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Building a better GM's screen?


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#1 GoblynKing

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 07:50 AM

I'd like to know if any Game Masters out there have homebrewed/hacked thier own GM screens for the game. I always felt the screen included in the Core set was great for novice GMs, but terrible at actually being a good short-hand reference to rules.

 

I've made my own charts/tables for my own screen (which I pasted to the back/GM side of the existing screen) but am thinking of overhauling it in the near future to accomodate the many extra rules AND my own houserules. Anywho, I'm curious to see if any of you have done something similar.

 

PS - I'll upload scans of my own GMs screen later on, if anyone's interested.



#2 Emirikol

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 08:42 AM

The only extra screen stuff I keep around is an inspiration chart for chaos stars.  I'd like to expand on that more.  

 

IMO, any GM screen should be landscape format, rather than portrait (too high).

 

jh


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#3 GoblynKing

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:55 AM

My go to for ways to spend leftover Banes/Boons/Chaos Stars/Comets is Conditions!

 

Rolled a successful attack, but came up with a Chaos Star...bam, you Damaged your weapon/shield during the exchange.

 

Fighting Zombies/Undead/grotesques, and rolled a couple of banes...I slap a Queasy condiiton on'em until the end of the encounter (or during the Rally step).

 

Conditions are great for just this kinda thing. Oh, also...instead of flipping through the condition card deck when I want to use one, I keep the deck alphabatized in a little card caddy behind my screen...on my screen is an alphabatized list of Conditions, divided into Positive & Negative Conditions. This makes picking the appropriate Condition MUCH faster IMHO.

 

BLHAPGr.png?1

 

Another handy reference I built and keep on my screen is a chart of Challege Ratings for common checks. This keeps my rulings on just how hard a check is consistant, which my plaers appreciate.

 

aWvqDB7.png?1


Edited by GoblynKing, 24 April 2014 - 11:03 AM.

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#4 Ralzar

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:51 AM

Gitzman has some great resources. I have a printout of "WFRP Referance Guide" next to me during play.

 

http://www.gitzmansg...-resources.html


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#5 GoblynKing

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:20 PM

I also put together a set of tables (which if cut out, could be cards with some formatting) representing common checks called for in my campaign. This combined with the Challenge Rating suggestions table above, let me adjudicate most events/actions at the table without having to flip through a book even once in an entire session.

 

uetnYlI.png



#6 valvorik

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:27 PM

All very nice stuff!

 

I think I reported long ago my own experiment with extended results for extra boon/bane chaos star didn't work well.

 

Two things I found.

 

Since players roll more dice pools than NPCs (at least in my game as a rule) they generally benefit more, it tilts things in their favour.

 

I was okay with that if Players invoked the bonuses with interesting narration that made play more entertaining but I found them just going "ooh an extra comet", and then announcing its use and I would have to say "and how does that happen???" and they would fumble about to come up with something not very inspiring - not always sometimes it was gold but most of the time dross.

 

At that point (more work for me and easier time for Players) I gave up on it.

 

I try to create location and situation cards with more uses for such stray dice pool results (e..g, my Wine Festival event card in Averheim had things that happen when everyone is drinking etc.) but leave it at that.



#7 GoblynKing

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:31 PM

 

 

The only extra screen stuff I keep around is an inspiration chart for chaos stars.  I'd like to expand on that more. 

Here's my "leftover boons/banes/chaos stars/sigmars comet suggestion tables...also on my screen. Stuff like this really helps me come up with stuff on the fly when I'm sapped of creativity...or in some cases, inspires it!

 

WS7umR3.png?1

xl8RpON.png?1



#8 GoblynKing

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:49 PM

 

 

Since players roll more dice pools than NPCs (at least in my game as a rule) they generally benefit more, it tilts things in their favour.
I was okay with that if Players invoked the bonuses with interesting narration that made play more entertaining but I found them just going "ooh an extra comet", and then announcing its use and I would have to say "and how does that happen???" and they would fumble about to come up with something not very inspiring - not always sometimes it was gold but most of the time dross.

Mayhaps you are forgetting that with many challenge and misfortune dice, also come many side effects for those big ole dice pools the PCs are rolling, that are not so beneficial for the players...but interesting nonetheless. Perhaps I just run a more perilous game at my table, but my players are generally suffering as much as they're succeeding.

 

Also, my players don't get into fights all that often...when they do, they're fast, brutal, and dangerous. I'd say 50% of the combat encounters my PCs have been in have had one or more of them at deaths door; unconscious, or one Crit away from dying. The other 50% leave them weighted with fatigue and wounds, or running away...all of which have ended on average, within 5-6 rounds.

 

But...as I said, fighting rarely happens, as it's usually the last resort. Because of this, I'm rarely rolling dice pools myself, but calling for my players to do so bc of things they want to do, or as a reaction to their environment...which in the Warhammer world, is as much a character as any NPC...so burdening myself with interpreting NPC and PC dice pool hangers on (banes/boons, etc), is enjoyable for me.

 

 

 

I try to create location and situation cards with more uses for such stray dice pool results (e..g, my Wine Festival event card in Averheim had things that happen when everyone is drinking etc.) but leave it at that.

I'm working on creating more location cards myself...but I'm finding having enough to encompass all the types of terrain and places would be too much for my own play style. I've been considering as an alternative, making a table/chart with more general terrain/location effect suggestions...something that could be easily referenced and used much like the boon/bane tables above. It could, for instance, have suggestions for effects when in cramped confined spaces, locations that smell bad or have noxious fumes/smoke, places that are hot, places that contain large crowds, etc. Just firing from the hip here.



#9 valvorik

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 05:20 PM

Part of issue was likely that my players were are 50+ advances with lots of fortune dice and expertise dice etc.  Yes I used negative effects too, there are just more loose comets than chaos stars floating around.



#10 GoblynKing

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 07:11 AM

Here's a wide shot of my assembled GMs screen. I had to add two extra panels onto each end to give myself enough room for everything I needed.

 

(sorry for the pic quality, I can't find the pdfs for several of these tables, so I'm working on recreating them or scanning them)

2zuDrbMl.jpg?1

 

On the far left is a weapons/armor list with a table of weapon Qualities below it. Above and to the right of the weapons/armor chart is a table of NPC stat summaries, for those off the cuff NPC interactions. Below it is a list of NPC/Monster Card "traits". This is useful when trying to interpret NPC card traits that aren't described on the card itself, which is quite common.

 

These three tables allow me to make up NPC/Monsters on the fly by pulling stats, traits, and weapon/armor configurations together I can improvize just about any random NPC needed.

 

Next is a summary of item rarity/availability...which combined with the weapon/armor chart lets me improvize when PCs start asking about finding Gromril guantlets in the city bazaar, or how easy it might be to track down some Healing Draughts when I don't have a shop written up.

 

Next up are some tables summarizing my own house rules for Environmental Damage (how much damage does someone take when falling off a horse/building/mountain, drowning, fire, etc), Death/Dying, and the various "Thresholds" that are constantly referenced in the game (Distressed, Fatigued, Stressed, Power Vent, Insanity, Disease, Corruption, Wound, etc).

 

Next are my various Skill Test summaries as posted above (post #5) and the conditions list summary.

 

Buried in there are a chart summarizing the rules for Extended Challenges...commonly used in my game, boon/bane/chaos star use suggestions, and house rules for travelling and surviving in the wilderness.


Edited by GoblynKing, 25 April 2014 - 07:26 AM.

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#11 GoblynKing

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:02 PM

Detailed view of my homemade weapon/armor tables, plus the weapon qualities table.

 

x7uG0sS.png



#12 GoblynKing

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:23 PM

Here are my house rules for Environmental Damage, also found on my side of the screen.

 

iKkgQRm.png?1

Example of play: a PC takes a nasty tumble off the 2nd story of a Coaching House balcony and onto a stack of empty beer kegs. I decide that this is an Average Severity, so that's a base of 3 Challenge dice. The empty wooden kegs help to break the distance of the fall a little bit, so I throw in a Fortune die for good measure.

 

The PC has acrobatics trained, so I let him add a single Expertise die to the pool as well. The dice pool is rolled and the result is: 1 Failure, and 2 Boons. 

 

So the PC suffers 2 Wounds automatically due to the Severity of the situation, plus 1 extra Wound due to the single Failure rolled. The 2 Boons normally do nothing (except cancel out Banes/Fatigue) in this situation, unless the Player has a creative use for them. So 3 Wounds total from falling from a 2nd story balcony onto some barrels.

 

The thing to keep in mind is that these house rules are mearly to adjudicate in a consistant way, how much damage do I take from Falling/Drowning/Burning/Being Crushed, etc. In other words, the PC has already failed to avoid the damage and must now suffer the consequences.

 

Note: Toughness/Armor are sometimes factored into Environmetal Damage, but a PC ALWAYS takes a minimum of 1 Wound from falling/burning, etc. So in the example above, if the PC has a Toughness of 2 and leather armor, (s)he would still take 1 Wound of damage from the fall. So nothing broken, but a  minor cut/abrasion.


Edited by GoblynKing, 25 April 2014 - 12:25 PM.


#13 Emirikol

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 02:34 PM

Below are some comparison reviews of sections of the other screens I have laying around.

 

WFRP3 (the official one..slapped together half-as sed for newbies):

Table of contents to rulebook (useless reprint) - half page

Currency rates + Range measurements - half page

ACE dice budget (wasted space)

Dice symbols (really?) (3/4 page)

Levels of injury (useless outside of an actual summary of healing rules) -1/8 page

Opposed check difficulty (useful) - 1/8 page

Tactic and combat advantage/disadvantage list (with no acutal modifiers) (useless reprint) - 1/2 page

Rewards suggestion

3- Act Episode Structure.  REALLY??

Challenge levels summary

Combat sequence (WASTE)

List of maneuvers (1/2 page)

Rally step summary (probably useful)

Universal boon/bane effects

Progress tracker

 

2nd Ed WFRP screen

Far Left Panel:  Chaos manifestations charts (entire page)..now we have a deck; and "when to use insanity points)

Left Panel:  Summary of weapons and armor. List of skills (basic, advanced)

Right Panel:  Critical hit charts (entire page)..now we have a deck

Far Right Panel:  Combat difficulty, List of basic and advanced actions, list of full-round and half-actions.

Illumination chart.  mocvemtn chart.  Test difficulty chart.  Falling damage (???was this commonly used in 2e?)

 

 

Pathfinder RPG GM screen

Far left panel:  7/8ths skill check difficulty suggestions, 1/8th WIND EFFECTS

Left panel: skill check difficulty suggestions

Right panel: Attack roll modifiers, Armor modifiers, combat maneuvers, 2-weapon fighting penalties, concentration checks, CONDITIONS

Far Right Panel: Hardness chart of stuff (half page), Experience for killing people, Treasure values for killing people

 

 

 

 

 

..



#14 GoblynKing

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 01:55 PM

Below is a really bad scan of my Thresholds table, also on my GMs screen. Just quick summaries of all the various Max thresholds that need to be tracked.

 

mHDovg7.png



#15 GoblynKing

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 05:56 AM

Currently I'm working on tidying up many of these tables, removing superfluous language, and including rules/house-rules that I missed the first time around. Then I'll group the tables/charts onto the GM screen panels based on their content...so all Travel/Survival tables will be in one place, all Skill Checks in another, etc.



#16 thejondifool

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 08:45 AM

 I will second the  use of http://www.gitzmansg...-resources.html and have gone specific for the GM screen replacement 1, that i feel is closest to what the FFG GMs screen should have been. It is now taped over my own GM screen. though it is rarely used with the gaming experience the group now have. 

 

besides that I have in a small binder Jay Hafners expanded Equipment list, the living index, some little used character creation help stuff, Hafners campaign house rules stuff ..

 

and most important a homemade table with estimates of the % chances to succeed a dice role with 2-5 skill dice (including reckless and conservative stances) and combined with anything from 0- 3 challenge dice including combination of 1 black. I really do like to have an idea of how likely success of failure is for players - before modifying dice rolls.


Edited by thejondifool, 30 April 2014 - 09:42 AM.





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