94

Make the townsfolk afraid of them, too. In short: have the NPCs react like real people. It's a small town. People talk. People are going to notice the destroyed door, and others may have been drawn to the ruckus and seen/overheard what happened. Then the rumor mill got to spinning. See, in this case... So...in rolls this band of strangers, wipes out ...


86

Your party isn't what the campaign was designed for Honestly, the problem is simply that Lost Mines of Phandelver is balanced for a party of roughly 5 players, so you're already struggling because you are outnumbered. The action economy is pretty rough in 5e, if you are outnumbered, you'll likely struggle. Likewise, a single boss monster is usually far ...


75

They are (arguably) Hill dwarves There's nothing to go on in the module book. You're right, it is never stated explicitly anywhere in the module what kind of dwarf the Rockseeker brothers are. Whenever they are mentioned in the narrative they are just referred to generically as dwarves. If you ever need stats for them in the game, the module suggests ...


75

What is expected? To have fun. Obviously, you aren't having fun if you are writing up posts like this. What you are missing The major thing that it sounds like you are missing is a big chunk of early content. The DM should have directed you to deal with a problem in Phandalin, before you set out to deal with threats and issues elsewhere. If your DM has ...


71

Some miscommunication must have happened to cause this situation. Did you tell the player to make a 1st level character, and they brought a 4th level character anyway? Or did you simply assume they would start at level 1? Regardless of who is at fault, the important part is that you're the GM and you can fix this. Tell the player to play as a 1st level ...


68

Given how dangerous a young dragon's breath attack can be to low level players, I think you should let them do it. If anything having a couple of cannon fodder NPCs can help liven up the experience should they get blown away. Make sure they require a considerable sum of money to be hired for such a dangerous task. If they survive, then they might covet ...


66

Let them not go on quests. I'm a big fan of letting the natural rhythm of the setting take care of this issue. That is, if your group of unemployed ne'er-do-well's won't clear the way to the old well, someone else will. While the PCs are loafing around things are happening. The world doesn't stop just because they're not looking. To this end I create a ...


66

You tell or show the party why they need to move on It is always better to show rather than tell, so I would do something like this: 2 goblins appear coming down the cave, the party ambushes them, and mid-way through that ambush a straggler appears running to catch up to his friends. He sees the fight and runs back into the cave screaming that they are ...


55

The answers provided by Niel B and CaM are good (and both have my upvotes), but I want to emphasise another aspect of this, based on my own experience with running this adventure (although this exact thing didn't happen to me; the first long rest was some time after this): Level 1 characters are weak as hell, and this first dungeon is quite difficult for ...


55

I'm going to challenge your premise a bit - why not drop XP-based levelling altogether and use milestone levelling instead? In my time as a DM and a player, I've found milestone has a few advantages: Less resource management. Counting all your XP is a bit tedious. Less DM work. You can tailor encounters that are fun and play to your party's strengths, and ...


47

D&D 5e is not as lethal as you think. The rules on dropping to 0 hit points are on page 13 of the Starter Set rulebook. I won't write them all out here, but I'll summarise the important points: When you drop to 0 hit points, you're not dead yet. Every time you begin your turn with 0 hit points, you make a death saving throw, which is a d20 roll with no ...


42

11k gp renovation; 10gp/day upkeep/operating costs, or maybe less. Renovation/Rebuilding I'll tell you what's reasonable: referencing 2e's The Castle Guide. In previous years I've done comparisons between the 5e DMG's "big ticket" items--keep/small castle, large castle, and tower--and the costs of constructing such buildings as described in The Castle ...


40

Yes, you can reuse characters. There is nothing particular or special to Lost Mines of Phandelver that requires handling differently from any other content. Characters are not implicitly one-and-done - you don't throw away the character when you finish the book. Just because many of the hardcover adventures are designed to start at L1, doesn't mean they ...


39

Failure is an option A mistake that many people make is thinking there are only 2 end states for an adventure: the party wins or the party dies. In fact, there are a multitude of outcomes and some of them represent failure and failure has consequences. Having Sildar die makes things much harder for the players in subsequent stages of the campaign. So, the ...


38

NPCs (and the DMs who run them) are not bound by the same rules that PCs (and the players who run them) are. For the skeletons in the Redbrand Hideout, the two possibilities are: The skeletons were created by Glasstaff or the Black Spider, or The skeletons preexisted the Redbrands, and Glasstaff or the Black Spider bent them to their will. The adventure ...


37

The other answers seem to think that the PCs have the Goblins trapped. The map tells another story.


36

If I may indulge in a frame challenge. A group of wandering murderers who, without provocation, attack an intelligent sentient being deserve what they get. This is especially so since, earlier in the module: There are any number of ways that the party could interact with the dragon to their mutual benefit, albeit not without risk. From the Monster Manual p....


36

The simplest solution for you would be to scale down their character to level 1. Here's how: Ability Scores. If the player took an Ability Score Increase at level 4, make them decrease those abilities. Remember to decrease any bonuses (skill, attack, saves, spell save DC) that might have decreased because of this. If they took a Feat instead, they lose it....


34

Use your character's backgrounds to build intrinsic motivation for your players' characters. If you're looking at the LMoP adventure, you hopefully have the pre-built characters handy. If you look at their backgrounds, you can see that for every character, there is some kind of intrinsic motivation built into their backgrounds for at least one of the ...


34

Use the guidance in the module There are specific cases where noise in one area will draw the monsters from another area: (LMOP, p. 37) However, the castle is not defended with particular discipline: (p. 35) So we know that noise in one part of the castle is often ignored in other parts. There isn’t guidance specifically about whether noise in the king’...


33

Let the party know the cost of failure The first thing to do is to let the party know that there are consequences for their actions, beyond experience points for kills. If they simply don’t get the money and side-quests that Sildar might have provided, they won’t even know what they missed out on. Go ahead and withhold the rewards, and have another NPC let ...


31

No, you did nothing wrong. There are a few things here that stand out to me regarding the Glassstaff fight on which I can elaborate a bit. Surprise is very powerful Average damage and healing numbers compared to average hit point pool sizes just mean that the most effective way to win a fight is simply to put out more damage faster than the opposite party....


31

Change the game to match the players, not the other way around. In your scenario, with players avoiding combat whenever possible, it's the DM's responsibility to make successes feel like successes. There may be a mismatch between player types, with the players wanting to avoid combat, and you wanting to create combat, but that may mean that another DMing ...


29

Rather than judge the Goblin's response based on what is fair or what will teach the Players a lesson, shift your focus. What would your Goblins do, upon discovering their brethren lying murdered at the front door? View this from their eyes and respond accordingly. I'd see several specific actions that they could take, immediately: Beef up security at ...


28

I wouldn't worry too much. Especially since the party's defeat only leads to them getting knocked out and looted. The difficulty of this encounter is going to be very much up to chance. If you roll very well for the Goblin's Hide checks, your PCs may struggle or be defeated, and if you roll poorly, they may get through the encounter easily. Sometimes the ...


28

Jeremy Crawford unofficially addresses this specific issue regarding Lost Mine of Phandelver in a pair of tweets from January 2017: in LMoP, if you kill a wizard (i.e. Black Spider, etc), do you get their spellbook? It's not listed as treasure… The DM is free to add treasure, including spellbooks, to an adventure. of course DMs can do what they ...


27

Give 'em enough rope, but also provide clues and hints You need to determine, by talking to the veteran players, whether or not they are aware that they can flee if a fight is too much for them. Do this before the next session begins. This danger in short cutting to Cragmaw (before you think they can handle it) needs to be shown in the shape of warnings,...


26

The spell does not require existing vegetation Entangle (PHB, 238) simply states: Grasping weeds and vines sprout from the ground in a 20-foot square starting from a point within range. The magic simply makes the weeds and vines appear. This is in contrast to spells like catapult that specifically require you to use something pre-existing in the ...


25

First things first - everything's fine No, there are lots of ways to go from here when your party did not rescue this NPC at first. A lot of NPCs might point out the information Sildar would provide or could point the party to the fact that Sildar is still missing. There is plenty to do between different chapters. You just need to carefully read the text ...


24

Jeremy Crawford, lead rules developer for D&D 5e, unofficially addressed this question on Twitter: Staff of Defense let you cast shield as a action but shield is a reaction Typo or deliberate tradeof? That staff does, indeed, let you cast shield as an action. A DM could also allow casting the spell as a reaction.


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