Page 1 of 2 12 Last
  1. #1

    [D&D Basic] Should I impose limited choices as a DM ?

    Greetings all, I am new on this forum, so nice to meet you!,
    It's getting harder and harder to find answers about old D&D games, since all forums are dead now, or erased from the surface of the Internet. Indeed, some days ago I decided to finally learn how to play D&D basic (with the red box) in 2019! So with my brother, we were reading the player manual together, did the solo adventure included, then the solo adventure MSOLO1 Blizzard Pass which was recommended and unfortunatly was aweful and very disapoiting to us (absolutly no respect of the rules compared to the solo adventure of the player manual, you just pick up one of the 2-3 limited choices and read, almost no die rolls, even the end sucks with no XP, nothing, really bad writing...) and now I am reading the Dungeon Master Booklet to understand and prepare the Group Adventure included (with the 3-level dungeon). BUT, it's written nowhere if I have, as a DM, to give limited choices (like in the solo adventures), or if I just have to let PC decide what they want to do, for example, going to the east, searching in the room, listening, etc. Do you have an idea ? I want to play with the real rules so don't tell me "Decide what you prefer", I just want to know if actually, in D&D classic games, there MUST BE limited choices to pick for the players, or if it only concerns Solo adventures, not Group adventures.

    Best regards!
    Last edited by Falheim; August 20th, 2019 at 15:09.

  2. #2
    I do a hybrid approach to adventures usually...I've got an adventure usually lined out on paper, but I also don't force player/characters to "bite" on the adventure, and roll with whatever they want to do. This approach requires some understanding of the rules and some creativity, but it also makes the players feel like they're in "control" of their characters. Have a few encounters that don't have anything to do with the current adventure lined out on paper, ready to go in case the players take a detour. And players will take detours! With solo adventures, I'd suggest having an NPC hireling or two with them to help them out.

    Hope that helps!

    GBFF
    Ultimate Edition license holder - No License Needed to Play My Games (Need Demo Version of FG Downloaded)
    FG Community Developer:
    [Available]Millennium Knights, Savage Suzerain [In Progress]Several Others [Personal Use]Savage Rifts

    Currently running:
    AD&D 2e - Temple of Elemental Evil

    In planning:
    Way too many games!

    Timezone:
    Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) United States; GMT -4 hours

  3. #3
    SirGraystone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    217
    Blog Entries
    3
    Sometime the most simple question are the harder to answer. Not you don't have to limit the choices in anyway of your players. You should up to a point, the hard part is to decide where you draw the line. Some adventure are easier, you have a dungeon with one entrance and a goal, so they probably will explore until they reach their goal or dies trying. Outside it can be more complex, let say you travel from the village of Homlett to the city of Verbodonc and get a random encounter in which they are attack by a werewolf, they fight kill the beast and should go back on the road, expect someone look for werewolf tracks to find its den. As a DM you have a choice, you can tell him he find no tracks so they go back on the road leaving them no real choice, you can have him find tracks (or rolls for it) and make up a mini adventure in the forest and inside the den, where you can find more werewolves, some loots, a dead body with some family heirlom (hook for some new quest), a live prisoner (that they can rescue). But the whole thing depend of how good you are at improvising if they get out of the limit of the written module.

    Limits in a story are really there to make the DM job easier. As DM get more experience they usually remove more and more limits to the story.

    The exception to this are Adventure League game, those come with a story that as to be follow.

  4. #4
    Here is the golden rule... you as the Dungeon Master can choose everything about your adventure that you want. It can be as narrow or as freeform as you want it to be.

    One thing to keep in mind is that players don't always do what you expect them too and sometimes miss or avoid things that you might think are important. So it is good to have some level of structure to your game. Trial and error should help you to find a balance.

    Also you might also want to talk with your players in advance. Figure out what they plan to play so you have an idea what sort of group to build the adventure for or what NPC or hirelings you might need to provide.

  5. #5
    Thank you for your answers, but I don't think you really answered my main question which is : With the Basic Red Box (and only this one, because I didn't read the Expert, Companion, Master nor Immortal yet), and according to what they say only in the first red box, it's not stated if I have to put limited choices in my group adventure, or if I must let the party deciding. According to solo adventures, they generally give 3 or 4 options (Listening, going back, attack or sneaky infiltration for example) and we go to the #Entry corresponding. But for group adventures, it's not written if there still must be choices or not. I know that later, when I'll be an experienced DM and that I'll have read the ECMI boxes, maybe the rules will change and i'll be able to let more freedom to my players. But actually we really want to play as the Red Box (first rule book) was intended to be played. So what do you think ? Limited Choices or not ? (at least for the moment, for our first dungeon as we are beginners).

    Update : I saw that on the DM guide, the included group adventure (A 3-level dungeon) gives the story to read to the players, but there are not choices given it seem. It's only stated "If a PC decide to listening, then..." So i guess that it's up to the player to decide what they want to do, and not chosing an option like in Solo Adventures, but I am not sure.
    Last edited by Falheim; August 20th, 2019 at 15:42.

  6. #6
    Trenloe's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, USA (for a bit)
    Posts
    23,620
    Quote Originally Posted by Falheim View Post
    Thank you for your answers, but I don't think you really answered my main question which is : With the Basic Red Box (and only this one, I didn't read the Expert, Companion, Master nor Immortal yet), and according to what they say only in the first red box, it's not stated if I have to put limited choices in my group adventure, or if I must let the party deciding. According to solo adventures, I have to give 3 or 4 options (Listening, going back, attack or sneaky infiltration for example) and go to the #Entry corresponding. But for group adventures, it's not written if there still must be choices or not. I know that later, when I'll be an experienced DM and that I'll have read the ECMI boxes, maybe the rules will change and i'll be able to let a freedom to my players. But actually we really want to play as the Red Box (first rule book) was intended to be played. So what do you think ? Limited Choices or not ?
    The great thing about role-playing games is that they are only limited by the imagination of the GM and players - you're not stuck to a set of choices that a solo-pick-a-path adventure has or a computer game has programmed in - you're limited by what *you* want to do.

    So, no - there is not any limit based off the "basic" rules. As has been stated, the main limits will be how dynamic and off-the-cuff you want to be as a DM - do you want to be completely spontaneous and roll with anything that the players throw at you, or do you want to limit the main directional decisions that players can make for example - do they go from the inn to the dungeon and follow the adventure plan? Or can they go off and try to do something else (rob the local rich merchant perhaps)? And this is generic to all RPGs, not just the basic rules - which is what people have been saying above.

    The key thing is this, as the GM you don't say "here are your options: a)... b)... c)..." you describe the situation and then say "what do you want to do?" The solo book based games you've played are just there to give you a very rough idea of how the game works, but they have to be rigid as they don't have any "intelligence" to be able to adapt to your choices - they're words on a page. But with a GM (hopefully with at least a little bit of intelligence) those limits should be a lot less and choices are dynamic and (in theory) potentially limitless...

    FG Con 15 Fantasy Grounds Online RPG Convention - Nov. 8-10, 2019
    Register at www.fg-con.com for all the latest info.

    Private Messages: My inbox is forever filling up with PMs. Please don't send me PMs unless they are actually private/personal messages. General FG questions should be asked in the forums - don't be afraid, the FG community don't bite and you're giving everyone the chance to respond and learn!

  7. #7
    Sure, I understand what you all said, but If my players decide to take actions that I cannot handle yet (because we are beginners, even myself as a DM) I will be lost, I don't know all the rules yet, only the ones in the first rulebook. We're just doing Dungeon/Door/Monsters/Treasure for now. So maybe it's better that I put some limits to what they can do no ? So they won't get confused about what they should do, and it will be easier for me to handle. I just thought that it should have been written in the Dungeon Master Guide, somewhere, that we can choose between giving options or not, but it's written nowhere, so it was difficult for me to understand how I should proceed. Anyway thanks for you answers all
    Last edited by Falheim; August 20th, 2019 at 15:55.

  8. #8
    damned's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    18,878
    Blog Entries
    1
    You should generally let the players dictate what they want to do.
    You should make it enticing to go where you want them to, or maybe difficult to go elsewhere.
    The less experience and confidence you have the more you will want them to go roughly where you want them to go...
    Be honest with your players if they are stepping outside what you are ready for.

    MoreCore - Generic Ruleset
    --- Projects ---
    Extensions | Tutorials | MoreCore | MoreCore Themes | Call of Cthulhu | Maelstrom | FG Con

  9. #9
    Trenloe's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, USA (for a bit)
    Posts
    23,620
    Quote Originally Posted by Falheim View Post
    Sure, I understand what you all said, but If my players decide to take actions that I cannot handle yet (because we are beginners, even myself as a DM) I will be lost, I don't know all the rules yet, only the ones in the first rulebook. So maybe it's better that I put some limits to what they can do no ? So they won't get confused about what they should do, and it will be easier for me to handle.
    Yes, that's exactly what we've been saying. But, this is not "in the rules" - which is what you kept asking, this is just normal gaming - do what you're comfortable with/what you have prepared. As mentioned, have a chat with your players before the game and don't be afraid to be open with them during the game. Most players will be fine playing within the bounds of what you have prepared and you're comfortable with.

    And, related to this, for your first few games (and beyond) don't be afraid of getting the basic rules "wrong" - again, be open with your players (you're all learning) and learn together.

    FG Con 15 Fantasy Grounds Online RPG Convention - Nov. 8-10, 2019
    Register at www.fg-con.com for all the latest info.

    Private Messages: My inbox is forever filling up with PMs. Please don't send me PMs unless they are actually private/personal messages. General FG questions should be asked in the forums - don't be afraid, the FG community don't bite and you're giving everyone the chance to respond and learn!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Falheim View Post
    I want to play with the real rules so don't tell me "Decide what you prefer"
    The answer is what you asked everyone not to tell you. The DM makes that choice. As complicated or as simple as he feels comfortable. THAT is the "real rule". It's up to you and your ability. As you run games you'll become more comfortable with more and more player choices. You'll also learn tricks to give them the appearance of choice... like say you have a Ogre that is integral to some part of your adventurer but they go the wrong way... just move the Ogre.
    ---
    Coding the Official AD&D Ruleset
    My Twitch Channel for AD&D and FG related streams (See schedule for live days)
    My YouTube for FG related Tutorials and AD&D Actual Plays

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Log in

Log in