Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Lady Kataline Jianwei

First time GM question

41 posts in this topic

Hi guys. The gaming group I'm in has this little tradition where everyone in it has GM at least once even if it was just a premade that they ran. Now my sister and I have been in the group for 3 years now and neither of us have GM nor been asked to. The reason is because we started playing Pen and Paper RPGs in college where as everyone else in our group started out when they were teens.

 

Still, with 3 years of play experience I think I can bumble my way through a written adventure. So my question to you guys is which is easier/more manageable to GM for a newbie; Lure of the Expanse or The Frozen Reaches of the Warpstorm Trilogy?

 

In both cases I plan on having the party be agents of our existing RT campaign, just to explain why they have X amount of resources available to them and why they aren't at level 1.

 

I say which of those two because no one in our group has ever run those so it would be new and hopefully fun for all. Thanks in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would vote for Lure of the Expanse. i quite like Frozen Reaches, but Lure of the Expanse is just such a well constructed adventure, with lots of fun characters and hooks for your characters to look into.

 

The problem with both adventures is they probably won't be done-in-one, and Lure of the Expanse tends to go on for awhile, though it'll be easy enough to stop at various points during it.

 

For a first adventure with people who are agents of a Rogue Trader, have you done the Egaria Omega dig from Edge of the Abyss?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the current game that I am the RT in, we did the Maw from the Core book immediately followed by Edge of the Abyss adventure. We even managed to convince Selene Zpha to come be our colonial governess of our first colony. She spent a good while sifting through archeotech and xenotech (eldar).

 

I also had a chat with my gaming group and it turns out that LotE is coming up for us so I'll steer clear of that and look at Frozen Reaches instead. Once I figure out roll20 that is. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a first-time GM, I'd heartily recommend the Yu'Vath adventures, unless your players have seen them, of course.  They mesh well with darkity-dark and also go hand-in-hand with Edge of the Abyss.

 

But, if you're going with either Lure of the Expanse or Frozen Reaches, I'd go Frozen Reaches.  Lure of the Expanse is practically a campaign module.  You have a minimum 6 adventures, and a maximum 9.  Frozen Reaches has politics, intrigue, treason, war...and it's a great story.  Lure of the Expanse is quite the railroad ride.  The only problem with Frozen Reaches is that some of its astrophysics are just downright stupid, but that's easily fixed, and the fixes even make for a better story.

 

Also, there's a substantive reward from Frozen Reaches.  Lure will leave your players quite frustrated after the railroad trip, unless you let them have the battleship, in which case the next GM will be frustrated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frozen Reaches is an awesome story.

 

Only really 2 problems with it.

1) The astrophysics are (as mentioened) messed up, but since they aren't important, just scenery, it's easy to fix.

2) The awesome mass battle system was written specifically for that book and not used anywhere else. So players may be disappointed if they try to do large scale battles again, and expect to use that simple system.

 

Don't bother with the rest of the Warp Storm series - nowhere near as interesting.

Nameless2all and Iku Rex like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Incase something happens, and you can't GM the two you mentioned, there are also adventures from the FFG Support Forum.  They are:

 

Fall from Grace
A Throne Forged of Iron
The Glass Key

 

Introduction Adventures

Forsaken Bounty

Dark Frontier

 

And an add on to Lure of the Expanse

Traitor's Nexus

 

 

Back on Topic

I've GMed Lure of the Expanse, and it was a blast.  Like other people mentioned though, the PC's can easily be distracted by the side adventures (or making their own side adventures).  The key is to remind them of the "big prize" at the end and it's a race to get their first.  Having the various NPC's RT's show up around the same time the PC's do, surprises/mementoes/fresh dead bodies being left, and/or vox hails/astropath messages being transmitted in their vicinity gets the point across with little fuss. 

 

Haven't ran Frozen Reaches, but from what I've read on the various posts on it, it appears to be a much more streamlined and rewarding adventure.  Less major distractions.  I do believe for a beginning GM this would be the easier adventure for you or your sister.  You only have to worry about one major adventure in FR, instead of 6-10+ minor adventures (which could turn into MAJOR ones because of PC's having fun) from LotE.

 

SoI and NP didn't come out till after these adventures, so times of warp travel and movements in system changes slightly (or possibly drastically if using NP, which I don't own so can't truly comment).  So, once again Frozen Reaches would be easier in this aspect as you are only going to and from one destination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, we enjoyed The Frozen Reaches so much we tried to recreate it on Vaporious with bloodier results. It really is a well done adventure and introduces very classic 40k elements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's another problem with Lure...miloslav engines.  If you run your ships at the speed of plot then no worries, as long as your players are okay with that.  If you use actual travel times then absolutely nothing happens the way the adventure suggests it might because your party will already have been there first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got around that by justifying that the other Rogue Traders had been active in the Expanse for longer, and had warp-routes that went further, faster. But yeah, per RAW, players with a miloslav or a runecaster will just butcher races through the Warp.

Nameless2all likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got around that by justifying that the other Rogue Traders had been active in the Expanse for longer, and had warp-routes that went further, faster. But yeah, per RAW, players with a miloslav or a runecaster will just butcher races through the Warp.

That is a splendid idea!!!  Makes complete sense too.  Not all warp routes to a location would be the same (especially in the Expanse), and the ones the NPC's know could get them there faster.  Consider your idea stolen.  :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had three options. Remove the other Rogue Traders as opposition after the first third of the adventure, rebuild their ships to be equivalent to the players and tacitly approve of the PCs ship design (Seriously, if they see that I do something after they do they never change it. They had the same ship layout for four campaigns in a row.) or make the players sweat. They were still able to get to the locations ahead of the other crews in most cases, but their confusion about how they kept catching up was delicious.

 

Now, once they completed the endeavour, their first mission was to find out just how the hell that happened. Which included acquiring Krawkin Feckward's warp-gravity slingshot, trading Lady Sun-Lee's webway key back to the Eldar in return for Rangers calling off their guerilla campaign against the Dynasty, and the whole thing with Jeremiah Blitz and the space-turtles, though nobody's sure whether he was being honest about that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that Lure of the Expanse explicitly says there are other waystations out there not described, the other Rogue Traders could just have found some other waystations that allow them to extrapolate the end position.

 

And then of course if your players are like mine, they won't be able to resist gloating about how awesome everything is going for them. That's a great way to make every other Rogue Trader team up, pool their information and try to stop them. No one likes another Rogue Trader who's doing TOO well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be honest it's not an easy game to start in, RT in general I mean. For what it's worth stick with the Egarian **** and rival RTs to start with, maybe throw a few Rak'Gol in. The starter in the back of the core rulebook isn't a bad way to start but **** me if you're starting out from nothing I'd just find ways to ditch everything starship in favor of PC vs NPC infantry combat, get everyone aquanted with that game before you crowbar in the other one.

 

That and figure out in advance what sort of characters everyone wants to plat and then write some sort of overarcing story setup that brings them together and ties them to a common objective, because of the nature of this game the threat of stalling at the gate because of differing visions is ever present.

 

I haven't GMd any other system so I don't know of it's unique but **** me if running RT doesn't make me feel like I've gotta be some kind of Hari Seldon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I decided on Fall from Grace as the adventure to run and have mastered enough of Roll20 to pull this off. Hopefully we will play this weekend.

 

The adventure is modified as there is no RT and the command crew is made up of the following: Eldar, Tau, Kroot, Ork and a stressed out Human Senechal who has to baby sit sanctioned xenos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I decided on Fall from Grace.

Ran that one too. Also a blast. I decided to download several pictures of estates and mansions (sci-fi and not), with a few dusty hamlets, and created some random important NPCs. Even had two RTs show up. A Admech one (who was actually a heretic that the pcs unknowingly assisted), and slave trader one that tried to assassinate them with gun cutter strafes. I did all this before KB came out, so all my canibal adversaries were more like Reavers from Firefly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I ran my first session last night. For a talky heavy session I think I did alright. I had written out a rather nice word document of notes and found that within 30 minutes I couldn't use half of what I had written and had to rewrite on the fly the other half.

 

Still it was fun. The Senechal kept flubbing his rolls so the brave xenos has to rely on the Ork to scare information out of people. They also managed to get some exclusive contracts with some of the groups on Footfall, though they aimed more to hinder their opposition than get actual backing. And the Tau got the bright idea to fire up a mob to attack one of their competitors ships. The flaw in this plan was relying on the Senechal. They did okay, amassing a mob and fanning their anger. Only they lost control of it and it randomly attacked another RT, not the one they had been targeting.

 

And with that they left Footfall and made it to the Grace System where I called the session.

Nameless2all, Tenebrae and Erathia like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I ran my first session last night. For a talky heavy session I think I did alright. I had written out a rather nice word document of notes and found that within 30 minutes I couldn't use half of what I had written and had to rewrite on the fly the other half.

 

Wow that went so much better for you than any session I have ever run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I might make a suggestion...and this is assuming you spent a lot of time writing up that word document...

 

I've gone the same way many times in the past, usually with the same results.  Now, instead of spending my time writing detailed notes of what will probably not happen, I simply make an outline of possible events and flesh them out on the fly.

 

I use all that time I saved to make a powerpoint and load a bunch of photos, pictures, sketches, etc., onto it to show the players things they see on their adventures.  I make a playlist of atmosphere music and have it ready.  Then I make short cheat sheets and put them in their character folders before each session.

 

They leave their folders with me between each session and take home a back-up character sheet and their personal notes to play with during downtime.

 

I mean, if you're going to spend a lot of time with preparations, at least make it something they will remember.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I might make a suggestion...and this is assuming you spent a lot of time writing up that word document...

 

I've gone the same way many times in the past, usually with the same results.  Now, instead of spending my time writing detailed notes of what will probably not happen, I simply make an outline of possible events and flesh them out on the fly.

 

I use all that time I saved to make a powerpoint and load a bunch of photos, pictures, sketches, etc., onto it to show the players things they see on their adventures.  I make a playlist of atmosphere music and have it ready.  Then I make short cheat sheets and put them in their character folders before each session.

 

They leave their folders with me between each session and take home a back-up character sheet and their personal notes to play with during downtime.

 

I mean, if you're going to spend a lot of time with preparations, at least make it something they will remember.

 

Well I think I over prepared and should have known better than to expect the guys to stay on script. Especially a script they haven't seen. I did quickly just fall back to a broad outline of the mission and was able to use some of my prewritten stuff so I could just copy and paste. I only spent about 2 days writing up notes and 2 days working with Roll20 to do maps in my spare time. All in all fun was had by all.

 

I leave you with proof that prewriting something out does not make you immune to a terrible mistake. 

 

"Grace is a cursed place, struck down by the EmpeGrace is a cursed place, struck down by the Emperor himself. All that live on it are lost souls who love off the flesh of the dead." (I'll let your figure out what is wrong in the second sentence.)

 

Also the Durians are looking to recolonize Grace. (I meant Drusians.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I write stuff for our GM, which seems a bit weird, but they're generic plots and twists and so on which he uses as fodder and puts his own twists on them. See our recent "time travel adventure". 

 

Rogue Trader's a very narrative-focused game. Much more so than others in the same genre, even though it's a truism that no plan survives first contact with a player group. 

 

I think you did very well! My own attempt at GMing in our campaign showed just how creative my group can be and my own ongoing GMing will slowly induce insanity in me, I'm sure. Thankfully, my sub-group of players are interested in the written adventures so don't mind the railroading it presents. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely understood where you were coming from Lady Kataline.  No need to further qualify.  I've done the same thing myself, many times.

 

I was just trying to let you know what kind of preparations have worked better for me than the scripts.  The scripts just don't work for me.  No matter how many different deviations I prepare for, my players find yet another path.

 

But preparation time can still be very fruitful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0