Today is International GM’s Day and to celebrate I wanted to put together a list of tips that players could consider, tips for helping their GM.
Such a list was beyond me so I reached out to Reddit’s /r/rpg community and to Roleplaying Games on Google+ for ideas. The result is this abridged list. These are gamers own words and wisdom of many years of gaming experience.
Are there any you disagree with? Any more you would add?
- Always have your Character’s motivations and backstory in mind when playing. Roleplaying is the single biggest encouragement and help a GM can get from you. It shows that you’re enjoying and invested in the game, which is really all a good GM can ask for: that you’re immersing yourself in the world and having a good time with it.
- When shit happens to your PC or his stuff, WRITE IT DOWN, for the love of god. We have character sheets for a reason.
- Come up with a “Character Voice” something to differentiate between speaking in-character and asking a clarifying out-of-game question.
- Pay attention to whoever’s talking, even if they’re just describing their turn in combat, you wanna be interested in them, not your phone or laptop or whatever.
- Act out small actions when you can. Miming tossing a coin to a vendor or blowing a kiss while flirtatiously distracting a guard can go a long way towards staying in-game.
- If you guys like to eat during the game, bring snacks and drinks to the table, so you don’t have to constantly be getting up for a refill. But keep that food unobtrusive. Crinkling chip bags and crunchy pretzels can be hard to ignore.
- Avoid tangential conversations. following every bunny trail and turning over every rock in game is fine, but don’t get sucked into a conversation about the latest episode of your favorite TV show.
- Try to think and act like your character, around the table as well as in-game. If you’re the sarcastic, troublemaking Rogue, lean back in your chair, sneer at the Paladin, twirl a dagger (pencil) around your finger. Of course don’t go to lengths that the other players find irritating.
- If it makes sense; have conflict with other party members. Argue with each other when your motivations differ. Make sure to keep this between Characters though, and not Players. Nothing brings an adventure to a screeching halt like players who can’t get along.
- Basically, if your character has giant shiny red buttons that say “MOTIVATION,” advancing the plot becomes very easy.
- If you are really comfortable with the system, help other players out with their character sheets if they need it, same for rules get material the GM asks for in a timely manner (character sheets, background)
- Ask about the lore of the world, and try to find bits of interest that could be plot hooks
- If you can chat one-on-one, chat about recent events for your character, along with motivators for it. Similarly, try to flesh out things you’d like to see your character doing.
- One big thing in World of Darkness that helps is players being willing to go with themes and tones. If I am running werewolf: the forsaken and I want the gane to be a moral grey play with the sins of the father as a theme don’t roll up a drug dealer whose primary goal is making money and his only skills are firearms and weaponry. By the same token if I am running a crime drama don’t roll up a secretary that has major moral concerns about internet piracy let alone theft or violent crime.
- I like to make characters that have an agenda before the campaign starts. This makes it very easy to design an adventure that my character is personally invested in, and gives the DM some inspiration about where to take the plot. It can be something simple, like you know a guy who owes you a shit-ton of money, or something complex, like being the last living descendant of an extinct line of dragons, whom you plan (somehow) to return to the world.
- There is Chaotic Evil and there is Dumb. Try not to be the last one.
- Use any prop or tool that your GM bothers to create or wants to use.
- Don’ worry so much when the GM doesn’t run with your stuff. That just means they are running with other stuff. Find a way to invest your character in what is currently happening. Hopefully the GM will explore your stuff later.
- It’s my philosophy that at the gaming table nothing good comes from the players trying to “win” or “beat” the GM. And the other way around. ESPECIALLY the other way around.
- Also, if you’re playing in a group, do not play a loner and don’t find someone to fight with in the group. Games dissolve all the time because one guy decides to feud with another guy and then they try to kill each other and bleh, it’s messy.
- Respect the GM. This has caused me – the primary GM in my various groups – to be done with the hobby.
- Keep a few of your own plot hooks in the bull pen and expose them when/if the time is right. This keeps GM on their toes, but in a good way, not a bad way.
- Don’t be a goddamned murderhobo.
- I recommend not just glazing over travel/stays at inns/downtime. While it may not be an encounter and you may not get experience for it, it’s a really good time to roleplay and flesh out your character and their interactions with the rest of the party. I’ve been in groups where we always skipped those moments, and I had trouble seeing why they’ve banded together. But more recently we’ve actually roleplayed it out, and it really gives the characters more life. It’s also a really good time for the GM to organize his notes and maps for the next encounter.
- I think it is good for players to come up with some interesting relationships/ways that PC’s know each other that give some threads for the GM to build on.