So this isn’t an explanation of the rules or any kind of specific “How to” for D&D or any other RPG, instead it’s general tips for being the best kind of player and enjoying yourself while also encouraging other poeple at your table to have the most fun possible
- Listen – The first rule is the mos important; you need to listen carefully both to your GM and your fellow players. Often times players are looking for opportunities to jump in and talk – which is great, we all enjoy playing our characters, but you want to make sure that you’re hearing from the other players and catching important details in both your and their stories. If you listen to what others are saying and remember important details you will be a better player and others will want you at their table.
- Learn your character and do your homework. – Know all the important pieces of info in your character’s back story and if your GM gives you anything to read then read it and try to remember it. Usually it means there are important narrative moments that will depend on you knowing certain things. If the GM has to remind you of important details about your character in the middle of the game it will lesson the impact of the story.
- Say “Yes, and…” – the famous best advice for improv performers is remarkably relevant to RPG players. To be able to say “Yes, and…” You have to listen and know your character, but once you have done those things you can begin to add to the story. To do that you have to do two things – First agree to what the GM and other players are setting up. Second, add to what’s already going. Just make sure you’re adding to it and not hijacking it.
- Avoid unnecessary combat – A good GM will work hard to make sure that your campaign is balanced with both combat and story. If you’re patient you’ll get into some satisfying fights. Jumping to kill every shop keeper and and friendly wanderer is what’s known as being a “Murder Hobo” and while some people might enjoy that style of play, most prefer to allow the story to play out without random killing. Killing ever NPC in sight is a good way to derail the story and frustrate your GM as well as other players who might’ve chosen to make a character who emphasized on high charisma or intelligence instead of strength.
- Get creative! – Most GM’s and other players will agree: the rule of cool reigns supreme. If you’re in a situation where you’re facing a foe who is far more formidable than you foresaw, come up with a fun, funny, or cool way to escape, or to incapacitate them. Fighting an enemy on a ship? Could you tie the anchor to them and toss it overboard? Fighting a big group of skeltons in a cave? Could you knock out the supports around the room and trigger a cave in? Fighting a group of goblins in the forest? Could you reach a big tree limb with a rope and pull it down on all of them? Are you in a room in a wooden building? Maybe ask the GM if setting it on fire is an option. None of these are moves on your character sheet, but they’re far more interesting than choosing between a perscribed attack or retreating. But keep in mind that if all you ever do is the most chaotic thing you might be keeping the story from unfolding the way it should – so be respectful if the GM says that your crazy idea can’t work.
- Set others up for fun and success – If you’re less concerned with getting your own crowning, “Rule-of-cool” moment, and more concerned with helping other people get theirs then you’ll find that the GM and other players will make sure you get your time to shine. Being willing to support others will ensure that others not only want to play with you more, they’ll want to make sure you’re having fun as well. If you’re always racing to be the coolest, funniest, most interesting character then eventually no one will want you that their table.
- Communicate expectations and concerns early and often – If you have specific expectations for your RPG experience you need to make sure that those expectations are communicated to the GM. If you have concerns be sure to communicate those quickly and kindly with no hostility. It’s better to have any thoughts or concerns out in the open than to wait until other people figure out that you’re upset – because in all likelihood they never will.
- Leave the table if you’re uncomfortable – if people aren’t being respectful, if you’re consistently not having fun, or if you’ve expressed your concerns only to have them ignored then it is time to move on to a new table. This is tough, but the sooner you take action – while remaining respectful – the sooner that you can move on. Sometimes it’s not a matter of right and wrong, sometimes it’s just not a good fit. Don’t be afraid to branch out and find new groups.
- Have fun! – The point isn’t to “win,” or keep to the rules, or even to finish the story. The point is to have fun. If you’re not there to have fun then, well I’m not sure why you’re playing anyway. Don’t worry, be a jerk, and just enjoy yourself.
There are many other tips that could be said, but these general principles will ensure that you’re having fun.