Making the Game Your Own
Making the Game Your Own
Under the basic rules, there's a very simple system to track how much players can carry, and it's designed so that players basically don't have to worry about it. So in my game, any treasure or items the players reasonably pick up, they can carry around with them. There's a more complicated variant rule where a player who carries too much becomes encumbered (meaning their speed is lowered or worse). But unless you're going with a realistic, survival game, I can't imagine any reason to use encumbrance.
There's also a specific rule about the number of magic items a player can have: the attunement rule. Most high value magic items require a player to attune to them in order to use them, which means the player has to spend a short rest "attuning" to the item. The limiting factor here is that players can only be attuned to 3 items at a time.
In hindsight, it's a very good rule. It's a rule I wish I'd used in my games and did not. At the the time, I thought it was too confusing to explain (unclear why I thought my players would be confused by a 3 magic item limit), so I just handed out big magic items all the time. This ended poorly.
Not only did each player have more than three fairly powerful magic items, they also had powerful consumables that they just refused to consume. My players had so many items, both magic and consumable, that they never used because they never even remembered they had them. And at some point it became silly to imagine my players walking around just loaded down with stuff.
I needed a solution. And the solution I decided on was visual backpacks.
So you're starting a D&D group.
You've invited your friends to play. You've decided to run a simple starter adventure, which you've read through. You've familiarized yourself with the rules. You've listened to D&D podcasts. And now, finally, the scheduling gods have aligned and you've scheduled the first meet up of your new D&D group.
Uh, now what?
I know that for seasoned players/DMs, having some way to organize your material seems obvious. But this post isn't for seasoned DMs--it's for people who want to start DMing and are unsure how.
I started playing D&D less than two years ago. At the age of twenty-seven, I had my very first encounter with RPGs when my boyfriend (let's call him DM Night Shyamalan) invited me to play in the game he DMed. I literally had no experience. None. I can't stress that enough because I need you to understand where I'm coming from and why I think this post is important.
So when the day came for me to play and he pulled out this 3-inch binder full of adventures and backstory and world-building and everything else that goes into D&D, I was totally and completely overwhelmed. He'd made all that? He had this giant backstory and lore for this world? How much time had he put into this? How could I ever fit into this world he and his players had built together?
That was my first encounter with a DM's binder. It was scary and intimidating and overwhelming. It was part of the reason I thought I'd never, ever be able to DM. And that was very stupid of me. The DM's binder is nothing more than a tool for organization. And organization is the key to (my) DMing.
So, let's talk about my binder journey.