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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:53 pm 
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Hey guys,

There is quite a lot of information online and on these forums on how to be a better GM and enrich your game, and not nearly as much on how to be a better player. It's true that a GM is probably the most important factor in the overall enjoyment of the game, but that doesn't mean that players don't matter or are free of responsibility. After all, even the most patient GM will eventually be burnt out and the game will falter if the players are giving him a hard time. Here are a few things that you can do as a player to make the game more enjoyable for everyone. These are not laws or rules, but I think it's quite safe to say that you can use them as guidelines.

1. Come Prepared To the Game: Be on time. Have your dice and character sheet ready. If there is anything that you think can be done, like leveling up your character and preparing your spell lists, then do it.

2. Get familiar with the rules: You don't have to know the rules in and out. Heck, the GM probably doesn't. The least you can do is to know the most commonly used rules and the rules related to your character's abilities.

3. Stay focused: Unless it is important business/family, then fiddling with the phone (or dice) during the game is distracting and rude to your fellow players and GM. They've all put away time from their week to a enjoy the game with each other, the least you can do is to pay attention to them. If it isn't your turn in combat, think about what you are going to do in your next one instead of making dice towers. Keep the plot moving, and do not dither much.

4. Help the host: Either offer to host the game if possible, bring snacks to the session, or/and help clean up after the game. While in the host's house, be respectful to her house rules.

5. 20 second rule: If a rules dispute is probably going to take more than 20 seconds to look up, then drop it and look it up afterwards. You can make an exception if it is especially important to know the ruling or that it's core to the game's ruleset. A subset of this rule is to not be an ass of a rules lawyer. Again, if you are going to argue a ruling and it's going to take more than 10-20 seconds, then drop it and take it up with the GM after the game.

6. Share the Load: GMing takes time. Here are some things that you can do to help ease that on your GM. You can help with book-keeping, keeping track of the loot and experience that your party accumulates. Knowing the rules help as well, as if the GM fails to recall a certain rule you can remind her. You can also take a newer player under your wing and show him the ropes without wasting much DM time.

7. Do not meta-game (or Out-of-game): Meta-game means bringing out of game knowledge into the game. This more often than not gives you an unfair advantage that can make the game less immersive, and thus, less fun. For example, your PC encounters a troll. He has never encountered a troll before. It is common knowledge for the genre savvy that trolls are weak to fire and can only be permanently destroyed by it. Your PC, however, lacks your access to modern media because he came from a village in the middle of nowhere. So, it would be meta-gaming for him to use his torch before every other weapon in his arsenal. A good GM would give your PCs in-game clues on such things, such as from knowledge skill rolls, or having the troll purposefully avoid the person with the torch.

Another example of out of gaming that is probably easier to fall into than the first is where the player assumes that if one PC knows something then all the PCs know it. Most of the time, the players are in the same room, but sometimes, the PCs are not. They get separated, or go off to do their own thing. In that case, you may actually see and hear what is happening with them but your PC does not. You must always be mindful of what knowledge your PC knows and what you know. For example, the party gets separated on an island with a few landmarks. Your PC is lost, but the other PCs just reached the lighthouse landmark. You as a player know this, but your PC had just been there and is walking away. It would make little sense for her to turn back and rendezvous with the PCs at the lighthouse.

Of that vein, you also should not play other people's characters. This includes giving them suggestions on what they should do, or move them in combat. The exception to this is when it is DM sanctioned. A common scenario is when the PC has a very high intelligence, and so, to simulate this, the GM may allow the other players to chip in ideas to the PC's player.

8. Behave yourself: Respect the host, the GM, and your fellow players. Do not bring out of game arguments into the session. If you have a personal problem with anyone on the table, then take it up with them personally. Deal with the problem maturely and calmly, and not before thought.

9. The DM is not your enemy: Trust him on this. You are there to tell a story with him, not to compete against him. Do not cheat or fudge your rolls. Even if you suspect that the GM does it, don't do it. Most often, the GM fudges when he wants to up the drama or save a PC from dying. Even if you hide your rolls often, people will notice how many natural 20s you're getting, and will probably silently judge you for it >=)

10. Keep your PC motivated: You should always have a reason to be on the table, even if it means acting against character or alignment. Find ways to justify it. If you find yourself having to do this more often that not, then maybe it is time to drastically change your PC's personality, or change your PC outright. From this vein, do not compete against the other PCs or work against them in any way. The only exception is when it is GM sanctioned, and even then I would hesitate to do it. Also, for heaven's sake, do not argue about the loot. Just don't.

Right, this puts the number nicely at 10. I would hesitate to call this the 10 commandments of gaming.

Anyone else has additions?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:07 pm 
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Great post, Tarek. My twopennorth:

11) Be active, not passive. Good players look for opportunities for their characters to play a proactive role in the game.RPGs are not passive entertainment - if you're not interacting regularly, you're doing something wrong.

12) Don't hog the limelight. Sometimes it's other people's turn to be the centre of attention.

13) Try not to block other players' ideas (or the GM's ideas), but work with them and build on them. This is a key aspect of improvisational theatre; improv gurus call it "Yes, and..." by which they mean when someone else has an idea, your response should be to say yes, and expand on it.

14) Recognise that there are different play styles and modify yours to fit the style the group is using for that game. If you really don't enjoy a style a particular game is using, let the GM know. If everyone else is happy with the style, you may be best withdrawing from that game. That doesn't mean you won't play with that GM or that group again, just that there's other stuff you'd rather do than play that style; many experienced gamers are capable of playing multiple styles, but some have clear preferences. On no account try to disrupt a game that doesn't suit you, or try to force your style of play onto a group happy with a different style of play.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:10 am 
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Just doubling down on "9. The DM is not your enemy".

The DM controls the world.
You can compete with your DM in some ways, sometimes. If however, you are trying to be sneaky, to a character the DM controls, tell the DM.

If you're trying to spread rumors in the tavern that your party are leaving town in the hopes it will get back to the big bad, don't do it stealthily, not tell the DM, then act surprised when the DM hasn't incorporated it. You didn't tell him.

If you're trying to make the city's population of Cranium Rats like you by leaving them food, tell the DM, don't just tell him you're dropping food pellets without explaining why.

If you want the world to react to your actions, you have to explain your actions to the DM. Even your sneaky actions. Especially your sneaky actions.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:44 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:10 am
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I cannot express how much this thread is needed.

There are dozens of sites with rules about being a good GM but the players always seem to escape any kind of guidance. Of course a good GM can get players in line but it's nice to see efforts made to give players a framework to compliment the GM.

I think we should consider a brief guide to playing well and running games well from the GRC at some point. A pdf or something like that to go out to people, especially new folks.

N.

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