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I just got the starter set and will be DMing my first ever game of DnD with some friends in a few days.

How far should I read through the Mine of Phandelver campaign to be ready for the first session?

Edit, more details: I've watched 10+ hours of DnD on youtube, so I'm somewhat familiar with the concepts. The people I'm playing with have barely ever heard of DnD, so with my limited time I want to make sure I'm prepared enough to give them a favorable experience that they'll want to pursue.

I've managed to nail down ~3 hours or so with them, but since it's a starter book I'm not sure if 3 hours will only get us through the first chapter, half of it, to chapter 3, etc. I've got limited time and a tough crowd to impress so I want to pre-read only what I need to, and practice that, thanks!

TlDr: How far can a brand new DnD crowd get in 3~ hours through the Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by daze413, Purple Monkey, Miniman, firedraco, GMJoe Mar 31 '17 at 8:54

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Two questions: how long do you have for your session, and how much have you and your friends played? (I know you say it's your first time GMing, but have you all played a lot? Or have only you played? Or is everyone completely new?) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Mar 31 '17 at 3:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh and Welcome to the site, check out the tour and get acquainted with how the site works. Right now, I'm voting to close your question as primarily opinion-based. It's a good question, but all the answers will only give you varying degrees of preparation needed, and all of them would be equally correct, there's no way to really get a correct answer for this sort of question. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Mar 31 '17 at 3:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @daze413 I've got to disagree with the closure: people here have run LMoP and can share their expertise with how quickly OP can expect to move through material, what later material might be good to give a once-over for context, &c. Remember the standard isn't so much "correct" as "useful." \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Mar 31 '17 at 3:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 that really depends on the group. Some people barely make it past the first encounter on the first session, and some get to phandalin on their first session. If not opinion based, then unclear. More detail should be provided: the length of a combat in your group, for example, how long do you think they'll take in the first tavern RPing, how long do your sessions go for, and etc... \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Mar 31 '17 at 3:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @daze413 those are good points. Also, you're right about the "one question per post" bit so I've gone ahead and edited out the second question. Justin: you should feel free to go ahead and post that second question separately--there's no stigma against posting many questions around here, rather that's preferred. If you want to see the text you'd previously written you can look at the revision history by clicking "edited X ago" at the bottom of your post. Good luck! \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Mar 31 '17 at 4:00
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Players will be players - they will not always follow the prepared path. It feels much better as a DM if you have read further than needed in preparation. I would suggest to skim through much more than you think they will have time for and practice what you think they will most likely have time for.

As an example: if you only read about the first cave, what happens when they get knocked out by the goblin ambush and head to town? Perhaps they want to speak with the mayor and see if they can get reinforcements. Perhaps they hear about the Redbrands and want to spy on them before heading back to the goblin trail? Stuff like this will go much smoother if you have skimmed through the chapter and know some stuff about the town.

If they are totally new to the game they will need much time just to learn the rules, how to read the character sheet and so on. It is possible they might not even reach the cave on your first session.

There are no certainties regarding D&D, especially not when you are new to the game. If you have some idea of stuff in town, and are well prepared on the content in the first cave I think you will be fine. Be prepared to improvise when players inevitably do stuff not covered in the book. Good luck!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Pleas put spoilers in spoiler tags \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Mar 31 '17 at 12:55
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I'm completely new here, but I can say with all honesty, you team should not be able to reach the town. So you could read up until there. Which isn't a lot, but you can flavor it up a whole bunch.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry about the downvotes, Jay, wait for the question to be reopened and for the OP to provide more information or clarify his question then you can edit the answer and add more details. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Mar 31 '17 at 10:45

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