How To Be A Good Role-Player: Dos and Don’ts Of Being A Hero

September 16, 2015 by brennon

As I’ve managed to wax lyrical about the ways that I’ve found to be a good Dungeon Master/Storyteller I’ve also had my fair share of time as a player in many role-plays and thought I’d share my thoughts about what I think makes a good hero…

DO Respect The Dungeon/Games Master Or Storyteller

It might seem like a simple request but there are many times where I’ve known players not to respect their Storyteller. They have put a lot of effort into their campaign, working on the story, encounters, plot points, NPCs and more.

The Dungeon Master

If they’ve done a lot of work and you start tearing down their ‘world’ as they try and explain it to you then you’re not exactly helping.

Sometimes they will get rules wrong and it’s fine to bring them up on that but if that Orc acts in a particularly different way than you’d imagined then don’t get all antsy with them and stop the session in it’s tracks.

A lot of these other points feed into this one but it makes sense to deal with it at the beginning. Show some respect and you’ll get it in return.

DON’T Hog The Limelight

It can be hard sometimes to not try and make your character the hero of every situation you get dropped into. It’s natural that you’d want him/her to do well and have something to say but other players probably won’t take to it well.

Lime Light

Try and include the other players in your antics, especially if you’re a stronger role-player than others in the group. It should be on you to make them feel like part of a wider story not just yours, sitting on the sidelines.

This responsibility will also land on the Storyteller but if you know the Cleric, who is a bit quiet, has an ability that’s helpful in a certain situation tell them and make a big deal out of how awesome it can be.

DO Know When To Reign In The Comedy

Inevitably there will be occasions where funny stuff happens and you’ll find yourself bent over laughing at someone’s misinformed attempts to persuade another character for example but don’t let it break the flow of a session.

Orc Push

A good Storyteller will always leave room for laughs and a bit of comic relief but as a player it’s your responsibility to know when enough is enough and you can move on.

If you keep going back to the joke it could end up side-lining the main story and have the rest of the group completely dropping the ball and a Storyteller losing their way.

DON’T Play Around On Your Phone!

I know it’s really tempting to check your Facebook or Twitter during a session but nothing is more annoying for a Storyteller than your players constantly looking down at their phones instead of listening. THEN, they say they didn’t hear what you said and need it repeating!

Traps

The world isn’t going to fall apart while you’re in the middle of your session. Leave the phone in your pocket and check it during downtime instead.

DO Know When To Help The Story Along

Sometimes a Storyteller will be interested in moving the story along and pushing things in a certain direction and if you can’t think of a reason to hinder it, just let it happen – it’s usually for a good reason.

Dungeon Delve

If you think you REALLY need to be in that small village for another four days then come up with a good reason otherwise you’ll end up stagnating the campaign.

If possible make sure to help along the story with a bit of cooperative storytelling. Think about why your character might want to pursue a certain option presented to you instead of being against the Storyteller on everything.

DON’T Get Caught Up In The Little Details

This ties in somewhat to the idea of helping the story along. If you have to go and grab some potions from the local market then don’t drag it out into an hour long shopping trip.

D&D Fight

Nothing is more boring than being the Fighter and watching the Wizard go off on a shopping trip constantly asking to find more and more items to sell and/or buy.

This might seem like something a Storyteller should be dealing with but as players you can also take some of the weight off them by not getting too obsessed with things like eating, toilet breaks (in-game…and trust me, it happens) or what time it is. You generally don’t need to know half of these things.

DO Be On The Same Team!

Once again this might sound like a silly one but remember that you’re part of a group. If someone is doing something don’t try and counteract what they’re doing with something of your own.

Halfling

This could be interjecting in a conversation they are having with an NPC or just some cool idea they are trying out. Sometimes they will welcome suggestions but only do so if they ask for it.

Also, if something happens and the players get out of a sticky situation don’t then back track and put ideas in the Storyteller’s mind!

It might seem like a silly addition but you should also NEVER steal from your own party members unleash there is something story driven behind your thinking. Just randomly stealing from your group doesn’t really make for a cohesive experience.

This ties into…

DON’T Be A Rules Lawyer

If the Storyteller has genuinely forgotten a rule then be there to help if you know what should happen. If they are breaking the rules to do something fun then let it happen and don’t call them up on every little +2 and dice roll they might be making.

Same Team

Sometimes the Rule Of Cool breaks any rule set up by the books. They are guidelines after all. Rules should never get in the way of fun so just let go with the flow sometimes rather than being such a stickler.

DO Think About Your Turn Ahead Of Time!

In combat things can be frenetic but if you haven’t thought about what you might want to do, or at least an option open to you, and then spend five minutes working out what you want to do then you’ll drag combat out.

Combat

Think ahead, plan for different eventualities. It can save a lot of time if you have a rough guess as to your next step.

DON’T Not Turn Up For A Session*

This can probably be one of the most infuriating things for a Storyteller. If you’ve said that you’re going to come to a session then make sure you are there, maybe a little earlier than you need to be, to help set things up and get settled.

D&D Party

If you’re not going to be able to make a session then let the Storyteller know a little while in advance so they can plan accordingly.

*There are exceptions to this of course – everyone has emergencies!

What Are Your Dos & Don’ts?

This is just some of my Dos & Don’ts that I’ve seen pop up during sessions and it is by no means a complete list but it should give you some guidelines.

Here are some smaller ones that you might want to expand on…

  • DON’T Forget Your Dice!
  • DO Help Add To The Snack Fund (food is important!)
  • DON’T Forget To Wash (you’re together in a tight space for hours – please don’t smell!)
  • DO Make A Note Of NPCs (if your Storyteller has to keep reminding you it’s going to be a long session…)

I’d be interested to see if you’ve picked up on some things that players do that aggravates you!

Pop them in the comments below…

Let me know your thoughts!

"A lot of these other points feed into this one but it makes sense to deal with it at the beginning. Show some respect and you’ll get it in return..."

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"I know it’s really tempting to check your Facebook or Twitter during a session but nothing is more annoying for a Storyteller than your players constantly looking down at their phones instead of listening..."