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ColArana

Best GM Career

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I'm aware this probably isn't the most popular of things to do, but my Dark Heresy group is quite a small one (only 3 people, with a 4th one occasionally jumping in for a session or two), and so our group usually ends up with the GM taking up a character as well.

 

Now, obviously, a GM's character is going to GENERALLY be more of a tag-along than a real character (leave the major decisions to the other two players, unless they feel a certain course of action would be in-character for their character to suggest). As a result, I feel as though a GM's character would probably need a certain set of skills, as it were-- or certain lack of skills, as essentially the GM's character is a failsafe; They're there to give an extra hand in combat when it's needed and be that extra pair of dice to alert the party to danger or a potential hazard in case the other two party members royally botch their Awareness and/or Intelligence tests.

 

 

So I'm wondering what the best career for a GM would be, with that stipulation? Personally I'm thinking Arbitrator or Guardsman-- especially Guardsman as that career is largely geared towards straight up combat, but I'm curious what others think. Obviously fellowship-central Careers would probably be right out, as the other players should be handling most of the plot-important dialogue.

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Adept. Nothing combat orientated. If it Comes to combat and the GM has a Mayor combat char, he is basically playing against himself. Having a clue-dropping Support role is much better in that regard as the GM himself can alway "Change he Odds" in combat by simply changing the encountered Opposition to match the Player characters.

Going for Medica would be a good advise as well. Non-warp-based healers make for good support characters.


BUT this "the Group is small" is not really a reason for the GM to act as a Player character. Why so? He can simply "stuff" the group with one or more NPC assisting the group. Playing NPC is one of the big things beign a GM is all about.

And it gives a lot more freedom. This "Major npc" can have a personalty and develope, but there is no need to force them into the same rigid "career System" that FFG is actually disbanding in all recent WH40K products. Plus, you can rotate them to simply insert the skill that is needed to Supplement the gaming characters THIS MISSION. Which is extra-Handy if you work with pre-made modules that sometimes happen to rely on some skill None of your Players ever bothered to take.

 

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I agree, an Adept would be my pic for a GM character, as far as combat goes, give him an autogun, and just provide suppressing fire for your players. That way you're leaving the bulk of the killing up to them, while still being involved in the fight. 
Alternately you could give him a hunting rifle, and spend a full turn aiming, so that you're only shooting every other turn. 

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DH lacks rules for acquiring followers, but it does have rules for using followers. If the party needs rounding out or a bit more oomph, I'd give each of the players a follower.

 

GMPCs can work, and work wonderfully. But the pitfalls are many and ugly, so if you can address whatever the GMPC is meant to address in some other manner - in this case via player-controlled Followers - then that is generally the better idea.

 

If you want rules for acquiring Followers (though you could just give them to your players), you can find some half-arsed houserules here.

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Alright, so, you called it, and I want to make it clear that I too think that GMPC:s are terrible ideas, because the amount of separation between your character and yourself is something the vast majority of people can never, ever handle. Even if they think they can, they can't. Human beings are pretty much hardwired to want to win, and we all know that although wholly immaterial, characters end up mattering to us, especially when you have full power over the universe in order to mold that character as you see fit.

Additionally, all rolls under the table against yourself in any way - and they will happen, out of sheer necessity - will potentially be questioned by the other players, eroding the trust they have in you, even if they don't mean to, even if you're the best of friends.

However, that being said and it being something you know, I want to chime in and agree with what appears to be most in this thread. If you are running straight-up Dark Heresy, Adept is the way to go. You can use him as an excuse to drop hints and ideas to the players, or roll Lores that they don't have. Just draw up exactly what kind of character you want, and how he is likely to evolve. If you play an Administratum Clerk-turned-Acolyte, it might be inappropriate to aim for certain Forbidden Lores, while aiming for "less useful" Scholastic ones, such as Bureaucracy or Judgement.

When the players then complain that you don't have Lore <X>, you can just tell them that you're a supplemental character that is fully immersed in the universe, and that it would be very out of place for you to take stuff that would unbalance the party in regards to roleplaying - meaning that it is up to more "important" characters to actually suck it up and act utilitarian in those regards (advances of convenience).

 

And stay the hell out of combat. Go right ahead and make yourself a good survivor, go right ahead and make yourself a boss medic (unless that role is filled), supporting the others. But make sure you don't actually become very combat capable. Hide during combat. Dodge behind cover and stay there. Fully admit that your character is a fragile coward. I don't care, just stay out of it.

 

Edit: A better idea may be to simply roll up some support staff or contacts that might tag along for (certain) missions. In that case, it's really just an NPC and not a GMPC. One of the advantages of being a GM is precisely that you can create whatever the hell you want and have the players interact with it. Make sure to switch between the NPC's when appropriate, and never advance them as if they are real player characters.

Edited by Fgdsfg

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Also do not be afraid to kill off the character. In fact I would almost give the character an expiration date of X number of sessions before he is brutally and shockingly killed.

 

EDIT: I'm a little surprised that this got multiple likes as I thought this was a somewhat innocus comment.  Thanks guys. :)

 

I first realised this was an effective method when I introduced a complete joke GM PC/NPC called 'Norman' into a WFRP game when I was about 14!.  He was funny to begin with but wound up a few of the PCs after a while (except one PC who still thought he was hilarious).

 

So he was waiting on the players barge (it was Death on the Reik, if you've played that you'll know what I'm talking about...) while the characters went into the river town for some answers.  When the players got back they found Norman had been dismembered by some Tzeentch cultists and a note left as a warning to the PCs to back off.  This severely traumatised one of the players who 15 years later still hasn't forgiven me :lol:.

Edited by Visitor Q

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GM's that randomly abuse their players for personal reasons are not conducive to a good game.

 

I do agree on striking out the "Personal Reasons" but randomly abusing players is ultimately what Roleplaying is about - You just gotta find the right degree to make it fun for most of the group :)

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GM's that randomly abuse their players for personal reasons are not conducive to a good game.

 

Sure, but VisitorQ was talking about the NPCs the GM runs as partners, friends and "co-workers" of the PCs. Those should be killed arbitrarily and spectacularly for fun and profit :)

 

The PCs on the other hand deserve a bit more fair treatment.

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Back on topic, I'd say the guardsman or the assassin might help you the most. The assassin should be geared towards combat (but can have a few extra awareness-skills/talents). That way you obtain your objective to help the remaining players not to be surprised too much.

 

Slightly off topic; I must say that a group of three players is feasable. I played in a two-player/one GM game and it worked swell. Sure, we lost a lot of limbs, but we had some major fun.

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As the GM whos running cols campaign, I just wana throw out my reasoning for running a GM PC. I am new to GMing, and am not great at knowing exactly what the capabilities of my members are, or how well they will be able to deal with somethings in my campaign. I find it nice to have that extra character along to nudge them in the right direction when I fail to make something clear, to tank wounds when I accidentally throw a guy who is able to one shot the players (Who knew fire was so powerful!). The other reason I like it is because my other member (not col) Is 100% new to Rping, in pretty much every sense of it (Me and col have experience in other forms of RP). Hes also a total noob to 40k, and while I love him to bits, hes not the most creative person in the world. 

 

I personally quite like guardsmen for it, as they dont have a lot of abilities that are unobtainable to other classes, so they are not stealing the spotlight, and due to there combat experience, its easy to justify them have some sense about what will get them killed or not. A void born psyker with no combat experience and a feral world assassin who knows nothing about 40k might not be able to recognize that trying to 1v1 an ork nob may not be a good idea.

 

That all said, as players get more comfortable with RPing, I definitely dont think it is necessary to run a Gm PC. Any further campaigns I Gm will not include them, unless we all get tired of running 2 man groups.

 

One thing that I find hard about GM PC's is making sure your party members dont think you are cheating whenever something goes good for the character. For example, in a recent session, we entered a museum, full of powerful artifacts and gear. It was possible to obtain keys, which would allow the players to acquire one item for each key. They were 3 major path in the room, and one of them had a key obtainable in it. The two other players took the other 2 routes, leaving my character to obtain a good piece of gear. I was afraid that if the other players did not find a way of obtaining keys, or are least finding evidence that there WERE other keys, it would look like I was just giving good gear to my character. It is kinda annoying having to constantly make sure your character does not do to well, so it doesn't appear as favoritism. 

 

One thing I do find useful is having the GM PC get called away at times where you know they will not be needed, for example in times when it is far more investigation focused, or when what they are going up against I am sure 2 members can deal with. Iv done that a few times, such as having the guard be...busy...with the other guard, or having her stay behind to keep an eye out on a city while the other members investigate a tunnel.

 

Just my 2 cents (CAD)

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