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SamVDW
Common Mistakes That Players Make

This is a summary from the other thread listed 'Common Mistakes Less-Skilled Roleplayers Make, What mistakes do you need to avoid to be a good roleplayer?'

We’re going to cover some of the common roleplaying mistakes that players make. This is not intended to be an all encompassing list. The goal is to make you aware of some of the universal mistakes that we all make when roleplaying. Sometimes just being aware of what mistakes there are too be made can help you avoid them.

The first part is the relationship between the game master and players. Remember that the game master is just another person in your roleplaying game. Although his part in the game is different than everyone else’s, he is there to have fun just like you are. Here is a list of mistakes that can be made between the player and game master.

- Having a game master versus player mentality. Everyone at the table is telling a story together. Try to stay away from the attitude that you, as the player, are trying to defeat the game master. The game master is not your enemy (his little minions are!).

- Not giving the game master the benefit of the doubt. The game master is trying to tell a story. Trust that the game master will not abuse their power and they are trying to make the game good for everyone.

- Not allowing the game master a little leeway. The game master is responsible for every non-player character, their actions and reactions to players, and the overall story line. You are responsible for one character. If the game master makes a mistake, such as forgetting a rule, not remembering one particular detail about the adventure, or any other error in the game, give them a break. They have a lot going on!

The second topic of common mistakes that roleplayers make discusses player versus player issues. Roleplaying games often work best when players are working together to achieve a common goal. When players start playing against each other, this can be counterproductive within the game. Please note, however, there are some roleplaying games that are specifically designed to cause conflict between characters. These roleplaying games may be excluded from some of these next points. Here is a list of mistakes that are sometimes made by one player against other players.

- Stopping the game session from being entertaining for everyone. Don’t let what you want to do kill everyone else’s fun. It’s not all about you… seriously.

- Putting a character quirk over the fun of the group. The phrase, “I am just playing my character,? has often been used to justify actions of a player that just damaged the fun for someone else.

- Not respecting other players’ time and the game master’s time.

- Creating a character this is opposed to a major aspect of another player or the entire group. This in itself is not a bad thing and can become a great source for roleplaying. But absolutely do not be surprised when this causes conflict between you and other players.

Now we move on to the next issue, metagaming. Essentially, metagaming is using out-of-character knowledge for an in-character situation. Common examples of metagaming are:

- One player hears another player say or do something and then acts upon it, when there is no way their character would be aware of that knowledge. One example is when the characters are miles apart with no communications, yet are acting in sync as if they knew exactly what the other was thinking. This is a common mistake that pretty much every player falls prey to at some point.

- Playing a character beyond their ability level. Your character may be a meathead combat-monkey. He will most likely not know how to build a fusion reactor, even if you the player do.

- Using knowledge of a game mechanic specifically for advantage. One example might be a ranged character that always stays at the perfect distance to keep himself far away from his enemy, but close enough to not incur in-game penalties. If that character always attempts to fight at exactly fifty yards away from his opponent because it gives him a flawless advantage in combat that is not realistic.

- Employing a certain attack or defense against an enemy that your character would not know about. One example would be that you know a particular monster is weak against fire because of fighting against that monster in a different campaign another game master ran. If this character does not have knowledge of that, he most likely should not be using it.

- Reading a published adventure that the game master is running with the intention of using that information to beat the adventure. This is the closest thing on this list that is akin to cheating. Just don’t do it.

Keep in mind, that metagaming is not necessarily always a bad thing. And also remember that there is, for lack of a better term, reverse-metagaming. Where a character may know something the player does not. In this case, it would be okay to ask the game master what the particular piece of information is. For example, maybe the player doesn’t know what types of monsters reside in an area, but his character has spent his entire life growing up there. In that scenario, it would be okay to ask the game master what monsters are in that area, or explain that his character probably already knows that information.

The final list of common mistakes that roleplayers make is a catch-all list. These particular mistakes may not fit into one specific category, but are things that players should watch out for.

- Complaining when something does not favor your character.

- Acting only during combat, but letting the other players or the game master carry you through the non-combat portions of the game.

- Becoming a dice thrower and not a roleplayer. This can be especially bad if the game contains a skill check for social skills. Don’t just say, “I lie to the guard. I’m rolling my con skill.? Tell the game master what your character says to try and con the guard, and then roll your skill. He may give you a bonus if your con is a particularly believable one!

- Not learning the rules after playing the game for a while. Do your best to keep the game moving by trying to learn the rules of the game. No one ever learns all the rules, but at least be familiar with the ones that are specific to your character.

- Trying to be involved in everything. If the group of characters is split up, don’t be that guy that moves from group to group just to stay in the action.

- Forgetting that bad rolls are part of the game. Remember, good luck and bad luck are both equally part of roleplaying. Try not to get upset if the dice aren’t rolling your way, it happens. Some games have functions that allow you to mitigate poor rolls, use them.

- Not paying attention. Don’t make everyone repeat themselves because you’re too busy reading the players handbook, or doing something else.

- Playing characters that are flawless. No person on earth is flawless. No character in a roleplaying game should be flawless.

- Treating a roleplaying game as something that can be won. Just like you can’t surf to the end of the internet, you can’t win a roleplaying game.

As I stated in the beginning, this is not a comprehensive list. There are many more mistakes out there to be made. But these are some of the common ones. Knowledge is power. Use this list as food for thought, and maybe it can help make you a better roleplayer.

FINALLY, two more good sources on this topic are: Wiki - Metagaming (Role-Playing Games) and Uncle Figgy's Guide to Good Roleplaying (available for download at multiple sites on the Internet).
Cantankerous
Man, first, I apologize. I am so sorry about being part of hijacking that other thread into another round of "Comparative GMing 101".

1) Not seeing the potential for development in loosing. The story can be greatly, nay, vastly improved by the defeat of the PCs once in a while. Classic death traps and other such literary devices aside, it does something for the feel of the game if the characters aren't twinky things that you need to throw dragons at just to get the attention of.

2) Not voicing their opinions unless you drag it out of them when they think there IS something wrong with either a rule or a situation that makes them uncomfortable.


Isshia
SamVDW
Active participation is what makes this board one of the best (if not the best) rpg boards on the net. It's been a great thread that is still going!
kzt
QUOTE
- Becoming a dice thrower and not a roleplayer. This can be especially bad if the game contains a skill check for social skills. Don’t just say, “I lie to the guard. I’m rolling my con skill.? Tell the game master what your character says to try and con the guard, and then roll your skill. He may give you a bonus if your con is a particularly believable one!


The other aspect of this is that some people are pretty darn poor at social crap in RL and actually want characters who can do this. Don't piss on their fun. It's like my asking someone to explain exactly how they are going to blow a door up (how large a charge, used how, how do they fuze it and tamp it) instead of having them roll their demo skill. It's unreasonable to base my decision as how successful they are on blowing open the door largely on the player's (and my) knowledge of demolitions rather then the character's.
Cantankerous
QUOTE (kzt @ Dec 5 2008, 08:59 PM) *
The other aspect of this is that some people are pretty darn poor at social crap in RL and actually want characters who can do this. Don't piss on their fun. It's like my asking someone to explain exactly how they are going to blow a door up (how large a charge, used how, how do they fuze it and tamp it) instead of having them roll their demo skill. It's unreasonable to base my decision as how successful they are on blowing open the door largely on the player's (and my) knowledge of demolitions rather then the character's.



So, they don't get the bonus, which was what he suggested. They don't get any penalty either.

The guy who IS pretty damned poor at the social aspects is usually a killer at one or more technical aspects. If they aren't especially good at any of it, they are still not getting penalized, but the person who makes the GM grin or go "oh wow" or whatever is not getting left out either. Why demote brilliance? Sure, don't give the Player with poor social skills a penalty, but likewise don't dismiss the skills of the social mavin either.


Isshia
SamVDW
Posted in the original thread as well

Thanks everyone for the replies. One thing I have learned from putting this list together (which was compiled from suggestions from dozens of other players) is that each player and group seems to have their own set of ideas on what is good and what is bad. I've received a TON of positive AND TONS of negative comments on three different websites.

My hope in compiling this list was that maybe it could help people have more fun out of roleplaying by helping make them better roleplayers. That's the bottom line. It's not to make someone think they suck at roleplaying, or pump up someone else's ego. It's just a list. And with any list on the internet or any print article, you'll have people who love it, people who hate it, or people who could care less about it.
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