Okay players, this one is a shout out to you! We enjoy playing these games, but sometimes we can drive our GM nuts and we know it. It’s not always terribly clear what makes your GM have fun at the table, but here’s some thoughts on what generally makes someone running a game happy (from my experience).
Put down the social media. When you are playing a game that someone has invested personal time in creating, scrolling through your Facebook or Tumblr feed while he/she’s narrating something, or even while your other players are interacting with NPC’s and you are not directly involved is a little insulting. We as GMs know it’s not personal or anything, but your undivided attention makes us feel a sense of pride in our games. If your attention is split, it makes us feel like the game we invented is not interesting enough and start grasping at straws to grab your attention. Other players also get frustrated that if your turn comes around and you don’t know what just happened or what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to tell your GM that the game isn’t wholly interesting to you! Too often do I ask for constructive feedback from my group and they just say, “Yeah, the session was cool.” Be helpful in making the game interesting!
Role play. Not everybody is good at talking in character or even enjoys it but there are ways to role play without actually role playing. Be involved in conversations with NPC’s, even if it’s as simple as. “My character says…” Just be enthusiastic about the plot. There are a lot of people that play RPGs that are there for the numbers and combat, and certainly that mindset has its place. If you know your GM enjoys telling a good story, help them out by being involved in that story. Who knows, maybe someday the role playing aspect can interest you more than before!
Know the rules! You don’t have to be a walking encyclopedia of the game you enjoy playing but at least be competent at running your character. Long term campaigns really open the door for you to learn your character closely and maybe you won’t even need the book after a while. Just know what your spells/powers do and try to plan for your turn. Combat takes long enough on its own, don’t enable a small scrum with goblins to take three hours. Something to go in tandem with this is that if you’re bad at math, that’s okay! Simply have a calculator ready, whether it’s your phone or laptop or even an actual calculator (kind of outdated, I know). Help everything move along so at the end of the session, everybody feels like something was accomplished,
Keep with the overall tone of the game. This can be challenging, because wandering in and out of character is very easy to do. At my table, there are a lot of jokes and banter although the tone is serious, but it all takes place out of character and doesn’t always eat up a large amount of time. Jokes at the table are a great way to maintain the friendship of the entire table, but when it impedes the game, the guy/gal running it could become a little frustrated. If you’re game has a more silly tone, try to know your GM and understand if they do actually have a plot lined out, or if it’s just random wandering. Knowing what everybody expects from the game that’s being played is important, and don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know! Asking questions to clarify how something is received by your group can be intimidating but the value of it is priceless.
Lastly, and probably the most important: Tell your GM that you had fun. A lot of players seem to think that it’s implied that the session was fun, but running the game can become sort of absorbing and you can’t always gauge if your group is actually having the amount of fun you think they had. Constructive feedback is priceless and really does make a GM happy. Moreover, it can even inspire new ideas or new ways to approach certain situations.
So for the love of gaming, treat your GM right and they’ll do the same!
Stay Metal \m/