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Advice for first time players
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Thread: Advice for first time players

  1. #1
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    Advice for first time players

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    Let me start off by saying I have never played a pen and paper rpg before, but have always been interested in them. Anyways I picked up the Star Wars Saga Edition core rule book and have done a lot of reading up about it and have convinved a couple of my friends to give it a try.

    My question is what is a good jumping off point to start learning the game from, not only from the perspective of a players who have never played before but a GM that has never GM'd before.

    Any advice to help me out would be great, I just dont know where to begin from and feel almost overwhelmed with the plethora of stats and books and feats and talents.

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    Greetings, Hliddle, and welcome to the beginnings of what hopefully proves to be a wonderful hobby for you. Role playing games can really be a fantastic experience like no other.

    The first thing to remember when first getting your feet wet in this hobby is: don't spend a lot of time worrying about the "little details". The most important element of role playing is having fun. Just like any other hobby, the goal is for you and your friends to enjoy yourselves. Especially during your first few games together, don't worry about trying to remember all the rules word-for-word or worry about whether or not you are "playing the game correctly". Role playing, like most other things, is very much a learning experience. The more you do it, the better and more confident you'll get at it.

    Role playing, being a social activity, is also one of those things that is best learned by example. The best way to learn how to role play is to watch other people do it and learn from them. It's really not complicated and once you've seen it a few times, you should find that you pick it up naturally.

    If you're going to be the Game Master for your group, you should have a basic familiarity with the game rules. Enough that you can help teach your players how the game works and can answer any basic questions that they might have. Don't worry about every possible scenario, just focus on the most important and central elements of the mechanics. You also want to make sure that you know the character creation rules well enough that you can help your players create their own characters for the game.

    A good place to start preparing for a role playing session is to discuss some ideas with your players. Ask them some basic questions about what they might want the game to be about. For Star Wars, do they want to play Jedi characters during the time of the Old Republic? Are they more interested in blasting Stormtroopers and TIE fighters during the Empire era? Do they want to play heroic rebels or would they rather play seedy smugglers and pirate types, or maybe even dastardly Imperials? Get a very brief idea for what your players find interesting. If they seem a little bewildered by the questions, or don't really know what they want, don't worry. You can easily suggest something that you think would be fun and then guide your players toward that idea. Be enthusiastic and your players should pick up on that.

    Once you have a basic idea of what the game will focus on, you can start brainstorming. Creating an adventure is sort of like creating your own Star Wars movie. You want to think of a basic story outline. It should have a beginning, middle and end and there should be various challenges that the main characters face. The difference in a role playing game is that there is no script. Instead, the Game Master uses the story outline as a way to interact with the players. While the Game Master sets the scene and describes what is happening around the players' characters, the players themselves get to make the important choices. They can decide what their characters say and how they react to the story. It's a little tricky to describe, so if you would like some direct examples of what this process looks like, send me a private message and I'll be happy to help.

    Again, don't worry too much about whether or not you are "getting it right". If you relax and focus on helping your players have a fun and exciting time, you will likely find that you had a good time too. There is always time to get more comfortable with the rules the more you play the game.

    I'm an experienced Star Wars GM, so I'd be happy to help you become more comfortable and confident at learning the ropes. Just drop me a line if you like.
    Last edited by Webhead; 12-17-2009 at 12:42 AM.
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    The rules will follow but should never be put before the fun of the game. If you donít know a rule and donít feel like looking it up then make something up that is reasonable. The use computer skill is a perfect example. At first glance the rules are confusing but after a while they fall in. To simplify person XYZ wants to hack a computer, rather then looking up the rule and waste time during the game (which frustrates everyone) just say roll your skill and beat a 15 and be done with it. Look it up during smoke and pee breaks or in between games.

    My biggest advice is to expect the unexpected.
    The more you plan the more that your plan wonít happen. Iíve had entire games ruined by a playerís ability that lets them do something I didnít expect. You need to roll with those punches and let it go. The faster you learn to think on the spot the better GM you will be. Give people choices and ultimately lead them in the direction you want them to go but make this as subtle as possible. This takes time.

    Railroading is a term that people like to throw a round a lot. This is a very grey area. Players tend to have two reactions when it comes to a situation involving railroading; acceptance or anger. 99% of the time they get angry. As a GM you need to find that area of acceptance of the players. This is the hardest thing to learn as a GM IMO.

    As the GM you need to know when to put your foot down. Either when the group goes off and starts talking about non game related stuff that side tracks the entire game you as the GM are expected to rally the troops and get things going again. Comic relief is always fun but you are there to game, not tell jokes all night. Combining this with rules idea I mentioned is a good plan too. There will be times when players will argue with each other and with the GM. You are not the referee but a choice or compromise needs to be made, you make it. The sooner the problem gets taken care of, the sooner you can get back to tossing the dice. Donít let egos ruin a good night of gaming.

    Sometimes you just need to give in to the players. Players want to feel like the world is all about them and sometimes you have to make them feel that way. I didnít write this:

    If a player comes up with a reasonable solution to an idea then never ever block him "just because". Only disallow a solution to a problem if there's a damn good non-arbitrary reason for why it shouldn't work.
    Playerís actions or lack of actions should be relevant to everything even if they donít see it, but always give them the choice.

    Politics and events happen. Whether the PCs get involved or not is their choice, but if Evil Nation X is going to invade Good Nation Y and the PCs don't do anything to stop it then it simply happens.
    Most of this stuff is contradicting. You should do this, but donít do too much of it etc etc. Just be patient and practice a lot. Iíve recently asked my players to grade my games. What did you like, what didnít you like? You will only get better once you learn, and you will only learn if you keep trying or if you donít want to make Yoda mad; doing.

    Some good things to read:
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Ptitleocg6iflv079q
    http://www.thealexandrian.net/creations/misc/three-clue-rule.html
    Last edited by A Flannel Shirt; 12-18-2009 at 02:01 AM.

  4. #4
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    All excellent advice from Webhead and A Flanneled One.

    How is it going so far?

    Saga is fairly simple to grasp so do not be afraid to rule something on the fly.
    "I'm afraid it is you who are mistaken. About a great, many things."

    "It is not the rules that make or break a game, it's the GM and the players."


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