February 4, 2011

Be a Selfish Player!

I tend to write a lot on this blog about DMing and very rarely about the player. That has much to do with the fact I usually end up being the DM, and even when I am playing I tend to look at the evening’s gaming from the mindset of a DM (to my shame). However, a statement made recently several months ago on another blog got me thinking about the player.

“making your fellow gamers feel impotent is not a good way to keep your gaming circle healthy!”

Whether you know it or not, you want other players at the table. I could say its all about human contact and interaction, but really that is all a bit too subtle. I could say it’s all about joys of a shared experience. I could say it’s all about how having other players changes the dynamics of a gaming session and keeps it vibrant. I could say it’s all about simple human decency. I could say all these things (and they would true) but instead I am going to show you why it’s in your best interests to have and keep other players at the table.

In reality having other players there is a selfish act. For a second imagine if the game was just you and the GM. What would it be like? You would certainly be the center of attention…or would you? Being the center of attention requires there be someone else there for you to take attention from. If you are the only person at the table you are not the center of attention, you are the default attention target. You are not the center of attention because you are cool or did something cool; it’s because you are the only choice. By default you are also the dumbest, geekiest, pasteeatingest, slowest, doesntunderstandtherulesest, dimmest player at the table.

So how do you make sure you are known by all the good adjectives without being any of the bad adjectives (the quick ones can see where this is going)? By keeping other players around you. Other people can make YOU look better. You need them.

Not only do other players make you look better, but when your character does something cool you want to share it. The more players that are around the more people that can bask in your glory. Playing to an empty room really doesn’t cut it for the glory; you can do that without playing in a RPG game. You want an audience and the easiest audience to get in a role-playing game is other players.

So how do you keep the other players at the table so they can make you look good? Take a look at the quote at the beginning of this article. The basic gist of it is that other people want to feel like they are contributing and being cool at the gaming table. Sometimes you will have to let the other players have the limelight for awhile. You and I both know they can never compare to you, but they should at least be under the illusion they can. The best way to do this is to let them shine at times, let them have a say in what goes on during the game, let their decisions have meaning, let them do something cool, acknowledge them when they do something cool.

Do these things on a regular basis and you will be part of a strong gaming group, one that lets only makes you look better!
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