ADVICE FOR GOOD ROLE–PLAYING
Or
“How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Game”


CONTENTS
A NOTE FROM THE WRITER:  (This page)
   A QUICK GLOSSARY 
    THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR GAME MASTERS 
    THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR PLAYERS 
PLAYERS: 
    CLASSES OF PLAYERS 
     BLENDING CLASSES 
     AGES 
GAME MASTERS:
     OFF TOPIC – THE THREE STAGE PROCESS
     PROPERTIES OF GAME MASTERS
         …TO PLAYER’S LIVES
         …TO THE GAME UNIVERSE
THE TOP FIVE REASONS WHY A GROUP FRACTURES:
    THE CIRCLE AND THE REST
    INTER-GROUP DATING
    TAKING EVERYTHING TOO PERSONALLY
    MIXING SLASHERS WITH ROLE-PLAYERS
    INEXPERIENCE
THE USE OF MUSIC:
    THE SET-UP
    MOOD MUSIC
    ACTION MUSIC
    CHOREOGRAPHED MUSIC
    THEME SONGS
    SONGS
    SYMPHONY
CONFLICTS (Between Players and between Players and GMs):
    PRIDE
    PLAYING FAVORITES
    THAT ONE CHARACTER / PLAYER THAT DOESN’T BELONG:
    THE INNER CIRCLE
    PLAYERS FIGHTING
    DEALING WITH CHEATERS OR JERKS
CREATING THE GAME:
    CREATING A CHARACTER IS A COLLABORATION 
    BE AWARE!
    BAD IDEA, GOOD GAME?
    NPCs – THE WHY’S AND THE WHEN’S
    USING OTHER SOURCES (You know, ripping off)
    ENCOURAGING CHOREOGPRAHY
    VILLIANS
    KNOW YOUR GM / KNOW YOUR PLAYERS AND MAKING THE GAME CLEAR
PLAYING THE GAME:
    WHO IS RIGHT
    DICE ROLLS Vs. GAME FLOW
    THE GAME ROOM – DO’s & DON’Ts
    THAT BLASTES AWARENESS CHECK
    THE RICHES CAN BE PLENTIFUL…
    IMPROVISING
    CUE CARDS & BASE SKILLS
    STREAMLINING COMBAT
    FLEXIBLE RULES
    SPECIFIC GAME TYPES
    THOSE CAMEO PLAYERS
   RESPECT THE PLAYER
A NOTE FROM THE WRITER:

      They do exist.  You assume the urban legends are false.  We all know some truth resides somewhere.  If you role-played as much as I, eventually you’ll come across that one player that you swore didn’t exist.  Or you’re a player and you join a group once known only as legend…that’s right.  The nut-jobs.  The prime reason why RPG’s developed such a bad reputation originated first with the religious groups finding fire in the fuel of incidents of individuals playing these games snapping and taking out their family (which you should NOT do!).  I will not attempt to create a wake-up call to the arguments as to why RPGs and Dungeons and Dragons specifically do not influence and corrupt the innocent mind.  Many others offered better arguments more than a decade ago. I will not waste time here.  The truth is, these people do exist.  I encountered more than one myself--those that use the RPG as a venue for a mind wishing to lash out.  They existed before RPGs and will exist well after the last Monster Manual falls to dust.  They simply chose one of many roads available to express their vices.  These warped minds with problems best fit for psychologists and institutions don’t always follow the path of Mazes and Monsters. Society likes to find a scapegoat for the causes of violent incidents whether they focus their attention on violent online RPG games or movies and TV. Online RPG games are just a fun distraction or an opportunity to de-stress for the majority of RPG games players.

      Some people addict themselves to Murder Mystery Night; some follow paintballing religiously, some recreate detailed medieval costumes and beat other similarly attired people.  All these acts use the same muscle.  Some take them too far… like stalking superstars, deluding a false sense of emotional connection.  These people subsist in every walk of life.  A madman uses his genius destructively; a genius uses his madness constructively.  I sat with players that sink into a character better than Pacino on a good day.  The moment the game ends, a snap of a finger, they resume normal life, never taking anything in the game personally.  I know of some great actors spurned form Role Playing (Mike Myers ring a bell).  Others fail to distinguish.

      It’s important to note that no RPG game can be blamed for these people’s actions.   They simply choose a path and decide to vent their hatred of the world--the same people who take guns to school and murder their classmates, the same people that massacre their coworkers (Oh how religious groups wished these folks played D&D).  We might not have played with these unsavory types…but we must acknowledge some will take this game too seriously.  Of course, the legends of the fella who attacked a waste truck with a broadsword and the group that locked themselves for a twelve-hour play and killed each other are false.  However, we must keep a keen eye on the lookout for the warning signs that a member or several members of the group may be going too far.  Bringing weapons to the game, revolving their life around a fictional character, and taking everything personally should send up flares to the other members.  The group must sit down and deal with the situation before it escalates out of hand.  The best thing is just removing them outright.  I write here on how to enjoy and maximize game enjoyment but I wrote it for those who realize in the same light that Star Trek isn’t real and the Tooth Fairy is simply a fable.  I wrote this for those who enjoy role-playing as they enjoy reading a good book and letting their imagination wonder—watching a movie and thinking, “what would I do in that situation?”  Also, the opinions and advice presented here is my own and are not endorsed by any game company.  So…please read on…and remember…it’s just a game.  Now excuse me, its now time for my daily Satan worship…

                                                                   Chris Tavares Dias


A QUICK GLOSSARY:
RPG
PC
NPC
Mecha
GM
Role Playing Game
Player Character
Non-Player Character
 “Mek” and “Mech” – Japanese influenced robots piloted by humans.
Game Master – runs the game.  Also “Referee.”
 Games I refer to I created…
Pathfinder
Terminals
Conestoga
Ships of the Line
A space-based RPG I created similar to Alien.  Used GURPS rules.
A Mech game using R.Talsorian Rules.
A Dune inspired Mecha RPG.
A space-based RPG using Cyberpunk 2020 rules.
The lines in these boxes have either been said by the characters or the players who played them in games I have either refereed or played alongside.  All of these are direct quotes.  People actually said these during sessions.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR GAME MASTERS

10. Thou shalt not intentionally try to kill a PC because of smite.
 9.   Thou shalt not wrest character control from a Player.
 8.   Thou shalt not play favorites.
 7. Thou shalt not let NPC’s be more important than PCs.
 6. Thou shalt not tantalize and then take away.
 5.  Thou shalt never say, “That’s for me to know and you to find out.”
 4. Thou shalt not take out stress on the group.
 3. Thou shalt not plagiarize UNLESS I can get away with it.
 2. Thou shalt never put the game ahead of the players
 1. Thou shalt not play if I don’t believe I will have fun.
 
Indivion:  "I can't believe you didn't see that.  You are supposed to be our lookout." 
Elric:  "I missed it." 
Leopold:  "It was a huge friggin' bird!" 
Elric:  "I didn't notice it." 
Leopold:  "My HORSE noticed it!"

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR PLAYERS

10. Thou shalt not take another Player Character’s attitude personally.
 9. Thou shalt not fib rolls.
 8. Thou shalt not lie about my character’s skills.
 7. Thou shalt not BECOME my character.
 6. Thou shalt not take out stress on the group.
 5. Thou shalt not try to sabotage a group (unless part of the game story)
 4. Thou shalt not attempt nor conspire to kick another Player from the group.
 3. Thou shalt not date another Player.
 2. Thou shalt not strut.
 1. Thou shalt not play if I don’t believe I will have fun.
 
GM:  "You need someone with Weaponsmith." 
Sevarion:  “I have Blacksmith." 
Leopold:  "Well, if we need to make something blunt, we'll call you." 
Palarian:  "I have Weaponsmith but not Blacksmith." 
Leopold:  "So you can make a sword, but not a nail?"


 LAST THOUGHTS…

     Respect the player.  Don’t mock them, don’t devalue them.  Enjoy the game.  Don’t take it seriously, walk away at the end, dust your hands of the session and value what you achieved from it.  Each session should never be longer than six hours, in my humble opinion.  Any longer and people tire, wires fray and emotions wear down and expose themselves raw.  Try to be in a good mood going into one or else you’ll take that negative energy into the room.
    Smile going in, smile going out.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun.  Don’t arrive at a session because you feel you are obligated.  Don’t let someone guilt you into playing.  Role Playing is a dead-end, not like sports  where a past time could lead into a professional career.  RPG can segue into writing or acting but no one ever made money being a professional role-playing gamer…well…few enough to the point you shouldn’t be expecting it.  So please bear in mind the number one commandments for gaming for both players and game masters. Its supposed to be fun, not an ordeal, not traumatic.
    Have fun.  In the end…it’s only a game…

Email the creator at Slipstream2@Serenadawn.com