A GM-less format?

Sorry if this has been asked before, but if so, I couldn’t find it.

Is there a viable way of running a game of STA with a group of people where no one wants to be the GM? I know some systems have mechanics for a “dummy” GM, or for players to take turns doing the necessary stuff that a GM normally would. Has anyone devised a way to pull this off for STA yet?

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I am part of a rather small gaming group where we each, 8ncluding the GM, run two active characters per scene, which is great because it lets you see the situation, and what to do, from different sides. As to the traditional GM duties, usually one sees to the “book-keeping” and such, but all contribute to the writing and sometimes running the NPCs when robot rules are insufficient, or it is something like an Orion Starfleet officer trying to bluff their way past an obstnate guard.

I don’t recall seeing anyone trying it, but I imagine it could be do-able with the right group, maybe? Someone would have to present the storyline and manage Threat, but I guess a creative enough group could round-robin that.

If you try it and it works, let us know!

I’ve only ever done this sort of thing with one-shot indie games, and it was more a round-robin thing rather than a “GM-less” thing. Some games give a framework to help with it - one I recall has each player at the table invent an NPC and an organization, if I remember correctly, and then the group picks the ones that they like most, and those become the antagonists and other groups that the PCs interact with.

You could treat it like a show episode - everyone agrees on the overall plot and whatnot, and then you cut to different scenes at different places with different characters. So Player A takes a turn GMing for Players B and C on the away mission, then Player B runs stuff for Players A, D, and E who are still on the ship, or whatever other location the overall plot calls for.

This is, in my experience, in many ways harder than a standard one-GM game. It involves a lot of on-the-spot creativity, which can be hard for many players. It also lends itself far more to narrative-heavy stories and systems, because with those systems you don’t need to come up with, say, enemy stats on the fly. It can be fun, and it’s certainly a way to stretch the creative muscles, but I wouldn’t consider it “the easy way” by any means.

You’d probably need a couple of different decks of cards that have enough random yet somewhat connected events to string together for an ‘adventure’. Like… plot cards, hazard cards, encounter cards, extended task cards, etc.

The idea would be to generate things for the players to deal with.

Like… random tables? :smiley:

Look at Word Mill Games’ Mythic Game Master Emulator and related books and the Crafter books they publish. These are made to run GM-less/Solo Games. The Crafter books can be used for solo and GM games.

You can run run solo/GM less games with that. They also have a discussion group which people can give tips resources, etc. on solo/GM-less gaming. I’ve used Mythic for 2d20 Conan, Stars Without Number, and some other games The Conan game was a 2 person GM-less game. Haven’t tried it with STA yet as I’m still reading all the books for it.

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Yes. But the trend these days seems to be a deck of cards rather than rolling on tables. But tables are essentially what the deck can do

You’d want character-specific cards too, to bring in their backstories or histories or whatever. Otherwise it’s just random characters going into random events and maybe not a great Star Trek gaming experience, where arguably the best Star Trek stories are all about the characters.


I haven’t played it, but a space exploration solo rpg I’ve seen seems like it might be a good place to start (if you end up going the deck of cards based random approach): https://noroadhome.itch.io/alone-among-the-stars

Since cards and backstory of characters were mentioned. Just wanted to mention that some of the Solo GM Tools you can get do have cards you can use instead of just rolling dice randomly. Some also have computer programs made to handle the random stuff.

Some of the solo game tools do have system to create and work in the backstories and history of NPCs. The Mythic Variations book comes to mind.