Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Castlecruncher

I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING!!!

Recommended Posts

"I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING!!!"

 

Now I want that on a t-shirt when I'm playing EoE or AOR...

 

 

"But Angry Penguin!" I hear you say "They don't know what they're doing either!" 

 

I've never been able to look at his avatar in the same way since the Mountains of Madness expansion for Eldritch Horror gave us 'Giant Penguins' as monsters... y'know, alongside shoggoths and Cthulhu and stuff. 

Edited by Maelora

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first thing I would recommend is take a deep breathe. Second, talk to your group. There is nothing worse than feeling this way then spend a bunch of time creating a campaign that no one wants to play. Just sit down with them and ask them what type of game they want to play. They might surprise you and give you all the ideas and inspiration you need.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could always adapt a story from some other Space Opera Drama (Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, Galaxy Quest, etc). 

Personally, I ran my group through a spy novel.  They were NOT happy with it, because they did not put it together.  I will admit, it was rather convoluted, but if you drop enough hints, they will follow your path.

You can also just drop them somewhere and see what happens.  Maybe they start the game locked in a cell on an Imperial Star Destroyer, and they have to steal TIE fighters to get away... which makes it even harder, since they do not have Hyperdrives...  Maybe they could take out enough of the command staff to take the Capital Ship back to the Rebellion?

Maybe they start the game pinned down by Stormtrooper fire inside an imperial bunker, and they need to get themselves and a hostage/civilian out without anyone dying.

Maybe they wake up in a cell on trial for Murder of an planetary President, and they have to prove their innocence and that they were framed by the Empire.

Basically, instead of starting them BEFORE the action happens, start them AFTER the action happens, and then fly by the seat of your pants.  If it is plausible or cool sounding, let them try it to get their bacon out of the frying pan.

 

Kevynn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to continue what Kevynn said, it can be really good and very much in the spirit of cinematic Star Wars to start people in the action.  Particularly if you consider that most RPs end up more like TV series the movies.  Think of how Rebels or the Clone Wars often started.  Although, A New Hope is pretty good on that account as well.  (Welcome to the movie, you're under fire - oh god that's a big ship.)

 

Don't be afraid to narrate the mundane parts of a start up.  Our group mostly trades honestly (Totally Legitimate Business, Inc.) so at the beginning of the last game, I talked about how the shipments had been going, that they had about a dozen shipments lined up, eight of which were already in the hold (we have a wayfarer, so lots of hold space).  They'd just landed on planet xyz where they'd rented a hovertruck to pick up their next shipment in the warehouse district.  Jax was checking out the cargo, Merick was waking up Bric (the binary load lifter) and Siri was looking over the datapad with the shipping order on it when a blast of red light slams into your contact's chest, killing him instantly.

 

...Roll initiative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All you really need to do is come up with any ol' flimsy excuse for an adventure and just wing it :)  This game works exceptionally well with ad-hoc, seat-of-your-pants game play.  A few weeks back, I was running my group through Perlemian Haul and half way through, they just totally got off the rails.  They had no clue what they were doing, and instead of trying to nudge them in the right direction, I just let them do whatever they wanted to do.  The session turned out to be the most fun any of us had so far :)  It really showed off the power of the narrative dice, as Triumphs and Despairs were mutating the game play into directions none of us expected.  

 

My wife had gone to bed rather early (she rarely stays up past about 10 or 11), but was woken up at 2 in the morning by shouts and laughter.  Of course, she joined back into the game :)  The game didn't end until about 5 in the morning (!!) and everyone was energized and wide awake and couldn't stop talking about the session.  Just tons of fun.

 

So... you don't always have to plan anything too complicated or heavy for everyone to have a blast.  Trust the game and trust the dice:  the designers definitely knew what they were doing :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you! This is quite a lot of advice, and I'll try to use as much of it as possible. I apologize for not responding sooner, by the way; our internet was down while we switched services.

 

The issue, however, with another of our players being GM, is that we've tried it before, and it didn't go too well. It was very rail roaded and grueling, and when he decided to throw out the original adventure ideas, it got out of control way to fast--not because we got crazy, but because he threw us in even crazier situations. However, I'll definitely chat with my players about it to see if we could give it another shot.

 

Also, since one of my players reads and watches everything nerdy, it's nigh impossible to copy a story, since he'll have read it already (or seen it).

 

Finally, I will most definitely be seeing about trying other systems and modding adventures. I'll still stick with buying EotE, AoR, and FaD books out of a) love of Star Wars, and b) the probability of coming back later, but for now, my group's definitely gonna have some transition.

 

Again, thanks for all the support.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can’t recall where I read or heard it, but in heroic fiction there is a rather basic idea, as long as the hero is alive the story or movie can continue. You see the hero jump from a tall building, then next week he somehow lands on an awning, his off-side grabs his wrist and saves him or something happens to keep the story going.

 

If you are playing games from your own mind consider the game to play in a similar way. You only have to have enough game to get the players from the start of your session until the end. Once the session ends you have all the time between sessions to find inspiration.

 

Now, other people have pointed out the duty/obligation of the characters that provide hooks. So in repeating that I would add the background hooks also provide some inspiration for adventure ideas. Sure it starts with a player just picking down and out, but I found when I created a character for a game for the first time there was a whole mess of fun in those. As the GM look at those, and get the players to choose one and create a short background.

 

I play for no more than three hours every other week, I have found that my players can do about 2-3 things in that time. So I just start by thinking what those things should be, a social encounter, break and enter and then a chase. The I add some detail, just bullet points as to who they may find, what they will be doing and how they will move from one thing into the next.

 

You can also do less linear adventures and start in combat, the flash back 8 hours earlier to explain why then flash forward a day and complete. Combat is probably the easiest of things to plan, you just add an environment and bad guys.

 

Do your players have a base? The miners they helped in Long Arm of the Hutt help my players with repairs and free lodgings. So I consider that their base. If things go very wrong for you as the GM you could just return them to their base and have them learn a little more about 1 or 2 of the NPC’s. My droid doctor has, though he doesn’t realise it yet, made friends with a little girl who will help him when he is in town.

 

I am sure the Jedi to be who is a mechanic at this point could also befriend the mining camp’s mechanic. And who knows perhaps if he gets a Jedi master to teach him they could end up moving into the camp.

 

Perhaps the camp doesn’t have all the medicine or parts to heal or repair something. So the players head off to town to purchase these things. What happens in a western when the hero goes to town?

 

I have also had my players sent off to help some rebels buy one of the NPC’s in the mining village. While they resisted there is always the chance for me to make it personal as the village develops.

 

Keep in mind here, the people just off camera are people just off camera, only once a player talks to them or interacts with them do you need more details. Even then sometimes you can just refer to them as the store keeper or some such.  Same deal with a map, right now I don’t need the detail of where everything is, so I am not going to spend any time on it. I do suggest a sheet of paper with some names on it, male, female and planets/moons, just cross them off as you use them and note where they are if it may become a continuity issue.

 

Listen to your players, quite often they will drop clues as to what may happen in table chatter.

 

Often times as you are playing you will find that the players encounter an NPC that after they are finished could come back as an adventure unto themselves. The harbour master in the beginners game for example, what happened to her, my players tricked her, what would happen if she was sent to an imperial prison for allowing that and she was released a few weeks ago?

 

Perhaps she is bitter and jaded and just goes for revenge or perhaps while in prison she has become disenfranchised with the imperial rule and after following the players she learns that generally they are doing good deeds, using their unique skills. So she asks to join them. Now, if she joins the players, what happened while she was in prison? Perhaps she made some underworld contacts, has some unique obligation of her own that can trigger an adventure or maybe she learned about a rebel cell and joined them.

 

Start small, you don’t need a complete story arc for 5 years of games. Small ideas will develop and grow, drop out of your game and come back in. Luke started his adventure looking for a runaway droid. GM George then when “and then…” he finds Obi Wan, “and then…”

 

Slowly over time these small ideas may develop into bigger ideas and slowly you may find a larger story being told. Watch Clone Wars for how this works, some story arcs go for 4-6 weeks others are over in one viewing. However, because the characters at the heart of the story are the same it somehow also becomes a larger richer tale when viewed overall.

 

Finally get a notepad or something like Evernote/One Note that you can jot ideas down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found like with any writing that being a GM is awesome and a lot of pressure.

 

I write notes of random ideas all the time. I come back to those notes and turn them into stories and from stories into encounters and adventures.

 

I had one note I wrote about a random thing I wanted one Player to do, all the note said was "steal pendant from Malastare" totally worthless for a quest, totally no information just that. I didn't even give it to the Player I was so annoyed at how useless it was.

 

It sat alone on my hard drive for a month or two.

 

10 weeks ago I went back to that line when stumped for ideas. I turned it from one line into a whole series of mischief. That one line became a story of drug dealers, rival planet, Hutts, and Dugs.

 

I changed the story into a mission their were given by their benefactor. He wanted the group to retrieve a pendant stolen from the council leader on Malastare by a drug lord on Circumtore. The Drug lord was a Dug and the grandson of Sebulba. He was terrible at pod racing so instead tried to look up to another famous (ish) Dug named Sebolto. He was the "King of the Dugs" before he was hunted down and killed by Jango Fett.

 

I can go on and on about where I took the story but in-game terms they just finished the mission this past Saturday... 10 weeks later. Write random brain storming notes. You never know when inspiration will strike.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, since one of my players reads and watches everything nerdy, it's nigh impossible to copy a story, since he'll have read it already (or seen it).

 

 

Number 1...

 

I ran a Deadlands adventure once that I stole from A Nightmare on Elm Street. The villain, instead of having knife blade fingers, he had bowie knife hands. He attacked everyone while they were sleeping and dreaming, and the PCs could only fight back in the dream world. It was a one-session storyline, and I didn't really give them a chance to think about it because I made it pretty action-intense. But even then, not one of my players saw the connection to the movie and thought I was a genius. LoL

 

You can steal from movies and TV shows, make some key changes, and it may run under the radar enoough that your players won't catch on.

 

Number 2...

 

Perhaps it's time for the players to get dirty in the sandbox and create their own adventures.  Each one has his or her own motivations. Each one has things they want to pursue in character, in game.  Call them out on it and persuade answers from them.

 

"Okay, last week you guys did such-and-such. What's going on now? What are YOU doing....?" And go around the table pointing your gnarled GM finger at each one. "What are you pursuing? How are you getting everyone in trouble tonight? Adventures await!"

 

If its a Rebellion game and they have a boss that sends them out on missions, point to one of the players and tell him he's the boss for the next few minutes and to assign the group a new mission. Then roll it out from there.  Next week, another player is the boss and gets to assign a new mission. Soon, the players are showing up to the game with ideas in their heads about what rebellious hi-jinks they're going to pull on the Imps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Perhaps it's time for the players to get dirty in the sandbox and create their own adventures.

 

I was thinking of running a session where each of the players would take it in turns to build up an adventure and I would just adjudicate and see where we go. So I would kick things off and then just form dice pools and do some mechanical GM stuff while they took over the narrative.

 

So to start them off I would say "You walk into a bar, people are drinking blue milk and chatting to each other, you see a booth past the bar which will serve you all well. As you sit down the waitress takes your order and heads off to the bar for your drinks AND ...."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Perhaps it's time for the players to get dirty in the sandbox and create their own adventures.

 

I was thinking of running a session where each of the players would take it in turns to build up an adventure and I would just adjudicate and see where we go. So I would kick things off and then just form dice pools and do some mechanical GM stuff while they took over the narrative.

 

So to start them off I would say "You walk into a bar, people are drinking blue milk and chatting to each other, you see a booth past the bar which will serve you all well. As you sit down the waitress takes your order and heads off to the bar for your drinks AND ...."

 

If you do. Let me know how it goes.

 

Another thing to do would be to make a load of index cards (or a random table) of various Star Warsy scenarios and when they get stuck just draw or roll to see what happens next.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whew...I've been there a couple of times. 

 

I think part of getting burned out is a hazard of GMing. It's not fun at all. However, I don't think you're burned out, per se. I think you're frustrated and stuck, which is different. You're frustrated at not being able to be a player, and you're stuck because you can't come up with any ideas. 

 

To your first part--I scratch my playing itch by creating fun NPCs. In my campaign I have an R2 unit with a vocabulator box that makes him sound like HK-47. Oh yeah, and he's also the R2 unit that was part of the droid uprising in the EotE GM kit so he's...less than helpful. I've also got a male hospitality droid named KRS-10 (Krysten), who is a blatant copy of Kryten from the BBC sci-fi series "Red Dwarf." I've also got a ton of villains, rivals and allies, all of whom I love playing. So come up with a character you'd like to have aid the PCs. Come up with any concept you can think of, and just see how the NPC would interact with the PCs. This can also potentially lead to some new ideas. Why would your PCs need to interact with a Rodian Scientist, anyway? How about a Gran Rigger?

 

Now...as far as ideas, I just want to point out that with gamemasters, unlike fiction writers, ripping off an idea is not frowned upon. I've been running an Edge of the Empire campaign, so I haven't been dabbling as much in the Rebels vs. Empire storyline. However, there is a lot you can do. First, though, talk to your group to see what they want. Then try to give it to them. They want more starfighter battles? Great! Pick up a copy of Stay on Target and look through it. They want more ground battles? Look through Assault on Arda 1 for Mass Combat rules and start putting together ground battles. 

 

Now, once you know what your players want, start getting inspiration from what you've read. I don't know that I'd recommend straight-up war movies, because honestly, just having Rebel vs. Empire fighting gets old quickly. The Battle of Hoth was fun, but Assault at Arda 1 recreates that pretty well. Why do it again if you don't have to? However, you can have your Rebellion campaign "bleed over" into other genres. Spy genres work quite well, given the Rebellion's guerilla nature--what would happen if your PCs were placed in a James Bond situation? Subsitute an Imperial Intelligence officer or Moff of someone of that nature for the main villain, then give him or her decent nemesis as their right-hand man. Maybe you could recreate Goldfinger, where the Moff wants to poison a Rebellion safehouse and have the contaminated goods be passed on? Maybe you could recreate From Russia With Love, where the PCs are trying to get an Imperial defector to the Rebellion inconspicuously, without realizing the defector is an unwitting plant the ISB has set up. Actually...I think I want to use that one in my own campaign. 

 

You could also delve into the EotE elements of Star Wars--after all, Han Solo worked for the Rebellion! What about having to smuggle goods off an Imperial stronghold? What about doing some illegal salvage on a ship, trying to avoid both Imperial patrol craft and the pack of Yuuzhan Vong warriors pet Rancor whose cage broke in the mysterious accident the vessel suffered? 

 

However, and I can't stress this enough, steal ideas wherever you can. Here's a brief list of where I've cribbed my ideas: 

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (the restaurant scene)

Black Lagoon anime (one storyline so far, two storylines coming up)

Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door movie (with an Imperial Royal Guard as the bad guy)

The Thing (Call of Cthulhu system, but still straight-up stolen)

The Wicker Man (again, Call of Cthulhu, but still...)

Bryan Daley's Han Solo novels

 

It's worth noting that even the adventures FFG has release have been influenced by other movies. Beyond the Rim is reminiscent of Apocalypse Now, while Jewel of Yavin is an Ocean's Eleven heist film ported to the Star Wars galaxy. Assault on Arda 1 is the Battle of Hoth with a mystery thrown in. 

 

You can also build adventures around adversaries. If an enemy NPC survives contact with your PCs (or you spin events so they survive), it's worth considering what their plans against the PCs might be. What would an ISB agent do if he crossed the PCs again? What would an Imperial Intelligence agent do? What would a Moff do? What would an Emperor's Hand do? If there are any Force Sensitives in your group, what would an Imperial Inquisitor do? These can be pretty rich veins to mine! 

 

Finally--your ideas don't completely suck. I get the sense that you're a bit new to being a GM, and one important thing to know is that no idea is completely bad. Now, it may not work for some reason, but one of the marks of being a good GM is to figure out what about your idea doesn't work for your group, and improve it. For instance, if you have an idea about PCs doing salvage and reject it because the PCs would find it boring, ask--why would they find it boring? If they prefer to kick in the door and start shooting everything in sight, then yes, your idea won't work for them, but you've replaced it with a better idea--think of ideas that will require more out and out combat. If the idea won't work because your don't know how your players will get in the ship, work on improving that. Come up with a way the PCs can get on the ship, or give them the tools to do so. Would the PCs want to fight space battles? Have them go out to the ship and find an Imperial Cruiser waiting for them, and turn the salvage mission into a space battle. 

 

Hopefully this gives you some idea of where to start. I think you might be a little hard on yourself, though. Odds are you're a half-decent GM already, and once you figure out how to get unstuck, you'll have your players begging you for your next adventure! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do a fun inbetween adventure that will just take a session to complete. Not a campaign arch or a storylne that takes multiple sessions to complete but a funny, short little adventure to just explore the more light side of things. Clone wars did this Rebels does so now. It might be a gateway to a whole new adventure or it could show you where your players enjoy going.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of the best campaigns I've been a part of started off just as what do I need to just get by from day to day in this galaxy. Fuel/docking fees and food are not free and lead to some wild spots and jobs just to scrape credits together. As a player I always find much larger ambitions to attempt to achieve while worrying about the little things in life. Such as "I now want my own space station, Lando Callisran had one why can't I?"

Edited by R42i31

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing to keep in mind is that players tend to get overly wrapped up in the small details. RLogue177's post about using freddy kruger and none of his players catching it brought to mind a game one of my friends hosted. He had a party of players with whom he'd hit a little lull in the campagin. Out of sheer desperation he had them run into The Lone Ranger.... no attempts to even disguise who he was at all, his horse even named silver. And with a classic Hi Ho Silver Away! *into the sunset* the next 4 sessions were spent by the players trying to find out who "that masked man" was.... Despite several more runins with the ranger not one of them ever put the peices together. Sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees I guess as i've done the same a few times.

Edited by R42i31

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...