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Dungeon Danger for the Beginner DM! (Retro D&D Games)

   
Project New DM (D&D Retro Games)

I've seen so many postings of people who would like to DM a game, but have never run a game before and are not sure they could do it. So, i've come up with a plan!

A common quote among the D&D world is, "Too many players. Not enough DM's". And with the increasing rise in interest in OD&D/AD&D retro games on this site, I've begun the idea of creating a simple 2-level dungeon designed especially for new DM's.

The Plan:
The concept is a simple one. I plan to start this project initially using the Swords & Wizardry Core Rules set as a basis, since it is a well-constructed and loyal clone of the Original D&D rules and is an easy system to learn in itself. Once that is completed, there the project will be extended to cover use of the AD&D system and possibly others.

The project will most likely consist of a single 2-level dungeon created to run a party of four 1st-level characters. The characters will provided as pre-gens covering the four basic classes, for the sake of simplicity and ease of getting started, as well as keeping things easy to figure out. The DM is free to let the players create their own characters as long as they don't stray from the Core Rulebook rules.

Each of the two levels of the dungeon would consist of pre-determined monsters, one trap and one hazard. One of the levels would also consist of a puzzle to be solved (possibly on level 1, necessary to reach level 2). The monsters would be pre-determined, with 2 rooms on each level containing monsters in waiting, and the others as wandering monster tables.

And of course, no adventure is complete without treasure!

The goal is to keep things as simplified as possible to make running the game as least intimidating as possible, while still keeping things fun for both the DM and the player, and taking the fear out of running a game!

The plan is a single dungeon and ruleset, with the same monsters, traps, hazards, puzzle, etc. They can be interchanged between rooms if desired, but this will make sure there is no need for complications in what goes where, and anyone can download the dungeon and info and set up a game to run and learn.

I plan to take all the development info, piece it together and lay out a pdf for easy access and reference once we've got it all together. Just to make things simple, we should probably post everything in my threat so that when other people start putting up their threads here for their stuff it doesn't get all jumbled up and difficult to find

I have access to both rulesets and can do translations as necessary. I imagine most of our community probably does too (at the very least, through the use of S&W/OSRIC/LL).

I humbly suggest that a good consistent framework would be the Nine Rooms situation from this free product.

Downloaded. I'll check it out later tonight if I have time.

Again, let's please keep these discussions on a single thread so we don't tie up space and get information scattered throughout this threadgroup.

Please keep all discussions pertaining to this project here

OK, before I roll off to bed here, I want to offer up some thoughts:

Why is the DM DMing the module, and why are the players playing this module? The first one, I think, is the easiest one. The DMs are trying to get their toes wet, while the players are trying to have short-term fun, if I make my mark correctly.

For the DMs, I think this module should provide framework, a rough idea of a story, and room to interpret and improvise. For the players, I think rewards should be story-based. Let's be honest: A 1st level character going through one two level dungeon isn't going to progress in level, isn't going to get wild and crazy loot that will alter how they function, and isn't going to be around after the dungeon is over. The loot, by and large, is, I think, without significant meaning. I think it should still be implemented. Some coinage, some gems, some jewels, maybe a magic item or two sprinkled along the way, just because that's a part of the RPG experience.

That being said, what is the long term satisfaction for players? Why this module instead of a different one? Certainly, it's a good way to learn, so it could be done as an educational piece, but, I think our biggest "reward" for the players should actually be good story telling. A well designed plot hook, a dungeon that makes players think as much if not more often than swing swords and cast spells, and a satisfying resolution. Perhaps an "ah ha!" moment, or something particularly laughable. Maybe the mood of the game should be very somber and serious, but I feel that lends itself to a longer term campaign. Perhaps for something short term, the fun should be more light-hearted in nature? Perhaps a big joke or prank or some other such thing.

I'm merely offering up ideas, take them for what they're worth, of course!

The ideas are definitely sound ones. As far as storyline goes, that's one that could easily be created by the DM considering the small scale of the adventure. I'm considering including some basic plot seeds, which would include why certain things are where they are .As well, there are plenty of players who are perfectly happy with a short adventure being mostly hack-and-slash with only bits and pieces of storyline thrown in.

As far as players go, there is always the possibility of creating a second, connecting module to further any story and allow characters to continue. But part of the idea is to get a new DM's feet wet, and enjoy doing it enough that they'll want to follow up with their own adventures and allow the players to continue to advance and create a greater story

Why not a dungeon geomorph idea where a DM create a level that could be used by Characters of levels 1-2. Levels 3-5 and levels 6-9 - populating the same level for each level of play. DMs can mix and match levels as needed creating dungeons that suit their needs - small, large or mega.




 

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