GM Advice for the Quarantine


Advice

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Hey there all,

I have been, in my copious free time stuck here at home, been working on some GM advice videos over on my YouTube channel. So far I have covered tips for writing one shot games and advice for GMs running a game for just 1 or 2 players.

If folks have ideas for more that might be applicable in this challenging times, leave a comment.

Running One Shot Games

Advice on Running Games for 1

Stay safe everybody and keep gaming!


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

I have been, in my copious free time stuck here at home, been working on some GM advice videos over on my YouTube channel. So far I have covered tips for writing one shot games and advice for GMs running a game for just 1 or 2 players.

If folks have ideas for more that might be applicable in this challenging times, leave a comment.

Running One Shot Games

Advice on Running Games for 1

Stay safe everybody and keep gaming!

My group and I are taking this as an opportunity to try out a West Marches style in our current campaign world. They can organize whoever is free on our Discord to figure out how and what they want to explore and we're running Zoom sessions to explore sessions when people are free.


My advice for playing PF2e westmarches style.

- Remove level from proficiency
- Use weapon/armour qualities instead of runes

My advice for running online

- Fantasygrounds, it is the most mature of the major VTT options and while there is a small learning curve it is incredibly light on the players and I have successfully taken someone who has never see the program or played PF2e and had them playing their first session without having any dedicated tutorial time.


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
- Fantasygrounds, it is the most mature of the major VTT options and while there is a small learning curve it is incredibly light on the players and I have successfully taken someone who has never see the program or played PF2e and had them playing their first session without having any dedicated tutorial time.

Always worth noting that players don’t need to use a VTT platform to successfully play online. Anything that allows you and your players to feel connected enough to play is more than good enough. If your table can handle theater of the mind on a conference call - go for it. If Skype is enough, do it. If you have a webconferencing application and a document camera to get an overhead view of a traditional battle mat: perfect as long as that’s enough for your players.


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Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I tried Fantasy Grounds Unity and it was great...but we spent 3 hours trying to get everyone connected and kept getting kicked off.

Then we just switched to using Discord for voice and Google Slides for maps and it worked like a charm. We found it's pretty much everything we need.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I haven't tried Fantasy Grounds Unity (I don't trust beta releases for programs I absolutely rely on to run game), but my experience with Fantasy Grounds Classic has been great.

Bit of a learning curve, but the official forums are super friendly and helpful.


I had to do my first online session, used roll20, gonna use it as long as the Corona disease is putting pressure on my sunny Portugal


My experiences / advice for virtual gaming after moving online with a college group when we all graduated.

Roll 20: No idea if it is the best online program, but it is free and easy for everyone to get into. Recommend GM changes Chat Tech to "none (no video/audio)" in settings since that has made things lag for my group in the past. Macros can be incredibly useful for common actions to help speed things up in play.

Discord: Used for voice chat & can make a channel specifically for the campaign for players to chat / ask questions outside of sessions.

Character Sheets: Most difficult thing generally is sharing details of character sheets with GM, especially when characters level up or a player wants GM to check if they did something right. Also for when a player needs to step away for a minute (at home = many distractions) and the GM needs to know AC/Save/etc to try to resolve something for their character to keep the game moving.

My group originally used pdf sheets, but there was always at least one person who'd forget to send a copy to the GM after leveling up. After going through a few other online programs and not finding Roll20's built-in sheets as convenient, I eventually buckled down to create my own sheet using Google Sheets along with a connected sheet for GMs (still needs updating to PF2, so I currently only have a beta version of the Party Tracker tab released & ready). The benefits here are that Google Sheets is easy to access and players can share their sheet once and allow the GM to see any updates they make while leveling up / etc. By putting those share links into the GM Party Tracker, google sheets can import a variety of useful information directly off every character sheet and display the entire party's information in an easy to reference way.


My group plays via Maptool: definitely not perfect, but it's free and pretty customizable.

Some time ago I tried to experiment a bit with Roll20, and I was liking it enough to think about proposing the switch.
I decided not to, because I didn't like one thing: the lack (as far as I could find) of an option to download your work in some format you could store elsewhere.
This, combined with the method of payment, means that I'm going to lose my stuff when I stop my subscription. It's probably not going to matter in most cases, but I really like to keep and archive my things.


We played last week via "astraltabletop". Lots of free stuff and worked very well without pro account. Complete group liked it!

Audio was via Discord.

Try it out.

Greetings
Templars_Knight

Edit: We played first edition, but second is supported as well.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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I should note that just yesterday, I posted up another advice video, this one focusing on how to make exciting player characters.

You can find it right here


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Charon Onozuka wrote:
Roll 20: No idea if it is the best online program, but it is free and easy for everyone to get into. Recommend GM changes Chat Tech to "none (no video/audio)" in settings since that has made things lag for my group in the past. Macros can be incredibly useful for common actions to help speed things up in play.

Roll20 is great.

Roll20's audio chat is the literal worst. Use anything else, Steam, Discord, whatever you've got.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I too have switched my in-person groups to virtual groups, and I use Roll20 and Discord.

I don't have much advice really, other than, get a hold of good digital maps, it saves a TON of effort over trying to draw your own within Roll20.

Oh! Also, this website here: http://rolladvantage.com/tokenstamp/

It has been a life saver. So easy to make customized tokens for PCs and enemies alike. Google image search + about 20 seconds and you've got a slick, good looking token that stands out well on a map. So many of the Roll20 creature tokens get lost in the visual clutter of a PDF map, I find that I really want tokens that stand out.


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jdripley wrote:

Oh! Also, this website here: http://rolladvantage.com/tokenstamp/

It has been a life saver. So easy to make customized tokens for PCs and enemies alike. Google image search + about 20 seconds and you've got a slick, good looking token that stands out well on a map. So many of the Roll20 creature tokens get lost in the visual clutter of a PDF map, I find that I really want tokens that stand out.

I prefer Token Tool myself. Comes with a *ton* of pre-designed borders in all shapes and styles (I happen to like a round stone-textured one). Runs in Java, hasn't been updated in a century, works flawlessly.

(Thanks for the alternative, though!)

Sovereign Court

jdripley wrote:

I too have switched my in-person groups to virtual groups, and I use Roll20 and Discord.

I don't have much advice really, other than, get a hold of good digital maps, it saves a TON of effort over trying to draw your own within Roll20.

Oh! Also, this website here: http://rolladvantage.com/tokenstamp/

It has been a life saver. So easy to make customized tokens for PCs and enemies alike. Google image search + about 20 seconds and you've got a slick, good looking token that stands out well on a map. So many of the Roll20 creature tokens get lost in the visual clutter of a PDF map, I find that I really want tokens that stand out.

That, and having a good color scheme for the borders (green = PCs, red = enemies, blue = other) makes it far easier to spot what's going on at a glance.

I really like just how fast and straightforward that site is.

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