Friday, July 31, 2009

DM Levels

This module is intended for a 5th level DM.

I've seen Quick Starts and modules intended for complete newbies, but after their shaky inaugural flight first DM's are treated as identical in gaming products. Aren't they?

I think there's way more granularity possible than just complete newbie and expert, but I'm not sure how that might play out in terms of tools and products. This would depend on understanding how DMs with different levels of experience function differently at the table-- what they need the most help with and what would be a waste for them.

I read Chgowiz, I think, mention that he never rolls up encounter hit points until the creature is actually hit. I think this is elegant in that, if that flock of stirge is dropped with a sleep spell, or the orc party is parlayed with, all the prep time to roll their HP would be extra, unnecessary work. But for myself, not having enough experience to remember, how many hit dice a hill giant has say, and not wanting to have to fumble around during play looking that up and rolling it and recording it, I roll out everything in advance. Here's an example from my last session:
I tried to make it as simple and clean a layout as possible, but I wanted all the info I might need in play at my fingertips. The big numbers are hit points of the creatures present. These were set encounters, I do something similar for random encounters. I was even thinking of producing a template for that. But I realize this may be considered elementary by more experienced DM's.

So here is my question for you to ponder: As you've grown in experience as a DM what tools or techniques have you grown out of? Or, as you've grown in experience as a DM, what tools did you find yourself inventing because your needs as a DM changed with that experience?

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