KRPS Dungeon Master’s Guide

(this is an early draft – more detail and resources coming soon)

If you want to be a DM at Kenmore Role Playing Society then here are the things you need to know and some resources to help you along.

First:

Open table is to full role playing

as playing catch is to professional sport.

for a deeper explanation see The Open Table Manifesto

The aim of our set up at KRPS is that people gather regularly and play some D&D. There is no commitment either for players or for DMs. Show or don’t show, DM or Play. All spur of the moment when you arrive at the session (or don’t).

The players can learn role playing here, joining in with no prior experience. The social network this produces creates a pool of people who may be able to join your more involved dedicated tables.

Base Requirements

To achieve this and sustain it there are a number of requirements.

The DMs all set their games in the same world.

The players have characters that live in the world and can move compatibly from table to table.

All adventures begin and end at a player character home base town or village at roughly the centre of a DM’s realm. We hand wave the movement from realm to realm between sessions saying the trip took about 5 days if needed, without detail.

DMs do not have to prep much and cannot be given “homework”.

DMs cannot unilaterally make changes to the world scope but consult with all other DMs and may add agreed things to history, geopolitics etc.

Within a DMs realm they can do pretty much what they like that doesn’t leak out to other DMs realms.

Implications

We play with vanilla rules from the core books, 5th Edition Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Masters Guide. No mods, no Unearthed Arcana, no special classes or cool spells from some web site. You can have all that and more in the dedicated games.

The one exception is the way we treat experience. Experience is given as “raw” experience and must be converted to “gained” experience before it can be used for levelling up purposes. Basically 5 x level per day is converted, Characters may also spend a day ‘training” and spend up to 50gp converting xp, at a rate of level x gp spent. This has these effects:

  • It throttles level advancement to a roughly even pace regardless of XP awarding habits of the DMs.
  • Makes treasure valuable in ways that other expenses don’t.
  • Helps with our time tracking regime (see below)

Time tracking becomes important, so we track real time fairly closely. The beginning of each game session the date in the game world synchronises to the date in the real world and the weather and season in the game world synchronises to the weather and season of the real world.

This means that if a player hires a smith to make an item for themselves that will take a smith two months to make in the game world it will be roughly two months before the player gets that item for their character in the real world.

Obviously during play action may carry over several days.

Between the last time a character played and the beginning of a session there is player upkeep where characters can spend on training, craft things, do study, earn a living, pay upkeep and so on. Our system throws in some life events as well. This includes events where players make friends or enemies. When players do up keep in your realm this is an opportunity for you to connect players to your collection of NPCs and/or develop some new ones.

See the resources section on the main page for character log sheets, the upkeep process pdf etc.

Story arcs for player groups do not exist. Things happen in your realm, a dragon takes over a location, an orc army builds up for an assault and so on, but player groups come and go. Its not much good building something around the “one ring” if Froddo doesn’t play at your table for the next 10 sessions. Making a Froddo character as an NPC is a bad idea as then adventures become about your NPC and not the players having an adventure. Keep structure loose, react to player actions. Give them lots of freedom to choose where they want to go and what they want to do.

DM Realms

As a DM you have a choice of realm types, either a 100 x 100 mile region with a player character home base somewhere in the middle, or a 10 x 10 mile region inside another DMs larger region. The latter requires some consultation with a willing DM with a larger region.

The hex map here is 10 hexes across, and has 100 hexes numbered 00 to 99, so each hex has a unique Id and a hex can be chosen with a percentile roll. There is a larger hex drawn over the top which allows the hexes to be tessellated as a group at the next scale up.

Hex Map – Jigsaw 10×10 – 00 to 99

HexMap 6x6 Interlock small.gif

For a map of your realm you should have a private, detailed map and also a “new player” map that characters at your table can have a copy of. Only the main features are shown in the new player map and the rest of the realm is more or less blank. Players can fill in details as they discover them.

On the home page you will find information about the ubiquitous dragons, the gods and the underdark as well as other general resources.

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