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Dungeonmasteravarice1976

Advice on GM playing a PC as well

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Thinking of starting a EOTE campaign . I've been running a D&D campaign and haven't played as a PC before mainly because I have a large party (6 PC's) and I have my hands full just running the game . But the EOTE game I plan on starting will have fewer players . I plan on having a PC to control for myself . Here's the idea I have so far , any advice would be appreciated .

 

My PC is a Kel Dor that comes from a wealthy family , and has spent a lot of family wealth to go to a university on Corscant to become and Archeologist/Xenologist . Now having become a respected scholar I have started putting together a crew to help me search the Galaxy for Artifacts and historical documents to sell to the museums of Coruscant . I've built my  character around intelligence , cunning , lore, xenology  . I have one player lined up to control a Mandolorian Bodyguard to keep me alive and I basically will be there for information (historical and Xenology wise ) . I plan on having the players make choices on where to go and when . I figure peppering in some Jedi and  Sith artifacts will leave the PC's open to be able to become force sensitives when the Jedi are added to the game .  

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Just some pieces of advice on this, from experience with both running and playing with GM PCs. 

1) Have a strong niche, and stick to it. Make sure that this character is really good at Knowing stuff. Don't even worry about Cunning. Just give him Intellect and maybe a little bit of Agility or Brawn for combat purposes. He should only outshine the PCs when they invite him to do so.

2) Make him open to suggestions from the other players. He needs to be reasonably acquiescent. Perhaps tie this to a motivation. 

3) Make sure he is always friendly to the players and just wants to get along with them. He shouldn't have any rivalries, but rather genuinely love hanging out with the other PCs and sharing his knowledge when asked.

4) One last thing, make sure that he only lays out his knowledge when asked. No one likes a know-it-all anyway, and even worse is the know-it-all NPC that is obviously railroading the party. 

5) Be able to laugh at yourself and your character. In other words, don't take him too seriously. 

 

Playing an actual PC as a GM is very different from controlling NPCs. May the Force be with you!

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Why not just make it an NPC?  You've all but done that already if I read your description right.  

 

As GM, all NPCs are your PCs anyway.  

 

[edit] I should clarify:  I think you're just making things more difficult for yourself unless you intend to rotate GM duties.  When you unchain your NPCs from strict adherence to the point system, you free up your story to be whatever you and your players want.  

Edited by themensch

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Some people may be able to pull it off but the times I have experienced this with D&D it almost always goes poorly. The times I have experienced it as a player, the GM took up way to much of the parties time with the GM character. Several times the GM character would do awesome things and save the day as his henchmen (the other players) just watched. I think doing this removes player agency which weakens a game. 

 

There was an interesting thread where this theme is examined. 

 

http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/106890-collateral-in-star-wars/

 

Just my 2 credits.

 

Ian

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I think it would be difficult to run a TRUE PC and be GM at the same time. You have the inside tract so to speak. You could easily favor your own PC. If you want a character to direct and pull the party together, then just make him an NPC, not your personal character. That path leads to the dark side. Intend it or not your GM PC will could easily end up outshining the Player PCs.

 

In an old D&D campaign I was in as a teenager, the DM had an NPC that was with us from the start. He eventually became a Bard (old school D&D version) and it was obvious this was a character the DM had pre-planned and would have wanted to run if he weren't the DM. The Bard too often was the star of the show. We stopped calling him by his real character name and just called him, "God", instead. We eventually just let him be the star, make decisions, etc. The DM luckily finally got it and made him die a heroic death. As a pun to our nickname for him, the high level character after his death became a quasi-diety servant of a powerful diety. He would show up from time to time to give us lesser beings a new task, advice, etc, then leave for us to have the spot light and fun. That worked. The Bard became a cool addition to the campaign.

 

I would keep your PC an interesting guiding NPC instead.

Edited by Sturn

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You say that your D&D group has six players, but your EotE group will have fewer. You don't say how many though, and that can be a big deal. If you have one or two in your group, then perhaps a permanent GM PC/NPC could work. 

From what you describe it seems that the party revolves around your GM PC. It seems to me that this guy will be the star of the game, and the players are the supporting cast. It is my opinion that this is the exact opposite of what table top gaming should be. I have made this same mistake when I was younger, and realized that I ruined the fun and experience for the rest of the players. If you have three or more players, I would not have a permanent NPC that is part of the group. If you do have a permanent NPC/GM PC, he should a supporting member, filling in gaps in the group. Like maybe he is the ships pilot. So when on the ground, he is on the ship chilling. When on the ship, let another player control and roll for the pilot. For me me as a player, that is the worst feeling in the world sitting there watching the GM PC have all the fun and spotlight doing all the cool things, and my dude is playing third string. It is as just as bad as always having to face super hard challenges just to have the GM NPCs come in o save the day and save us players. My advice is scrap this idea of having a NPC group leader or benefactor, and let the players be center stage. You get to play every other NPC in the game, let the players have their time. 

Good luck with your game.

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Playing PC and GM feels a bit like playing chess against yourself. Much more fun to let the players work stuff out for themselves and try to derail your perfect story arc on their own. Why would you want to play a PC too? What purpose would it serve? What fun woulfd it be to have to play it dumb to avoid obvious railroading?

 

You also mention dropping from 6 players - but to how many? 4 is still perfectly fine for a EotE group - and arguably the sweetspot anyway. As long as there's some balance of roles and skills amongst the party.

 

Edit: Ha! As R2builder says.

Edited by jonamok

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I personally created a character that was my group's contact with a Hutt that I created as well.  I knew going into the first session that none of them had any sort of Medical ability, so I created a Doctor character that worked for said Hutt, was for the most part a pacifist.  She uses a stun gun [nicknamed Anesthesia] and it has been quite fun to use that on said group when medical checks need to be performed.  [strain Recovery is so easy anyway]

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Some people may be able to pull it off but the times I have experienced this with D&D it almost always goes poorly. The times I have experienced it as a player, the GM took up way to much of the parties time with the GM character. Several times the GM character would do awesome things and save the day as his henchmen (the other players) just watched. I think doing this removes player agency which weakens a game. 

 

There was an interesting thread where this theme is examined. 

 

http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/106890-collateral-in-star-wars/

 

Just my 2 credits.

 

Ian

I'm hoping that by making my PC knowledge based , and having hired on all other PC's as full partners will help keep them in the drivers seat . I basically want to play it as the party dictates direction and what they want to do with me as an advisory PC that contributes to battles out out of necessity only . The base formulae to the story is that as a group we are searching for artifacts and relics throughout the galaxy , I won't be dictating what artifacts to go after or where (will be using charts and dice rolls to decide what we find ) , and enemies will be dictated by where they decide to go . Trying to work it in a way where I'll be just as surprised as they are with everything but actual knowledge of artifacts . 

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Playing PC and GM feels a bit like playing chess against yourself. Much more fun to let the players work stuff out for themselves and try to derail your perfect story arc on their own. Why would you want to play a PC too? What purpose would it serve? What fun woulfd it be to have to play it dumb to avoid obvious railroading?

 

You also mention dropping from 6 players - but to how many? 4 is still perfectly fine for a EotE group - and arguably the sweetspot anyway. As long as there's some balance of roles and skills amongst the party.

 

Edit: Ha! As R2builder says.

Party will probably only drop by one or two members . I have charts I've been working on to specifically avoid railroading as far as what encounters , items found ect . I plan on having this be very open to the parties direction if they get going at it and decide to go a different direction than hunting artifacts and relics I'm fine with it . Just wanted to experiment with it as I've never had a PC , I've only been GM . If I have to kill my character off for the greater good of the party I can handle that . I just felt that the narrative format of EOTE would work better for this tryout than D&D's stricter format . 

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Playing PC and GM feels a bit like playing chess against yourself. Much more fun to let the players work stuff out for themselves and try to derail your perfect story arc on their own. Why would you want to play a PC too? What purpose would it serve? What fun woulfd it be to have to play it dumb to avoid obvious railroading?

 

You also mention dropping from 6 players - but to how many? 4 is still perfectly fine for a EotE group - and arguably the sweetspot anyway. As long as there's some balance of roles and skills amongst the party.

 

Edit: Ha! As R2builder says.

Party will probably only drop by one or two members . I have charts I've been working on to specifically avoid railroading as far as what encounters , items found ect . I plan on having this be very open to the parties direction if they get going at it and decide to go a different direction than hunting artifacts and relics I'm fine with it . Just wanted to experiment with it as I've never had a PC , I've only been GM . If I have to kill my character off for the greater good of the party I can handle that . I just felt that the narrative format of EOTE would work better for this tryout than D&D's stricter format . 

 

 

Certainly sounds like you've planned it well, and I'm sure it will work just fine. Most importantly, have fun with it dude!

It's THE most entertaining system I've played/GMd for a looong time.

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I'm glad to hear that you've put so much thought into making a GMPC work. It is a perilous path, but it seems you are going in with eyes wide and a willing heart.

 

Please allow me to offer two more pieces of advice.

 

1) Leadership, whether it be battle tactics or where the party will go next, can be dangerous for a GMPC, who knows deep-down what the best course of action might be. However, a GMPC can also be a tremendously useful resource for the party, providing multiple options when the other PCs are feeling lost, or acting as an impartial (hopefully) mediator for inter-party conflict. Try to avoid the former, and be ever ready to offer the latter.

 

2) Be up front and open with your players about who your character is and what he represents. "He is there to hand out exposition, suggestions, and sometimes warnings. He is not meant to lead you, just travel with you and provide some support." OR "She is a simple grunt who will follow you around and fight your enemies. She is very loyal to you, but from time to time her Obligation might bring a little heat down on the group." And Etc.

 

For my first game, I had only 2 players to start, so I tossed in a GMPC to back them up. I made it clear that he was going to be on their level, subject to the same rules and consequences, and that his story would only become a focus if/when they told me they were interested in pursuing it. He would generally follow their lead, and any information or opinions offered up should be taken as his own, not a comment or suggestion from the GM.

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I've also been known to follow the "Savage World" way of doing things...

 

let the PCs run the character(s).  Drop the character sheet out there, explain briefly what they are, remind them to run their character, but control the NPC when appropriate.  You can then use the NPC as a mouth-piece for the GM ;)

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2) Be up front and open with your players about who your character is and what he represents. "He is there to hand out exposition, suggestions, and sometimes warnings. He is not meant to lead you, just travel with you and provide some support." OR "She is a simple grunt who will follow you around and fight your enemies. She is very loyal to you, but from time to time her Obligation might bring a little heat down on the group." And Etc.

 

This is a good suggestion. I did that with the three Pseudo-PCs that I ran with the first group. The Human Colonist (Doctor) was there for healing and a bit of a "morality check" to let them know when they were going too dark and nasty. The Droid Technician (Mechanic) was there to keep the ship operational and for the occasional hint of where to go to get certain things (lots of ranks of Know: Outer Rim). The Wookiee Hired Gun (Marauder) was there for combat support, but also to get the group into messes and sometimes to act as comic relief.

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I have been a running GMPC for quite a few sessions now.  At this point I feel like I am part of the group.  There are a few really important things to keep in mind (in addition to what's been said).

 

  1. Your primary role is to GM.  If playing a GMPC inhibits this in anyway, you need to modify your play style or accept that it might not be possible in your group.
  2. The other PCs are the heros.  Even if you are running a story based around your character (which you should do only in moderation), the other PCs must make the big decisions and save the day.  Otherwise, they won't get the enjoyment of watching how their decisions affect the story.
  3. Always play fair and stick to your character's knowledge.  In a session I ran a few weeks ago, I went into a combat encounter knowing (from the GM's perspective) that I was woefully unprepared for the encounter.  Had I prepared for this encounter, the whole thing would have felt artificial and unfair.
  4. Ask for feedback from you PCs frequently.  This is to make sure that, among other things, your group is OK with the way things are playing out and to make sure everyone is still having fun.

 

I should also point out that I GM'd probably half a dozen sessions or so before I added my character to the party.  And before I did so, I made sure that it was OK with everyone else in the group.

 

Just remember that the main goal is for everyone to have fun.  If the fun stops then what's the point?

Edited by NatemusMaximus

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I have had experience of GM playing PCs several times, and it never ended well.  Each and every time it ended in arguments and destroyed the group! 

 

Stick with running NPCs.

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  1. Your primary role is to GM.  If playing a GMPC inhibits this in anyway, you need to modify your play style or accept that it might not be possible in your group.
  2. The other PCs are the heros.  Even if you are running a story based around your character (which you should do only in moderation), the other PCs must make the big decisions and save the day.  Otherwise, they won't get the enjoyment of watching how their decisions affect the story.
  3. Always play fair and stick to your character's knowledge.  In a session I ran a few weeks ago, I went into a combat encounter knowing (from the GM's perspective) that I was woefully unprepared for the encounter.  Had I prepared for this encounter, the whole thing would have felt artificial and unfair.
  4. Ask for feedback from you PCs frequently.  This is to make sure that, among other things, your group is OK with the way things are playing out and to make sure everyone is still having fun.

 

To me this is a recurring NPC, which I've done and think is ok. That is something different I think then the GM has a PC too.

 

I guess it's a fine line that makes the difference. Doing what Natemus does is an NPC that happens to be part of the group and tags along. A GM with a character that he strives to be at the center of the action, strives to strengthen the character, strives to get the best loot, etc (you know, like a player's character) is a GM PC and not something I think is smart.

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