They're asking me to DM! Help! Need a starter adventure.
April 15, 2018 10:56 PM   Subscribe

Me: A longtime nerd with some mild D&D experience. Have been through a few campaigns but don't really know the rules by heart. Game designer by trade, however, and like the ins and outs. I own the PHB, but not the DMG or the Monster. Manual. Them: A group of of curious board game enthusiasts and friends who wanna try this D&D thing. And are looking at me to help!

I mean: It sounds like fun! I've never DM'ed before and they've never played before. What could go wrong? But I'm looking for some very 101, "Do this. And then this. And this" resources for them.

I am also looking for a fairly straightforward adventure to run, maybe a couple of sessions, but nothing insane. Let everyone get a taste for it!

posted by GilloD to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
"You are going to run D&D tonight for free with an adventure you made..."

Matt Colville has everything you need in this one video. All the resources you need are linked in description text, even if you don't care to look at his talking head: an adventure with maps. descriptions, pregenerated characters, an inn to get started in, even the free SRD ruleset. If you watch the video through, he walks you through the adventure and talks about how to run it.
posted by bonehead at 11:10 PM on April 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

Matt Colville is excellent. If you want to go more in depth, he also has a myriad of other videos. Matt Mercer from Critical Role also has an excellent GM tips series.

The lost mine of phandelver adventure in the starter kit would also have everything you needed to get started. I ran it a couple months ago as a beginning dm and had fun with it.
posted by snowysoul at 12:06 AM on April 16, 2018

Which D&D version are you using? Any one is a valid choice, of course, but 5th ed is the current version, and generally regarded as new player friendly. I hear generally good things about it, as well as their starter guide adventure pack, complete with an adventure to run.
posted by Jacen at 4:02 AM on April 16, 2018

Secrets of Sokol Keep is a favorite of mine. It gives a nice balance of roleplay, investigation and combat in a satisfyingly creepy setting.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:13 AM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you are using 5e, you can probably do without the DMG to start - you will likely want it eventually, but there's nothing in there you NEED if you are using a pre-made adventure like people are recommending.

You MAY get away with omitting the Monster Manual too, if the adventure has stat-blocks for critters.

You will want both of these books eventually if you are going to keep this up. :-)

Good luck and have fun!
posted by Paladin1138 at 6:32 AM on April 16, 2018

The 5E starter set was my first DMing experience--only DMing experience, at this point--and I had a very good time with it and it was particularly nice in giving you a couple slim books to use for reference that are a bit easier to do for base mechanics while part or all of the table is still learning the game. It's got a lot more content than you really need, but hey, if everybody has fun then you have enough there to keep going with.
posted by Sequence at 8:40 AM on April 16, 2018

From a DM who also trains others in gaming stuff regularly:
""The Sunless Citadel" is a perfect introduction. If he's looking to play the current (5e) version of DnD, it's been republished as part of the collection _Tales from the Yawning Portal_. If using an older edition with the SRD it should be available as a free download somewhere on the interwebs.
[Like here]"
Additionally, "I highly recommend 5e if he's just getting started and hasn't bought materials yet. If insistent on using older editions, it's 3.5e or nothing. Seriously. Major flaws with any of the other rulesets."
posted by crunchy potato at 10:13 AM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

You might look at Pathfinder. One of my friends ran a quick 3 or 4 session campaign, and I'm pretty sure that everything he needed came from the box. He added to it for ambiance, but that's not necessary.

I've played D&D 2e, 5e, and Pathfinder. Pathfinder felt just like D&D to me.
posted by hydra77 at 12:55 PM on April 16, 2018 will have everything you need.
posted by eclectist at 10:36 AM on April 17, 2018

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