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First time DM (Lengthy Post FYI)

   
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Originally Posted by sgill07 View Post
@Raistlinmc 2 players a party does not make, and to be blunt this group is a mix match batch of people who have common links (half know my gf and are her friends, half are my friends), to be frank they don't exactly mesh personality wise (one group is lets say conservative and the other is much more liberal leaning side) so I think that calling them a group at this point is a stretch. More so its 7 people playing a common game of interest bc they all separately wanted to play, not really that they came together for a game. Which, yes may be one of the many larger problems at hand discussed.
Would you consider running them as two groups, one of which has three players and one of which has four? If they are separate enough you can even recycle your plots between them.

It sounds like it would also ease some of the tensions in the group.

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Originally Posted by sgill07 View Post
@Valsai I will do my best to summarize.
A. Personal interest, in that I am quite frankly TIRED of playing the "knock off middle earth" setting (again perhaps I should have chosen a better system to represent the setting more appropriately, as has already been discussed).
Would playing in a Middle-Earth setting as opposed to its Dollar Store brand be a possibility? I'm not sure if you're just tired of D&D specifically or the fantasy setting in general, but if it's the prior perhaps changing it up is a possibility. There are a few systems that use ME directly a setting (MERP/Rolemaster, The One Ring, I'm thinking there's a third I can't recall atm)...but also, there's very little difficulty in just running a game set in Middle Earth with 3.5 as the system to begin with.

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B. Traditional settings have even more of a challenge with crafting a "hook" and plot. This plot was simple. Hey, you are the first people to encounter the Tyranid alien race. Story writes itself.
Wholly disagree; 20 years and counting running mostly in "traditional" settings and I've yet to run out of background hooks or plotline ideas, from both sides of the table. Weak point.

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C. Obviously as people have said already, I am not making a game for myself or I would be a writer not a DM. But equally so, the players can't play without a DM. So this was the setting I wanted to do and make use of my models because it is boring as crap using dice to represent enemies and players all the time and no one in the group has D&D character figures.
And you can't be a DM without a group. Catch-22. You have to find the middle ground between your wants and your player's desires if you want to have a game in the first place. So which is it, are you running this game because you want to run a game, because everyone else wants to play a game, or because you want to play a game with everyone? If it's the first, you take care of the system issues and sell the crap out of it to your players to keep them interested after an early reset/system change...or find a new group that's interested in 40k to begin with and scrap this. If it's the second, play what they want to play, even if it's D&D, because you're doing it for them. If it's the third, change your stance, adapt, and figure out a middle ground where you and your players can come to an agreement as to what you all want to do.

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Originally Posted by sgill07 View Post
C. Obviously as people have said already, I am not making a game for myself or I would be a writer not a DM. But equally so, the players can't play without a DM. So this was the setting I wanted to do and make use of my models because it is boring as crap using dice to represent enemies and players all the time and no one in the group has D&D character figures.
This may come as a surprise, but you can have a game without a GM. There are systems designed for that, in fact. Heck, there's even a few systems that can run with only a single person (Ironsworn comes to mind).

Also, I re-use the pogs I got out of a D&D 4e Red Box for characters, regardless of setting or system. You can still use your 40k models to represent baddies, even if it doesn't make sense. Lots of people use Legos, too!


ANYHOW, I'll say this one last thing:
Take everything you've read here, and take some time to consider it all. Outside of 'rolling with it as best as you can', a change of system or setting may be in your group's best interests. Now, the rest of us can argue until we're blue in the face about this suggestion, but when you boil it down, we don't know your group well enough to say if this will work or not.

Therefore, the advice I give is this - talk to your group. Sit 'em down, and discuss the whole shebang. The setting, the system, their characters, the story you've crafted thus far, etc. See if they mind changing things up or not. They may be more receptive to this than you think.

If you're bored of the standard medievil fantasy setting, then its time to find something completely different. 40k is a really awesome setting, but Grimdark is not everyone's cup of tea. Scifi isn't everyone's thing either. Thus, find something that scratches as many itches as possible. Maybe a setting like Iron Kingdoms (which is steampunk fantasy) might be cool to them? Heck, even Shadowrun might be their thing. Or maybe your group would enjoy building their own setting and genre. I couldn't tell ya. But a discussion with your group may show you the way.

No matter what we say or suggest, talking to your group is the first step in resolving all of this. If there's any advice I couldn't stress enough, it's that.

I've run WH40K in other game systems, twice I think, and both times I changed it to fit the settings. The first was in the Morrow Project and the empire was a rising menace in the wastes. They eventually ran into the "space" marines with the serial numbers filed off and they were really tough to fight. But the players could fight them and win with the right weapons and tactics. In a TTWG the space marines are the ultimate weapon but in an RPG they have to be killable.

I had them as a side thing in a homebrew Pathfinder campaign. But everything was a medieval version. So the emperor was alive and on a golden throne and had his armies out conquering but the space marines were paladins worshiping the emperor and psykers were replaced with only allowing clergy and all other forms of magic were forbidden, as was the worship of any god but himself. But it was kind of tongue and cheek and no one went near the kingdom so they never became more than background.


Also keep in mind WH40K is a really dark and depressing setting that really requires the players to buy into the setting. I always kept it to the side because it is so depressing and given a choice my players always made a 180 and went the other way. So tyranids showing up just won't matter if the players have no stakes in the game. That is if they don't care because they are already trying to get out of the setting then they will avoid any story that isn't what they are looking for.

So if I was going to run a campaign in WH40K here are a few things I would do.

Go over armor and weapons and figure out what the equivalent values would be in 3.5. Some of the weapons may be +1 to +5 or have +1d6 force or energy or chain features. So a power sword may be +1 longsword 1D8 + 1d6 energy etc. Chain weave may be +2 chain and a flak coat may be half plate and so on. Hell the weapons used by power armor could be considered size large and do 1 die size higher. power sword may be +1 large longsword 1D12 + 1d8 energy etc.

Now as for the sorcerer. I would actually leave her in. hell, any of the magic classes I would leave in. Make it part of the plot. Some Psykers are tapping into more of the warp and weaving more powerful abilities out of it, effectively spells. Then some Gray knight/inquisitor is trying to convince the players to help him so he can study their power and have them help him destroy a demon. That kind of thing. Weave the D&D classes into the setting. You got them there might as well use the extra range to play with.

The lack of setting knowledge is going to be a problem or you can use it to weave something out of it. So a dark elf and a human ended up together. Well work with the player and come up with how that happened. Maybe the eldar being away from the torture and drugs or whatever allowed him to calm down and fall in love... feh that sounds boring. Maybe the mother was a serious badass king pin and beat a dark Eldar into submission and got him strung out on some drug she petals or hell maybe she is some BDSM champion that just dominated the dark elf. You don't have to stick rigidly to the source material. Look at what Dan did with Gaunt's Ghosts. Change anything that gets in the way of the story and make it work.

Also, one thing you should always do is show, don't tell. Never point players at videos or sites of lore. Le the players find a messager with a note about Tyranids having landed. Then have a Giant bug monster come tearing through their camp. Let them fight it. Then someone can say that is a Tyranid. Let them experience it. Even better let people start disappearing and they are hired to help solve it. It leads to a gene stealer cult that leads to a Tyranid running the cult which could lead to a scout group gathering all that genetic info the Genestealers have been collecting.

You can do the same thing with dark eldar and demons etc. Have them face it. If the players ask about more info then you point to a site but not before you make them face your version of the guys. Nothing worse than rule lawyers with a dictionary of data to argue from.

So basically make the universe your own and not let the source material railroad you, the DM, that's your job to do to the players. I kid I kid.

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Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
Well, the OP is, with all due respect, a new Referee. Him learning better is the goal of this thread, in fact!
Perhaps so, but on this one - he's correct. Even if one system is a poor fit for one kind of game, it might still be better to go with it (particularly if it's in some sense the only game in town - if everyone knows 3.5 and nobody wants to learn something else, you're stuck). And even if it wasn't, what's done is done, now, and switching to a better set-up might cause more harm than it's worth (it's the classic trade-off between short-term pain and long-term gain; this is basically the same as what in software development they call "technical debt" but it's not unique to that field by any means) - and even if it feels like some short-term pain is worth it in the long run, that's assuming that you don't kill the whole endeavour in the first place.

Point is, I would definitely consider starting afresh, but that's really up to the OP and his judgement of the situation. I'd also suggest asking the other players what they want to do - if it will kill their interest, don't, but it might actually be a chance to get them more invested.

And getting them more invested is the one key problem. Really, at the end of the day, the system and the setting aren't that big a deal; it may be a lot harder to maintain interest if people don't like the system, aren't interested in the setting, and find they don't work well together, but it's still possible, and that's really all that matters. Rebooting might help but on its own probably won't fix that.

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Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
Perhaps so, but on this one - he's correct. Even if one system is a poor fit for one kind of game, it might still be better to go with it (particularly if it's in some sense the only game in town - if everyone knows 3.5 and nobody wants to learn something else, you're stuck).
I was there with the "only game in town" situation. IME, people can be persuaded easily when you're offering to run the game. If there was another GM, there would be more than one game.

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And even if it wasn't, what's done is done, now, and
...can be fixed.

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switching to a better set-up might cause more harm than it's worth (it's the classic trade-off between short-term pain and long-term gain; this is basically the same as what in software development they call "technical debt" but it's not unique to that field by any means) - and even if it feels like some short-term pain is worth it in the long run, that's assuming that you don't kill the whole endeavour in the first place.
Thank you, but I'm quite familiar with the concept, albeit under a non-technical name, because my field is different. But IME, long-term losses are never worth it compared to short-term ones.

Also, I personally believe a game that can be killed by the GM trying to improve it probably wasn't worth playing in the first place.

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Point is, I would definitely consider starting afresh, but that's really up to the OP and his judgement of the situation.
Well, that's exactly the point. His judgement of the situation, the one he started with before being influenced by any of us, was that he suspects he isn't cut out to be a good DM.
He's wrong (I believe). But he needs to add a qualifier: He isn't cut out for being a good GM in a system that relies heavily on things he hates - like, you know, spellcasting. Well, duh, who could do better than him in a similar situation?
Moreover, why should he deal with such a system? I didn't see a mention of him getting paid to do it...

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I'd also suggest asking the other players what they want to do - if it will kill their interest, don't, but it might actually be a chance to get them more invested.
Indeed.
And if it would only kill the interest of a part of them, let them find another game! (Seriously, players trying to impose to the GM what to run (as opposed to suggesting politely) is slowly becoming a pet peeve of mines).

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And getting them more invested is the one key problem.
No, it's one of the key problems. Along with there being at least two characters that don't really fit the setting (half-dark-elf and sorcerer); the GM feeling the players are laughing at his efforts; the GM having different expectations for PC motivations from some players; and possibly some players not being a good fit for the group as a whole on an OOC level...

But I suspect that switching to a different system would help at least with the "characters that don't fit" issue. Possibly supply them with motivations, as it would require them thinking about the setting...not to mention you can add spaces for "long-term motivation", "short-term goal" and "passion" on the character sheet.

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Really, at the end of the day, the system and the setting aren't that big a deal; it may be a lot harder to maintain interest if people don't like the system, aren't interested in the setting, and find they don't work well together, but it's still possible, and that's really all that matters. Rebooting might help but on its own probably won't fix that.
Maybe, maybe not. No solution is foolproof, but I believe that what I recommend is what gives you the best odds.
Why? The game, being run as it is now (3.5/40k, expecting players to self-motivate, and so on) is experiencing problems already. Obviously you need some changes...but we all know some players are resistant to changes.
Thus, if you're going to make changes, make as many of them as you want to. It's easier to swallow them if they're being done in one fell swoop, I have found.
Or else, as was suggested, go the other way: run a game you dislike, build a group (possibly excluding some of the current players - obviously not your girlfriend, because reality imposes its demands).
Of course, YMMV on more than one point of my reasoning. That's why I say it's up to the OP, because in the end, it's his game. Neither @TheFred nor me can mail ourselves to run a game for him and his group and give the OP some experience in Refereeing games, though...so we give advice, but in the end, it's you who decides which ones to follow - and you reap the possible rewards, whether positive or negative!

And with that, I'm going to bow out of the discussion, unless the OP wants to ask me anything. I believe I made my case already, and it's up to him now.
OP, if you want me to answer some question or give an opinion, mention my handle in one of your posts, and I'd answer as soon as it's possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
And if it would only kill the interest of a part of them, let them find another game! (Seriously, players trying to impose to the GM what to run (as opposed to suggesting politely) is slowly becoming a pet peeve of mines).
That's all well and good, but if the players all say "we want to play this, or we don't want to play" - what is a DM to do? This is what I mean by "the only game in town". Sometimes, you have the scenario where everybody knows 3.5 (or whatever), they like it, they're comfortable with it, and they don't have the time or the inclination to learn something new. So when they want to play a sci-fi game or a Rift game or a 40k game or a stone age game or whatever, regardless of whether 3.5 suits it or not, what system do they use? 3.5. And frankly, this doesn't really matter - even when it's a poor fit, you can still have a game and have fun with it, so long as everyone is up for giving it a go and rolling with the bits that don't work so well.

Same with the other issues - the long-term benefits are very well often worth the short-term costs, but that assumes that you can afford to pay those short-terms costs at all. If, in this situation, saying you want to start again would cause all of the players to say "you know what, this isn't for me" and walk - then it's a choice between the only game in town (the one which exists) and nothing.

I'm not convinced that that would happen - however, I'm also not convinced that this game isn't salvageable... or that a reboot wouldn't have many of the same problems.

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Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
That's all well and good, but if the players all say "we want to play this, or we don't want to play" - what is a DM to do? This is what I mean by "the only game in town". Sometimes, you have the scenario where everybody knows 3.5 (or whatever), they like it, they're comfortable with it, and they don't have the time or the inclination to learn something new. So when they want to play a sci-fi game or a Rift game or a 40k game or a stone age game or whatever, regardless of whether 3.5 suits it or not, what system do they use? 3.5. And frankly, this doesn't really matter - even when it's a poor fit, you can still have a game and have fun with it, so long as everyone is up for giving it a go and rolling with the bits that don't work so well.
Except when the one who isn't fine with the better half of the classes in it is the GM. Then you play whatever the GM is willing to run, or you can run your own game!

That's how I proceeded, yes. Nobody is sorry about me acting this way, the players included, though they had to learn over a score of new systems since then.

Also, that's what I get for leaving a tab open after I said I'm leaving the thread, but now I'm going to close it!

That... doesn't really change anything I said. If the DM hates D&D because it has spellcasters in it, and only runs something else (assuming that he knows or is willing to learn something else, and wants to run that more) that still doesn't help you if nobody else wants to play anything except D&D.

If your players are willing to learn new systems, more power to them. In fact in a lot of circumstances this is probably the better thing for a group to do (better for the DM to run something they prefer, if possible, better to use a system more suited to the type of game, etc)... but it's not a given that it's even possible.

One other thing is, by learning new systems, does one mean buying the rulebooks? That does rather need to be taken into account in calculating short-term costs vs. long-term benefits.

That being said, as Chaiboy sensibly pointed out, if one is going to adapt 3.5 as a chassis for a setting for which it wasn’t designed, one should probably be prepared to put in a fair bit of spadework to adapt it. I think a lot depends on if one personally enjoys tinkering with systems.







 

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