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Sep. 10th, 2015


5 Tips for GMing for 1st level characters

Today we will look at the special challenge of running a game for first level characters.  As the namesake for this blog, the Dire Rat is often tasked with this role.  Additionally so is the orc and goblin.  Often these low level creatures are tasked to be filler with some minor story behind them and get them to later levels.  I think Paizo has shown some nice ways to add to the normal filler of first level.  Here are 5 tips to think when making challenges for first level characters.

1. It's not just about combat
What I mean about that is, just using combat to get to your low level characters, often does not help the characters learn who they are and all the fun tricks they have.  If you look in skull and shackles adventure path you can see how the first level adventurers do tasks with skills like acrobatics, climb and cooking to get through the lower levels and complete pieces of the action.

2. Roleplaying is not rewarded enough
Remember people can talk their way through situations and finding information,  make plot points and rewards that drive this forward.  This helps to install the tone and get your group talking to each other.  Find a method to reward players.  I give each player 10 poker chips which they give to others for good roleplaying and they can then use for a +1 on a die roll.  all used are added up and each are worth 10 xp per at the end of the night

3. Avoid bursty combat at 1st level
No one wants to die at first level to some crazy crits that happen.  If they do happen make sure it is not the afore mentioned random orc, but at least a named orc.  Make it a memorable death and something that will be fun to happen and stories told about it for a while

4. Give them direction
Give them something to be invested in, in that location, it may be a springboard they never see again, but make it so they can interact with them and not the general you all meet in an inn.  Make it so they feel a part of the world and not just punching holes to get to someplace more interesting.

5. Reward the character
Keep the rewards equal to their level, maybe some consumables, maybe some other items, but don't give a deck of many things, but try to make sure it is something they can use and not something that is just gold filler.  Also tease them into the next adventer

September 2015



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