Shadowrun Play > Gamemasters' Lounge

Tips for New GMs

(1/3) > >>

Hi, I'm interested in starting a shadowrun campaign with some people that are new to Shadowrun. I've never GM'd anything before, but am really interested in reading up on the game and creating a complex storyline. I've been reading modules, and play-by-post games for inspiration. I want to be able to have the game run fast and smooth, but some things seem a little complicated, like gunfire, demolitions, security systems, and the matrix. I also want SR to be more like a game and less like a story, giving the players more choices, tests, and detective work.
Does anyone have any tips for new GMs? ???

I'd ease into it if you can.  Run some session that are meant to be "prequels," where maybe a character death or maiming or total rules cluster-fuck won't "carry over" into the rest of the game...practice sessions, pretty much, just to let everyone learn some of the basics.  Do 'em solo, if you can -- just hang out with the team hacker for a couple hours and go over the rules, try a milk run in the Matrix, and see if you both have a grasp on the basics -- to just get the whole group warmed up and on the same page.

If you guys find out you've got a glaring problem -- the Mage is missing a crucial skill to let him do his job, the combat guys are getting beat by NPC mooks routinely, the Hacker's not got an important program -- try to work it out in these one or two prequel type games, so everything will be running smoothly later.  Take the time to learn, like a preseason football game, before the "stakes" are real...especially since you're all new to Shadowrun!

Most importantly, don't kick yourself.  Don't stop gameplay to look things up, if you can help it.  If you're not sure what to do, pick a skill and an attribute that sound right, tell the player to roll some dice, and wing it.  Tell the player involved that's what you're doing, and ask them to remember (and to help YOU remember) what was going on, so you can look at the rules and figure it out later. 

Don't feel like puzzling over the chase rules?  Have the team driver roll Reaction + Piloting + Handling for the team's cool SUV, have the cops chasing them roll Reaction + Piloting + Handling for their squad car, and describe the cool chase scene.  Make it an extended test where the team needs to get ten total successes over the cops, or something...but don't stop the game to read over the rules, just sling some dice and describe a Lethal Weapon movie, and look it up after the game.

When something surprises you and you're not sure what rules to use, just pick an attribute, pick a skill, apply a modifier, and roll some dice.  Worry about finding the "right" rules later...keep the game moving, keep everyone having fun. 

It's play!  Not work!

Walks Through Walls:
I agree with Critias for the most part, but every GM has his own style so that is why the game is so much fun in my opinion.

I would read over the magic section, combat section, and matrix (if there will be a hacker) a couple of times even make notes if you think it will help you (even just for this see pg X)

I agree though don't get bogged down in the rules. Often there are several things going on, and if this is the case hand the player involved the book and say find me the rule on such and such it will be in this section (or the indexes in the back of the books are great) we'll get right back to that and then resolve something else while he takes the minute to look it up. He will learn more this way and everyone stays involved and it doesn't stop the action to find the rules.

If you can find one the GM screen has a lot of useful info on it that will help with common scenarios.

A good story always trumps small rules errors in a players mind from what I have seen. Read the section on how to GM near the back of the main book. Also be willing to admit when you made a mistake learn from it and if need be modify something so the player doesn't get hosed by a rule error.

When I start a new campaign especially with new players I have the first run then tell the players that if they want to make some changes to the character or even make a whole new one because the concept they had isn't going to be able to do what they want, but let them keep the loot and karma.

If you have more questions or if I can help you with something just let me know

I've GMed D&D for several years, and recently started a SR game.  The replies so far are right on, in fact, most of the stuff I've read from people on these boards are extremely helpful.  One thing not mentioned (directly, at least as I recollect) is that you need to know your character's strengths and weaknesses. 

I'd do some pre-generated runs to get a few under your belt.

As a green DM, I was having similar problems as señormysterioso.  one piece of advice was that if everyone is new to the game, feel free to fudge things like dice rolls.  obviously you need to progress and learn, not just BS your way through SR or else your players wont take you seriously. 

i like walk through walls idea of doing a run where the characters arent set in stone but the karma and loot are still available.  thanx walk through walls!!

also, where would be an good place to post characters?  i love the art of character building


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version