Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Player Responsibilities

I phoned it in tonight at my weekly game session. It was still fun for me, and the players still had fun too, I think - but I was low on energy. I was like the other bunny in the Duracell adverts. The one whose energy slowly drains away as he collapses, with a pathetic blank expression on his furry rabbit face.

It got me thinking about responsibilities. I've written about my DMing philosophy before, such as it is, and one of the things I emphasised was that one of the most important responsibilities of the DM is setting the tone. The energy flows from you, to a large extent. And if you feel flat, it's likely the game will feel a bit flat too. I think that's what happened tonight.

But that got me thinking: what are the responsibilities of players when they come to the table?

There's the obvious stuff:
  • Don't hog the limelight.
  • Don't try to browbeat or fast-talk the GM into changing every single piddling little decision.
  • Don't cheat.
  • Don't drink a lot if nobody else at the table is.

But this really mostly boils down to "don't be a dickhead", and it sounds more like a set of rules or guidelines than responsibilities. So I guess I'd start off with:
  • Take agency. Be an actor and not a reactor. You're the engine of the game, not the GM, and he's not your own personal dancing monkey.
  • Try to buy into what the game is about. It's fine not to take everything 100% seriously, but try to judge the mood and help build it.
  • Take everything that happens in the game with good grace, unless it's conspicuously a case of the GM being unfair or stupid.

Not particularly pithy or interesting, but it'll do for starters. 


  1. Giving tips to people before they play is nice in theory but in my experience it's like giving driving tips to people before buying them 9 Jager bombs.

  2. "Don't drink a lot if nobody else at the table is."

    Thank you.

  3. Yeah, what Zak said. Really it only one thing, that shouldn't have to be said. "Do whatever is fun for you." With caveat if they think being a dickhead fun, kick them out of the game.

  4. "Don't drink a lot if nobody else at the table is."

    Thankfully, this isn't listed under GM responsibilities.

  5. Re-reading this today I'm wondering/paranoid as to just how much of the player responsibilities specifics are down to shortcomings in our group... ;)

  6. That's a good start. I would add a couple:

    * The players are a team. They should work to not only support each others' efforts, but work to increase each others' fun.

    * The players are here to play a game. It would be a good idea to know the rules of the game, at least as far as your character is concerned.

    * Pay attention.

  7. Yeah, knowing the rules of the game is a biggie.