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Shabigity

New GM, looking for must have things

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Maps can be helpful for keeping track of where everyone is during combat but are by no means essential in this system.

OggDude’s Character Generator is probably the most powerful tool to have at your fingertips, not just for the namesake Character Generator, but also for the GM Tools element.

Personally, I keep binders with notes and information for each campaign I run, with dividers for each session. I keep it handy during games and can refer to it as necessary. I’ve also got far more pieces of information (art to show for settings, NPC’s, etc; adventure ideas; you name it) on my computer, allowing me to plan future sessions in a modular fashion, rearranging or adding different adventures in based on what the characters do from session to session.

FFG’s adversary decks are a fantastic resource for grabbing quick NPC’s, especially when your players make a sharp turn from what you had in mind, which they will. Often.

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Enough dice/dice apps for everyone. I cannot stress this enough. :D

While standard dice will work, my group found that using FFG's dice (or dice roller app) sped up play considerably since little time was spent refereing to charts to perfomr conversions and then figure out what might be cancelled and what symbols remained. With the dice app, this can be done automatically. With physical dice, it takes mere seconds to determine final symbols.

Some groups ban dice roller apps/programs and require physical dice. Whatever works best for your group is what I suggest.

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Mapshttps://inkarnate.com/ for landscape, my dropbox for maps I collected that might help - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/2rsvmou1w80v2it/AACguk_fD-zGt5du1tv6T1Wea?dl=0

Organizing - I use a Drive folder, with a main doc with tablets for controlling, with Obligation/Duty/Morality rates, temporary equipment, cargo handling, newly crafted items (and how we achieved their stats), etc. Different doc for notes on factions, past events, and bits that were established by players. Another doc for session preparation, with my own notes with especially my opening and ending scenes.

I also carry in my game bag a folder with cheat sheets, empty sheets, pre-generated characters, npc cards, quick draw encounters/set-pieces for improvising, etc.

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If you're looking for some ways to make some custom maps quickly and easily  (at the expense of some detail) I have found these two to be great tools.  

 

http://deepnight.net/tools/tabletop-rpg-map-editor/  (yes, uses flash, but it is worth it.)

https://www.mipui.net/app/ - a little more detailed, but also a little more work.  

 

As far as GM Essentials, there's few rules besides the rulebook, dice, and some way to record information.  Everyone does it a little differently, and it's a labor of love to scour the good advice on the internet to fine-tune one's GM kit.  

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The best tool for designing custom maps is MS Paint. I also think a virtual tool for maps is important. If you’re doing Roll20, use that. Otherwise, it’s pretty hard to visualize the combat and printing off tokens can be a pain. There are countless things that could work for this. Google Slides is what I use for games that aren’t on Roll20.

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On 1/28/2018 at 2:54 AM, Nytwyng said:

All six. (Scum and Villainy, Imperials and Rebels, Citizens of the Galaxy, Creatures of the Galaxy, Imperials and Rebels II, Hunters and Force Users).

Dang, I had completely missed that they'd released 3 more... Unfortunately, two of those are out of stock in my country, but I got the Hunters and Force users one... The rest are on back-order, but we all know how often FFG prints these things :(

Edited by OddballE8

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1 hour ago, OddballE8 said:

Dang, I had completely missed that they'd released 3 more... Unfortunately, two of those are out of stock in my country, but I got the Hunters and Force users one... The rest are on back-order, but we all know how often FFG prints these things :(

I'm yet to have the happy alignment of funds and availability too. :(

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On 2018-01-27 at 12:19 PM, Shabigity said:

But I am looking for stuff like, making maps,

If you're on a Mac, the Graphic app is really good, and inexpensive.  It's vector-based, and the only inexpensive app I've found that lets you set a real-world scale and grid.  This was really handy when mapping out a spaceport, as I could take a bitmap of a ship floorplan (google images is your friend there), scale it to size, and then map everything around it to a reasonable scale.

And yes...you want *all* of the adversary decks, yes you do :)

 

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12 hours ago, whafrog said:

If you're on a Mac, the Graphic app is really good, and inexpensive.  It's vector-based, and the only inexpensive app I've found that lets you set a real-world scale and grid.  This was really handy when mapping out a spaceport, as I could take a bitmap of a ship floorplan (google images is your friend there), scale it to size, and then map everything around it to a reasonable scale.

I've used Pixelmator for similar things, although I lack talent in this area.  I forgot to mention the free tool draw.io which is a nice fit between true artistic apps like the one you mentioned and the quick & dirty map utils I mentioned earlier.  

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Bumbling around in books really slows the game down so I recommend either buying FFG's NPC card decks and supplementing them with your own custom, hand-made NPC cards (which is what I did), or simply making your NPC cards. I also recommend making your own vehicle cards. Most of the vehicle and ship stats will fit on a standard playing card. If you use a transparent card sleeve, you can stick a little image of the vehicle on the other side to show your players.  These tools will allow you to create encounters on-the-fly.

On the flip side, I'd actually discourage you from using maps, especially encounter maps. I have a homemade map of the Tion Cluster which sits in the center of my game table and helps my PCs understand the geography of the campaign they're playing in. However, because FFG Star Wars is a narrative system that uses very abstract measurements, maps are more a hindrance than a help. They tend to slow down play and turn an organic narrative gaming process into D&D-style weird chess. When I describe the set-up of a combat encounter, I describe the general layout of the area and feature any important elements. If I don't mention a piece of terrain that would, say, provide cover, my players have always been welcome to add that piece of detail and use it.

If the encounter gets too complicated or my players aren't getting what I'm talking about, I'll make a quick map doodle on a piece of paper.

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2 hours ago, Concise Locket said:

Bumbling around in books really slows the game down so I recommend either buying FFG's NPC card decks and supplementing them with your own custom, hand-made NPC cards (which is what I did), or simply making your NPC cards. I also recommend making your own vehicle cards. Most of the vehicle and ship stats will fit on a standard playing card. If you use a transparent card sleeve, you can stick a little image of the vehicle on the other side to show your players.  These tools will allow you to create encounters on-the-fly.

On the flip side, I'd actually discourage you from using maps, especially encounter maps. I have a homemade map of the Tion Cluster which sits in the center of my game table and helps my PCs understand the geography of the campaign they're playing in. However, because FFG Star Wars is a narrative system that uses very abstract measurements, maps are more a hindrance than a help. They tend to slow down play and turn an organic narrative gaming process into D&D-style weird chess. When I describe the set-up of a combat encounter, I describe the general layout of the area and feature any important elements. If I don't mention a piece of terrain that would, say, provide cover, my players have always been welcome to add that piece of detail and use it.

If the encounter gets too complicated or my players aren't getting what I'm talking about, I'll make a quick map doodle on a piece of paper.

I actually use OggDudes character creator to check vehicle stats on the fly.
It's great if you have a laptop or the like handy.

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For making maps, do you use minis or not? If no make maps out of butcher's paper because it's cheap and expendable. If you prefer reusable go buy a wet erase vinyl grid/hex map (should be ~$20 USD for 2.some x 2.some feet and there is a larger one). If you use minis decide if you want/need 3d terrain and if so you're in for a much more expensive haul but it's cool as ****. If not use butcher paper or mats. 

Also if you do minis you'll need to consider how to acquire them, generally one per PC, then decide if you want to use a bunch of Stormtroopers or if one can represent a single group. Then we can talk about ships too. Yes this can get very spendy very quickly. 

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Rulebook: use some sticky tabs for the key sections that get used iregularly but are essential when needed - the Gear and equipment section for shopping/looting, vehicles, FEAR, and talents

Adversary decks: I echo the previous comments, they are excellent for quickly reacting to situations, or even constructing encounters from scratch. "Oh, you have met up with a squad of Rebel infantry and joined them - Heres there card" etc

Critical Injury Decks: I love these. Both the personnal and Vehicle decks. PC gets critted, hand them the card, then they can read out the pain they have suffered. Much more inclusive

Maps: WHITEBOARD WHITEBOARD WHITEBOARD!! I have a 100x50cm one. these are amazing fore quickly setting up a scene, and also for quickly changing the environment. Get a goos set of markers in different colours to go with it (Black for landscape, blue for doors, green for elevated stuff, red for interactive stuff etc). Also, you can google scans from any map in FFG printed adventures/source books and print them out large scale.

Minis: I love minis. But first off, get your hands on several of the beginner game boxes, and get different ones. It is cheaper than a dice pack, and you get a LOT of tokens for different things, plus heaps of maps (I have used the whisper base map no less than 4 times, and the YT1300 deck plan aswell).

Actual minis. FFG have got you covered in every scale imaginable. I use X-Wing, Armada, Rebellion and soon to be Legion to represent different scaled encounters all the time. The Armada stands are brilliant for even tracking defence on different faces. For PCs, there is a big market out there for the old WOTC minis, and you can find almost anything to represent the most obscure PC concept

Music: Spotify is your friend. I have made themed playlists for the different moods throughout the game (Soft, Spooky, Battle, Chase, Cantinna and Dramatic) including music from all 9 movies and select favorites from other movies (Firefly, Starship troopers, marvel). I especially love playing Vietnam war era music whenever the group goes to a Jungle Planet.

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On 2/11/2018 at 11:47 AM, ASCI Blue said:

For making maps, do you use minis or not? If no make maps out of butcher's paper because it's cheap and expendable. If you prefer reusable go buy a wet erase vinyl grid/hex map (should be ~$20 USD for 2.some x 2.some feet and there is a larger one). If you use minis decide if you want/need 3d terrain and if so you're in for a much more expensive haul but it's cool as ****. If not use butcher paper or mats. 

Also if you do minis you'll need to consider how to acquire them, generally one per PC, then decide if you want to use a bunch of Stormtroopers or if one can represent a single group. Then we can talk about ships too. Yes this can get very spendy very quickly. 

 

On 2/11/2018 at 6:19 PM, Funk Fu master said:

Minis: I love minis. But first off, get your hands on several of the beginner game boxes, and get different ones. It is cheaper than a dice pack, and you get a LOT of tokens for different things, plus heaps of maps (I have used the whisper base map no less than 4 times, and the YT1300 deck plan aswell).

OK, so I said up top that maps aren't essential. But they can be helpful for keeping track of where everyone is during a combat encounter (including NPCs), especially if there's a lot of moving parts. Minis CAN get pricey really quickly. (Says the guy who's taken a dive into both X-Wing and Armada without having played a game, and is looking forward to Legion.)

For the games I run, I've just taken a cue from the Beginner Games. I've got the tokens that came with them, but I also make custom tokens. All it takes is some good card stock, access to print in color on that card stock, and a 1" round scrapbooking die punch. Having a 3D printer, for tokens that will see a lot of use, I print out simple 1" discs to glue them to. Makes them a bit sturdier. All in all, it comes out a lot cheaper than minis and allows me to create new tokens for a session during my prep, if I think they'll be needed. I've also got a 2" die punch to make the larger scale tokens, too.

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Here's the 1" punch, with the Malefax token from the F&D BG, a CorSec officer on card stock, and my wife's character on card stock glued to a 3D printed disc, together for reference.

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On 1/27/2018 at 11:19 AM, Shabigity said:

I have a screen and obviously rule books and source books. But I am looking for stuff like, making maps, setup advice, organization techniques. That kind of stuff. Any help is appreciated!

If you want to get a buttload of high quality maps cheaper than otherwise possible, save $250 for the next time Chris West/maps of mastery runs a kick starter and pledge at the $250 level which typically will get you 1 copy of every map and files at he's printed and a digital copy of a lot more stuff.

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11 hours ago, Nytwyng said:

Here's the 1" punch, with the Malefax token from the F&D BG, a CorSec officer on card stock, and my wife's character on card stock glued to a 3D printed disc, together for reference.

I tried this, but instead I used self-adhesive magnetic circles as the base and then put a clear resin circle over the top, they look great.  My players thought I'd bought them.  I then tried this with a 2" punch resin circles and made ships.  Turns out the most expensive part is sourcing magnets.

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11 minutes ago, themensch said:

I tried this, but instead I used self-adhesive magnetic circles as the base and then put a clear resin circle over the top, they look great.  My players thought I'd bought them.  I then tried this with a 2" punch resin circles and made ships.  Turns out the most expensive part is sourcing magnets.

One of my next purchases is a magnetic dry erase board for “on the fly” maps. (Normally, any I plan in advance to use are projected on a tv used as the tabletop.). I’m looking at converting over to magnetic tokens when I do. Forget sourcing magnets...you can find magnetic label sheets of a flexible style similar to refrigerator magnets at office supply stores. :D

Edited by Nytwyng

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21 minutes ago, Nytwyng said:

One of my next purchases is a magnetic dry erase board for “on the fly” maps. (Normally, any I plan in advance to use are projected on a tv used as the tabletop.). I’m looking at converting over to magnetic tokens when I do. Forget sourcing magnets...you can find magnetic label sheets of a flexible style similar to refrigerator magnets at office supply stores. :D

Tell me how those work with your circle punch, eh? :)

I'm talking 2mm thick magnets, just to add heft to the tokens.  They work smashingly on a magnetic dry-erase board and it's a lot easier for quick encounters than the projector.  

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Great thread, great resource for new gm's. I'm also looking to start a campaign with experienced gamers but rpg newbs within the next few months. 

As far as minis go, Legion is great but after the core somewhat expensive. IA is cheaper and comes with a whole slough of videos created by the great @Sorastro to help you paint them. Although he has also started painting legion as well ;)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu5Pmz1wY-NWCYy21vikKAg

IA core gets you Vader, Luke, royal guards (4), storm troopers (9), e-web gunners (2), probe droids (3), nexus (2) imperial officers (3) and an AT-ST. then each expansion adds a lot more and individual blister packs can add heroes and villains as needed. I noticed the legion blister packs are quite expensive. 

IA also includes iconic scene specific tile pieces such as Mos Eisley cantina, Echo base, cloud city, sarlaac pit etc..

An added bonus are the rebel heroes, made up but different races that could be macthed to your PCs. 

However all of this I imagine is much cheaper and easier to set up/alter with printed maps or pictures. I just meant this for if you need/want minis.

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