Newbie GM Help Needed...Thanks in advance

Hello All,

First, glad to be part of a great forum…seen a lot of good stuff that is helping me on my journey of becoming a GM.

I will have a few questions, but I am starting off with this one first…as I started running the adventure with the starter box.

I have already run the first part, and my fellow players said I did ok for never GM’ing before, as we were all learning the system, and we are all at the very least players of D&D 3.5, Pathfinder, and D20 Star Wars. :smile:

In the first scene, there is a section where it says to “inform the players of the following new location trait, and what it does”. In this case, it is “subspace interference” and goes on to detail the effects of said interference. I know that this is a learning scenario for both sides, but, am I supposed to give them all the details now, or should I have had them try to do something such as “scan the area” in order to find out that there is subspace interference and what it would affect?

Also, I would welcome some ideas regarding helping the players…they have watched most if not all of TNG, however, I feel that I need to help them with “what would a Starfleet officer do”. I have been a life long Trekkie, and I just had a hard time “biting my tongue” when I see what they should be doing…as well as trying to get them out of the D&D mentality…

Thanks in advance for any help and advice you can give me, I truly appreciate it!

Take Care,


in informing them, it really helps to discuss the general orders…
Extended Universe:

These frame enough to give players a good idea of the extremes. If one’s particularly relevant, or you want to foreshadow a type of threat, use one of those as a game-directive - a value shared by everyone - for them to obey or abuse as seen fit (and affecting their rep after the mission)…

If you need a specific limit for a specific adventure, don’t be afraid to add it as a formal (game) directive, and possibly give it a sector directive number or a federation wide one…

In general, the guidelines I put:

  • non-interference over interference
  • non-violence over violence
  • social over technical, and technical over brute force…

Well, like in any roleplaying game, you can set the stage by simply advising players of what they already know. So if the game asks you to tell players, then simply assume that this was discovered ‘off camera’ before the game commenced. Or if you want to generate momentum, just start by tell your Science officer to do a 0 difficulty scan. He’ll succeed automatically and will get some some starting momentum.

Starfleet carries the same mentality as the Federation as a whole, but with the added aspect of being a miltary organization. So this makes good Starfleet officers curious, optimistic, disciplined, and tend to approach situations diplomatically as a default, but won’t be afraid of putting their foot down when it comes to enforcing core Federation values such as protecting civilians from a conquering force or criminals. They are a combination scientific explorers and police force. That being said, the Prime Directive is the single most sacrosant rule for all of Starfleet. This means keeping pre-warp cultures unaware of their existence as well as respecting the traditions of different cultures and member worlds even if they seem strange or morally wrong to humanity. The only thing that matters of member worlds is that their citizens are happy and treated with respect. Slavery is an absolute no go. If that means that those cultures practice things like nasty hazing in their rites of passage, so be it. As long as they are happy and proud of that and don’t force it on other worlds in the Federation.


Riffing off @Kaybe 's excellent Sensor suggestion…

Administrative or background data can be done with a D0 computer-assisted (discipline)+(reason or insight).
Note that reason is remembering where it is or logically working it out; insight is having a hunch where to look.

And anything else in the player information can be, if desired, simply “read into the log.” You can even let the player pick who told him…
Or delivered by call from local starbase’s admiral or the sector’s admiral.


Thank @aramis and @Kaybe for your help! I do appreciate it.

I will be utilizing your advice in my next session. I will try not to dump a metric tonne of question afterward.

Again Thanks!

LOL, feel free to dump as many questions in here as you want. The STA forum activity is very light and many of us welcome the chance at responding to more complex threads.


No reasonable question should be left unanswered. I spent 15+ years working in education.

GMing can seem imposing, but it’s not really harder than being a player, but it’s a different set of skills.

Genre enforcement is, in 2d20, mostly left to the GM; this means you, as the GM, need to (gently) remind players when they break genre conventions in session.

  • “Are you sure you need to sterilize the planet on the grounds it’s a threat to the Federation as a whole?”
  • "Are you sure you want to fire first? "
  • “The reason lethal force in personal combat costs a threat is because it’s not something Starfleet does much.”

And, of course, if they do something truly beyond the pale, NPC crew may stand up to them. Or contact higher HQ, and ask for intervention.

You’re welcome

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Well, as one of the best STA GMs I have ever seen, Eric Campbell, once wrote in a Geek & Sundry Blog Post: “(…) if you’re Starfleet, everyone is expected to essentially be ‘Lawful Good’ (…)”.

This is a bit over-simplified but may be a guidance for D&D 3.5 (which is, where I come from, too) and Pathfinder-Players. Some Starfleet Officers tend a bit to Neutral Good, imho, some to Lawful Neutral. But, essentially, they are all clerics of Idialistic Utopian Rationality, which is Lawful Good. :smiley:

This perfectly nails it. Also, it’s a very good guidance for Paladins, if you ask me.
Star Trek, especially TNG, is all about communication and cooperation towards a win-win situation. Resorting to violence is, most of the time, considered a failure on its own. This does not mean that Starfleet isn’t willing or capable of using their arsenal. But it does mean that this is one of the last options to be taken.

Ask, and answers shall be given. Welcome aboard! :slight_smile:

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Welcome aboard! I loved the intro adventure! It is an excellent, step by step description of how the game should run. Keep in mind a couple things:

  1. Tell the players what Directives are in play
  2. Tell the players how many difficulties are required to complete a roll, make it easy on everyone to determine Momentum.
  3. Remember, this game is very different from Pathfinder, or Star Wars - it demands some real thought and care from the players. The challenges they meet will have solutions the author of your adventure never considered. Be open to their ideas. The GM has to keep a reasonable limit on player solutions, but this science is based on a TV show and movies, not on real science. Try and stay within the framework of the shows and movies.
  4. This is not a shooting game, it is a thinking and diplomatic game. Sure there will be times for “pew pew”, it is for fun, after all. The solution to the problem of a square peg and a round hole is not a hammer!
  5. Watch Star Trek - learn from the genius of the writers/creators. Think about the fact that writers are telling a story, not creating Holy Writ or a perfect, real world situation. See the silly things the writers left out and exploit them when your players engage in them, (i.e. putting all your senior officers in a shuttlecraft) or red shirts always die (In the original series, anyway).
  6. HAVE FUN! This is a RPG designed to be fun inside a complex and wonderful milieu. You are not the players antagonist, you are a storyteller. It is a game of finesse, not force.