Roleplaying Tips for Players

I’ve been playing tabletop roleplaying games for a little over 30 years. During that time I’ve made plenty of mistakes, errors in judgement, bad calls, and at times even been guilty of poor sportsmanship.

From that though I have learnt. Not only how to be a better Dungeon/Game Master but also how to be a better player. Kris did an epic series of articles for ATGN that took a look at how to be a better master of games entitled ‘Behind the Screen‘, but what about some tips for those that sit in front of it?

Have Fun

This should be your golden rule. Remember that it’s just a game after all and the sole purpose of coming together with friends and playing the game to begin with is to have fun. So what if the conversation has degenerated into everyone talking about what video games they played last weekend? As long as everyone at the table is engaged and enjoying themselves then let it happen. Of importance here though, make sure everyone is enjoying themselves, if one person doesn’t play video games (using the above example) then perhaps try to steer the table back on game.

Get in Character

Difficult if you are introverted or shy, thankfully many tables will excuse players not wanting to speak with an accent or different voice. At the very least though try to genuinely consider how you’re character would think, speak, and act rather than how you would do those things. Just because you’re an expert at fishing doesn’t mean your character is. Getting in the head space of someone very different to you can be a large part of the fun that comes with tabletop roleplaying. My advice would be to do this prior to a session at the table, think about classic scenes in a movie or book and how your character might react. Perhaps try working on that accent and lock it down, I work on mine while driving in the car.

Get Out of Character

I’ve seen new and excited players dive head first into their characters (which is great) but then struggle to resurface. You’ve heard the Hollywood horror stories of method actors on set, don’t be like that. Learn to switch off the character, it might sound odd, but I’ve seen it all too often. Try to do something inherently ‘you’ after a gaming session to bring you back down to reality.

Take Notes

This might seem like a really obvious tip but you’d be surprised just how many players are too lazy to take notes during play and then can’t remember a damn thing next session.

Record important NPC names, bullet point your activities, note relevant clues and information. If players maps aren’t provided and nobody wants to do detailed mapping you should at least be making crude maps as you go.

Don’t rely on someone else in the group to do it for you!

Check Your Sheet

At the end of a gaming session there is a good chance you might have a bunch of notes scribbled all over the place on loose paper or on your character sheets. Before you scoop everything up and head out the door, take a moment to read over your notes. Life happens and there is every possibility you might not be having another session for a few weeks or more. You’ll forget an awful lot between now and then, and sitting down with your notes for the next session with no idea of what the heck you were doing isn’t a win. Take the time to add extra notes, group things together, tidy up. Future you will thank present you.

Likewise, double check your sheet before the next session, go over your notes, make sure everything is in order.

Save Debates Until the End

There are going to be times when you as a player disagree with a decision that another player or more likely the Game Master has made. Another common clash is a disagreement on rules.

In all cases, my advice is to briefly announce your objection and then move on with the game. Slowing everything down to engage in a lengthy debate on how penguin migration depicted in the adventure is incorrect, or that the grappling rules are being applied wrongly, isn’t worth wasting an hour of game time.

Instead, wait until after the session ends to bring up concerns with the relevant parties and find amicable solutions for going forward.

Don’t Bring Personal Problems to the Table

Real life is full of ups and down, and sometimes you might personally be stuck in a rut. If you’re having a bad time, try to leave your problems at the door (remember it’s all about having fun). If you can’t though for whatever reason, my advice is to take some time off.

If there is still the need for hanging out with friends to cheer you up, perhaps suggest some board games or the like instead.

Be Aware of Others Personal Problems

We’ve spoken about avoiding certain topics when playing the part of a Game Master in previous articles, but the same general rules apply to players as well.

Deciding that your character is sexually violent, racist, emotionally abusive, or the like has a fair chance of upsetting someone (everyone?) else at the table. Playing ‘Evil’ campaigns can very easily bring up unpleasant memories for some players as things explore immorality.

Be mindful of others, try to avoid sensitive subjects in your character history and character behaviour.

Have Fun

Yep, it’s important enough it got mentioned twice. If you’re not having fun, then think about why and discuss with with your group.

It’s just a game with your friends. Keep that in the back of your mind at all times and enjoy your tabletop roleplaying.

Your Tips?

No doubt you’ve got some ideas and suggestions of your own. Make sure you post them in the comments section below!

Liked it? Take a second to support ATGN on Patreon!