Gold Community Okay -- Your Turn
    > Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
        > How to keep track of all?
New Topic    Add Reply

<< Prev Topic | Next Topic >>
Author Comment
Rudar Dimble
Looking around
(4/29/03 3:56 am)
Reply
How to keep track of all?
I have played one session so far and I have a huge problem DM-ing the whole thing. This is the first time I DM such a huge pregenerated campaign. Problems I have come a cross:

1. Where to put all the stuff? I have got a DM screen and the table should be large enough, but I need so many books and sheets that it is hard to keep track of pages and so on

2. Combat. This is the biggest problem. Sometimes you need two or three different pages of the book RttToEE at the same time that i get confused. What was AC? What spells have I used? And I use the D&D combat planner, but this doesn't help a lot

3. Difficulty is too high. I have three players. One is semi-expierenced (not with D&D, but with reading fantasy stories and playing a lot of computer RPG's) and the other two are new to this. So they make huge mistakes sometimes and there would have been a TPK in the battle with big U if I would have used core rules (all characters were almost dead and big U was about to use his breath weapon to take them all out, when a ranger with wielding a short sword decided to shoot. Unfortunately he didn't have the quick draw feat so I would have cost him a full round to draw his bow, but I didn't say anything, because he didn't know and it was there only chance to survive and I didn't want them to get killed so quickly in their first game). I could send NPC's with them, but they could give away too much of the plot. And I don't feel like doing that TOO. As stated above I have a pretty busy time myself just running the game.

4. I haven't read the entire story yet, so some points of the story arent't totally clear to me. And I am afraid I do some damage to the story that cannot be reversed. For example: I don't know exactly how it works with the old ToEE. What about the lower parts? Are they there yet? Are they to be excavited during the story?

5. Pretty much the same as point 4. I am afraid the plot isn't clear to the players (they are newbies, pretty much concentrating on learning the game). And if I give away some more information than I should according to the book I am afraid they rush to the ToAC way to early.

If you have any tips, hints, files, or other things that can help me to solve some (or all) of my problems, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks ! :)

Edited by: Rudar Dimble at: 4/29/03 3:58:10 am
Killiak 
Here to stay
(4/29/03 4:12 am)
Reply
Re: How to keep track of all?
Get another player or two is what I'd say. Preferebly some more experienced ppl

As for the bow thing; If he drops his weapons (free action), draws his bow during his 5' step (move equivalent) and then shoots (standard) then its completely legal :D

madfox
Still here? Wow.
(4/29/03 4:15 am)
Reply
Re: How to keep track of all?
Make copies (or in case of standard monsters print out the pages from the SRD) of the monsters and characters that you are going to use. This way, you can use the paper of the monster to make notes on and you will not need countless books. You can even place these copies in plastic maps and use water erasable pens to make the notes. Anyway, it is exactly this reason that I love adventures in pdf format.

As for difficulties, that is simple. Give the players some slack when playing the opposition. They are just as prone to make mistakes as the players. If your players did not realize the consequences of some actions (especially rules related), you might want to warn them in advance. You should do this especially with none-experienced players and with actions where the consequences should be pretty clear like with drawing weapons. And do not be afraid to ask questions on these boards in particular to plot lines that are not very clear to you. These boards are here to help you there. Please, do read the complete adventure before you run it. It might be borring in some parts, but there is no real flow chart, so sometimes information is hidden at strange parts.

On a side note, drawing a bow is not a full round action. It is a simple matter of dropping the sword [free action], drawing the bow [move equivalent action] and firing one shot [standard action].

P.S. Killiak, no movement is needed to draw a weapon as a move equivalent action. Real movement (as in a move action) is needed to do it as a free action when the character has a BAB of +1, but that is besides the point.

Edited by: madfox at: 4/29/03 4:17:28 am
Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(4/29/03 6:46 am)
Reply
ezSupporter

Re: How to keep track of all?
1. Where to put all the stuff? I have got a DM screen and the table should be large enough, but I need so many books and sheets that it is hard to keep track of pages and so on

That actually depends a lot on where you play. I keep a chair or a small table nearby for all the books that I know that I'll use. A cardboard box big enough for the books to stand in, spine up, on the floor should also do the trick.

2. Combat. This is the biggest problem. Sometimes you need two or three different pages of the book RttToEE at the same time that i get confused. What was AC? What spells have I used? And I use the D&D combat planner, but this doesn't help a lot

I don't know the Combat Planner, but I thought that you could enter all the monsters there, then organize them accordingly. Because all the named monsters are in the appendix and all the generic critters are in the MM, it's almost a must that you collect them all in a single document. One section for the Hommlet cultists, one section for the moathouse, one for Nulb, etc.

It all comes down to preparation. When you enter the monsters - either manually or from files, say at Lenny's site (www.darktheatre.net) - you also get a better feel for them.

3. Difficulty is too high.

Did you begin with this adventure? I'd strongly suggest that you start them off at 1st level, then work their way up. RttToEE is quite difficult, and at some point the opposition will up the ante, requiring your players to be on top of their game.

I don't think that NPCs would necessarily know more than the PCs. Why should they? Keep them around for basic functions, but never, ever, let them make suggestions of their own.

4. I haven't read the entire story yet, so some points of the story arent't totally clear to me.

Do it! Read the module front to back. The read it again. Otherwise you won't be able to determine what level of foreshadowing is required. And if your players are lvl 4 at the beginning, they should be level 5 once they have the information they need to get to Rastor and the ToAC. I mean, they have to go to the moathouse, then to the mill in order to get teh letter mentioning Tal Chammish. And there's no reason for them to even suspect the existence of the ToAC before reading the journal and the letter.

If you have any tips, hints, files, or other things that can help me to solve some (or all) of my problems, I would greatly appreciate it.


Have you checked the FAQ, the Errata, and the Best of the Boards right here in this Forum? Also, ZansForCans' site is a must.

In short, preparation is key for this adventure, otherwise you'll feel bogged down all the time, and it won't be fun for you. I almost guarantee that if you read the module so much that you understand the plot and the way things connect, and if you post questions here, then it'll work out fine in the end.

Good luck with the adventure and welcome to the boards :)

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

shidara
Here for a while
(4/29/03 6:55 am)
Reply
Re: How to keep track of all?
what I did was put all of my monsters' stats on 3x5 index cards - basic stuff, like AC, hp, attacks, damage, saves, and stats - as well as 3x5 cards for each player. Then, in combat, you just write in Initiative rolls in the corner, sort by initiative order, and viola! Instand combat flow, with most stats at the ready.

Just crack the MM to the appropriate page for th emonster, have a bookmark in the module to the monster page, and you should be ready to go.

I also demand that my players be prepared for any questions I have about any spells they cast, and that they should be aware of everything involved with any special abilities they use. makes for less bookwork for me.

Actually, I crated a Filemaker Pro Database with all of the monster stats, created a layout for a 3x5 card, and printed all of the stuff I needed, but I'm a big honking computer dork with too much time on my hands . . .

Shidara

smetzger
Here for a while
(4/29/03 8:34 am)
Reply
Re: How to keep track of all?
Quote:

1. Where to put all the stuff? I have got a DM screen and the table should be large enough, but I need so many books and sheets that it is hard to keep track of pages and so on


I have a 3 ring binder. I print out everything I need, check out some of the downloads, they will help you out immensly in this regard. I also printed out all the cleric spell sheets from Ema's Character sheet, thus I have a quick reference for all cleric spells.

Quote:
2. Combat. This is the biggest problem. Sometimes you need two or three different pages of the book RttToEE at the same time that i get confused. What was AC? What spells have I used? And I use the D&D combat planner, but this doesn't help a lot


Downloading statblocks from Zans for Cans site and/or the Yahoo group will help you organize stuff here. Then just cross a spell out once its been cast.

Quote:
3. Difficulty is too high. I have three players. One is semi-expierenced (not with D&D, but with reading fantasy stories and playing a lot of computer RPG's) and the other two are new to this. So they make huge mistakes sometimes and there would have been a TPK in the battle with big U if I would have used core rules (all characters were almost dead and big U was about to use his breath weapon to take them all out, when a ranger with wielding a short sword decided to shoot. Unfortunately he didn't have the quick draw feat so I would have cost him a full round to draw his bow, but I didn't say anything, because he didn't know and it was there only chance to survive and I didn't want them to get killed so quickly in their first game). I could send NPC's with them, but they could give away too much of the plot. And I don't feel like doing that TOO. As stated above I have a pretty busy time myself just running the game.


First off the Ranger could have dropped his short sword (free action) and then shot his bow (move equivalent action) and taken one shot without the need for Quick Draw. Since he has a BAB of +1 or higher he could have even moved while getting his bow out. The only thing quick draw would have allowed is iterative attacks.

Since there are only 3 I would recommend: giving them an NPC (Cleric or Bard depending on current party makeup) and let them control the NPC for the most part, bump them up 1 level higher, and/or implement some kind of hero points thing.

Quote:
4. I haven't read the entire story yet, so some points of the story arent't totally clear to me. And I am afraid I do some damage to the story that cannot be reversed. For example: I don't know exactly how it works with the old ToEE. What about the lower parts? Are they there yet? Are they to be excavited during the story?


Well, read the whole thing thru once. Ask questions here and don't worry. All you really need to know about the old ToEE is that is was a long time ago, the good guys won, and the lower level dungeon under the ToAC was completly caved in. The lower parts have not been excavated yet, if they go to the ToAC early in the adventure the only thing they will find is an old temple with some clueless Hobgoblins.

I also recommend reading thru threads on this board. Every day I read every new entry since the last time I read, sure I come in the middle of some stories, but it keeps different parts of the adventure fresh in my mind and lets me see how different people handle different parts of the module.

JoeSchmoe
Here for a while
(4/29/03 8:47 pm)
Reply
Re: How to keep track of all?
Hopefully this will help

--- I use the index card trick, one for each player with these stats:
name (plus summoned monster if necessary)
class
attributes
init modifier
ac
hp
listen, spot, search skills (rolls I might make for the PC)
plus anything else I might need, but this covers 90% of circumstances.
I put a piece of clear scotch tape in the upper right hand corner so I don't destroy the corner by constantly erasing init rolls and that's it.
--- each monster or group of monsters gets their own card (gnolls, humans, etc.)
--- I have a PDF printout with most of the DMG charts in a binder, with crit miss tables, game calendar, general info, etc. in a thin binder. This is usually under the 3 core books.
--- I keep the core books (MM, DMG, PH) on a folding stool I got for $10 from a discount store. Usually they are open unless there is combat, during combat I have the MM in my lap and flip back and forth between monsters using Post-It tabs on the pages as I need them - the tape doesn't harm the pages and I can color-code the tabs or write on them if I need to. I may get a TV tray set to hold my books.
--- I don't use a full-size DM screen, I just use a cut-down manila folder that's about 5" high to roll dice behind. The RttToEE book is on the table in front of me or angled in my lap, the map book covers the book when necessary.
--- When entering the Crater Ridge MInes, use the Yahoo! group files to get a bunch of the maps scanned into Word documents with the relevant monster stats on the same page. It saves a TON of page-flipping time. I'd use them more but my group just happens to be in the area of the Crater Ridge Mines that isn't converted/scanned yet.

Hope this helps! Good luck and have fun.

Rudar Dimble
Looking around
(4/30/03 7:04 am)
Reply
thanks
Thanks for all the hints and tips so far. Please keep posting them!

ZansForCans 
Here for a while
(4/30/03 10:11 am)
Reply
Re: thanks
I've used a variety of the suggestions here. I keep a binder with all the story related stuff in it (my printed copy of ToEE, session summaries, PC stat references).

Some people like these kind of summary cards (look for the Init Cards entry). I prefer to write out entire d20 statblock versions of all the creatures I think I'm going to be using in the near future. This forces me to read the stats at least once with some attention.

For really large battles (like against the hobgoblins in the Ruined Temple), I set up a spreadsheet with groups and their key stats listed, as well as notes from the adventure about what those groups do in reaction to events. I also keep a spreadsheet of player stats, but I'm finding that I update this less and less as the encounters get more complicated.

Down the road, you'll want to take a look at the Event Timelines thread for various points in the CRM that's floating around. These will keep the number of "on-your-feet" decisions down to a minimum in session.


Group Editing & Authoring Support
flexible campaign management for the web
info :: demo

Dagda
Here for a while
(4/30/03 1:37 pm)
Reply
Re: thanks
I use DM's Familiar at the game table (a pc program for running combat and keeping all the info needed - check it out at www.paladinpgm.com/dmf ). I highly recommend it.

Also, I'd suggest throwing in an NPC or two. My group ended up with both Xaod and Redithidor in their group. Since my group was also somewhat inexperienced, I had the NPC's make suggestions once in a while so they could learn how to think in the game. In my campaign, Redithidor was a weakling who always stayed in the back hiding, but he kept rolling criticals with his bow so the party respects him quite a bit. Xaod acts like a fighter with minor healing ability.

As the party gains experience, I hope to be able to drop an NPC out (either through his death :evil or his having some other reason to move on).

Killiak 
Here to stay
(4/30/03 11:39 pm)
Reply
Madfox
Madfox, I agree fully, BUT BUT BUT
He said that the ranger was wielding a short sword. That means he was right next to the dragon, U need some distance before you can fire your bow eh :)
Not taking the AoO from the dragon is a nice bonus too :hat

Caedrel
Here for a while
(4/30/03 11:45 pm)
Reply
Re: My two bits
One hting I've found very helpful for combat is to give everyone a narrow strip of paper with their PC's name on it - they write their initiative number on it and give it to me, while I do the same for everything else. They all come together and I mark off rounds on each strip as people take their action.

The main help this has been over my old method of just writing it all down on a sheet paper is that I can easily "pull out" a strip if someone's readying an action, and then move them to their new place in the initiative order when they do act - I've got 6 PCs, and a lot of them were readying actions and I kept on forgetting them.

I also have a spreadsheet with my group's critical stats on it - hp, AC, Search, Spot, Listen, Sense Motive and Use Rope skills and Will saves. I've got separate worksheets for their spells, languages known and ability scores.

Grumgarr
Here for a while
(5/1/03 6:01 am)
Reply
Re: My two bits
Like Caedrel I use a handy initiative tracker.

I use an A4 grid (landscape oriented) like this (made it in Excel in 2 minutes - tried out a couple of formats before settling on this one):

name_____ |_____|_____|_____|____
initiative___|_____|_____|_____|____
Round 1________|_____|_____|_____|____
2________|_____|_____|_____|____
3________|_____|_____|_____|____
4________|_____|_____|_____|____
5________|_____|_____|_____|____
6________|_____|_____|_____|____
etc. in blocks of 10 rounds

So rounds down the side (using 8pt text or so I fit over 30 rounds in, landscape) and initiative counts and names across the top, I then read left to right each round. There's plenty of space for a dozen or so folk, leaving space between for changes to intiative, multiple 'same initiative' slots etc.

Duration for spells, rage etc. is easily tracked, a line straight down to the end of the round where it expires is simple.

If anyone changes intitiative, an arrow across to their new place in the count is easy (I rewrite their name in a blank cell above for ease of use) too.

I generally print out a few before each session, but use pencil to track things anyway so they're erasable - plus I can generally fit 2 or 3 combats on a single sheet.

I could post the grid (it really is very simple) to ZansForCans' site if anyone's interested.

Grumgarr

<< Prev Topic | Next Topic >>

Add Reply

Email This To a Friend Email This To a Friend
Topic Control Image Topic Commands
Click to receive email notification of replies Click to receive email notification of replies
Click to stop receiving email notification of replies Click to stop receiving email notification of replies
jump to:

- Okay -- Your Turn - Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil - Home -



Powered By ezboard® Ver. 7.246g
Copyright ©1999-2003 ezboard, Inc.