruel/easy to the players, either to keep the feeling of the dungeon going even during the looting or just to make the players suspicious of even the easiest of challenges.

- You HAVE to keep the players focused otherwise everything is going to go to hell.

- Be tough but fair, if the game is too easy, it won't be fun, same if too hard. Don't go out of your way to kill players, it has to be seen as their own mistakes which caused their deaths.

- Have backup plans, lots of them, some players try their best to ruin plots.

- The game will work a lot better if everyone, or nobody roleplays. If all but one is roleplaying, it just makes it feel a bit awkward.

"Belua charges forth, chasing into the goblin with a loud clash of metal! In that split second, what does he do?"

"Rolled a 16 and an 18"

"You cut him down, the beast clutching at it's ruined throat as it crumples. The villager looks at you, eyes filled with awe"Thank you sire! I would've been dead if not for you!""

"Sure, what loot do I get?"

It's absolutely your call as to whether to go for 3.5 or 4, but I'd go with the one you have more experience in. I think it's a bit too daring to try and please the crowd when you yourself come from another system. If you DM it, it's really of prime importance you absolutely know what you're doing. You're like grandma reading bedtime stories, and then some. If you're the DM, it's your game and your rules. Simple.

Also, since you as the DM absolutely must have a firm grasp on everything, I would assume it to be easiest to just go for a pre-made adventure, as that cuts down on a lot of preparation and effort on your behalf, you just need to memorize what's there and have more time to work on the presentation and make the experience an impressive one, depending on your general way of handling these things.

I always went for candles and spooky makeup, but that was my personal style. Also, no food or drink whatsoever until the party agrees to make a campfire or otherwise rest. Also, no use of the oven or the microwave until someone manages to start a fire. I think that's called immershun these days.

Cookiegerard:

"Belua charges forth, chasing into the goblin with a loud clash of metal! In that split second, what does he do?"

"Rolled a 16 and an 18"

"You cut him down, the beast clutching at it's ruined throat as it crumples. The villager looks at you, eyes filled with awe"Thank you sire! I would've been dead if not for you!""

"Sure, what loot do I get?"

Splendid! Delivered with the charm of a pocket calculator.

Aye, that one is a bit of a tough one. If you find out you're playing with pocket calculators wearing human skin suits about halfway through the experience, it's hard not to just set the place on fire.

To initially at least make everybody understand what it's all about, set up a nice introduction. Be the game. Deliver the story with all the pizzazz you can muster, and - humourously, and in character, mind you - spank them and guide them to the best experience possible.

Have a story in mind; don't be surprised if the players don't follow the script. Don't be afraid to go off the rails within the bounds of reason if the players are having fun. My players once spent more of a session righting a ship that had been capsized by a water elemental than they did fighting said elemental, but they were enjoying the process, so...

Read through the main books of anything you want to run cover-to-cover at least once. You don't need to know the rules by heart, but you should at least have an inkling if the rules for something that comes up exist.

Get a sense of what your players are going to be looking for, with an eye towards reconciling disparate ideas. If one player is looking to bash monsters and get epic loot and another is looking to engage a character study delving into what it means to be a paladin in a world where swords typically fight for gold, that isn't automatically going to wreak havoc- but you'd better be prepared.

Remember you're playing with the players, not against them. Your role is to craft the experience, ideally to offer the players a challenge, but not to beat them. That said, don't let them push you around. Your word is law; just try to be a fair referee.

Resist the temptation to have a powerful NPC coax or guide the players throughout the game. It's a bad crutch to get into. "Old Wizard who stays back in the home-base castle giving out cryptic hints" is fine; "Old Wizard who fireballs the overpowered ogre the players couldn't quite handle and smacks them around when they get mouthy" is not.

Take regular breaks.

If you have trouble remembering details, or find you're trying to handle too much, have a player keep a journal of the game, recording NPCs met, significant enemies fought, landmarks discovered, and so on. Don't be afraid to offer the player a modest reward (say, a small XP bonus) for the service. If this is a point of contention, rotate the duties among the players.

Have fun.

Headdrivehardscrew:

Splendid! Delivered with the charm of a pocket calculator.

Aye, that one is a bit of a tough one. If you find out you're playing with pocket calculators wearing human skin suits about halfway through the experience, it's hard not to just set the place on fire.

To initially at least make everybody understand what it's all about, set up a nice introduction. Be the game. Deliver the story with all the pizzazz you can muster, and - humourously, and in character, mind you - spank them and guide them to the best experience possible.

Another thing I just thought of, for the love of God, have more then one way out of a trap, either that or listen to player ideas. In one of my first games as a DM, I set up a trap, and had it so there was only one way out. The way out made perfect sense to me, and I even thought it was quite clear what to do.

It wasn't.

People died.

As a player I'd say a DM needs to get two things:

1: Let the players drive the game. They are the central characters and are doing most of the tasks and creating most of the major developments. Don't set out with a rigid story that the players have to follow. I'd reccommend you don't get one of the preset adventures because of this. Have an idea of what you want to happen and want the players to do but let the players do it their way. Of course you are still running the game so get an understanding of the players and, as others have said, what they want from the game.

2: Get an idea of when disputes are starting among the players. If what they want out of the game is clashing then talk to them off the table. You may have to be a mediator in the group. If there does need to be one make sure it is you. If players have a problem they should feel they can come to you with it. Otherwise they'll discuss amongst themselves and you're out of the loop in your own game. Also, talk to each of your players often about the game and what they're thinking. Do this with each player or some will feel left out. Worst thing as a player is feeling like the DM has a few players they consult on everything and include in major developments and then some players who don't get a say and are supporting characters in their own party. Eventually things can progress to such a point where players not in the DM's inner circle may consider leaving and you will miss them when they're gone. So will the other players, maybe because they don't feel as important without people to boss around but more likely because these other players probably served a very good function in combat. Alternatively the players feeling left out will take the lack of control over their own story and drive the campaign off the rails.

Callate:
All of the stuff that was said here

everything Callate said is great advice. Especially about reconciling differences between players who want different things. I'd advise mixing in the things each player wants to do, otherwise some players will shut off in certain sections that don't interest them. The combat oriented players may shut off during diplomacy, puzzle solving and disarming traps and vice versa.

The 4th edition DMs guide has archetypes for different players and you might like to read those.

Why the hell is everyone suggesting D&D related games? Everyone knows that FATAL is the best one there is.

Veldie:
So I have a friend who wanted to get a D&D game together sense I told him about my other game I play and told him id DM if he found people and well he found people to play it they all have no experience or anything.

Iv never been a DM before and wanting to know where to start for looking for info or anything we will be playing 3.5 or 4th ED

Any advice would be good

Get an idea for your setting first before trying to bring in a plot. In some ways, it will help both you and the players by giving them a clear view of what the world is like and how they might approach it. And if you don't like the setting provided? Simply take the races and classes you want and make your own setting.

If given the choice between option A and option B, players will always pick Option Z. Remember this for it will always frustrate you.

Following on from this, it's best to just keep things open enough if you're doing anything bar a dungeon crawl so that you can be prepared for what i explained above.

Use your players: They may bring up theories for how to build your plot and world or suggestions, however inadvertantly into creating the experience.

Don't be afraid to manipulate them: While it's always best to prepare for the option Z scenario, if you have an idea try and make your players work towards what you want rather then forcing them too. After all, it's always bad if you force a situation on the players...but if the situation comes about BECAUSE of the players actions, nobody will complain about you.

Don't rail-road unless you absolutely have too. Let the players fuck up however they want, in-fact that's usually the best way to get a better campaign. After all, isn't it always more satisfying when that giant firebreathing dragon is after the players because they were dumb enough to try to steal his treasure rather then you forcing the encounter?

Finally, the most important piece of advice is this: NEVER give your players access to time travel. EVER!

Copper Zen:
3.5 works for "Role Playing"--actual, you know--role playing. 4th Edition...doesn't.

I take issue with this. What system, could possibly encourage role playing? Actually, I know - it's FATE, but aside from that - which other system (no, do not F.A.T.A.L. me here) encourage/discourage roleplaying in any meaningful way? What do 3.5/4e have that facilitate it?

See, I've always been under the impression that you don't need rules to roleplay. You don't even need dice or anything. I can happily run a game with bottlecaps, coins and/or other random bits and pieces we'll have in our pockets. heck, you don't even need these - it's just to make it seem more like a game, otherwise it'd just be freeform roleplay. There is no system that inherently helps or hinders it. Aside from the two I mentioned. Or at least I think so, nobody has managed to convince me otherwise. Possibly because nobody ever manages to answer me when I ask what elements of a system make it "more RP" or "less RP".

And it always comes up with D&D 3.5/4e. I've never, ever seen a discussion that compares two unrelated systems. OK, hold on, I lied. There were a few. And they've always been about D&D inherently not being RP while another system is. Dafuq?

Veldie:
So I have a friend who wanted to get a D&D game together sense I told him about my other game I play and told him id DM if he found people and well he found people to play it they all have no experience or anything.

Iv never been a DM before and wanting to know where to start for looking for info or anything we will be playing 3.5 or 4th ED

Any advice would be good

Have a few over arching quests of varying difficulty already set up as well as a few dozen tangents, don't be afraid to improvise, you run the game but the players will more or less decide how the experience plays out, above all you have to be able to respond to the craziest and most random actions and suggestions of the players.

Know who you're playing with, if your players want "Lo, tis, I smite thee" role playing give them that, if you just want to have fun don't be afraid to joke around and do silly shit. Regardless of how you play ask your players to set up their characters' back story and personality before hand, if you and your players are really into it you'll enjoy it a lot more.

Don't be afraid to stray from the rules every now and then, if you want to fight a monster and don't want to consult a monster manual after every turn of combat make a short list of all the important stats and more or less wing the rest, same with the player characters, have their in depth character sheets with all the tedious math drawn up, and also have them keep short lists of things like their attack bonuses, AC, HP, spells/feats, and commonly used skills, you don't want to have to spend 5 minutes consulting your character sheets and books every time something happens, even with the slower pace of table top gaming you can still end up wasting a lot of time and getting bored.

Try to have your party be diverse, suggest that they make a diverse party, but don't force the matter, if your party is lacking something important like a tank, a magic expert, rogue, or healer you can make one and play it yourself, just don't use your DM knowledge while you play with your character.

Keep a log of important things that have occurred and things that you have told the players, just so you don't skip something or end up doing something twice, you're players should also keep a log for their own use.

Most importantly, if you're not having fun switch it up, if a quest or encounter is boring you or your players don't be afraid to improvise or give the option to opt out and do something else, you are there to have fun, so if that isn't happening then don't keep going down that avenue.

EDIT: Forgot a few, for one, always have snacks on hand, that may seem weird but 90% of time spent with people you like is spent eating or drinking even if that isn't the main thing you're doing, besides almost everything is better when snacks are involved.

Play music while you play too, epic classical scores can make even word bases turn combat more epic, playing ominous somber scores while sneaking about or exploring dungeons has similar effects.

Don't be afraid to throw in some flavor text, it makes the experience more fun when you say "You see an ominous structure looming far off in the distance," than saying "Ahead is a tower." Don't be afraid to do accents and give things silly fantasy names, it may seem nerdy and dumb but you're playing D&D so no one in your immediate vicinity can say shit.

Also, during action heavy times keep track of where everyone is in relation to certain things, this is about one trillion times easier if yo have miniatures, if not make a little diagram at the end of every turn, if a player asks show it to them, it is vital that everyone is on the same page during combat or sneaking or anything else like that.

NEVER RETCON OR INTRODUCE TIME TRAVEL! EVER! If something gets messed up because you made a mistake earlier just keep with it, if it's made a huge difference and needs to be fixed do it in a way that changes you're current course as intact as possible, nobody wants to replay something over again because someone made a mistake 3 hours ago, also time travel makes everything more difficult. Everything. So just don't do it, it may seem like a good idea but it will fuck you in the ass.

The DM Rules all. Whatever they say, goes. They can bend the rules to fit the game, and may do. Even if you think it may be unfair, try not to be rude about it, they are probably trying to keep their campaign going. Don't be afraid to change the rules, and improvise if you must, and try and make sure the players are having fun, if you're railroading them into now having fun, something has to change really...

Good luck! Have fun.

Have fun.

Maybe you're breaking a "rule" from the PHB, a magazine article or web page. If you're having fun, don't worry about it.

For every bit of advice, guideline, or rule for better GMing, there is at least one game in your city, probably with people you know, that would be ruined by it.

I can't give you any suggestions on which edition to run, I've never played 4th.

Copper Zen:

Asita:
This is going to seem like a weird suggestion, but read Darths and Droids. The comic's content itself may or may not give you insight, but the author comments below often have some suggestions worth noting...at least after it gets its groove going. On a grander scale it also works as an interesting commentary regarding the virtue of player agency vs. railroading, which had a very direct mention in the 16th comic. To quote:

By this stage it should be obvious that the players have completely messed up the GM's plans for this campaign. He never expected them to go down to the planet at all. But, like all good GMs, he's willing to wing things a bit and see where they lead to. Even so, there comes a time when you just have to call a time-out and invest some more effort into coming up with something so that the players don't catch you completely flat-footed.

We've deliberately set this up as a contrast to the gaming style portrayed in DM of the Rings, which is very much about the DM railroading the mostly unwilling players into his pre-established story. While good for comedic value, it's not how most of us would want to play a game, if we had the choice. The Darths & Droids GM is much more flexible and willing to work with the players, so that they can take whatever actions they choose. While usually more fun for everyone involved, it can get a bit hairy for the GM at times.

That's far from their only gem, but it is perhaps one of the more valuable ones.

There's one thing in particular though that I want to stress. I've seen various GMs make their own characters to be part of the party. By appearance, it seems a very common impulse, and it does have the apparent virtue of being able to re-focus the players on the main quest. If you have this instinct, fight it. Fight it hard. It's not impossible to pull off, but it's very hard to do, especially for less experienced GMs. Tvtropes actually gives a decent rundown of some of the pitfalls if you're curious, but it is tvtropes, so open it at your own risk.

Listen to this...entity!

And read Shamus Young's other series DM of the Rings, which the creator of Darths and Droids did first.

You can learn so much about role playing, RPG players, and DM'ing from these two series. And they're funny as all get out--especially for those of us with RPG experience.

Completely agree with Copper Zen, too. You can learn a surprising amount from simply reading it.

Plus it deserves an award for making Jar-Jar likable.

Small nitpick, though, Shamus Young did make DM of the Rings, but not Darths & Droids. It was directly inspired by DM of the Rings, but it's not from the same people. Both are great, though.

jurnag12:

Completely agree with Copper Zen, too. You can learn a surprising amount from simply reading it.

Plus it deserves an award for making Jar-Jar likable.

Small nitpick, though, Shamus Young did make DM of the Rings, but not Darths & Droids. It was directly inspired by DM of the Rings, but it's not from the same people. Both are great, though.

What he said--Copper Zen is an absolute genius and you should listen to everything he says. And worship him. And sell him your firstborn child. XD

But Copper was an idiot for getting the authors mixed up. He should hang his head in shame!

As a dungeon master myself, my only advice: Be merciless.

Play pathfinder, have fun and run with the crap your players do, but punish them if they try anything too wacky.

For a group of starters, Id recommend keeping the game simple. Let players try things (Classes they really are interested in) and let em mix it up a bit. Keep the Adventure concise as well. Let them learn the mechanics. And let them get comfortable role playing there characters. Get a feel for whether they want alot of combat or if they want a good narrative, story driven adventure.

Overall, you will have to find a good mix. But just like they are learning the game you have to learn what to expect from your players, and that may take time.

As a general rule, I always use an "Idea" of what I want to happen, its never rail roaded. Make outlines, not plans. Cause players odnt always wanna follow the rails.

Feel free to PM me. Been been playing for awhile, and almost DMing just as long.

Copper Zen:
they won't come up with 5th edition for another few years out of fear of fan rage from players who did buy the 4th edition burning the company's home office down because now the fanboys would need to buy ANOTHER bunch of $40 books.

A public playtest of 5th edition has been ongoing since May. There's no official release date, but if I had to guess, it will likely be out this year or early next year.

More ontopic: I generally suggest Pathfinder. It's a nice upgrade to my favorite edition of D&D.

As for running the game: remember that you're telling a story. Combat in TRPGs tends to drag on, so just going from fight to fight, unless that's what your group really likes, feels like a dull slog.

Veldie:
OP is OPer

Glad you're getting into Tabletop games, they're a ton of fun. While most of the major suggestions have already been posted by these charismatic stallions, I'll offer these two pieces of advice.

1, and by far the most important: Have fun. This goes to both you and the players.
2: if you are playing 3.5 or pathfinder and your first time group doesn't have a healer, just throw healing items like potions/wands/scrolls of cure light wounds at them. If they are more experienced, they should know to at least have some secondary healers about, so feel free to bonk them over the head for that.

Most everyone here has given advice I would already say, but I'll add in a couple of others.

-One rule to enforce; "Put on a good show and fate will smile upon you. BE BORING AND YOU'RE DEAD"

-The players are not your enemies; they're your entertainment!

Have fun, kick douchebags that want to ruin your (And everyones) fun. Try to make memorable scenarios, ones that will make them think back and wonder about how it could have been done differently.

saintdane05:
Why the hell is everyone suggesting D&D related games? Everyone knows that FATAL is the best one there is.

Basis for that one? I really, really, REALLY want to hear it....

GunsmithKitten:

saintdane05:
Why the hell is everyone suggesting D&D related games? Everyone knows that FATAL is the best one there is.

Basis for that one? I really, really, REALLY want to hear it....

I assume it was sarcasm. I'm not sure a non-negligible number of people unironically likes FATAL. I mean, it's...well, it's FATAL.

ClockworkUniverse:

GunsmithKitten:

saintdane05:
Why the hell is everyone suggesting D&D related games? Everyone knows that FATAL is the best one there is.

Basis for that one? I really, really, REALLY want to hear it....

I assume it was sarcasm. I'm not sure a non-negligible number of people unironically likes FATAL. I mean, it's...well, it's FATAL.

GOd I hope so. The only entertaining thing about FATAL is reading reviews and people attempting to try to make characters or play it.

If you're dealing with new players, the best thing is to let them have real fun with it, and don't bog them down with rules. Those are for later. My very first campaign, we didn't even have character sheets. It was a disorganized mess of about eight people being DM'd by my English teacher. And we had a blast. He pretty much would tell us whether we could or couldn't do something at level one, and then rolled. I tried the same technique for a few first timers, and good times were had by all. Although I may have given them a little too much freedom. A guy who described his character as "Austin Powers" ended up receiving a small amount of C4 from Mace Windew. From that point, that one, fun, free adventure, then you should start with the complicated stuff.

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