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First time RPG player and GM seeking advice


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#1 redbaron998

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 10:49 AM

Hey everyone, I admit I am a bit over my head here.

I am trying to get a Deathwatch started at my local store, noone has any GM Experince and pretty much no RPG experince so we are flying blind here. We are going to try an introduction game this Friday where we will get toghether some folks off the cuff and explain the rules. We are going to use the Extration mission from the Core rulebook and the sample characters for Final Sanction.

My question is this? I feel like I am missing something here. I (as the GM) need to have the Character sheets there but what else should I have? I will have the map from the Core Rulebook there but am I suppose to have like Grid paper ready? How do I represent the battles to the group? I know these are elementary questions but I just want to make sure that I give a good game. Any help is appreciated.

 

Thanks



#2 Charmander

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 11:33 AM

redbaron998 said:

Hey everyone, I admit I am a bit over my head here.

I am trying to get a Deathwatch started at my local store, noone has any GM Experince and pretty much no RPG experince so we are flying blind here. We are going to try an introduction game this Friday where we will get toghether some folks off the cuff and explain the rules. We are going to use the Extration mission from the Core rulebook and the sample characters for Final Sanction.

My question is this? I feel like I am missing something here. I (as the GM) need to have the Character sheets there but what else should I have? I will have the map from the Core Rulebook there but am I suppose to have like Grid paper ready? How do I represent the battles to the group? I know these are elementary questions but I just want to make sure that I give a good game. Any help is appreciated.

 

Thanks

The core book gives some good suggestions in the intro portions of the book.  Each player needs their character sheets, pencils/pens, dice, scratch paper, and of course you'll need the rulebooks.  You can use a whiteboard to draw out where people are and what they're doing, or you can purchase a 'battle mat' at your local game store and some special markers for it and draw the action there.  If you don't have anything like that you can always do the less fancy route and simply sketch it out on paper and let people see what you've drawn, and indicate on the sketch where they want to go.  Some groups rely on description alone.

Personally I only give players maps and handouts if they'd have access to them- I try to avoid giving them maps from books and adventures because those reveal areas of interest, secrets, enemy dispositions, and the like.  If they'd have a map that is missing those elements, I'll make a copy from the book to hand to them. 

I have access to a whiteboard so I sketch out the area and the players give general descriptions of where they're going and what they're doing using the map.  It's not precise, but for us it flows better than a super detailed grid with models.  I am also a big fan of game shields- both for the reference, as well as for keeping my notes and my dice hidden from my players.

How to represent the battles?  The same way that you would represent everything elsein the game- be as descriptive when explaining what the characters face and the result of their actions.  Experiment with it, get feedback from the group on what they liked and didn't and try to see if you can incorporate the group's feedback into your next session.

Good luck and have fun.



#3 Adeptus-B

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 03:25 PM

My standard advice to new GMs is to be prepared to improvise. While a mission may seem pretty straight-foward to you with your gods-eye view, there is no telling what direction your players will choose to go. It's always a good idea to have some extra maps of 'generic' locations and a variety of NPC stats handy to drop in when your players take a wrong turn. Even something as simple as keeping a list of NPC names handy can be invaluable when you are forced to improvise.

Also, when designing scenarois, try to avoid the trap of having success or failure come down to a single dice-roll. If you have written up an elaborate mystery with clever clues, and the climactic clue requires a Challenging Search test or the mission dead-ends right there, you can count on the capricious Gods of Fate to sabotage the dice at the worst possible time…

As far as representing combat, there are two schools: Narative (i.e. relying purely on verbal descriptions of who is where and what is happening) and Miniature-based (setting up figures on 3-d terrain, a pre-made battlemat, or a wet-erase board with details drawn in by hand). Neither one is 'right' or 'wrong'; both systems have their own inherent advantages and disadvantages. Which one you will prefer largely depends on if you already collect minis and wargame terrain.



#4 The Russian

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 05:32 PM

I would also have a session for the players to create their characters so they can coordinate there. Then I would give them a briefing so they might know kind of what to expect from that mission.



#5 Macharias the Mendicant

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 03:44 AM

Hey RedBaron, welcome to DW!

Also, make sure that you're at least 80% familiar with the general rules for combat (don't worry too much about things like Grapling and Non-lethal combat. Focus on the basics: standard attack, multiple attacks, charge, semi-auto, full-auto, move actions. You can always look up special rules if necessary but these basics should serve you for your first session.) I would also make sure to understand any abilities that the enemies and NPCs will have.

I would also give your players a bit of homework (if possible) before their first session so they understand that they have a responsibility to the game and that not everything falls on the GM's shoulders. Make sure they are familiar with the rules for tests and combat as well. They should read up on the rules for Fate points. Also, they need to read the description for any skill or talent their characters possess so they know what they characters can do. (Basic rule of thumb: if your players aren't familiar with it, then don't introduce it all at once. It makes more sense to learn the foundation first, and add more layers later. Along those lines, I would consider skipping Cohesion and Squad Mode for the first session or two and intorduce it later. I might stick to non-librarians and non-techmarines for the first session or two as these characters tend to involve more rules than 'regular' marines. However, if one of the players really wants to play that Librarian, then make it the player's responsibility to learn the rules applicable to their chosen speciality.)

I would tell you to make sure you've read the adventure from start to finish. Then, take a few minutes to write some notes for yourself about some "What ifs"? (Much like Adeptus-B said, it's unlikely that your characters will get everything 'right'. It's more likely they'll go in at least some unexpected directions. Also, if you and your players are new to RPGs in general then you might want a way to get the adventure 'back on track' if the characters are overwhelmed by the freedom of "So, what do you do now?")

Think about it like this:

  • "What if the PCs don't ask that NPC the right questions and therefore don't get some crucial information they need? Solution: one of the PCs (test INT?) remembers some notes about this in the mission briefing. Or, maybe they find a clue elsewhere - or even another NPC - that reveals more or less the same info?
  • What if the PCs want to go left when they should go right? Solution: they encounter a group of weak enemies. On their bodies they find clues suggesting they should go right. (Or, you just carry on as if they were supposed to go left all along.)

Most important tip: don't take it too seriously and just have fun with it! If your players are new at this and you are too, then everyone should be okay with people making mistakes, things not working out as expected, etc. If you can't find a rule, then make it up until you have a chance to look it up. So long as everybody (GM included) is having fun, and you try to be fair, then you're doing it right.

Let us know how it goes!






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