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How to Be a good player

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

D&D relies not only on a good DM but also a good player. So what does it mean to be a good player? Here are the top 10 ways to be a good player (in order of importance)

  1. Be good. Even if your character is evil. Your character should be friends with the other player characters in the game and look out for them. Make yourself useful to the party and come up with a good reason for your character to want to be with the others.

  2. Listen. Not only to the DM but also to your fellow players. Let others take the spotlight and be interested in what's going on with their character. Try your best not to talk during their turns and pay attention to what they do. It could save your life. Or theirs.

  3. Know your character. This character isn't you. The more different you can play this character than yourself the more your friends will picture your character instead of you. Which brings about the very important question of what does your character look like? Sound like? Smell like? These are things that you'll have to explain to others or ask your DM to explain it for you. Ask yourself what your character is doing during ofttimes which brings me to my next point...

  4. Do your homework. This ties in to know your character. Do you have spells? Do you know what they do and how to cast them? The more you can play your character without having to ask the DM how to play your character the faster the session will go and you'll be able to use your character much more effectively. If for example you have the lightening bolt spell and you're aware that it does more damage when there's a real storm than you know what to cast the next time you're in a sea battle during a raging storm (sure that seems obvious but you'd be surprised). If you don't have spells you without a doubt have a plethora of other abilities and you should know how to use them. No harm in asking your DM how to use them once but after that you should know which brings me to my next point.

  5. Take notes. Your spells should be written on your character sheet with the key info written next to them like so: [Fireball- 150ft range. 20ft radius explosion. Dex save 15 or take 8d6 fire damage or half on success]. Also write down any important names of people or places the DM mentions. If the DM tells you a password to a secret entrance or a word that activates a magic item they may choose not to repeat it if you don't remember.

  6. Don't be a murder hobo. A murder hobo is someone who destroys everything and creates nothing. If you're in a tavern and you decide to start a fight and burn the tavern to the ground then your character might end up wanted by the authorities or worse bounty hunters or at the very least never welcome at that tavern again. These types of characters end up having to run everywhere they go and therefore have no home, nowhere to spend their ill gotten gold and no allies. For every villain you find out in the world the DM has also created a powerful ally. Creating a bond with these allies is the true key to power and success.

  7. Don't overpower your character. It's no fun maxing out your ability scores and being the toughest person on your team. If anything under-power you character. Most DM's will reward you for choosing unique and fun character flaws. This doesn't mean you should choose a character that's blind and worthless, however, if you want your character to be a blind monk that knows martial arts your DM will probably give you the blind sense feature or something of the like. Maybe you're the best fighter in the world but only if you put on a ballerina outfit and dance around the battlefield. Maybe you're gnome barbarian with a strength of 10. Or a barbarian who only goes into a rage when they hear classical music.

  8. Be serious. Not too serious but try and take the game seriously. The more true to the world you play your character the more silly things become. Don't name your character Sir Butt of Buttshire or Dr. D20 the Crit Master or some other such nonsense. D&D names are ridiculous enough. A gnome named Marbles Bumbersnoot is absurd but doesn't mock the game and is totally fine because gnomes themselves are fairly absurd and often have such names. Try your best to not do silly things in the game that make no sense just to get a cheap laugh.

  9. Be adventurous. The world is a scary place but that doesn't mean you should hide from it. Don't play too cautiously; it doesn't make for an interesting game. If there's a haunted house that says, "Do not enter" you absolutely should enter.

  10. Fight, flight or... talk? There's a time for everything. Sometimes what makes a good D&D player is one that knows when to lay down their sword and bargain with a creature or when to shut up and chop its head off. Or run! Some things are way to powerful and if you're able sometimes the best option is to flee.

D&D Player 10 Commandments.

  1. Thou shalt listen to other players Even in scenes where your player isn’t involved.

  2. Thou shalt always be looting A.B.L. Always. Be. Looting. Always be looting.

  3. Thou shalt never question thy DM Voice all concerns in between game play. Never during.

  4. Thou shalt never attack other PC’s Help them instead.

  5. Thou shalt care for thy character sheet If it’s not on your sheet you don’t have it.

  6. Thou shalt never stray from the group You’ll either be dead or sitting out the action.

  7. Thou shalt never tell another player what to do Just shame them afterwards for their poor decisions

  8. Thou shalt always keep the story going This is just as much your job as the DM’s.

  9. Thou shalt not overpower their character The weaker your character the more your DM will reward you.

  10. Thou shall keep notes Names of people, places and things.

Editor's note:

No. 6. originally was, “Thou shalt not split the party” however, there are exceptions to that rule. If the party wants to split up and do 2 small pieces of the same puzzle simultaneously that can (sometimes) work. That allows the DM to jump back and forth between scenes without the players feeling bored or antsy. Players must always consider how their actions are going to play out before they rush into them.

No 10. Can be disregarded if there is a self assigned note taker in the party. In which case you must thank that person verbally, somatically or materially every time their notes come in handy.

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