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Reinhardt
04-11-2011, 07:45 PM
A few weeks ago, a couple guys I work with convinced me to join their weekly DnD session. I went the last two Sundays and had an incredible time on both occasions! It really has captured my imagination in a way I always wished video games could, but never did.

Now, my older brother moved out of the house with his fiance a few months ago, and my sister moves out with her boyfriend next week! Coincidentally, I'll be moving in with my ladywoman in a few weeks as well. Everybody's really excited, but also kind of bummed that we won't see each other as often. I was ranting about how much surprising fun DnD turned out to be, and my parents asked if maybe I could set up something like a weekly game night for everybody to come together and enjoy.

None of these people spend much time playing video games or have any experience with RPGs, tabletop or otherwise. What would be the best way to ease them into a d20 game without alienating or confusing them? What ruleset should I use? What type of campaign would allow for a significant amount of mystery-solving and conversational skill use along with a little bit of flavorful combat? Something like 60/40 mystery/combat.

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

CrinnyCow
04-11-2011, 08:16 PM
I'd recommend starting off with a combat based scenario and some pre-generated characters. Make a couple characters that they can choose from at first so they can pick one that sounds interesting to them. If you can find a rule book, there is a 40k d20 (I think it's called deathwatch) that is very much combat oriented and actually pretty exciting.

My first time playing a table top I was bored by the character creating at the beginning (odd because now it's my favorite part) so I think eliminating this from the process at first and showing them the ropes of how the game is played is probably the best route to ease them in. If they don't like it, then they don't like it.

Fumarole
04-11-2011, 08:21 PM
You can't beat Call of Cthulhu for RPG mystery. It'll very likely be extremely light on combat though.

cowthief skank
04-11-2011, 08:56 PM
Not exactly what you asked for, but the weekly boardgames post on this very blog showcases a wide range of boardgames, if your game night is not solely for RPGs...

imirk
04-11-2011, 10:01 PM
The Starter Set?

http://www.wizards.com/dnd/redbox.aspx

pakoito
04-11-2011, 10:21 PM
Simulate most of the combat, use just narrative and solve the encounters roleplaying. Tell them what they are and that they can do whatever, start with a lineal story but hope for whatever to happen. Don't insist too much in "what do you want to do now?". Let them attack some goblins in whichever form they want. As soon as people is in the correct mindset to imagine what's actually happening, then you can break the fantasy with some statistics, but little by little. In time tell them they missed their swing, and when they ask tell them about the dice stuff, it'll come natural when they start questioning if they can "lose the game" or "die".

Wizardry
04-11-2011, 10:23 PM
Simulate most of the combat, use just narrative and solve the encounters roleplaying. As soon as people is in the correct mindset to imagine what's actually happening, then you can break the fantasy with some statistics, but little by little.
It depends where the players are coming from. They may be far more comfortable playing through combat situations and rolling dice than actually doing the whole role-playing stuff.

pakoito
04-11-2011, 10:23 PM
It depends where the players are coming from. They may be far more comfortable playing through combat situations and rolling dice than actually doing the whole role-playing stuff.
Don't let math and dices ruin the fun of non-gamers.


None of these people spend much time playing video games or have any experience with RPGs.


People get first hooked by the freedom that defines PnP, then some tend to roleplay and others like statistics more.

Wizardry
04-11-2011, 10:26 PM
Don't let math and dices ruin the fun of non-gamers.
That's exactly my point. Playing through combat encounters and rolling lots of dice may be more comfortable for those people who may have played other forms of games but never played RPGs specifically.

pakoito
04-11-2011, 10:28 PM
That's exactly my point. Playing through combat encounters and rolling lots of dice may be more comfortable for those people who may have played other forms of games but never played RPGs specifically.In my experience that gets cumbersome to most, because they have to learn rules, and a ton of them, which are in thick books they don't have time to read. Narrative combat is way better for beginners to understand that PnP is not a boardgame with thick rules.


EDIT: D&D4 does is a boardgame, so don't try that. 3.5 or Pathfinder all the way.

ntw
04-11-2011, 10:58 PM
Tailor it to what they like. (Both in genre & combat vs puzzle balance)
Ask them to send you character ideas and pregen simple characters based on their info.
Keep it fluid, fair and fun - save disagreements and debates for afterwards.
Put their characters in peril, give them a fair chance to escape, but don't be scared to kill them if they deserve it.
Think of an adventure, think around the adventure (background info and possible character actions), then be prepared for them to do something completely unexpected.
Stop half way and discuss how it is going, adjust accordingly.
Don't be afraid to make it up to keep the flow/atmosphere going or if rolls go badly or things start to go off the rails.

There's a few guidelines off the top of my head. :)

Oh yeah - report back here about how it went.

Lightbulb
05-11-2011, 11:01 AM
Pathfinder! You can do anything with that rule set. :)

Its an updated and still supported version of the previous (and widely regarded as much better) version of D&D (3.5).

The rules are available free:

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/

But the books are also available for purchase. The Core rule book is a combination of 2 D&D books which makes it cheaper to get into.

However everything (except 95% pre-made adventures but that's fair enough!) are available online.

I have just started playing this and I love it! :)

---------

D&D 4th edition seems pretty combat focused so might not be idea for what you want.

Wolfdust
05-11-2011, 01:32 PM
Any of the latter rulesets (3.5E, Pathfinder, 4E) should be pretty easy for people to grasp. I'd suggest coming up with a few "pregen" heroes for people who don't want to have to muck about trying to build a character or too confused. You can also spend a bit of time trying to help people build a character. Some people like an idea but don't know how to bring it together mechanically.

As to campaign, you mentioned mystery right? You could do something like the King has been posioned/fallen ill/etc. Task the players with finding out who's behind it (mystery) and stopping them (combat).

There's a recent D&D comic that has a premise kind of like this, only it's more of a "widespread shadowplague" type thing. You could pick it up and give it a read to glean some ideas.




D&D 4th edition seems pretty combat focused so might not be idea for what you want.

No more so than any other edition of D&D is, really. Sure, there's some social elements in D&D - but that's not what the focus is. Look at the amount of 3.5E's rulebook dedicated to combat over stuff like the Bluff or Diplomacy skills. Compare that to a game like WoD or Unknown Armies, etc. where social stuff is far more prevalent and gets more focus in the rulebooks.

tldr; all versions of D&D are combat focused. It's a war-game that turned into an RPG.