Recently I have been wanting to write a blog about player tips. A guide to help new and even old players at the table. As I began to pour my ideas on to paper I noticed a trend in my writing. I had many tips and suggestions but more and more of them were falling into several common categories. So I began narrowing in on a few common rules to live by of sorts. That is when I found inspiration, there are 5 simple rules that I find are essential to having an enjoyable time at the table as a player. Five Facts if you will. So I present to you the players F.A.C.T.S. From now on when someone asks me what rules or tips I have for players I will tell them that the way I remember it is the FACTS.
Fun: We play games to have fun. This has to be our number one goal as a player.
Active: Take part in the story and be involved with the people at the table and the Gamemaster.
Character: Make a well-rounded character you are excited to play that will fit the story being run.
Tact: Be tactful and understanding of the people around you at the table as well as those around your table.
System: Have a passing knowledge of the system or, at least, the willingness to learn it.
A deeper look at F.A.C.T.S ?
No matter your play style or reason for being at the table. Your core reason for playing an RPG is for fun. In this regard, we have to be greedy in the games we pick. You can be bored and play games on your phone and check your social media anywhere. Why feel the need to do this at the game table?
If you have no desire to play in a game let your fellow players and Gamemaster know well ahead of time.With most groups your Gamemaster and the group will make an effort to make sure everyone is playing something they want to play. If you just can not come to a solution consider bowing out of the game in advance and wait for another opportunity that will interest you more. It is honestly better to sit a game out then to drag a game down.If you are not having fun it will show. When this becomes apparent to the other players at the table and the Gamemaster will notice. This can be distracting from the game and lower everyone’s overall enjoyment because you are just not into it.
Sit down to play in games that you are excited about, and above all have some fun!
Tak an active role in the games you chose to play in. More often than not you will find that any game you are active in will be far more interesting and fun if you are actively taking part in the game. It is hard to be bored when you are participating in the of the story.
Remember this is a group activity! Even if you are not the Gamemaster engage players that might seem bored or uninvolved. You will be shocked how often simple things like this draws a distracted mind back to the table.
Listen to what is being said by everyone at the table. Being an active listener is just as good a quality at the table as playing an active role in the game. Feel free to take notes, likely there will be a test at the end. Recalling the sage informing you that the strange creature turns anyone that gazes upon it to stone may save your life later on.
Create a character that you are interested in and want to play. Make your character with a good list of generalized skill sets. If you make a one-trick pony you have subconsciously written yourself out of a large portion of the story. With it the opportunity to be active in a large portion of the game that will be played. If you play something boring …you are going to be bored.
Embrace the Story and all that it has to offer. Find a place to carve your niche in the world. Feel free to ask questions and learn the environment that your character is in. Act and react to the world and the environment around your character. Get into it, immerse yourself and enjoy it.
Most importantly never forget you are not your character! Not only can you do things that you might never be able to do or possess skills that you do not have. Your character as well is just as likely to not know things that you yourself would know. Now most people get this.
On the other hand, many players have a hard time with the deeper thinking of you as not being your character. Do not be angry if something bad happens to your character. It is not a personal attack against you as a person. If your half-elf is being slighted by the town folk in the game this is not a slight against you. Do not take it personally unless you can tell it is a personal attack. YOU ARE NOT YOUR CHARACTER!
Be aware of your fellow players and your actions. What you say and do may have an effect on them. Try treating your game like a movie that you have paid to go see. Silence your phone or turn it off. If you must take a call, politely get up and excuse yourself from the table to minimize the distraction this may cause.
Make an effort to know the system you are going to play or make plans to become knowledgeable of the system. Let your Gamemaster know ahead of time if you are unfamiliar with the rules or dice system of the game you are going to play.
Hopefully, the Gamemaster will be able to take some time and walk you through the basics before your game starts. Or in some cases maybe give you a cheat sheet of sorts to help get you up to speed. Often the Gamemaster might suggest that you sit near a player that knows the system well for the first few games to help you out.
If your players and Gamemaster are going out of their way to help teach you the system. Be open to learning, or learn the basics on your own.