You may be eyeing that shiny new tabletop RPG rulebook in your local Metro Manila hobby shop, and maybe you’re hesitating on buying it or joining a game with your friends because you don’t think you’re that good of a player. If that’s the case, or if you just want a refresher on how to be a better tabletop RPG player, then you’ve come to the right place.
1. Have fun.
The first thing you should know about TRPGs like Dungeons and Dragons or World of Darkness is that these are team games. And, because of that, a tabletop RPG game is successful when everyone involved is having fun. Success isn’t just based on how well it’s organized or how actively players are participating. It all depends on whether or not you and your fellow party members are having fun.
This is why it’s important to be honest with yourself. TRPGs are the most fun when each player is able to immerse themselves into the world, so if you’re not feeling it, it’s better to say it. In the world of tabletop RPG, there’s no shame in walking away because you aren’t having fun. In fact, it’s admirable as long as you know not to point fingers because at the end of the day, these things happen, and there’s no one to blame, which leads to our next point.
This is vital to the success of the entire group. Be mindful of how you conduct yourself during a game, and if you’re worried about something, the best thing to do is always communicate. This way, anything that could potentially turn into an issue throughout the game has the chance to be talked out and resolved.
Communication also comes in when you’re creating your characters and building the game. Of course, the Game Master might already have something in mind for how the game should go, but it’s also good to work with your group to come up with a guideline that is fulfilling and interesting to each and every one of you.
3. Know the game.
If you’re signing up for a game, it’s best to know what you’re getting into. Figure out what kind of themes the Game Master plans on working with. Once you’ve decided it’s something you can enjoy, the next step is knowing who you want to be in the game. This requires you to know more about your playing style. Do you prefer being a leader or something a little less front-and-center? Do you like it better when you can make other players laugh during the game? Maybe a character that allows you to do that will make the experience more enjoyable for you. Knowing details like this will help improve your experience in the game as well as your skills as a TRPG player.
4. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
This means knowing what you have to offer as a character both in and out of the game. The more familiar you are with your character’s skill sets, the better you will be able to help your group in the game.
In that same vein, it’s also important to know what your weaknesses are. Once you’re familiar with them, you already know what you can and can’t offer to the group, and if someone else can make up for what you lack in, then everybody wins. This is one of the attractions tabletop RPGs have to its name—the success of the game doesn’t fall on anyone person only. It’s always a team effort. It’s also because of this dynamic that you always get the opportunity to learn from the group. Each session gives the perfect opportunity for growth for you and your character in the game.
5. Be considerate.
This point should go without saying, but it’s a good reminder. There is always a necessity for respect among players. It’s never a good idea to ignore or invalidate other players’ decisions. While it’s alright to help other players if they need assistance or give their opinion, it’s never okay to dictate whether or not they should do something.
Another thing to take note of is that if the game somehow leads towards subjects that you suspect may be sensitive to others, asking and getting your fellow players’ consent is always the right thing to do. Be aware of how your actions and words are affecting the group dynamic. This kind of thing can apply to a number of things, which include sex and gore. Just because you’re okay with it, it doesn’t automatically mean the rest of the group is too.
6. Be considerate.
One of the worst things you can do as a TRPG player forgets that, at the end of the day, this is a hobby. Nobody likes being around an entitled jerk. No one has to play with you or play by your preferences. Again, this is a team game. Playing along with your group is always going to result in a better outcome than insisting the whole group play by your rules just because you think that’s how it should go. When you act your best, the more people will be inclined to rise to your level and meet you halfway. That way, everyone wins, and the game is officially a success.
Finding a group is one thing, but building connections within that group is another. You must be mindful that your experience does not hamper anyone else’s. While your character and gameplay style deserves the chance to shine, it should never come at the expense of other players.
Veronika Caraos is a writer with a love of animals and quiet moments. She has a mild love affair with decaf coffee and a toxic relationship with dairy. These days, you might find her clacking away at a keyboard, creating content for her capitalist overlords.