posted Friday, July 3rd 2009 by
Tabletop roleplaying games are special among their peers in that they require a GM or Game Master – in D&D terms a DM, or Dungeon Master. The DM is a source of the D&D’s strengths, but it’s also a weakpoint: if your DM isn’t having a good time with the game, there’s a good chance he’ll up and quit, leaving you gameless. It stands to reason, then, that D&D players should keep their DM happy and content at all times.
Below are five helpful hints towards accomplishing that goal.
1. Talk to the DM about what youâ€™re looking for in the game
Even experienced players often overlook this first point. Every gamer has different tastes and expectations, and the only way your DM will know what youâ€™re looking for out of the campaign is if you let him know. If you want to play a roleplay-heavy game with strong emphasis on character development, but heâ€™s running a traditional dungeon-crawl, then youâ€™re not going to be happyâ€”and your DM wonâ€™t be happy when they find out that youâ€™re unhappy, especially if you never mentioned it before. There are very few GMs who are in this solely for their own enjoyment, and the best way to ensure that youâ€™re getting what you want is to talk to them about your expectations.
2. Talk to the DM about your character
Most GMs have some idea of the kind of campaign they want to run ahead of time. It can be interesting and fun to create unusual characters but if they donâ€™t fit into the campaign the DM is writing then it will cause problems down the line. Creating a hot-headed bullywug barbarian who thinks the world is out to get him and treats violence as the first and best solution to any problem could add an interesting dimension to a game, but if the DM had planned a very intricate campaign based around courtly politicking and intrigue, it can be disruptive, and, depending on how you play it, destructive. This is not to say that such a juxtaposition canâ€™t work, but itâ€™s often more satisfying to choose a character concept that will work well within what the DM has in mind rather than at cross-purposes, for player and DM alike. The bullywug barbarian may give him an idea for another campaign, one that would play to the strengths of the concept, as well.
3. Talk to the other players about your character.
Although the DM may be ready to approve your character as fitting in with the campaign, itâ€™s important to make sure that your character will fit in with the other characters as well. Itâ€™s quite possible to have characters who each work individually, and even have a common enemy, but still lack any sort of cohesion. Most GMs find little so frustrating as a campaign that falls apart because the characters hate each other and canâ€™t work together, or never even tryâ€”and your own enjoyment of the game may even be increased when you and the other characters have a common background or shared story elements that stretch back to before the campaign even began.
4. Remember that you are not the only hero
In a similar vein to the previous point, itâ€™s important to recall that you are not the sole focus of the game. You may enjoy skulking and skullduggery and solving problems through stealth, but if every time a problem comes up youâ€™re the one to who gets to solve it, the other players are going to start to feel bored. Conversely, if every time a chance for sneaking around came up the partyâ€™s fighter were to charge in screaming bloody murder, you might begin to feel as though your characterâ€™s strengths are being ignored. Ideally every character should get to share time in the spotlight, and every playstyle will see equal representation.
5. Be co-operative and willing to compromise
Above all else this is the most important thing that you can do to keep your DM happy and running games for you. If the DM offers a plot hook, donâ€™t run the other way at full speed. If thereâ€™s a debate over disposition of treasure, volunteer to let someone else take the treasure this time around. If the DM tells you your character concept wonâ€™t fit the campaign, donâ€™t get too upsetâ€”thereâ€™ll be plenty of other games to run it in. If you make the effort to make the game fun and cooperative, you may find that youâ€™re invited to more games. This goes double if some of the other players are also GMing their own games and need a good player! In contrast, if you demand that you be the central focus of every session, donâ€™t play well with others, and generally create a disruption for the game, you may find yourself without a game to play in. Ultimately, one of the best things about RPGs is that they are cooperative games, rather than competitive, and you never need to have fun at someone elseâ€™s expense; remember that and the game may turn out to be more rewarding by far.