Building an Adventure
How much work you put into preparing your adventure is up to you. The easiest approach is to simply modify or run a published adventure. While published adventures are usually quite intricate, with beautiful maps and interwoven storylines, don’t let that intimidate you. If you’re the only one running your adventure, you can easily get by with just a few notes, such as an outline of the plot, a map or two of main adventure sites, and a few stat blocks or notes for the creatures you plan to use as enemies. Some people run entirely off the cuff, while others write everything down. Whatever lets you relax and have fun at the table is the right choice.
If you decide to write everything out, however, remember that an adventure is not a novel. The other players control the main characters, and you should leave room for them to shape the action. If the characters steal a shuttle and head down to the planet when you expected them to try and capture the ship’s bridge, don’t despair! Just got to the Alien List, pick one, and tell them what weird creatures—perhaps lurking within some strange alien ruins inscribed with mystical signs—they find when they land. Maybe you can still bring the story back around to your original idea after this side quest, but adapting your story in response to player action is what makes a group storytelling game like Starfinder exciting and surprising for the GM as well as the players!
The following sections contain some key issues you should consider before sitting down to run a game, as well as elements that, if prepared in advance, can save you a lot of time and frustration at the table.