Feedback from a Real New Player

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For week 3 I brought my Girlfriend to fill out the group.   Previously I had ran her though a combat and given her the quick start rules so that she had an idea what was going on.    Also bear in mind that she is definitely much smarter than I am at least from a math/science perspective.


Opportunity actions and order ->  She was having a tough time grappling with these, when you start season 2 you really just get a character sheet.   Another sheet with some common rules that happen all the time in combat would be nice, such as how opportunity attacks work and how you provoke them by using ranged attacks ect

Actions -> Move/Minor/Standard/Free  just a brief description of how they work and what you can do with them

Rituals ->  She got Jarvix and Jarvix has 2 rituals that are not described anywhere on the character sheet.   I had no idea what they did either I eventually found one in the PHB2 and I don't remember were I found the other one.    Removing how these rituals work/when you can use them cost/ect for "Brevity" was probably a bad idea

Skills -> Since the sheet only shows trained skills she didn't know you could use other skills (or even what those skills were) so when people went to downed characters and were making heal checks she thought that was some ability that those characters had not just a skill anyone could attempt to use.

Second Wind -> We all know how it works, she doesn't when you use the character generator it adds second wind like it would any encounter power, the pregen character sheets should have it like that as well.   Once I explained that it was just like her other encounter powers and this is what it did she understood. 
I had two brand new players at my table for session 3 as well. As the judge, I took it upon myself to explain most of the basic mechanics/tactics, and then also to explain the items on the card (such as surges, second wind, etc). It only takes 5-10 min to give a general understanding. My new players took relatively simple PCs (Barcan and Yuka), but we did have to explain marking, OAs, other nuances of those PCs a little. We even took some time to explain the other PCs a little, like how some of them had psionics instead of encounter powers, etc.

Overall though, I find that an extra couple of minutes before the game can really have a lasting effect IN the game. Your judge should have made the investment if he/she did not.
I would recommend handing out Kiznit's crib sheet which has been floating around for some time now for 4e. Here is a link: www.koboldstyle.org/stuff/4eCribSheet_ki...

I've made copies for all the players at my table so that they have a handy reference to use. They seemed to like it.

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Thats a good sheet.    However I want to talk about the skills again for new Players.    

For example lets take the Heal skill.

The heal skill lets you do several useful things, let other people spend healing surges, stabalize dying characters ect.      For a new player looking at the sheet they probably don't even know they have that skill let alone.

How hard it is to use
What it can be used for
How hard it is to do those things it can be used for.

Really skills should have had there own page with a section that looks a lot like the powers page.  For heal it would say something like

First Aid: Standard action. - Use a Standard Action to do one of the Following.  Roll d20 +  You must meet or exceed the DC to succeed
bullet.gif        Use Second Wind: Make a DC 10 Heal check to allow an adjacent character to use his or her second wind without the character having to take an action to do so. The character doesn’t gain the defense bonuses normally granted by second wind.   
bullet.gif        Stabilize the Dying: Make a DC 15 Heal check to stabilize an adjacent dying character. If you succeed, the character can stop making death saving throws until he or she takes damage. The character’s current hit point total doesn’t change as a result of being stabilized.  
bullet.gif        Grant a Saving Throw: Make a DC 15 Heal check. If you succeed, an adjacent ally can immediately make a saving throw, or the ally gets a +2 bonus to a saving throw at the end of his or her next turn. 
 
Even skills written on the sheet new players don't know what they can do.  Althletics let you jump, what kind of action is a jump?  How far can you jump?  How hard is it to jump x far?  Ect

In my mind you have a couple of handouts.   You have the basic character and power handout (whats currently in)  and then you have a couple more complicated handouts for each character explaining skills, and how they got that +5 to attack with those powers.

You start by giving players the basics then when they grasp that you give them the more complicated stuff to look over.   Giving handouts that they can take home is very good because then they can review it at their leisure instead of rifling through somebody's PHB which will probably just raise even more questions.
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