David continues his series on the finer points of Role Playing. In this one he talks about how the players can contribute
Playing a tabletop Role playing game (TRPG) is more than sitting there and rolling dice. Although showing up is just one part of your responsibilities, there are others that will help everyone have a great experience.
Showing up is number one on the list for a reason. Being responsible to show up when everyone agrees to play helps everyone have a good time. Showing up prepared to play with your character and dice is proving that you respect your other players and the dungeon master. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes life happens, and you aren’t able to make it, but try and let the dungeon master and group know if you aren’t going to be able to make it as early as possible.
Knowing your character is another good idea. Do you have darkvision? How many rages does your barbarian get? How many spells can you cast? All of these are very important things to know about when you are playing. Knowing them in advance can help the game run more smoothly and make everyone’s time more enjoyable. Slowing down the game, especially in combat, ruins the experience and hinders the dungeon master.
Everyone needs dice. We all know that; however just how many sets do you really need? All the shiny math rocks you can afford! In all seriousness, the answer to this depends on your character. You will need to look at your highest-level spells, damaging weapons, or even special abilities and make sure you have enough dice to cover that. Especially in these times of COVID, borrowing dice from people could be a health concern, even though they may have no problem with doing so. I honestly carry about four full sets of dice with me whenever I go play.
Role playing, uh, what’s that Dave? Some players prefer to use voices, or even dress up as their character to better immerse themselves in the game. Is this necessary? Of course not. Does it help make the game more interesting? Heck yeah it does! I highly recommend finding your voice for your character. Based on their race and their upbringing you can create all sorts of quirks and dialects. My favorite was a goblin barbarian who sounded like Mrs. Doubtfire. He played this character as an over-the-top violent person with just a touch of sass. Ok, that “he” was me, I was that player, and it was a lot of fun to play. Don’t judge.
Consider taking notes when you’re playing in a longer campaign. It helps you when you’re trying to remember the name of the innkeeper that is suspected to be a werewolf when the full moon rises in two days’ time. Knowing who you’re supposed to be following can really help you in the game. Also, it shows the dungeon master that you are fully immersed in the game; that you are taking what he says seriously and committing what he says to paper.
Another topic that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention is the use of cell phones or other devices. Paying attention to the dungeon master and what is going on during the game is respectful of the dungeon master and the whole group. I know this seems like it doesn’t need to be said, but I’ve come across this a few times during my games. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know there are applications for phones and tablets to keep track of your character and these are necessary. However, don’t be playing games or texting friends while you play. It’s just common courtesy and respect to everyone in the game.
Since some groups are composed of adult players it makes sense to comment on another issue that sometimes rears its ugly head. Partaking in alcohol or other mind-altering substances should be kept to a minimum. I understand the desire to kick back with your friends, but you should only do that to the point of having fun, not till you are unable to play. If you are interfering with other people’s game play, you may need to rethink this for next time.
Being a dungeon master can be difficult in and of itself. Having great players, though, can really uplift a person's spirits and help everyone who is playing the game have a great time. So, get out there and roll some crits for me!