Tabletop Gaming Etiquette

Monday, 9. August 2010

As with any activity there are proper rules of behavior that other players, storytellers and hosts expect people to follow.  Such behavior isn’t really that much different than what would be expected in a normal situation, so there isn’t much stretching to do.  Of course following them can prevent a lot of hostility and arguments in the long run and enable the game to be run for what its intended for: personal enjoyment.  So, as follows - Gaming Etiquette

1- Make certain your date and time for gaming is set unless the you just randomly show up at your hosts house which most of us don’t.  Consider this your RSVP.  Your host needs time to prepare and have everything in order for guests to show up to present a good face.  Following this, If you say you’re going to show up, then show up.  Some hosts put a considerable amount of work together getting ready for guests.

2- Show up on time.  Most people like to get started when they’re supposed to, and pushing it considerably later is rude as it wastes everyone’s time in question.

3)-If for some reason you have to flake (which you shouldn’t be, you RSVP’d essentially.) make sure your host and GM in question are informed.

4- Bring food and drink to go around if you’re not hosting or storytelling.  The latter 2 take a considerable amount of work, the least that can be done as a guest is bringing some snacks and refreshments.  Don’t stick it all to your host to provide.

5- Be familiar with the rule set you are playing with and most specifically: additional house rules.   This doesn’t apply if you are new, but if you’ve been playing a while you should have something of a clue as to how everything works.

6- Get your own dice.  Again, does not apply if you are new.  Players and storytellers are a superstitious lot, arguably as bad as athletes and fortune tellers.  They’re not going to be happy if you get your bad mojo on their dice for gaming session.

7- Show up in a state of unaltered mind unless your group plays otherwise.  Nobody enjoys dealing with a drunk or similar.~

8- Turn the cell phone to silent, and put it away or turn it off.  Likewise you’ve given your attention to gaming so do it.  It slows everything down and ruins the mood quickly when cells are constantly answered.

9- Bring your required gaming materials.  Character sheet, pen & paper, so on and so forth.  The first is really the most important, but the others are helpful as well.

10- Be presentable.  This encompasses a lot of topics into one.

Any major rules that I missed?

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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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