Player roles within a group

Monday, 5. July 2010

While the storyteller certainly heralds a large amount of the responsibility within a gaming group, the players certainly have theirs as well.  In addition to being able to act and stay within character, they’re also expected to retain whats going on.  Fortunately, this can be divided amongst players, so no one person has to keep notes on everything.

Most groups are going to have one main spokesman. It is even more helpful if the spokesman is the entity in game that is naturally takes charge. The spokesman is primarily a relay for what the group is deciding after discussion about what to do is had, in this regard they act somewhat as leader, and the overall decision maker.  If the group happens to head in different directions for player or tactical purposes, then several spokesmen will be in order. 

One player should also be taking the role of a scribe and perhaps quartermaster as well. As for their first priority, they’re going to keep track of everything that’s acquired since most players hate being cheated out of hard earned treasure. Secondly, they should be trying to keep more detailed notes on the situation in general given the time to do so.  In the overall process it should help keep arguments regarding loot to a minimum, as well as making the character a knowledge base and perhaps the collective memory of the group.

All players should be keeping some sort of cliff notes regarding the current game.  Important names, faces, locations, items and the like should be jotted down someplace handy.  It’s far too easy to forget the above given the natural flow of time, being that they may be unimportant to us as players, but it’s quite likely our characters wouldn’t forget them.  This helps a good deal with role playing and staying on ones character, unless ones character is naturally forgetful. 

In most cases, each group should have also have a cartographer in hostile or confusing areas.  This player is going to do their best at keeping a map of the area the characters have traveled though. Mapping is somewhat of an acquired attribute, so the role might have to be passed around until someone who can do it easily takes the job. This is important because storytellers love making characters make almost snap decisions on where they’re going due to hostile influences.  In this case, knowing where one is going to be essential to prolonged survival.

By subdividing player responsibilities they are able to retain a better scope of whats going on in the gaming world as well as make life easier on themselves. Unless your storyteller is extremely forgiving and willing to remind the players every time they forget, being able to split these roles up makes keeping track of the amount of game knowledge simple without overloading one player. The simpler everything is, the more energy that can be devoted to role playing, and having a good time.

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