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New GM , is this how you introduce your rooms during story ?


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#1 drallcome

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 02:28 PM

Hi I am new GM and currently trying to play thought the investigation phase of the sample scenario. My question is , when the pc's enter a room what should I do ? do I draw a breif sketch of the room and its occupents/furnishings or do I read the description provided by the book or make my own?

The books description is

" The master bedroom is filled with piles of crates and boxes , as lord Aschaffenberg attempts to unpack his own wardrobe and effects, and remove the previous master's remaining articles. A giant four poster bed groans under the weight of the boxes piled onto it . A window looks out over the garden below and the forest surrounding the lodge. On the wall to the right of the window is a book cupboard holding all manner of old and new books"

If i read that description wouldnt it be obvious that they should make a observation check on the book cover to find the hidden passage?

I apologize if this is a stupid question I just want to make this part of the scenario enjoyable to the pc's without being to easy.

Thank you everyone in advance !

 



#2 facepalm

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 02:35 PM

that is almost exactly how i do my descriptions.

The description is good it doesnt really give away the observation cheack, it adds a subtle hint, which is good, makes the players think.

I think you are doing thing correctly.



#3 drallcome

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 02:48 PM

Thank you for the reply !

heres another question , how would the pc's know what rooms there are in the manor house? would draw a brief sketch with/without labels and the pcs tell me where they want to go thus triggering the description and then forthcoming interactions?

 

Thanks a bunch guys for the help this my  very first pen and paper game so im doing my best to do things correctly.



#4 Sinister

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 03:20 PM

I use a dry erase board. In the case of an eye for an eye, I drew the entire manor and grounds on a 2 x 3 foot dry erase board.  I went through and made a paragraph description of each room that I read aloud.

 

Hope that helps. I'd send you a pic of the dry erase board but I just erased it an hour ago before seeing this post.



#5 drallcome

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 03:23 PM

That is a massive help ! thank you very much.

I am having an absolute blast with this game as are the pcs : )



#6 facepalm

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 04:29 PM

another thing you could do is just sort of draw a map and the the PC's share it, if a dry erase board is not readily avaible. That way the PC's know what they are doing. just do not put anything important on the map =P.

Same goes for me, this is my first pen and paper. did have a starter set for D&D 3E but i dont recall i ever got around to trying it out.



#7 Llanwyre

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 06:35 AM

I tend to do a combination of reading and showing items. I wouldn't worry too much about the bookcase hint being too "obvious." While it might be obvious in a printed version, listening to something spoken out loud and holding all that information in your head tends to make it much more of a challenge to figure out what should be important and what shouldn't. In general, I tend to have the opposite problemI feel like I'm making the plot point REALLY FREAKING OBVIOUS, and my players are over in the corner investigating something totally irrelevant that was tossed in for flavor. (One group I played with called it the 'piece of string' problemthe PCs spend two hours wondering if a piece of string on the road is a significant clue while a whole army of evildoers passes through the trees, totally ignored. And yes, sadly, that came from an actual event in a D&D game.)



#8 HedgeWizard

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 07:35 AM

The meta question, to me at least, is should the PCs discover this information? Do you WANT them to discover this information? If so, WHEN do you want them to discover it? Answers to those questions will determine whether to include details, when to include the details and what to highlight. 



#9 drallcome

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:18 AM

HedgeWizard said:

The meta question, to me at least, is should the PCs discover this information? Do you WANT them to discover this information? If so, WHEN do you want them to discover it? Answers to those questions will determine whether to include details, when to include the details and what to highlight. 

You both bring very good points , it is alot more difficult to pick up on clues when read aloud than simple reading text. I was only worried because it seems if they discovered the secret passage by passing a hard 3(d) observation check  , they then would discover the choas temple very early and the entire act of trying to put clues together would go out the window , I suppose that is part of the game thought?

 

thanks for the replys .



#10 HedgeWizard

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:37 AM

 If you feel they reached it a little too soon, perhaps there is a locking mechanism. They know the door is there, but can't get through it until they first find the locking mechanism (perhaps a key that a person has)? Or something similar.  That way, they have the clue, but perhaps they can't fully realize the info until they return a little later and someone has inadvertently left the door slightly ajar...



#11 Emirikol

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:39 AM

This is a great question:

There is one cardinal rule that was always impressed on us from other game companies:  Write your boxed text as if it were a painting.  Do not put in any text that assumes the players are doing or have done anything.

 

jh



#12 Mal Reynolds

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 05:44 PM

drallcome said:

HedgeWizard said:

 

The meta question, to me at least, is should the PCs discover this information? Do you WANT them to discover this information? If so, WHEN do you want them to discover it? Answers to those questions will determine whether to include details, when to include the details and what to highlight. 

 

 

You both bring very good points , it is alot more difficult to pick up on clues when read aloud than simple reading text. I was only worried because it seems if they discovered the secret passage by passing a hard 3(d) observation check  , they then would discover the choas temple very early and the entire act of trying to put clues together would go out the window , I suppose that is part of the game thought?

 

thanks for the replys .

Hi

Also Lord Aschaffenberg is currently present with his servant, sorting through his things. The lord might not want a party lingering on in there, as he is currently busy. And even if they have business with the lord, like asking him some questions or such, don`t allow for a observation check, since they primarily will be focused on the NPCs in that room. Later after dinner or so, when the room is empty (or have a snoring, drugged lord), than the players have a much better reason to snoop around in his room, and thus allow a observation check.

I must Admit that  "Eye of an Eye", is far from the easiest adventure to run for new beginners. But at least it is a steep learning curve.
good luck!



#13 Dave Allen

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 01:24 AM

Another thing that might help is to get in the habit of describing (breifly) two or three items in each location the PCs enter.

"The kitchen is dominated by a huge roughly cut oak table, littered with all manner of kitchen implements and ingredients."

And so on.

This way your players will recieve the clues, but also a lot of window dressing info, and they won't be able to distinguish the clues without further investigation.

Plus it helps with the atmosphere.



#14 bonesaww666

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:14 PM

^^^^^^^ this, hands down is the key to success. I have a tendency to over prepare locations when I DM(GM) and you may(if you start writin room descriptions for every location) find that your PC's will just saunter by that ominous door to the right and all the time you went into explaining the evil little details will feel wasted, but fear not! Just toss it in a folder for a rainy day (or another adventure…).

 

This being your first P&P experience, my first piece of advice would be: Your PC's will constantly ruin your most well formulated plans, they are the Bain of your existence. No nemesis will ever feel the pain you do at the often frustrating decisions they will continually make. They will miss the odvious thy will solve the unsolvable… my advice is to roll with it.

Early on find out what they want (this will change) and how they intend to get it (this too will change, like when they claim to be "Good Guys" then change their minds when the guard answers a question "poorly" a knife enters a stomach and they are on the run!) and just try to stay pliable and remember! You can kill them whenever you like!



#15 Roland the Red

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:12 PM

I've been using 23x20 easel pads <LINK> for 4E D&D, and will likely use it for things like this too (ABout $1 per sheet). Not that the dimensions are critical, but a scale model (scaled to the carboard character mini's) would help visualize where people are. If a combat where to break out inside the lodge, I'd treat moving room to room as being a maneuver and anyone in a room is "engaged" and anyone in an adjacent room as "close". The idea is to treat the drawn rooms as "location cards". I have an old "Clue" board that might work too. The pad is a little too bland, but the clue board might be too "off-genre". Although if I get bored enough I might draw the lodge and compound with more artistic flair. But as a quick solution, I find they work well for "set-peice" encounters, and I use my wet erase battlemat for impromptu encounters. With WFRP I don't need the battlemat, but the set peice encounters I still like drawn. e.g. The stromdorf plaza (I forget the name) in The Gathering Storm screams to be drawn with Inn, the Town Hall, the Church, the Statue, all drawn as "Points of Interest" to facilitate roleplaying. Throw in a "Lars' Leather and Lace" shop, a "Butcher" who will "Dress any Meat, no matter how old!" and the like so as not to make the major plot locations TOO obvious, a few homes etc…

 

As for descriptive text. I say be as obvious as you can without giving it away and not to worry if they "discover" something. Its easy enough to have a NPC present or have one show up to stop them from messing the room up. Make it clear the said NPC thinks these outsiders are up to no good and start throwing suspicion back on them, that sort of thing. You can interrupt them with NPCs. Unlike D&D, the PCs aren't near god-like. Status and Power mean something.

 

I'd start by having the PCs be ordered about by the "head staff" to do the most god awful jobs…mucking out the stables and that sort of thing. If they are caught "goofing off" escalate the nastiness of the job, bring out the lash, or have them hauled before the Lord who will be forced to go along with "punishment" to keep up the ruse. He'll be apologetic in private, of course, but the PCs should be more circumspect and careful.

 

My 2cp



#16 Angelic Despot

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:07 PM

drallcome said:

" The master bedroom is filled with piles of crates and boxes , as lord Aschaffenberg attempts to unpack his own wardrobe and effects, and remove the previous master's remaining articles. A giant four poster bed groans under the weight of the boxes piled onto it . A window looks out over the garden below and the forest surrounding the lodge. On the wall to the right of the window is a book cupboard holding all manner of old and new books"

One thing I'm going to try that might work for you, is have the players make a 'first impressions' check at the beginning of every scene.   It works something like this:

The player with the highest observation rolls a 1 purple die difficulty check (you could increase this in very complicated situations) when the group enter a room.   (Or a clearing in a forest, or a street in a city, etc. - basically, every time the group arrives at a new scene.)   Do this before you give them any explanation or text.   Use this roll to guide what you then say to the group - how you describe a scene.   Of course, you can really give the players any information you want, and hide anything you want, but the idea is to make the players think that they might be getting some hidden information up front, AND it forces them to specifically ask/investigate if they want to find more clues.

e.g. They walk into the master bedroom.   Roll the challenge die and get zero successes.   You read the following: master bedroom, full of crates and boxes, 4 poster bed groaning under weight, other furniture and clutter: an armchair, a bookshelf, a window, etc."

If however, they roll the challenge die and get 4 successes, you can read the following: "master bedroom, full of crates and boxes, 4 poster bed groaning under weight, looks like the bed hasn't been used in years, an old armchair, a window overlooking the forest surrounding the lodge and a bookshelf full of both old and new books.   The bookshelf looks like it has been moved recently, as it is standing some distance away from the wall."

Note that however badly the characters roll, you still describe the scene.   If they roll well, you can give them more information.   The idea is to stop PCs getting in to a routine of searching every room for secret doors and traps in a boring and unrealistic way.   With this roll you can allow them to investigate further if they think they need to.   It also means you don't have no rolls for 3 rooms with no clues in, and 1 roll in the room with a clue so that even if they fail the test, they still know there's a clue in the room.   And in this example of them getting a good roll and deliberately drawing attention to the bookshelf they are now suspicious and are sure that there is something there…   But they still don't know what.   They will still have to roleplay and persuade the lord to leave the room long enough to give them time to explore and find out what the clue is.

You could also do the same then when they meet NPCs: roll once to see what their first impressions are of a character., every time they meet a character for the first time.   If they roll well, and the NPC is lying, then give them a chance to ask specific questions and try to trick the NPC into revealing what he knows.   If they roll badly, then don't let them notice that the NPC is lying: don't let them keep taking it in turns to keep trying to spot if he's lying until they roll well.



#17 philosophant

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:22 PM

This is indeed a great question. I got the gitzman map so I was going to draw the house map without the clues presents and have them go off of it.






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