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Scapino

Advice for a brand new GM?

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So in about a week, I’ll be GMing my first EotE game and I’m a little nervous. I’ve been looking over the material obsessively for the past month or so.

Part if my nerves are coming from the fact that I’ve never GMed before. I played one session of EotE years ago and really enjoyed it. And I bring a whole bunch of SW lore and passion to the table.

We’ll be doing the Beginner Game at first, but I suspect my friends will want to branch out with their own characters sooner rather than later.

So what advice can you give an absolute n00b?

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Best advice: if you're all having fun, you're doing it right. Laugh, enjoy it, don't worry about the rules unless and until it impedes the fun.

Second: ham it up. Get into character for your NPCs and try to make them memorable for your friends. Combat, negotiation, chicanery, anything where the PCs want to "win" all come from having a feeling associated with your portrayal of the NPC. Go for it. 

Rules advice: use setback dice more than difficulty dice. Most things are not that hard, aside from the situation making it hard. As your group progresses, they will have access to talents that take those dice away. If they've been burdened by setbacks since the beginning, this feels like a real accomplishment.

Seriously, though, if you're all having fun you are doing a good job as GM. 

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My advice might be tailored to my own weaknesses, but, coming from someone with 4 months experience:

 

a. Three useable hours until gametime is NOT the best time to start prep.

b. Encourage RP and present plenty of social situations with interesting NPCs.

c. Avoid scene wipes. Try to replace all of those with three to five sentences to describe the setting, add an interesting little story, or make the world seem more alive.

d. Situational factors and defensive talents are a much more fun way to make combat difficult.

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On 10/1/2017 at 7:20 AM, Scapino said:

So in about a week, I’ll be GMing my first EotE game and I’m a little nervous. I’ve been looking over the material obsessively for the past month or so.

Part if my nerves are coming from the fact that I’ve never GMed before. I played one session of EotE years ago and really enjoyed it. And I bring a whole bunch of SW lore and passion to the table.

We’ll be doing the Beginner Game at first, but I suspect my friends will want to branch out with their own characters sooner rather than later.

So what advice can you give an absolute n00b?

Know the basic dice pool construction rules.

Don't stop to look up rules.

Have fun.

Read more of the book later.

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On 10/1/2017 at 9:20 AM, Scapino said:

We’ll be doing the Beginner Game at first,

By the way, that is fairly low-pressure. With the beginner game, things are prepared quite nicely, and pretty much anyone can do it. Same with any of the published adventures, really. The real difficulty is when

a. You need to write your own stuff

b. The stuff you're working with isn't 100% fully fleshed out, and you need to improvise.

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40 minutes ago, Yaccarus said:

a. Three useable hours until gametime is NOT the best time to start prep.

On the other hand, sometimes that's all you get. "Hey, Fred is feeling under the weather and wont be able to show today. Can you run something tonight?"

The beginner game(s) plus the canned followup games are a great place to start. Nice, simple, easy story that doesn't involve tons of plot twists and gives the new GM lots of hand holding. Until you get your GMing feet under you, consider running canned games, the one from the back of the book, the one in the GM screen are both very basic games that shouldn't task a new GM. Perhaps track down a couple of the old WEG games - Tatooine Manhunt or Shantipole are pretty straight forward and should be easy for new GMs to handle (and really doesn't require much stat rewriting. Everything in them - stormtroopers, TIE fighters, bounty hunters - are all present and accounted for in the main books).

But really - just go wing it. Admit ahead of time that you'll have to look things up, will occasionally make crap rulings and not be perfect right out of the gate. When this happens to you, don't get discouraged. We've ALL been new game masters at one time or another, everyone has to start somewhere. Just make sure that everyone - including yourself - has fun. If that happens, the session was a success, regardless of how many rules you f up with.

 

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Give this a read! NEW GM GUIDE by Timequake 

To echo what other people have said, just have fun...make sure you know the dice pool mechanics and if you have a bit of money to get the GM screen it can be a real help. I played the base EotE beginner game with my friends (non of whom played any RPG's before) and we ended up playing for about 7-8 hours because they loved it so much I just kept making stuff up and using Kainrath's Mos Shuuta Supplement made it pretty easy!

We ended up using the included characters for that first session and then everyone created their own characters for the next session and we just swapped them out since they had similar backstories it wasn't too hard. The beginner game is quite fun and The Long Arm of the Hutt is also pretty cool, so make sure to download that after you are done with the main story!

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I'm late to this party, so I'll keep it short:

 

1. The first rule of gaming is that you're all there to have fun.  We call this Rule Zero.  

2. If you're having fun, you're doing it right.  

3. If rules impede the fun, nuts to them (within boundaries of course, rules exist to present challenge, which is why we play these games instead of just make believe

4. Spend more time knowing your setting and your rules than writing your story - but do have some idea of a story

5. No plan survives contact with the players.  No matter how much you prep, you can't determine everything the PCs do unless you force them - we call this railroading and most of us think it's bad.

6. Be excellent to each other

7. Party on, Dudes (in the non-genderest, non-speciesest form of the word)

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The game lets players fail forwards, so don't forget that.

have an idea where you want the story to go in terms of the unfolding narrative. How it gets there, and sometimes even where it gets there - be flexible with this and let the players, interpreting the dice, guide you there.

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The players are your enemies, and your job is not finished until you have crushed them, driven them before you, and heard the lamentations of their women.

They sit around your basement, drink your beer, herp their derps, and **** all over your carefully constructed masterpiece. They aren't your friends, they are animals. And there's only one way to deal with animals. That cargo they salvaged? Full of active assassin droids. The new swoop bike you built? It gets one-shotted by Tusken Raiderz. Your Force user? Gets caught levitating something and brings an Inquisitor down on the party's heads. Oh you survived? Deploying Base-Delta-Zero now. They might hate you for it but it's the only way to keep the story progressing in the right way (yours). After all to rule one must either be feared or loved, and who could love you?

Edited by Degenerate Mind

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3 hours ago, Degenerate Mind said:

The players are your enemies, and your job is not finished until you have crushed them, driven them before you, and heard the lamentations of their women.

They sit around your basement, drink your beer, herp their derps, and **** all over your carefully constructed masterpiece. They aren't your friends, they are animals. And there's only one way to deal with animals. That cargo they salvaged? Full of active assassin droids. The new swoop bike you built? It gets one-shotted by Tusken Raiderz. Your Force user? Gets caught levitating something and brings an Inquisitor down on the party's heads. Oh you survived? Deploying Base-Delta-Zero now. They might hate you for it but it's the only way to keep the story progressing in the right way (yours). After all to rule one must either be feared or loved, and who could love you?

I can't agree with any of that, but it was funny as **** :D

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Just now, Degenerate Mind said:

Genghis said that centuries before Conan the Barbarian was even a twinkle in Robert E. Howard's eye.

Well...........

TIL that quote's accreditation is somewhat suspect, but the phrasing is without a doubt Conan's!

Regardless of the origin, the sentiment is the same!

 

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3 minutes ago, themensch said:

Well...........

TIL that quote's accreditation is somewhat suspect, but the phrasing is without a doubt Conan's!

Regardless of the origin, the sentiment is the same!

 

I would be incredibly surprised if it didn't sound quite different in the original Mongolian.

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4 minutes ago, Degenerate Mind said:

I would be incredibly surprised if it didn't sound quite different in the original Mongolian.

I think it was Rigellian, which, due to an astounding coincidence, sounds exactly like English.  

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3 minutes ago, themensch said:

I think it was Rigellian, which, due to an astounding coincidence, sounds exactly like English.  

So I looked up Rigellian, and got back results from Star Trek, the Simpsons, Marvel Comics, and even Star Wars. You're gonna have to walk me through that reference.

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3 minutes ago, Degenerate Mind said:

So I looked up Rigellian, and got back results from Star Trek, the Simpsons, Marvel Comics, and even Star Wars. You're gonna have to walk me through that reference.

Take two of these and call me in the morning:

https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/490f867a-ddae-42e7-8ddd-5b7bf58f3a16/gif

https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/048ad0be-c310-41b3-825d-14745b122c25/gif

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Plan, read, and plan some more.  Make sure you know the module you are running for your players inside and out.  Last-minute studying makes for a rocky game.

Ditch your plans.  Players have a tendency to go off the rails at the drop of a hat, and attack gazebos.  When that happens, be ready to think on your feet and roll with it.

Kill em.  "Oh, we won't die.  The GM won't let us." is a mentality that can ruin games.  Players get comfortable with having a GM whos a soft touch.  Im not saying set out to kill the PC's from the get-go, but if the dice say a PC dies, then a PC dies.

Have no shame.  Memorable NPC's make for a memorable game.  Rather than have the party say "Okay, we have to talk to NPC 1138 again", have them saying "We have to deal with that Rodian again...the one with the lisp", or "That human again?!  That bastard spits tobbac juice on my boots again, I'll deck him!"  Being a GM is your chance to make your NPC's memorable and ham it up.  Swing for the fences!

Improvise.  If you don't know a rule off hand, be ready to tell your players, "I'm not sure, so we will do it this way.  I'll look it up before our next game."

Not all interactions require dice.  A lot of players tend to roll dice to resolve, say, social outcomes.  "I charm the baroness with my good looks and wit.  *rolling dice* A natural 20!".  Encourage more role play than roll play.  Heck, I've even seen some GM's set up laptops for players/PC's to 'hack' to find whatever information they needed.

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Remember that characters and players have their own agenda. 

A group full of combat monsters? Go ahead and include plenty of combat!
A group with just one combat character?` Go ahead and ignore combat for the most part!

Give every character their moments to shine and to do that you need to know the players and characters involved in your game. The players choices during character generation are telling a story, even more so if they actually have written one background story as well. Based on those choices you can build and manipulate the plot and adventure around. The duty, obligation and morality mechanics try to make this easier for new players and GMs alike. And I think at least in this forum that is the most forgotten GM skill, mainly because it needs to be mentioned so often :D

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So I ran the Beginner's Game yesterday for EotE the first act of the Long Arm of the Hutt expansion. My players decided to steal the R5 unit from Vorn's shop on Tatooine and, at the New Meen mine, decided to steal the construction equipment from the Aqualish thugs and use it to pancake some of the bad guy's buildings to send a message to them. It was pretty chaotic and everyone had a blast doing it. Thank you everyone for your advice!

 

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