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Well im thinking about GMing but i need advice. What exactly should i have prepared before starting it up. Like how many bad guy templates, what kinda npcs, how many places should be fleshed out.

I see lots of people show up on recruitment threads and lots get turned away so I think there are suckers...i mean players that need another GM. And I am around all the time so I know nobody will lack responses in the game from the gm. I've already started a theme in my head that i think is pretty exciting. So i think i have a couple of things to offer players but I hope they are enough to cover up my bad GM qaulities hehe.
Just remember that the more plans you make, the more plans that your players can trash. biggrin.gif
The book has sample NPCs and enemies that work just fine already in the book. I never bother stating out NPCs. I just take an existing one and roll for that or guestimate a roll.

Gming prep for me is usually about defining goals for that game session. It will be a list of plot hooks I need to work into conversations, foreshadowing if I can, things that need to be accomplished on my end, bits of location notes or security stuff, that kind of thing.

Then I wait to see what my players do and I expand on things accordingly. I let their interests drive the game and I will change set details just to allow a creative player idea to work but I will still make it a challenge. I treat everything I have written as soft until I say it. Then I try and stick to it.

Try and think about what you want to say about the setting, what do you think about it. Do you see it as grim, cinematic, gritty, silly, or hardcore? What do you want to show the players and what kinds of stories do you want to tell? Then try and make sure that every story arc reflects that somehow.

Don't let them treat you like a video game machine that they put in a quarter and you spit out a new mission. Weave their lives into the game and let them generate their own goals and missions. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the mission is the point and the characters are just stick figures negotiating your trap map. The characters are the point in a ROLE PLAYING GAME and the missions are just ways to challenge them and help them grow.

Try to be fair but engadging and you will be well on your way to being a good GM.

Just remember that you only win when they enjoy themselves.
The best advice I can give is to focus less on planning on what your NPCs will do, and focus more on how they are likely to *act*.

Flesh them out and play them like you would play a PC. This will allow you to react appropriately when the actions of your players would otherwise trash your well-set plans.

Also, try to minimize the details you commit to. The more details you commit to, the more details you have to keep track of.

What I mean by this is: Don't introduce characters unless you want to keep track of them. Don't introduce "facts" unless you want to commit to them. If Mr. Johnson is a 6'1" muscular orc with auburn hair, pitch black eyes, a black leather trenchcoat with a deep voice that rumbles like a '69 Mustang, then you'll have to remember those same details the next time the characters meet that Mr. Johnson.

Which is not to say that you shouldn't paint a lively picture of the environment and NPCs, just make sure that when you give details you are conscious of it and doing it deliberately.
James McMurray
Wherever your players are, know what kinds of actions will provoke a police response, how fast it will arrive, and how dogged pursuit will be if the characters flee.
On worrying about your GM skills.

Try not to. I know that doesn't sound very helpful, but let me explain.

Be clear with the players that you're a newer GM. Ask that your players know the rules that pertain to their characters, as that will take some of the burden off of you, and give you more time and effort to put toward the story.

Here's what I would suggest for prep.

Before each session, try to have a few general templates for NPCs around. The ones in some of the books have already been mentioned. Have several copies of say, "goon 1" loosely statted on some paper so that you can track their wounds and stuff in a fight. Even better is if the template is in pen (or printed out) and you do combats in pencil. That way, you can just use them as much as you need to, just making some small changes every time to keep them fresh.

With the templates, try not to tie them too closely to any one NPC description. That way, you "change" the NPC that you're running from a template through the way you describe them.

That leads me to: Take notes on NPCs. Even if at first you plan on the players only dealing with them once, be ready to make up and jot down notes on the NPC in case you have to play them again later. It helps a lot with consistency, and lets the players form a "relationship" with the NPC. Obviously not all NPCs warrant this. Goon1 that you plan on the players geeking two seconds into the run is probably not worth taking a lot of notes on. If, however, that guy turns from Goon1 into Bob, the security guard they talked into letting them in because he's almost as big an Urban Brawl fan as your face character pretended to be.

For locations, I usually don't prep unless the run involves a specific building, and I want the layout of the building to be important. You can hunt Google for floor plans, satellite images, blueprints, all kinds of stuff, and just make notes about what it is and where things are in your game.

If the players just happen to go to location, just make it up as you go, and take notes on what you say. For example, if they go to a club and you're not using one of the ones described in the book, you could say "You finally get inside, and you're immediately caught up in the crowd on the large dance floor. As you push your way to the back, the crowd thins, and all the sudden you're at the bar. There aren't any tables around, but there are some empty stools." Then, your notes might look like "dance floor makes up most of the club, all the way to the door; the bar is in the back, but no tables". Boom, from then on, that location is ready to go.

And remember, the more you do this stuff, the easier it will get. Eventually, you'll just be making stuff up as you go and taking some brief notes on it.

Hope that helps.
Names make NPCs people. My best advice to any GM starting out is this:

Create a list of names, a huge list, dozens of names. I put mine in excel and make the name on the left with a long box on the left to write notes in.

When (not if, it WILL happen) the characters go out and try and meet with someone you didn't plan for, or you any other reason you'd need a name (They capture goon 7 and interrogate him) you just pull a name from the list, and leave a note as to what you used him for, then you can deal with fleshing him out further after the session.

It's a great trick, you end up with much fewer John Smiths (No offence to A-Team fans) and the world seems that much more real. Any person on the street can have a name, and if you're a little creative you can come up with a personality that goes with the name.
Trying to script the entire adventure is a very bad idea, instead descripe only the various important encounters you want to happen, and never EVER expect the players to do as you want them to. Let the players figure out the getting from A to B for themselves.

I find it usefull to write a small synopsis very briefly describing what is going on and what you expect to happen during the run. If the players go to far off, refering to the short synopsis usually help get the adventure back on track, instead of going through pages of descriptions

Throw in semingly unimportant things in the adventures that you can use later (if you like campaign type games). Take note if the players screw up a run, or if they sell out a mr. johnson. Maybe that lowly employee they jumped to get an ID to get into the compound turn out to be some important persons son. Nothing exites players more than if they suddenly realize the reason why someone they don't know is gunning for them.

Use Google Earth for maps, i even use it to make the players plan runs on, i set it up with the waypoints they know and they use it to plan where to ambush someone etc. i even have most of the locations in seattle plotted in as placemarks in google earth (found someone who had made most of the New Seattle book, then added all the places he missed... well i'm not finished yet, it really takes time)

Don't be afraid of throwing a carefully prepared adventure away. It is important to make the players understand that you will not complete an adventure by all cost, if they screw up they'll pay for it.

Remember to throw them a bone sometimes, actually give them a run that goes smoothly, that way they start thinking that maybe next time will work to, and they will have even more fun when the next run "blows up" in their faces.
Kyoto Kid
QUOTE (Konsaki)
Just remember that the more plans you make, the more plans that your players can trash.  biggrin.gif

...aint it the truth?

Learned that lesson.

Now I basically script out the hook & meet then just outline the rest. I use a few generic settings (clubs, bars, hotel lobbies the ubiquitous deserted warehouse, etc). When paths do lead to a specific site, I map that out in more detail.

I also tend to use full city maps (the paper variety) because you don't know where the runners will go (I find online interactive maps a real pain when you have to adapt to the team's actions).

NPCs, The biggies are completely generated and fleshed out. Run of the mill ones like grunts, gangers etc. are generic with maybe a few tweaks for leaders commanders & the like.

I do have a an underlying storyline which still plays itself out whether or not the runners become directly involved in it or not.
outline the story line but be ready to make drek up on the fly.
Charts like the gm screen are useful tools for keeping the dice rolling.
For legwork, I usually have teh contact rolling about 7-9 dice. and don't bother with statting them out.
Remember to have fun and don't stay up too late or go too long without food.
Here's a cheap trick for GMs needing to create an NPC on the fly (or just randomly).

For gender and metatype, I roll three dice and get two results: the result of one die and the (positive) difference of the other two.

If the single die comes up odd, the NPC is a male. If the roll is even, the NPC is female.

For metatype, I check the (positive) difference of the two dice against a table:
  • 0-1: Human
  • 2: Ork
  • 3: Elf
  • 4: Dwarf
  • 5: Troll
If this table doesn't work with the setting in your game, futz with the list to taste (lower numbers are more likely). This gives resulting gender and metatype that is more or less in line with the published percentages of the population for most areas, and all in a single roll (or two if you don't have dice of different colors).

For names, I either pre-generate a list from this site or just access the site when I need it.

Remember that players drive the game, and what they are thinking may not be what you were thinking when you designed the adventure. Rough out the flow you want things to take, and use that to guide the players through.

Nothing frustrates players more than trying things that they think are logical, only to have them not "work." So try to not "stonewall" too many player actions unless they are way WAY off-base.

For major obstacles, plan out several different solutions that could work with varying degrees of success and consequences. This will avoid the "King's Quest" phenomenon of having everything fail until the players do the "right" thing.
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