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choux

New GM - Looking For Advice

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Hey y'all, I bought into Genesys and SotB and I'm looking to start GM'ing a group and was looking for advice for a first time GM.

My plan so far is to run a quick one-shot with the players with premade characters, to get everyone on the same page rules-wise, give them an idea of what abilities do, and get a sense for my players' playstyle.  Then (ideally same session) create characters for everyone together so I know what characters to start building a story around.

For my one-shot I'm thinking a simple heist with a hacking component, a combat component, and a social encounter component.  I've charted out what I think would be failure consequences for each of the components that aren't game-overs (i.e. if they fail the hacking component, the combat encounter becomes more difficult because more guards are alerted to the break-in.)  I also have a list of npc's they may or may not encounter and how those npc's can contribute to the goal of pulling off the heist.

Is there anything I'm missing or any advice for a first time GM?

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It all sounds pretty good. I did a similar thing when I started GM-ing the Star Wars RPG. Used one of the starter boxes, using the pre-gens/included adventure, to get everyone up to speed, and then started a new campaign afterwards with everyone creating new characters. We are about 20 sessions in now so I'd say it worked.

Hints from the SW starter boxes, start with a bang. Set the scene in media res, give each PC an action to set themselves up and then straight into a combat, followed by a social encounter. Each encounter is designed to introduce 1 or 2 rules and builds up to a final encounter that pulls it all together.

One thing I would caution about hacking is I used to play Cyberpunk 2020 back in the day as the groups only netrunner.  I would typically have mini side quests off on my own in the Matrix trying to disable security system as the rest of the party sat about bored waiting for the front doors to open. It wasn't very engaging for the rest of the table. If I was looking to introduce it in a SotB intro I would keep it quick, one piece of easy ice, 1 or 2 rolls max. If you want to do a full blown Network encounter make sure the rest of the party has something to be doing at the same time. Might make a good climax maybe?

One final hint if this is your first time with the narrative dice, get your players to describe what and how they are using a skill before rolling dice. It is not enough for them to say I'm using Mechanics to cause a distraction. Get them to say how they use their mechanics skill and what type of distraction they hope to create. It makes it so much easier to interpret weird dice results when you have that narrative framing. For example my party was at a ball, trying to get into a guarded room. One PC wanted to use mechanics to mess with a power socket to cause a small fire farther down the hall to draw the guard away from his post. He failed, but with like 5 advantage! So they failed at what they were specifically trying to do, but in a really beneficial way. In my case we were able to say instead of a small fire down the hall the fuse box behind the guard blows, knowing him out, but drawing attention to the door. They got their distraction but in a manner they wern't expecting and now have new troubles and opportunities. Without the narrative framing supplied by the specifics, you kinda have to say they failed to create a distraction and how they have all this generated advantage and have to struggle to spend it on something else.  Plus I find such collaborative storytelling is much more engaging for the whole table anyway.

Best of luck, have fun, you'll do great!

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When i created my first genesys campaign and introduced it to my play group we did a prequel run kinda like what you where thinking for your one shot. What i did was allow players to come up with a concept for the setting and then i made a small character stat block like a card with basic stat a sample spell and equipment but not a full char sheet. I wrote out all the dice pool for easy reference for their most likely used skills. 

We all agreed that any skill/career choice even archetypes they could change after the prequel session. Which also meant that we did not describe the characters just went straight into the prequel which was a short investigation story. This gave the players a feel for the setting and ruleset turned out quite nice. 

Your one shot could do the same but i wanted the players to feel engaged with their characters instead of rolling up new ones after the one shot. Might not work for all groups but at least for us setting up the agreement really worked out. 

This also meant i could foreshadow stuff in the prequel which i had planned later on in the campaign.

Good luck with the start and tell us how it goes. 

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The only thing I've found to be really important is to really drill into the players how the rules work on day one.  Especially if they are new to RPGs in general.  For tips on this check out some of the Star Wars beginner games which break down the rules as you go.

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