Sunday, June 2, 2013

My Daughter, The DM

This Friday my 14 year old daughter is going to run a tabletop RPG for her friends, all of whom are new to gaming, for the first time. She asked me for pointers today on being the DM. Admittedly, I'm not much of a DM myself. I've run a few simple games for her, but I think she's gotten most of her knowledge from an old stack of Knight of the Dinner Table comics.

She knew that she wanted to run something "like D&D" so I gave her copies of the Basic D&D Rules and B2: The Keep on the Borderlands. The rules aren't an issue for her (she's read lots of rule books before and played some), but we're going to brush up a bit this week. My DM, Phil let me know that B2 is something of a meat grinder, so I helped her come up with a few house rules.

  1. When a PC reaches 0 HP, they are knocked unconscious and will die in 1d10 minutes unless someone helps them. If they are helped, they will return to 1 HP, but will need to rest in town for d6 days, after which they are fully healed.
  2. Every PC starts with a potion of healing.
  3. An additional potion of healing will be available for sale in the keep every week for 100 gp.
  4. Encumbrance will be ignored as long as it's within common sense.
I gave her the following bits of advice so far, but I don't know how helpful they will be:
  1. Read the rules and the module twice. (We'll do a quick play through of a few areas this week.)
  2. Let the players decide what they want to do. If you want them to know something let an NPC tell them.
  3. If it sounds cool or fun and at all reasonable, let the player roll a die to see if they can do it. If you don't know what the odds should be, say 50% or 25% (11+ or 16+.)
  4. When the players make suggestions, try to answer with "yes, and..." or "yes, but..." if possible.
  5. Your job as DM is to make the game fun... Don't worry about how much is being accomplished as long as it's fun. If something isn't fun, then you can narrate it quickly to get to the fun part.
  6. Award XP when the characters return to the keep (or other civilization.)
And I gave her the following to pass on to her players:
  1. The goal of the game is to have fun, but the goal of the adventurers is to get treasure.
  2. Never fight when you can steal or trick the monsters out of their gold.
  3. Never get into a fair fight on purpose.
  4. Avoid attacking in melee when you can fight with ranged weapons instead.
  5. Avoid fighting with ranged weapons when you can sneak around instead.
  6. Go back to town frequently. Rest up and resupply.
  7. The best overall character is the cleric. If anyone doesn't know what they should play, then play a cleric. Good HP, heavy armor, a few spells eventually, and a pretty good warrior.
Tonight she is reading the game rules. Tomorrow she will get to DM for me a bit as I make a character and play through a few mock battles.


1 comment:

  1. Very good advice. I hope she and her friends have a blast. And also well done sir on ushering in the next generation of gamers.

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