Taking Your RP To The Next Level
Andre wrote this piece for the players in his own game, and he wanted to share it with Dice City listeners. Enjoy!
Taking your RP to the Next Level
So you think you know how to roleplay, eh? Maybe you've been making characters since you got your hands on a copy of D&D, taking a thespian level of preparation before the first session. Or - much more likely - you had a character concept that you thought was cool, fleshed it out a bit, and threw together a makeshift backstory telling yourself you'll figure it out as you go. Regardless of if you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, the following will help you develop your roleplaying at the table and your contributions to the group and world around your character.
Dungeons and Dragons at its core is a game about group story telling. The characters are the focal point of the story, with the world and its inhabitants revolving around their actions. The emphasis is on actions, what they do, because this is the main driving force that propels the story forward. If you do nothing, the story ends. If you wait for something to happen, the story drags, not to mention the DM’s life gets way harder. You, the player, have a direct impact on what will or will not happen in the story, all based on what your character does. Next time you're playing, instead of waiting for the DM, YOU tell the DM what you're going to do.
Your Character Speaks!
What your character has to say is important, and your input is appreciated 110% of the time. Your characters are living, breathing people and take actions everyday of their lives just like you do. Aside from initiative, there are no turns! Always err on the side of jumping in than staying back. Of course that doesn’t mean you should be shouting over someone. If it’s ever too much, someone will tell you, and it’s easy to adjust. The trick is giving and taking focus, and knowing that the focus can be more than just one person at a time. This is a group experience, and your participation can only enrich it.
I advocate for players to talk to each other and to NPCs in character whenever it would be applicable, like coming up with a plan, discussing the latest revelations, or (my personal favorite) talking about what they're going through as a character and reaching out to the others. This little change to how you choose to interact with the game goes a long way to growing a very satisfying roleplaying session.
Your Party Matters
Caring about the other characters of your party and the world around you keeps you engaged and actively involved with each other. The result is a think-tank like energy where your ideas and teamwork flourish together, and out of that great roleplay happens. This also pushes you to listen to each other. Listening is by far the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to roleplaying, and the best place to put it to use is with your party.
Here’s a few things I think help maintain the flow of the game as well as enrich the experience.
1. Minimize Your Distractions - If you’re constantly distracted by your phone, Reddit, or anything inside your control, you’re not being a very good player because you are telling the people around you that what they have to say is not important enough for you to have an active interest in. Emergencies do come up, and those are understandable. But if you’re checking Reddit because it’s not your “turn,” you’re doing a disservice to you and your group.
2. Support Each Other - The old Improv “Yes, and” is pure gold when it comes to Dungeons and Dragons, so when you’re in doubt or unsure, say yes, go with it, and let the magic happen! Nine times out of ten, it’ll only make things better. For those uninitiated with "Yes, and" I want to be clear it doesn't mean you agree with everything, only that you accept what has been done or said is true, and act accordingly in character.
3. The DM Is On Your Side - I can’t stress this one enough. We want you to ride dragons and kill gods one day because that is awesome. We love it when you’re passionate about what’s happening, and we want you to overcome the challenges we put forth. We’re your number one fan and we can’t wait to see what you’ll do.