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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Being a Good Player Isn't Difficult...

I talk alot about being the DM, about the time and work we put into the hobby from our side of the table, and about what we are (and aren’t) responsible for. As a player I take the game seriously as well (maybe not too seriously...but I love playing as much as DMing).

Today I’m just gonna throw together a short list of things I do as a player, and that I think most players should (but won’t) adopt.

  1. Create a backstory for your character.  Even if you play in an OSR game where it’s 100% sandboxy, dungeon-crawly, history-don’t-matter game, you should give your character some sort of a past, and just one sentence is good enough.  There is nothing worse (for me as a player) than a player with nothing invested in his/her character.
    1. Ex. Hedwig the Dwarf left home to find his uncle Thargil, who was lost beneath Stonehell some ten years back.
  2. Don’t fudge the rolls for your character.  If you have an idea for how you would like your character to be, then speak with the DM and work it out.  I think most DM’s are pretty flexible with regard to how you put your character together as long as you aren’t simply digging for pluses or power-building.  There is always room to negotiate.  Again, even when I play in OSR games where we are 3d6ing it straight down the line, there is room to negotiate.  A point from CON put into STR, etc.
  3. If you are playing at someone else's house, bring a snack to share, or a drink, or something.  I’m adding this to the ‘gaming’ list but really, this should be something you do in life in general. It just seems like the right thing to do.  Be a good guest.  I bring cookies.  Everyone likes cookies.
  4. Are you Leroy Jenkins?  Don’ be Leroy Jenkins. Plan organize, talk with the players around you.  Ask salient questions of the DM.  I try to do this, and sometimes I succeed.
  5. It’s okay to be a different alignment of the other players in the party, but the minute you begin working against the party or putting the party at risk you aren’t really playing a game others will enjoy...until they kill your character.  Then there will be much rejoicing.
  6. Don’t steamroll the table.  Let others speak and play (role play).  Interact but don’t act out.

Some may see the above list as preachy.  Maybe you don’t like or agree with what I think a ‘good player’ is.  Fine.  Cool.  Do your thing.  I don’t care, but the people around you might.  Your actions should and likely will have consequences. I'm not a big believer or user of gaming-table social contracts. This is just some nonsense bullshit that children don't care about and adults shouldn't even acknowledge or deal with. If I arrived to play and someone handed me a contract to sign I'm not sure how I would react, but it sure as hell wouldn't be in a positive manner. I might, in fact, lose my shit completely, but it's never happened to me and hopefully never will.

Arrive at the game prepared to have a good time and be social (a bit). Be a nice person.


7. Don’t go crazy and run into the woods, then into a cave, and lose yourself in your character and go nuts. No one else at the table likes that.


  1. Number 7 is the one that always gets me.

    1. My smartass comment aside, this is some great advice and I think most of the people I play with have similar attitudes and practices.

  2. This is some really good advice. I know personally when I've played I've taken lead. I think that just comes naturally when you usually DM, but I try to get everyone involved. I've found some players really just want to go along for the ride, and that's cool as long as it's understood. Some players are more involved and gregarious, and that's cool too! Really just giving an experience that thinks of players and their Storytellers both as individuals and as a group works wonders.

    If you have players that don't understand that RPGs are a team game, then those are the people that need to either be confronted or need to leave. I've never understood why people keep these players around. I know they might be your friend, but if they are detracting from your group's cohesion, get rid of them like a normal party would! They will either shape up or ship out, and it will save you a lot of headache in the long run.

    If they want to explore their own "lone wolf" character, encourage them to write, draw, and explore that character outside of the RP session. It could be a really cool and interesting concept, and it would get that persona out of their system so they can pick a character that's more appropriate for working with the group. Who knows, maybe the character they develop shows up in your game! What a great way to validate someone that wants a bit of attention. You get something, and they get something. It's a win-win!