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jameswilletts

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About jameswilletts

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  1. Hi, gang, Hopefully starting a cleaner, more specific thread here to find tips and help others. Quite a few folks have been raving about the adversary decks, so can we sound off on some examples of how we can use them? I picked up a couple to tack onto a dice order, and have to say I'm a little bit at a loss, but probably because I'm not much for extra gaming accoutrements. For example, there's only one "Stormtrooper" card in the I&R deck, so I guess it's really to build your scenes and know your NPCs in the mix. The special abilities on the back look pretty useful. My first ideas: GMs laying enemy parties out on the table (names, stats and all for players to see) for art and inspiration. Or maybe slip them part way under the screen or peek them out over the top so stats are hidden? Or just flash them to get the creative juices flowing? Perhaps keep a die with leftover wounds behind the screen (like a d20 for four Stormtroopers). (I use checkboxes on my Evernote doc. for wounds/strain) Laying out friends/allies for PCs to be inspired and put less strain on the GM to keep track. Building decks for specific encounters/sessions. Sorting by native areas (like creatures of Tatooine) to randomize encounters. What about "knight-level" PCs? Any quick tips to add stats on the fly to make things more challenging? Or do you just add more and more minions? @kaosoe : Pinging you here to get your insight. You said adversaries are by far the most useful. Care to share your techniques? Thanks, all. - James ps - Unrelated: sharing a trick I use to track initiative in SW... Get some blue and pink/red post-its (generic square shape), Fold them in half to cover the sticky part, and then in half again to make a "tent". Put players' and allies names both sides. Put numbers or names on your side for the pink ones to represent adversaries. Lay those tents up on your screen or laptop for initiative order and swap around as needed. I just use blue and pink because it's easy to remember lightsaber colors.
  2. Yes to all on the starter set. Yes to all on the FSE thoughts. As per usual, whafrog is right again. What I would personally do in this situation is have a private conversation (lunch, coffee, a walk home, or show up early to a board game night) with the person who is more experienced, the D&D person. Ask their advice. I would be prepared to take and follow at least one piece of advice from this experienced player (to show they are being listened to & regarded/respected). Ideally, that would make that person my new & supportive partner across the gaming table, helping shepherd the newbies. - James
  3. Okay, so spot-on from Alatar1313 in that it most likely chalks up to experience level, which can be just as varied as the players' personalities, as well. And yes, forcing an issue is not a good idea. Telling anyone what you're trying to do probably isn't a good idea, either. Sounds like you just want some new blood in the group. So I say start small. Find a friend of your supposedly helpful alternate gender, then present to the group that you'd like to invite so-and-so out for a game. Also, not committing to epic-length campaigns might help. My game group tries a lot of stuff, so sometimes we only commit to a three-game miniseries. We can also fall back on board game night if whoever's GM'ing the game on-deck could use a break. The point is to get together. Star Wars has become our comeback game. ;-D We are also starting to rotate GM's for different games, which, if anyone in this thread has never tried in their group, you all need to do it, even if just for a few games. I cannot describe to you just how amazing & illuminating this new experiment has been for all of us, and helpful to all of our games. (fwiw, I've been running EotE, and we are discussing a "spinoff," depending on which PC's go to AoR, and one of the PC's from EotE will take over to GM one game, and I will GM the other.) But yes, introducing new players can be like introducing a new house rule or a new technique in your GM'ing. You add it in once or twice as an experiment, then see how it goes. Maybe try the same with adding a new person for a game or two. Shake it up a little, but you can always go back to your comfort zone if it doesn't go as well as you'd like. Then shake it some more, or in a different way. Add another new person, or a different one. Good luck! Let us know how it goes. - James
  4. Honestly, as cool as all these tools are (& I dabbled in a couple), I find that just giving my players something to read takes away from the interactive aspect that brought us to gaming in the first place. What has really been fun is that I write the three paragraphs of the crawl on three note cards, & each game a different player reads off of those cards (& there is always a volunteer). It really brings their heads into the game & also acts as a nice recap for the last session. Their cue to start reading is when I play the opening music, & they always begin with "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." I just wanted to chime in with some alternate thoughts. Devils' Advocate. - James
  5. I'd like to add that which setback & upgrade dice you use definitely affect how you can interpret the situation. If one of the black die you add from taking cover helps push the failure over the edge for the NPC to "miss", then the cover helped, and (as I think whafrog mentioned in another post) the "volley" of laser blasts buffet off the item providing cover, leaving the PC safe. Same with black dice added from defensive weapons (like lightsabers) or ship shields. Someone in another thread advised to add black dice whenever you can, so that all those talents that remove a black die seem more justified. Upgraded dice from, say, the Dodge talent that contribute to the overall failure could be interpreted as a successful dodge, and not a "miss" on the part of the NPC. Is the NPC a bad shot, or is the player just that slippery? And yes, destiny. "I don't know how, but we got into the door just in time to avoid that blaster."
  6. Like lupex, I use stickies (post-its), except I fold them in half and in half again to fold over the screen. Pink = bad lightsabers = NPC's, blue = good lightsabers = PC's. Since it's a four-"page" screen, it's easy for me to keep track of who had how many successes & advantages on their initiative roll. Text documents & scratch paper work, too. It's funny, I had a prison break scenario last night, and they flipped the switch, letting everyone out (cue total chaos, a la one of my favorite movies I'm reticent to spoil here....). I needed to allow some random NPC's into the fray. Although I fully support the method of having everyone roll initiative & give everyone a turn, I still needed to inject a rabid Wookiee. Plopping him in on the initiative order seemed to work great.
  7. Thanks for starting this. One of the players anonymously requested ghosts in the story, but I've been trying to figure out a way to bring it into the Star Wars setting without making an enormous departure from canon. Thanks for the tips, all!
  8. Right on, gang! Cool thread. whafrog: Thanks for the dropbox links! Good stuff. I also agree that the three-clue rule is a must-read. It totally changed my outlook on GM'ing. Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Session Prep was one of my favorites, too. It helped me tweak my notes and, most importantly, analyze my notes to learn what I really, really need in my notes. (Chief among those is a quick list of stats and a bunch of wound boxes in the night's Evernote document, strangely enough.) I also agree to check with your players. Okay, this link might be useless as a download, but I made a copy of a survey I sent out to my players before we even started... Here's a link to the Google Drive of the actual survey (as opposed to the results). The comments section was my best addition. Someone really just wanted "a gunfight on a speeder", so I found a way to work it in. We get through about three or four scenes in one game night, so it definitely helped me fill out a significant chunk of that particular night. Star Wars Survey *(Edit: Phooey. I just tested this link. In order to see all the questions, you have to complete each page. Feel free to fill out the survey. It's a copy & won't go into my players' responses.) In coming up with ideas, I bought all three of the 100 Adventure Seeds books, as well as Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPC's. Not surprisingly, the 100 Sci-Fi Adventure Seeds was the most useful. My crutch is that if the players think of something, I use that as an excuse to avoid it. I will experiment with whafrog's idea of actually using what my player's think might happen. I'm too fixated on surprising them that I forget that maybe they (like most people) like to be right at least once in a while. Which brings me to my final point: Experiment!! See how they like a gunfight on a speeder, or a prison break, or banter with a pirate captain, or anything crazy or tame that your mind can come up with. It only needs to carry you through the next session. Like all the other GM's here, my players derail me all the time, even on the pre-packaged scenarios. That's why I have to come up with the night's game each week, using the clues they've given me, instead of a giant story & sticking to it. Divide your notes into scenes/encounters, and you'll quickly learn how many scenes/encounters you need to set up for the night, limiting your focus to what is absolutely necessary each gaming session & saving yourself a lot of work that could potentially be derailed. In my notes, however (because we're drawing to a close on "Season 2" of our campaign) I now have a few key elements that I must wrap up before the season's close. I am now using that to draw ideas from for my nights, or "episodes". I'd like to wrap in six more games, and, even though I don't have enough material for six more games, I just know that my players will give me more to work with between now & then. I'm wondering if I should pack up my notes for a session in a post a file as an example. If anyone wants to see or start a thread where we post 'em, let me know & I'll contribute. - James
  9. Amen. Even showing pictures out of the Monster Manual was no good for people who knew the game. whafrog: You show your dice results to your players when you roll? I keep the hard dice on the table and use the app on my phone for NPC's. I'll let them decide for threat if I roll some, sometimes. - James
  10. Kshatriya, you took the words right out of my typing fingers while I was posting a response.... Good topic, and a very interesting question. I'd never considered using a dark side point to initiate a GM-induced case of bad luck, but rather thought it was our prerogative to introduce challenges and scenarios like the water tower. I have only been using dark side points to upgrade difficulties in a narrative sense to try and "steer" my players from using a method that would seriously disable the plot, --oh, they are crafty ones!-- because (and please please correct me if I'm mistaken) other than via talents and on the fear table, dark side points seem to be the only way to bring in the red dice and get me a despair when I'd like that option. However, I have made it a point to lie in my proverbial bed once it is made. If a player asks, "Hey, is there a [insert crafty solution] nearby?" and I say yes, then I make it a point to honor my answer. Case in point: A bounty hunter had cornered my players at a Toydarian market, and was implementing his flame thrower. One player asked, "Is there anything flammable around? Like, is someone selling hats or clothing of some sort from a merchant stand within arms reach?" I know how this player loves stuff like this, and was sure that he would come up with something interesting, so I said, sure, there's a Toydarian selling scarves. He knocked the stand in the way, engulfing it in flames and providing smoke & cover for them to escape. Now, should I have made them use a destiny point? I'm not sure. In Iron Kingdoms, there is a special maneuver where you use your environment in such a way, and it requires the use of what they call a "Hero Point". I tend to follow the "rule of cool", where if it makes for an exciting story to tell later ("Hey, remember the time when...."), then I allow it. That's what makes gaming fun. It's the movie you saw that no one will ever understand if they weren't there. In retrospect, however, I probably should've had him make some kind of easy or average athletics check, using threats & advantages to juice up the encounter. In response to your question, I would have perhaps upgraded the previous roll (maybe piloting?) to give some red, risking a despair, which would make them crash. Perhaps extra threats via some setback & difficulty die would have provided enough of a risk to require a piloting roll to avoid the tower. My two cents. Nice thread.
  11. jameswilletts

    New GM.

    Perhaps I should report, as well. I started as the GM for the beta, which was an open game at our local gaming store, during which I strung a lot of little adventures from 100 Sci-Fi Adventure Seeds that somehow (I would say miraculously) tied themselves together for a nice showdown & wrap-up at the end. In what I call "Season 2", I ran "Debts to Pay" after the party recovered and began the campaign proper. Until I figure out the cool, spoiler button, let's just say the villains got away and are a major part of the arc I started back in Season 1. It was a nice addition, especially considering the key player for the major arc in Season 1 moved away. Then, as a break, I ran "Trouble Brewing". At the beginning were still some minor arcs left over from a special mineral they encountered that is potentially valuable, so a couple of lightsaber bodies here & there, as well as some other NPC's with vendettas against them for some of their double-crossings from Season 1, but otherwise "by-the-book". Strangely enough, the only elements that have stayed interesting to the players are the minor arcs I interspersed during the scenario/adventure. I mostly tested the pre-packaged scenarios to learn some more skill applications and common dice-rolls (or at least what the developers thought to be useful), but it ended up introducing so many factions after my rat-bastard players (and I say that with the utmost joy) that I am honestly having a hard time deciding who to throw at them each game. Maybe a Legion of Doom is in order. But at this point, I have about six games left to tie all of my loose ends up, or at least a couple... I am going to call a vote on the players soon once Age of Rebellion comes out proper as to if they want to remain in this theme or pick up as an AoR group. The Sith-related shenanigans will probably carry over to AoR. One thing that this thread made me think of was how much more I'd like to incorporate my players' obligations into the story. I suppose I'm doing okay, but I could definitely throw the obligation in a lot more.
  12. jameswilletts

    New GM.

    Count yourself lucky that you've got players that respect those GM/Player boundaries in reading. And thanks for starting this thread. I really enjoyed thumbing through the other sourcebooks in the store, but haven't decided which ones are best; it's nice to get others' opinions!
  13. I am Evernote all the way. Someone who is strictly pen & paper started this thread, but a couple of people posted their electronic tools, as well.... http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/98069-advice-for-organizing/
  14. Our doctor is brilliant (albeit a Booster Blue junky) in administering Stim Packs, adding attributes by cooking up various "serums", starting his own research projects, and--even though he has no computers skill-- using his high intelligence to work the computers a lot and documenting a lot of things on his datapad. I agree with Progressions' approach: If you can't bring a player into the fold with their skills in certain combats (and for some reason, I have very little space combat in our game; they always seem to find a way to avoid it), then bring them in with the plot points. He is the Politico, after all, so maybe he's a contact for the more above-the-radar channels. But yeah, seven people is a lot. I ran an open game for the beta at our local store with NINE players. Beta + Nine Players = I'm never doing that again. We got down to five players for season 2 & it's manageable, meow. Adding a sixth (as much as I adore the player) made a marked difference. I think splitting the party and running two separate games is worth it, if you can work it in.
  15. Ah, sheet protectors! Brilliant! I wonder if dry-erase markers would work on those. Yes, run off of the core at first. (I tend to dislike supplements as a knee-jerk reaction, but the ones I've seen for this system look pretty darned useful.) And an iPod.... Hm... I say maybe avoid technology if you're not super-comfortable with it. Go with what you know. Things I need for my games (and I keep them in Evernote, but you can easily just make a one- or two-sheet guide: The Crawl: Three paragraphs, one paragraph per index card, handed to a player to read while I play the theme music. Scene Breakdowns: key setting descriptions, important dialogue, "Things to Cover", important rules systems (cheat sheets for things like chase rules, social roll rules, etc., & maybe a page reference, if it comes to that), difficulties for certain rolls to move forward. Stats: Per character or ship. I have abilities, skills, talents, and then weapons. Just above a list of checkboxes for wounds I write the soak (I used to be really bad about forgetting soak on my NPC's), and then checkboxes for strain for nemeses. Any talents I can't memorize I have a shorthand for the rules system. Multiple minions get multiple rows of checkboxes with slashes to divide the group (as per minion rules). Maps are totally optional. I downloaded the Alcatraz map & printed it for the Prison Break scenario I'm about to run. Some GM's say they're totally unnecessary in this system. I also have two manilla folders. One marked "Player's" that has their sheets, the ship/group sheet, and a list of non-combat ship actions (Big-ups to whafrog!). The other folder is marked "GM", which has my key NPC "teams" (factions), an envelope with dream sequences & hallucinations I've used with the players, & any maps that I use (No, the players don't see them; they have to draw their own). I also have a scratch pad to take brief notes on during my game of little things the players do or rules I make up on the fly. All of their little projects are on there, too. "I want to study the creature's DNA in my lab", etc.. Stuff I need to remember or look into; personal agendas for the players. I also mentioned this in another thread: I have a set of blue & pink post-its, folded in half and in half again to crease & drape over the GM screen, keeping track of player (blue lightsaber) and enemy (pink lightsaber) initiative slots. Before the GM screen came out, I made my own with printouts for players on their side, and GM stuff on my side. I think I'll take a page out of whafrog, RebelScum, and Liloki's proverbial books and put Post-its or rules bites on the players' side of the screen. In between games: The other thing that is becoming very valuable to me now that we are 15 games deep into what may be a 21-game "season"... A separate document containing my "overarching elements" and "things to wrap up." I am also using the three-clue rule that someone linked to in another post to keep track and make sure I'm dropping enough hints. So now that you've read my novel, here's some more. Phil V's book is amazing. A great resource: http://www.enginepublishing.com/never-unprepared-the-complete-game-masters-guide-to-session-prep The Three-Clue Rule: A great article http://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/1118/roleplaying-games/three-clue-rule And you might find some good stuff on Gnome Stew. http://www.gnomestew.com/ I also found some yummies in the DM Experience: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Archive.aspx?category=all&subcategory=dmexperience Just remember to have fun. My favorite thing about gaming is that I can roll like **** and it doesn't affect my paycheck, health, or family. Go with what you know, and you will try new things as soon as you are comfortable. Don't be afraid to screw up once in a while. Lord knows I have.
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