Thursday, April 19, 2012

P is for Party

Put the lampshade down, not that kind of party.

Role-playing games are a team effort. A group of hopefully like-minded individuals work together to accomplish a goal. If the party is not on the same page, things go pear-shaped quickly. I have played in and GMed for parties that have had problems. Here's just a little advice to any would be player that wants to avoid problems.

Fill a niche
This is better known as having a "well-balanced" party. For classic fantasy gaming it means having one member of each character class represented. In classless system it means each character having their own distinct skill set. But what you really want to accomplish is being able to do something that no one else in the party can do. Even if you are playing characters of the same class, you want to customize your PC to be unique. Having a niche in the game means that there is less of a chance of you getting shut out by other players trying to accomplish the same thing, which leads to the next point.

Don't try to upstage the other players
Part of playing as a team is working with your teammates, not against them. Unfortunately, some players are under the impression that they have to beat everyone else at the table in order to win. They get in the way, kill-steal and overall make nuisances of themselves. I know one game where a player was so obsessed with taking the limelight from the front-line fighters that he was completely ignorant of his character's ability as a long-range sniper, a skill set that would have been a greater asset to the party. But he preferred to be the center of attention, which only served to make the rest of the group resent him. No one is going to watch your back if you're constantly turning yours to them.

Speak up!
Not every person is an extrovert. Even my Myers-Briggs test has that big letter I in it. But at the same time if you're not giving any input into the party, you're not contributing anything of value. Sitting in your chair, playing with your phone and waiting for the GM to tell you it's your turn isn't adding to your enjoyment of the game, and it's certainly not adding to everyone else's fun. One of the nice things about role-playing games is the escapism involved. While it may take a while to loosen up and get comfortable around the people you game with, it will be well worth your while.

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