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[#] First DM's, now Players
12:33pm EDT - 10/29/2008
So, I dropped some HARDCORE ADVICING on DM's a while ago, but while they have a lot of the responsibility for whether a game works out or not, it's ultimately just as much(if not more) in the hands of the players.

Let's say you're a Player(Not a Playah, though that's entirely a viable type of Player in some games...), what can YOU do not to fuck up the fun? And what should you definitely not do? Plenty of shit. Let's get started.

(Disclaimer: Most of these issues are things I've personally encountered, I'm sure I've missed a lot and am exaggerating others simply because of how much they've pissed me off.)



#1: "I'm going to reroll until I get all 18's!"/Character Creation.

The root of most disruptive players can be spotted and interfered with here. I mean, look at your character. Think about how he, or she, is going to fit into the game, into the party.

There's some obvious first shit to avoid, don't play Chaotic Evil if the rest of them are Lawful Good, don't make a Vampire Hunter if one of them's a Vampire. But that aside, it's also important to make a character that fits the game. If it's a GRIM AND DARK ADVENTURE IN THE FUTURE OF GRIM AND DARKNESS, don't make a happy little girl with a giant sword. If you're doing EPIC ADVENTURE, don't make a character whose only motivation is to be left alone. Talk with your DM About what works, don't just make a character that's well-crafted stat-wise.

And speaking about stat-wise stuff... Making a character is the opposite of making a game. Fluff before stats. What do you WANT to play? Don't say: "Hmmm, a level 5 Elven Cleric!" Think of a personality, first of all. Is he a devoted ally? A frothing berserker? A sneaky asshole? A gruff bastard with a heart of gold? Get an image into your head: Do you see him hiding in a corner or charging the enemy? Does he preach to the party or cheer them on? Create that mental image, then see how you can wrangle it into the rules and into the game. Sometimes it won't work, and you'll just have to start over, but often if you talk to your DM, you can come up with something awesome.

Some DM's are willing to balance out a mechanically weak concept if the fluff is really fucking awesome, and some even hand out the odd bonus for stuff that's just fucking cool, even if you never intended for it to have a technical effect.

This is not to say that you should be afraid of making characters who can actually DO shit, few of us are happy with a character who just stands in the background picking their nose the entire game. But when you pick a skill, an ability or a piece of equipment. Think first: "Does this fit my image of the character?" and only second: "WILL THIS MAKE ME MORE PHAT CRUNK, YO?" What people remember about a game afterwards is not how many 20's you rolled, it's what you DID with those 20's, and in the end, this game is about creating some memorably awesome shit, not about winning.

Try to avoid characters that are designed to be center stage, like they have some sad past or EPIC PURPOSE that you're convinced will make them the most important guy around. Don't try to GRAB the limelight, if your character ends up as the charismatic or energetic leader, go with it, but don't pick a character who's made for the spot. It just tends to end up annoying for everyone when some guy that no one really cares THAT much about constantly tries to draw attention to himself.

Don't try to make flawless characters. The only thing worse than a character who's shit at everything is one that's flawless and/or equally good at everything. Screw-ups define a character. Anyone can easily play a hero when everything goes to plan, things are fine, it all works out. But what does a REAL hero, or a real villain, or a real PERSON do when shit fucks up? When their epic plan just made shit worse? When they're forced to make tough choices and sacrifices? That's what memorable situations are made out of. Fighting their own flaws and mistakes, the fruits of their hubris and arrogance, often makes for a more engaging story.

I also mentioned cooperation with your DM earlier, this is especially important when writing your background. Talk with him about it, accept his input, suggest things, especially if it's a homebrew campaign setting of some sort. "Yeah, so I'm thinking my guy is a secret agent who fell out with his guys over some ethical shit..." "Hey, that's perfect, you can be an ex-MJ12 agent who decided to blow this shit wide open. You're the guy who hooked the rest of the party into the entire thing." It can help the DM fill out holes in his story or planning, give him a few extra hooks to throw at you guys or just generally give him some awesome and perfect ideas to abuse.

Don't focus on being unique stat/race/class or even skill-wise, focus on being unique personality-wise. Even Bob the Fighter can be a memorable character because of the way he talks, acts or how he died while distracting Zoldark the Lich Lord of Darkness with a kick to the balls, while Xax'xax'zaz the Elven Catgirl Assassin/Cleric/Rapewhistle can be entirely boring and bland despite having more vorpal weapons than digits, and end up being remembered as nothing more than a bad joke.

Finally, try to avoid making characters which are too specialized. If you make a character that is immortal in X situations and instantly dead/useless in Y situations, then you've made someone who isn't very fun for anyone. Either you steamroll everything or you die, no middle ground, no point where things are merely challenging or perilous.

I think that's enough rambling about how not to fuck up before the game's even started. Next up: The actual fucking game, HOLY SHIT.




#2: "Tenbeard swings his axes or some shit, I don't know"/Playing the fucking game

A lot of this shit is going to be common sense, but I'm going to go on about it anyway, because it seems to elude a lot of players.

Let's start with what I told DM's: DESCRIBE YO SHIT. Don't just go "I walk down the street" or "I swing my axe at the kobold." It's "ZOLDARK BLASTS HIS MIGHTY ELDRITCH FORCE AT THE PUNY KOBOLD THAT STANDS BEFORE HIM, HIS HANDS CRACKLING WITH ENCHANTED ENERGY!" and "Skitt the Skizzle strides boldly down the main street of Adventureville, keeping a hand on the hilt of his weapon and an eye on the people around him as he hunts for a place to get his bitches and booze. His HEROIC bitches and booze."

And if your DM isn't being very descriptive, or leaves out something in his descriptions, don't be afraid to ASK. Ask if there are any windows to leap out of, ask if any of the dwarves look like they have a limp that might reveal a wooden leg, ask if you can maybe collapse the ceiling on Tenbeard and Zoldark. Just because the DM hasn't described it in perfect detail, doesn't mean the opportunity isn't there. Hell, maybe the DM never even considered the option as being there, but thinks your plan is brilliant and is willing to let you give it a shot.

Next up, just because your DM has some plans for the game doesn't per definition make them shit. Sometimes there's nothing wrong with following an obvious plot hook or going/doing what the DM actually wants you to. For the most part you gotta trust your DM's ideas, and if you have issues with where he's taking your characters and the game, don't fuck up the game with some gaytastic little rebellion("TORGAL STABS THE WHITE WIZARD, HE'S TOO NICE TO BE REAL!). Talk to your damn DM about it. And if he doesn't listen: Leave the game. The DM essentially has godlike power within his game, it's not like you can PROPERLY shit on any plans he has, all you can do is make both him and you look like total assholes.

Similarly, if you have a problem with your fellow players and what they're doing/the character they're playing, take it up with the DM or the player, don't just throw a fagfit and try to backstab them while they're asleep for no proper IC reason.

Past that? PAY ATTENTION TO THE DAMN GAME. Bad players can hurt a game, but at least they still participate. Nothing hurts a game more than when half the goddamn players are busier with YouTube and private conversations than paying attention to the game. The DM should not have to constantly drag your attention back. Yes, sure, it's a fault of his if he can't keep your attention, but at least TRY. You're adults, or at least reasonably mature children. If the game is boring? Say so. If it's not? PAY ATTENTION. Your DM should not have to remind everyone to shut down their browser windows and IM clients before the game starts.

At the same time, don't be expected to be afforded attention without doing anything. Your character standing around in the back looking pained and oh-so-depressed and etc. is not likely to interest anyone if there are Eldritch Tomes of Power and Mysteries ahead of them. DO SHIT.

Anyway, how to be a good player once you've managed to create a non-obnoxious/disruptive character can be summed up with a few words: Show initiative, pay attention, don't be a dick just to be a dick.

~PurpleXVI

I've got nothing clever to put here.

Comments

1 Bob Smith
01:09pm UTC - 10/29/2008 [X]
What you say is very interesting, especially the bit about character creation (although that was really what point-buy was made for.)

I want to play a rapping bard called PHAT CRUNK at some point.

However, I'd disagree to an extent with what you say about roleplaying. You can have an immersive and interesting campaign without everyone affecting west country "MR FRODO" accents and speaking like they're in a Ren Faire.

It's the whole "Elfwood Blackleaf fires his longbow at the foul orcish beast!" thing which gives D&D its bad reputation. Certainly get involved to a point beyond "i search for traps/blimps/treasure lol" but it can be a bit awkward to have to vigorously describe everything you do as if you're writing for the Black Library. I'd sooner have a well justified "I wallop the vampire" than "ANGELUS GOTO TOOK UP HIS BLESSED MULTILASER AND DID RIGHTEOUSLY LAY DOWN THE EMPEROR'S HOLY FURY UPON THE FOUL XENOS SCUM, ITS ELDRITCH ICHOR SPRAYING IN VISCOUS RIVULETS OVER THE SCARRED CERAMITE OF HIS POWER ARMOUR. ITS EYES EXPLODED (IF IT EVEN HAD EYES), ON CALIBAN!" because to be honest that can get a little embarrassing if it could be reduced to "full round attack with the weapon."

The closest I've got to getting massively involved was when I claimed my character "stood on the balcony and yelled this at the shadows below; "WHOSOEVER WILL NOT STAND AND FACE ME IS A WOMAN, NOTHING MORE!"


2 PrivatePlatypoda
03:40am UTC - 10/30/2008 [X]
I'm defying everything you say about character creation by having played suetastic characters in my last two campaigns. One had no faults and the other perceives himself as having no faults (despite being batshit insane because lolmalk), one was as optimized as you can get for what I decided to do and the other isn't really optimized in any coherent way but still manages to probably break balance but is still extremely powerful in his own way, and they were both designed specifically to be center stage characters. And not only have I enjoyed playing them, but the DM loved them and so did the players.

Also I more or less agree with this Bob Smith fellow to an extent. Honestly, as a DM, I'm perfectly fine with my IRL group saying "I thrust my sword into the orc" or "I let loose my volley of arrows at the mutated scorpion". It really doesn't detract from the game, break immersion, and gets the level of detail down that is necessary. Online, however, a little more detail is usually nice. The difference is the medium, again. Online games are slow anyway. A little slower for the sake of a good narrative doesn't matter. IRL, we're all sitting there looking at other pasty, slightly overweight neckbeards playing lolis and the 25 Charisma elves that love them. We're filling in the details that made that shit awesome in our head either way, and the guy giving a 5 word response instead of a two or more sentence response about what he's doing really just allows you to accomplish more per session (and IRL sessions really can be harder to coordinate than online ones).


3 PurpleXVI
10:10pm UTC - 10/30/2008 [X]
Bob: Very true, there is a HAPPY MIDDLE GROUND where you immerse yourself in the action WITHOUT embarassing yourself. But, you know, the easiest way to find it if you're stuck in: "I look at the door. Does it look like a nice door?"-levels of roleplaying, is to leap straight into the deep end of the overacting pool and then swimming your way back until the sharks leave you alone.

PP: Again, PP, this is for, you know, like, LOL ROLEPLAYAN NOOBS. Experienced roleplayers can take suetastic material or overpowered characters and not ruin everyone else's fun with them.

And yes, if you didn't notice, we're on the internet. I'm mostly writing this from that perspective. Everyone just going: "Full attack [rolls dice]" would get very old, very fast, when they're not, you know, doing much else.

And also agreed, online you can be a bit more ARARARAR, EPIC without embarassing yourself than you can be in person. Plus, in-person games tend to be a bit more, y'know, informal and shit.


4 Gary Eraklin
02:53am UTC - 11/16/2008 [X]
There is definitely a divinely beautiful middle ground when it comes to RPGs. The point of character generation is to randomly generate a funbag to cause lols and wingasms with. Point-buy is the weakling's path to fame. Conversely, RP n00bz should follow these rules moreso because while an experienced player/RPer can make a completely SUE character they can spin them into something interesting and make it incredibly fun to do.

As a player, though, when it comes to issues with the GM or another player, talk to them or get the fuck over it. Unless the GM is a malicious bastard and is picking on you in particular, then get over yourself and the bad string of dice you rolled that night/day. And if another player is constantly correcting your usage of the rules or what have you, ask the GM, then STFU. This is basically the Warhammer equivalent of the Dice of Fate, except the GM decides what it lands on and you CANNOT ARGUE.

I realize I'm just repeating what's been said, so I'll drop it now.

~Gary E


5 PurpleXVI
02:59am UTC - 11/16/2008 [X]
Personally I'm a fan of point-buy, actually. Because in some games, the random generation methods can end up half the party with completely useless characters, or cause ridiculous levels of imbalance.

Of course, it's less bad in systems like WFRP and DH where even THE CRUNKIEST MOTHERFUCKER THIS SIDE OF THE CRUNKISSIPPI can get killed with relative ease and have to reroll.

The thing, though, is that WFRP and DH keep it awesome by also randomizing your background and class. If you could make me a method for, say, D&D, that randomized race and class, along with everything else(or perhaps just those two aspects) without breaking the game, I'd never use anything else.

And yes, yes, yes TALK OR GET OUT. I have heard so many players going around "Buhbuhbuh my DM is mean!" and concocting these ELABORATE REVENGE SCHEMES rather than just talking to the guy about the problem or fucking leaving.


6 Emo_Duck
08:34am UTC - 11/16/2008 [X]
You can always just make a random class/race table, like the Warhammer games have - maybe make the ranges for fighters and rogues larger than for wizards and monks, making certain classes more likely in the same way. It would have to be customised for each game, of course, depending on what classes and races are allowed.

However, I think D&D characters are much more dependent on the synergy between their class and their stats than in Dark Heresy. If you roll up a psyker with low Perception and Willpower, he can probably still be useful with a gun, or maybe even as party face, even if he gets nosebleeds when trying to levitate a pillow. A scrawny fighter or retarded wizard is going to have a harder time being useful.

Then again, that's not saying it might not be fun to play. The game would simply be closer in atmosphere to the Warhammer games, where you're not necessarily part of the above-average, heroic crowd. D&D is geared toward being heroic, though, so it might not work as well.


7 PurpleXVI
08:41am UTC - 11/16/2008 [X]
I think for a D&D game, you'd have to make it EITHER random class/race, or random stats.

Because random stats + random race/class has a high risk of making you totally useless, whereas you can assign stats to fit a class/race, or pick a class/race to fit certain stats.

The thing about D&D having to be heroic is more in line with 3rd and 4th-edition D&D. In 2nd ed, it was about your viewpoint, as they said in the character generation chapter: "Some people say heroes are special in skill and talent, different from birth and upbringing, that's why they go adventuring and save the world. Others say that heroes are no different from ordinary people except for their willingness to take on these challenges."


8 Gary_Eraklin
06:46pm UTC - 12/27/2008 [X]
It's not that hard to tell the person to just pick something random. DH is fun like that, but I generally just randomize my stats and then build a class around that. It's easy to powergame in D&D and in DH, so I'm starting to... handicap myself so I'm not so... overbearing.

The point is, though, that in D&D 3 and 3.5, caster classes are so overpowered it's almost like the casters are fapping their magic missiles out, with +34 gloves of vagina. Just choose something new. Try a new class. Think of a new concept and build it. Stop the faggotry and play to be awesome.


9
05:13am UTC - 5/20/2010 [X]
i roflmao @ this, and will be reading #2 to my players today when we play. thanks a lot man.


 

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