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Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Thought it was about time we had a thread like this, just a place for general discussion of DnD in all its forms. Share resources, tell us about your tabletop exploits, throw ideas around and chat about anything related to Dungeons and/or Dragons! Player or DM, newbie or veteran, all are welcome!

And since this is a good a place as any, here's a selection of useful resources for DMs and players that you may not have come across.
Spoiler:


The basics: You probably already have these, but still worth mentioning. Free core rules, character sheets and
http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules
http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/character_sheets


DnD Beyond: This site/toolset is very useful for beginners, especially the character creator which can help you set up a character in minutes, useful if you're overwhelmed by the Player's Handbook or need to quickly set up for an extra player. Once you've created one, you can then manage them in an interactive format, activating spell slots, tracking HP and XP, resetting with Rests ect. It also has a rules reference section and the opportunity to buy specific race/class/archetype rules without buying the whole book which is nice. You'll need a Twitch account to access it, but that's free to set up if you don't have one.
https://www.dndbeyond.com/


Roll20 Compendium: Lots of you are probably familiar with Roll20's game-hosting functionality, but it also has a compendium of all the freely available rules, which is handy to keep open while you play in case you need to look something up without flicking through the books.
https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/BookIndex

DM's Guild (useful for players as well though!): This is essentially a collection of free homebrew material, from adventures to new classes, maps to whole new mechanics. Loads of it is free as well, so if you're stuck for ideas for a session or want a new experience at the table, you'll find something here ready to go.
http://www.dmsguild.com/

Kobold Fight Club: An encounter builder that lets you create and track combat encounters, handy if you're new to DMing and haven't got to the point where you can confidently balance encounters yet.
http://kobold.club/fight/#/encounter-builder

Critical Role: Not so much a resource as it is just highly entertaining. Short version, voice actors playing DnD with a heavy focus on narrative and character, so if you're into the RP side of things then it'll be right up your street. And if you don't have around 400 hours spare to watch the first Campaign, they just started a new series which is currently only 5 episodes in, and there are plenty of one-shot episodes as well.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-p9lWIhcLQ&list=PL7atuZxmT954bCkC062rKwXTvJtcqFB8i

A couple of video series for DMs:

Geek&Sundry's DM Tips with Matt Mercer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XikjjQok5Y&list=PL7atuZxmT9570U87GhK_20NcbxM43vkom

'Running The Game' from Matt Colville:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-YZvLUXcR8&list=PLlUk42GiU2guNzWBzxn7hs8MaV7ELLCP_


Thanks to Talizvar for this extensive list of resources:
 Talizvar wrote:
I will apologize now, the list got huge but this is pretty much all I found to hit the ground running as a newbie DM.
The more experienced folk could point to better stuff I hope to improve this list.

Played D&D and the AD&D way back when.
Did the 3rd edition, gave 4th a pass.
I was "forced" into DM'ing 5th edition for a group of 6 which was a challenge.
I will say I like the detail of 5th edition and everything seems to make a degree of sense.
I picked up "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" and in our one session we got through the first 2 "Acts".

I decided to go with the Act leveling up as a crutch... I am new!
BUT this guy makes a great deal of sense on how every second level and specific levels for that matter need more time since they start getting hairy to balance and adjust to.
http://theangrygm.com/how-to-xp-good/

So I had to "crash course" for a couple weeks to get going.
Some things I would suggest:

"Baisc Rules"
http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules
Overall reference aside from the actual player book and DMG.
https://5etools.com/5etools.html
https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Combat#content

OrcPub is my goto for character creation:
https://www.orcpub2.com/
I had to touch-up a few things but making links to images on the net and stuff to flesh-out the sheets was a boon, it even makes out some spell cards.

Speaking of Spell cards:
Just bit the bullet and grabbed the "Spell Cards Arcane" it covers pretty much everything.
https://www.flamesofwar.com/gf9online_store.aspx?CategoryID=13327
There are free ones on the net I am sure you can figure out.

I found what I view as a good player (or beginner DM) reference "cheat sheet":
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwCtO5aw9n2LRl9CekVsZjJUd1k
Nice production of this one too:
https://gameslaboratory.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/DD-Player-Cheat-Sheet.pdf
A bit dense text but worthy as well:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2Fbq7v8pucJa293M2huakphRDQ/view

I feel this is the most useful reference sheets as a DM, I had found and I laminated them:
This is the most efficient for space and ease of reference:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/rpgdownloads.php?do=download&downloadid=1141
This is fast and gets the job done:
http://swshinn.com/dnd-5e/rules-summary/
Another good alternative:
https://olddungeonmaster.com/2016/06/17/dd-5e-dm-screen-portrait-version/
For having the tablet or laptop in front of me, this one has it all:
http://ceryliae.github.io/5edmscreen/

DM general physical "tools".
http://dmdavid.com/tag/photo-guide-to-dungeon-masters-tools-2/

I have a large kitchen table (seats about 8) with a galvanized metal surface (With a "pretty" distressed wood frame around it) so I have been creative with magnets and dry erase markers.

I STRONGLY suggest allowing and awarding use of "hero points" it allows heroic moments and allows the DM to avoid some really hard decisions when you think you may have "killed" the party.
It really helped award good gameplay as well (I had to write out my rules of what the merit would be and not be accused of any favoritism).
Some notes on their use: https://d-d-5e-road-test.obsidianportal.com/wikis/hero-points

An amazing "everything" use site for the overwhelmed DM:
http://donjon.bin.sh/
Yep, took a look again and got "lost" for 15 minutes.
This site is perfect for VERY quickly making a fast and dirty adventure in under an hour (I could see 15 minutes with some screen grabs) with lots of detail.

Party tracking sheets:
https://simplednd.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/dd-5e-party-tracking-sheet/
NEVER ask for "passive perception check" again unless you want to make the players nervous intentionally.

Encounter management (on-line)
http://kobold.club/fight/#/encounter-builder

I dug into much more but pretty much got what I needed with lots to spare.
Anyone have anything better to add: please let people know, I am trying VERY hard to keep my newbie DM work as painless as possible and I can focus on the narrative and less on the mechanics.
I found just getting crib sheets together and encounter tables figured out and the key NPC characters ready to play makes it go smooth.
Balancing combat with splitting parties, "forcibly" joined NPCs, "pickup" players joining or not showing up for combat and whatever else balancing act is brutal and an art form of it's own.

Many players were using their phones to keep track of their characters but found we all migrated to the some form of physical spell cards to keep in front of us.





I'll add more to that as I come across stuff, feel free to suggest any additions!

But a discussion thread needs some discussion, so to kick things off, throw some ideas at me! This weekend I'm running a one-shot that takes place amidst a siege battle, and I'm working on a few features to help immerse the players in that situation. So far, I have the following:

Command (Bonus Action)- Once per turn, a single character in the Party may spend a Bonus Action to command the troops fighting around them. They may issue the following commands:
- CHARGE! Troops rush forward, battering the enemy defences. For the remainder of this round, all Attacks made by Allies have a +1 modifier (I was considering advantage, but that might be too strong)
- HOLD! Troops rally to their leaders, pressing in close and raising shields. All allies gain the benefit of Half Cover for the remainder of the round.
- VOLLEY! Archers rain arrows from on high, immediately inflicting D10 damage to a chosen enemy.


Battle Effects Table: DM rolls a D6 at the top of each Round, applying the effect immediately.
1: No Effect
2: Enemy archers loose a volley at the combatants. Each Party Member must pass a DC14 DEX saving throw or suffer d6 Piercing Damage
3: Catapults fire on the battlefield, shaking the earth. Each Party Member must pass a DC12 CON saving throw or suffer Disadvantage on any Attacks made this round.
4: Enemies surge forward, causing one enemy combatant to immediately move to the top of the Initiative Order for this turn.
5: Allies hold the line, causing one enemy combatant to immediately drop to the bottom of the Initiative Order for this turn.
6: The enemy break ranks as the battle turns against them. Each enemy combatant must pass a DC12 WIS saving throw or suffer Disadvantage on any Attacks made this round.


Any thoughts on those? My aim is to add flavour rather than slowing things down or making them any more complicated, and to make the players feel like they have an actual impact on the course of the battle rather than just being a part of it.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2018/03/17 22:43:05


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Made in us
Consigned to the Grim Darkness






Svalarheima, MA

This is a good idea!

Seems to be Edition Agnostic as well?

I've been giving 5E a hard look...

I mean, I love me some 1E AD&D, but some of the books coming out for 5E are mighty tempting.

Nil nos tremefacit.
 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Yeah, any edition, any expansion, any version, it's all good here.

I can't personally speak for anything before 5e myself, but it certainly seems to have been designed with slickness and accessibility in mind, so if you're used to a cruncher system like the original editions or Pathfinder then it might be a bit of a shift in style for you. However, having run a few other systems over the last few months, 5e is definitely the easiest time I've had on the DM side of things, partly because there's so many resources but more because it seems the spirit of the rules is very much telling you what you can do rather than what you can't. From what I've read around it, early editions were quite prescriptive in exactly how certain things had to occur, 5e is perhaps a bit more fast and loose or pares back a lot to nice, simple resolutions that keep the game moving forward (though that's not to say it can't handle a tougher stricter style of play, I just tend to be more focused on keeping things moving rather than getting bogged down in rules).

There's certainly a ton of great material for 5e. Not just the books, but there's Unearth Arcana which is a compendium of various optional/playtest beta rules to change things up, and as mentioned above, DMs Guild has loads of 5e material. Then there's the Open Game License, which allows for various conversions such as this LotR one I definitely intend to try out at some point.
http://cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/adventures-in-middle-earth/

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/02/15 19:03:21


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Pre Heresy Black Templar Librarian






North of Chicago, IL USA

 Alpharius wrote:
This is a good idea!

Seems to be Edition Agnostic as well?

I've been giving 5E a hard look...

I mean, I love me some 1E AD&D, but some of the books coming out for 5E are mighty tempting.


I am enjoying the crap out of 5E.

Forgeworld Download Page <-- Here there be cool stuff! DA:70S+G+M+B++I++Pw40k08+D++A++/fWD-R+T(M)DM+
 
   
Made in us
Combat Jumping Ragik






Beyond the Beltway

Get the 3 important books. As an AD&D player, you know the titles already. Volo's Guide is worthwhile, but you can skip the Sword Coast Adventurers guide and Xanathar's guide, and all the adventure paths.

5e works well enough until ~7th+ level, then the crazy hit point totals cause the combat in the game to draaaag. 5e is missing some key stuff, still, like a decent morale system. The experience point system is sub-par -- XPTS for killing monsters only. Ugh. Too video-game like. Most of these problems can be readily house-ruled by an experienced player.

Looks like someone is trying to add a warlord-esque sub-class to his game

 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Hmm... the one-shot I'm running tomorrow is at 7th level with some pretty beefy monsters, might have to build in more time for combat than I'd planned!

Morale and non-combat XP are missing, I guess, but I've kind of house-ruled that without really realising it; as I'll typically run 2, maybe 3 combat encounters per session max, just going on combat XP does mean the group would level fairly slowly, but I also try and be quite liberal with dishing out extra XP. A small amount for some quality roleplay or outside the box thinking, a big dump every few sessions for achieving major objectives... It's possibly still quite video-gamey, but better than just rewarding the killing of things.

As for morale, I usually just implement it if a combat is dragging on a bit. If there's a single weak enemy left, but it's going to require another full round to finish him off, I tend to just declare that he's legging it (if appropriate), allow a couple of Attacks of Opportunity as he tries to escape and usually that does the job faster than playing out another full round. And if they do get away, great, that's a plot hook I can use later as they report to their boss who might then come back for some revenge down the line. But again, this is as someone who's only come to the game recently, so I'm probably less likely to notice an overt omission over someone who's actually seen those rules in previous versions.


Not so much a sub-class, just something to add a little flavour to the battle and make the players feel like they can make a difference without getting into complex mass battle rules or extreme abstractions... Though a command-based sub-class would be quite fun...

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Made in us
[DCM]
Pre Heresy Black Templar Librarian






North of Chicago, IL USA

 Red Harvest wrote:
The experience point system is sub-par -- XPTS for killing monsters only. Ugh.


Our GM is doing the "You should be 4th level for the part that's coming up, so DING. Level 4, everyone."

With a good GM trying to keep things balanced, that works OK for us.

Forgeworld Download Page <-- Here there be cool stuff! DA:70S+G+M+B++I++Pw40k08+D++A++/fWD-R+T(M)DM+
 
   
Made in ca
Ancient Venerable Black Templar Dreadnought





Canada

I will apologize now, the list got huge but this is pretty much all I found to hit the ground running as a newbie DM.
The more experienced folk could point to better stuff I hope to improve this list.

Played D&D and the AD&D way back when.
Did the 3rd edition, gave 4th a pass.
I was "forced" into DM'ing 5th edition for a group of 6 which was a challenge.
I will say I like the detail of 5th edition and everything seems to make a degree of sense.
I picked up "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" and in our one session we got through the first 2 "Acts".

I decided to go with the Act leveling up as a crutch... I am new!
BUT this guy makes a great deal of sense on how every second level and specific levels for that matter need more time since they start getting hairy to balance and adjust to.
http://theangrygm.com/how-to-xp-good/

So I had to "crash course" for a couple weeks to get going.
Some things I would suggest:

"Baisc Rules"
http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules
Overall reference aside from the actual player book and DMG.
https://5etools.com/5etools.html
https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Combat#content

OrcPub is my goto for character creation:
https://www.orcpub2.com/
I had to touch-up a few things but making links to images on the net and stuff to flesh-out the sheets was a boon, it even makes out some spell cards.

Speaking of Spell cards:
Just bit the bullet and grabbed the "Spell Cards Arcane" it covers pretty much everything.
https://www.flamesofwar.com/gf9online_store.aspx?CategoryID=13327
There are free ones on the net I am sure you can figure out.

I found what I view as a good player (or beginner DM) reference "cheat sheet":
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwCtO5aw9n2LRl9CekVsZjJUd1k
Nice production of this one too:
https://gameslaboratory.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/DD-Player-Cheat-Sheet.pdf
A bit dense text but worthy as well:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2Fbq7v8pucJa293M2huakphRDQ/view

I feel this is the most useful reference sheets as a DM, I had found and I laminated them:
This is the most efficient for space and ease of reference:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/rpgdownloads.php?do=download&downloadid=1141
This is fast and gets the job done:
http://swshinn.com/dnd-5e/rules-summary/
Another good alternative:
https://olddungeonmaster.com/2016/06/17/dd-5e-dm-screen-portrait-version/
For having the tablet or laptop in front of me, this one has it all:
http://ceryliae.github.io/5edmscreen/

DM general physical "tools".
http://dmdavid.com/tag/photo-guide-to-dungeon-masters-tools-2/

I have a large kitchen table (seats about 8) with a galvanized metal surface (With a "pretty" distressed wood frame around it) so I have been creative with magnets and dry erase markers.

I STRONGLY suggest allowing and awarding use of "hero points" it allows heroic moments and allows the DM to avoid some really hard decisions when you think you may have "killed" the party.
It really helped award good gameplay as well (I had to write out my rules of what the merit would be and not be accused of any favoritism).
Some notes on their use: https://d-d-5e-road-test.obsidianportal.com/wikis/hero-points

An amazing "everything" use site for the overwhelmed DM:
http://donjon.bin.sh/
Yep, took a look again and got "lost" for 15 minutes.
This site is perfect for VERY quickly making a fast and dirty adventure in under an hour (I could see 15 minutes with some screen grabs) with lots of detail.

Party tracking sheets:
https://simplednd.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/dd-5e-party-tracking-sheet/
NEVER ask for "passive perception check" again unless you want to make the players nervous intentionally.

Encounter management (on-line)
http://kobold.club/fight/#/encounter-builder

I dug into much more but pretty much got what I needed with lots to spare.
Anyone have anything better to add: please let people know, I am trying VERY hard to keep my newbie DM work as painless as possible and I can focus on the narrative and less on the mechanics.
I found just getting crib sheets together and encounter tables figured out and the key NPC characters ready to play makes it go smooth.
Balancing combat with splitting parties, "forcibly" joined NPCs, "pickup" players joining or not showing up for combat and whatever else balancing act is brutal and an art form of it's own.

Many players were using their phones to keep track of their characters but found we all migrated to the some form of physical spell cards to keep in front of us.

A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.
Napoleon Bonaparte

 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

That's a great list of stuff, I'm just going to throw it all in the OP for now and take a good look though some of it tomorrow!

Another tool I'd recommend to all DMs is Microsoft Onenote. As someone who mostly runs games online, my laptop is my DM screen, and Onenote is the best way I've found to manage a game. If you have Windows 10 you probably have the software already, if not I believe you can get it free anyway. As it allows you to have multiple 'Sheets' contained within one 'Notebook' (and pages within those should you wish) you can have a wealth of information accessible from a single screen without ever needing to switch windows or have multiple tabs open. There's also no limit to page size, so you can plan and manage weeks worth of sessions on a single page.

I usually go with a structure like this:

Sheets:
Reference- Here's where I keep what you'd normally have on a DM screen. List of skills, reference tables, basic mechanics, that sort of stuff.

Character sheets- Self Explanatory. If I'm running more than one group or story, I'll put each set on a separate page to prevent confusion.

Equipment- Arguably could go in Reference, but I like having it as its own sheet. List of all weapon stats, gear use/hire costs, non-combat tool descriptions ect.

Bestiary- Organised into categories (large, small, human, construct, undead ect), I take screenshots from the MM of any monsters I plan to use and dump them here. Then, I convert those into smaller 'cards' which I can copy over to the gameplay sheet and edit on the fly to track health, initiative ect.

Campaign- Used to track everything in game. First page has campaign background, world lore, character histories ect. Then there's a page for each Chapter which I'll use to plan the session, run it, and refer back to when writing up the summaries for the players. I then keep another tab for one-shots and other smaller adventures, that way I can refer back to them if I ever want to run the same game again with different players, but they don't get in the way of the campaign tracking.


It takes a while to learn the ins and outs, but if you're able to have a laptop handy while playing, I find it a really neat way to run things, adapt them on the fly and keep everything in one place rather than having eleventy billion sheets of paper or word docs.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/02/17 10:50:48


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Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Well today's game was mental... Not sure what the odds are on 2 7th Level players taking out a CR15/10k XP Warrior Vampire (an encounter that's considered Deadly to 5 PCs at that level!), but I'm going to guess they're pretty long!

Oh well, it was rather epic throughout and as the one-shot was a prequel/prologue to our main game, gives me plenty to work with for future sessions. All in all, rather successful.

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[MOD]
Protoculturist






RVA

 Alpharius wrote:
I mean, I love me some 1E AD&D, but some of the books coming out for 5E are mighty tempting.
TBH I don't see much to really recommend 5E over 1E for someone who already has a great 1E collection and is well-versed in 1E. The best stuff in the new books is all rules neutral so nothing to stop you from buying em and using content for 1E gaming.

   
Made in us
Stabbin' Skarboy





USA

I'm glad I found this thread, I'm usually only in the P&M blog section. I haven't played since AD&D and 2nd ed. time frame, I've been playing other RPGs and of course wargames. Some of my friends have been showing some interest in D&D of late, so I bought myself the 5E starter "Lost Mines of Phandelver". I'd personally like to have minis to represent everything you can encounter in this, so I have a lot of work ahead of me

Along with Critical Role which was mentioned above, I also like to watch two other streamed D&D games on youtube while I paint and craft. They are "Team Four Star: at the table" and "Dungeons and Cosmonauts". I think they would be worth checking out.

I'm impressed with the resources shared on here, thanks. I'll need to find the source again for some really nice paper pawns I found about a month ago to share here.

   
Made in us
Combat Jumping Ragik






Beyond the Beltway

 Manchu wrote:
 Alpharius wrote:
I mean, I love me some 1E AD&D, but some of the books coming out for 5E are mighty tempting.
TBH I don't see much to really recommend 5E over 1E for someone who already has a great 1E collection and is well-versed in 1E. The best stuff in the new books is all rules neutral so nothing to stop you from buying em and using content for 1E gaming.
Accessibility. Bringing in new players, and bringing back old players who do not want to deal with the AD&D cruft. An AD&D veteran can use the 5e framework and add in AD&D stuff (like the morale system and a few other bits) far easier than adding 5e stuff to AD&D. There is quite a bit about AD&D that is just clunky, and poorly implemented. Initiative system anyone?

I enjoyed AD&D when it released (well, when the PHB did.) but I would not play it nowadays.

 
   
Made in us
[MOD]
Protoculturist






RVA

AD&D is from a time when RPGs weren't just played "out of the box" like board games. Rather, good DMs used the rules as a basis for guiding how they made calls while running the session. Someone like Alpharius, who has a lot of experience with 1E, already knows how to make rulings as opposed to just applying mechanics out of a ruleset. Changing to 5E won't make his sessions less "clunky" because they aren't clunky to begin with.

If 'accessibility' really means, can I go to the store and buy a new copy of the book? then yes 5E is more accessible. But players in a 1E game don't need any books. They don't need to know any rules. Alpharius already has whatever he needs to run 1E sessions, bookwise. If 'accessibility' means, can people easily understand the game? then 5E has no benefits over 1E generally and certainly not for a 1E vet like Alpharius.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/02/18 19:17:14


   
Made in us
Combat Jumping Ragik






Beyond the Beltway

Thanks for the "manchu"-splanation I was a DM at that time, and a little bit before too (OD&D times). Apparently I knew nothing.

AD&D was intended for tournament play, so it was very much meant to be played 'out of the box'. It was not meant to be used with lots of DM rulings. Gygax railed against that sort of thing, something about not playing AD&D anymore, IIRC. Nobody paid him any attention.

Accessibility means easy to learn, and to find people to play with. AD&D is not easy to learn (grappling rules anyone?), unless one already has a wargaming background, and good luck finding new players. It is an anachronism.

What you've described -- "But players in a 1E game don't need any books. They don't need to know any rules"-- is the OD&D of the 3LBBs and the supplements. Players needed nothing but pencil, paper and imagination. And a good DM. 5e is easily brought closer to that than AD&D.


This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/02/18 20:01:16


 
   
Made in us
[MOD]
Protoculturist






RVA

 Red Harvest wrote:
Apparently I knew nothing.
Why stop at past tense?

AD&D is self-evidently a toolkit. People who got to wanting a unified system out-of-the-box went hunting elsewhere. People who didn't kept playing their versions of AD&D. By all means, ask Alpharius which category he falls into.

If you are looking to join an IRL game as a player then yeah it is probably easier to find a 5E game. But if you're gonna DM then why not DM whatever you know best (i.e., the ruleset least likely to intrude on the gameplay)? Players in a 1E game need not know any more rules than players in a 5E game (assuming you choose to run 5E in the 1E/Basic rather than 3E/4E style).

   
Made in us
Combat Jumping Ragik






Beyond the Beltway

 Manchu wrote:
...Players in a 1E game need not know any more rules than players in a 5E game (assuming you choose to run 5E in the 1E/Basic rather than 3E/4E style).
Oh dear no. Not true at all. I've seen this movie. It does not have a happy ending. I wonder if you have even played AD&D, and not that abomination called 2e AD&D either. Players do need to know the rules. The basic sets were for learners.

 Manchu wrote:
AD&D is self-evidently a toolkit. People who got to wanting a unified system out-of-the-box went hunting elsewhere. People who didn't kept playing their versions of AD&D.
In 1979, when AD&D completed with the release of the DMG, there was nowhere else to hunt. Tunnels & Trolls? Runequest? ha-ha! Pull the other one. AD&D was the only thing that was supposedly unified. Unless you wanted Sci-Fi. Then there was the monstrosity that was Traveller. Gamma World was fun but limited.

Your opinions are very much at odds with my experiences. A hard argument for you to win. One last answer. DMing the same stuff for decades can get dull, tedious, etc. So try a new system that is familiar enough to learn quickly and will be fun for years to come.

So back to 5e. The not moribund version of the game. The only warning is the Adventure League play. I do not hear good things about that. Too much cultural warring going on to just focus on the play.


 
   
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RVA

 Red Harvest wrote:
I wonder if you have even played AD&D
People who do not like [some edition of a game] ALWAYS end up saying this to people who do like [that edition].

I'm not interested in edition wars. 5E is fine and 1E is fine, too. The only reason for someone who loves running 1E to flip over to 5E is they want to run a 5E module without doing any conversion work. I get that you don't like 1E and don't want to bother with 1E. That's clearly why you gave it up for editions with a unified system. Nothing wrong with that. But my comments are addressed to someone who actually loves 1E.

   
Made in ca
Ancient Venerable Black Templar Dreadnought





Canada

Sticking my toe into the "version wars".
I have fond memories of AD&D, my best fun was playing "Against the Giants" module which oddly enough is reincarnated in 5th edition.
I had the added perspective of playing "Rolemaster" or "Rulesmaster" to some, made D&D in general seem highly accessable in comparison.
The damage charts we tended to use for "fun" in AD&D for natural 20 results.

Anyway, I see elements in 5th edition which has some lessons learned in it.
I was a huge fan of "James Bond" with it's "hero points" so it was nice to see included in 5th.
I still have all my books from 3rd edition as well, it was pretty good and see no issue with continuing on with it as well.
I heard and saw a bit of 4th and... it was not for me, it really depends on the person I guess.

I look at the latest edition similar like any game system I play that gets an update: new industry "standards" that come up and work are worth incorporating in.
Just like with our lively GW/40k discussions, the latest and greatest is the easiest to find players for typically and sees FLGS support more-so than a "dead" prior version.
As I had listed, the support for this version is fabulous and seems easier to go the way the wind blows so to speak.

I very much agree that yes, play what makes you happy!
I find 5th so much more accessable than trying to explain Thac0 or other fun stuff of that nature so teaching my kids and their friends (and their parents!) so much simpler than past rules.
The ideas no matter what version is ALL GOOD.
I am just happy that with D&D I have my kids reading the original Conan books, the Drizzt novels, Dragonlance and even "The Witcher" novel I have: they have found this land of adventure where anything can happen yet it has a known "physics".

Heck, anyone who can point me to a "Pool of Radiance" module I would be in their debt (the original IS out there somewhere).
Fond memories those goldbox games of old by SSI.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/02/20 06:01:52


A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.
Napoleon Bonaparte

 
   
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RVA

Are you talking about the Ruins of Adventure module? It's on DriveThru but original copies go fro reasonable prices.

   
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Incorporating Wet-Blending





Houston, TX

Meh, this is a pretty tame edition war. It seems like a lot of OD&D fans actually like 5th ed. I don't have a dog in the fight as I am no longer of fan of D&D's choppy mechanics, but even I have to acknowledge that 5th cleaned up a lot of cruft. D&D was a clunky system that worked because of the work of DMs willing to hack it and the fact that most other systems were either obscure, derivative of D&D or even more unplayable. Streamlining things like saves and advancement and bringing in consistent mechanics is a clear improvement. And it only took 40+ years!

I think alot of the OSR is really about bringing together the old style of play (randomized encounters, asymmetric encounters, exploration, etc. v. neatly balanced story/linear) buy with the more modern improvements on mechanics. By way of analogy, a new sports car is generally betther tech than it's 1970 version. But the 70s one started it all and a dedicated owner may have migrated it to modern tech with alot of customization over time. Other just want to lovingly restore the original, even if it lacks the modern benefits. All valid and all can produce an enjoyable experience.

-James
 
   
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Protoculturist






RVA

5E is WotC's attempt to un-screw itself. The fallout over 4E came in two major categories of OGL-based brand defection: dedicated 3E players lining up to buy Pathfinder products and 3E-skeptics jumping on the OSR. So 5E was designed to bring both kinds of customers back into the fold. It helps that both post-4E "movements" were starting to get burnt out when 5E finally debuted.

   
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What's OSR?

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Old School Renaissance - generally speaking, players who wanted to focus more on narrative and less on mechanics.

   
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Consigned to the Grim Darkness






Svalarheima, MA

 Manchu wrote:
 Red Harvest wrote:
I wonder if you have even played AD&D
People who do not like [some edition of a game] ALWAYS end up saying this to people who do like [that edition].

I'm not interested in edition wars. 5E is fine and 1E is fine, too. The only reason for someone who loves running 1E to flip over to 5E is they want to run a 5E module without doing any conversion work. I get that you don't like 1E and don't want to bother with 1E. That's clearly why you gave it up for editions with a unified system. Nothing wrong with that. But my comments are addressed to someone who actually loves 1E.


 Manchu wrote:
Old School Renaissance - generally speaking, players who wanted to focus more on narrative and less on mechanics.


I think I've got the answer I was looking for!

I'll just pick up the books that look interesting to me (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes and maybe Volo's Guide to Monsters) and go from there.

For my gaming group, they just want to play "D&D" and don't really know or care much about editions and such. And since I'm going to be the DM, 1E offers me just about everything I need to tell the story they want to participate in.

For the record, initiative never really bothered me too much, but I'm sure I'm using a slightly different version of it that anyone else, as everyone else was/is!

On top of all that, I've got a somewhat expensive 'hobby' of buying lots of RPG books just to read and enjoy, knowing that I'll almost never actually play a game with them!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/02/20 16:32:35


Nil nos tremefacit.
 
   
Made in us
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Beyond the Beltway

Get Volo's first. It is the nicest of the two that you mentioned which are available. I found Xanathar's to be disappointing. I'd recommend the Players Handbook too. Or is it Player's Handbook this time

Nobody played initiative 'right' IME. Don't worry about it. I think people are still squabbling over it. If you poke around, you'll find that the mechanics for 5e are really easy. ( and dumbed down in a few cases like, yes, initiative.) This makes focus on the play, rather than the 'crunch' or w/e that is, very easy. And not referencing charsts all the time is a convenience.

 Manchu wrote:
 Red Harvest wrote:
I wonder if you have even played AD&D
People who do not like [some edition of a game] ALWAYS end up saying this to people who do like [that edition].

I'm not interested in edition wars. 5E is fine and 1E is fine, too. The only reason for someone who loves running 1E to flip over to 5E is they want to run a 5E module without doing any conversion work. I get that you don't like 1E and don't want to bother with 1E. That's clearly why you gave it up for editions with a unified system. Nothing wrong with that. But my comments are addressed to someone who actually loves 1E.
Eh? This has nothing to do with edition warring. Your statements are those of someone with little familiarity with AD&D. I enjoyed AD&D for many, many years, right from its start. But it is a museum piece at this point. Semi-seriously http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/news/toy-hall-fame. RPGs have come a long way since 1979. (And even farther since 1974)

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2018/02/20 19:07:02


 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Yeah, there's some good stuff in Volo's. Lots of fun monsters types and quite a bit to expand the likes of Gnolls, Goblins, Kobolds ect so that when you use those guys, it's not necessarily just the usual suspects of 'regular dude, boss dude and mage dude'.


Speaking of monsters (and moving back towards talking about the actual game, rather than editions of the game! ), how do you guys employ random encounters, if at all? I'm in two minds on them at the moment, on one hand they're a decent way to make the world feel a bit more alive, organic and dangerous but on the other hand, I'm not sure my players (or myself, to be honest) would be happy with combat that's not in service to moving a storyline along, be that a personal story, a 'side quest' or the main plot of the campaign. I see that there's still stuff to learn from them about the world (just by dint of what you encounter, you can piece together a picture of the world you're adventuring in), but I'm not sure that'd be enough to satisfy my players and it might just seem to them like I'm stalling while I figure out a 'proper' set of encounters.

Of course, there is a compromise to be had whereby I build a plot around a random encounter after the fact (for example, a random encounter with a Wyvern lair around which I concoct a plot featuring an unhatched egg the party find there after defeating the mother) but then, is that really random? If I want that plot, why not just build that encounter in the first place rather than leaving it to chance? I think it comes down to the difference between a setting and a story; in a setting, those Trolls are going to try and eat you because that's what they do, in a story they're going to try and eat you so that you can go to their cave and find some magic Elven swords...

So, anyone want to make the case for purely random encounters (tables and all) that don't explicitly lead towards a narrative?


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Yes, narrative arises out of random events.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/02/20 20:03:04


   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

You see, I get that in principle, but it's a matter of degree. How random is random? For instance, I just plugged some numbers for my party into a Random Encounter Generator and got the following:

1 Goblin Boss
2 Wolves
2 Goblins.

Now, with that, I could...

A) Roll this randomly at the table, and as the fight plays out, come up with a narrative to follow it up. Maybe a map on the goblin boss to an undiscovered location, or something off about the wolves that bears further investigation. This relies on me being able to improv rapidly while also running combat, and means I don't have any maps/stat blocks/notes prepared for whatever other encounters this needs to.

B) Roll this randomly at the table, and run the combat. Nothing comes of it. The goblins attacked the party because it's a band of goblins coming across a group of travellers in the wild, taking their chance and launching an ambush. It's just what they do. This is the most authentic option, and the most truly random one, but perhaps the least interesting.

C) Roll this randomly ahead of time. Make some notes on where the encounter is going to lead should the players choose to investigate further. Prepare future encounters based on that outcome. But at this point, why did I bother rolling randomly in the first place? It's the way that leads to the most coherent and interesting story, and one that I can thoroughly prepare, but any element of randomness is pointless, and I might as well just design it as a bespoke encounter and narrative path like I would anything else.


Ok, I'm playing Devil's Advocate here a bit, there are probably a dozen interpretations in between those three. But at the moment, basically, I need to be convinced that randomness actually adds anything (more specifically, adds something my players will actually want and respond to) that just creating specific sets of encounters wouldn't, and that it's not just creating more work for me at the table for little or no narrative return for myself or the players. I'm fully open to the idea if someone can convince me why I should use it, but at the moment I'm just not seeing what advantage a random element adds over a bespoke encounter that I can seed, plan and be fully prepared for, given that my players (and myself) aren't likely to enjoy a combat that happens 'because that's what [insert random monsters] would be doing' and builds the world but doesn't advance the story, even if it's more 'realistic'.




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"Random encounters" are quite important - and quite often aren't all that "Random" either!

Nil nos tremefacit.
 
   
 
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