GM Options and Tools

GM Rewards

The Starfinder Society rewards GMs for volunteering their time to run events. See the GM Chronicles section for additional rules and benefits of GM Chronicles. GMs also receive rewards based on the number of adventures they have run and reported.

GM Achievement Points

GMs receive Achievement Points (AcP) every time they run an adventure, whether it is repeatable or not. In addition, they receive double the AcP they would have received for playing that adventure.

GM Table Credits

GMs receive “table credits” for every table they run and report. These credits determine how many Novas a GM has. Each Scenario earns 1 table credit. Each Adventure Path volume earns 2 table credits.

GM Novas

The Starfinder Society offers a GM rank system that uses Novas to represent the activity and experience of a given GM. The novas are visible on the GM's Organized Play ID card. A GM can earn up to five Novas. Earning Novas 1-4 requires a certain number of table credits; earning a 5th Nova has additional requirements. The total number of table credits for each Nova is as follows:

Table CreditsNovas earned
10 Table Credits1 Nova
30 Table Credits2 Novas
60 Table Credits3 Novas
100 Table Credits4 Novas
150 Table Credits5 Novas
with additional requirements met

GMs receive the following rewards based on the number of GM novas they have earned:

  • For each Nova earned, GMs can apply a +1 bonus to all rerolls gained via Boons.
  • For each Nova earned, GMs receive one additional Granted Replay each January 1.
  • GMs with 4 or 5 Novas may be able to run exclusive or limited release content.
Fifth Nova Additional Requirements

A GM must accomplish the following to qualify for their fifth Nova:

  • Report 150 adventures as a GM.
  • Run 50 different adventures.
  • Run 10 or more adventures from the 5 Nova Qualifying Adventures list (below). Except for multi-table interactives, a particular scenario can earn credit for a maximum of 3 of those 10.
  • Complete 3 evaluation games, each in the presence of a different Qualified Evaluator (a Venture-Captain, Regional Venture-Coordinator, or Paizo Organized Play staffer) using the Organized Play rubric.

If no Qualified Evaluator is willing or able to evaluate a GM due to unreasonable travel requirements or similar reasons, the GM can contact their Regional Venture-Coordinator. In such cases, their RVC can designate a 5-Nova GM, a Venture-Lieutenant, or other trusted community member as a Qualified Evaluator for that GM.

5-Nova Qualifying Adventures:

Organized Play Rubric

To fully experience the benefits of peer review and feedback, we recommend the following observation schedule:

  • 0–10 GM table credits: You are starting your GM adventure. Thank you for GMing!
  • 11–49 GM table credits: Use the rubric to get a feel for Organized Play best practices. Consider having a fellow GM sit at your table and give feedback.
  • 50–99 GM table credits: Ask any Venture-Officers at your tables to do a rubric evaluation to give feedback as if it were an evaluation game.
  • 100+ GM table credits: Receive 3 formal evaluations from 3 different Qualified Evaluators.

GMs need a better than average score to pass an evaluation. For example, they could have one criterion rated "exceeds expectations" and the rest "meets expectations" and qualify. They could also have one rated "does not meet expectations," two "meets expectations," and two "exceeds expectations" and qualify.

A GM cannot complete more than three evaluations in a weekend. A GM that fails to meet the criteria may wait three months and try again.

AspectDoes Not Meet ExpectationsMeets ExpectationsExceeds Expectations
The GM’s preparation allowed for smooth game flow. The GM had to check on information repeatedly throughout the session, and/or took long pauses to figure out what happens next.The GM had to check on things throughout, but the game did not experience extensive delays.The GM was able to keep the flow of the game consistent and dealt with unforeseen challenges by exercising skilled time management.
The GM had a solid understanding of the rules of the game. The GM has basic rules knowledge, but frequent breaks or questions impacted the flow of the game. GM did not know the majority of the rules. GM defaulted to arbitrary ad hoc rulings. GM confused rules between game systems consistently. GM did not allow players to question GM rulings made at the table.The GM had average rules knowledge, and questions did not impact the flow of the game. GM knew the most common rules of the game well and GM did not have confusion between game systems. GM allowed players to question GM rulings and resolved questions in a professional manner.The GM had solid rules knowledge and kept the game flowing while handling questions. GM acknowledged when a rule is unclear or when the GM made a mistake. GM did not have confusion between game systems. If a rules challenge arose, the GM handled it fairly and consistently.
The GM made efforts to make the game distinct and interesting. The GM made little attempt at tying in setting, NPCs, or imagery to convey an imaginative setting. GM did not provide opportunities for players to engage with the storyline.The GM made a reasonable effort to make the game distinct in at least one meaningful way, such as deeply roleplaying the NPCs, using setting specific terms and lore to increase immersion, or using words with imagery to describe the environment, situations, etc.The GM put in an excellent effort to make the game distinct, using multiple techniques off the “meets expectations” list.
The GM presented the scenario as written. The GM followed the gist of the storyline but adjusted content. GM did not run encounters as written. GM ran the wrong sub-tier encounters.The GM ran the adventure as written. GM did not allow for creative solutions by the PC to resolve situations.The GM stayed true to the storyline while allowing for creative solutions and player interest.
The GM understood and applied the rules of the Organized Play Program. The GM was not familiar with core Organized Play concepts. GM was unfamiliar with the contents of the Guide.The GM was familiar with the majority of Organized Play concepts and applied the rules of Organized Play consistently. GM knew where to look up general guidelines in the Guide.The GM was markedly familiar with the majority of Organized Play concepts and applied the rules of Organized Play consistently. GM knew where to find obscure corner case answers in the Guide.

Reviewing Chronicles

If time permits, GMs and Event Organizers can spend a few minutes reviewing players’ Organized Play records at the start of an event slot. These reviews can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, you might need to learn what a character did in previous adventures, or you might want to verify the records' accuracy.

When you are looking over the players' records, if you notice anything that seems amiss, you can ask the player to explain any potential errors. Remember that errors are far more likely to be honest mistakes than intentional cheating—and that it is possible that they are not errors at all. When you ask the player about a potential error, speak with the player calmly, nicely, and with an open mind. The player might have simply made a mistake—or you might have made a mistake in your understanding of their records.

Remember that the game is supposed to be fun, so waste as little time as possible on drama and spend as much time as possible providing an exciting, action-packed adventure for your players.

Resolve any issues as fairly as possible. For example, if the character selected an option that they did not have Access to, let them pick another option to replace it; if they should not have paid a discounted price for an item, let them pay the additional costs to meet the full purchase price; and so on. If you believe a player is cheating, ask your Event Organizer for assistance. If you are both the Event Organizer and the GM, use your discretion on how to proceed.

Additional Adventures

In addition to the adventures written for Starfinder Society, some other Paizo adventures have been sanctioned (approved) for Organized Play credit. Since these adventures are published for a wider audience than the Starfinder Society campaign, there is typically a downloadable sanctioning document with Chronicles and any special considerations for Organized Play.

Sanctioned Adventures

  • Starfinder Adventure Paths Question: Multi-volume campaigns that take dozens of game sessions to complete. Many Adventure Paths are sanctioned for use in the Starfinder Society campaign.

  • Starfinder Adventures Question: Stand-alone adventure books that take one or more sessions to complete. Many Adventures are sanctioned for use in the Starfinder Society campaign.

  • Starfinder Bounties Question: Short one-hour adventures aimed at introducing new players to the game or representing what characters do between Starfinder missions. Bounties are sanctioned for use in the Starfinder Society campaign.
    • As sanctioned adventures, all Starfinder Bounties are repeatable.
    • As sanctioned adventures, bounties do not grant Downtime.

Modes of Play

The Society rules of play are customized to work with Starfinder Scenarios and Bounties and are not necessarily applicable to other sanctioned adventures. Adventures run using normal rules are referred to as “Society Mode” in the rest of this document.

“Adventure Mode” is used for adventures not specifically designed for Society play. This mode allows the GM more freedom to adapt those adventures, including running the adventure in Starfinder using GM house rules and the ability to alter encounters and statistics found in the adventure.

Character Types

Most Adventure Mode sanctioned products can be played with any character; some products include pregens, and players are encouraged to play those characters for an optimal experience.

Any adventure that can be played with a SFS character can also be played with a SFS-sanctioned pregen. When playing an adventure using a SFS character, the Chronicle must be assigned to that character.

Story Pregens are characters released with an adventure. They often contain ties to the adventure's backstory.

Campaign Characters are characters that are designed according to the GM's house rules.

Ruleset (Mode) / Characters by product:

SFS Characters OnlyStory Pregens RequiredStory Pregens Recommended*Campaign Characters
Society ModeScenario, Quest---
Adventure ModeBountyFree RPG DayBeginner Box, One ShotAdventure, Adventure Path

*To provide the same level of experience, we strongly recommend that GMs who chose to use Campaign Characters work with their players to tie those characters into the adventure backstory.

Sanctioning Documents

Each sanctioned adventure comes with a freely downloadable sanctioning document located on the product’s description page on paizo.comQuestion. This document contains the rules for running that adventure, as well as Chronicle Sheets awarded for completion.

Read the sanctioning document carefully, as it might modify the adventure's rewards. Specific information in a particular sanctioning document always takes precedence over the general information presented in this Guide.

Unlike Starfinder Society adventures, Chronicles for sanctioned adventures are assigned at the completion of the adventure.

A group can complete an adventure when it is not sanctioned. If it later becomes sanctioned, the GM is allowed and encouraged to issue Chronicles to all interested players. These Chronicles are applied as if the group had completed the adventure on the date the Chronicle is issued. Such Chronicles must have an accurate issue date (that is, they cannot be backdated) and cannot be applied such that they retroactively affect other Chronicles.

SFS Guide Version 7.00
20 May 2024

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