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 Post subject: Teach Me to DM
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:37 am 
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Image *cough* Wow, this board is a MESS. When was the last time you guys cleaned up? It's so...dusty... I think I see some cobwebs over there too.

...Anyway, I'm not here to criticize your cleanliness on this place. Since this a Roleplay board, I wanted to bring up a very important Roleplay topic.

In less than a month, I will be turning 30. In celebration, I wanted to try something very new that I've always thought about trying but never jumped on: Tabletop RPGing. I'm going to have lots of friends and family all around in one place and I'd like to take that opportunity to finally try it out.

But, well, since I have zero experience with any sort of tabletop campaign (outside of listening in on a modified version of DnD with Pokémon elements thrown in), I have come to you all seeking advice. I felt having its own thread would be better to condense all the necessary information into one convenient spot.

First off, some background of what I do have:

The game in question is Ironclaw (which, of course would be my first pick, I feel no shame), 2nd Edition to be precise. I've actually have had the book on .pdf for some time now in hopes of trying it out though I don't think I was ever brave enough to ask you guys, but I digress. Inside, it does have a starter campaign if that counts for anything. I also have a good chunk of dice, including every one that is needed for this game (specifically, D4s, D6s, D8s, D10s, and D12s. Yeah, this game doesn't use D20s, shocking!). But that's as far as I've gotten. So really, I just want a few pointers of what else I could need material wise and how I can make the experience as enjoyable as possible for, what is quite possibly, a room full of newcomers (I'm not the only newbie here). In short, I want to know the following:

-What size graph paper should I get? The game's movement system does count out spaces equal to their Agility stat, I believe (been a while since I read the book).
-I found a site with a bunch of cut out standies for characters and NPCs. Should I make use of these for tokens or use something more solid than paper?
-What are some key things a DM should know to make sure everyone is having fun?
-What other materials should I bring besides paper and pencils?
-How do I go about drawing maps?
-What exactly do I do when I ask for a "check" for skills? I'm kind of lost here.

In all honesty, just tell me absolutely everything you can! Ironclaw does play a little differently, but not by much, so any advice would be helpful. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Teach Me to DM
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:00 am 
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-What size graph paper should I get? The game's movement system does count out spaces equal to their Agility stat, I believe (been a while since I read the book).

I have no played the game in person for awhile now but from what I've heard 1'' grid paper is the best for Tabletops. If you're interested in Hexes instead there's special paper just for that. Last time I played we used plain wrapping paper because it had a square pattern on it.

-I found a site with a bunch of cut out standies for characters and NPCs. Should I make use of these for tokens or use something more solid than paper?

Yeah those are fine. Really though you can use anything you want for physical tokens. Use your imagination. You see nerds in cartoons and comics using plastic ponies for monsters and that's all just fine.

-What are some key things a DM should know to make sure everyone is having fun?

UHH, I think the biggest thing I can tell you is to go with the flow of your players. Try to avoid saying "No you can't do that". If they want to do something dumb, you go with it.

-What other materials should I bring besides paper and pencils?

Lots of spare paper. Best for note taking. Don't forget all the books and dice. I guess if you're playing physical you want to have something between yourself and the players so they can't sneak at peek at what you've got written down.

-What exactly do I do when I ask for a "check" for skills? I'm kind of lost here.

I'm unfamiliar with how 2nd edition does it but the basis of it should be the same. When your player does something you think they can potentially fail (crossing a tightrope, searching a room for hidden items, trying to hide, etc) you have the player make a skill check. That player then rolls a dice, then adds their skill level to their roll. The number they get is compared to the number required to successfully complete the action (Commonly referred to as the DC (Dice comparison)). For example. I have 5 points in HIDE. I'm trying to hide from a monster. To successfully hide from it, I need a 13 or Higher. I would roll the dice, let's say I get a 10, and since I have 5 points in Hide, it'd be a 15. I succeed in hiding.

Now, there's no big list of DCs for ever action that's every existed, so you'll need to make up the requirement yourself. You need to figure out how difficult it would be to do the action. What I usually do is start from the middle (In this case 10) and increase or decrease it from there. Climbing an icy cliff is more difficult then trying to climb a dry one, so the DC for scaling the icy cliff would have to be higher then the dry one. Also, if the action is mundane, or the the player is not in any sense of urgency, it usually doesn't warrant a skill check. Having to do one every time you climb a ladder would be a hassle.

Oh also, a 20 is always a success. And a 1 is always a fail.

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 Post subject: Re: Teach Me to DM
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:26 am 
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Image I was beginning to worry that I wasn't going to hear anything, but I'm glad I got some help. Thank you!

1'', huh? Okay, I'll look into that. The game uses squares so no need for hexes here. Simple graph will do.

I'm glad anything's fine, though. I wanted to use something a little closer to what our characters look like though, but it doesn't matter I suppose.

Going with the flow. So if I were to understand correctly, it's kind of like an improv night, am I right? Things happen and you need to adjust to the changes. Am I getting it?

I'm curious about sneaking a peak. What exactly should I have written down here that they wouldn't want to look at? Enemy stats and background info or something to that like? I'd like to know if you can help.

Hmm, I think I get the skill check part, though since we'd all be learning, I feel this might be a more "easy going" kind of thing, though I'd like to be as accurate as possible so every bit helps here. I like the idea of starting a the middle, though. That sounds like a good source of measurement.

I'll need to double check what this book has for instant wins. The dice are a bit inconsistent with Ironclaw. As I mentioned previously, there isn't even a d20! The highest is d12. Leveling's a bit weird here, where increasing your skill means being able to use more dice or something to that extent (ie. you could attack with a d12, but now you can deal more damage, so you're attacking with a d12+d4). I think I'll need to really study this book cover to cover.

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