Almost all groups I‘ve ever played with have had their own set of non-system house-rules. Sometimes these were unwritten and silently agreed upon by all members, while in other groups the rules were accessible in one physical form or other. Here’s a list of a few rules that I have found helpful.
Be a pal
Not all groups consist solely of childhood friends. Many groups meet solely to play roleplaying games and at times it can be hard to get people with different background, different rpg experience and what-not to get along. Remember that the main objective of roleplaying games is to have fun and that roleplaying is not a competitive sport.
If you get up to get a drink or snack, ask the table if anyone else wants or needs anything. If someone forgets to bring dice, share yours. Respect your fellow players and try your best to get along with them.
Leave the drama at the doorstep. Same goes for your smartphones.
Most groups play once a week or biweekly. To make the best of this short time, it’s good if all members of the group share the objective of progressing the narrative and don’t waste other player’s time, by either talk in lengthy terms about some personal issue, debate politics or zone-ing out by staring at your smartphone.
If you don’t trust yourself to leave the drama at the doorstep or put down the smartphone for a few hours, perhaps it’s best that you take a break this week. Almost all players understand that life or work sometimes intervenes. Those players that don’t understand that, should perhaps read over the Be-a-pal part again.
Keep the game flowing.
Don’t slow down the narrative by constantly needing to be reminded about different NPCs or events. Don’t slow down the narrative by constantly go through rulebooks to look up spells, equipment, feat etc. Keep notes at hand at all times. It helps.
Don’t stop the game by going into lengthy argument about rules, rulings, physics or whatever. If the DM says no! it means no, no matter what the rulebooks say. Don’t go into heated debate about politics or other game-unrelated subjects.
Don’t shit in the pool
There are players, then there are power players. Then there are a few god-mode players. I don’t mind power players, those I can handle, because their objective is to test their character’s mettle against whatever I throw at them, and as long as all players agree on the power-level, I simply adjust the encounters.
God-mode players on the other hand are a whole different story. You know, the kind of players who try to interpret every rule in their favor, min-maxes their characters way beyond the power level of the party and tries to derail the narrative at every turn, preferably so that the narrative will evolve more around their character. This kind of players is shitting in the pool, where everybody else is simply trying to stay afloat.
The narrative is number one
Don’t take it personally if your character dies. The objective of the game isn’t to keep your character alive for as long as possible. The objective is collectively progress the narrative and if your character’s death means that the narrative progresses, it’s simply becomes a part of the story.
Make it memorable, your character’s death that is. Don’t fret about it and please, do not tear your character sheet to tiny pieces and eat it! … (Yes, true story!!)
If you’re having fun, it’s easier for the people around you to have fun. If you’re having fun let your storyteller know, after all she has spent hours upon hours building the narrative. If you’re not having fun, let your storyteller know. Perhaps what’s bothering you can be easily fixed.
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