Question from an aspiring DM

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Guzzer
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Question from an aspiring DM

Post by Guzzer » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:53 pm

Hello all,

Only recently started playing D&D since 5e came along and have just played some small adventures.
Now we have a group of 4 of us and I want to give DM a go. One of the seasoned players advised to give Goodman Games a 5e modules are they're simple to pick up and run.

I've purchased The Fey Sisters’ Fate and have had a good read of it. Just got a couple of questions

Our group usually is DM + 3 players. Is it possible to adjust the encounters to 3 players while keeping it entertaining? I've notice some encounters are 2+ critters.. but that's for 4-6 players. Reducing encounter to 1 critter does not sound interesting. Any other way of adjusting?

Also we normally do progression by milestones.. can this be done with the modules? I've noticed it's XP based, which I assume is based for 4-6players

Thanks in advance

TheophilusCarter
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Re: Question from an aspiring DM

Post by TheophilusCarter » Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:39 pm

I've had similar concerns - I think I could get 3 players together on a regular basis, but probably not 4-6. My own thought was simply to have the PCs be a level higher than the adventure recommends - so I'd run The Fey Sisters' Fate for them once they hit level 2. (Getting them there would be pretty easy given how few XP it takes to go from 1st to 2nd - maybe even a few improvised set of encounters after they make their characters.)

Also interested in other takes on the issue!

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Re: Question from an aspiring DM

Post by Fenris Ulfhamr » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:10 pm

What if you had a couple DM npcs to round out a party? The other players can order them around to some extent, but you roll for 'em?
If this is an RP game, just have 'em be henchmen, mercs, spouses, or kin to the PCs so they have something invested in them instead of DMeatshields...

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Re: Question from an aspiring DM

Post by GnomeBoy » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:02 pm

Not personally a fan of DMPCs — but hirelings should always be an option when civilization is near.

Also, I'm not familiar with the GG 5e modules, but all of their old 3e modules had a sidebar somewhere near the start of the adventure that discussed adjusting things for larger/smaller groups and/or higher/lower levels... Do these 5e modules just not have that...??
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Guzzer
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Re: Question from an aspiring DM

Post by Guzzer » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:45 pm

GnomeBoy wrote: Do these 5e modules just not have that...??

Unfortunately not. What I'm thinking of doing is going through monster manual and other books and try and find similar beasts.

Because few encounters only have 1-4 creatures if I reduce it by less numbers might not make the encounter interesting.

Still great books but would be great if it had instructions on how to adjust depending on party size. Especially for new DMs.

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Re: Question from an aspiring DM

Post by GnomeBoy » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:55 pm

Guzzer wrote:
GnomeBoy wrote: Do these 5e modules just not have that...??
Unfortunately not. What I'm thinking of doing is going through monster manual and other books and try and find similar beasts.

Because few encounters only have 1-4 creatures if I reduce it by less numbers might not make the encounter interesting.

Still great books but would be great if it had instructions on how to adjust depending on party size. Especially for new DMs.
The other option would be to adjust things on the fly.

It's usually not too important what the difficulty of any given encounter is... more the impact of multiple encounters. So, say you run the first encounter just as it is. Maybe the group stomps all over it because of die rolls and good planning. No need to adjust things, obviously. Maybe adjust the next one, maybe not... wait and see. Or maybe the first encounter wipes the floor with them; okay, drop some hp and lower the AC on the next couple of things they fight. Then go back to leaving things as they are...

Encounters should provide variety, and not all be slogs. It's not that hard to think, "they got clobbered getting up the mountain, I'm going to reduce the number of cave bears by one..." or whatever it takes.

That's if you're not into scouring the books for alternatives.
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Re: Question from an aspiring DM

Post by TheophilusCarter » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:23 pm

GnomeBoy wrote: Also, I'm not familiar with the GG 5e modules, but all of their old 3e modules had a sidebar somewhere near the start of the adventure that discussed adjusting things for larger/smaller groups and/or higher/lower levels... Do these 5e modules just not have that...??
I don't own all of them (yet), but most do not. The Pillars of Pelagia is the only exception I can think of.

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Re: Question from an aspiring DM

Post by arlanni » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:18 pm

Hi Guzzer,

This is Chris, the author of The Fey Sisters' Fate. Thanks for buying the module, and for entering the exhilarating world of being a GM. The Goodman Games community has presented many solutions to scaling down the Goodman Games 5E modules. We do regret not having a "scaling the adventure" sidebar in the module to help balance encounters for different levels and numbers of PCs (we used to do that for the old DCC modules), but it was an early design decision to exclude for this line of modules. Still, you picked a great module to get your feet wet as a GM. I designed it for new GMs and those new to 5E (it was released shortly after 5E was released.

That said, I'd like to give some advice:

Many of these were mentioned already, but you have these options:
1. Adjust the monsters on-the-fly while playing. This is the route that takes the least effort, but it requires an experienced GM. It sounds like you are just getting started, so I would not recommend this route.
2. Add a few NPCs to increase the party size. These can be fully designed PCs (each player runs 2), or they can be NPCs. For this adventure, it makes sense that a few town guards would want to tag along and assist finding their comrades. Also keep in mind that Melina is a major NPC and the module was designed that she comes along for the last few encounters to help balance the challenges. The challenge for the GM is to make sure the players (and PCs) shine and don't loose the spot light to Melina or any other help. But in essence put the extra burden on the players.
3. Adjust the number of enemies encountered or swap out with lower challenge foes. This is hard to do with a level 1 module. If the frogfolk were bugbears for example, it would be easy to swap them out with orcs or goblins. But this doesn't work as well here. And if you reduce the numbers, you will loose some of the challenge. Still (see below) you can remove a few creatures to lower the challenge of a particular encounter.
4. Make adjustments to the stats. This is what I would do in your situation. I think the giant mosquito and giant frog encounters are OK as is. Be careful with the wounded brown bear! You might need to pull some punches here. Perhaps have it flee if wounded further. Remove the shields carried by the frogfolk making them easier to hit. Replace their spears with clubs to reduce damage and consider lowering their strength to 11. This should soften them up. I would replace the Taskmaster frogfolk with a regular frogfolk (maybe with a whip and increased strength), replace the poison dart frogfolk with regular frogfolk archers. In area 5-A, remove one giant lizard, and for the shaman, reduce his effective cleric level to 1st. IF you make these adjustments, you probably need to remove some of the treasure as well.

Using milestone advancement is fine. I would award levels at the end of the adventure. But it depends how quickly you want the PCS to advance. Another suggestion would be to grant them levels at the conclusion of Area 4, before they confront the shaman in area 5.

I hope these suggestions help. After you run the adventure please post an update how it went!

Thanks!

Chris

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