Be Prepared and Be Ready For Your Turn
A good Dungeons and Dragons player will always have a general idea of what their character wants to do and what their goal is. This is key during battle. Know what dice you need to roll before your turn. Know when you are next in initiative.
Know what your spells and abilities can do beforehand. If you are ready to go, the battles are quicker and the game runs a lot more smoothly.
Don't waste the parties time by looking stuff up during your turn and trying to figure out what to do. You should have time before your turn to look up what you need to. Make sure you know everything on your character sheet and what dice you need to roll for a specific attack or ability.
You don't need to know all the rules, that's to much work and can get overwhelming quickly. All you need to know are the attacks, abilities, and spells that you are planning on using.
Make the game run smoothly by being prepared.
If you don't know, ask questions before a battle starts or before your turn.
Use your Ablities and items in creative ways
This isn't a video game. That means you should not be hoarding all your magic items or special abilities for the final boss. The DM is giving you items for a reason. They want to help you out. Dungeon Masters want you to use your cool items that they give you.
If you aren't using your cool gear and special abilities, you are wasting some great opportunities.
You will always find more loot and items.
Do not be afraid to try new things. I recently had a player tie a bear trap to a rope and throw it in the air to attack a harpy that was flying around. He rolled well, and I let it work. It was a great idea and a cool move.
A good DM will let you try anything within reason.
A roll of the dice can decide how well it works out. Use your thunderwave spell to knock enemies off of cliffs. Tie your giant spider fang to a dagger for some poison damage.
Use a prestidigitation spell to add a special effect to your diplomacy or performance skill. Cover your blade in holy water before you attack the zombies.
The more creative you get, the more interesting circumstances arise to make a more exciting and memorable game.
You don't have to wait for the end of a fight. Use your turn to do something besides attacking. Unlock a door or pull the lever on your turn.
Free a prisoner. The prisoner might be able to help in battle. Doing something besides attacking adds more strategy and complexity to a simple combat. Let yourself be part of the narrative by doing something different.
Most games don't last very long, you are lucky if you get a campaign that lasts longer than 10 or so sessions. Use what you have now because the next session might never come!
help out other players and take turns
The biggest part of the game is finding a good group that plays well together. The more you can do to make players feel welcome and accepted, the more fun the game will be.
There is no game without the group.
Do your part to make it a good experience. It is a group game. Games fall apart for a lot of reasons, usually it's because of a bad DM, a bad player, or a general lack of energy.
Do not be the bad player.
Do not be the player who feels the need to lead the party at every turn. Let other players role play and use their ideas. You don't need to be doing everything. Since you are part of the group, you need to let other players try things.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is to support other players with their ideas or abilities. Different classes have different abilities for a reason, you should not be trying to solve every problem and kill every enemy.
Share the spotlight with other players so when it's your turn to do something cool, the other players will be there to support you.
Take time to step back and listen to everyone else. You will be much more appreciated when you can just listen.
Share information with the party
Apparently this can be a problem in some games. Players keep secrets from each other and try to be special because they have a secret.
The only time to keep secrets is for a character story arc. Those secrets should be planned in advance with the DM.
If you have relevant info that the party needs to survive, tell them. Lack of communication is a problem in every group. Be helpful and be engaging.
Have a clear backstory prepared , and a character goal
Your backstory doesn't have to be a 30 page epic. And it shouldn't be, especially if you are starting at level 1. No one is going to read something 30 pages long. Make it more like a paragraph or two with only 4 or 5 sentences each.
Make your backstory something easy that the DM can build off of and expand later on.
If you want good storytelling for your character, you need a backstory.
You need something connecting your character the the world around them. The more connections your character makes, the more you will be invested in the story.
Type up your backstory. Make sure your DM gets it and can work with your ideas.
This is your chance to be a part of the world building and creative process, don't squander this opportunity.
Make sure your character has a goal to work toward. It doesn't have to be groundbreaking, just something to motivate your character to be a part of the game world and a reason to be there. It can be something as simple as wanting to own a castle or finding loot. Maybe you are searching for your lost siblings or you just want to go do some good in this crazy world.
Communicate with your DM in order to play your character effectively. Make sure your DM knows what your goals are so they can add it to the story. A good DM will listen and create opportunities for you to role play and advance toward your characters goal. Your characters story will suffer if you don't take advantage of those opportunities
The better goal you have, the better story your character will get. Without your characters story, you might as well be playing a board game. For more ideas on character creation check this out.
ask questions to advance the plot
Asking questions is key to a good game, a lot of players can end up missing out on things. If you have a good or helpful dungeon master, they will end up sharing helpful hints.
Let the characters tell you stories and plot threads. You'll know exactly where to go next if you are paying attention.
Most DM's add things to the game for a reason. Ask about the odd looking painting on the wall. Find out why the villagers seem so stressed out. Ask why the orc shaman has a such better quality robes than the rest of her tribe. Ask the lord who hired you if they have anything that could help you on the quest.
In big cities, there might be clerics or seers who could spy on your enemies for you. Or a special shop selling the exact spell you were looking for. If you can't buy a spell, maybe you can hire someone who can cast the spell for you.
Dungeon masters can't possibly prepare everything, but if you ask for it, and let the DM know what you want, they can put it in the game for you. Ask for the flaming sword your character wants or the address to the vampires estate.
You want more loot? Ask about where the banks are, or the opulent merchants guild. As long as you make sure the DM knows what you want, you will probably end up getting it.
It never hurts to ask.
Role play on your turn.
You can ask questions during battle. Talk to your enemies. As a DM, I get so bored when players just attack every turn.
Get your enemies name before you destroy them. You do not have to attack all the time, but you should always be helping out the party in some way.
You don't have to kill every enemy. Allow your blood lust to have a little mercy. Tie your enemies up and get info from them.
Knowledge is power. Lots of enemies will know more than your character does.
Help the DM
Help your DM by stopping other players from making stupid game breaking choices. There is no reason to allow the edge-lord player to kill the bartender or burn down the potion shop. Stop the player who continually tries to kill the king. It makes things a lot simpler for everyone.
Help out by looking up rules, keeping track of initiative, or anything else you could possibly handle to make the dungeon masters job a little easier.
It's usually pretty easy to see where the DM wants you to go, and what they have prepared. A good DM will let you stray from the railroad tracks. If you can tell that the story is lagging, or getting low on energy, it's probably because the story is off track. Go back to where you are supposed to go. Let the DM give you what they spent time preparing for you.
Don't be a dick. don't fight Against other players
There is a big difference between playing a character, and just generally being an asshole. Don't waste too much time debating with other players. No one wants to sit there for an hour while you argue about opening the next door. It's tedious and no fun. This is not a competitive game.
No one wants to watch you try to kill the other players. The games take long enough without your pointless squabbles. I'm not going to sit there wasting my game time while you are basically measuring your long sword against other players.
We are not here to feed your insecure nerd ego and your ego has nothing to do with the game. Leave the ego at home.
If you want a fight, go play a video game online and don't waste our time at the table. D&D is a group game, and you should be working together. As a DM I do not allow players to fight each other.
Do Not expect other players or the DM to know all the rules. Do not argue with the DM. It's OK to tell the DM what the rule is, but you have to let the DM make the final decision. You have to accept that decision and move forward.
It's okay to help out and let people know the rules. There is no reason to hide information. There is no benefit to criticizing or making someone feel bad about not knowing a rule or ability.
No one will want to play with you if you are purposefully being mean, or making things harder.
Don't condescend or berate other players when they don't know something.
Don't be a cheater
Make sure your numbers and stats on your character sheet are correct. Have someone double check for you when you level up. If you are using an app for your character and stats, make sure you still know what your abilities are and where you are getting your numbers.
Make sure you aren't lying or cheating on your dice rolls. You can't be good at everything all the time. This is why we're rolling in the first place.
You need a random element of chance to tell an interesting story. Failure always makes things more interesting. If you are lying about your rolls, or otherwise cheating, you deserve a boring story.
You need to be honest for the rest of the group to trust you. Don't let it become a problem. If your DM tells you to roll a different dice or roll for everyone too see, do it without arguing.
you cannot do whatever you want
Despite popular conceptions, you can't do whatever you want. More accurately, you can BE whatever you want.
You can't burn down the village just for fun. You can't kill the king during his speech. You can't purposefully break the game or you won't have a game left to play.
Use your cool ideas and great role playing. but don't go so extreme as to destroy everything.
The DM built a world for you to play in, and the players came to do some fun stuff. Don't ruin things for the group. Don't destroy things without a purpose or a plan. Don't use your evil alignment as an excuse. Show respect to the world that your DM took the time to create for you.
If you plan on destroying something or killing someone important, Let the party know about it. Let the DM have time to plan for what happens. Let the story progress instead of chopping it's legs off without warning.
Be happy that you have a group to play with.
Be thankful that you have a great game master who builds amazing worlds for you to play in and continuously runs games for you.
Be grateful that you are always invited back to their table.
Remember to have fun!
Come to the gaming table with a good attitude, and maintain that attitude.
The better you feel and the happier you are, the game will be that much more enjoyable for everyone.
The key here is to maintain a good attitude. Like maintaining a car or a good looking costume.
Being happy is a habit you have to form just like anything else in life. Being happy and actively choosing that is an essential part of any experience.
Especially a game where you have to work with other people. Choosing to be happy is essential to having fun. Having fun is what the game is ultimately all about!
Have an idea about what you are going to do next. Before your turn.
Be creative and ask questions.
Use your abilities and magic items.
Support other players. Be a good listener. Do what you can to help out the dungeon master. Don't be a dick.
Keep the game moving forward.
maintain a good attitude for a great game!
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