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Thread: need advice on GMing

  1. #1

    Default need advice on GMing

    ok see i love GMing, and love winging missions but, problem is now-a-days i always end up just giving my players mission like "A richly dressed human walks up to you and asks you to do (blank) for (blank) amount of credits". So i tried just starting them off on vacation in a cantina in a large city and guess what they tried to do, one tried to pick a fight with the bartender , three did nothing , and one decided to watch the new(i had to settle for him seeing news on a another victim of a serial killer). Its like if i don't have someone give them a job they don't know what to do. so any suggestions would be nice.
    No one plans to fail, they fail to plan.

  2. #2
    New Player
    Join Date
    August 2002
    Birmingham, Alabama


    I like to follow a rule I learned screenwriting when I GM... come in just before something happens... Have your players on a shuttle, just before a sabateur takes out the engine.... have them walk down the street and see someone getting mugged that leads to a new crime syndicate being started... have your most reputable character be the target for an assasination attempt...

    I find giving a player the opportunity to decide what to do without giving options tends to not go well.. use these ideas if you like... if I think of more, I'll send some your way

  3. #3


    I suggest that you look to the background information that they wrote for their characters, and try to dig up something from their pasts that would make a good adventure hook. Some unresolved plot line from their lives that you could make a mission out of.

    Even better (and important to know even if you aren't going to use it) is each character's motives, goals, and objectives. Ask them right out what their character hopes to accomplish in life, and have them put it in writing. It is more important that they know what their character wants, because they have to roleplay as these characters. Still, it is good for you to know so that you can string them along and have them go on missions, and understand or predict their reactions to various plot elements that you introduce.

    If they don't give you anything to work with (IE their objectives consist of: I want to be rich and famous, and their backgrounds are equally dull) then you'll have to introduce something yourself. Something that doesn't resolve itself in one mission. If they didn't list out all of their family members, have one of them get a call from someone saying that they have their sister, brother, mother, father, ex-girlfriend/boyfriend-who-they-still-maybe-kinda-sorta-like, favorite pet, or whatever, and that they won't get this person back until they show up on planet X before two weeks pass. It sounds like the characters have already been on quite a few missions, so they probably ticked someone off pretty bad in the past. Well, other people besides players come looking for revenge, and this villain is one of them. Think about it. If someone killed one of your character's favorite pet dog, the character wouldn't just say "Oh well, that's life" and move on. They'd go after the so-and-so with a blaster! Other people, besides players, react in much the same way when you blow up their brother's factories with their brother still in it.

    There are lots of other adventure ideas that you could run with, but the main point is that you want to get some story line going that won't resolve itself in one session, or even two or four. Keep the goal always one or two steps out of reach. Have the villain escape sometimes, even if it requires fudging. Keep notes of what your players have done, and make sure that what they do has consequences. That way, you won't have to come up with a new way to catch their interest every week. They'll be interested in the same goal.

    Now, this doesn't mean that you have to give up 'winging it' entirely. Just know overall where you're beginning in the big story, one or two things you want to have happen somewhere along the way, and where you want it to end.

    An example would be:
    Main villain sends thugs to beat up players. Introduce sub villain, inform players that they have to go to planet X or something bad will happen to something that they value. (1 mission)

    Players meet main villain on arrival on planet X. Main villain poses as friend and pretends to help.

    Players have near-death experience after being lured into trapped facility controlled by enemy thinking what they want is there.

    Player #4 is confronted with a conflict between their goals and the goals of the party, and is offered something to sell the rest of the party out.

    Players discover the main villain is their enemy, and not their friend as they have been lead to believe. Final confrontation. Players recover what they were after (or not depending on how mean you feel).
    And that's all the notes you need. Happy gaming!
    To claim one's knowledge as ignorance is wisdom.
    To claim one's ignorance as knowledge is mental illness.

  4. #4
    Experienced Player
    Join Date
    February 2002


    Usually, if I have a problem with players not taking actions, or trying to get involved in the adventure, I will just throw them in the mix.

    I try to find situations that directly affect the party in which to put them in, that way, they will have to react to the situation, or suffer the consequences.

    Depending on the attitude of the party, simply having them overhear someone elses problems is enough to get them to try to help.

    Endangering family members or friends is always a good motivator, as well as running from contracted bounty hunters.

    Hope some of this helps

    "With experience, not age, does wisdom come!"

  5. #5


    A good place to get ideas for adventures is movies and TV. For instance, you can take an episode of Friends.....starwars-ize it a bit and you have a comedy adventure. For example, I took the Doolite Raid from the movie Pearl Harbor {the end of the film when they bomb Japan} and turned that into a secret bombing raid on Coruscant. When we played the adventure, no one had any idea how i came up with it. Another place you can look is adventures for other game systems. There is also a great random adventure generator in the archives of the RPG section at

    The best advice i can give you is to not try and reinvent the wheel. The star wars and indiana jones movies are great inspirations as well.
    "Someday I will become the most powerful Jedi ever." ~ Anakin Skywalker

  6. #6
    Dark Master of the Game
    Join Date
    August 2001
    A mountainside obsidian citadel overlooking a dead alkaline sea on some long forgotten grey world.

    Thumbs up

    Jester, are you trying to get the palyers to come up with their own plot hooks? That what it sounds like to me. Cause if you love winging-it it follows you dont have an inspiration problem.

    Getting them to be proactive can be tough. Putting them on vacation was a good palce to start but you gotta buckle down. Let them do whatever they want just pick up the pace though.

    For the bartender fight have the first punch the PC lands KO. Describe the general news as opposed to report by report. Make down- time fly by. Estimate their expenses per week and have that set your pacing.

    Eventually, they'll start looking for more creds. But have the local mercenary market suddenly dry, no job postings. This will push them to create their own hooks.

    It's important that you buckle down and not cave into their looks of boredom though. Read outside stuff behind the screen to let them know you've got nothing in particular planned.

    The player to come up with something cool for the party to invest themselves in should get an XP/ character pt. bonus.
    "Peace is obedience to me. Passion is enjoying it. Serenity is accepting it. Death is when peace fails." --Lord Diggori

    "Opportunities abound," Nex brings a finger beside his honey colored eyes, "if you see the signs."

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