Getting into D&D

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I bought the dice and rounded up five willing test subjects. I'm DM'ing next week. And I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. Can anybody please point me to the easiest, most basic D&D-for-Dummies manual/website so I can learn up in about a week's time and pull an okay, not-that-long tutorial/intro campaign? Nobody's played before so nobody's going to be too demanding.

I don't know anything about D&D. I've only listened to some podcasts that gave a general idea of what's it like. But I don't understand how character creation works, how turns work, overall combat and interactions and mechanics, the extent to which the DM has "scripted" a campaign vs. makes shit up on the go, etc. If you want to try your hand at explaining it to me you're more than welcome but a link to a comprehensive manual is more than appreciated.

Well, I see Matt Colville being recommended a lot, but I did not learn through him, but I do like him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-YZvLUXcR8&list=PLlUk42GiU2guNzWBzxn7hs8MaV7ELLCP_

You don't need to watch it all in order, and a lot of it is more for after you're used to it.

Do you have the books?

Also, I will answer any questions you have as best I can too!

I will keep looking for good tutorials to use on your own though too.

Edit 1: Here are the free 'basic' rules directly from Wizards of the Coast themselves! It is limited compared to the actual books though, and the 'basic DM Guide' is really more a mini monster manual than DM guide though.

http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules

Edit 2: So far, this video series seems good for actually learning to make a character, though I haven't watching it all the way through yet, but it is worth a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGyk5piGwrQ

I am more interested in learning the lore of Dungeons and Dragons. But then I found out that its not a singular setting.

The Forgotten Realms is the mainstream setting that everyone associates with Dungeons and Dragons.

There is also Planescape, Ravenloft, Dragonlance, Eberron, etc.

None of these settings take place in the same universe? You won't see Ravenholt or Dragonlance things in Faerun?

Samtemdo8:
I am more interested in learning the lore of Dungeons and Dragons. But then I found out that its not a singular setting.

The Forgotten Realms is the mainstream setting that everyone associates with Dungeons and Dragons.

There is also Planescape, Ravenholt, Dragonlance, Eberron, etc.

None of these settings take place in the same universe? You won't see Ravenholt or Dragonlance things in Faerun?

Well, they do technically exist in the same multiverse, though some are more connected than others. Planescape is probably the most connected, but Greyhawk and Faerun really aren't so disconnected either, as characters from both have sort of expanded into the greater DnD cosmology, such as the gods Moradin, Correllon, and the wizard Mordenkainen.

But crossovers aren't really much of a thing.

Saelune:

Samtemdo8:
I am more interested in learning the lore of Dungeons and Dragons. But then I found out that its not a singular setting.

The Forgotten Realms is the mainstream setting that everyone associates with Dungeons and Dragons.

There is also Planescape, Ravenloft, Dragonlance, Eberron, etc.

None of these settings take place in the same universe? You won't see Ravenholt or Dragonlance things in Faerun?

Well, they do technically exist in the same multiverse, though some are more connected than others. Planescape is probably the most connected, but Greyhawk and Faerun really aren't so disconnected either, as characters from both have sort of expanded into the greater DnD cosmology, such as the gods Moradin, Correllon, and the wizard Mordenkainen.

But crossovers aren't really much of a thing.

Then is Dragonlance and Ravenloft within the same universe as Forgotten Realms or its another plane of existance?

Saelune:
Well, I see Matt Colville being recommended a lot, but I did not learn through him, but I do like him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-YZvLUXcR8&list=PLlUk42GiU2guNzWBzxn7hs8MaV7ELLCP_

You don't need to watch it all in order, and a lot of it is more for after you're used to it.

Do you have the books?

Also, I will answer any questions you have as best I can too!

I will keep looking for good tutorials to use on your own though too.

Edit 1: Here are the free 'basic' rules directly from Wizards of the Coast themselves! It is limited compared to the actual books though, and the 'basic DM Guide' is really more a mini monster manual than DM guide though.

http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules

Edit 2: So far, this video series seems good for actually learning to make a character, though I haven't watching it all the way through yet, but it is worth a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGyk5piGwrQ

Thank you, I'm going through the rules and Colville's videos. I feel like I'm studying for an exam but so far so good. I'll probably come up with more questions the more I get into it. My main doubt was just how flexible the game flow is, the order in which things happen or characters act, when and how to use dice, the extent to which DM rules on actions, etc.

Johnny Novgorod:

Thank you, I'm going through the rules and Colville's videos. I feel like I'm studying for an exam but so far so good. I'll probably come up with more questions the more I get into it. My main doubt was just how flexible the game flow is, the order in which things happen or characters act, when and how to use dice, the extent to which DM rules on actions, etc.

There is no real right answer. Depends on the DM and the group.

DnD is as flexible as you want it to be!

You cant know everything, DMing is more reactionary than anything. DMs who try to plan for everything always end up with the party who goes left when you were so sure they would go right! Expect to have things you work on be walked past, and end up having to imrpov something, but that's ok!

Its also ok to be bad when you're new, I was bad, but I got better, and if you try to get better, you will too.

Samtemdo8:

Saelune:

Samtemdo8:
I am more interested in learning the lore of Dungeons and Dragons. But then I found out that its not a singular setting.

The Forgotten Realms is the mainstream setting that everyone associates with Dungeons and Dragons.

There is also Planescape, Ravenloft, Dragonlance, Eberron, etc.

None of these settings take place in the same universe? You won't see Ravenholt or Dragonlance things in Faerun?

Well, they do technically exist in the same multiverse, though some are more connected than others. Planescape is probably the most connected, but Greyhawk and Faerun really aren't so disconnected either, as characters from both have sort of expanded into the greater DnD cosmology, such as the gods Moradin, Correllon, and the wizard Mordenkainen.

But crossovers aren't really much of a thing.

Then is Dragonlance and Ravenloft within the same universe as Forgotten Realms or its another plane of existance?

There is the Spelljammer 'setting' which is basically all the settings, cause it is about flying ships that can travel between the different 'spheres' that contain the different settings.

Saelune:

Samtemdo8:

Saelune:
Well, they do technically exist in the same multiverse, though some are more connected than others. Planescape is probably the most connected, but Greyhawk and Faerun really aren't so disconnected either, as characters from both have sort of expanded into the greater DnD cosmology, such as the gods Moradin, Correllon, and the wizard Mordenkainen.

But crossovers aren't really much of a thing.

Then is Dragonlance and Ravenloft within the same universe as Forgotten Realms or its another plane of existance?

There is the Spelljammer 'setting' which is basically all the settings, cause it is about flying ships that can travel between the different 'spheres' that contain the different settings.

So yes Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms are not in the same plane of existance and are diffenet universes?

Forgotten Realms is Earth 1 and Dragonlance is Earth 2?

That was the question I was asking.

Samtemdo8:

Saelune:

Samtemdo8:

Then is Dragonlance and Ravenloft within the same universe as Forgotten Realms or its another plane of existance?

There is the Spelljammer 'setting' which is basically all the settings, cause it is about flying ships that can travel between the different 'spheres' that contain the different settings.

So yes Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms are not in the same plane of existance and are diffenet universes?

Forgotten Realms is Earth 1 and Dragonlance is Earth 2?

That was the question I was asking.

In a way. I mean, when the point of these settings is just to give people a starting point to make up whatever they want, 'canon' becomes a confusing thing. I don't think there are any 'official' crossover stuff though.

Johnny Novgorod:
I bought the dice and rounded up five willing test subjects. I'm DM'ing next week. And I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. Can anybody please point me to the easiest, most basic D&D-for-Dummies manual/website so I can learn up in about a week's time and pull an okay, not-that-long tutorial/intro campaign? Nobody's played before so nobody's going to be too demanding.

I don't know anything about D&D. I've only listened to some podcasts that gave a general idea of what's it like. But I don't understand how character creation works, how turns work, overall combat and interactions and mechanics, the extent to which the DM has "scripted" a campaign vs. makes shit up on the go, etc. If you want to try your hand at explaining it to me you're more than welcome but a link to a comprehensive manual is more than appreciated.

As a new dm myself here is my advice.

Dont fucking worry about the rules. Know the story you are going to tell and have motes on how to lead your players in the right direction. As far as the nitty gritty rules you can always check them after the game. On the fly just make a decision or ask a more experienced player.

So long as you know the very basics of combat (armor rating and such) then youll be fine. If you have the players make the wrong skill check for sometjing it doesnt matter. Let them roll whatever you deside and then figure out the actual answer later.

Youd be surprised how little rules actually come up during the game. I would say prepare random NPC names, and notes in regards to your campaign because if your story is good and you are leading players well, they wont care about the rules.

Samtemdo8:

So yes Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms are not in the same plane of existance and are diffenet universes?

Forgotten Realms is Earth 1 and Dragonlance is Earth 2?

That was the question I was asking.

Plane of existence is more accurate.

Basically Forgotten Realms happens on the Prime Material Plane ... as does a whole lot of other settings. But you shouldn't think of it s a 'universe' and more like different coterminous and intersecting sides of a hypothetical 'super-shape'.

Ravenloft happens in the Demiplane of Dread, by the by.

So you have the PMP, and coterminous with that is the Plane of Shadow, the Ethereal, and then the Astral.

The Astral helps link the PMP with the Elemental Planes and demiplanes, the Outlands, and the Outer Planes.

The Planescape setting assumes you're starting in the 'City of Doors' ... which is basically a gigantic ring of finite dimensions that sits floating above a mountain known as the Spire of impossible height and width at the centre of the Outlands and visible from any exposed part of the infinitely large Outlands itself.

If you don't know the rules, why don't you play another game you and your group haven't tried before? I haven't really played D&D since 3.x ed ... and I'm content with that because I play other games and every version of D&D is rife with new stuff.

People can say that D&Dis easy, but it's pretty convoluted and bloated. Honestly, the thing that will fuck you up the most is encounters and how spells work. Because nearly every player will have some permutation of spell-like abilities that you'll have to learn. So if you have any time to learn something really thoroughly it's how magic works.

More people should play Torg: Roleplaying the Possibility Wars ... Torg is amazing. You just need a d20 and the decks of cards.

It's easier to games master because the scenes run more like scripts and the actions are driven more by cards ... and it feels thematic AF. Like it works so fucking well. Torg is the closest game to ever feel like an actual movie playing out.

All you have to do is familiarize yourself with one place, and with a smallchart it tells you everything you need to know about how that part of the world functions. You write a 'loose script' of events and places. It gives you largely pre-prepared characters for everyone to just jump into.

Seriously, Torg should be your introduction to GMing ... not D&D.

With a game of Torg you and your players will actually do stuff regardless of your experience bracket. And no one will rules lawyer you and your worldbuilding into the ground. And because the GM is merely treated as a player with cards, and death can happen quite quickly, but because there's a low buy in bringing in new characters ... no one will blame you for simply 'playing the cards and setting the scene' ...

This is just 'how thescene is playing out' ...

Seriously, even death feels amazing in this game.

Like my 'National Hero' character was dealt the Martyr card which I saved until we met the big bad of the mini-campaign. The Martyr card allows you to basically roleplay out a scene where your character, if possible, can throw a wrench into the worksof any bad guy at thecost of their character... and it feels precisely this epic ...

Guaranteed, if a player has worked hard to manufacture the possibility of roleplaying of that card they quietly held onto for *multiple* sessions... and has taken the time to think about how to roleplay out what they're going to do as their final deed... everyone will be grinning.

So that's my suggestion. Start with something easier, something that works with creativity more than hard dice rolling of 101 different integers, something that chances are your players haven't already played, that allows pre-generation plus customization along the way. Something that also doesn't penalize newbies in favour of the experienced...

Plus it's simply a cheaper game... So my suggestion of how to GM a game of D&D that you know nothing about? Don't GM D&D at all... pick something better constructed to work with your inexperience of GMing until you are actuslly familiar with D&D.

And Torg is probably the best game for that that has ever been constructed.

Basically the most difficult thing you will have to figure out in Torg as a GM is the 'Dramatic Scene' shift mechanics... but no other game will give you a more comprehensive understanding of GMing a scene than Torg will.

Moreover, and this is crucial--Torg will teach you what to do when you fuck up. A bullshit series of dice rolls can transform what was meant to be a difficult encounter to get that magical mcguffin into a cakewalk or a TPK ... and Torg avoids this expertly and teaches you how to rebalance and rescale on the fly without the players feeling like the GM is making it easier or harder on them, all while making the scene incredibly immersive and seamlessly blending it into the action.

Torg will teach you how to GM according to a multitude of different themes, from gothic horror, weird science, high fantasy, and gritty realistic urban settings, where and when to reward player interaction with those themes, and how to construct evolviung narratives and gamestates.

And once again ... despite all of this, it's a phenomenal game system on its own merits while also being cheaper than buying a whole bunch of D&D books, it has a lower barrier to entry, it's something your players likely haven't played before, and what it teaches you is applicable everywhere else in GMing.

I highly recommend Torg for your first time GMing ... even more so if you have no fucking idea of another game you're going into.

If you want to torture yourself, I can't stop you ... but if you're invested in making your group an actual thing--first impressions matter. And oh my God, does Torg leave a god damn impression. It is masterful roleplaying design at a pricepoint no one can argue with.

Basically the only downside to Torg is that there are cards involved ... so unless you want to sleeve them all, it does put a dampener on finger food your might want to bring or prepare for games night.

That being said I'm a damaged veteran of the board gaming scene and compulsively sleeve all my cards of every game I've ever gotten, so it depends on level of whether you want to spend an hour doing the Drama Deck and sleeving all of them ... I personally find sleeving cards therapeutic ... just mellow out to some music while doing so. There's a small amount of inexplicable meditation to sleeving cards. You get into the rhythm and it's like you're on total autopilot.

It is something to consider, however.

As a GM ... you will like Torg if you;

A: Read something like Lord of the Rings.

B: Want your roleplaying to emulate some of those scenes.

C: Want your sessions to have movie aspects of being self contained, and campaigns themselves being like Hollywood epics of a variety of genres. Pulp action, neo-noir, high fantasy, cyberpunk, gothic horror, and more.

The reality of D&D is;

A: Squabbling over alignment.

B: Whether Destruction is considered a instant death effect.

C: Stupidly complex combinations that make no sense as either RAW or RAI (Rules As Written, Rules as Intended)

Seriously, it's a game system where a player will argue something that causes 1 point of damage should be treated as dice or not ... and on that basis alone fucking break the game.

I say that as a person who likes D&D 3.x ... it really isn't a very good introduction to tabletop roleplaying. D&D has and will always be an incredibly bitty mess of rules, dealing with players, and having to nebulously enforce some kind of egalitarianism of buils otherwise players will go too far with the most zaniestly stupid of builds that simply defies capacity to effectively challenge.

Like my half-nymph human bard/barbarian/warblade charisma-based melee build at ECL 9 that delivers a Will save DC22 fear effect check as soon as I attack something, that auto esclates to frightened or panicked any enemy within 30' that sees me attack something.... all while dealing +5 hit and damage to every player's attacks (including my own) and auto full attack on charge, with a free movement that with my shoes of battledancing + my falling charge feat allows me to use me charisma to hit and to melee damage ...

And if you think that's kind of bad enough, just wait until you give me an item I can conjure Sirine's Grace at level 12+ before a fight by hate pointing Use Magic Device and have over 40 AC by level 12, most of which generated by Improved Combat Expertise, native dex, non-magic abilities, and other undispellable abilities.

Literal AC tank with still about half as much HP as that raging barbarian also on the team and virtually untouchable beyond AoE spells that at best I'll still only take half damage on ... let me buy a ring of evasion and not even then.

And this is the thing ... that's not even that broken ... but if I'm playing in a group of new players to D&D, they'll certainly be questioning whether their vanilla barbarian or ranger build is all that pointful compared to my character I bring to the group.

And this is precisely why D&D is not newbie GM friendly ...

Because while an experienced player can teach other players and perhaps assist building their characters to however they imagine them to want to be ...that experiwenced player can't coach the GM.

There are many many different games and people have different preferrences.

But here we have 5 players and a DM with D&D books willing to start D&D. They should do so. If they don't like it and know why they don't like it, then it is time to look for other systems, not now.

Personally i don't use D&D at the moment, i play three different systems in different groups which i think are more fun. But a thing like Torg is also very far away from my taste.

Also D&D 5E is supposed to be far easier to get into then D&D 3.5 while still maintaining a silimar feel instead of being the pure tactical skirmish game D&D4E was. So it is not that horrible as starting point.

Johnny Novgorod:

Thank you, I'm going through the rules and Colville's videos. I feel like I'm studying for an exam but so far so good. I'll probably come up with more questions the more I get into it. My main doubt was just how flexible the game flow is, the order in which things happen or characters act, when and how to use dice, the extent to which DM rules on actions, etc.

Learn Rule 0 and then internalize it. Rule 0 being "In any argument about the game the DM is always right". As long as you are in session or discussing the campaign, it doesn't matter what the written rules, campaign setting or previous DM fiat says, the DM is always right. It should not be invoked all the time and should not be used to bludgeon the players at every turn, but is a good tool to use when the game risks grinding to a halt because people interpret rules differently, start arguing about what King McGuffin would really do or whatever.

You aren't sure how to apply the rules to a player who wants to stop their fall by throwing a rope to avoid ending up in the pit trap? Is it a reflex save or an athletics check, does the Rogue get its dodge bonus? Just make a ruling and invoke Rule 0.
Are the players claiming that every major city has a mages guild that sells Spell That Player Wants? Make a ruling and invoke Rule 0 (perhaps involving an appropriate skill check, perhaps not).

Also remember to relax about it all. When I started GMing some 18 years ago (man, I'm old), we only used about half the rules for a very long time. The important part is not to get all the rules right, it is to make sure that everyone gets to have a good time. If that means you simplify the rules, ignore them or bend them, that's what it takes. If it means ignoring the campaign setting, do it. Make sure to discuss it with your players so that you are all on the same level. If you're all new, easing into the rules by applying a few at a time is a perfectly legitimate way to go about it.

You don't mention which edition you're playing, so I'm going to assume it's 5th.

Personally, I learned the most by watching people play it on YouTube. I suggest Critical Roll or Heroes and Halfwits. You don't need to base how roleplaying happens off them, but in my opinion it's the best way to learn how spells, combat, and abilities work. It's how I did it.

There is an app called Fifth Edition Character Creator, it should be on android and iOS. It's a godsend. Walks you through step by the step on how to build a character and handles all the tedious math and dice rolls it may entitle. There is also multiple spell apps to help your players manage their many spells.

Lastly, invest in the Lost Mines of Phandever starting campaign. It's made to be an intro campaign and even comes with premade characters for your players. I don't think investing in other books besides maybe a singular player handbook is needed.

Elfgore:
You don't mention which edition you're playing, so I'm going to assume it's 5th.

Whichever this applies to: http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules

Johnny Novgorod:

Elfgore:
You don't mention which edition you're playing, so I'm going to assume it's 5th.

Whichever this applies to: http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules

That is 5th Edition.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:

So yes Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms are not in the same plane of existance and are diffenet universes?

Forgotten Realms is Earth 1 and Dragonlance is Earth 2?

That was the question I was asking.

Plane of existence is more accurate.

Basically Forgotten Realms happens on the Prime Material Plane ... as does a whole lot of other settings. But you shouldn't think of it s a 'universe' and more like different coterminous and intersecting sides of a hypothetical 'super-shape'.

Ravenloft happens in the Demiplane of Dread, by the by.

So you have the PMP, and coterminous with that is the Plane of Shadow, the Ethereal, and then the Astral.

The Astral helps link the PMP with the Elemental Planes and demiplanes, the Outlands, and the Outer Planes.

The Planescape setting assumes you're starting in the 'City of Doors' ... which is basically a gigantic ring of finite dimensions that sits floating above a mountain known as the Spire of impossible height and width at the centre of the Outlands and visible from any exposed part of the infinitely large Outlands itself.

What plane does Dragonlance take place?

Samtemdo8:

What plane does Dragonlance take place?

The World of Krynn is a Prime location. Like most D&D settings. Oerth, Krynn, Abeir-Toril, Toril, etc.

It's important to note the difference between 'Material Plane' and 'Prime Material Plane' ... MP makes the assumption that there are merely different worlds in the MP that are physically separated (ala Spelljammer) ... the 'PMP' assumes that there is sorta, kind of, maybe only one but it's multifaceted and complex, and infinitely large but with finite dimensions that contain many worlds within it and is bordered only by other planes of existence.

It's hard to explain. The cosmology in oneD&D setting naturally is different from other settings. Only Planescape truly tried to give philosophy to the madness of creativity.

It seeems like a needless nitpick, but there isa reason why they did it.

See, in D&D 2 & 3.x there are various incarnations of the Dismissal/Banishment spells, that works on extraplanar beings... and the whole point of the 'the Prime' is if you get dismissed/banished, you end up on a specific world as opposed to randomly somewhere across any number of worlds.

Which is a big fucking deal if you ever play Planescape. One of my Planescape (3E adjusted) characters came from the Forgotten Realms (Toril) location of Cormyr, a human bard from Suzail. So if I got banished hopefully I'd end up in a safe location on Toril somewhere. In Spelljammer you basically just have airless space making up most of the Material Plane. So 99.999999999999% Banishment would mean death.

Basically the first thing a party should do in a Planescape campaign is pitch in to rent or create a hideout on the Outlands if they ever get separated, and make sure all characters have enough common use portal keys to get from their home plane to a gate town or other major portal onto the Outlands.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

It's hard to explain. The cosmology in oneD&D setting naturally is different from other settings. Only Planescape truly tried to give philosophy to the madness of creativity.

It is also worth noting that most of this convoluted mess is so old it is from 2E. And later on people were not always convinced of the worth to keep it.

Which is why some settings like Eberron just ditched it to do their own thing. In 4E they even overhauled the standard cosmology to consist of far fewer planes which are also different ones. That they still used the same established settings for that means that making sense out of D&D cosmology is nowadays about as easy as making sense out of a comic book multiverse with several reboots spin-offs and merges.

For a newcomer it is best to ignore everything from other settings and other editions and only take what your edition has to say about it. If old settings like Spelljammer or Planescape really don't work with that, well, too bad. (As if Planescape could have ever worked with a rule edition that does alignment far different from 2E/3E)

Satinavian:
It is also worth noting that most of this convoluted mess is so old it is from 2E. And later on people were not always convinced of the worth to keep it.

Which is why some settings like Eberron just ditched it to do their own thing. In 4E they even overhauled the standard cosmology to consist of far fewer planes which are also different ones. That they still used the same established settings for that means that making sense out of D&D cosmology is nowadays about as easy as making sense out of a comic book multiverse with several reboots spin-offs and merges.

For a newcomer it is best to ignore everything from other settings and other editions and only take what your edition has to say about it. If old settings like Spelljammer or Planescape really don't work with that, well, too bad. (As if Planescape could have ever worked with a rule edition that does alignment far different from 2E/3E)

All the settings changed their native relationship to the rest of the multiverse. Moreover, Planescape and Ravenloft are the best settings of any D&D product has ever managed to produce. Planescape did more than give the Multiverse an indepth examination... it gave it a character and attitude.

Being a cutter in the multiverse meant something more epic than your cut and run high fantasy schlock, because you weren't just navigating a fantasy trope... but a competent GM constructing a series of narratives that are bound by the Rule of Three, Unity of Rings, and Center of All.

You were navigating the heuristics of philosophy and theme itself, giving it a distinct character over other TSR products. So a perceptive player almost felt a naturalistic turning of the pages as they pick up on recurring imagery viewed from different perspectives at set times, specifics of a type of egagement or activity, and something that seems to be turning the adventure back full circle.

The ascension of the tower one can see on the horizon should be climaxed by a plunge into the unknown depths... not merely confronting the big bad at its roof floor. A portal into the unknown as the structure collapses around the party after the second run in with the target of their growing loathings... to set the final act ...

These underlined elements of Planescape gave the adventures you undertook a structure and perceivable start and finish line, a navigation of a concept, thought, theme, or specific character that you didn't get in other TSR products.

This is why adventures were written as acts and less plotpoints.

Assuming the GM was good...

Satinavian:

Addendum_Forthcoming:

It's hard to explain. The cosmology in oneD&D setting naturally is different from other settings. Only Planescape truly tried to give philosophy to the madness of creativity.

It is also worth noting that most of this convoluted mess is so old it is from 2E. And later on people were not always convinced of the worth to keep it.

Which is why some settings like Eberron just ditched it to do their own thing. In 4E they even overhauled the standard cosmology to consist of far fewer planes which are also different ones. That they still used the same established settings for that means that making sense out of D&D cosmology is nowadays about as easy as making sense out of a comic book multiverse with several reboots spin-offs and merges.

For a newcomer it is best to ignore everything from other settings and other editions and only take what your edition has to say about it. If old settings like Spelljammer or Planescape really don't work with that, well, too bad. (As if Planescape could have ever worked with a rule edition that does alignment far different from 2E/3E)

Well, 4e just made its own vague 'Best Of' setting, though it apparently was originally supposed to be part of the Forgotten Realms.

Personally, any DM who does it more than once I think should make their own setting.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
All the settings changed their native relationship to the rest of the multiverse. Moreover, Planescape and Ravenloft are the best settings of any D&D product has ever managed to produce. Planescape did more than give the Multiverse an indepth examination... it gave it a character and attitude.

But some didn't use it at all, having completely seperate cosmologies (and canging all extraplanar life to some setting equivalent). Or how does this 3rd edition cosmology showing all the planes
image
match the great wheel ?

They were seperate at least until 4E came, completely changed cosmology again and retconned every setting to always have had the same, new one.

These underlined elements of Planescape gave the adventures you undertook a structure and perceivable start and finish line, a navigation of a concept, thought, theme, or specific character that you didn't get in other TSR products.

Yes, Planescape was very different. It was interesting and revolutionary 24 years ago. Now try to change it to fit 4E, where Law is extreme Good and Chaos is extreme Evil. -> Won't work.

There are reasons why it has never been used after 2E.

A newcomer really should ignore all this old baggage, There is more than enough new setting information in the current edition. And making conversions or the like is something that really should wait until familiarity with the rules exists.

Satinavian:
But some didn't use it at all, having completely seperate cosmologies (and canging all extraplanar life to some setting equivalent). Or how does this 3rd edition cosmology showing all the planes
image
match the great wheel ?

Nobody is asking them to ... Planescape was odd because it was the first time it tried to marry incredibly divergent settings and cosmologies into something both feasible, yet still purposefully mysterious to add in wriggle room. And they succeeded pretty darn wellas the Manual of the Planes in 3.x actually took it on board, leaving only non-Greyhawk settings to play around with it extensively.

Yes, Planescape was very different. Now try to change it to fit 4E, where Law is extreme Good and Chaos is extreme Evil. -> Won't work.

There are reasons why it has never been used after 2E.

They didn't do that because they were definitely trying to ape more streamlined gameplay and interaction due to the fact that they were no longer making as much money as they had hoped. 3E was fairly extensive, but it was clear towards the end of the millenium that WotC had merely appropriated the licence for geek cred.

Suddenly player handbooks came with a third of the playable classes. I did not like 4E what I played of it ... but what really drew my ire was the fact that they expected me to spend three times as much as I did just to have a decent selection of classes.

The amount of supplements that come outfor 2E and 3E were not going to be replicable with the post millenial market. It didn't help that they were ridiculously late to the party making it easier to buy electronic assets to their games, and criminally how they were still selling digital assets of their products for as much as they used to sell hardcovers in stores. It also didn't help that their forums online actively began shutting down 3.x forums which lead to a rise and popularity of people who hadn't already jumped ship going straight to GitP. It also didn't help that those forums were less toxic shitholes.

It also doesn't help that WotC had alienated so many 3.x D&D'ers that they went Pathfinder in a big way because they did basic things like clean up quadratic power gaining by previous 'tier 1' classes, while providing an interesting, engrossing Prime world with some phenomenal (if problematic) art direction and mechanics.

There was a reason why Pathfinder was finding greater success towards the end of 3.5's lifespan and even 4E's ... it simply gave the players what they loved about 3.5, fixed up what GMs hated about it, and delivered it in an exciting new package.

Apparently D&D is turning around again with 5E but I haven't touched it for the same reason. I got really turned off WotC for basically just treating what was still a loyal fanbase with contemptas if they magically deserved our money all while putting in zero effort and abusing that supposed 'loyalty' they felt they were owed.

There was a time, however, that Wizards was considered merely holding onto the D&D franchise fr merely geek cred and nothing else.

They sure as shit weren't going to invest any real time or effort or creative intelligence hours necessary into making a true 3E Planescape or Ravenloft (worth a damn) ...

Addendum_Forthcoming:

They sure as shit weren't going to invest any real time or effort or creative intelligence hours necessary into making a true 3E Planescape or Ravenloft (worth a damn) ...

TSR got broke because of having way too many settings competing for the same customer base. That is why Wizards cut the number a lot and basically only kept Forgotten realms and a vague standard setting with many Greyhawk elements. Planescape was interesting but seemingly too niche. So it shared the fate of Spelljammer and Dark sun and Maztica and Oriental Adventures and (D&D-)Dragonlance and Al'Qadim (probably forgot more. Seriously how many players per setting did TRS calculate with?). Ravenloft was unprofitable because WoD provided similar themes but better. There was no way to compete with that.

But what we do here is not really helpful to the OP. Do you by chance have any new questions for us ?

Satinavian:
TSR got broke because of having way too many settings competing for the same customer base. That is why Wizards cut the number a lot and basically only kept Forgotten realms and a vague standard setting with many Greyhawk elements. Planescape was interesting but seemingly too niche. So it shared the fate of Spelljammer and Dark sun and Maztica and Oriental Adventures and (D&D-)Dragonlance and Al'Qadim (probably forgot more. Seriously how many players per setting did TRS calculate with?). Ravenloft was unprofitable because WoD provided similar themes but better. There was no way to compete with that.

Yeah, no ... see Tactical Studies Rules was massively overbloated ... they were producing comic books, 4 monthly magazines, and they tore themselves apart trying to litigate the shit out of anything that moved. Actively even pursuing people publishingmaterials online that likely killda lot of its good will ... and by the 90s because they weren't creating the same amount of content and because they had effectively killed burgeoning word of mouth online, and because all the people interested in D&D had, you know, already bought what they were already making and they weren't trying to re-develop and further expand its base ... problems ahoy.

Also ... WoD was amazing precisely because of the expanded universe it created of interplaying aspects.

Vanilla WoD
+
Vampire
Werewolf
Mage
Hunter
Wraith
Orpheus
Demon
Changeling
Mummy

And those are just gamelines. Try adding on all the supplements for each one.

And that's not even including the period-era storytelling books.

The Great War
Renaissance
Victorian
Dark Age ...

You can crush an elephant to death if you just toppled a standard bookshelf of all of their products onto it.

But what we do here is not really helpful to the OP. Do you by chance have any new questions for us ?

Well the question I was thinking of asking the OP is that any of your test subjects have a modicum of GMing ...? Becauseyou might seriously want to consider having a shadow GM that might be a silent partner in helping you construct encounters while not necessarily spoiling what you're planning long term.

Someone who can look at the party of your players, analyze their characters they plan to build or have shown an interest in building, and perhaps help give you a rundown of a couple of sample encounters from traps, to monster encounters, to worldbuilding stuff that might not necessarily spoil the game for them ... but will be built to help challenge and engage the party?

Gethsemani:

Johnny Novgorod:

Thank you, I'm going through the rules and Colville's videos. I feel like I'm studying for an exam but so far so good. I'll probably come up with more questions the more I get into it. My main doubt was just how flexible the game flow is, the order in which things happen or characters act, when and how to use dice, the extent to which DM rules on actions, etc.

Learn Rule 0 and then internalize it. Rule 0 being "In any argument about the game the DM is always right". As long as you are in session or discussing the campaign, it doesn't matter what the written rules, campaign setting or previous DM fiat says, the DM is always right. It should not be invoked all the time and should not be used to bludgeon the players at every turn, but is a good tool to use when the game risks grinding to a halt because people interpret rules differently, start arguing about what King McGuffin would really do or whatever.

You aren't sure how to apply the rules to a player who wants to stop their fall by throwing a rope to avoid ending up in the pit trap? Is it a reflex save or an athletics check, does the Rogue get its dodge bonus? Just make a ruling and invoke Rule 0.
Are the players claiming that every major city has a mages guild that sells Spell That Player Wants? Make a ruling and invoke Rule 0 (perhaps involving an appropriate skill check, perhaps not).

Also remember to relax about it all. When I started GMing some 18 years ago (man, I'm old), we only used about half the rules for a very long time. The important part is not to get all the rules right, it is to make sure that everyone gets to have a good time. If that means you simplify the rules, ignore them or bend them, that's what it takes. If it means ignoring the campaign setting, do it. Make sure to discuss it with your players so that you are all on the same level. If you're all new, easing into the rules by applying a few at a time is a perfectly legitimate way to go about it.

That. The whole point of all this is to have fun. I cannot count how many time i've Made a monster weaker or stronger on the spot because the players are either too weak or too strong for the campaign, or put additional treasure in the quest because they made me laugh. Also divine intervention is good to retail a quest that have or is about to derail.

Welcome to the wonderful world of tabletop roleplaying! Enjoy the rabbit hole of awesome that this leads to!

First of all, I'd suggest Projared's "How to be a good DM" video:

In fact, check out his whole D&Dcember playlist, it's full of really good stuff. Especially his "how to design a good encounter" video.

Now, for my own personal advice, it's this.

D&D is about crafting fun stories and scenarios. The rules are just a framework that makes doing so follow a set of "fair" mechanics. Feel free to bend the rules if it makes things more fun, or if looking up the exact rule is taking way too long.

Honestly, the most fun I've had with D&D was when the rules were fast and loose.

Secondly, make sure that there's room for everyone at the table to shine at some point. If you give your players the opportunity to do something cool, they will remember it and enjoy the game all the more. Even if they fail at it (sometimes ESPECIALLY if they fail epically at it.)

Because nothing sucks more than having to sit off to the side and be totally unhelpful because the adventure doesn't need your talent at all.

Finally, encourage good roleplaying. Encourage people to get in character and do/describe fun things to do. Reward them for it. It'll make things way more fun.

If you have to pick a setting for your first foray into D&D I suggest Forgotten Realms/Faerun as that is the present official setting of D&D. All the 5th edition lore books, monster manuals, player handbooks are designed for Forgotten Realms. There are a few exceptions but they are explicitly mentioned such as The Wayfarers Guide to Eberron which is an entirely different setting.

I DM my own homebrew (self-made) setting which, depending on the scope, can take a lot of time and effort to put together. My setting and story has evolved between sessions as the players only know what I show them and they have questions and ideas about their characters that I steal and run with into the greater plot and setting.

There are all sorts of ways of running the campaign or session. I would suggest doing a few "one shots" where the heroes have to fight of a goblin raid and then stalk and find the goblin camp to dispatch the creature driving them to attack the village. It's a good stepping off point and would allow the players to continue their characters' stories if you want to develop from there. Unnamed villages exist all over Faerun so you can slap one anywhere on the map and call it good.

Hey, so if nobody has mentioned it yet, try to make sure your players have a nodding understanding of their character's race and class features; if that's out of the question, you can find or create some competent characters, preferably with a few notes on their mechanics. A great shortcut I recommend to a lot of new players is to write the name of a feature, and then the page number to reference said feature. The same goes for you having a familiarity with your NPCs and monsters; a little bit of personality goes a long way in making your world feel more real, which in turn encourages your players to NOT be murder hobos.
On a related note: If you want to make an encounter exciting, it might help to tack on a gimmick or condition, even if you're using an official adventure module. I was running one such adventure, and while the players were on a side-quest, I decided to give a personal relatable motivation to the otherwise "always chaotic evil" bad guy group; this got the group debating whether it's right to murder someone who, by all appearances, is no more wrong than a typical marauding adventuring party.

Also, without reading everybody's shtick, I can assume at least a few people have mentioned how to be up front with your players; whether that means a short "session 0" or just telling your players how you'll be DM'ing and what they can expect from your and their actions. For example, when I DM for teenagers at the local comic shop, I'll tell them at the outset "If I rule something a certain way, I'll try to have a good reason for it, and if your character does something disruptive, expect consequences." That way, when one of my players decided to break into a pet shop to forcibly adopt a cat, it was to literally nobody's surprise that the proprietor ran to the local guard and a short man-hunt was called for.
But, to add to that advice, I'd also recommend you not tell them everything, and then fudge some of the rules and rolls where you think it's appropriate. If you think some thugs are going down too easy, throw in a sudden sorcerer or some bowmen who'd been hidden before; if a player character is about to be gored before that person has a chance to do cool stuff, maybe downgrade that killer critical to a regular hit. That last part is especially important if you don't have someone with some heal spells or a first aid kit on hand, since nobody likes dying just because the DM rolled super good at exactly the wrong moment.

I'm gonna swing in here and say that you might want to consider other games as well. You might be interested in some other types of settings, or genres. If you like horror, look at World of Darkness or Call of Cthulhu. Science fiction? Traveller (Mongoose Traveller 1st or 2nd edition) is pretty awesome. You like Samurai? Take a look at Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition. RuneQuest is cool if you're into bronze age heroics. D&D is the most popular game by far, but it's pretty much set on running one kind of game, a heroic fantasy romp that's focused on combat. If you find yourself starting to chafe under design of the game, resist the urge to start radically redesigning the game or trying to make it into a science fiction game, or whatever. House rules are one thing, but you will often have a better time finding a system that fits the game you want. The TTRPG market is massive, and there are numerous games out there for any kind of game you might want. Break free from the chains of D&D and forge your own glorious path!

Ftaghn To You Too:
I'm gonna swing in here and say that you might want to consider other games as well. You might be interested in some other types of settings, or genres. If you like horror, look at World of Darkness or Call of Cthulhu. Science fiction? Traveller (Mongoose Traveller 1st or 2nd edition) is pretty awesome. You like Samurai? Take a look at Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition. RuneQuest is cool if you're into bronze age heroics. D&D is the most popular game by far, but it's pretty much set on running one kind of game, a heroic fantasy romp that's focused on combat. If you find yourself starting to chafe under design of the game, resist the urge to start radically redesigning the game or trying to make it into a science fiction game, or whatever. House rules are one thing, but you will often have a better time finding a system that fits the game you want. The TTRPG market is massive, and there are numerous games out there for any kind of game you might want. Break free from the chains of D&D and forge your own glorious path!

Yeah, I played just D&D until I got to college and ran into a gaming group playing... basically everything else. If you want a system of very specific rules and stats for just about everything Palladium systems has settings from High Fantasy, to modern superheroes, to post-apocalyptic mech combat... and everything in between. My favorite system however is Pinnacle's original Deadlands. Its levelless and classless character systems allow for highly varied characters. Its mechanics adds playing cards and poker rules alongside the standard dice rolls. And the setting... awesome. U.S. Old West, an ongoing U.S. Civil War, all happening while very displeased angry spirits unleash a plague of dark energy across the west. Gunslingers and mad scientists fighting the forces of darkness next to hexslingers, gamblers, and Indian braves and shamans. Its Ravenloft meets Tombstone and its exactly as amazing and fun as that sounds.

One rule that applies across all systems and games: The story should be roleplay - not diceroll - driven. People have this misconception that in order to do anything in RP games you have to succeed at a diceroll, but in fact a good DM only really rolls the dice when there is a severe penalty for failing. For example, say the party thief is trying to pick a lock. Now, this might seem like a simple case of 'roll dice, add skill points, compare to lock DC', but that approach can often slow up the pace of a session immensely. If the player is under no stress, say if the chest is in a room that has already been cleared of monsters and the barbarian and ranger are out guarding the hallway, then even if the thief fails their roll the player will just try and try again until they get it, in which case you may as well save the party having to sit through a half-dozen unsuccessful rolls and just let the player open the lock. Now, let's take the exact same scenario but add a consequence for failure - the chest is trapped with a poison needle. *Now* we get the player to roll, as a poor result could end up with the thief springing the trap. If your barbarian wants to knock out the local tavern-keeper, let him do it. If your barbarian wants to knock out the town's sergeant-at-arms, make him roll. Your players should always be aware that high-stakes situations are dangerous, but just roleplay the small stuff rather than holding up the game with endless rolls.

Oh, and ultimately, the DM (you) has the final say in everything. The rules are there as guidelines to help you navigate unfamiliar situations, resolve challenging ties, and the like. But if the rules say a certain situation should pan out in a certain way, and you think another way would be more exiting/interesting/suspenseful or just plain cooler, don't be afraid to throw the rules out of the window.

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