Don't have any background Distractions (TV, Radio, Dancing Girls)
Soft B5 music can be allowed. :wink:
Don't have a cluttered table (Books ya don't need, etc)
And put Books you do or may need on a small table or chair by your side, not leaving them to clutter the main gaming table.
Use lots of adjectives and good Discriptions to set the stage.
Lots? No, lots, Lots LOTS!!! An RPG Lives by good storytelling - describe them their surroundings with detail to really drag them into the setting, making it easier for them to imagine they're walking down a badly-lit corridor in Babylon 5's brown sector instead of sitting before their dice and character sheets. Read some good books - like that, exactly.
Be sure to put in a few extra clues (Players get Stupid)
...and always think ahead a bit, so you won't get surprised if they jump another way then you imagined (thinking through "what if" scenarios are important in planning your adventure - players usually hate if you just block their ways until only the one you thouight up remains - always leave at least three ways to get them where you want them, so they get a feel of free choice). Always be prepared to improvise if your players do something unexpected...
Reward good ROLES as well as ROLLS.
Very important - it's "Roleplaying", not "Dicerolling"... especially keep your eyes out for players willing to forego advantages to stay in character... and make sure your adventures contain stuff to match your players character BG fluff.
Know rules before hand (Don't slow up the Session by looking them up)
...but if there's any doubt, don't page through your book, make a "GM fiat" decision and get on with playing. Better a quick call that later turns out to be wrong then hunting through books for hours tracking down an elusive rule. And if one of your players objects, get the "Slayers Guide to Rule Lawyers" and leard how to deal with those abominations... :wink:
Have NPC and Ship stats at hand (So you don't have to look them up)
...and don't forget to have a bunch of "generic" ships & NPC's in your files, in case you have to improvise (see above).
Look for any areas you think that might drag, then snaz them up.
And if areas drag that you thought wouldn't, improvise to snaz them up too. :wink:
If things start bogging down have a encounter ready.
(you should Always have a few random encounters worked out, either as optional part of your adventure or as improvisation in case of need - be it a bunch of thugs trying to rob the players downbelow or an over-eager Tethys patrol boat captain demanding to search their vessel...)
And DO NOT FORGET the most important thing of all. When all your planning and prep work goes down the drain, don't get mad.
And believe me, it will happen. Best to accept that now, plan for it, and improvise. Few things kill RPG fun as dead as unflexible GM's, telling their iron-clad story exactly as they want it no matter what the PC's do. Trust me, it's frustrating...
Look at your players, if they are laughing and smiling, mission accomplished.
Amen to that.