View Full Version : hey =)

20 May 2002, 10:43 PM
hey all

i'm proud to be part of the gamemaster's union....hehe

i have gamemasterd all of the Star Wars rpg'ing that my players have used....from d6 a few years ago until now... the d20 =)

i like both systems..they r very similar

i am looking for input on how you gm's like to play, i like to just wing it
i make up stuff as it comes along....it seems to be the best way for me.
it's all about staying up the nite b4 the gaming session, coming up with the overall outline of the story, then making it up as i go along....because my heroes never think of the things i do in preparation....

i am just looking for rules of thumb that you all like to use......i know i have mine: always add 2-3 enemies when the heroes have 4 or more players......2-3 per every 1 hero over 4...

also the DC 12 for base (almost everyday) actions


thanks for reading


evan hansen
21 May 2002, 05:41 AM
Hey Josh --

Well, GM rules of thumb... I don't have any. :-) But hear me out. I think every adventure presents new situations, and I generally only do minimal preparation for every session. I make sure I have the beginning of the adventure down for sure and -- perhaps -- some basic enemy stats, a bar or two, and maybe a map lined up.

My only rule of thumb, I suppose, is making the game fun for my players. I generally try and make them carry the storyline. I let them do what they want and go where they want. I develop the story, unless there's something I *must* have happen for the campaign to go forward, by way of their actions. If role-playing is playing the "real lives" of these characters, why shouldn't they be encouraged to do what they would do rather than respond to my direction?

That's, for the most part, my only actual rule of thumb.

Other things I've tried before that have worked well:

-- Multiple GMs: For a fun twist, you can bring in a second GM that will either dictate a separate part of the plot or, even more adventurous (and possibly really bad), have the second GM play all your NPCs... but you don't know how he will play them other than in-character. So now the GM has to adapt to his own NPCs and the PCs, and the PCs have two GMs to adapt to. This CLEARLY only works with the most advanced gaming groups.

-- Toss a red herring in there every few sessions: Have the players think they've stumbled on something grand... and then have it turn out to be nothing. Sometimes this works well with a funny ending and a clue to whatever they should *really* be doing.

-- Focus on the story above all else. If a story is moving really quickly and the players are having fun, don't bog it down with dice rolling. Just keep things moving as long as they're in character and making interesting decisions.

Those are my rules of thumb, I suppose. They aren't very traditional in the sense that they have little to do with numbers or stats, but I find these concepts very helpful. Hopefully some of you will too. :-)

22 May 2002, 03:15 AM
LOL Wantillesredtwo I had to double check I didnt start this thread when I was half way down your post.
Well It seems we have the Smae Gm style, I wing it all the time.
All the planning I do really is work out adventure plots/concepts and work them in if the oppurtunity presents itself.
Often the Players fly right by intended adventure hooks, but i always manage to wriggle another scenario in there anyway :)

Winging it is alot more fun for me as a GM. Often Even I dont know whats coming next :) Makes running Npc's alot easier to play.
As for difficulty I just use the force :) I generally use the P formula
P = character level of highest member, triple it and then add a few more.
P for plenty :)
But although Ive come close to killing a player or two, Ive never had to adjust fate to allow a player survive. SO I guess Im not doing too bad.

27 May 2002, 10:24 PM
:) its great to see that some of us are in the same boat


I stumbled across something when i wuz creating a storyline where i decided to have like 3 or 4 different pilots for hire in a pub. My characters will have to fly along with them for awhile before they have enough credits to get them back to Coruscant....with wild goose chases for fun.

I had the scoundrel of the party down to 3 wound points in our last session...but luckily the party came through and defeated the pirates. Lucky for them ;)

I like your idea of 2 GM's ....one playing just NPC's....i'll need to find someone very creative to try it....it's not to easy for me to come up with dialogue quickly.

later all

Reverend Strone
27 May 2002, 10:52 PM
Preparation, preparation, preparation...and then someone does something you never imagined and it all goes out the window.

I'm one for heavy preparation, but that's because I use a lot of game aids (illustrations and maps etc- loads of thoroughly thought-out NPCs etc, and a strong story arc) so that's just me. Of course, as soon as someone does something unexpected, that all flies out the window as I said, but that's rare these days. I know my PCs pretty well and can anticipate how they'll react petty accurately.

My players have very high expectations from my games so I have to think ahead in order to satisfy them in story terms. They relish in depth plots and cool twists, so that keeps me planning for adventures fairly thoroughly for weeks in advance of a session. Thank the maker we only play once a month!

Different strokes huh?

Sherman Shipyards
28 May 2002, 12:03 AM
My main rule of thumb is make it fun. Rule two is make a map of important buildings. (Keeps players from saying "Ths place is a never ending dungeon isn't it?)

After that, I just wing it.

Lord Diggori
28 May 2002, 05:52 AM
I like Evan, Korris, and yourself also fly by the seat of my pants. I enjoy the chanllenge of creating a good story scene by scene just moments before the PCs wander into them weekly.

Prepartion has it's strong points like solid rules referencing and well detailed aids, as Strone points out. However too many times in my experience have I had beautifully intricate plot lines overlooked.

My personal guidelines are simple:

1. The goal is to have fun (like many others have said). To add to that it seems players have lots of fun when they decide there own destiny since they set the tone.

2. Always leave areas open to exploration. Have things happen with no explanation to incite curiosity then leave only possible clues as to what they saw. Keep them guessing.

3. Maintain realism and continuity. React to the player's actions with what you think is realistic yet uniquely Star Wars.

4. Encourage role-playing whenever possible. Part of what made SW great is the actors. Players are the actors of you're cast.

5 June 2002, 08:37 AM
I found this on the web and thought it useful.


of course, i wrote it, so i would find it useful. :D

5 June 2002, 08:46 AM
But the one thing we all have in common is that we are out to make a story, one that will be pleasing to ourselves as well as the PCs, as they all have a part in it.

I write an extensive story, and, I know that no matter what I do, the players will not go along with it. So I compromise. Things fall into place for me no matter what. No house rules, no whizbangs, just an enjoyable time. And it works.

Then again, I GM D6 games. I'm not touching D20 with a ten-foot pole. Heh. I DM DND 3rd Ed. That's all I want of D20. =-)

The Admiral
5 June 2002, 11:49 AM
Well, I run a very free form game with tons of preparation. I work very fast when i'm creating, and it's not unusual for me to produces maps, detailed equipment, NPCs, story arcs in media res. I make extensive notes on anything I create on the fly, so i can write it up later. One of the most important things I make a note of is the voice I use for each NPCs, usually this is a 'classic' voice, or combination. I feel that the players relate better to the NPCs if they always sound the same. So, say, last session they ran into a starport controller. I wanted to do something a little different, a little bit of humour, so I hit 'em with Alan Rickman. So I make a note 'Ord Kammabok ATC Alan Rickman' I didn't expect to use the character again, but after a botched landing, the character had to come along and get himself shot.

In general, I have a general story arc, I'm aware ofthe machinations of the major NPcs, and what they are up to. Their activities occasionally change due to the parties actions, (usually they are unaware of this) but on the day to day game by game, their actions are not very limited. I can, by free forming, adapt to any choices they make, and direction they go in. I don't need to know what they're suppossed to do when they get told to do A AND B and they have to figure out how to do both, without letting either group down. They will do what they want quite regardless of what I think they should do, and free form gives us all the freedom to run with whatever seems appropriate. The price of that is that I have to work like a demon between game sessions, completing notes to bring NPCs,maps, story arcs whatever into full functionality, and a lot of the stuff I do for that doesn't see the light of day for weeks or months. I used to get dissapointed when I created the whole deckplans, illustrations and full capsule for a starship they stole at the end of one session, only for them to blow it to pieces at the start of the next, but hey, nothing gets wasted. A name change here, a tweak there, and I've got a ship in my files I can just throw at 'em later.