In my many years of playing roleplaying games, there have been recurring problems that have arose from players. I have found myself stressing the importance of what not to do in order to enhance what to do. And I think the approach of teaching people things based on personal experience is really helping to increase the enjoyment that people take away from gaming.
So, here are my Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts in Dungeons and Dragons and other roleplaying games, for that matter:
1. Always be prepared for the game/Do not be needy
If you show up without dice, a character sheet, a writing utensil, no books, and no miniature, you probably shouldn’t be playing. Granted, sometimes people are forgetful, but if it’s a recurring thing, it’s obviously not important to that person. Am I saying that a player cannot ask for a blank character sheet and a pencil? No. I am saying that if someone shows up without anything, they clearly do not have enough drive for the game.
2. Create a character that will not cause issues/Do not go into the weeds
If you are having issues explaining your character concept to the DM or working in how it fits into the party, you probably should dial down on your concept. We’ve all heard about the people who want to play mixed races with various templates and options. And trust me, have I heard some ridiculous things.
The DM is already running an entire world. It makes it even more difficult when a player has tried to create an amalgamation of ridiculousness simply to induce laughs and/or anger.
3. Immerse yourself into the setting/Stay off your phone
I am starting up the practice of passing around a basket at the beginning of my sessions for the players to place their phones in. There have been too many times where players are getting sidetracked by social media, including memes. It’s hard to make everyone get into the game when someone is constantly laughing about a dank meme that just saw.
If there’s a party of five players and a DM, that means six people had to free up their schedules in order to play. That means one person not paying attention by sitting on their phone could ruin five other people’s day.
4. Know your character and its abilities/Do not read a spell for the first time when you cast it
It always baffles me when people will make a spellcaster but not read their spells. Before they cast their spell, they shuffle through the book to find it and read it. There’s a difference between reading further into a spell to come up with a tactical advantage and reading a spell for the first time or being very unfamiliar with it.
This also goes beyond spells and into all sorts of abilities. How do people create characters without reading into them? That is one reason why I am a huge supporter of having a Session 0, or the session that is spent creating characters, coming up with a cohesive party and getting better acquainted with the setting.
5. Plan ahead/Do not activate simply on your turn
Actively listening when it’s another player’s turn is a huge thing. This time can be spent formulating a tactic based on the situation. There are too many times when it gets to a player’s turn just to find they were not paying attention. This “it’s not my turn, therefore I do not care” mindset needs to be abolished.
I love it when a party converses with each other and comes up with a plan. It’s incredible how some players think that since it’s not their turn, they can’t add input. Now, there are times when a player will try to add too much to the conversation, but I would rather someone try to speak then to not speak at all.
So that was my quick list of my Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts in Dungeons and Dragons. What would be on your Top 5 list?