How to be a Player

Oh God, no I mean like in role playing games. If you’re reading this you probably don’t have to worry about being a Player. Ooo burnnn, nerds. Anyways, being a RPG player is a sacred duty. Your job is to enjoy yourself and boost the self-esteem of your game master by pretending their plot twist is both original and not something stolen from The Avengers.

Contrary to popular belief, it can be hard to be a player. Not really the playing part, that’s easy. But being a GOOD player? That’s hard. Here’s some tips to help you stay in your GM’s good graces.

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Share the Spotlight

When you first start playing RPGs, you’ll fall into one of two camps. Either you’ll be shy and need a little coaxing to get out of your shell, or you will explode into the spotlight and shove others offstage. The key is to remember that even if you want to spend every second of the game interacting with something, you aren’t the only one at that table.

Make sure that you include any other new people before making rash decisions that can derail a campaign and talk to your party members. They might have something in the making that will be destroyed by an overzealous first-timer not taking things seriously.

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It’s Okay to Talk

This is a tough one for new people. They get worried that by jumping in they might screw something up or embarrass themselves. You won’t! You’ll find pretty quick that the group will embrace you and expect to lend a helping hand here and there. They know you’ll need more explanation since you weren’t there when they fought Xanthos the Shoddy Space Plumber and don’t know the rest of The Prophecy. If you have a question, just ask. Here’s a secret about all of us role players: we love talking about past sessions and our exploits. Asking us to help fill in the blanks is like asking your grandpa what it was like when they were growing up. We won’t. Ever. Stop.

This is probably the biggest problem I see, but remember, you’re at the table for a reason. The people around you know you can contribute and know that you’re new. RPGers are some of the least judgmental people you can find. Unless you’re an Orc. Damn Orcs.

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You Aren’t Playing Yourself

This is your chance to branch out and try something new. Are you a goody-two-shoes in life? Be a hellraiser. Sly and smart? Play a big, dumb bruiser sidekick. It’s all fair as long as it’s cool with the GM.

At the same time, remember that you aren’t playing yourself. Don’t take in-character interactions as slights, or get freaked out if your character dies or anything like that. Role playing games are all about story and experience, and character death is just the bookend to that character’s story.

At the same time, don’t make others uncomfortable. Just because you’re playing a social ladykiller, it doesn’t give you the right to creep on women at the table, and vice versa and all things in between.

This was on the stock photo page under 'Awesome.'
This was on the stock photo page under ‘Awesome.’

You’ll Be Awesome

I can’t say this enough. Whether you need to work up the courage to talk or are a natural, social butterfly, your GM will love that you have the stones to contribute to the game. Nothing makes me happier when I GM than when I can tell someone new gets hooked into my game. When they start making plans with other characters or try to get into the head’s of non-player characters (NPC’s), it’s like watching my fake-child leave for college. I’m filled with pride and just a little concern that they’ll make the news in a bad way.

Even if you violate every single one of these rules, you’ll get another chance. That’s just how we are. Unless you jump on the table, start eating the miniatures and screaming racial expletives through muffled breaths, you’ll probably still be welcomed back to the game.

There are a ton of more handy rules, but these are the ones that seem to be the most needing of reinforcement. Just have an open mind, shove your self-doubt and self-consciousness to the side, and try and have a good time. Before you know it, you just might find out that you are.

Let me know what you think!