A couple weeks back I brought you some very basic tips and considerations that I’d love to see players in tabletop RPGs take to heart.
For many of you, however, I imagine those suggestions reflected ways of gaming that have been ingrained into your style for years, and you handle them like a champ.
So, this time I’m upping the CR (challenge rating)! I know some of you gaming vets have gotten complacent, and you just might be stuck in a rut. So buckle your rusty greaves, and let’s get down to it! Here are five additional ways you can be a better player at the RPG gaming table.
- Share the spotlight. Get other players involved by interacting with their characters. Here are couple of practical ways I try to do this: A) Ask party members questions about their past or what they are thinking about the future. Try having conversations real companions might have. B) Defer to other players when there is expertise or experience. Know your companions’ backgrounds to the extent that when a situation arises you might say, “Hey, you’ve dealt with something like thisbefore. How might we approach this?”
I play with a group that is particularly good at doing this, and it’s great for someone like me as I sometimes struggle with ways to be active and can sometimes get to comfortable being quiet. If you know that you are the most talkative member of the group, take moments to intentionally stay quiet and prompt other players to speak up.
On the topic of sharing the spotlight, Tim from Tabletop Terrors had a great article on this a while back, that I’d definitely recommend you check out.
- Consider extra player prep. This idea was inspired by my good friend, Juce, who made a video that I found pretty challenging. GMs often put a lot of time into prep, but I’d venture a guess that players rarely put much time in for anything other than digging out the character sheet and perhaps leveling up. So how can you spend a bit of time on prep to make the overall game better? Here are some ideas: Make a list of things your character would say. Think of a goal your character has for the session or campaign. Write down some descriptions of new battle maneuvers to try or ways you might interact with your party. Some people are good at coming up with this stuff on the fly, but for me it really helps to prepare some of this ahead of time and jot down some notes.
- Contribute to the fun of the entire group. Being a good player means being considerate enough to realize it’s not all about you. Do your part in contributing to the the fun of others at the table. If another player doesn’t seem to be enjoying something you are doing, consider stopping. This process often involved some compromise and open communication between all members of the group. But just remember, creating fun is not only the responsibility of the GM.
- Consider a player journal. What I’m talking about here is writing down reflections and thoughts from the first-person perspective of your character. I think this can be a very helpful private exercise, but it can be a great thing to share with your group as well. About a year ago, in a group I was part of, we had a player share a sort of an inner monologue from the perspective of his character in the Facebook group for our game. It was a really neat way for us to get some “meta” knowledge of the character, as he was new to the group. In addition I’m sure it was helpful for him in terms of developing his own character so that he could role-play him better.
If you’re looking for an example, I did a video version of one of these a while back for my Provokers character, Aerdon. Check it out!
- Try a different voice. It doesn’t need to be an over-the-top accent. In fact, for some players that can be a little distracting. Even a slight change in your tone or speech pattern can make the difference. It can be subtle, and it’s okay if it changes over time. I find that personally, changing my voice a little helps me stay in-character and avoid meta-gaming. When I talk in-character, I’m better able to think in-character, and that’s an important part of the game for my preferred style.
So, there’s yer five more tips, gamers! What do YOU think? What important tips would you give players who have more experience gaming and are in need of some new challenges? Comment below!