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Tips For RPG Players

Here are tips for improving your skills as a player.

Character Creation

  • Learn The Genre - Read about the setting in which the campaign takes place. Find out what sort of races, classes, and concepts fit into the genre. Determine how gritty the setting is. Ask how mundane or extraordinary your character's background should be.
  • Follow The Rules - Check the character creation guidelines presented by your GM. Make sure that you understand how many points you have to spend, and any house rules he may be using.
  • Discuss Ideas - Bring your ideas for a character concept to the GM before choosing one. You may not get as much time in the spotlight if your concept doesn't fit in well with the storyline.
  • Be A Team Player - Avoid making "lone wolf", immoral, obtuse, or annoying characters. Be careful choosing character flaws or disadvantages that will hinder the entire party.
  • Avoid Cliches - Be original when creating your character's personality and history. If you include one of these traits, you may be cliche: orphan, amnesiac, assassin, dark and mysterious, panther pet, silent type, never retreats, infamous, piercing blue eyes, very sexy, black leather clothes, black hair and pale skin, or a very unusual name.
  • Be Useful - Create a character with a good balance of mundane and adventuring skills. Every PC should have a useful role in the party. Talk about your choices with the other players, to make sure that the party has a good variety.
  • Get Execeptions Approved - Ask your GM before buying any unusual traits or skills. Don't try to sneak a rare or story-bending power into the game. Your choices may have an impact on the story. No character is officially in the game until the GM approves it.
  • Be Prepared - Read the rules for your character's traits and special abilities. Make sure you understand how they work and when they come into play.
  • Strive For Quality - Use an organized, legible character sheet for the game. Double-check the math when you are done creating your character. Check the spelling and grammar in your background. Make it easy for the GM to read.
  • Document Changes - When spending experience points, give the GM a list of attributes, skills, and traits that have improved. Keep your character sheet up to date. It's polite to give your GM an updated copy.

Interaction

  • Be Organized - Take notes. Keep important facts together for easy reference. Create a cheat sheet of important names, places, and clues.
  • Look Back - At the end of an adventure, not all of the implications of an encounter may have been revealed. Review old notes. See if you have overlooked something, or finally have all the pieces necessary to solve a mystery.
  • Be Prudent - Don't assume that every challenge can be solved on the first encounter. It may be best to return later when you have more clues, power, or the proper equipment.
  • Be Clever - There is always more than one solution to any problem. Don't be afraid to think outside the box. Never fail to follow obvious leads or ask basic questions.
  • NPCs Are People - Non-player characters are not simply voicesboxes for the GM. Sometimes, villains tell the truth. They also mix fact with falsehood. Listen carefully. "Good guys" may lie or simply be mistaken. Don't believe every word they say.
  • Look To The Future - NPCs may leave a scene but they never leave the game. You can build an ongoing relationship with them, good or bad. Some NPCs can become patrons, teachers, or mentors.
  • Loyalty Counts - Be loyal to your companions. One day, they'll be the only thing standing between you and certain doom. Don't drag the story down with group infighting.
  • Work Together - Don't hoard puzzle pieces. Some solutions are only obvious after every party member shares their clues. Facts that seem trivial to you may be important to another player.
  • Be An Asset - Read the list of stereotypes to avoid.

Being A Polite Player

  • Contribute - An enjoyable game is as much the responsibility of the players as it is of the GM. The purpose of roleplaying is to create an entertaining story. Participation is essential. The GM is there to have fun, too.
  • Buy In - Trust and respect the GM. They are not competing with, nor attempting to defeat, the players. They are the final authority at the gaming table. If you disagree with one of their decisions during game play, speak with them calmly during a break or after the session is over.
  • Don't Waste Time - Show up for the game on time. Call if you're going to be late. If you're going to miss a session, give as much advanced notice as possible.
  • Avoid Surprise Guests - Ask the host ahead of time if you plan to bring guests. Pets and children can be very disruptive to a game session.
  • Do Your Part - Contribute to the game session, not just the story. For example, you can host the game, bring snacks, help set up, supply game materials, run adventures, or clean up afterwards.
  • Learn The Game - Learn the basic game mechanics. Bring your own copy of the core rules. Keep a copy of commonly used reference information on hand.
  • Play Well With Others - Participate in all aspects of the game. Everyone will have a turn in the spotlight. Don't fall asleep if you're not the main focus of the story. Don't force others to do all of the negotiating, monster slaying, tactical planning, or puzzle solving. Help out when you can.
  • Don't Metagame - Remember that you, the player, know things that your character does not. Keep IC (in character) and OOC (out of character) information separate. Be careful not to let your character act on OOC information.
  • Immersion Is Essential - While the game is in progress, keep the OOC talk at the table to a minimum. Off-topic chatter can be distracting and frustrating to those people who are enjoying the game. If you make a side comment, make it clear whether you are speaking as your character or as yourself.
  • Avoid Distractions - At the gaming table, keep laptop and cell phone use to a minimum. If you are not included in a scene and want to chat or play other games in the meantime, step away from the table.
  • Pace Yourself - If you need to take a break from the game or stop for a meal, give the GM a little warning so that he can find a good stopping point in the action.
  • Give Feedback - If there is a particular subplot would you like to pursue, or a topic you wish to avoid, let the GM know. Give him constructive feedback about what you liked, or didn't like, in the adventure.