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Naboooki

Session materials and organization

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Hello all,

I just ran my first EotE session as GM, and we have our second meeting set for next weekend. It went well and we all had a ton of fun, but I felt very unorganized. True, we were still all learning the rules and I was flipping pages like a madman, but I was wondering anyone had any tips for staying more organized?

What sort of documents do you keep at your side, for easy reference?

How do you keep track of any relavant players tats or story details?

What are you referencing most, if not just story narratives?

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated!

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Hey mate

 

I have only run a couple of introductory sessions in preparation for a full blown campaign. Am in the process of setting up my aids from learnings through the couple sessions I tested my GM mettle against. So now have a group of six coming and playing the campaign game. I am assured that this game mechanic can support six. I believe it can and am focused on not having the D20 style of sessions where one combat encounter lasts 3-4 hours.

 

Anyway tips

 

  • Star Wars GM's screen. As much as this game doesnt require the GM screen, due to fact that opposed rolls are part of the pool, i have found the nfo in the screen to be great. Couple things could have been added there but not complaining. It has 90% of what you would need and can use on the fly. Highly recommend this.
  • If you can get your hands on a white board, I have a 1m by 500ml whiteboard where i have drawn all the positive dice symbols and the ones which cancel them are drawn opposite. That board I will mount up behind me and the whole group can see. Easy reference when they are rolling to remember what cancels what.
  • As to player stats, I am only interested in their characteristics. Not so much about the ranks in skills. Characteristics give me a good guide on where each one has invested and is a base line. Its a narrative game so not concerned with the ranks in skills and tracking that. If they have good ranks then they should excel.
  • Having a laptop helps to track the obligations, motivations, etc of each character. i have also a spare monitor that i have hooked up and created a very simple excel spreadsheet that will track the initiative phase. That screen faces the group and my laptop monitor faces me. What i want them to see I will put on the second screen. (Have wanted to get the ASUS Taichi laptop but just to expensive for me at this stage. Have a look at that as its perfect for gaming. Its a dual screen laptop/tablet combo)

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I keep the GM screen layed flack and face up in front of me.

 

I generally have a player reference document, possibly even a stack for the players to look at to help the interpret dice rolls, movement cost, and combat skill difficulties: http://dl.dropboxuse...rence-Sheet.pdf

 

For aiding me with intitiative I use this awesome sheet: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6466794/Star%20Wars%20Initiative%20Tracker%202013-08-17.pdf (I Tried searching the boards for the original poster that posted this document to give proper credit but I couldn't track it down.)

 

For other potential reference material, Take a look at the first post in this thread: http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/85616-compiled-resources-list/

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I use the npc cards from 9littlebees. I keep masters organized in a Google Drive folder and print off the ones I need depending on the session. In a pinch I'll keep index cards handy for quick characters. It's an old Fate habit.

 

http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/85616-compiled-resources-list/

 

Outside of that I don't find that I need much. I also keep the GM screen flat in front of me, though I may be raising it soon if my players don't stop glancing over trying to read my stat blocks :)

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I'm using Scrivener to manage my campaign and keep notes, and I've been working with another person to build templates in Evernote so I have quick, easy-to-use NPCs & ships at my disposal.  I tried doing it all in Evernote but the Scrivener solution feels more elegant and I find I'm keeping much better track of everything, and I can just create note links to Evernote notes where needed.   I am using Mindnode and Scapple (the latter mostly now) to visualize my story; since it's a sandbox game, I have a lot of notes to keep track of....

 

During play I keep a number of sheets from the aforementioned compiled resources list available, and I've printed a couple key ones for my players.  I also use the screen but I don't hide behind it, I just keep it off to the side.  My laptop is my primary tool here.  No spare monitor here, but I might hook in a projector or even an ipad to have a display for the players, although we've been at it for 8 months now and it hasn't come up.

 

I do use maps and minis, sparingly.  I tend to draw things on my battlemats but I'm working on building a collection of maps I can just plop down when needed.  

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I use a selection of my own NPC cards, the GM screen flat in front of me, the aforementioned initiative tracker which I've laminated, and a ring binder with session notes, reference sheets, handouts, maps, etc.

I akso provide the players with a character sheet, print out of their chosen talent tree to fill in, spare paper, a horrible Excel printout I made with a selection of gear available, and an A5 print out booklet with some choice pages from the front of the free Black Sun adventure PDF.

My binder is full of stuff, but I only use a fraction. Most notably, I've created lots of name tables with at least 10 names per major original-trilogy species, a list of 100 Outer Rim planets that are not particularly well-known, and a print out of the Aurabesh alphabet.

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I am in the process of making a skills list and showing the pages that the skills start on rather than trying to flip through the books to find said skill, I'm also in process of doing the same with Talents.  I printed off from the BB the chart for Dice and what they do for the players, plus I do have the GM screen as well.  I also have a spreadsheet for players Obligation and Duty.  I have a index cards to reference on the players stats, Characteristics and ranked skills.  Further down the line I'll probably need to make copies of the players character sheets.  That's just some material I use.  I haven't found anything in particular to use for an Initiative Tracker.  But I do have a binder for notes and handouts and the like.

Edited by Talley Darkstar

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Oh yeah, I also create a Crawl for every session using Windows Movie Maker, converting to a 1080p MP4 to play from my PS3, and I have 4 playlists of Star Wars music that I've grabbed from Jedi Knight, KOTOR, KOTOR2 and YouTube. Playlists are Calm, Tense, Combat and Cantina. I play these on random repeat on my PS3, only changing with the mood of the story.

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Forgot to mention the following:

 

I do create a crawl for every session, but rather than just play it, I read it over the music.  As for music, I have a boxed set of the OST and extras, which I've ripped and built mood playlists out of.  When it's time for combat, hit the combat playlist.  when it's cantina time, off to the cantina playlist.  I could sure use some more cantina music but the rest appears to work really well.  

 

I also use my x-wing minis ships for space combat, and I take one of my battlemats and make concentric circles denoting range.  

Edited by themensch

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I use OneNote both the web app on my mac, the MS Office OneNote application on my PC, the iOS app on my phone and ipad. so no matter where i am if something inspires me i can add it to my notes, or simply review them.

 

at the table i use the GM Screen flat on a chair beside me. i never open core rule book at the table. i occasionally ask a player to look something up for me in their book while the rest of us keep the action flowing.

 

ipad at the table for OneNote reference of the adventure and for showing images to players.

 

have star wars music playing old school from CDs, though i like the idea 9littlebees has about mood playlist and may do that instead.

 

i print out home made index cards for enemies to play at the table, although i'm thinking of stopping this and simply having them in OneNote.

 

i too, create a crawl however i use this http://codepen.io/TimPietrusky/pen/eHGfj (drawback is i haven't figured out how to have the episode number and title display in the centre)

 

we have a whiteboard on the table and sw minis, but very rarely use them.

 

i'm about to start trying out ambient sounds that loop from iOS app Ambiance.

Edited by New Zombie

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The GM screen is one of the most useful screens I have ever seen as a GM of many games over the years.  Ironic in a way that it is for a game where using a screen is almost prohibited by the rules!  I'm thinking of scanning it, and shrinking it to fit 2 pages onto 1 a4 landscape page, printing it double sided, and laminating them as cheat sheets to hand out to my players.  Font size might be so small as to be illegible if I do that tho.

 

And a white board is now a standard for my gaming.  It's a good size (90x120cm) and gets used a lot for quick maps, a list of players and the names of the characters they are playing for ease of reference, and tracking initiative.  We have drawn up a 6x6 grid in the bottom left corner with successes running vertically and advantage horizontally and numbered from 0 (bottom right) up to 5 (top left).  I just write a blue P (party) or a red B (bad guys) in the right spot on the grid as initiative is rolled. It makes keeping track of initiative easy and quick.  I also scribble up pertinent information that applies to the whole group or for a whole campaign, such as ship damage or currency exchange rates when playing WFRP 2nd ed.  Heck, one of my PC's used it to draw up a CSI-style "relationship web" between all the NPC's in a recent investigation centred module I was running.

 

I am thinking of upgrading the whiteboard to a magnetic one at some stage so I can use magnetic tokens to represent PC and bad guy locations easily on any map I scribble up rather than constantly writing and erasing marks on the board during combats.

 

I'll also keep my tablet handy at the table, mostly used to google images of ships or alien species that the players may not be familiar with.  But I'm also thinking of beginning to use it to run Syrinscape to provide background music and sound effects for our games.

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A ton of great advice so far, so I can't really add too much more. For me, I am lucky and I have a seven foot long table we game on, and I have a fold up card table next to me for all my crap. I like having the area in front of me clear so the players can see me. I do have my screen next to me. I keep the whiteboard on the table, and my notebook in front of me. We have 4 dice sets so two for the front 2 players and GM, and two sets for the 2 players at the back. I use the white broad for mini maps, initiative order and small notes. I use my ipad to control my itunes Star Wars playlist and volume on my PC. I also have a ton of pics on my ipad that I can quickly show people. We also use the Obsiadian Portal to organize our campaign. So the players get a lot of info from there. I can also pull up our Portal site on my ipad for quick reference. My big thing is to keep all my crap off to the side, and keep the GM Player views clear. Some of my guys use laptops, but I ask them to put them on a chair next to them, not on the table.

As far as flipping pages, I can totally relate to wanting to run the game the right way. But just go with your gut most of the time. Have someone write down the rule in question and at break time, or your down time, look it up, and let the group know your final say on it.

Make sure you have good GM holocron, get a 2 inch three ring bidder, some dividers and folders. Have a section for quick reference rules, create a folder for generic NPC types, Generic encounters, common equipment, ships, vehicles, and places. Make that your knowledge repository and you will be running epicness in no time!! Good luck out there! Check out our group portal if you want to. Ciao.

R2

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 I could sure use some more cantina music but the rest appears to work really well.

there are a few tracks on "Star Wars: The clone wars" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack that work as cantina music.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JO5oVBIJqs&list=PL53B19D12F589ADD6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlo6-ToLnys&list=PL53B19D12F589ADD6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJlYc_SMlyU&list=PL53B19D12F589ADD6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onxDI548lTU&list=PL53B19D12F589ADD6

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 I could sure use some more cantina music but the rest appears to work really well.

there are a few tracks on "Star Wars: The clone wars" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack that work as cantina music.

 

Awesome, thanks!  I haven't watched as much of that show as I should have.  

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One note is AMAZING for keeping track of the game and little details that make each session great. I even have a tab for Great one liners and quotes from each session. 

They beuty of the One note is it auto saves so you never have to worrry about not saving it. 

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We use Obsidian Portal to organize my overall campaign.  

 

https://edge-of-the-empire-6.obsidianportal.com/

 

On the Portal, I even have some sound files for what the NPCs sound like or the sound of the ship.

 

I love to have good music when we are gaming. I use iTunes and my iPad to control my iTunes playlist on my PC. I can control the volume and tracks right from my GM chair. I have found a ton of great music on youtube and use a free web based youtube to mp3 convertor. I am not really into the “modern music” scene anymore, as I am getting kind of old and outdated, :huh:  but I have a ton of electronic/dance/and dubstep Star Wars music. And some metal too. I find the dubstep to go along with the theme of EotE extremely well. My players always comment on my choice of music. I of course have all the Star Wars sound tracks, the Clone Wars, KOTOR I and II, TOR, and Shadows of the Empire. Oh, even some Star Wars Jazz! It’s great for when they are gambling!

 

Some great Star Wars Dubstep songs.

 

http://www.undernyc.com/the-best-dubstep-remixes-of-star-wars-dubstep/

 

Perhaps the BEST Star Wars metal I have ever heard!! Truly EPIC!! 

 

https://soundcloud.com/korriband

 

I also use youtube. I found a great Ambiance piece that I have been using for the jungle of Cholganna.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxuvy-_F8iw

 

I don’t use any non Star Wars related music though. I even use the stupid Kinect dance game music “We speak no Huttesse”. It fits into the RPG game pretty well.  

So, while this post does not really help in the organization of your session, it is here to help breath more life in to your sessions if you want to use any of these ideas.  If you don’t use music in your game, and have the means too, what are you waiting for!? Imagine the movies without the music! I feel having a good playlist is paramount to having a great game. It adds that extra dimension that no one may not even notice at first, but becomes epic at just the right time.  ;)

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i have laminated compies of 2 of 9LittleBees NPC sheets and one of the Combat Tracker from the resource thread.

 

these are for throw away NPCs (or protracted engagements) where im only using the characters for one session. I use a wet erase pen on them so they are reusable but do not spontaneously wipe. I'll see how this works tomorrow.

 

Im also using some graph paper and deck plans in binder pocket sheets (the clear plastic ones) so that my players and i can mark pc and npc locations with dry erase pens. the dry erase just wipes off where as the wet erase adheres unles wet. if you are on a budget i suggest this method as they are $1.00 for 10 at a dollar store and are reusable (slide a different sheet in them and away you go).

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