New DM needs help running his first one-shot D&D/Pathfinder session.
June 21, 2013 11:10 AM Subscribe
Calling all Dungeon Masters! Help a clueless new DM run a one-shot Pathfinder session. I have a series of questions inside about basic story-pacing, motivating player action, and game creation.
posted by kingjoeshmoe to sports, hobbies, & recreation (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
It's a friend's bday and he asked me to DM a one-shot session. I'm running it tomorrow and it's using the Pathfinder system with level 4 characters. Though I've played a fair amount of D&D in my time, that was mostly many years ago.
I'm planning on having the group arrested on false pretenses and tossed into a prison (they don't know each other yet so this is how I'm forcing them together and making them a group). The prison was purchased several years ago by an evil scientist/necromancer type, who uses prisoners for "research" and evil experiments. (This is also why the group was tossed in prison. He needs more patients and is using bribes and hired thugs to get people into the prison system.) Prisoners are disappearing from the main cell block and the excuse is that they got sick or had an accident and aren't seen again. Eventually they find the secret section of the prison where the experiments are being done, and come across various awful evil undead things (zombies etc.) before facing Necromancer and his pet.
I'm having a series of things I'm struggling with, and wonder if you have thoughts:
1. I'm not sure what carrots I should give to get them into the evil experiment wing, rather than going for a straight-forward prison break. I was thinking of making the prison wall impassable without some kind of macguffin key-thing that the warden has? And they figure out the warden is in the depths of the lab area? (Also, planning on having all their items/armor stored somewhere in the beginning of that area.) Is there a better, less contrived method of doing something like this?
2. All the battles I have planned happen in the experiment lab area, and not so much before that, and most of the roleplay type stuff happens in the prison, before the lab. Is that okay? I feel it might be badly paced if it's a bunch of roleplaying all at once followed by three battles in short succession (with maybe some spooky scenery in between). Should they be mixed better so there's roleplay battle roleplay battle? If so I'm having difficulty figuring out how to achieve that.
3. How do I get the players to want to go into rooms with bad things in them? It's all fun stuff, of course, but as characters why would they open up a door they're passing if there's likely danger on the other side? I guess this is a question about how all dungeons ever work. Why do players ever open any door but the last door? I can make one room just open into the next I guess, with maybe hallways in between, so that it's more of a rail instead of a real wing, but that doesn't seem to be a very believable or as fun. Am I overthinking this? Will they just open the doors?
4. Treasure. How and when do I give treasure? Can I just wait until the end? And how do I figure out what kind of stuff to give them? I'm assuming I'll need to give them a wand of cure light wounds or similar? Anything else I need to give them beforehand?
5. Bonus question: I have some thoughts already regarding monsters they will come across and types of rooms, but if you have any in particular that you think might be fun, I'm happy for more ideas.