As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/
Options

I wanna learn how to run games!

ClawshrimpyClawshrimpy Registered User regular
edited October 2006 in Critical Failures
Specifically, I want to run the Star Wars D20 roleplaying game.


How difficult would it be to run a game with my Star Wars Revised Core Rulebook, I don't have any sourcebooks really, allthough I will pick up, the Dark Side Sourcebook, the Power of the Jedi sourcebook, and the equiv they have to the MM now. (Dangerous Adversaries?) and possibly Ultimate Alien Anthology, when I can.


I want to run an Old Republic game, set after the sith war, but before the prequels, Revan is still alive, and has kept his legacy intact through the cloning procedure Palpatine would use later. Revan strikes various alliance with other sith forces, inclusing the Sith Witch clans of Dathomir.

The group plays as some of the Republic Remnant's only hope against Revan's Sith Empire.

Clawshrimpy on

Posts

  • Options
    laughingfuzzballlaughingfuzzball Registered User regular
    edited October 2006
    How much experience do you have in the following:

    Playing SWD20
    Playing RPGs in general
    Running RPGs in general

    How familiar are you with the Star Wars fiction, particularly dealing with the era and concepts you wish to include?

    laughingfuzzball on
  • Options
    ClawshrimpyClawshrimpy Registered User regular
    edited October 2006
    I've played in 2 Campeigns of SWD20, but only played one all the way through, as I am best at playign Force-users and there were too many Force Users in the one group, allthough I can do fairly decently as a Soldier/PRC of some type, usually Officer or Elite Trooper.

    I've been playing D&D since 3.0, and have a pretty good grasp on the mechanics of d20 from a players perspective.

    I have played KOTOR and KOTOR2 all the way through, and have done a great bit of study on the Hyperspace, Mandalorian, and Sith wars. I also did a lot of study on the Sith Witch clans of Dathomir.

    Clawshrimpy on
  • Options
    laughingfuzzballlaughingfuzzball Registered User regular
    edited October 2006
    Definately get DSSB and PotJ. If you use DSSB without PotJ available to the players, use it sapringly to avaoid upsetting PC/NPC balances. DA and UAA are great time-savers, but aren't necesary. If they;ve gotten around to releasing the Old Republic book yet (last I hears it was just a rumor, but that was a while ago), that'll be useful as well.

    Set everything up ahead of time, but make it broad enough that the PCs can get a good bit away from what you intend, because they will do so. Make sure you have a few quick and easy encounters that you can just throw out there if they get into territory you didn't plan for. Pay attention to who seems to respond to what and how so that you can learn to write better hooks and predict what the party will do more easily. Rate encounters according to the book, but be ready to raise or lower them a level if things are getting too difficult or too easy.

    You won't use anywhere near all of your material this way, but it's a good idea until you get better at GMing on the spot. Don't let your players know when you adjust encounter levels or events- it tends to screw with GM trust. Let them assume everything that was planned was exactly as planned, and everything else was on the fly.

    laughingfuzzball on
  • Options
    DeVryGuyDeVryGuy Registered User regular
    edited October 2006
    Just a general tip, I write out a little section at the top of all my adventures ("The Facts") with the who, what, where, why, when and how of what's going on. This way if the players go about something in a way I totally did not anticipate I have a baseline for my bullshit.

    DeVryGuy on
    Pokemon Diamond: 5369 6910 9799
    FFTSig.jpg
  • Options
    PkmoutlPkmoutl Registered User regular
    edited October 2006
    Okay, I'm going to chime in here for a bit.

    My wife has run the D20 Star Wars (and the old D6 one, too), and she says that most of the other books like the "Ultimate Guides to" whatever are good, but you don't really need them to run a game. Most of your basics are right there in the core rules, and that's all you really need.

    As far as my personal advice goes, how a game is run is dependent on the person who runs it. People can stuff you full of how to do it their way, but quite honestly, I've been running games for over 20 years now, and I rarely have a "fact list" on hand. It's a good idea, but if you aren't that organized a person, it's just so much paper in your way.

    My advice is this:
    • Be familiar with the rules, but don't get too pent up about them. Remember that the rules are secondary to the actual gameplay.
    • Your story is never going to be linear. Always expect the unexpected. Remember that the people in your game are human beings with minds of their own. If you railroad them down Path X all the time, they're going to be bored.
    • Again, you don't need the extra books and crap. People will argue with me on this, but I have twenty times their experience in twenty times more systems than they do. The basic rules give you enough for a first-time game. It's like my father says about buying a car, "the more bells and whistles you put on it, the more there is to get broken."
    • Find a few pre-made adventures online and look them over. Not from fansites, but look for ones on the WotC site or whoever they whored the SWd20 system out to. Just look it over and see how it is structured. It will give you an idea on how to set things up and how to pull your players into the game, but it won't put you in a strict A to B to C to D regimen. Like I said, railroading people is boring for the players. I know, I was just in a railroad-style game and it was boring and frustrating at times.
    • With something like Star Wars, you might want to pick up some of the paperbacks, especially the ones with short stories in them. There's a lot of miscellany that you can use in later campaigns. That's actually one of my wife's tricks.
    • Finally, and most importantly, try to make it like a story, not like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Also, be descriptive as much as you can. The better the picture you can paint for your players, the more they will enjoy your game. If you just tell them things like, "There's a hallway going left and right and there's a guard down on the right," they aren't really going to give a shit. Describe the hallway. What color are the walls? Have the guard doing something. No guard just stands there like a mannequin. He could be humming or walking a patrol or picking his underpants out of his asscrack...whatever. Give it life. Make it real. Show, don't tell.

    Pkmoutl on
  • Options
    NerissaNerissa Registered User regular
    edited October 2006
    Pkmoutl wrote:
    Okay, I'm going to chime in here for a bit.

    My wife has run the D20 Star Wars (and the old D6 one, too), and she says that most of the other books like the "Ultimate Guides to" whatever are good, but you don't really need them to run a game. Most of your basics are right there in the core rules, and that's all you really need.

    As far as my personal advice goes, how a game is run is dependent on the person who runs it. People can stuff you full of how to do it their way, but quite honestly, I've been running games for over 20 years now, and I rarely have a "fact list" on hand. It's a good idea, but if you aren't that organized a person, it's just so much paper in your way.

    My advice is this:
    • Be familiar with the rules, but don't get too pent up about them. Remember that the rules are secondary to the actual gameplay.
    • Your story is never going to be linear. Always expect the unexpected. Remember that the people in your game are human beings with minds of their own. If you railroad them down Path X all the time, they're going to be bored.
    • Again, you don't need the extra books and crap. People will argue with me on this, but I have twenty times their experience in twenty times more systems than they do. The basic rules give you enough for a first-time game. It's like my father says about buying a car, "the more bells and whistles you put on it, the more there is to get broken."
    • Find a few pre-made adventures online and look them over. Not from fansites, but look for ones on the WotC site or whoever they whored the SWd20 system out to. Just look it over and see how it is structured. It will give you an idea on how to set things up and how to pull your players into the game, but it won't put you in a strict A to B to C to D regimen. Like I said, railroading people is boring for the players. I know, I was just in a railroad-style game and it was boring and frustrating at times.
    • With something like Star Wars, you might want to pick up some of the paperbacks, especially the ones with short stories in them. There's a lot of miscellany that you can use in later campaigns. That's actually one of my wife's tricks.
    • Finally, and most importantly, try to make it like a story, not like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Also, be descriptive as much as you can. The better the picture you can paint for your players, the more they will enjoy your game. If you just tell them things like, "There's a hallway going left and right and there's a guard down on the right," they aren't really going to give a shit. Describe the hallway. What color are the walls? Have the guard doing something. No guard just stands there like a mannequin. He could be humming or walking a patrol or picking his underpants out of his asscrack...whatever. Give it life. Make it real. Show, don't tell.
    That's the most important thing to remember in running ANY game. The absolute WORST DM I ever had railroaded us unto the story he wanted to tell, rather than letting us make decisions. It was an amusing story, but not nearly as much fun as it would have been if we had been able to do what we wanted to do rather than just play along with his plans.

    It's also probably the most difficult part of running a game. It sucks to have all of this cool stuff planned and to have your players go off somewhere else completely. Also, unless you're really good at making things up on the fly, having your players make a big left turn at the beginning of a playing session and go somewhere you hadn't expected can leave you struggling to stay one step ahead of them the rest of the session.

    Look at the situation you set up, think about your players and their personalities, and try to figure out every possible choice they could make. Plan the likely ones out, but have at least a few notes jotted down for the unlikely choices as well, so you aren't completely flat-footed when they throw you a curve.

    Nerissa on
  • Options
    DMACDMAC Come at me, bro! Moderator mod
    edited October 2006
    I was looking for an article I read a while ago about the elements that make up a good Star Wars story and came across a different article along the same lines:

    http://ptgptb.org/0022/theforce.html

    DMAC on
  • Options
    gredavingredavin Registered User regular
    edited October 2006
    Go with player assumptions if you are the type of GM who does a lot of winging storyline.

    I had my players make a comment that the current situation they were in was somehow linked to an organisation they met only in passing a few sessions earlier. I went with it, and now have an entirely new arc for my campaign that will last at least 4-5 sessions!

    gredavin on
  • Options
    RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited October 2006
    Pkmoutl wrote:
    [*]Finally, and most importantly, try to make it like a story, not like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Also, be descriptive as much as you can. The better the picture you can paint for your players, the more they will enjoy your game. If you just tell them things like, "There's a hallway going left and right and there's a guard down on the right," they aren't really going to give a shit. Describe the hallway. What color are the walls? Have the guard doing something. No guard just stands there like a mannequin. He could be humming or walking a patrol or picking his underpants out of his asscrack...whatever. Give it life. Make it real. Show, don't tell.
    [/list]

    This is the fucking gospel, right here. When I DM with my group, I have made it a rule for our first few games that you cannot get critical kills if you only declare an attack with "I attack". You have to specify what sword you are using, your target and how you are doing it. As in, "I swing my broadsword at the orc's chest." It basically teaches them to be more descriptive with the game, and I try to include as much detail as possible without going overboard, and it really, really helps bring the games to life for the players and myself.

    At first, they were pissed, a little. Not genuinely angry, but thought it was a silly sort of thing to do. They would make big exagerated gestures and use cheezy voices as they said things like "okay, fine, I heft my shining longsword far above my head and plunge it down with great vengence and furious anger, attempting to cleave the dire rat in twain witht he force of my blow, RAAAAAAAR!!!! Happy now?"

    But after a little bit, they understood how much it helped, and by the end of the first game it became habit to just declare weapon, enemy and attack method, sometimes with a bit of flare for fun, without going overboard, and it really is paying off.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • Options
    NerissaNerissa Registered User regular
    edited October 2006
    Pkmoutl wrote:
    [*]Finally, and most importantly, try to make it like a story, not like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Also, be descriptive as much as you can. The better the picture you can paint for your players, the more they will enjoy your game. If you just tell them things like, "There's a hallway going left and right and there's a guard down on the right," they aren't really going to give a shit. Describe the hallway. What color are the walls? Have the guard doing something. No guard just stands there like a mannequin. He could be humming or walking a patrol or picking his underpants out of his asscrack...whatever. Give it life. Make it real. Show, don't tell.
    [/list]

    This is the fucking gospel, right here. When I DM with my group, I have made it a rule for our first few games that you cannot get critical kills if you only declare an attack with "I attack". You have to specify what sword you are using, your target and how you are doing it. As in, "I swing my broadsword at the orc's chest." It basically teaches them to be more descriptive with the game, and I try to include as much detail as possible without going overboard, and it really, really helps bring the games to life for the players and myself.

    At first, they were pissed, a little. Not genuinely angry, but thought it was a silly sort of thing to do. They would make big exagerated gestures and use cheezy voices as they said things like "okay, fine, I heft my shining longsword far above my head and plunge it down with great vengence and furious anger, attempting to cleave the dire rat in twain witht he force of my blow, RAAAAAAAR!!!! Happy now?"

    But after a little bit, they understood how much it helped, and by the end of the first game it became habit to just declare weapon, enemy and attack method, sometimes with a bit of flare for fun, without going overboard, and it really is paying off.
    Very nice... I may borrow that rule for my game :)

    Nerissa on
  • Options
    RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited October 2006
    Of course.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • Options
    DMACDMAC Come at me, bro! Moderator mod
    edited October 2006
    This could easily be its own topic, but one of my pet peeves is the completely open-ended adventure. I've tried gaming with groups where the DM had absolutely nothing planned.

    "Okay, you're in a town, what do you want to do?"

    "Ummm... look for adventure?"

    "You don't find any."

    DMAC on
  • Options
    gredavingredavin Registered User regular
    edited October 2006
    Pkmoutl wrote:
    [*]Finally, and most importantly, try to make it like a story, not like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Also, be descriptive as much as you can. The better the picture you can paint for your players, the more they will enjoy your game. If you just tell them things like, "There's a hallway going left and right and there's a guard down on the right," they aren't really going to give a shit. Describe the hallway. What color are the walls? Have the guard doing something. No guard just stands there like a mannequin. He could be humming or walking a patrol or picking his underpants out of his asscrack...whatever. Give it life. Make it real. Show, don't tell.
    [/list]

    This is the fucking gospel, right here. When I DM with my group, I have made it a rule for our first few games that you cannot get critical kills if you only declare an attack with "I attack". You have to specify what sword you are using, your target and how you are doing it. As in, "I swing my broadsword at the orc's chest." It basically teaches them to be more descriptive with the game, and I try to include as much detail as possible without going overboard, and it really, really helps bring the games to life for the players and myself.

    At first, they were pissed, a little. Not genuinely angry, but thought it was a silly sort of thing to do. They would make big exagerated gestures and use cheezy voices as they said things like "okay, fine, I heft my shining longsword far above my head and plunge it down with great vengence and furious anger, attempting to cleave the dire rat in twain witht he force of my blow, RAAAAAAAR!!!! Happy now?"

    But after a little bit, they understood how much it helped, and by the end of the first game it became habit to just declare weapon, enemy and attack method, sometimes with a bit of flare for fun, without going overboard, and it really is paying off.

    I award bonuses to rolls for cinematic descriptions. Give me a cool way of attacking? Here, add +2 to your roll to hit. Describe a particularly nasty way of dispatching an enemy? +2 to damage.

    I do this with all my game systems and it has added a lot more spice to the games I run.

    gredavin on
  • Options
    RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited October 2006
    I usually award a bonus to clever attack methods, too. The guys were fighting skeletons earlier, and one of the guys was using a rapier, which I gave a minus 2 to hit, since they weren't wearing armor and a piercing weapon would logically be harder to dispatch a skeleton with than would a bludgeoning weapon, for instance. So the player was clever and decided to use his torch as a weapon in his offhand, waving it in the faces of the skeletons to try to frighten/stun them with the fire. I liked the quick thinking, so I negated the penalty, which was just enough to make the attack successful. The player was thrilled with how it worked out, and it became a proud moment out of what otherwise could have been a very forgettable combat.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • Options
    DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2006
    If the people are new to roleplaying, they will probably have a hard time getting "in character." As an easy way to introduce them to the idea, I like to introduce them to the concept during combat where new players feel the most involved anyway. When a player lands a killing blow, you ask them what happened or how he/she killed the enemy. They come up with some pretty awesome moves, and it makes the combat seem way cooler and more involved than me just telling them what happened, since they usually come up with heroic stuff, but keep a leash on them to keep them from going over-the-top. I've found that the feeling of player involvement can then carry over to non-combat situations much more easily once they are used to the idea.

    Doc on
  • Options
    RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited October 2006
    Many players who are new to RPGs, as Doc said, do have a hard time getting into the idea that they are playing a character, rather than being a character. The first thing they want to do is get their hands dirty, jump right into a dungeon and kill some shit. This is a noble desire, and one that I like to reward immediately.

    In most games, the first couple levels pretty much suck. So for the first game or two, I will just throw them immediately into a dungeon, or let them discover a way into the dungeon (you are standing in a passageway descending from the forest floor down some old mossy stone steps to a solid stone door. It is unmarked, and protrudes only slightly from the rest of the wall. Cobwebs and moss adorn the walls around you, and a cold draft seems to gather at the front of the steps. etc.) without having to deal with the whole "you are in a tavern, how do you find adventure?" first.

    This will give them a chance to get a feel for the mechanics of the game and sort of get their bearings in therms of party dynamic and the characters they have, without having to spend the first part of the game getting through all of that heavy plot and atmosphere. I'll throw a few traps in, to remind them to search whenever they can, and give them a few neat items and some spending money that they have earned rather than inherited through the character creation process, before sending them off to town to start to discover the more meaty parts of the game.

    So far it has worked out very well, and has left the characters excited - they know how much they enjoy combat, have a level 2 or 3 character that is already starting to grow, some neat items to be proud of, and motivation to get back to the fun hack-and-slash parts of the game, so they tend to work harder at discovering reasons to do so.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • Options
    PkmoutlPkmoutl Registered User regular
    edited October 2006
    Depending on the game, I will award for exceptional RP'ing. Especially in Amber. In Amber, that kind of thing is a MUST.

    We don't generally get too hyper about the RP'ing in D&D, though. It's kind of our relaxation game. We've all been playing it for so long, it's bound to become a fiasco of some kind at some point.

    The one thing you can do to break the whole not used to RP'ing thing is to make them stop saying "My character does this" and "My character turns to his character and says," and that sort of thing. Tell them that they are actors in a story they are writing themselves, for the most part, and they have to play the part--use "I."

    It's also important for you as the DM to not say "your character takes X damage" or "Your character falls down into the Pit of Despair." Make it "you" each time. It also helps if the players call each other by character name, not by their actual name.

    I like to do a lot of "you all meet in a tavern somewhere" kind of things at the beginnings of games, because it allows the characters to actually learn to be social in-character.

    Pkmoutl on
  • Options
    tehmarkentehmarken BrooklynRegistered User regular
    edited October 2006
    Pkmoutl wrote:
    The one thing you can do to break the whole not used to RP'ing thing is to make them stop saying "My character does this" and "My character turns to his character and says," and that sort of thing. Tell them that they are actors in a story they are writing themselves, for the most part, and they have to play the part--use "I."

    It's also important for you as the DM to not say "your character takes X damage" or "Your character falls down into the Pit of Despair." Make it "you" each time. It also helps if the players call each other by character name, not by their actual name.

    This is something my group has done in every single game we play. I actually can't really imagine playing any other way ~_~

    Also, we often come up with silly voices for our characters. Once me and a friend had swordsmen brothers, so we both had silly German accents. Also, if you're over 21, alcohol is a great way to get guys into the RPing mood. But no too much or you end up not able to do anything and someone spills wine on your character sheet >_<

    tehmarken on
Sign In or Register to comment.