See also: Hazards
The Gamemaster is the guiding force of the game. If the game is fun, it will be to your credit. If it isn't you'll need to make some adjustments. But don't worry- running a Star Wars game is nowhere near as daunting as it might seem at first.
Described below are the different duties of the GM. As with any hobby, focus on what you enjoy the most, but remember that the other duties are also important.
The Role of the Gamemaster Edit
Main Article: The Role of the Gamemaster
The Gamemaster is the storyteller and referee, creator of terrible threats against the galaxy, secret master of the villainous, criminal, and ruthless, and hidden protector of the brave. The GM's responsibilities include several important tasks; each of these is outlined in this section.
Running a Game Session Edit
Main Article: Running a Game Session
After everything is prepared, and everyone sits down at the table, you're on. It's your show. Here are some things you should consider, at the table and before you ever get there, to help make the game run as smoothly as possible.
Building an Encounter Edit
Main ARticle: Building an Encounter
For purposes of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, an encounter is defined as an obstacle, threat, or situation (Whether it be an opponent, several opponents, or a Hazard) that prevents the heroes from achieving a specific goal important to the adventure. An obstacle, threat, or situation can be overcome through smart roleplaying, combat, or Skill use. Persuading a crazed Force Disciple to surrender might require heroes to enter difficult and perhaps life-threatening negotiations, while capturing a Crime Lord might require heroes to fight their way past a squad of Thugs or infiltrate the Crime Lord's headquarters without setting off the security system.
Awarding Experience Points Edit
Heroes receive Experience Points (XP) for overcoming opponents, Hazards, and other obstacles that stand in the way of achieving the goals of an adventure. Every opponent has a Challenge Level (CL) that determines how much XP the heroes get for overcoming it, as shown in the below table. Note that overcoming an obstacle doesn't always mean defeating it. Heroes who trick or bribe a Gamorrean guard into letting them pass should get full XP for the Gamorrean, just as if they'd bested him in combat.
|Challenge Level||XP Award1,2|
1: Divide the XP award by the number of heroes in the party to determine how many XP each hero receives. Heroes recieve one-tenth XP for anything with a Challenge Level equal to or less than their character level -5.
2: An easy way to determine XP is that every CL is worth 200 XP. So a multiplier of 200 by the enemy's CL would get the experience that the enemy rewards.
The GM has the right to adjust XP awards depending on how rapidly he or she wants the heroes to gain levels and how easily the heroes achieve their encounter goals. Wherever possible, the GM should split XP awards equally between the heroes so that they're gaining levels at the same rate. Once the heroes accumulated enough XP to gain a level, it's time to increase the difficulty of the challenges they must overcome.
Beginning at 6th level, heroes receive less XP awards for obstacles with a CL significantly lower than their character level. At some point, low-level threats become fodder, and little experience can be gained from overcoming them. Heroes receive one-tenth XP for anything with a Challenge Level equal to or less than the heroes' average level -5. For example a group of 6th-level heroes receive 20 XP for defeating a CL 1 Stormtrooper (Instead of 200 XP).
Other Rewards Edit
In addition to Experience Points, the heroes can earn other rewards for their actions. As a general rule, a challenging yet fair encounter should net the heroes resources equal their average level x 2000 credits, to be divided equally among them. Easy encounters may deliver half as many resources or none at all, and difficult encounters should give 50% more at least. You don't have to hand out resources at the end of the an encounter; often it is best to save the heroes' rewards until the end of the adventure, in the form of a lump-sum payment given to them for completing the adventure's goals.
Resources can take several different forms, as detailed below. For purposes of comparison, all resources are measured in credits.
For many characters, no reward is better than cold, hard cash. This category includes credit vouchers, electronic deposits of credits into a character's account (If the character owns a Credit Chip), credit coins, or Trade Goods (Often precious metals).
Credits may be found during the course of an adventure - inside a vault in a Hutt Crime Lord's palace, in front of Trade Goods found in a freighter's cargo hold, or perhaps even in the pockets or baggage of a defeated foe. However, heroes are more likely to receive the bulk of their wealth from grateful benefactors for jobs well done.
Heroes invariably acquire new Equipment in the course of an adventure, recovering it from the field of battle, seizing it from enemies they defeat, or stealing it from a less-than secure place (Such as the hold of a captured Starship or a poorly defended warehouse).
Be judicious when giving out valuable Equipment as a reward. If the heroes find valuable Equipment too often, they will be tempted to spend several minutes after every battle looting bodies for usable gear and later reselling their hawked goods, and this can quickly derail or slow down an adventure.
Always point out notable Equipment that you want the heroes to have ("The Scout Trooper's sniper rifle seems intact, and you can see a Targeting Scope mounted on it"). Meanwhile, never mention mundane Equipment that isn't meant to be useful, or emphasize why the Equipment is either unusable or undesirable ("The smuggler's Blaster Pistol is dirty and rusted, a cheap knock-off of a BlasTech model. You doubt he ever took the time to clean or maintain the weapon"). If your players still spend too much time looting, you should strictly enforce the Encumbrance rules and subtract the value of salvaged Equipment from the rewards you give them.
Building an Adventure Edit
Main Article: Building an Adventure
An adventure- sometimes called a mission- is a collection of related encounters designed to fit together, creating a cogent storyline for the game. Some adventures are only short episodes in the campaign or interludes between longer adventures. Others represent significant missions, while still others form the backbone of the campaign.
Building a Campaign Edit
Main Article: Building a Campaign
The term "Campaign" refers to the ongoing game created by the Gamemaster, a linked set of adventures or missions that follow the escapades of a group of heroes. A Campaign might have a single ongoing storyline- such as the overthrow of the Empire - or several, shorter plots. The "Classic" trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) is an example of a Campaign with a single ongoing storyline. In this "Campaign" we follow the adventures of a central group of heroes- a group that changes slightly over time as individual heroes come and go- who generally work together to accomplish their goals.
Additional Gamemastering Edit
With other eras available for play, this does not nullify the above concepts presented. However, with different eras comes different challenges, environments, galactic events, and social interactions. Below will be article links to direct you to appropriate eras where you can find information to flesh out your universe.
Old Republic Campaigns Edit
Main Article: Old Republic Campaigns
The galaxy is torn by war. The Old Republic is fighting for its survival, and everywhere the enemies of civilization- The Krath, The Mandalorians, The Sith- threaten to shatter what tenuous hold the Republic has on the galaxy. Lightsabers clash on nearly every planet, and few worlds remain untouched by the violence of the times. This is the galaxy into which heroes in a Old Republic Campaign must venture forth, and it is a galaxy that teems with adventure possibilities.
Clone Wars Campaigns Edit
Reference Book: Star Wars Saga Edition Clone Wars Campaign Guide
Main Article: Clone Wars Campaigns
The Clone Wars embodies traditional warfare better than any other war in the Star Wars saga. Whereas the Galactic Civil War features guerilla warfare against a monolithic Empire, the Clone Wars are a struggle between two more evenly matched forces using more conventional tactics and strategies. Battles of the Clone Wars involve two comparable military forces clashing on expansive and exotic battlefields in a struggle to capture and secure territory. The Republic and the Confederacy are vying to be the dominant ruling body of the galaxy, and both sides commit millions of troops- Clones and Droids- in an effort to stop their foes.
The Clone Wars lead millions of ground troops to fields of battle throughout the galaxy, and the heroes of a Clone Wars Campaign quickly find themselves drawn into these conflicts. Part of the excitement of a Clone Wars campaign is that everywhere the heroes go they find conflicts close by. Few places in the galaxy avoid conflict. The Jedi are fighting and dying on the front lines of these wars, sending the Order into decline. The corrupt leaders of the Confederacy use Droid troops to advance their agenda, aided by the sinister leadership of villains like General Grievous and General Loathsom. The galaxy offers the heroes no sanctuary from the effects of the Clone Wars. Even when visiting distant, backwater worlds, they might see secret rendezvous points for Republic military forces or even entire populations toiling day and night to power the Separatist war machine.
Rebellion Era Campaigns Edit
Reference Book: Star Wars Saga Edition Rebellion Era Campaign Guide
Main Article: Rebellion Era Campaigns
In any society, citizens rely on the government for security: laws to define civilized behavior, officials to enforce those laws, punishments for those who break those laws, and so on. The sacrifice of some beings' freedoms for the safety and security of all seems to many during The Rebellion Era to be a reasonable exchange. However, a few beings know that power, corruption, and oppression go hand in hand, and those beings oppose tyranny through acts of sabotage or open rebellion.
The heroes in a Rebellion Era Campaign can fight for either side of the conflict- The Galactic Empire or The Rebel Alliance- or even act on behalf of fringe elements such as smugglers and pirates. Heroes can be upstanding Imperial citizens lending their aid against the Rebellion, or they can be freedom-loving Rebels working to bring down the Emperor.
Whichever side the players choose, The Rebellion Era is rife with possibilities and pitfalls, opportunities and obstacles, and nobility and villainy.
Legacy Era Campaigns Edit
Reference Book: Star Wars Saga Edition Legacy Era Campaign Guide
Main Article: Legacy Era Campaigns
At first blush, campaigns set in The Legacy Era might seem very similar to those set during The Dark Times and The Rebellion Era. The monolithic Empire rules the galaxy, there are no Jedi, and the criminal fringe has risen to prominence. However, in many respects The Legacy Era is wholly unique, with a flavor and feel all its own. While The Legacy Era shares many common elements with other popular time periods, this section helps present some of the unique elements that can be emphasized to give a Legacy Era Campaign its own feel.
Fringe Campaigns Edit
Reference Book: Star Wars Saga Edition Scum and Villainy
Main Article: Fringe Campaigns
Crime, it can be argued, is one of the building blocks of society. Although illicit trade and commerce are certainly unethical, and perhaps even immoral, the rule of supply and demand sometimes prevents necessary goods from reaching those who need them most- except at exorbitantly high prices. Smuggling enables important cargos to reach their intended targets, without the costly and time-consuming red tape of a slow (And at times corrupt) bureaucracy. Certainly, the smuggler makes a profit from supplying needed goods; without profit, he or she could not afford to remain in business. Still, a reasonable markup is what draws the line between smuggling and profiteering.
Heroes in a Fringe Campaign might be those who have taken to a life of crime to make their fortunes, embracing expediency over ethics and using guile and force to do what others need hard work and cooperation to accomplish. Alternatively, the heroes could be noble-spirited individuals struggling to rise above their environment and make something of themselves, fighting the temptation to take the easy way out.
All this is rich, fertile soil for fringe heroes to grow and thrive- both as characters and as criminals who might one day come to control their own criminal empires.
Military Campaigns Edit
Reference Book: Star Wars Saga Edition Galaxy at War
Main Article: Military Campaigns
Military Campaigns can portray the heroics of a high-flying Starfighter squadron or the trials and tribulations of a special-forces unit wallowing in the mud. The most important difference between a Military Campaign and a more conventional one is the mood and tone. Military Campaigns are structured. Even though the morality of the conflict might be unclear, the objectives are well defined.
Winning a war requires teamwork, planning, and the skills to get the job done. Discipline is also important, because it provides a structure for the military machine. Even the lowliest trooper is expected to follow orders. If the trooper refuses to do so, the ripples of the insubordination can be felt even in the highest echelons.
This chapter explains how to establish the necessary tone and mood of a Military Campaign and how to convey to the heroes that they are a part of a conflict that is much larger than any individual solder. In addition, you can learn about military characters and what makes them tick.
Homebrew Gamemastering Edit
The following pages detail gamemastering for a variety of more obscure campaigns. These articles are either created through homebrew content, or by conversion of previous iterations of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game.
Archaeological Campaigns Edit
Main Article: Archaeological Campaigns
Under the auspices of the Obroan Institute for Archaeology (Jedi Department), the Hanna Institute of Antiquities, and the hastily created New Republic Archaeological Corps (NRAC), archaeological projects are undertaken throughout Ossus. Excavations of The Great Library, The Chamber of Antiquities, and other sites attract xenoarchaeological teams from across the galaxy.