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Guest House: Visiting gamers on gaming culture and game issues

The RPG Player's Checklist

Todd Downing
May 2, 2001  
The Gamer's Checklist
10 Tips for Responsible Roleplaying

1. Be there on time. If you say you'll be participating in a game session, try to arrive on time. The real world often presents us with challenges and RPGs are recreation and have a low priority in relation to mundane responsibilities. Everyone understands that, and no one will blame you for not being able to play. Just the same, players and their characters depend on one another, so call if you can't make it. It's just common courtesy.

2. Bathe. You're sitting in frequently close quarters with other human beings who are not necessarily interested in your daring new cologne, Eau d'Three-Day-Old Frank.

3. Give it up. Acknowledge the GM for his or her hard work and significant contribution to the game. This does not have to be money or food or carnal pleasures... but it couldn't hurt (that is, unless you forgot Tip #2). A few kind words of encouragement and a pat on the back go a long way. This is especially true if the GM is also hosting the event.

4. Shut up. Yes, you. Put a lid on the out-of-game chatter while the GM is calling for combat rounds or describing the contents of an ancient treasure chest. And don't take three hours to describe how your character scales the tavern wall while juggling knives and a pot roast and singling bawdy folk tunes ("and it goes like this...").

5. Listen. Not only to the GM, but to other players as well. This is not a beauty contest or a presidential campaign, and you don't need to hog center stage. You'll get your turn. This and Tip #4 are probably the two most valuable skills in a player's repertoire... aside from #2.

6. Don't cheat. You know who you are. Don't stock up on good results before the GM tells you to roll the skill check. Don't reroll a bad result just because it'll make things difficult for your character. Accept your character's fate and play it to the hilt. Don't slip a couple extra points into skill levels or stats when no one is looking. Don't steal dice, figurines, silverware or anything else from your fellow players (and definitely not from the GM). By fudging die rolls and misappropriating points, you are only hurting your own experience of the game and the story. By the same token, exploiting loopholes in the rules for your one-sided benefit also dilutes the game.

7. Talk to the hand. Everyone loves a good, intelligent discourse (and gamers especially so), but getting in the GM's face or arguing a point to exhaustion is bad form and sours the experience for everyone. The GM's ruling is final. You don't have to agree with it, but you don't get to argue about it in public. Voice your dissent - once - and get on with the game. For details, see Tips #4 & #5.

8. Don't go there. Every group is different. It is your responsibility to know where the line is within your group and not cross it. Off-color jokes, slurs and/or socio-political preaching can make people uncomfortable. Be polite. Don't be gross, or at least know when it's okay to be gross.

9. Game responsibly. Know when to say when. If you start losing jobs, grades, relationships and/or family due to your gaming hobby, it's probably time to put the game back on the shelf for awhile. Life is real. This is a game.

10. Just do it. Build a character you like, strive for balance, play fairly and with gusto. And above all, have fun.

Courtesy of Todd Downing, Creative Director for Deep7 (todd@depp2.com, www.deep7.com). TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

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All Guest du Jour columns

  • The Ten-Minute Guide To Becoming a RPG Transvestite by Shanya Almafeta, 02sep03
  • Gamers Who Rock by Jason Sartin, 03jul03
  • Play is Political by Johan Soderberg, 01jul03
  • Darren MacLennan provides The Ten Deadly Sins of GMs, January 23, 2002
  • Darren MacLennan provides Marching Goes Johnny Home, December 14, 2001, an adventure
  • Darren MacLennan provides a Wild Weekend at Turner's Junction, October 30, 2001-- our first adventure!
  • Kyle Voltti on Would I Be Gaming This Week? September 14, 2001 [about 9/11]
  • Eric Nail with Emotion in Role-Play July 31, 2001
  • JT Scott's gaming Renaissance June 1, 2001
  • Todd Downing on The RPG Player's Checklist May 2, 2001
  • The Hitchhiker, Head: the Floating April 1, 2000
  • Mark Strecker on Accurate Arthurian Gaming January 4, 2000
  • Joanne Ellem on From the Trenches- chicks in roleplaying and other stuff August 3, 1999
  • Bailey Watts on Portrait of Goob June 29, 1999
  • Eva on Eye of a She-Gamer May 11, 1999
  • Darnit Jim, I'm an Adventurer, Not an Exterminator! January 12, 1999
  • Paul Franklin on So You Want To Do Reviews for RPG.net? December 22, 1998
  • Shadow Sprite on The Economics of Gaming December 23, 1997 (or, "How to Dissuade Those Pesky Non-Gamers")
  • Mike Montesa on being an expatriate in Japan October 21, 1997
  • Lise Mendel on Coming of Age An insightful and personal look into what it means to be a gamer. September 30, 1997

    Other columns at RPGnet

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