A new game with a beginning full of unknowns

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I want to start off with an apology.  I realize that the title I gave this thread might not be the most informative but it's what I came up with.  I've been travelling for a while and will finally be getting back home soon.  I've never played D&D with the friends I grew up with, but a lot of them have migrated back to our hometown over the years and, for the first time in over a decade, we'll all be in the same place.  This, I have decided, is my chance to introduce them to D&D.  They've all played RPGs, but never D&D.

Over the past few months, I have been in contact with each of the players and have walked them through picking a character that would be right for them.  I basically just interviewed them and then began to lay out the various classes and races as we went through the process.  At this point, they are all very excited about getting to play their characters.  One issue, though.  I have forbidden them to discuss their character with anyone else that will be playing in the game.

My thinking was that, as a group of complete newbies, they'd basically get to show off their characters and would have to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each class as the game progresses.  I'm interested to see how the players deal with trying to describe their characters and how they will learn to find some synergy with their abilities.

I was really excited about this until I ran into a fellow D&D gamer in Morocco and he berated me for doing things this way.  As the DM, I feel confident that they have a balanced group and I know that I can tailor any encounters, especially in the beginning, to make them challenging enough without mopping the floor with them.  They've got all four roles covered with a bit of overlap in the form of two additional players.  Am I doing my players a disservice by trying this?
If the player from Morocco is not among your players in the upcoming game, don't worry about it.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
There is only one core rule of DMing:  As long as everyone is having fun, you're doing it right.

The player you talked to clearly would not have enjoyed this.  That's his right.  He's also not playing in your campaign, so he's completely irrelevant.  I assume you know your friends, and I assume they'd have complained about it if they had a problem.

It sounds to me like you're doing everything you can to make sure everyone has fun and is excited to play.  That means that you're doing it right.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
 Am I doing my players a disservice by trying this?

Not at all. Actually, I think that's a interesting and cool idea.

Rule 26 - Don't listen to people from Morroco. 
Don't worry. DND attracts an element of know it alls. A lot of those know it alls are total jerks who will berate you for "Doing it wrong". (Some know it alls are super nice, and are great teachers who sincerly want to help)

Luckily, its pretty much impossible to "do it wrong" and the people who berate you about it really aren't worth talking to. They also tend to be loud, and let you know they are "one of those ones" as soon as you meet them. As you gain DND social experience, you will develop the ability to pick them out right away, and excuse yourself from conversation with ease.

Honestly, all you should take away from that conversation is "Well I won't invite this guy to my game".   

As an aside, I think your premise sounds like a great way to introduce new players, and would be a blast.  

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Don't worry. DND attracts an element of know it alls. A lot of those know it alls are total jerks who will berate you for "Doing it wrong". (Some know it alls are super nice, and are great teachers who sincerly want to help)

Hey, quit stereotyping knowitalls!  Some of us are huge jerks who are terrible teachers but still try to help for some reason Tongue out
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
Thanks for all of the kind responses.  I've DMed a few one shot games for friends in a campaign I was in and really enjoyed it.  I was looking forward to this new campaign and was really interested to see how the players would handle themselves in this new world.  I normally would not have listened to the nay-sayer (he's an American travelling for a few weeks abroad and kept trying to give me advice on how to travel even though I've been travelling for almost 3 years now), but his reaction was so immediate and so negative.  I just kind of wrote it off but I've spent the last few days trying to pick it apart again and figure out if there is some huge issue that I missed.  To have you guys say otherwise is a relief.  Thanks for the help and thanks for helping make these forums what they are.
showed up a little late to the party, but this is an excellent idea. Whenever possible, I try to keep the players in a shroud of mystery.

Only possible problem I can see is if they picked 3 wizards and an archery ranger (or some simaliar foolish makeup) because they couldn't balance.

But who cares? It would be pretty sweet, and still fun!

You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
It's a great idea. You see, what you are doing is stopping your players from metagaming from the start. By not letting your players boast about their characters you are letting in roleplaying opportunities.
The other players won't find out that you're a warlock if you never tell them. The only problem is that they'll figure it out sooner rather than later when you anounce that you're using Eldritch Blast. So maybe you could let the players rename their powers?
Akoo, since I've walked them all through making their characters, I've gently steered them towards different roles.  The party leans a bit more towards striker, but I assumed it would since they were all more familiar with video game RPGs.

David, none of them have any idea what Eldritch Blast is.  Unless they decide to look through the Player Handbooks for powers that others have used, they'll just have to build up an idea of what each other is capable of as the campaign progresses. 
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