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New GM: Where to start?


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#1 Seth the Dark

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 01:50 PM

I am just about to begin a campaign for the first time and was wondering where does one start? I already have the core rulebook with a couple of supplements, but am lost as to where I should begin creating a campaign. I have 4 people that will be participating if that helps.



#2 Fgdsfg

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 01:59 PM

Unless I'm mistaken (I don't have the books atm, I'm abroad), there's three starting adventures; one in the Core Rulebook, one in the GM's book, and one published online meant for starting groups.

Check them all out and decide which to start with. One of them specifically deals with the group getting set up together (I don't remember which). Try that one out, and run some more starting stuff to see where it all takes you.


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These things are dumb and do not exist. This is non-negotiable and undebatable.


#3 Simsum

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 02:38 PM

Start with Edge of Darkness. It's one of the free intro modules for Dark Heresy, and it is very, very good. And if memory serves, it comes with some pre-gen characters your players can use.

While you're reading your way around that, you should discuss what expectations you all have.

DH can do anything from Average Joes desperately trying to stave off the unbeatable cosmic horrors for one ore day, to Demi-Gods in Power Armour crushing legions of daemons with the power of raw awesome.

You're all going to have an expectation regarding the power level, so discuss it and make sure you're all on the same page.

A word of warning, though: high-powered DH gets brutally complicated. If you start with high-powered players, you should probably also start by ignoring most of the rules and only slowly introduce them back into the game over several sessions.

You're also all going to have expectations regarding the tone of the campaign. Some people want gonzo, some people want to play it straight. Some people like a lot of joking around during play, others don't.

Probably more than anything else, failing to get everyone on the same page - whatever it might be - is a really good way to wreck a campaign right out of the gate.

Other than that, if you're brand spanking new to the Warhammer family of systems, it's a good idea to create a few fully statted NPCs of different Careers and Ranks. And maybe use them in a test fight or two.

It's easiest to learn by playing, so playing with yourself is a good way to... I have no idea where this sentence is going, sorry :D

... Uhm... For more concrete advice on what to do and not do, there's quite a few very good threads around here, with detailed advice on everything from creating a good combat encounter, to creating a good sandbox campaign.

And of course, do ask and ask and ask. This forum is blessed with a whole pile of awesomely helpful and very experienced and knowledgeable players and GMs.

Also: welcome :)
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#4 Alrik Vas

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 11:39 PM

yeah, ask your players if they want true GrimDark or if they want to be awesome and kill everything with storm bolters and melta guns.

 

It can help you figure out what kind of game you need to run real quick.

 

That aside, the players are supposed to be inquisitorial acolytes.  They work for bad, bad big brother, doing terrible things to worse people.  Inquisitors pick people for their talents, they aren't going to give them a job they'll fail at (unless that's what the inquisitor wants), so keep in mind what your party is capable of when you design a campaign.

 

One of my favorites is working for a more conservative inquisitor and finding that you are in direct conflict with a radical who is trying to use the forces of chaos to destroy demons and cultists.  It makes for interesting conflict. :D



#5 darkforce

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 02:10 AM

Pretty much what Simsum said... Edge of Darkness is an awesome starting point (though I haven't run it yet in 6 Years of GMing DH  :ph34r: ).

 

If you then branch out, make sure you're not biting off more then you can chew. Try to keep at least the core of your campaign simple, as a foundation where you can then build more and more sub-plots. 

 

Always keep good contact with your players. Take the time to have a round of feedback after each session or before the next one. Later, you will probably only do this after each adventure or so, but especially at the beginning it is very important, as the group must get a good feeling for each other. 

 

The last one is a difficult one: Be Firm but Fair in your Judgment as a GM, however, that does not mean you should not admit mistakes. And don't think that it's "you against the players", remember, you want the players to succeed, you just want to throw as many stones into their gears as possible ;)

 

Oh, I almost forgot: HAVE FUN! As soon as it's not fun to either you or the players, talk it out and try to make it fun again. Should it go against the rules but everyone is having fun? Fun wins. 

 

So have fun with your campaign!


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#6 Adeptus-B

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 10:35 AM

I'll pile on about Edge of Darkness. It's the best introductory adventure in the whole WK40KRP line- much better than the adventure included in the back of the DH Rulebook. That said, it does require some prep-work (mainly mapping out the key locations)- it isn't ready to run 'out of the box'. Get used to this- it's a common feature of all published WH40KRP adventures...



#7 Fgdsfg

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 12:46 PM

I haven't looked into the other lines in this regard, other than Dark Heresy and Black Crusade, but for both of those, it appears like the published online adventures is the best starting point, since they deal largely in how the group meets and their "first mission".

 

Is the same true for the other lines? From the published adventures, which are the best starting points for each?


Real men earn their fun

Unified WH40kRP Ruleset Homebrew - Personal Notes
Talking Necrons. Dreadknights. Centurion Armour. Sororitas-murdering Grey Knights.
These things are dumb and do not exist. This is non-negotiable and undebatable.


#8 Seth the Dark

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 02:05 PM

Wow thanks guys! This will really help me on my way. I will run "Maggots in the Meat" but substitute the xenos with cultists (I forgot their name, something to do with Hayte or Payne).



#9 borithan

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 07:41 AM

There are 3 starting ones:

 

The one issued for Free RPG day way back when, which is basically a small dungeon crawl. It isn't really intended as a beginning of a campaign, so it has some things where it just amounts to a "make a roll at 40% or die", and it isn't terribly good. Can be used as a very basic intro to the game (as it was intended... it even came with very basic rules), as I did.

 

Then there is the Shatter Hopes one from the back of the book. It can follow on from the previous mentioned adventure, but nothing terribly links the two. I played it, and I thought it was perfectly ok, if a bit linear and it doesn't feel like the players have a hack of a load of input until the end. However, it does make one thing clear: Dark Heresy is certainly intended that it can be just downright brutal. There is a fight at the end where the players can barely hurt their opponent, unless they have made a leap of logic that is a bit counter-intuitive. Many of the NPCs are actually more skilled than the players are. In DH, you are not special for being a PC (Fate poijnts aside). You start as much of a faceless mook as anyone else in this universe, and you have to earn the right to be cared about. Played strictly according to the rules, the entire party could easily be killed in this adventure.

 

Neither of these deal with how the team got together. The presumption is that an Inquisitor has chosen you and put you together, probably for reasons unknown to your team. He may think you have complimenting skill sets, matching personalities, or even deliberately mismatched... or he could just thrown some names into a hat and drawn randomly, either because he doesn't care or because he is insane.

 

The final one is Edge of Darkness. I never played this one, so I can't say if it is any good, but various people have recommended it.

 

Maggots in the Meat, the one in the Games Masters Kit, is not intended as a starting adventure. The Slaught are nasty for a starting party to deal with. However, it isn't really necessarily intended as one for experience PCs either (I can't remember if they give any guidance on it). DH doesn't tend to go for "level appropriate challenges". Players are presented with a situation, they have to make a choice on what to do, and if they do wrong they could possibly die. You pick a fight with the wrong guys, and you will die. Just because they barely have a stick and a pair of pliers between them doesn't mean they are not going to be asked to deal with a Genestealer Cult. Players should be aware that they should generally feel they can choose discretion as the better part of valour, or come up with clever situations to level the playing field. On the Slaught fight, I have heard of one group who went into the windmill, had an encounter with the first one, and decided the safest solution to deal with the ones on the upper floors would be to just set the building alight.

 

Of course you can play it other ways, but I always feel this way is more interesting...


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#10 doomande

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 03:39 PM

My main advice is to look at the GM part of the forum, there are tons of good advices in there, both general and more specific. So there are many hours worth of reading there.

 

As to where one begin, sit down and ask your players. It have all been for nothing if you have planned the most epic adventure made for radical acolytes, used hours upon hours on equipment to reflect that, and they then want to play after the book to the smallest letter, never even thinking twice about saying no to each and every item that could be the least tainted.

 

One of the GMs most powerful tools have and will always be dialogue, both when s/he talks as an NPC to the PCs, and when the GM talks to the players. Find out what it is that you want, what you think that there are epic and what you dream about doing, and find then out about what the players want. Of course should you not give them exactly what they want, them figuring the big mysteries out at first change that way. The look in a players eyes when he finds a chain sword in the least expected way, him having talked day after day about how it would be epic when he can afford one, that is just priceless.

 

That is the best advices that I can give to you when it comes to planning the campaign, but another good one is that you don´t always have to figure out a solution yourself, just an interesting problem. PCs are one of the most imaginative folk there is, and with them being more than you do they always have more brainpower between them (hopefully). Place a door before them and I will promise you that they will figure out 20 ways to open it that you haven´t even thought on.


Sure some say blood for the blood god, skulls for the skull throne... I say muffins for the muffin god! Derp for the master derper!


#11 doomande

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 04:06 PM

As a little late extra advice, have you seen this little thing? http://darkreign.org..._Expansion_.pdf Because this fan made sublimest to the scenario would ad a lot to the original material.


Sure some say blood for the blood god, skulls for the skull throne... I say muffins for the muffin god! Derp for the master derper!





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