Photos by Meagan Malone
1. Do Your Research
It’s also going to be useful to you while roleplaying because you will have information that you can use in figuring out solutions to problems, solving mysteries, and giving more flavor to your character. You don’t have to be like Stephen Colbert with Lord of the Rings, but brushing up on your history can do you a world of good (pun intended).
Far more importantly, read up on the rules and mechanics of the game system you are using. They are not all the same, and some are far more complicated than others. Ideally, you should read through the rulebook or player’s handbook for the system you are using and talk to your GM. Oftentimes GMs will alter rules to better fit their style, and they can explain more complicated systems if you are having trouble understanding them, but you won’t get nearly the level of detail from them that you will from the books. Knowing how the game is played is integral to your enjoyment and that of your adventuring party.
2. Make a Character You Can Play
If you choose to play a rash, aggressive fighter, you may need to jump into the middle of a battle before you have taken a chance to look over the situation and figure out what’s going on. Thinking carefully about what kinds of decisions your character may need to make can help you decide whether you are suited to play them. Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone - just be prepared for what you will find out there. This will make the experience far more rewarding in the end. If you need more help in making an interesting, well-rounded character, take a look at our RPG character creation guide!
3. Communicate With Your Party
It’s also good to give everyone information about your character, for a number of reasons. Firstly, having a balanced party is always a smart idea, so preventing too much overlap in skills or classes is helpful. Secondly, if others know what sort of character you are making, they can potentially make their character be a part of your character’s history. Besides, it’s good to have everyone on the same page about whom they are playing with.
Also, let everyone in your player group know if you are going to miss a session. Telling only your GM will not only disappoint fellow players when you don’t show up, but could also lead to problems if people had plans involving your character.
Essentially, communication is the key to pen-and-paper games.
4. Be Organized
5. Play Nice With Others
Then again, there are parties that like to attack each other when they have conflicts, or as a prank, and no one has a problem with it. If you aren’t sure, talk it over with your party and make sure you are playing in a way that is positive for everyone.
6. Be Prepared
7. Communicate With Your GM
Practically speaking, you also need to tell your GM every move you attempt and whether or not you succeed at your rolls. Otherwise, it will be difficult for them to keep track of what is occurring, which they need to do in order to control the non-player characters and move the story along.
It’s also very important to let your GM know if you don’t like the direction the game is taking. If you don’t have fun playing, let them know. It’s far better than quitting the game outright. If you let your GM know, you can have a conversation about what would make you like the story more, or how you could play differently to make the story work better for you. If no solution can be found, your GM knows that you will be leaving the group and that adjustments may need to be made for upcoming sessions.
What does your group do to make gameplay better for everyone?