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PDM Guide: Being a Player DM

PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:07 pm
by Jiriki
Here on Digital Dreaming, the DMs not only allow, but also encourage interested players to run their own adventures. Below are the guidelines by which anyone can become what we refer to here as a Player DM (PDM for short):

Rule Access: Aspiring PDMs should have access to the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide (though access to the SRD is sufficient). We highly recommend that you also have the FRCS/Player's Guide to Faerun and City of Splendors: Waterdeep. PDMs should have some familiarity with the ruleset; you don't have to be a master of the rules, but you should be able to cover the basics without consulting the books.

In-Chat Nametag, Forum Privileges: The names of approved Player DMs are colored light blue in the chat. They do not have access to any additional chat functions, but they do gain access to a special admin forum where they may discuss planned storylines, etc.

DM Scene Approval: If it's more than a basic one-shot, Player DMs should send a brief synopsis of their plot to one of the DMs. The DMs will work with the PDM to make sure the adventure will not interfere with any other ongoing plots, and evaluate whether the encounters and treasure are appropriate for characters of the approximate level range.

Adventures are usually approved with minimal review so long as they do not irrevocably alter existing site/published canon, and the expected encounters and rewards are commensurate with the expected party. (Basically, don't blow up the city, drop a brand-new, world-shatteringly Epic NPC into the middle of the established setting, or plan to give some 1st-level noobs a thousand gold pieces each and you're probably okay.)

PDMs should expect to devote at least a few hours to the running of any scene. "Quick" scenes, as well as those that do not attempt to advance a storyline ("guided roleplay") are not acceptable for XP/monetary rewards under these rules.

No Personal Character Involvement: DMs and PDMs may not have their characters participate in adventures they run.

No Simultaneous Adventuring: DMs and PDMs should ensure that the characters involved in a given scene are not involved in any other adventures (which would render them unavailable for the scene in question). A character currently occupied in Undermountain, for instance, should not be involved in an adventure taking place on the road to Baldur's Gate. PCs involved in multiple scenes simultaneously may have their involvement in one or both ret-conned. Avoiding this is technically the player's responsibility, but since the consequences can affect multiple PCs, it is a good idea for DMs/PDMs to verify this before play begins.

No Sheet Access: PDMs do not have access to the character sheets of the PCs in their adventure. If the PDM needs certain information from the players (commonly things like hit points or Armor Class, though depending on your style you may feel free to ask for whatever you need), ask for it before your adventure starts to save time. (Players should note that taking advantage of the PDM's lack of sheet access is a good way to get yourself ridiculed and/or banned.)

Initial DM Observation: The first time a particular PDM runs an adventure, a full DM must be present to observe and assist as needed. (The observing DM can also be a participant if circumstances and desires allow, though an impartial observer may be preferred.) After this first adventure, with the approval of the observing DM, the PDM will be allowed to run adventures without having a DM present (though storylines should still have a DM's input/approval).

Maintaining a Timely Schedule: PDMs running multi-part adventures are strongly encouraged to run each session no more than one week apart. If more than two weeks pass between sessions, a PDM is encouraged to find a logical IC way to end the adventure and give out treasure and XP for time spent playing, rather than tying PCs up for excessive periods of time. In cases where a long time passes without a scene taking place, DMs reserve the right to end an ongoing scene by fiat.

Experience Awards: XP and treasure awards should be sent to a DM as soon as possible after an adventure ends. The PM should determine how much XP each participating character receives, to a maximum of 25 XP per level per session. (Example: If a 3rd-level character participates in an adventure that runs for two sessions, he receives up to 3x25x2 = 150 XP.)

XP Awards should be based roughly on this per-session guideline: 10-15 XP for showing up on time and making a good-faith attempt to roleplay the character and participate, 20-22 XP for active and engaging characters, and 25 XP for exceptional RP, leadership, or good ideas. Some PDMs simply give the full amount per scene, which is okay too if that's how you roll.

The DM/PDM running the adventure receives an automatic 25 XP per level per session (for the character of your choice, if you play more than one), as if their character had participated and received maximum XP.

Monetary Awards: These are hard to determine using a set equation, and depend to a great degree on the level of the party, how well it participated, and the circumstances of the adventure. Provided below, however, is a table we devised to provide an approximate range of rewards per session (not per adventure) per player, appropriate for each level. DMs reserve the right to scale back rewards that exceed the limits of the table below or which seem inappropriate for the adventure. The PDM/DM running the adventure receives the average gp per-level per-session for the character of their choice. Items presented as rewards are based on their value as if they were sold to an NPC merchant. (Example: A mithral shirt has a market price of 1100g, but is valued at 550g when determining adventure loot.)

  • Level 1: 100-160 gp (average 130 gp)
  • Level 2: 150-230 gp (average 190 gp)
  • Level 3: 170-270 gp (average 220 gp)
  • Level 4: 230-330 gp (average 280 gp)
  • Level 5: 250-370 gp (average 310 gp)
  • Level 6: 320-480 gp (average 400 gp)-
  • Level 7: 400-590 gp (average 495 gp)
  • Level 8: 490-730 gp (average 610 gp)
  • Level 9: 670-1,000 gp (average 835 gp)
  • Level 10: 870-1,270 gp (average 1,070gp)
  • Level 11: 1,000-1,530 gp (average 1,265 gp)
  • Level 12: 1,200-1,870 gp (average 1,535 gp)
  • Level 13: 1,730-2,670 gp (average 2,200 gp)
  • Level 14: 2,400-3,730 gp (average 3,065 gp)
  • Level 15: 2,930-4,400 gp (average 3,665 gp)
  • Level 16: 3,600-5,470 gp (average 4,535 gp)
  • Level 17: 4,530-6,670 gp (average 5,600 gp)
  • Level 18: 5,600-8,270 gp (average 6,935 gp)
  • Level 19: 6,930-10,400 gp (average 8,665 gp)
  • Level 20: Essentially by DM fiat. PCs at this level cannot advance further, and the Epic treasure tables are silly anyway.

Level reflects the average level of the party involved. (Weigh down if most characters are below this level, if you're attempting to give everyone equal loot. If you have a very wide level range, consider presenting segregated challenges and give unequal loot accordingly.) Regarding the listed ranges, the Minimum figure assumes that every adventure should hold some financial gain for the characters, as bare minimum compensation for the investment of their time. (If the characters blatantly screw themselves out of any reward, this is not a hard-and-fast rule, but there should be explicit justification made.) If the party accomplishes only the bare minimum objectives, or they don't RP well, this is a baseline, rock-bottom reward. By contrast, the Maximum figure should be considered a very hard cap, assuming a party that overcomes great obstacles, RPs spectacularly, and/or comes up with some really novel ideas on how to accomplish the objectives of the adventure. The Average figure should be the default, assuming a not-particularly-dangerous adventure that the party succeeds on with a minimum of fuss but without any spectacular ideas or RP, and a party with everyone close to the average level.

Note: Scrolls, potions, alchemicals, and other single-use consumables (not wands or staves) may be given to a reasonable level without counting against the maximums of the ranges listed, as wealth-by-level tables do not typically assume their presence. As a very basic rule of thumb, figure that consumables worth roughly 10-20% of the maximum can be given "freely" in this fashion. If you have questions on this, consult a DM.

Re: PDM Guide: Being a Player DM

PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:39 pm
by Shamsy
PDM running adventures, please observe the following changes:

    The Monetary Awards table has been updated to provide higher rewards for participating PCs

    The PDM/DM running the adventure now receives the average gp per-level per-session for the character of their choice