• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

New GM, need advice

thomasglover0503

Registered User
Validated User
- I think you've hit the problem: the sessions are turning from a 'RPG session' to a 'RPG making session'. Naturally, the latter is only fun if you find that fun.
- There's other games about than D&D. This forum is full of people who would be very willing to sell you on their preferred system / to fit your requirements. Plus, by playing different games you'll see the strengths/weaknesses of each system.
- Another option is to do what I call the 'episodic' format; each session is a self-contained story, but players play the same characters each time - akin to the episodes of some TV shows. This also means you could get more sessions in as you wouldn't need to have all the players there to play [after all, you don't have to see all the characters in a TV series in every episode, do you?]. It also allows you to cater to no-shows, drop-in players and even that one accursed time only one player shows [never mind; solo episode!]
- Thank you so much for your advice, what systems would you recommend?
 

thomasglover0503

Registered User
Validated User
Playtesting rules isn't fun unless you are into playtesting.

Also, with two players, you definitely depend on both of them being engaged to get a good game.

Episodic games work well. For science fiction, some kind of clubhouse blues approach where all the PCs work for an organization could work well. Rotate in the characters who are being played and the rest are back doing the regular boring stuff in the organization.

I'm not familiar with Cogent, but if you and your players find it cumbersome and are tweaking it, think about what's cumbersome. There's probably another science fiction game in a similar genre space with different rules and there's also a variety of games outside the science fiction genre that work.

If your local area is light on gamers and you want to play online, there are many virtual tabletop sites out there where you might be able to find some additional players if you want to have everyone meet up online. Not having to physically meet in the same place makes some logistics easier.

Good luck with your quest to find the game you want to run and play and definitely ask a lot of questions here. There's is no perfect game, but for each person game, some games are more fun.
- Thanks, I'll look into online sessions
 

Mr Blobby

Registered User
Validated User
- Thank you so much for your advice, what systems would you recommend?
I don't have that much experience with many systems on 'both sides of the table', but I'd say looking into White Wolf's Storytelling System is worth it - from my experience, it's fairly flexible [I've played several settings with it]. My main caveat is regarding combat; I loathe the 'Initiative' part of it. So perhaps not for any chronicle which has lots of fighting in it. However, it has the bonus in the respect that there was some pretty popular games using it back in the dead tree era - so it's more likely for you to run into an old cheap copy of say Vampire the Masquerade or Werewolf the Apocalypse in random locations rather then, say Call of Cthulhu. [Where I am, Storyteller System games were only beaten by D&D in popularity]. GURPS didn't seem that bad, but much less experienced with that.

One thing you do need to do [in my opinion] is to separate 'system' and 'setting'. The former is the crunchy stuff - the mechanics of the game. The latter is the world, the story and so on. This means that if you're not that skilled/willing to make a system you can simply take one 'off the shelf' and apply your setting to it, akin to hanging panels on the outside of a steel-framed building.

My last thought is this; ask around your family. Sometimes, you'll be surprised what your cousin/younger uncle/whoever was 'into back in the day'. And sometimes, ~20 years later all that stuff is still sitting in a box in the attic/spare room/garage. One of my first experiences with RPG's was encountering a box of 80s D&D my friend had discovered in their much older sibling's room [which they'd left there on moving out].
 
Last edited:

Starcrash

Registered User
Validated User
I'd suggest something in the Powered by the Apocalypse range. Roll two dice, add a number (sometimes a second), and on a ten plus you do it, seven to nine there's a complication, and on a six or less something goes wrong.
 

thomasglover0503

Registered User
Validated User
I don't have that much experience with many systems on 'both sides of the table', but I'd say looking into White Wolf's Storytelling System is worth it - from my experience, it's fairly flexible [I've played several settings with it]. My main caveat is regarding combat; I loathe the 'Initiative' part of it. So perhaps not for any chronicle which has lots of fighting in it. However, it has the bonus in the respect that there was some pretty popular games using it back in the dead tree era - so it's more likely for you to run into an old cheap copy of say Vampire the Masquerade or Werewolf the Apocalypse in random locations rather then, say Call of Cthulhu. [Where I am, Storyteller System games were only beaten by D&D in popularity]. GURPS didn't seem that bad, but much less experienced with that.

One thing you do need to do [in my opinion] is to separate 'system' and 'setting'. The former is the crunchy stuff - the mechanics of the game. The latter is the world, the story and so on. This means that if you're not that skilled/willing to make a system you can simply take one 'off the shelf' and apply your setting to it, akin to hanging panels on the outside of a steel-framed building.

My last thought is this; ask around your family. Sometimes, you'll be surprised what your cousin/younger uncle/whoever was 'into back in the day'. And sometimes, ~20 years later all that stuff is still sitting in a box in the attic/spare room/garage. One of my first experiences with RPG's was encountering a box of 80s D&D my friend had discovered in their much older sibling's room [which they'd left there on moving out].
I'd suggest something in the Powered by the Apocalypse range. Roll two dice, add a number (sometimes a second), and on a ten plus you do it, seven to nine there's a complication, and on a six or less something goes wrong.
Thanks, guys. I'll look into them.
 

baakyocalder

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
For science fiction, Stars Without Number is free in pretty solid editions (the deluxe versions cost a little bit but do add more value then they cost) and are close to B/X D&D, meaning most anyone who's familiar with D&D can pick them up.

Stars Without Number is also pretty light mechanically--roll a d20 to hit an armor class and for savings throws and roll 2d6+skill for skill checks. There are a few classes, as the assumption is everyone is human (aliens rules basically give them a special trick in the Stars Without Number Revised Deluxe rules). It's a sandbox system with a lot of tables and those work with all the other stuff that Sine Nominee, the publisher, puts out.

The owner and sole employee of Sine Nominee posts on these forums as Cardinal Ximenes and is really good at answering questions about his games.

As for other places to find games cheap, used bookstores are a good option. My local Halfprice Books has several shelves of used games. There aren't a lot of the more obscure games, but I've usually been able to find a White Wolf Games book if it was one of the more common ones.

Oh, and since you were looking into online games, online is great for playtesting. You want to try something out, you can more easily ask for some people to meet you online to playtest. Those won't necessarily be your final target audience you'd play with in person. Nonetheless, sometimes it's better to try and see how a game works for people who don't know you that well to see how clear the mechanics are.
 

cranebump

Registered User
Validated User
Welcome to the vicissitudes of running a game.:) I've manged to keep group running fairly regularly at high schools where I teach by starting a club, and maintaining a steady schedule. Not everyone shows up every time, however, so it's hard to run a typical campaign. That said, my advice is to find a teacher sponsor, and a set time to run the game. The time you can run may be limited. Our current student group is run by students during lunches and after school 1 day a week, for about 75 minutes. Lots of the players flake out, so it's a revolving door of people in the groups. Of course, the first and best option is a steady group you run at home, for longer sessions. But you have to find people who are hooked on TTRPG's. Tough to do in the age of Nintendo switch and other forms of entertainment. Just keep at it. You might also try meetup, but I'd run that by your parents first. Finally, there's the Roll20 option, if you want to try some online RP'ing. Might increase attendance, since folks who cannot travel can still get online.

Good luck. Keep the faith.
 

cranebump

Registered User
Validated User
P.S. Dungeon World is a great intro for players. It's one of those PbtA games (which I've run for several years now, due to its low prep nature).
 

thomasglover0503

Registered User
Validated User
For science fiction, Stars Without Number is free in pretty solid editions (the deluxe versions cost a little bit but do add more value then they cost) and are close to B/X D&D, meaning most anyone who's familiar with D&D can pick them up.

Stars Without Number is also pretty light mechanically--roll a d20 to hit an armor class and for savings throws and roll 2d6+skill for skill checks. There are a few classes, as the assumption is everyone is human (aliens rules basically give them a special trick in the Stars Without Number Revised Deluxe rules). It's a sandbox system with a lot of tables and those work with all the other stuff that Sine Nominee, the publisher, puts out.

The owner and sole employee of Sine Nominee posts on these forums as Cardinal Ximenes and is really good at answering questions about his games.

As for other places to find games cheap, used bookstores are a good option. My local Halfprice Books has several shelves of used games. There aren't a lot of the more obscure games, but I've usually been able to find a White Wolf Games book if it was one of the more common ones.

Oh, and since you were looking into online games, online is great for playtesting. You want to try something out, you can more easily ask for some people to meet you online to playtest. Those won't necessarily be your final target audience you'd play with in person. Nonetheless, sometimes it's better to try and see how a game works for people who don't know you that well to see how clear the mechanics are.
Stars Without Number looks great for my setting, thanks man
 

thomasglover0503

Registered User
Validated User
Welcome to the vicissitudes of running a game.:) I've manged to keep group running fairly regularly at high schools where I teach by starting a club, and maintaining a steady schedule. Not everyone shows up every time, however, so it's hard to run a typical campaign. That said, my advice is to find a teacher sponsor, and a set time to run the game. The time you can run may be limited. Our current student group is run by students during lunches and after school 1 day a week, for about 75 minutes. Lots of the players flake out, so it's a revolving door of people in the groups. Of course, the first and best option is a steady group you run at home, for longer sessions. But you have to find people who are hooked on TTRPG's. Tough to do in the age of Nintendo switch and other forms of entertainment. Just keep at it. You might also try meetup, but I'd run that by your parents first. Finally, there's the Roll20 option, if you want to try some online RP'ing. Might increase attendance, since folks who cannot travel can still get online.

Good luck. Keep the faith.
P.S. Dungeon World is a great intro for players. It's one of those PbtA games (which I've run for several years now, due to its low prep nature).
I think there are D&D clubs at my school, but it seems quite low-key and hard to get into these clubs, since no-one knows who actually runs them or when they are. It's the kind of mystery that I'm prepared to solve lol
 
Top Bottom