GMing and Playing at the same time?

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koalarampage
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GMing and Playing at the same time?

Now with chapter 5 released to those who backed the Kickstarter my gaming group and I were hoping to start our own home brew campaign. Unfortunately there are only 4 of us in the group. We are all planning on taking turns GMing 6 issue “collected trades” but we were all wondering how difficult it would be to GM and run our hero for the team at the same time. Normally with other tabletop games I don’t do this as there are a lot of game things to consider but this game while complex with narrative is pretty simple rules-wise. Would this be too much to handle for a GM? Does anyone have any experience with doing this with this system. Thanks!

catDreaming
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Having done this for my players, I mostly run the character as a 'fifth party member' from Final Fantasy.

If the NPC needs some direction, or has multiple options, I consult the players to see if they have a preference. If not, I have the NPC act according to their established personality. Ophelia is a hero who's thing is charging into danger (Principle Of The Indestructible), and helping other heroes who have less experience in finishing up tasks (Principle Of The Mentor). But when she had the option of saving another hero, or getting herself out of a collapsing underwater base, I definitely consulted with the players for their opinions on what she should do.

Basically? Run the character as you would normally, making sure not to give them knowledge they shouldn't have.


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Jimeni
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I've done this without too much trouble.

MindWanderer
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There are pros and cons. The main pitfall with GMPC's is running them appropriately. They can't participate in problem-solving because the GM already knows the answers. They won't be surprised by anything. If they make a correct decision, it's a deus ex machina; if they make an incorrect decision, it's sabotage. The other players may metagame--not bother protecting the GMPC because they know the GM won't want to take our their own character, for instance. At least in Sentinels you don't need to worry about giving your PC all the good loot.

Sentinels should run perfectly fine with 3 PC's, though. It doesn't have roles that need to be filled, and the game scales well.


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Shadowstripe
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Or you could regularly switch out GMs, and have a given player's character be unavailable when that player is GMing.

Not every member of a team of Heroes is available for every mission, especially if they have lives outside of their heroic career.  Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark do have companies they need to run at least some of the time after all... and other heroes have other life obligations that they may not be able to put on hold without major consequences (just because you are out saving the world doesn't mean you can skip out on your shift at work or not show up for your wedding).


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ErekLich
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What Shadowstripe said!  Superheroes aren't D&D murder hobos, after all - just cycle people in and out!  With my group we're even looking at a format where everyone has 2-3 characters, and all characters earn a trade every 12 sessions - basically a "Justice League" setup.  I'd just run with 4 heroes, personally, but if you want GMCs just be careful to write the sessions you GM so as to downplay your own PC!

aramis
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While it's easily done, running a GMPC in almost any game is a constant fight to avoid giving it all away. As Mindwanderer points out, GMPC's are rife with "damneed if you do, damned if you don't" moments.

In games with a strong skill system, it's easy enough to make a hidden skill roll to see if the NPC can give a reasonable clue... but really, SCRPG doesn't have a great mechanic for that, and using an overcome is rather likely too hard to be a reasonable for using to determine if the GMPC can give reasonable advice.

If you need more bodies in the team beacause you've made it too hard, let them call in a few Lieutenants, and let the players control them

Likewise, as Shadowstrike and ErekLich mention, superteams often don't field the whole team, SCRPG doesn't have needed roles, and 3 is plenty, if you go easy with the environments. (For 2p, I'd knock the environment down a die...)

 


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Sea-Envy
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to add to what everyone else said-

The revolving groups of diffrent team members chossen from a large pool invokes the feel of old school Justice League of America comics. 6 heroes = 2 would go on mission A, 2 would go on mission B, and 2 would go on mission C.

 


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mistergone
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As a Game Master, I always run NPCs who are basically just secretly my PCs. But we never switch in those cases - I GM the whole campaign. This makes it a lot easier for them to have crucial information at the right time or whatever - it's part of the plot!

Because the game is precisely about each player finding creative ways to apply the traits of their character to the situation at hand, it could get tricky when it's your PC's turn and they always have the right approach to the problem. Either that, or your PC is just there to roll some dice and add some numbers to the scene, which isn't all bad, but probably isn't interesting, either. But if it helps make the story make more sense that everyone is there, then go for it! (For instance, maybe the whole team is in deep space, out on their own, and it doesn't make sense for your PC to just disappear for several sessions in a row.) But in that case, you can probably just narrate that your PC is there helping, but design challenges as if they were not. And you can still participate in RP scenes, although you'd also want to be careful about how much your PC pressures the team to make Decision A versus Decision B when you know the outcomes of those decisions.

I would just recommend that someone takes over as long-term GM, then secretly sneaks all their PC ideas in as helpful NPCs who join the team for a Collection or two. That's what I'm going to do!

 


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catDreaming
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mistergone wrote:
As a Game Master, I always run NPCs who are basically just secretly my PCs. But we never switch in those cases - I GM the whole campaign. This makes it a lot easier for them to have crucial information at the right time or whatever - it's part of the plot!
Because the game is precisely about each player finding creative ways to apply the traits of their character to the situation at hand, it could get tricky when it's your PC's turn and they always have the right approach to the problem. Either that, or your PC is just there to roll some dice and add some numbers to the scene, which isn't all bad, but probably isn't interesting, either. But if it helps make the story make more sense that everyone is there, then go for it! (For instance, maybe the whole team is in deep space, out on their own, and it doesn't make sense for your PC to just disappear for several sessions in a row.) But in that case, you can probably just narrate that your PC is there helping, but design challenges as if they were not. And you can still participate in RP scenes, although you'd also want to be careful about how much your PC pressures the team to make Decision A versus Decision B when you know the outcomes of those decisions.
I would just recommend that someone takes over as long-term GM, then secretly sneaks all their PC ideas in as helpful NPCs who join the team for a Collection or two. That's what I'm going to do!
 

^^ That's basically what I've decided to do. I pick an NPC who makes sense narratively (ability-wise being helpful or not) and they show up. The heroes are free to interact or not with them.


A single man
Standing alone in a field of swords
Blades borne to the unmoving air
An unchanging world as their sheathe
Preserved for eternity
This is my Origin
- Avalon, The Living Sheathe