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New Gm looking for a little mentoring and sanity check


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#1 Domino25

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:50 AM

Hi Experienced GMs,

I just took over the role of GM for my group and I'm pretty enthusiastic but it's a big challenge to get started. Just the organization of all these cards, standups and tokens alone is a massive time sink. I was reading an article for new GMs/DMs and it suggested I try to find an experienced GM to run ideas against. The obvious tact would be to post them on the forums but I'd rather keep them in private messages if only to prevent a surprise from being leaked. So while I know there's plenty of prep work for your own games, would anyone be willing to give me some advice, if only terse: "Don't do that much at once" or "Warhammer zombies don't usually work like that".

 

Thanks!

Domino



#2 Emirikol

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:16 AM

Domino25 said:

Hi Experienced GMs,

I just took over the role of GM for my group and I'm pretty enthusiastic but it's a big challenge to get started. Just the organization of all these cards, standups and tokens alone is a massive time sink. I was reading an article for new GMs/DMs and it suggested I try to find an experienced GM to run ideas against. The obvious tact would be to post them on the forums but I'd rather keep them in private messages if only to prevent a surprise from being leaked. So while I know there's plenty of prep work for your own games, would anyone be willing to give me some advice, if only terse: "Don't do that much at once" or "Warhammer zombies don't usually work like that"

Domino

 

Domino,

 

First, welcome to the game.  Remember that you're not going to use 98% of those cards and that it runs just like any other RPG.  Run  a story and don't get too hung up on the rules.

 

Second, if you have specific plot questions, you can email me at gmail.com.    (hafner.jay)  --  hiding from the spam bots :)

 

Lastly, the prep work for the game isn't any different from any other.  If you've got the Core set, use the monsters out of the back of it.

I always read the scenario, scribble a PLAYERS map, give the players a list of the NPCs that they know once they get to the Manor and go with it.

 

Anyways, email me for specifics.

 

Jay



#3 gruntl

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:10 PM

Welcome to the dark side! 

First thing you should have in mind as a new GM is to take it slow. Don't go for the most advanced options in the beginning. The first scenario you run should be something pretty simple. Just a few story mode checks and then a simple combat encounter. Use only one type of enemies, normal monsters without any special actions (and no spellcasters). The first scenario could be as "railroad" (not sure you're familiar with the term, but it essentially means that the GM has a set idea on how the story will go, with little to none opportunities for the players to change the major plot) as you want. If you're playing with others who are experienced roleplayers, discuss this before so that you don't have to deal with players wanting to head off in directions you haven't planned for. The players should be ok with this to let you as GM learn the system.

Then, after a session or two you can start to add the more complicated stuff. List of advice, in no particular order:

- Make preparations for different choices made by the players. You can't cover everything they may come up with, but if you have 3 different prepared paths for each major decision (and ways to get sidetracks joined with the main story) you'll probably be fine.
- Before each session, sort out what creatures, actions, event tracks, and locations you need. Also try to set aside stuff for unexpected decisions by the players.
- Make enemies stand out, by givving them different characteristics and special actions.
- Use the ACE pool as you see fit. Not using it at all means the players will have a quite easy time. But you may also elect not to use it all if you misjudged the challenge posed to the players or if they are unlucky and you feel they deserve a break.
- Try and make up a list of stuff that can happen when the players or NPCs roll boons/banes, comets/chaos stars. It will come in handy during play if you feel  uncreative when the roll is resolved. 
- Add fortune to the party fortune pool often. Whenever you feel the players (or you) did something fun, memorable or well roleplayed add one fortune. It doesn't matter if the actions was a failure or success or whether it was stupid or smart.
- Try and make combat encounters a bit more exciting. Work with multiple types of enemies, add nice location effects (doesn't have to be on a card), use waves of monsters combined with Rally phases. Try and make combats last a longer than a few turns by using ACE defensively or by having NPC use defensive actions (Guarded position and active defenses).
- Use the event track to play track success of players in complicated story mode situations. Perhaps they need to find a beggar in the slum before the main villain, then have an event track that moves ahead a step if they succeed on a skill check and track the villain's progress on the same track.
- If you feel you have too much things to track, quit tracking recharge for your NPCs, just let them use actions as you see fit. This requires players who trust you to do the right thing though.
- Use insanities and diseases to get combat focused PCs worried.
- Challenge the PCs in areas of expertise where they don't shine. Get the players to see the fun in failure and how it drives the story ;)
- And well, most importantly, make sure to have fun together!

After another 5-10 sessions you may want to start using even more advanced concepts:

- Let the players move the story. Don't say no, just let them try and see where the story goes. This requires some ability to make up stuff on the spot, but is really fun if you can pull it off. The WFRP3e system is very well suited for this in my opinion.
- Make advanced encounters, for example social encounters where the players can use social actions in encounter mode. Make encounters that are a mixture of event tracking and combat.
- Make your own actions, locations for your NPCs.
- Start using house rules for things that you think need them.



#4 Roland the Red

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:00 PM

Looking for a sanity check in Warhammer? Dangerous territory my friend….sanity is in short supply here :-P

 



#5 Angelic Despot

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:37 AM

Echoing earlier advice (and having run a test game myself recently) I would pick a few basic careers for the players to choose from (no magic, really weird characters with pets, etc.), select basic career cards for the players and then a pool of only 5 of 6 others so that they can each pick one more.   And then clear the rest of the cards out of the way.   Learn the rules with a stripped-down set of options.   Once you understand them, you can add everything else in as and when you feel comfortable (which I think will happen quite quickly, when you know the core mechanics).



#6 OctoLux

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:48 AM

also, you can use gitzmans character sheet, which has a summary of all the basic actions and more stuff in one place… saves on the stuff to handle.

If you are not using disease, shame, mutation etc. just ignore them.

I would alos forgo the "Party " sheet at first until the party has formed… unless they all knew each other well before the adventure.

also at gitzman there is a nice condensation of the rules (called GM Screen Replacement)

That should set up nicely.

As for the rest.

Don't fret. They (the players) will turn your scenario upside-down no matter what you think they will do.

So, take it as a lesson in chaos management and improvising to avert a total break down of society, skills you need in RL even more.

 

Cheers and welcome to the Sanatorium <insert manical laughter here>

Olaf



#7 Domino25

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:22 AM

Thanks everyone for the tips, and thanks Jay for looking over what I had planned.

 

A little more background, this is my first time as GM/DM for any RPG, and last year was my first time playing a tabletop game in general. So part of my tenitiveness here is because I don't have much to draw on yet. I played with the group through the Gathering Storm, and then offered to swap with the GM at the time so he could try as a player.  Which nobody knew was coming until the dramatic eexcution of my player character :) 

I'm already running disease, and corruption rules and it may have been a bad idea but they're heading to the Enemy Within which might not be the simplest starting campaign.

There is one thing I'm trying to figure out, and Gruntl recommended making combats with social checks as well. This hits the nail on the head because I have a barber-surgeon who avoids violence because of his beliefs. This player suffers through combats and I could use some tips or ideas on how to make a combat encounter that doesn't degrade into only violence.



#8 Angelic Despot

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 05:42 AM

Domino25 said:

I'm already running disease, and corruption rules and it may have been a bad idea but they're heading to the Enemy Within which might not be the simplest starting campaign.

I think actually TEW is a good campaign to start with.   There is plenty of stuff in the book to help you drive the story, so if you're short of ideas, there are lots of hints and examples.   A lot of it set in human cities, and with fairly mundane combatants, so you don't need to get a handle on all sorts of wierd rules and creatures.   There is a lot of GM advice in the book - on which bits are important and need to be emphasised, on how to recover if players do something you weren't expecting or figure things out too quickly, and on how you can spood feed them clues if you need to.   It is also designed with staring characters in mind, so the tone of the campaign I think will be very appropriate to a starting group.

You won't have to worry about ending the campaign too quickly, and then not knowing what to do next.

And it has a comparatively large amount of setting info that will help you create characters with built in plot hooks and relationships with other characters and the story.






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