Game Master Expectations

Fantasy Flight Games


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Game Master Expectations

What is Expected of a Game Master

The Game Master is the person in charge who often is the host of the Star Wars Legends of the Galaxy Event. It is your role to run the adventure, ensure people are having a good time, and act as arbitrator of the rules.

The Run of Show as a Game Master

As a Legends of the Galaxy Roleplaying Experience Events GM running an adventure at a convention or in-store event, you’ll have the following obligations:

  • Show up 30 minutes before the start of the event.
  • Introduce yourself to the owners / employees of the location where the event is being held. Identify any relevant store policies.
  • Introduce yourself to your players.
  • Encourage your players to introduce themselves and their characters.
  • Look over each PC’s character sheet and previous Adventure Logs. Quickly check their wealth, equipment, calculations, and other relevant information.
  • Declare when the Adventure begins and ends. An Adventure shouldn’t last more than six hours. (Note: Home games and online games don’t have to follow this restriction, and some conventions may also offer longer time slots.)
  • Fill out each player's Adventure Log for the adventure that you’re running.
  • Verify if the players own any Star Wars FFG roleplaying products. If they don’t, they are only permitted to play a pre-generated character. Players who create their own custom character are required to own one of the CORE Rule Books. If they’re playing a specialization, they need the relevant supplement book or the specialization deck for their character. If a player claims to own the product but can’t prove it, request that they play a pre-generated character.
  • Role the game’s Obligation, Duty, or Morality to determine whether they affect the day’s current session.
    • Duty Group Contribution Rank - Tally Group Contribution Rank at the beginning and the end of a game. If the table’s total duty score meets or exceeds 100 pts, then the GM should grant a story reward based on the rules in Age of Rebellion. These rules grant players at the table a Group Contribution Rank increase, and a rank increase in the Rebellion. This should effectively reset everyone’s Duty Scores to 0. If their score exceeded 100 pts, any points above 100 should be evenly divided among the players. Please note only members of the rebel alliance have Duty and may gain Duty Group Contribution rank increases.
    • If the group’s total Obligation score exceeds 100 pts at the beginning, or during the course of play, players should be warned that they need to take action to buy down their Obligation. Otherwise, their characters may earn experience points for the current session but cannot spend them until the table group obligation is lowered below 100pts. At the end of the game, Obligation should be tallied again. If it still exceeds 100 pts, the group will earn experience points and they can still earn story rewards and treasure. Just remember you cannot spend the earned xp until after you lower your total group obligation below 100 pts.
    • If a player requests that their Morality is triggered, the GM should honor that request during the day’s adventure. In addition, the GM should keep track of Conflict earned by each player so that at the end of the game it can be used to determine an increase or decrease in the player’s Morality score based off the conflict check. After this roll is made a character’s Conflict resets to 0pts for the start of the next session and the Game Master records the Morality changes. Please note that Conflict is not a determination of whether an action is “good” or “evil.” It is neutral, and if the action occurred, Conflict is rewarded.
  • Run the Roleplaying Adventure. Star Wars is a cinematic experience, set in a sprawling fictional universe with a remarkable amount of depth and lore. Like any story, Star Wars isn’t just about technology and epic battles: it’s about characters. Character choice should matter, and should absolutely affect gameplay. Don’t just follow the rails of an adventure word for word. GMs are encouraged to follow the players wherever they seek to go, with the story bending and twisting depending on the choices they make. Any straying from the main story should be documented in a character’s Adventure Log. As a GM, you’re also encouraged to incorporate factions like the Baron and the Church of the Force, tying your characters’ unique experiences to the overarching story that connects all Legends of the Galaxy adventures.
  • The GM should give the players freedom to be part of the story. Let them interpret their own dice pools rolled. As a GM, you get the final say as to whether their explanation is valid or not, but as an RPG, the game is fundamentally a form of collaborative storytelling. This keeps it fun and rewarding for the players, encouraging them to come back again to experience more adventures in the legendary Galaxy Far, Far Away.
  • When the game is over, clean up your event space. Leave it in better condition than you found it.
  • Game Masters are expected to report the results of each session here:  Click Here  . Failure to do so in a timely manner can have negative consequences for Legends of the Galaxy Story as a whole. In addition Game Masters can earn credit in the  GM Legendary Awards program.
  • When you’re running at a convention or an in-store event, the game needs to be more sharply focused on accomplishing the goals of the Adventure. We certainly encourage you to have fun and think outside the box, and to let engaging roleplay take place to keep your players fully immersed in the exciting world of Star Wars. However, there’s a limit to how much “side action” can take place before it interferes with the story. If the characters are still playing darts in a cantina and you’re an hour into the game, prod them to take action. They may be having fun with darts, but they’ll regret it if they can’t finish the Adventure within the allotted time. It’s all about balance, and as a GM, your job is to make those decisions.
  • If you’re running at a convention or event, you can open up Knight-level pre-generated characters.

Running a Homespun Adventure

As a Community Driven Roleplaying Experience, Legends of the Galaxy relies on the community to add to the overall story and campaign. Game Masters are encouraged to write and run their own homespun adventures. They can even share their adventures with the community. Click Here to Learn More

  • Running a home game?  Write your own adventure!  In fact, if you’ve come up with a fun, exciting, unique adventure to run with your gaming group, you can submit it to the Legends of the Galaxy Staff for review. If we like it, we’ll include it in the overall adventure pool. 
  • If you’re running a home game, your job is far less restricted by time constraints and planning. With that said, you still need to make an extra effort to make sure your game is recorded properly. Depending on how you play with your home group, you can take your time playing through an Adventure. Players can explore interesting sideline details, or go after characters’ personal goals. However, the Player Characters will never gain additional experience or rewards beyond the limitations of the Adventure Log or the basic gameplay rules.

Legal Table Size

Standard Legends of the Galaxy table size is 4 to 6 players. The minimum legal table size for Legends of the Galaxy Roleplaying Experience Events is a total of 4 players. This can be achieved with three Player Characters and the GM playing a 4 th. or four to six PCs and a GM. Table size is capped at six Player Characters. (If you’re an experienced gamer, you’ve probably noticed how chaotic and out-of-hand a game can get with too many people.) With that said, if seven people show up to an event, you don’t necessarily have to turn someone away. You can add them as a seventh person, but this should be a last resort when the only other option is to send them home.

The problem with seven-person tables is that they can allow players to overpower Adventures that would otherwise be challenging. It also limits the time available for each player, and for many gamers, this can be a turnoff. Be sure to check with your players to determine whether they’re okay with taking on a seventh person.

An alternative option to a seven-person game is to split up the group into two tables of three players, and ask one person to act as the GM for the second table. Each GM can run a pre-generated character to help fill their table out.

Creative Solutions

Sometimes, your players might surprise you with a creative solution to an encounter-- or to the Adventure as a whole-- that you didn’t see coming. This may not be expressly covered in the Adventure itself. This is a possibility that you should consider.

Here’s an example. Your players roleplay their way through combat and successfully accomplish the goal of the encounter-- but they never killed the main antagonist. In this case, you should give the PCs the same reward they would have gained if they’d defeated the antagonist in combat. After all, the goal was still achieved. To continue our example, let’s say the scene calls for the PCs to receive credits or gear as rewards based on defeating their combatants. As an alternative, you can give them the opportunity to find a cargo crate that gives them the same rewards. If the PCs accidentally roleplayed past an NPC with a critical story item, give them an alternative way to obtain that item or information.

It’s perfectly fine for players to find unique, unexpected ways to get past an obstacle. Legends of the Galaxy Roleplaying Experience Events isn’t the kind of game where the only solution to a problem is to kill it. By rewarding creative use of skills and roleplaying, you can make the game more fun for your players, as well as giving yourself flexibility to make sure your players get their deserved rewards.

Dealing with Disruptive Players

On occasion we encounter a situation where two players do not agree. It is always up to the Game Master to be the final arbitrator at the table. If a player consistently performs activities at the table that takes the fun away from the table the Game Master should consider this as possible disruptive behavior. The Game Master may make a ruling at the table saying that activity is not allowed. This ruling must be respected by all players. The Game Master may pull players who constantly are doing things at the table that are not enjoyed by the rest of the table and in private ask them what is going on and why they are being disruptive. The Game Master should let them know that if they continue to be disruptive they may be asked to leave. If the player continues the Game Master may excuse the player from the Legends of the Galaxy Event.

Please note that dealing with disruptive players is a judgement call of the Game Master. A GM should ask themselves is this causing a disruption at the table or not? Is this just an in character motivational situation and to let it play out or if this is a situation that is causing hurt feelings at the table? If this is ever going to disrupt the fun and hurt feelings the GM should strongly consider this as disruptive. But in the end it is the Game Masters call as to what is and what is not disruptive.

Examples of Disruptive activities:

  • Harassment. If one player is ever harassing another player this is disruptive and should be dealt with immediately. 
  • Cursing or use of foul language. Legends of the Galaxy likes to keep the games as Family Friendly as possible. Excessive use of foul language, especially around minors is prohibited and the Game Master can consider this as disruptive.
  • Unwanted Player vs Player Combat. While if two players wish to have their character engage in an opposed skill check and it is willing is not disruptive. The activity where one player attempts to force another player against their will to perform an activity or if they attack another character without their consent this is considered a prohibited activity and an example of someone being disruptive.
  • Disruptive motivations. If a player is playing a character who has a motivation that is causing a disruptive situation at the table the Game Master reserves the right to request that player consider playing a different character or suspend their strong following of their motivation for the remainder of the session. Please note that it is up to the player to decide to continue playing their same character or switching to a new character. If the player agrees with switching and does not have another character they may select one of the pre-generated characters. If the player continues to play their character and allows their character's motivations to disrupt the table taking the fun away from all other players they are considered disruptive.
  • Players just not getting along at the table. If two players are bickering, being argumentative, fighting at the table with each other, and taking away from the fun of the table this can be considered disruptive.
  • Rules Lawyering. If a player is constantly quoting the rules in a manner that stops the game, disrespects the Game Master, and takes fun away from other players. This is considered disruptive.
  • Sexual nature. If players have their characters engage in a nature that can be considered as X rated this is not Family Friendly and considered prohibited and disruptive in a public game setting.

Dealing with Death

The Galaxy is filled with many dangers, and in Legends of the Galaxy Roleplaying Experience Events, character death is a very real possibility. In fact, the danger is necessary to maintain a sense of risk and danger in the game.

The problem is that for new players, a violent death in their first-ever Adventure can turn them off to the game forever. We don’t generally advocate fudging dice rolls, but at the same time, we encourage GMs to consider the experience of the player. Most players who die their first time out will get frustrated and won’t come back. Also, if the entire party dies, the slot is over for everyone. At a convention, this can leave your players with no game to play for a substantial amount of time. In the event of a character death a Game Master may flip one light side destiny point to dark side allowing the player character to survive by the skin of his teeth.

Obviously, total party kills shouldn’t happen very often, but sometimes, the dice just aren’t on your side, and suddenly, your whole party becomes One with the Force. Sometimes, it’s up to your discretion whether to end the game or not. You’re allowed to give them some leeway, as long as it helps keep the game fun and engaging. A good way to avoid TPKs is for the GM to stop punching people when they’re down. If someone is incapacitated (below wound threshold) they probably aren’t dead yet and the NPCs can shift their attention to a new target. A character who is below their wound threshold receives a critical hit for each time the incur damage when below their wound threshold. Each consecutive critical injury adds a +10 to the critical injury table. A character is not dead just because they have exceeded their wound threshold. In order for character death to occur a character must receive a critical hit on the critical hit table that is reflective of a character death. This is why having the NPC’s focus on a new target is a good way to avoid TPK and character death.

In the event that the entire party is reduced below their Wound Threshold, the enemies leave the party for dead and they wake up hours later in an alley, medical center, detention center, or other location based on the circumstance per the GM’s discretion. Remember not to be harsh in this situation as players are here to have fun.

Another issue is this: what if your party inadvertently kills off an important NPC who was supposed to give them information that’s critical to the story? That’s a tough situation for a GM, and requires a bit of creativity and improvisation. Don’t decide the adventure is over just because the old man with the important letter was roasted alive in the crossfire, along with the vital datapad. Instead, come up with some miracle by which the datapad survived. It doesn’t have to be glaringly deus ex machina-- be creative! Maybe the datapad was in a fireproof pouch, or maybe his apprentice was nearby and knows the same things the old man knew. Improvisation can keep the story moving forward, even when your characters do the “wrong” thing.

In addition, in the event a recurring nemesis is killed off, You can solve this situation through Destiny Points. (you can flip a pair of Dark Destiny to Light and you say “oh look, he escapes by the skin of his teeth, vowing revenge…”)

Adventure Logs and Record-Keeping

Whether you participate in the game at home or at a convention, your number one responsibility as a GM-- other than providing a fun and fair gaming experience-- is to keep a careful record of events on every player's Adventure Log. Adventure Logs record everything a Legends of the Galaxy character does over the course of his or her career, serving as the official record for every character in the campaign. This record keeping means that the same character can be played anywhere in the world, under many different GMs. Adventure Logs also help prevent unscrupulous players from cheating.

As you guide your players through a Legends of the Galaxy Roleplaying Experience Events Adventure, there are some important things you must keep track of:

  • Core mechanic scores (Obligation, Duty, and Morality)
  • Earned XP
  • Story Rewards
  • Credits
  • Gear & Other Treasure

Reporting Adventure Results

Once you’ve completed an Adventure and filled out everyone’s Adventure Logs, someone needs to report the results of the Adventure. For home games, GMs are always responsible for reporting their results. For convention games and retail store games, the event coordinator is responsible for reporting. Whether you’re running a game at home or at an event, you should have an Adventure Log sheet for each session you run. You can download the sheets here:  Click Here

As you’re checking over the players’ completed Adventure Logs, make note of each character’s Character Name, Player Name, and core mechanical scores. As soon as possible, go to this address:  Click Here

Follow the instructions carefully, and enter the relevant information onto the form on the website. You might notice that we need far less information than a character’s Adventure Log contains. This information is for event coordinators at stores and conventions, who are generally responsible for printing and distributing pre-generated character sheets, Adventure Logs, and other materials. In retail games and at small conventions, the coordinator might also be a GM.

Please note that adventure reporting should be done in a complete manner. Noting the story rewards as I do not remember is not a valid adventure report and will not earn you credit towards the GM Legendary Awards program.

Regardless of the location of play, don’t forget to report your results. It’s very important to the overall success of Legends of the Galaxy Roleplaying Experience Events!

You can also email your results here:  [email protected]

Continue to Tips for Running an Event

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Baroon Saa
Baroon Saa