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Best RPG setup for total noobs?


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So I haven't played a tabletop RPG in about 15 years. Was kinda into them for a good portion of my formative years but drifted away. My wife's BFF just hit her up out of the blue asking if we've ever played DnD. Nerd card tested and interest piqued. We don't get to hang out anymore and she figured it would be a good way to hang out over Skype and do something fun. Looking like it'll be me and my beautiful lady, her BFF and husband ( both are absolutely fantastic people ), and their friend. I don't know the guy but everyone else does so he's likely to be a cool guy. I believe I'm the only one with RPG experience.

So the question is...where do we start?

Was thinking a Pathfinder, adventure path. Seems like the logical choice but I'm super open to suggestions.

Thanks!

 

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  • PourSpelur changed the title to Best RPG setup for total noobs?

It's hard to go wrong with good old Dungeons & Dragons; I find the Fifth Edition to be very new player friendly, especially compared to Pathfinder... and more importantly, despite being new player friendly, it doesn't sacrifice any of the depth and detail that you want to have in a roleplaying game. The Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure that comes bundled with the starter set (and can be found various places online) is an excellent adventure -- one of my all time favorites in decades of playing and DM'ing! It is meant to tie in (loosely) to the Rise of Tiamat module, but it's pretty open-ended and will work with just about any D&D setting. 

Recently, at Guardian Games, I came across a new product called Epic Encounters: Shrine of the Kobold Queen and Lair of the Red Dragon. I haven't gotten a copy of my own, but am very much tempted. They're basically one-stop 5e adventures in a box, complete with a battle map and a set of themed miniatures. All the reviews I've read for them online have been absolutely buzzing with positivity... and they're only $50.

If you do want to stick with Pathfinder, then I highly recommend you go with the now classic Rise of the Runelords adventure path. It was the first, but it's been updated and revised and made available in a collected hardcover. The six adventures link into one great story and it sends the players running up and down the countryside across all the most important parts of Golarion. (Personally, I find Pathfinder to be kinda clunky mechanically and don't care for the Golarion setting. They aren't bad, they're just not my preferred flavor of ice cream... But they're still ice cream.)

Totally Out There Idea: If you want to go with something really that breaks out of the ordinary fantasy adventuring milieu, but is still an approachable game for complete newbies to the hobby and with a well established universe that they'll all be able to get into the spirit of, may I recommend: Star Wars Classic Adventures? This is a free revised, expanded, and update reworking of the West End Games Star Wars D6 roleplaying game from 1987.  Print off a couple copies of those rule books to share amongst the players, print yourself a copy of the Starfall! adventure module, and get your John Williams playlist ready on Spotify.

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Went to TerraCrux in Tacoma and talked with Cody. Great guy, he had a lot of advice. Lined up with the collected wisdom of the interwebz as well.

Went with the DnD 5e Beginners Box, and a PHB. Best part was explaining to the Wife how important a new set of dice is. She went with an opaque, ice blue set.

Then I explained how we may share a life and a home, but she's not allowed to touch my new neon bubblegum pink dice.

Thanks for the help, super stoked!

 

 

 

 

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Back in my freshman year at university, I had become fed up with my dice always going missing under furniture or ending up in a friend’s dice bag. So I went out and bought five full sets of the most terrible looking Pepto-Bismol pink with neon purple marbling and rose-gold numbers dice. I figured they were way to ugly for anyone to want to steal and too hideous to ever get mistaken for someone else’s accidentally.

I still lost them all within a few years.

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I second D&D 5th ed, and DND Beyond subscription is plain AWESOME (if 1 person bought the books, because you can digitally share it). 

  • D&D 5e is super easy to learn (compared to pathfinder)
  • Digital sites like DND Beyond take away all the book reading to building characters. Being able to search everything, and have your choices reflected, and dice rolling with modifiers automatic, is just powerful. Especially for newer players. I own 5 books on DND beyond, and pay the master $6/mo subscription. I run a campaign for my sons friends, as well as participate in another that uses it. 
    • Initially, I thought it was a nice to have. Now I won't play without it, even face to face. 
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I feel that Patrhfinder is a perfectly fine game... But it never did enough to differentiate itself from 3.x Dungeons & Dragons to make me want to play it instead of just playing D&D 3.x.  I feel like 5th Edition just blows both 3.x and Pathfinder out of the water mechanically. (I've also never cared much for the Golarion setting and Pathfinder's books are usually written with very deep ties to the setting; I have never liked the Forgotten Realms either, but even though WotC uses that as the "default" for their 5e content, it's a lot easier to separate).

Now, if only someone would take the dark fantasy, swords-against-sorcery, and rich pseudo-historical lore of the classic Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and merge them with the D&D5e rules, we'd be pretty darn close to my ideal game.

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1 hour ago, Torg said:

D&D 5e is a pretty good set up to start back into things - and it is played world wide.  Another of my more recent discoveries is "Monster of the week" which is light and fun.

 

-d

Monster of the Week is related to Dungeon World as they are both Powered By the Acopalypse engine games (PbtA).  I have not played Monster of the Week yet but have it on my shelf, neighbor got it for me as a gift 🙂

Torg, have you listened to the Adventure Zone podcast? Their "Amnesty" series is running Monster of the Week and is really great!

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2 hours ago, andozane said:

Monster of the Week is related to Dungeon World as they are both Powered By the Acopalypse engine games (PbtA).  I have not played Monster of the Week yet but have it on my shelf, neighbor got it for me as a gift 🙂

Torg, have you listened to the Adventure Zone podcast? Their "Amnesty" series is running Monster of the Week and is really great!

I will have to look for that podcast... I learned of Monster of the week on another podcast I listen to "Role Playing Public Radio"

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm currently playing/running several 5e games with my college friends back east. We are using Roll20 as our platform. I think I may have a few posts in this forum about it too. It is fairly simple to use with 5e and you can get away with not buying any books on roll20. The 5e character sheet is good and lets you modify anything you need on it. So it isn't hard to add spells and weapons and stuff like that in order to get your character to behave correctly for die rolls and such. I have invested a lot in DnDBeyond. There is now a beyond API set that you can load into roll20 for both chrome and firefox. It allows you to import info and rolls from DNDBeyond into a roll20 session. In a recent game I ran, I had built all of my encounters using the Beyond encounter builder. Typically I then take the creatures stats and copy them onto tokens in roll20 so that I have access to the info. Now with the new API, I was able to pull the monster up from the encounter page, click on their attacks there, and it sent the results into roll20. Players can do the same thing with Beyond characters as well. I have yet to try playing my character from Beyond as my group has invested enough in Roll20 that we can make our characters there without issues. But if you are starting out, it might be worth the attempt just to use Beyond. That way you are only spending money on one platform. Plus, still hoping that Beyond releases a VTT one day.

I also found a nice free map maker. I don't recall the name of it, but will edit it in later. I need more practice with it, but I made a couple of old school style maps and it looked pretty good. Again, not hard to add that stuff into roll20. Happy to see more and more people playing D&D. It has been a real sanity saver for me and my friends during this crap year.

I hope I can find a local game once people can gather again. I miss rolling dice around a table.

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Ended up going with DnD 5e. Running the "Beginners Box" adventure through video chat for 3 beginners. Really enjoying it so far. Sent a bag of 100 assorted rpg dice to 2 of my players with this message attached.

𝔇𝔢𝔞𝔯 𝔄𝔡𝔳𝔢𝔫𝔱𝔲𝔯𝔢𝔯𝔰
ℑ 𝔥𝔬𝔭𝔢 𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔰𝔢 𝔤𝔦𝔣𝔱𝔰 𝔣𝔦𝔫𝔡 𝔶𝔬𝔲 𝔴𝔢𝔩𝔩. 𝔓𝔩𝔢𝔞𝔰𝔢, 𝔠𝔬𝔫𝔰𝔦𝔡𝔢𝔯 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔠𝔥𝔞𝔫𝔠𝔢 𝔠𝔲𝔟𝔢𝔰 𝔡𝔢𝔩𝔦𝔳𝔢𝔯𝔢𝔡 𝔱𝔬 𝔶𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔥𝔬𝔪𝔢 𝔞𝔰 𝔞𝔰 𝔪𝔶 𝔠𝔬𝔫𝔡𝔬𝔩𝔢𝔫𝔠𝔢𝔰. 𝔉𝔢𝔢𝔩 𝔣𝔯𝔢𝔢 𝔱𝔬 𝔲𝔱𝔦𝔩𝔦𝔷𝔢 𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔰𝔢 𝔴𝔥𝔢𝔫 𝔯𝔬𝔩𝔩𝔦𝔫𝔤 𝔫𝔢𝔴 𝔠𝔥𝔞𝔯𝔞𝔠𝔱𝔢𝔯𝔰 𝔞𝔣𝔱𝔢𝔯 ℑ 𝔟𝔩𝔞𝔰𝔱 𝔶𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔠𝔲𝔯𝔯𝔢𝔫𝔱 𝔬𝔫𝔢𝔰 𝔱𝔬 𝔞𝔰𝔥.

ℌ𝔲𝔤𝔰 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔨𝔦𝔰𝔰𝔢𝔰,
𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔚𝔦𝔷𝔞𝔯𝔡 𝔊𝔩𝔞𝔰𝔰-𝔖𝔱𝔞𝔣𝔣

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17 hours ago, PourSpelur said:

Ended up going with DnD 5e. Running the "Beginners Box" adventure through video chat for 3 beginners. Really enjoying it so far. Sent a bag of 100 assorted rpg dice to 2 of my players with this message attached.

𝔇𝔢𝔞𝔯 𝔄𝔡𝔳𝔢𝔫𝔱𝔲𝔯𝔢𝔯𝔰
ℑ 𝔥𝔬𝔭𝔢 𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔰𝔢 𝔤𝔦𝔣𝔱𝔰 𝔣𝔦𝔫𝔡 𝔶𝔬𝔲 𝔴𝔢𝔩𝔩. 𝔓𝔩𝔢𝔞𝔰𝔢, 𝔠𝔬𝔫𝔰𝔦𝔡𝔢𝔯 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔠𝔥𝔞𝔫𝔠𝔢 𝔠𝔲𝔟𝔢𝔰 𝔡𝔢𝔩𝔦𝔳𝔢𝔯𝔢𝔡 𝔱𝔬 𝔶𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔥𝔬𝔪𝔢 𝔞𝔰 𝔞𝔰 𝔪𝔶 𝔠𝔬𝔫𝔡𝔬𝔩𝔢𝔫𝔠𝔢𝔰. 𝔉𝔢𝔢𝔩 𝔣𝔯𝔢𝔢 𝔱𝔬 𝔲𝔱𝔦𝔩𝔦𝔷𝔢 𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔰𝔢 𝔴𝔥𝔢𝔫 𝔯𝔬𝔩𝔩𝔦𝔫𝔤 𝔫𝔢𝔴 𝔠𝔥𝔞𝔯𝔞𝔠𝔱𝔢𝔯𝔰 𝔞𝔣𝔱𝔢𝔯 ℑ 𝔟𝔩𝔞𝔰𝔱 𝔶𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔠𝔲𝔯𝔯𝔢𝔫𝔱 𝔬𝔫𝔢𝔰 𝔱𝔬 𝔞𝔰𝔥.

ℌ𝔲𝔤𝔰 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔨𝔦𝔰𝔰𝔢𝔰,
𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔚𝔦𝔷𝔞𝔯𝔡 𝔊𝔩𝔞𝔰𝔰-𝔖𝔱𝔞𝔣𝔣

EPIC, and that beginner mission is probably the BEST mission ever made! Easy, in depth, a great story, and SUPER flexible for DM's! (as long as no other player has run it yet).

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  • 1 month later...

My players killed the green Dragon!

I was all set for a TPK and they rolled him hard. I didn't hold back and they slayed that poor, baby murderlizard!

I did have the Cleric Raedroth cast Protection from Poison on them right before they left his house and it saved 2 ccharacter. I was playing him as a crotchety old, backwater druid. Crusty exterior but soft and sweet on the inside. He cast it on them without them knowing because the Mage cast mend object on his simple clay bowl. As a little throwaway I had their knock on his door startle him and drop his bowl, for beginners they roleplayed the heck out of that encounter and gained a silent ally for life.

Just to drive it home, when they came back to his cottage they noticed his boots and a shovel by his door were muddy. He took them out back and showed them the 4 fresh graves he'd dug for them and the 11 filled graves he'd dug for the previous adventures that weren't as lucky as they'd been.

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