Guest Post: Top 5 Tips for P.C's

Five Tips for P.C's

by James Poole

    I have been playing Role Playing Games for nearly ten years now. I am by no means the most     experienced player or game master out there, but over the years I’ve learned a few things     which I’ve condensed into my top 5 tips for RPG players. Enjoy.

Always take Rapport: Talk with your GM (Game Master)

GM’s have an important job at the RPG table. They run the NPC’s, stat the challenges, and help mediate fun for the whole dang table. They ain’t perfect however, and years of RPG’s, as a GM and as a player, have taught me the value of feedback. Speak with your GM about the session after the fact. Check in and see how they felt the session went, what went well, what is currently working, and whether there is anything you as a player could be doing better at the table. Promoting a healthy dialogue between you and the GM is a great way to address problems before they start, get feedback from your GM and also give the GM feedback as well. Trust me on this, build this culture of discussion at your table and you’ll get past a lot of problems and have much more fun at the table.

        +5 to all Charisma Checks: Co-operate with other players

        Table conflict, it could be a cool dramatic conflict between two or more players at the table…could be, rarely is. The reason for         this is that a lot of players don’t realise that even character conflict requires co-operation between the players. An RPG boils         down to shared make- believe between adults. Yes, there are mechanics in place to mediate and gamify the experience but it still         requires co-operation to function. If a player wants to do something in a session, let them, or better yet, support them. It’s the         same logic as in improv or drama games: the scene works between when players support each other doing their own cool         things. When one player attempts to have a dramatic or cool moment, and other players support or build up the individual, the         moment is stronger. Inversely when you have each player trying to out do each other, the scene becomes overwhelmed and         cluttered.

GM's Word Is Law! : Trust the GM

This one is very straight forward. An RPG cannot function without a little trust in the GM. Game Masters often need to create feelings of dread, or even hopelessness. Usually this is to amplify the feelings of triumph and accomplishment that so often follow. Naturally this contrast can’t work if players throw up their hands and quit when the going gets tough. Trust your GM, know that your fun is at the top of their priorities, and good times will follow.

        Buff your Int Stat: Reading the rulebook

    This can be difficult for a lot of younger (and older) players. Rulebooks can be dense and     intimidating;  codices stacked full of gear, rules, mechanics and narrative. A lot of new players can     struggle to read the rules     and get a solid grip of the game on their own. This is ok. GM’s and a lot     of other players are often very happy     to help out and assist you in learning the rules. However, this     generosity shouldn’t be taken for granted. Some     players can grow lazy and dependent on others,     relying solely on the GM to manage all the rules. This leads     to a more stressed game master (bad)     and less efficient game time (more on that shortly) which drags down     the pace of the game. Always     give the rulebooks a read, even if you don’t get it all at first, that’s fine. You can     work with the     other players and the GM and learn together but not reading the rules slows that down, and     means     you are going to miss out on the various cool tid-bits and fun mechanics most RPG’s have lurking in     their rulebooks.

Prep your Spells in advance: Manage your time 

When I was eighteen, my regular RPG group would run fourteen hour sessions of our Pokémon RPG, twice a week. Now that I’m twenty-four I can’t do that anymore. Over the six years, I learned a lot about time management for sessions. Think about how long your session is going to be. Two hours? Six? In either case, by knowing your timeframe, you can plan your sessions better as a GM, measuring the pacing and challenge appropriately. For PC’s, knowing that the GM has to juggle the timing and mechanics of the game, you can do your bit by managing your contribution to the session. Consider planning your moves or attacks before your turn, cutting down on superfluous waiting time that takes place between turns. Keep your descriptions short but not at the expense of trying to communicate your narrative. The more time you save as a PC, the more content the GM can squeeze into your game sessions.

Well that’s a very condensed introduction to my top five tips for RPG players. These tips have been cultivated over years of playing and running games and there is far more to the discussion then what will fit in here. The only way to explore them is to get out there and play more games with your friends and discover together what works and what doesn’t. Have fun out there folks.

-James Poole.    

Posted February 6th at 10:09am