Not everyone is a great player at a Dungeons and Dragons table. And this doesn’t mean how well versed you are in the rules or how well you understand the game.
A great player only needs to do a few small things to make the atmosphere at the table great.
The biggest thing for me at a table is having players who are prepared. They have their character sheets ready, they have levelled up (If they got a new level in the last session), they are on time and ready when the GM starts the game.
The best players are aware of where the campaign is up to or are preparing what they might need the next time they visit a shop. One question that really irritates me is “What do they sell at this shop?” Shops can stock a large variety of items and really, I want to make your gaming experience easy and seamless, if you need something and it’s not outlandish, chances are this shop sells it. I will always have basic gear and items available at shops in cities and towns as long as it makes sense so just ask me what you’re after and I’ll let you know if it’s stocked. Preparing what you’re looking for makes the whole thing much quicker and lets the rest of the party continue with the campaign.
A tip for GMs: if the shop stocks something out of the ordinary, describe what the character(s) might see when browsing the store and bring some attention to it so they know it’s there.
Know your Character
Keeping in tone of ‘Being Prepared’ a good player doesn’t need to know every skill and spell in the book, but if your character knows it, make a note of the important details and try to learn what your character can do. It isn’t much to learn and it will make investigations, encounters and combat flow much smoother.
It also helps to have a backstory written down, one for the GM and one for personal notes. Adding in character backstory adds much more depth to your character and makes interactions more interesting by knowing how your character reacts. Understanding the world the campaign is set in can also help contribute to this and lets you play your character accordingly. When originally planning your character orcs may have killed your family, however in this world perhaps orcs aren’t so evil or maybe don’t exist at all. Knowing the small details of the world before character creation will help in choosing the best backstory which will make sense (Confer with your GM while you think it up).
Something that really makes me happy is when a player brings snacks to share or just buys me a drink. I like to create entire worlds and full fledged campaign settings. Each session takes hours of planning from NPC names, stats and backgrounds to various encounters and items. While players may sometimes wonder off track, I still plan plenty for them to do when ever they wish to continue with the main story. Having a player show a little appreciation goes a long way.
This also shows everyone at the table you care and they’ll remember that you contributed to feeding them during those long D&D sessions.
If you can’t bring snacks, letting your GM know how much you enjoyed the session will be sure to put a huge smile on their face!
Don’t take the spotlight
If you have good DM, they will ensure each player gains the spotlight at various points of the campaign and will try to ensure you have a part to play in each session. This is why it’s important to take turns and not try to keep all the attention for yourself. Spotlighting yourself constantly will take away from other players and make them feel less interested as they aren’t able to contribute.
A great way to ensure others are getting the attention too is to suggest a particular player take the lead if you know they have skills that can help with the situation. If you do this well you may start to be seen as a leader within the game. (Though don’t try too hard, constantly tagging someone in might exhaust them).
Go with the flow
Understand when to talk and when to shut up.
If player characters are interacting with each other or with NPCs, if the GM is talking, pointing something out, clearing something up or telling part of the story. Don’t interrupt. Accept that something important is going on which may not involve you and know that you can talk again soon.
Try not to get into deep conversations with other players about off topic discussions. Keep things related to the game. Having half the table playing and the other half talking about something random becomes very distracting and leads in everyone talking over each other.
This also relates to playing on your phone or reading a book. If you aren’t focusing on what's going on at the table you could miss something important. Be courteous to your fellow players.
It takes a lot of time out of the game. If you need to settle something game related, allow the GM to make a quick call and discuss it or look it up after the game. It’s super boring and a huge waste of time for a table of people to sit around while one or two people look up something in the handbook. If it need to be looked up, agree to make a quick call and solve it for future occurrences. Chances are no one will even care after the session is over as one small rule is insignificant in the scale of an entire session.
Finally, Have fun
Okay, most people will finish a list like this off this way, but it’s very true. Dungeons and Dragons at its core is simple a game for friends to enjoy together, socialize and have a great time in each other’s company. We’re all here to release ourselves from our problems, our jobs and home life to simply have some fun.
If you take anything away from this blog today, then make sure it is this.
I hope you enjoyed this blog, do you agree? Would you add anything to this list? Be sure to tweet to me @EarlGreyNT