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  1. #1

    DM Etiquette Question...?

    David, here.. New DM haven't even done one adventure yet... lol... but working on it! I have played plenty on FG over the last 2 - 3 years...and in my teens! I'm one of the 26 year beak and now I'm back guys! Army Vet as well..

    I want to get my son interested in it too, so I picked up the Icespire Peak set. The Idea being to break in him, wife and ME as the DM! YIKES... oh and FGU Lic.. such a cool software!

    The game sure has come a long way now days.. So the question is..

    For the DMs out there... In general do DMs like to keep their craft private? Is it treated like an art so to speak? 🤔 😆

    Custome tables,. creatures etc..

    Just curious..

  2. #2
    GunnarGreybeard's Avatar
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    I use almost all homebrew creatures (converted from another setting > HarnWorld) and that setting is also very Human centric. I rarely used tables, probably should but honestly, I really only use a small portion of what FG has to offer.

    I have found when DM'ing online, it's usually best for me to limit the game to 4 players at most. More than that and I don't feel I can devote enough attention to each that they deserve.
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  3. #3

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    The good GMs do both.

    Don't go inventing the wheel as if no one's ever seen one before.
    Leverage the decades of great material already made and available.
    And then as you go, you'll find all of that winds up inspiring you to your own version of it just naturally as you go.

    Where you don't have to do all the from scratch work to dream it all up on your own. Instead you slowly build up your own library of "homebrewed" materials that are just your personal remix of whatever it was that was already done, that better fits to your GM style and world lore.


    Anyone generating a crit hit/fumble chart 100% from scratch is seriously wasting their time to do so.
    They got basically zero odds of making a unique and play reasonable chart in the vast crowd of decades of crit hit/fumble charts around to be found.

    But if you find one you like, you just start using it as is. And then feel free to remove/add/edit a line in it as inspiration comes. Eventually you have your own home brewed crit/fumble chart that fits your GM style like a custom made glove. Same for all stuff from creature stats to world lore to the mechanics of casting magic. Remix whatever works for you and your campaign.


    I only generate a new map for a location or building, when it feels really right to need to do so for a table. Otherwise i have a crate of maps and locations and NPCs i been building up for a long time.
    The map of say, Illfarn, from the module Under Illfarn. Well it's a great dungeon map to go romping in, so it is the map for the dungeon whenever and wherever i decide it is.

    It is only objectively the map of Illfarn, if the players have seen it in the specific module already before. But then it is the character's POV and character's knowledge that matters. So this can't be Illfarn to them if they have not personally been there before.



    When i get down it, i find when we use the term "homebrew" it is less often really that and far more a home-remix. Don't imagine to be "home brewing" means you need to get unroasted beans and do it from scratch all on your own.
    Treat it more like making your own bean mix of your favorite roasts, or your own blended whiskey from using off the shelf ones, not full on home distilling from mash.


    here is the two bits of advice i think every GM should get:

    1: Don't let the players just assume to be a ragtag band of misfits that may or may not easily get along. Make the players discuss what "party dynamics" they like first, and have that inform their character creation.
    The assumed default at most tables is: players dream up their imagined favorite toon to play, in a vacuum alone with no idea if that charterer can or cannot get along with the kind of party dynamic other players are making their toons for. Unless players agreed to it in advance, that they will find out who forms a group and who has to make new toons to join it, when their first one has to part ways with people they obviously would not hang out with/be told to fook right off by.

    This will cause friction for the players to not get along so easily, because they might be trying to play mutually exclusive games. If they all wanna be get alongs that can trust each other, it works. If they all wanna play at back stabbies murder hobos, then they will also have fun and get along. But if they were not all on that same page together, then they are probably running into some unfun stress at the table over that conflict between players, not characters.

    The worst party story is also a real common one. The only story of how these people can be plausibly explained to stay in a group and go into battle together, is to tell you we are the players at the table that agreed to do that.

    So i find all campaigns ought to start with players first agreeing if they want to be strangers meeting that may or may not get along, and some of them may roll through a toon or two before the official player party solidifies.
    Or if they know what kind of crew they want to be up front and can inform their character creation with that in mind.

    You don't get the chance to find out it was way fun to play a band of barbarians with their tribe's shaman on vision quest for new tribal lands, unless they talk about it first. There are way more possibilities to the story of the party than, group of ragtag misfits. But players are unlikely to random into any other story than that, by showing up with toons they created in the vacume of their personal imagination alone.

    Players will talk a lot about class make up of the party, but totally ignore personality make up of that same group, if they are allowed to. And that becomes one of the most common friction points at any RPG table. Which is entirety avoidable simply by holding a conversation first, instead of running on assumptions.




    2: It is ILLUSION. That you know objectively what goes on behind the screen, is disconnected to what only appears to be objective reality on the player side. With that in mind, players are most happy when they feel like they have agency. That means they prefer the idea of an objective world with consistently predictable outcomes, not that we as GM are actually subjective judgement call outcomes as much as we are.

    To that end, any player that tells me they get/want a die roll on something, always gets it. That someone can say "hold my beer and watch this" is 100% unrelated to them having any remote chance in hell at succeeding. So the player that asks for a roll always gets one, even if i know objectively they cannot succeed no matter what they roll. The trick is not to let them know that you know there is no point in them rolling. It's their character not ours. If they behave to show that their own toon is bad at judging their own capacity, then they are and they will try things they really coudn't succeed at. That will be who they are, let them do it. Don't try to help them 'think' for their toon by pointing out how irrational they may be being, and that you imagine they should be smart enough to know this is not their skill set.


    If as GM you would summary the toon's action choice as "hold my beer and watch this."
    Then as a good GM, outcome potential to that action choice, should just flow plausibly to that.
    just like IRL, simply because someone believed they had the potential to succeed at something, does not influecne if they ever really did.
    Last edited by A Social Yeti; October 18th, 2020 at 21:44.

  4. #4
    LordEntrails's Avatar
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    In general do DMs like to keep their craft private? Is it treated like an art so to speak?
    Not sure what you mean...
    From other GMs? Certainly not
    From players? It depends... :O You don't have to, as their is no wrong way to have fun.

    First I will say that GMing is and art, because it's not a science. It depends upon humans, their experiences, values, expectations and other things that are just too ethereal to apply science at anything but the most surface level. Because it is an art, there is no one answer that always is right.

    Keeping the GMing a secret from the players, at some level, is great. It gives them mystery, and lets them feel that nothing is predetermined, that the fantasy world revolves around their characters. Or, it makes them feel like it doesn't matter what they do, the plot/story/what happens is predetermined by the GM and they are just along for the ride.

    If you want, do some research on "Player Agency". Some very insightful thoughts about it. You won't need these skills yet, but before you know it, they will make a difference. Also, I put together the following to help GMs; https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forum...6014-GM-Advice

  5. #5
    Like LordEntrails said it depends what you mean by an art. Yes it is an art if you mean that it requires practice and creativity. No it is not like the old guilds where everyone kept their best information secret. Most DMs happily share tips to help each other.

  6. #6
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    All you have to do is look on the Internet. There are many posts, blogs, videos, etc. where GMs share what they’re doing and what they’ve created.
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  7. #7
    I appreciate the great insight.. I was in FGU last night adjusting or adding to some of the Icespire Peak stuff for my son who just HAD TO play a dark elf warlock.. but dont want to be a bad guy.. hahaha I told him I would make it work..

    I am aware the vast majority share which is a huge draw to this community.. I told my wife that its a very accepting community.. thing is I see stuff now like the don of the DM and seems like there more paid version than ever before etc.. so I got curious..

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by David the DM View Post
    I appreciate the great insight.. I was in FGU last night adjusting or adding to some of the Icespire Peak stuff for my son who just HAD TO play a dark elf warlock.. but dont want to be a bad guy.. hahaha I told him I would make it work..
    Celestial pact, Hexblade, or Archfey Warlock with https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Eilistraee as the patron.

    "Eilistraee was the chaotic good drow goddess of beauty, song, dance, freedom, moonlight, swordwork, and hunting, within the drow pantheon known as the Dark Seldarine. She was the patroness and protector of the few dark elves who longed to return to the surface and live there, at peace with other races, and to abandon the endless conflicts and intrigues that dominated the lives of most drow"

    She fits for all three pacts because:
    Celestial: She is a chaotic good goddess as quoted above.
    Hexblade: "In fact, the clerics of Eilistraee, commonly known as Sword Dancers, acted as an extension of Eilistraee's own motherhood of the drow, and took the role of teachers, protectresses, and diplomats.[22][80] The priestesses aided their people to learn to live and forge their own path in a hostile world, and to rediscover a sense of belonging and community.[22] They also protected their people from danger, and built a place for them to live by establishing friendships and relationships with other races."
    Archfey: "Greenwood designed Eilistraee as a nurturing mother goddess, even a fertility goddess. The popular dancing-naked-under-moonlight aspect of the goddess and her faith was inspired by British traditions of fairies, and was intended to show her as non-warlike and non-violent, rather than capricious."

    Edit: if you use the Lolth Pact Warlocks (Unearthed Arcana), it could also be a really cool story for someone to think they have a pact with lolth only to find out that it was actually Elistraee guiding them towards being good all along, while simulating the powers lolth gives to her followers. Or even someone who worships lolth but turns to good and Elistraee takes over as their patron to protect them from lolth's vengeance.
    Last edited by GavinRuneblade; October 20th, 2020 at 06:09.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by GavinRuneblade View Post
    Celestial pact, Hexblade, or Archfey Warlock with https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Eilistraee as the patron.

    "Eilistraee was the chaotic good drow goddess of beauty, song, dance, freedom, moonlight, swordwork, and hunting, within the drow pantheon known as the Dark Seldarine. She was the patroness and protector of the few dark elves who longed to return to the surface and live there, at peace with other races, and to abandon the endless conflicts and intrigues that dominated the lives of most drow"

    She fits for all three pacts because:
    Celestial: She is a chaotic good goddess as quoted above.
    Hexblade: "In fact, the clerics of Eilistraee, commonly known as Sword Dancers, acted as an extension of Eilistraee's own motherhood of the drow, and took the role of teachers, protectresses, and diplomats.[22][80] The priestesses aided their people to learn to live and forge their own path in a hostile world, and to rediscover a sense of belonging and community.[22] They also protected their people from danger, and built a place for them to live by establishing friendships and relationships with other races."
    Archfey: "Greenwood designed Eilistraee as a nurturing mother goddess, even a fertility goddess. The popular dancing-naked-under-moonlight aspect of the goddess and her faith was inspired by British traditions of fairies, and was intended to show her as non-warlike and non-violent, rather than capricious."

    Edit: if you use the Lolth Pact Warlocks (Unearthed Arcana), it could also be a really cool story for someone to think they have a pact with lolth only to find out that it was actually Elistraee guiding them towards being good all along, while simulating the powers lolth gives to her followers. Or even someone who worships lolth but turns to good and Elistraee takes over as their patron to protect them from lolth's vengeance.
    This is awesome I learned too.. thank you!.. the accepting community!

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