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errrik012

Advice for a new GM?

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Hi everyone!

First-time poster here. Just ran my first ever role-playing session a few days ago with the EotE Beginner Game. Had a blast! Ran into an odd situation though, and wanted to see how other GMs might have handled it. 

During the final encounter, the PCs we're fighting the Nemesis of the mission, a Trandoshan named Captain Trex. They were trying to steal his starship to get off planet. In the midst of the fight, one of the PCs instead of attacking decided to negotiate with Trex to get him to give up the starship. I was definitely surprised, but checked the PC's negotiate against Trex's vigilance and threw in two setback dice, but the PC succeeded so Trex gave up the ship.

Not exactly how I expected the climax of the adventure to go. Obviously I want to be flexible with the PC's decisions, but is this how more tenured GM's would have handled it? 

Erik

Edited by errrik012

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Yep.

Trex may seek revenge personally or report the crime to the local authorities, so there may be some repercussions down the road.

The PC's may also gain a positive reputation for being reasonable pirates who are willing to go easy on victims who cooperate.  It may lead to other "work" opportunities down the road too.

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I ran the Beginner Game a couple months ago with some brand new players and had a similar outcome.  My PC's snuck into the hangar, bluffed their way onto the ship, and convinced Trex that he still needed to settle up with the junk dealer.  Essentially, some great role playing and really cooperative dice left them in possession of the ship without firing a shot, which they didn't hesitate to steal.  We followed up with the Long Arm of the Hutt adventure in the Core Rulebook and there were repercussions that had to be played out regarding the ordeal, but overall it was a great time and the group has completely fallen in love with EotE.  GM Rule #1: Be flexible, especially if it makes for a fun story.

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While I'm all for flexibility, I wouldn't have allowed Negotiate to make Trex just give up his ship without at least a promise of something valuable in return.  We had a similar recent thread about being able to Charm someone into murdering their best friend.  Assuming you can resolve stuff like that in one roll is like expecting to shoot down a Rancor with a hold-out pistol:  these things take time.  Social skills aren't Mind Trick, and even Mind Trick doesn't allow that kind of thing.  Setting up someone to murder is probably several sessions of false info, framing, setups, and appropriate social pressure of varying kinds, ideally from more than one person.  It's not just a one-off.  (And yes, you *can* eventually take down a Rancor with a holdout pistol, you just have to keep crit'ing it, which takes forever.)

You didn't say, but hopefully Trex got something for his ship.  Otherwise it wasn't a Negotiation.  Even a "I'll pay you once we take out Teebo" is something, and once Trex realizes he's been duped, he can make a good recurring enemy.  In the meantime, realize you've set a precedent, and you might want to clarify with the group.  Because now they might think their social skills can solve all kinds of problems and you might find it quickly gets out of hand.

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On 5/28/2018 at 7:16 AM, errrik012 said:

Hi everyone!

First-time poster here. Just ran my first ever role-playing session a few days ago with the EotE Beginner Game. Had a blast! Ran into an odd situation though, and wanted to see how other GMs might have handled it. 

During the final encounter, the PCs we're fighting the Nemesis of the mission, a Trandoshan named Captain Trex. They were trying to steal his starship to get off planet. In the midst of the fight, one of the PCs instead of attacking decided to negotiate with Trex to get him to give up the starship. I was definitely surprised, but checked the PC's negotiate against Trex's vigilance and threw in two setback dice, but the PC succeeded so Trex gave up the ship.

Not exactly how I expected the climax of the adventure to go. Obviously I want to be flexible with the PC's decisions, but is this how more tenured GM's would have handled it? 

Erik

No, just out of the  blue "hey, I wanna use Negotiate" I wouldn't allow. Why would anyone stop and barter with someone who is trying to kill them? That's not a rule issue, it's  a common sense one.

My question is were the PCs winning? Old saying, you'll never win at the negotiating table anything you can't win on the battlefield.

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Not sure 2 Setback dice was enough (it’d depend on the situation and the proposal made), but the general principle is fine.

As @Mark Caliber said, there might be consequences. That’s the thing with most decisions the players make you didn’t see coming and/or aren’t completely happy with, really: don’t look at it as closing the door on your prepared storyline, but as opening the door to a different story. Players will surprise you. Often. It’s going to keep happening. And it’s fine. It’s half the fun of GMing in my book.

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Hi Errrik012 glad to have you aboard.

The situation you found yourself in isn't that uncommon to be honest, when I ran the beginners game my group used a combination of stealth and charm to get aboard the ship and steal it. 

The problem that you may have created for yourself going forward is consistency. Actions that worked once should be able to be applied in the same situation next time.

The issue is that you said the party negotiated the ship out from under Trex mid-fight. That is an incredibly difficult if not impossible thing to do under normal circumstances. Negotiating with an actively hostile and aggressive enemy requires either massive leverage  (your opponent it's massively outgunned or whipped almost to defeat) or incredible levels of bribery that would not be worth the cost of the ship. I would think that most people would not negotiate under any other circumstance no matter how good your characters skill is.

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As a GM always remember that whatever you plan for, the players will ALWAYS do something unexpected.... In Curse of Strahd we started a mild revolution in Vallaki and installed a democracy. At the end of the session the GM made us smile by saying 'There's no GMs guidance for what you just did'

After many years of playing and GMing I have learned not to over-prep.. for my next turn to GM I've bullet pointed/mindmapped some plots, got stats ready, a few maps and key npcs... if the players go off on a tangent I'll just wing it. Now I have small A5 note pad with notes in.. years ago I had a A4 lever arch folder full of stuff that was never used. I can't bring myself to bin/recycle the stuff so it gathers dust in the loft/attic.

Edited by ExpandingUniverse

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If my players tried this out of the blue in the middle of combat and succeeded there would need to be a reason or story hook attached to it. Sure he surrendered and exchanged his ship for his life because...

  • He can track the ship and get the drop on the players again. 
  • The ship wasn't really his. He stole it and some one worse is on his trail. 
  • The Empire is looking for the ship
  • There is a booby trap on the ship that he can trigger remotely that would force some kind of in flight chaos.

Any way you slice it, that one action can be used as the hook later on. Just remember charm, deception, etc are not mind control so it's fine to say he had motivations or reasons to agree to their offer. You can give the players a win in the short term and use it for gaming fuel later. 

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On 6/2/2018 at 3:19 PM, arrivan said:

 

  • The ship wasn't really his. He stole it and some one worse is on his trail. 
  • The Empire is looking for the ship

Love these ideas. Never be afraid to trick your players. My players have learned to fear the thought, "Well that was easy." because 9 time out of 10, I have something up my sleeve.

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