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Thread: FG Mentorship?

  1. #1

    FG Mentorship?

    Welcome. Please sit and listen to my tale…

    Or, you know, read it.

    So I am very new to FG, but I went ahead and bit the bullet. I purchased an Ultimate license with the complete D&D 5e Bundle. The “Example of Play” video on the FG wiki sold me 100% and I have zero regrets.
    Even if I did have any the awesome responses I have gotten on this forum would have wiped them out.

    Of course since the software is so in-depth, and powerful, the learning curve is steep.
    Also, I am trying to convince a member of my group who is part owner of a game store to get his own ultimate license and start using it (and promoting it) during their gaming sessions.
    I am hoping to at least convince him to get a standard license and participate as a GM in the FG Virtual Convention next October. So far he is interested, but he apparently had a bad experience with some other VTTs and is less enthusiastic that I would hope.
    I am planning on running him and the rest of my group through as many of the official modules as I can between now and October 13th, while showing off how well a proper FG GM can run a game, in order to convince him that the problems he had with the other VTTs are not applicable to the FG experience.
    The only problem is that I am not yet a proper FG GM.

    I have seen that there is an FG Teamspeak server, and some other popular voice over IP services being used by the community, and I was wondering if there was any sort of face-to-face (voice-to-voice?) mentorship program for GMs new to the software.

    I think something like that would be a great way to quickly bring GMs up to speed when we are getting overwhelmed by the plethora of options available.

    Of course asking all those questions here is always going to be a great way to not only learn, but also to help others with similar questions. But since there is a bit of a time constraint leading up to the convention simply being able to ask an established GM when the questions first pop up, during demo-campaigns or even during campaign creation, would be wonderful.

    I was thinking having the new GM run a campaign with lots of different scenarios and options that show off FGs capabilities, while the Mentor GM runs as a player and gives advice/instruction, would be an awesome hands-on way to address common issues, while teaching good practices to the new users.

    Is something like this already around? Or do any of you think this might work?
    Please let me know your thoughts!

  2. #2
    Hi colincbn,

    I don't know if this is what you're after, but if you haven't done so already, let me encourage you to take a look at some of the great Tutorial Videos available on the Fantasy Grounds Wiki (and on YouTube). Damn's are good, as are Xorn's, and people seem to like mine as well (mine are also available from the links in my sig, below).

    Start with the ones on the CoreRPG, because the CoreRPG forms the foundation of just about all the RPGs we play with Fantasy Grounds - so by learning how to use FG with the CoreRPG you'll learn about 80% of what you'll need to know to play any RPG with Fantasy Grounds. Once you've gone through the CoreRPG Videos you can then go on to Videos about your chosen RPG.

    When you get familiar with the basic Fantasy Grounds product the next step is to check out some of the Extensions (Plug-Ins) for FG, such as the DOE: Sound, DOE: Locations, DOE: Weather and DOE: Organisations Extensions (to name a but a few - and a Shameless™ Self Plug).

    And keep on asking questions - we're a pretty friendly lot here, and we love answering questions.


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  3. #3
    Thanks Dulux-Oz!

    I actually have been watching your vids, they are great!

    I was thinking of something to supplement, rather than replace, tutorials and forums though.

    For example when running my first demo game with a couple of friends one of them accidentally deleted his first spell group, and after that when he added spells from the PHB list they did not add his spell casting stat to his DCs. At first we couldn't figure out what was going on, and we just added a 'Bonus' under each spell in the saves field. The next day, when I had time, I searched here and realized what happened (we needed to add which stat was his spellcasting stat in the action tab list since the class-generated spellcasting section was deleted). If we had been playing with an experienced user they would have had us check the spellcasting list right off the bat and we would have been able to fix the issue right away (without having to go back and delete all the bonuses we added).

    Also when running my Drow character in my own solo game (to help learn FG, not because playing solo RPGs through FG has become my favorite pastime, no, not because of that) it took a good bit of time before figuring out how to add and configure effect syntax for faerie fire (apparently faerie fire not having a GRANTADVATK effect is a bug, one of the moderators here is looking into it).

    Of course reading forums and watching vids is a great way to learn. I would even say it is way better than just being told in a lot of cases. Learning how to fix the things above taught me a lot about the software, but some things will go faster and be more fun to learn while playing, without having to stop the game and do research.

    One big problem I have is that until I can run a game smoothly without having to do a lot of research for basic functions I don't want to invite my store owner friend. I am worried that a player with a predetermined bias against VTTs is going to jump on that kind of thing as a reason to avoid FG. And with the FG Convention coming up I want to get him using the demo version to log into my games as soon as possible.

    Also it is just cool to talk and play with people who know their stuff.

    I noticed that some well established GMs receive donations/wages for running games. How does that work?
    Do you think GMs like that would be willing to run 'Teaching-Campaigns' for new players/GMs?

    We could build a simple CoreRPG campaign, or even focused system campaigns, designed to bootstrap new users through the basics and good-practices every user needs.

    For example my folders got setup using the default Steam installation structure and ended up all over the place in hidden appdata directories and such. But in your vids you say it is better to have them on the desktop, or somewhere else more easily accessible. Now that I have run a few quick sessions with different friends I see how it would have been better if I had seen your vids before installing FG, and I am wondering if I should uninstall to fix it, or if there is a better way to reorganize.

    Having someone hold your hand through a steep learning curve is not always optimal, but being given advice and instruction when facing a daunting task can get you started on the right foot, and help you avoid common mistakes and pit-falls.

    Does that make sense?
    Last edited by colincbn; August 21st, 2017 at 07:18.

  4. #4
    OK, a couple of things (in no particular order):

    Yeah, we learn things by using the software - I'm still learning bits and pieces as I game. Also, the various Rulesets have different levels of functionality - there are things that you do in 5E that are automated that are not in 4E, for eg.

    As far as getting paid to GM - as far as I am aware there is only one individual doing that, and I believe he only started recently (so I wouldn't call them "well-established" - but I'm willing to be proven wrong). My personal view is that this is not the way to go to encourage and grow the hobby. To my mind it... I don't know, cheapens?... the whole experience. It's not something I would ever do (charge to GM or pay to play). Occasionally over the years my players have "kicked in" and brought me something (an RPG Book, a gaming prop, a set of really cool (and expensive) dice) but I've never been "gifted" with direct money. I personally think by charging for GMing you're setting yourself up for a big failure re: disappointing players, etc. I've never met ANYONE good enough (myself included) to consider paying them to run a game for me - its a hobby, and I play (and code, and do videos, etc) for fun, and believe it or not there are plenty of games going on that have a place or two spare, so I don't believe there's a need to pay anyone - mind you, those games may not be 5E D&D, but most of us who are in this hobby for any reasonable length of time are willing to game and will try any system or genre - that's part of the fun of RPGs. But hey, good luck to anyone who feels that they can charge to GM

    In my experience often people who say they don't like VTTs or who say they've had a bad experience simply haven't taken the time to learn and experience things (properly), or they're lumping all VTTs in together which is a mistake because FG (and one of the competitors) are the premium examples and some of the others are the "bargain basement" and lumping them all together is like comparing a Ferrari with a Model T Ford - you're not comparing apples with apples. All you can do is get him to have a game with you, or if you don't feel up to it (& I don't see how that's any different from GMing in general) see if you can find a one-shot with someone who is more proficient with the software. But putting an artificial timeline on things (even if its a legitimate timeline) simply puts pressure on both you and him - and people don't generally respond well to pressure.

    Anyway, stick around, keep trying things out, keep asking questions, and you'll feel more comfortable with the software sooner or later.


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    ...And it was Delicious!

    ICT Professional
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    LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/mjblack

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  5. #5
    Yeah, paying to play is definitely something I want to avoid. I just saw a thread with the GM in question and figured it was something people did.

    Of course learning something like FG is always going to be a continuing experience. It seems like one of those things that even people who have been using the software since the beginning will always be learning from. I just want to get past the 'Option Paralysis' phase as soon as possible, while exposing my players to as little game-night disruption as possible.

    I think the VTTs my friend used in the past were not well designed ones, or they were the first iterations of those that got better over time. But to be fair he is not dead set against them, he just does not see VTTs as something his store would be willing to support.
    But since I started using FG I have become convinced it would be an excellent addition to their arsenal, and since it is a large and popular place to game in his area (a college town) it would not only give the players and staff more options, it would be a great way to introduce more users to the FG community. Especially with the convention coming up.

    Plus lets face it, FG is so sweet it feels great to shout about it from the mountain tops.

    As an Ultimate holder I would like to help get more people running demo versions into games, and I have all the 5e modules so I can put 'from scratch' campaign building on the back burner for now (although that is my main GMing style). But until I feel more comfortable I hesitate to subject anyone to my bumbling.

    I wonder if gifting a module or sourcebook would be a better way to entice a skilled FG using GM to teach?

    The problem is definitely not learning to GM, I have been doing that for over 30 years. It is learning to do it while properly leveraging the power of FG.

  6. #6
    Ahh, but you've missed my point (or one of them, at least) - when you were learning to GM (and yes, we never stop) you often made a call about how something in the game worked without actually knowing the "right" way to go about it. Then, after that particular session you "looked up the right way to do it" and moved forward from there. Its what we tell all new GMs: Just do it, just game, just a make a call and move on and fix it up later. New Players won't know it wasn't the "right" rule and experienced Players will give a new GM the "slack" to do things this way.

    Running with FG is the same - just game! If you don't know how how FG (automatically) handles a character being stunned figure it out manual (outside of FG) just like we do at a real table, keep the game moving, then once the session is over work out how FG does it - you'll actually learn much quicker doing things this way then any other (unless you're a real geek like me who actually RTFMs for fun ).

    Can you see what I am/was getting at?


    √(-1) 2^3 Σ Π
    ...And it was Delicious!

    ICT Professional
    GMing Since 1982
    NSW, Australia, UTC +10
    LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/mjblack

    Watch our games on Twitch: www.twitch.tv/dulux_oz

    Support Me on Patreon: www.patreon.com/duluxoz

    Past Games, etc, on my YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/c/duluxoz

  7. #7
    Yeah, I agree that learning by doing is a great way to go about it. And I am not trying to avoid that.

    Having someone knowledgeable to talk to about the process while 'just gaming' is something I for one would love to have available though. These forums have really been impressing me with the community, I would just like to have at least one player who knows the mechanics of FG functionality in my group.

    When it comes to learning anything I have always liked to chat with with those who know more than me.
    For example my favorite player is a total rules geek, he is great for asking "hey what does that spell/ability do again?" since he always knows, but if I say "nah, we are doing it different" he will never complain.
    I know it is a crutch, but honestly my memory for some things is crap, and with every rule from original basic D&D through 5e (not to mention Pathfinder, Shadowrun, every White Wolf game, and freakin Burning Wheel etc.) floating around in a big mess in my brain my biggest flaw as a GM is rules confirmation/lookup time.

    That's probably the main reason I was totally willing to drop $350 on FG's D&D 5e bundle & the ultimate license. As far as I can see it is already making my test games run smother than I could have ever expected, and it was definitely money well spent!

    I suppose I could just set up a game and request experienced FG users.
    I just figure that if I am asking someone to run in a low level published module that they most likely already know or have run themselves (I would only feel comfortable running something like 'the lost mines of phandelver' or 'out of the abyss' through FG right now since it would keep things as streamlined as possible), just so that I can learn from someone knowledgeable, I should not expect a lot of takers.

    And I am in fact running games every night. Either just myself solo, or with two friends remotely. So far we went through the 'Demo Campaign' four room scenario (which was surprisingly fun to do as a group learning activity), and I have begun the lost mines solo.
    I will most likely start a new lost mines session with the same two friends once they have time.

    I just wish I had someone to bounce questions off while running those games.

  8. #8
    Zacchaeus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    There is this. And also there is the Discord channel which you can drop into and ask questions and join in voice chat if needed.
    If there is something that you would like to see in Fantasy Grounds that isn't currently part of the software or if there is something you think would improve a ruleset then add your idea here https://www.fantasygrounds.com/featu...rerequests.php

  9. #9
    Thank You!

    That is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

  10. #10
    Answulf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Blog Entries
    Hi Colin,

    I'm happy to help you out. Sent you a PM on the Discord server.

    Ultimate License
    Time Zone: MST (GMT-7)
    Struggling to find games? Check out my Fantasy Grounds blog here.

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