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Just started a new campaign. Tips?

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We just finished the beginner box, moving on to operation shadowpoint which we are about to begin. Tips for an AoR campaign? Running it, adventure choices, pitfalls to watch out for or stuff to make it more exciting. Just seeing who has been around the block and what they recommend for such a game. Currently the party motivations fall heavily under sabotage, intelligence gathering and rebel combat victories. And we have one force sensitive in the group. 

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I'm going to assume that since you just finished the beginners box and that you are asking about running the game, that you are all relatively new to the system and that you are the GM?

 

Adventure choices depending on if you are willing to write your own or only used published ones. If you only want to use published ones then there's only 3 AoR adventures beyond the beginner box and its continuation, two of them come in their own books (Onslaught at Arda I and Friends Like These) and another comes with the AoR GM screen (Dead in the Water) which is a good buy even if you don't use the adventure.

 

Depending on what RPG's you have played in the past FFG Star Wars characters might go down faster than you expect, I speak from personal experience on this one. In my group battle droids caught the Engineer unaware and knocked them unconscious in a single attack (granted they rolled the Overpowered critical). In a later adventure I almost killed off a player's new Wookiee character by setting them on fire, from an Imperial flame projector, they failed they check to put it out, and had to be dowsed using a convenient bucket of water (AKA generous destiny point use) left around... presumably by the janitor droid :D.    

 

I think what will make it more exciting depends on the group you're playing with, if a lot of them chose the combat victory and sabotage duties then adventures that give them chances to simply undermine the Empire and find out what they are doing might fit what it sounds like the group is interested in. But the Careers and Specializations of the group also faction into designing an adventure, if you could put those up it might allow for you to get better information.

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Also, don't forget simple intelligence gathering missions too.  Perhaps you could have a mission or 2 where their objective is to sneak in and observe the Imperial operations, to report back to the Rebellion, for a later, large scale assault.   And have one of the factors be to avoid tipping off their presence to the Imperials.   This way, you give them something in their basic wheelhouse (sneakiness stuff), but also slightly different and risky (don't blow stuff up and cause a scene :P  )  

Have different tiers of information they can gather, each tier, being behind more layers of defense and obstacles, making it riskier, but also making the upcoming assault more effective.  Then they have a risk/reward choice to make.   Do we risk infiltrating the facility directly, to get our slicer guy access to their juicy database?  Or do we play it safe, and only go with the recon data we've gathered about their outer defenses?  

I've always had an issue with, things like Star Wars: Rebels, where every time they infiltrate an Imperial facility, the Empire figures it out.   I get why, in a 20 minute show, they have to have some blaster fire and quippy banter from the heroes while escaping danger, but it always felt counter-productive to a sneaky job.  You'd think they would figure it out that they were messing with stuff, and take steps to counter it.   Maybe it's the diehard Thief fan in me, the "get in, get out, nobody sees you" mentality leaking through, but I've always enjoyed those types of situations more than ones where things end in blaster fire.

 

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My biggest tip for running this system is to go heavy with the Disadvantage dice right from the start. Assigning difficulties was tricky for me, as I was not used to a system that had multiple ways to adjust it. Using a lot of the black die up front makes players feel more accomplished as they purchase talents that allow them to ignore them.

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5 hours ago, JRRP said:

My biggest tip for running this system is to go heavy with the Disadvantage dice right from the start. Assigning difficulties was tricky for me, as I was not used to a system that had multiple ways to adjust it. Using a lot of the black die up front makes players feel more accomplished as they purchase talents that allow them to ignore them.

Along this train of thought, one of the hosts of Order 66 suggested to try to keep the number of dice equal to the dice the player has to roll, if you want them to have an average chance of success.  Whether this is having only 1 difficulty die, and 2 setback die, or 2 difficulty and 1 setback, etc.    He said, after GMing it a LOT, that in general, keeping the dice pool even, makes things challenging, without being overly so.   If it's supposed to be something significantly harder, make the dice be more than what they are rolling.  Again, the mixture is up to you, but that the number of dice is a significant factor.    

I too have been a fan of setback dice, over difficulty dice, and establish them as due to various situational stressors.   My players are always fine with this explanation, when I tell them what they represent.  Plus, it's also the best way for them to get mileage out of talents that remove setback.   I rarely gave them challenges that required 4+ difficulty dice, as what they usually tried to do, was well within the realm of possibility for a person in the SW universe.   But, the setback dice helped still make it challenging, while still being within reach.

Also, be sure to encourage your players to describe their advantage/triumph.   Some players, especially ones still in the D20 mindset, are often conditioned to expect the resolution from the GM, and thus they don't provide input.   This defeats the purpose of the FFG system, so always encourage them to narrate their own results.    Some players might draw a blank, and ask you to do it, and that's fine, sometimes you just can't think of a cool way to describe something.  But the more practice they get with it, the more fun everyone at the table has.

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Buy the 6 NPC decks FFG put out.  Can't recommend this enough as a GM.  Put card sleeves on them so you can dry erase on them.  You then have 100+ NPC's at your disposal with full stats and gear anytime you need them.  I sorted them by category and now there's no way my players can go too far off the rails.  I can always have an NPC at the ready.  Use OggDude's character creator too... I run my campaigns and encounters with it.  You can find it in the edge forums.

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On 5/7/2017 at 9:16 PM, AndrewGPaul said:

Easier said than done, sadly. I'm beginning to think that the existence of the Adversary decks is just an internet hoax.

Not a hoax - just don't buy them from FFG if you're not in the USA. FFG's postage prices are absurd. A single adversary deck, costing me $6.95 for the actual product, will cost at minimum $20 for postage "within 1 - 8 weeks". If I want it shipped faster - as in, like every other company I've done business with on the internet - it could cost me up to $60. Get them from eBay, or get a friend in the US to accept them and post them on to you. 

I have no idea what FFG's mindset with this is, but it's a recurring issue and it prevents me buying a lot of their merchandise. Everyone else on the internet seems to be able to find reasonable postage prices, and I'm pretty sure they're not wearing a loss. It seems to me that FFG are either actively discouraging non-US players, or they're simply price-gouging. 

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I just started running a Star Wars game for my group.  We're all new to the system having played mostly D&D 5e for the past few years.  The group is 2 sessions in and are absolutely loving it!

Tips from what I've experienced so far:

  • My players were very leery to take strain and as such were very ridged and regimented in there checks.  I decided to explain strain in detail at the beginning of our last session. This helped them to better understand the multiple ways it can benefit a situation and how easy it is to regain it.
  • Encourage them to use the destiny pool and not just sit on it and save it for one big roll.  If you and the players are constantly doing a tug of war with the destiny pool it adds a layer or excitement to the game and is another way for them to help drive the narrative.
  • If you're stumped on how to play out advantages or threat in any given situation ask the player how they see it playing out.  My party is comprised of guys who are also GM's so they love the opportunity to help shape the narrative, good or bad.

 

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25 minutes ago, jowzam said:

I just started running a Star Wars game for my group.  We're all new to the system having played mostly D&D 5e for the past few years.  The group is 2 sessions in and are absolutely loving it!

Tips from what I've experienced so far:

  • My players were very leery to take strain and as such were very ridged and regimented in there checks.  I decided to explain strain in detail at the beginning of our last session. This helped them to better understand the multiple ways it can benefit a situation and how easy it is to regain it.
  • Encourage them to use the destiny pool and not just sit on it and save it for one big roll.  If you and the players are constantly doing a tug of war with the destiny pool it adds a layer or excitement to the game and is another way for them to help drive the narrative.
  • If you're stumped on how to play out advantages or threat in any given situation ask the player how they see it playing out.  My party is comprised of guys who are also GM's so they love the opportunity to help shape the narrative, good or bad.

 

Yeah, these are some common issues that come up for new players/gms.    My guys had a lot of problems with deciding interesting and fun things to do with advantage, but they eventually got better at it.   I tried to phrase things in a certain way, to try and stimulate them. "Ok so, you missed with your blaster shots, but you got 3 advantage.  You can't use that to hit him, but you what other cool stuff would you like to have happen at this moment, based on what you just did?"   That would usually get their brains working in the direction needed to suggest things, and then I would say what that would cost.   

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On 5/8/2017 at 8:18 PM, Daronil said:

Not a hoax - just don't buy them from FFG if you're not in the USA. FFG's postage prices are absurd. A single adversary deck, costing me $6.95 for the actual product, will cost at minimum $20 for postage "within 1 - 8 weeks". If I want it shipped faster - as in, like every other company I've done business with on the internet - it could cost me up to $60. Get them from eBay, or get a friend in the US to accept them and post them on to you. 

I have no idea what FFG's mindset with this is, but it's a recurring issue and it prevents me buying a lot of their merchandise. Everyone else on the internet seems to be able to find reasonable postage prices, and I'm pretty sure they're not wearing a loss. It seems to me that FFG are either actively discouraging non-US players, or they're simply price-gouging. 

I called my FLGS about these a while ago, and they informed me they were print on demand.  So they may not keep them in stock?  I realize you all might not have a store local though.

 

On 5/18/2017 at 10:47 AM, jowzam said:

<snip>

  • Encourage them to use the destiny pool and not just sit on it and save it for one big roll.  If you and the players are constantly doing a tug of war with the destiny pool it adds a layer or excitement to the game and is another way for them to help drive the narrative.
  • If you're stumped on how to play out advantages or threat in any given situation ask the player how they see it playing out.  My party is comprised of guys who are also GM's so they love the opportunity to help shape the narrative, good or bad.

</snip>

Demonstrate the use of the pool yourself and threat/advantage.  Use it a lot.  I found that helps.

 

I'd also add (since I feel like I'm hitting my stride with this system finally after a while) to be sure to use nemeses.  I have a group that's too big (moderately long story...) and several PCs have played SW RPG longer than me.  Their PCs were TEARING though stormtroopers and other minions like nothing.  I got some adversaries in there that were finally challenging.  (Now they're going to start teaming up!)

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A few general tips:

They're going to do something unexpected/crazy.  Players always have the ability to come up with an idea or plan that you never saw coming.  Learn to think on your feet when the party decides that the gazebo has to be attacked.  

Your best reply is 'yes, but...':  This kind of goes hand in hand with the previous statement.  PC's are all closeted klepto/pyro/trigger-happy maniacs just itching to 'show off'.  In this case, 'yes, but...' is your best friend.  "I want to steal that Moffs shuttle and sell it, can I do that?".  "Yes, but its a Moffs shuttle.  It going to have god-knows how many trackers and low-jacks on it.  Plus, its an Imperial shuttle.  Finding a fence willing to deal with it is going to be a mighty tall order..."

Try to have a PC of the week/month.  Lets face it, players make their PC's and live vicariously through them.  And everyone wants to be the hero.  Try to have at least one session per month where one of your players really gets to strut their stuff.  One of the PC's is a hot-shot pilot?  Can you say 'Speeder chase/shootout'?  Another PC is a whiz with computers?  Guess who gets to hack into the Imperial network, this week...

If a character dies, they die.  Its going to sound a little harsh, but don't save a PC from Certain Doom.  Sometimes the dice just hate you...sometimes the player just can't resist channeling Leeroy Jenkins.  Whatever the reason, if the character takes enough criticals/damage/bad luck to die, then they die.  At lower XPs, players will be a bit more cavalier with their characters.  After all, they don't have much time and effort invested in them.  Once a PC starts to gain more skills and talents and abilities, the players won't see them as so disposable, and will play a bit more heads-up.  But if its a PC's time, its a PC's time.

When a campaign is over, its over.  Everyone wants to have just one more game with their favorite character.  But when the campaign is done, put the books down, raise a toast for the fallen, and move on to the next campaign.

Don't be afraid to haul out the big guns.  Inevitably, the players are going to end up with some tough characters toting some serious weaponry.  In the game, as with life, there's always someone with a bigger gun.  Is one players jedi/force-sensitive getting careless with their powers?  The ISB will get wind of that.  And when the ISB figures out whats going on, the Inquisitors are not far behind.  Did the smuggler just mouth off and disrespect a Hutt crime lord?  No Hutt alive is going to let that slide...and Hutts know just whom to call.

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On 5/8/2017 at 9:18 PM, Daronil said:

Not a hoax - just don't buy them from FFG if you're not in the USA. FFG's postage prices are absurd. A single adversary deck, costing me $6.95 for the actual product, will cost at minimum $20 for postage "within 1 - 8 weeks". If I want it shipped faster - as in, like every other company I've done business with on the internet - it could cost me up to $60. Get them from eBay, or get a friend in the US to accept them and post them on to you. 

I have no idea what FFG's mindset with this is, but it's a recurring issue and it prevents me buying a lot of their merchandise. Everyone else on the internet seems to be able to find reasonable postage prices, and I'm pretty sure they're not wearing a loss. It seems to me that FFG are either actively discouraging non-US players, or they're simply price-gouging. 

Reply to an ancient post, but if you're in Canada, www.meeplemart.com has these for varying prices (all MSRP or lower) and they have flat $10 or $13 shipping within Canada.

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On 4/27/2017 at 6:00 PM, KungFuFerret said:

Along this train of thought, one of the hosts of Order 66 suggested to try to keep the number of dice equal to the dice the player has to roll, if you want them to have an average chance of success.  Whether this is having only 1 difficulty die, and 2 setback die, or 2 difficulty and 1 setback, etc.    He said, after GMing it a LOT, that in general, keeping the dice pool even, makes things challenging, without being overly so.   If it's supposed to be something significantly harder, make the dice be more than what they are rolling.  Again, the mixture is up to you, but that the number of dice is a significant factor.    

I too have been a fan of setback dice, over difficulty dice, and establish them as due to various situational stressors.   My players are always fine with this explanation, when I tell them what they represent.  Plus, it's also the best way for them to get mileage out of talents that remove setback.   I rarely gave them challenges that required 4+ difficulty dice, as what they usually tried to do, was well within the realm of possibility for a person in the SW universe.   But, the setback dice helped still make it challenging, while still being within reach.

Also, be sure to encourage your players to describe their advantage/triumph.   Some players, especially ones still in the D20 mindset, are often conditioned to expect the resolution from the GM, and thus they don't provide input.   This defeats the purpose of the FFG system, so always encourage them to narrate their own results.    Some players might draw a blank, and ask you to do it, and that's fine, sometimes you just can't think of a cool way to describe something.  But the more practice they get with it, the more fun everyone at the table has.

The way to think about difficulty is it is how hard a task is with out any negative circumstances.  Negative circumstances is handled by setback. 

I really recommend working your way through the order 66 podcast. As lots of good episodes on variious topics. And the devs frequently go on and answer questions.

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I've been running a somewhat similar AoR game and this is what I've done to help craft the story.

- First, I assigned the PC's to the Special Operations Group (SOG) [and yeah, you can change the name to like Special Initiative Directive aka "D.I.S.," etc).   And the PC's are the "field" technicians.  I've got an NPC who is a liaison officer who coordinates missions for the team.

- Give the PC's a EotE ship (small merchant ship like an old dilapidated YT-1300).  The SOG's team's 'cover' is that they're wandering merchants.

- It doesn't look like your team has an Ace Pilot yet.  Make a semi competent (but definitely NOT over powered) NPC pilot/mechanic who flies the ship and fixes stuff that breaks.  Their job is to exclusively to fly the ship and fix stuff that breaks.  And to stay with the ship so it doesn't get messed with.

Missions:  The Rebellion is a fleeting organization, with inadequate resources, and lots of diverse needs.

  • Acquisitions: The rebellion needs lots of things.  Beans, Band-aids, Bullets, Weapons, Gear.  Some of the best sessions have been the ones where my team has been sent out to buy food.  I may use the "inadequate resources" trope too often, but send the team out to buy something but have the rebellion issue inadequate funds to pick up the item.  Or you can give them a resource for which they need to barter for the needed items.  For example on one mission, the PC's acquired a large quantity of gold.  Two missions down the line, the liaison officer handed them half of that gold and asked them to negotiate the purchase of two dozen Y-Wings.  I also remember the one mission where the PC's were asked to simply pick up an allotment of Astromechs from Mechis (paid in full, just pick up the droids) but the PC's found that a robot uprising had taken control of the world!  So yeah the astromechs were  there and ready for pickup but the PC's had to fight their way through endless waves of 'obsolete' battle droids as they feverishly loaded up the cargo.  It was EPIC!  The trick to making acquisition missions fun is to ensure that there's a complication that needs to be addressed.  You can also make simple acquisition missions enjoyable with interesting NPC's with interesting needs.
  • Recruitment.  There are two options that I've used.  During normal interactions the PC's have stumbled upon sympathetic and frustrated NPC's who wanted to join the Rebellion and they've recruited a number of NPC's during the course of other missions.  Often these NPC's have been helpful in getting the primary mission done.  (But Rebellion Standard Procedures is to take these new recruits and to vet them and run them through "Basic" training, so they don't join the team).  The other recruitment mission involves the PC's being sent to an Imperial world to sneak off a group of recruits who are trying to escape the clutches of the ISB . . .
  • Infiltration and Larceny.  People have stuff and information that the rebels need.  But I've also offered the teams side missions where they've worked for the Hutts (in part to foster a positive relationship for the Alliance) and the PC's were offered opportunities to engage in corporate espionage (and they took that opportunity).
  • Smash missions!  Okay my team has never been assigned (yet) to just go in and make something go "boom" but . . . it's a mission that will need to happen from time to time.

 

One other thing that I've done that works well is that I'll grab the Gazetteer and the local regional star map and check out planets on the Star Chart.  (Wookiepedia is a nice resource).  Do some research and see if your imagination can come up with an appropriate SOG mission based on the planet description.

I've also found some pretty blank planets and just filled in all of the blanks myself to make a mission work.

Also the Empire is not the only bad guy in the galaxy.  Feel free to have the PC's stumble across other parties that make life hard for them.  Black Sun, Crimson Dawn, ALL OF THE HUTTS, and whatever names you want to make up, can be a thorn in the side of the PC's.

Bothans!  They're spies!  They have information!  They want information!  And they're sneaky blokes.  Some Bothans are cooperative and some are uncooperative.  Go all spy vs spy with the Bothans.

 

So there are some ideas to help you shape an overarching long term campaign with the type of PC's you have.  I've been running this game for 2+ years and have PLENTY of material to continue through.

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