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Diaries of a Greenhorn GM


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#21 2P51

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 05:03 PM

It's fairly easy to create very lethal characters.  It's also equally easy to be put down by adversaries in the game. You're pretty squishy regardless of xp invested per character.  Every RPG has a point where it becomes obvious the characters are no longer mortals and it's time to consider retirement and a new set.  Fleshing out fully developed characters that don't just make a singular mad dash to max out a stat or feature puts that time off and increases shelf life of characters.


Edited by 2P51, 14 June 2014 - 05:03 PM.

My group's Obsidian Portal campaign site: It's All in the Trigger Squeeze


#22 whafrog

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 05:34 PM

Ok. Now I have another question: How easy is it to create overpowered characters? I know this can be a problem in certain RPGs (I'm looking at you, 3.5).

 

It's not that hard, but then such characters end up being really amazing at their one thing and pretty useless otherwise.  You can make a Wookiee with 5 Brawn right out of the gate, give him a vibroaxe and a few mods, and a couple talents to boost damage and the lethality of criticals...but outside of a fight he'll be frustrating to use and the player will likely be bored.

 

The game is more fun if the players take a more balanced approach, and this game allows for a lot more flexibility of character creation and development than other games I've played.  You're never locked into a class...eg:  you can easily develop a scholar who's also a great shot, or a fighter who has decent computer slicing abilities.

 

I had this sense from many of the new people posting here that after the first initial sessions, after they've thrown off the yoke of thinking in terms of previous games :)  what they really want to do is start fresh with new characters.  So you might want to plan ahead for a campaign switch and make the first one short-lived, maybe 5 sessions or so...enough to be comfortable with the rules, gain some talents and consider dabbling in some other specializations.  This period will also reveal how useful some of the skills are that most D20 players would normally ignore.*  Second time around will result in more flavourful and balanced characters.

 

---------------------------

* eg:  the Brawn 5 Wookiee who invests in Melee and Marauder talents, but has no Discipline, Vigilance, or Cool, and despite being huge, can't Coerce a baby.



#23 themensch

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 06:10 PM

Hey, if your players want to kick some butt, why not indulge them?  There are plenty of stormtroopers to go around.  



#24 Desslok

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 06:11 PM

I had this sense from many of the new people posting here that after the first initial sessions, after they've thrown off the yoke of thinking in terms of previous games :)  what they really want to do is start fresh with new characters.  So you might want to plan ahead for a campaign switch and make the first one short-lived, maybe 5 sessions or so...enough to be comfortable with the rules, gain some talents and consider dabbling in some other specializations.  This period will also reveal how useful some of the skills are that most D20 players would normally ignore.*  Second time around will result in more flavourful and balanced characters.

 

 

Or you could do what our group does. We realize that for the first 5 or 6 games on a new character (or in this case, a new engine) you are still working out the kinks. After you get some time to walk around in their skin, you can go back and change things up. "I don't really see her as a Kung Fu fighter. I'm going to swap my points to melee instead". Basically, the ability to respec your character if things aren't working (or you get new information. When the Colonist book comes out, I'll probably jigger some points around depending on what the new trees are) but you like the character.

 

The whole point of the game is for everyone to have fun. If something is holding you back from that fun, see if the others are willing to let you reshape things to get to that fun.


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#25 ZachAttack

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 06:31 PM

To give you an idea of lethality.

 

My bounty hunter character started the game with a Heavy Blaster Rifle. Most Minions and even a few Rivals will go down in a single hit from even the weakest possible roll.

 

But even though pretty much everything I hit dies(or is almost dead), it wasn't overpowered. I wasn't any harder to hit than they were, and sometimes easier because of how Minion groups work. Strain is the great equalizer, and getting over wound threshold isn't that difficult either.

 

So while a PC will likely drop Minions right and left, even a small group of minions can pose great threat to the player. 3 Gamorreans beat our Wookie unconscious down from full strain, right after he'd been healed completely up from a single Gamorrean cutting him with a Vibroaxe down to 1 away from his wound threshold.

 

A group of 3 minions with ranged(light) 1 and only 2 agility are rolling YYG for shooting. Thats about as good as a PC could ask for starting out.


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#26 New Zombie

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:17 PM

To help your brother, you could grab a white board and place it on the table. I use white board markers to roughly sketch out an abstract map, then use minis to track characters and NPCs. I then describe the distances in an abstract manner, players simply indicate where they want to move to or shoot and I tell them how far it is.


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#27 ZachAttack

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 10:57 PM

I like that idea. Totally stealing it.



#28 Revanchist

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 09:40 AM

Alright. I'm back again. My brother (ever the sceptic) is still unsure about this game. To that end I have some more questions:

1) He wants to know what the classes' closest DnD styl equivalents would be.
2) He wants to know if there is any equivalent to a ranged spellcaster in this game.

I've almost convinced him to join the forum to ask his own questions. Hopefully this will happen soon.
Imperial: 5 TIE/ln, 1 TIE/adv, 5 TIE/in, 1 TIE/sa, 1 Firespray-31, 1 Lambda
Rebel: 3 X-wing, 1 Y-wing, 1 A-wing, 1 B-wing, 1 HWK-290, 1 YT-1300

"History is on the move, Captain. Those who cannot keep up will be left behind, to watch from a distance. And those who stand in our way will not watch at all."

#29 Desslok

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 10:19 AM

I don't know D&D well enough to come up with analogs between the two classes, so I'm no help there - but as far as spellcasting goes, you're limited to the AoR or EotE Jedi. And even that's not a perfect fit - but it's the closest you'll get to it in the system.

 

(Another thought - perhaps describing the careers as pop culture archetypes. Archologist = Indiana Jones, Scholar = Indy's Dad from Last Crusade, Thief = Lupin III, Outlaw Tech = MacGuyver and so on might help)


Edited by Desslok, 18 June 2014 - 10:27 AM.


#30 cvtheoman

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 10:48 AM

The most important tidbit for a new GM (sometimes referred to as Rule Zero) is: this is a GAME meant to let people have FUN.  Every rule, every plot point, every character, every everything should have an aim toward the goal of having a good time with friends and fellow gamers.  If your group all has that mindset, a lot of things get easier. 

 

I highly recommend having what we call a Session Zero, where before you start telling the story and rolling dice, you have a discussion about group expectations and lay some ground rules: what kind of characters do they want to play and how will they work together?  what sort of stories/encounters are you looking for (combat, social, intrigue, space combat, trading/commerce/smuggling, etc.)?  Check out this thread for some good ideas: http://community.fan...-touches-paper/

 

Also, as has been repeated often, this game is about the narrative over the rules.  The Corebook repeated notes that the rules are more like guidelines, and the GM (and the players, to some extent) should use common sense often.  There's also the Rule of Cool: if it sounds awesome, find a way to make it happen, even if you have to bend things a little.  Along that line, as a GM, it's often good to answer your players with a "yes, and..." or "yes, but..." instead of just nixing something.

 

If you have some time, consider perusing some of the below threads, where other new GMs have collected a lot of advice.

http://community.fan...-first-session/

 

http://community.fan...ting-different/

 

http://community.fan...-starting-soon/

 

http://community.fan...irst-time-gmer/

 

Above all, welcome to the GM club!  Have fun, and if run into crazy stuff, know the community is here for you.


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Math is such a tool.


#31 bradknowles

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 11:38 AM

Alright. I'm back again. My brother (ever the sceptic) is still unsure about this game. To that end I have some more questions:

1) He wants to know what the classes' closest DnD styl equivalents would be.
2) He wants to know if there is any equivalent to a ranged spellcaster in this game.

I've almost convinced him to join the forum to ask his own questions. Hopefully this will happen soon.

 

This is Star Wars, not D&D.  If he's not already excited by the likes of Luke, Leia, Han, Ben, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, etc... then he's not likely to have much fun with this game.

 

 

Once he gets past that issue, he needs to explore the Careers and their Specializations.  Hired Gun/Maurauder is great at melee weapon combat, and Hired Gun/Heavy is great at Ranged combat.  But there's also other Hired Gun specializations, and other Careers/specializations that are also good at combat.

 

And this game isn't just about combat -- we have plenty of non-combat skills, talents, Careers, and Specializations, too.

 

 

But ultimately, this game is more about "the narrative", epic storytelling, and having fun.  If he just wants to hack and kill tings and get XP, then this isn't a good game for him.


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Unless stated otherwise, these are just my personal opinions about how I feel things should work.  Even if I quote chapter and verse of a particular rulebook, only the part that's quoted is likely to actually be official.  Each GM will have to decide for themselves what rules they will use and which ones they won't, and how they will interpret the rules they do use.  That is their right -- and their responsibility.

"A FFG Star Wars Index" by Aahzmandius_Karrde: <http://community.fan...ar-wars-index/> | Github project at <https://github.com/k...rde/ffg_swrpg/>

"Dice Probability Generator" by Litheon: http://community.fan...lity-generator/


#32 whafrog

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 12:02 PM

1) He wants to know what the classes' closest DnD styl equivalents would be.
2) He wants to know if there is any equivalent to a ranged spellcaster in this game.

 

Gah!  For real?  Don't waste any more time, just run the beginner game already :)  Definitely do NOT let him create a character beforehand.  Instead he can just grab a pregen he kinda likes and go with it.  All his questions will be answered, and if he doesn't like it, well, it's one game session lost and he can go back to his trolls and fairies.   :P

 

If he does like it (and I think the success rate I've seen so far is about 99%), then he'll know the following:

 

1) this is not D&D, and trying to map SW to D&D is pointless, and hopefully he'll give himself a well-earned smack upside the head

2) yeah, but it's not a class, it's called "using a blaster pistol", and everybody can have one.

 

In addition, he'll have a much better idea of the kind of character he wants to develop.  If you want to continue from the beginner box after the krayt fang is stolen, his new character can be "found" in the back, maybe a former captive of Trex.

 

The beginner box solves eeeeverything.


Edited by whafrog, 18 June 2014 - 12:04 PM.

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#33 Revanchist

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 12:15 PM

Thread necro time!!!!!

Got the CRB and am about 1/3 through reading that. My brother is now hooked and really likes the gaming system that it uses. My plan is to use the Beginner Box, and then after each session help to design the characters for the "real" campaign. Some of the players already have an idea what they want to play as. So far the party consists of:

1) My brother, the face of the group. He is going to be a former Drug Lord who got put out of business by Black Sun and is trying to claw his way back up (or down) the underworld totem pole. He is not sure if he should be a Trader or a Scholar as his spec though. Any suggestions?

2) My mother, who wants to play as she put it "a girl Han Solo." Scoundrel or Pilot it will be.

3) A friend who will probably end up being a Assasin Droid (the one I am worried will become a murderhobo).

I have at least one more player, maybe two who will be playing as well. Are there any classes that I should suggest to these to fill gaps we are deficient in?
Imperial: 5 TIE/ln, 1 TIE/adv, 5 TIE/in, 1 TIE/sa, 1 Firespray-31, 1 Lambda
Rebel: 3 X-wing, 1 Y-wing, 1 A-wing, 1 B-wing, 1 HWK-290, 1 YT-1300

"History is on the move, Captain. Those who cannot keep up will be left behind, to watch from a distance. And those who stand in our way will not watch at all."

#34 2P51

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 12:20 PM

Something techie. Maybe a Dr./medic.


My group's Obsidian Portal campaign site: It's All in the Trigger Squeeze


#35 progressions

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 01:21 PM

I agree with everyone else, grab the Beginner Box and run through it with your group. Really, to get started, that is ALL you need. You don't even need to read it before you start playing. Just sit down with your group and turn to page 1 of the Adventure Book.

 

On Ranges:

 

If you're not using maps, minis or tokens, a good way to keep track of it is to continually describe the ranges in your narration.

 

"You turn the corner and you're confronted by a group of 5 Stormtroopers at Long Range. One of them points at you and shouts 'Halt!'".

 

"Two of the Stormtroopers move forward to Medium Range and take cover behind some crates. The remaining 3 at Long Range duck down behind the corner of a wall and fire at you."

 

"Okay, Lowhrick, you've moved forward to Engaged Range with the group of 2 Stormtroopers, you're now at Short Range from the group of 3. The rest of you are still in cover at Medium from the group of 2 and Long Range from the group of 3."

 

...and so on.

 

It gives you a lot of flexibility to say "There's a shop window here you can dive through to take cover", or "there's a speeder bike parked in an alley that gets shot and explodes". Lots of times the best stuff in this system happens on the spot, without having been planned.

 

On Overpowered Characters:

 

I guess it's possible but it takes a real min-maxer's mindset to do it.

 

As a GM, it's pretty easy to adjust encounter difficulty on the fly, to provide the right kind of challenge for your party. 

 

Is your nemesis getting shot more than you expected? It's easy to add a few more points to their Wound Threshold, or adjust the damage their weapon does, or to create new environmental effects to make it harder or easier on your group.

 

Often with my group I find that I barely need to write down stats for a character. I just need a general idea of their wound threshold, soak, and damage they do. I tend not to create super-detailed Nemeses for the characters, in order to keep the game flowing smoothly.


Our group's EOTE Obsidian Portal: Explorers on the Edge


#36 progressions

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 01:23 PM

For the remainder of the party you described, probably either a Doctor or a Mechanic type character would be useful.

 

If you have a player that would prefer to be a Mechanic, then you might throw a medical droid on their ship to give them the option to heal up in between sessions.


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Our group's EOTE Obsidian Portal: Explorers on the Edge





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