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> Advice for a god-awful GM., I'm referring to myself.
SpasticTeapot
post Dec 18 2005, 04:11 AM
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To cut to the quick, I'm a god-awful GM. My player are all new to RPG's, and after numerous "false starts" where we got fed up after two adventures, I'm giving it another shot.
Does anyone have tips for maintaining a player's interest? Often, my players get bored and walk off. (I told you I'm a bad GM.)
Also, although I'll be using SR4 rules, I'm going to start the campaign in late 2070. After a few "intro" runs, I'm going to throw the PC's into this succession of runs/campaigns, starting in 2071. At this time, I'm going to have someone relatively powerful run for president, possibly a dragon.

1. "Two Solitudes", from Shadows of the Underworld.
In this adventure, the PC's have to track down the son of some sararimen in San Fran. However, the son is homosexual, and to avoid being forced out of college and into a slum, had been keeping it a secret. A Saeder-Krupp spy then blackmailed him, but in order to avoid having to give over the information, the son decided to conjure a very powerful elemental/spirit. Not surprisingly, he knocked himself unconcious, but instead of running rampant as free fire elementals are like to do, he instead became a free spirit. The two fell in love (the free spirit is decidedly male, no "flaming" puns intended) and ran off. I intend to run this after the PCs have gained a rep for being moderately decent people, through doing runs such as as "Supermarket Shuffle".

2. "C.O.D", from Shadows of the Underworld.
In this run, the PC's are given a Dragon's egg... and are not told what it is. The dragon, having been knocked unconcious, is expected to be very angry and destroy a great deal of property in it's effort to get the egg back from the PC's, therby discrediting the decidedly pro-metahuman candidate. Considering my players, I can safely say that they'll give the egg to the dragon. However, seeing how Masaru is now a GD, I'll have to use a somewhat weaker dragon, with weak being a relative term.

3. "Excelsior", from Shadows of the Underworld.
After at least one or two "ordinary" runs, the PC's get a call from the chief publicist for liberal candidate X. (The same one that was to be discredited in the first one.) During the meeting in the empire state building, they're asked if they can ferret out threats at Liberal Candidate X's rally. (someone's theatened to put a bomb in there, and the PC's will need to get it out.) However, during the course of the meal, a bunch of crazies who think that Candidate X is going to save the world or something of that sort plants bombs, and the PC's get to be heroes if they don't screw up or run away.
As an added bonus, if they don't blow up the publicist, they get the job at the rally. Seeing as how it's essentially an easier version of Excelsior in most respects, they should breeze through.

4. "Harlequin's Back".
Seeing as how the PC's now have a rep for doing good stuff, Harley hires them. I still need to get a copy of HB, but I figure that it will take a few months for the PCs to get to this adventure anyway. At this point, we decide wether we simply continue with a normal SR game, start a horror-hunting campaign, or simply retire the PCs.

I would like to have an adventure between 3 and 4 that starts to introduce them to the power players, and has a lot of combat. "Imago" would work nicely, except for the fact that ghosts in the machine are not all that rare after the Crash. I was thinking one of the Bug Spirit runs might work nicely. (Queen Euphoria, perhaps?)
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FrostyNSO
post Dec 18 2005, 04:23 AM
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I wouldn't try to set up any campaigns until the players have been active for a while.

Just introduce your players to the world, what can be done, and what a good runner can achieve for himself. Then, work with your players to come up with a barebones background for their PC's (asking for a fully fleshed out background can intimidate a new player). At least have them include some sort of goal for the character...why he runs. Also, one thing I've tried once that worked for a new player, was to have an NPC (one of the character's contacts) act as a "guide" to the world (character was new in town, so NPC showed him around, set him up with the other PC's who he contacted through their contacts, found him a guy who could give him some work).

After that, before introducing any big storylines, just go small. If the player said he wants to buy a nice yacht to retire on, fine. "This contact of your buddy says he has need of someone for a couple of jobs over the next couple of months."

If they're new, they sometimes won't bite on a campaign, especially if it's something that isn't all that interesting to them at the moment...maybe later on? You can make your early mini-campaigns NPC-driven, that is, the NPC hires them for related jobs over a span. The players will see the campaign take shape and get more in depth, until at the end, before they get their big payoff, the NPC is killed by his rivals. Now it's up to the PC's to take the reins if they ever want to see that last big payday they're owed!

Always keep the players' goals in mind and give them opportunities to live those goals. You don't have to nudge too hard, they'll do that themselves!
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Clyde
post Dec 18 2005, 04:32 AM
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Keep things dirt simple at first. Instead of "hide the dragon egg" try "steal that ganger's bike." Let them start by taking on small fry - there's room to goof off and the sheer stat advantage should keep them alive through whatever happens. Once they've got the basics of shooting, hacking and so forth down you can move them into more complex story lines.
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Jaid
post Dec 18 2005, 04:53 AM
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for the record, i believe only great dragons actually keep eggs anyways, (with the apparent exception of 1 4th world dragon, but whatever). as in, regular dragons lay eggs, pick a great that they respect, and give the eggs to them to be raised.

so, technically, Masaru being a great actually fits.
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SpasticTeapot
post Dec 18 2005, 05:22 AM
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QUOTE (Jaid)
for the record, i believe only great dragons actually keep eggs anyways, (with the apparent exception of 1 4th world dragon, but whatever). as in, regular dragons lay eggs, pick a great that they respect, and give the eggs to them to be raised.

so, technically, Masaru being a great actually fits.

Good point. After all, even after SR4's modifications, a GD can cause a heck of a lot of property damage. Also, the egg would be the offspring of Masaru, so it would be very, very angry.

I'll take your advice as to how to start off the PC's. I'm thinking of starting them as a more or less street-level PC's, and make them earn their cyber and magic ratings. (Non-cybered mundane PC's would be at obvious advantage, of course.)
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FrostyNSO
post Dec 18 2005, 05:27 AM
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QUOTE (Clyde @ Dec 17 2005, 11:32 PM)
Keep things dirt simple at first.  Instead of "hide the dragon egg" try "steal that ganger's bike."  Let them start by taking on small fry - there's room to goof off and the sheer stat advantage should keep them alive through whatever happens.  Once they've got the basics of shooting, hacking and so forth down you can move them into more complex story lines.

That's no BS about the stat advantage! I had a group of PC's who would get *blitzed* before every run. Even though they were running Moderate to Serious (usually serious) stun from the get-go, they were doing very low-level jobs and so still managed to squeak by on brawny stats alone. Sure, they only made enough to pay for the next bash at the troll's squat, but hey, it was fun 8)

Oh, and for their first dudes, I'd stay away from making them do low-powered characters. A street-level run, sure, but it's hard for each player to get his chance to "shine" when he still sucks at the thing he should be "good" at.
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SpasticTeapot
post Dec 18 2005, 05:43 AM
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QUOTE (FrostyNSO)
QUOTE (Clyde @ Dec 17 2005, 11:32 PM)
Keep things dirt simple at first.  Instead of "hide the dragon egg" try "steal that ganger's bike."  Let them start by taking on small fry - there's room to goof off and the sheer stat advantage should keep them alive through whatever happens.  Once they've got the basics of shooting, hacking and so forth down you can move them into more complex story lines.

That's no BS about the stat advantage! I had a group of PC's who would get *blitzed* before every run. Even though they were running Moderate to Serious (usually serious) stun from the get-go, they were doing very low-level jobs and so still managed to squeak by on brawny stats alone. Sure, they only made enough to pay for the next bash at the troll's squat, but hey, it was fun 8)

Oh, and for their first dudes, I'd stay away from making them do low-powered characters. A street-level run, sure, but it's hard for each player to get his chance to "shine" when he still sucks at the thing he should be "good" at.

I meant "street-level" only in that none of them will have anything above a Magic of 3. Improved Reflexes II (or Wired II) is enough to make an otherwise-average character very, very scary. Also, it would keep them from dumping all their points into magic or cyber, leaving them very screwed if they have'nt got a face in tow.
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FrostyNSO
post Dec 18 2005, 05:54 AM
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That's what I'm talking about. But hey, it's your game, not mine.

For what it's worth, I thought one of the coolest things about SR was that you didn't have to start out as a "first level" character.

I don't usually worry too much if the team doesn't have a "face", not every thug has a charismatic bro. If it's a huge problem, just toss in the NPC "guide" and your good.
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SL James
post Dec 18 2005, 06:01 AM
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QUOTE (SpasticTeapot)
To cut to the quick, I'm a god-awful GM. My player are all new to RPG's, and after numerous "false starts" where we got fed up after two adventures, I'm giving it another shot.
Does anyone have tips for maintaining a player's interest? Often, my players get bored and walk off. (I told you I'm a bad GM.)
Also, although I'll be using SR4 rules, I'm going to start the campaign in late 2070. After a few "intro" runs, I'm going to throw the PC's into this succession of runs/campaigns, starting in 2071. At this time, I'm going to have someone relatively powerful run for president, possibly a dragon.

President of what? The next UCAS and CAS elections are in 2072.

QUOTE
1. "Two Solitudes", from Shadows of the Underworld.
In this adventure, the PC's have to track down the son of some sararimen in San Fran. However, the son is homosexual, and to avoid being forced out of college and into a slum, had been keeping it a secret. A Saeder-Krupp spy then blackmailed him, but in order to avoid having to give over the information, the son decided to conjure a very powerful elemental/spirit. Not surprisingly, he knocked himself unconcious, but instead of running rampant as free fire elementals are like to do, he instead became a free spirit. The two fell in love (the free spirit is decidedly male, no "flaming" puns intended) and ran off. I intend to run this after the PCs have gained a rep for being moderately decent people, through doing runs such as as "Supermarket Shuffle".

Holy freaking God...
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SpasticTeapot
post Dec 18 2005, 06:58 AM
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QUOTE (SL James)
QUOTE (SpasticTeapot @ Dec 17 2005, 10:11 PM)
Blah blah blah

President of what? The next UCAS and CAS elections are in 2072.

QUOTE
1. "Two Solitudes", from Shadows of the Underworld.
In this adventure, the PC's have to track down the son of some sararimen in San Fran. However, the son is homosexual, and to avoid being forced out of college and into a slum, had been keeping it a secret. A Saeder-Krupp spy then blackmailed him, but in order to avoid having to give over the information, the son decided to conjure a very powerful elemental/spirit. Not surprisingly, he knocked himself unconcious, but instead of running rampant as free fire elementals are like to do, he instead became a free spirit. The two fell in love (the free spirit is decidedly male, no "flaming" puns intended) and ran off. I intend to run this after the PCs have gained a rep for being moderately decent people, through doing runs such as as "Supermarket Shuffle".

Holy freaking God...

Odd. I could've sworn that the last election was in 2057. Unless elections are every 5 years, the next one would be in 2071. (Besides, campaigning always begins the year before anyway.)

On the subject of "Two Solitudes", I thought the same thing. However, it's a remarkably coherent 'run, and it's good for the sheer absurdity value, if nothing else.
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Cain
post Dec 18 2005, 08:40 AM
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The book has the standard GM advice, but here's one thing the book never tells you: to be a good GM, be a good player. Remember what you liked best about being a PC, and try to bring that out in your plotlines. Colorful NPC's, descriptive combat, problems that can be tackled from many different angles; these are all things people love to have when they're playing a game, so a good GM will bring these things to the fore.

Plotlines are all well and good-- and you have several doozys-- but a complicated plot doesn't mean you'll have an interesting adventure. Sometimes, the simplest and most straightforward plots can make for the best gaming.

If you're an inexperienced GM, I highly suggest that you shy away from convoluted plots. Sometimes, things that you think are obvious will be impossible for your players to grasp, and you won't know how to fix it. That easily leads players to get "fed up" with the game, and go on to other things. Instead, go for simple plots, and load them with fun characters to interact with and shoot. Instead of saying that an outclassed grunt stands there and fires full-auto, say they see a wet spot emerge on his pants as he screams incoherently and starts spraying madly.
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Crusher Bob
post Dec 18 2005, 10:24 AM
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A search of the lore has yielded the following:

GMing a plotline, Structure, or railroading?

No surrender!, What's a GM to do?

A survey about great GM's, What makes or breaks a great GM

At sunrise and sunset, a man casts a long shadow, Rebirth, parabolic change, apocalypse

Ten commandments of interactive storytelling, Rules and cool stuff do not a story make

What Makes A Good GM, Thoughts and opinions

Too hard vs. too soft GMs, Where to draw the line...

For the GMs of all time have gone before us...
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Ophis
post Dec 18 2005, 10:45 AM
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QUOTE (SpasticTeapot)

Odd. I could've sworn that the last election was in 2057. Unless elections are every 5 years, the next one would be in 2071. (Besides, campaigning always begins the year before anyway.)

Yep elections every four years, there was an extra election in the UCAS in 2057 because the 2056 election was declared null and void due to being fixed, which was lucky because it meant Dunkelzahn could run for the job almost immediately on becoming a citizen. Lucky dragon.
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emo samurai
post Dec 18 2005, 11:47 PM
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Was the whole thing about the flaming fire elemental serious? If it's a joke campaign, then by all means do it. Shadowrun needs more funny.
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masterTwig
post Dec 19 2005, 12:15 AM
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Given the subject title, I am having trouble with my running Shadowrun games in general. Put simply my ‘runs’ are to easy, my players seem to walk casually through everything I throw at them. In five games I the only injury seems to be a headache and that’s only because of the ‘Cram’. I am afraid if I start throwing SWAT teams and fireball hurling mages at them I will kill them (not good for a continuing campaign).
Any advice for making both players and characters earn their nuyen without seeing to their demise.
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Jaid
post Dec 19 2005, 12:22 AM
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QUOTE (emo samurai)
Was the whole thing about the flaming fire elemental serious? If it's a joke campaign, then by all means do it. Shadowrun needs more funny.

actually i have a vague memory of that. i'm pretty sure he gave an accurate, concise, report, and i don't recall thinking it was intentionally funny, at least.

of course, you can also tell because the ACLU didn't form an old fashioned pitchfork and torches mob at their doors (which i'm pretty sure would have happened if they had made fun of homosexuality)
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FrostyNSO
post Dec 19 2005, 12:26 AM
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QUOTE (masterTwig)
Given the subject title, I am having trouble with my running Shadowrun games in general. Put simply my ‘runs’ are to easy, my players seem to walk casually through everything I throw at them. In five games I the only injury seems to be a headache and that’s only because of the ‘Cram’. I am afraid if I start throwing SWAT teams and fireball hurling mages at them I will kill them (not good for a continuing campaign).
Any advice for making both players and characters earn their nuyen without seeing to their demise.


It sounds like you are just throwing firepower at them without making them work for it. Could you supply some more details to what exactly is going on.

In our group at least, the most time-consuming portion of the run is recon and info gathering. This is because the shadowrunner team doesn't stand much of a chance against a well-organized and vigilant security crew, without planning a contingency to handle it which isn't neccessarily more firepower...and the players know it.

Don't get me wrong, it took a lot of dead characters to figure it out, but now the team is better for it. They can still whoop some butt in a firefight, but they know their limitations.

So yeah...more details and I could try to answer you better.
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masterTwig
post Dec 19 2005, 12:45 AM
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Well the game consists of a Hacker/Face and a Crammed-Up Cyberspur Adept (he is very fragged up). Their tactics consist of information gathering then being very stealthy in getting in and out, as taking on a security team head on, as you mentioned, means death. A lot of this teams tactics seem to revolve around subterfuge, the face/hacker is has Tailored Pheromones and is generally good looking for a human, which helps for the moments when they get caught by the patrolling guard. They tend to try to separate the guards up so crammed-cyberspur can deal with the lone guard extra.
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FrostyNSO
post Dec 19 2005, 01:05 AM
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Well then, I would throw in some better physical security devices. Maybe a pressure plate here and there, ultrasound detection,the works.

But here is what will really throw the players for a loop: The information they gathered turns out to be wrong. Instead of walking into a situation where they know every detail going in, they walk into a situation where things (possibly many things) aren't what they expected.

I expected a machine-gunner sammy rather than a melee adept to be giving you trouble. The melee specialist isn't going to be able to do much about a gunner firing from a hardened shack.
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masterTwig
post Dec 19 2005, 01:25 AM
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QUOTE (FrostyNSO)
I expected a machine-gunner sammy rather than a melee adept to be giving you trouble.  The melee specialist isn't going to be able to do much about a gunner firing from a hardened shack.

This is true, he is not very good at distance but if you get with in reach of his spurs, make peace with your maker. Not that he is a problem, he has some weaknesses that I plan to play up on in the future.

False info… [evil grin]
In essence I have to make it next to impossible to let them sneak around undetected. Take away there comfort zone.
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SpasticTeapot
post Dec 19 2005, 03:31 AM
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QUOTE (emo samurai)
Was the whole thing about the flaming fire elemental serious? If it's a joke campaign, then by all means do it. Shadowrun needs more funny.

Actually, it was'nt a joke.
It's canon.
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Feshy
post Dec 19 2005, 05:41 AM
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QUOTE
Yep elections every four years, there was an extra election in the UCAS in 2057 because the 2056 election was declared null and void due to being fixed, which was lucky because it meant Dunkelzahn could run for the job almost immediately on becoming a citizen. Lucky dragon.


Yea... "lucky."

Dragons make their luck.
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emo samurai
post Dec 19 2005, 05:51 AM
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It's canon? I haven't bought SR4 yet. What book is it in? Edit:Oh wait; I just found out. Sorry.
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emo samurai
post Dec 29 2005, 12:51 AM
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Wait, where is there a gay fire spirit? I bought SR4 and I haven't found one.
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Tarko
post Dec 29 2005, 01:01 AM
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QUOTE (emo samurai)
Wait, where is there a gay fire spirit? I bought SR4 and I haven't found one.


Look up Emo: "Two Solitudes", from Shadows of the Underworld.
So, its in Shadow of the Underworld
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