Whether you are new to RPGs or have to make the transition to join a new group, you may find it difficult to fit in (especially if you are a shy, introvert type like me). Don’t worry! Whether you are a player or a GM, The DM Doctor has you covered with three tips for breaking the ice and impressing a new group.
1. Be a Team Player
Everyone has heard it before; there is no “I” in team.
Okay, you can spell “me”. But that is only after getting passed that “A”; which you would rather not be known as in the group.
One of the best ways to impress a new group is not be standing out. Instead, you should focus on how you can augment the group’s modus operandi. This goes for GMs and players alike.
If you are a GM and notice your new group enjoys more roleplay vs. rollplay, then encourage it. Make sure you give them plenty of chances to interact in character rather than just hacking and slashing. The same holds true for groups that prefer an old-fashioned dungeon crawl. If everyone gets excited over initiative rolls, then make sure you budget in time for combat.
As a player, you are less in control of the show, but just as important. Ask about the normal group interactions and tendencies. If jumping into an existing campaign, then learn the roles and personalities of the other characters. Get an understanding for how the group approaches battles, obstacles, and non-hostile encounters. Take everything and decide how you can best mesh with their methods.
Avoid going against the grain. It is okay to suggest new strategies or push for different group dynamics; however, you are better off going with the flow and encouraging diversity rather than forcing it.
Of course, if the group’s preferences don’t match your own then don’t be afraid to...
2. Show your Passion
Roleplaying games have many different aspects. Everyone has their own favorite parts. Show your passion and favorite aspects of the game when the opportunity arises.
If you enjoy interacting with NPCs, talking in character, and trying to uncover clues through conversation rather than dice rolls, then jump at every chance you have. If you love battles, then show off your tactics with more than just a simple move, roll attack, roll damage, rinse and repeat.
Make it obvious to the others what your favorite aspects of the game are and be passionate about it. Once they know what you enjoy, the others in your group will know how to make sessions more enjoyable for you (and themselves).
3. Stick to What You Know
Though similar to showing your passion, you need to show off your talents. Stick to what you know.
Try to avoid roles and classes with which you are unfamiliar.
You may be asked to fill a certain role. Do your best to accomplish this, but try not to deal with too much unfamiliar territory if able. Having to reference class features and spells you are not familiar with will bog down the game. Same goes for a GM. Try running adventures or tossing monsters that you know well. The less time you spend looking for something, the more in-game time you have to showcase your skills.
By sticking to what you know (assuming you are not completely new to roleplaying games), you will appear very knowledgeable and experienced. Even if you are not. But nonetheless, stick to what you know. There will be plenty of opportunities to try new things down the road.
4. Bonus: The Most Important Tip
Four? I know, I told you three. But this is more a rule than a tip.
If you have read a few of my blog posts, you will probably be tired of hearing this from me. But as long as people keep breaking this rule, I will keep preaching it.
KEEP IT FUN!
No matter what you do, including ignoring the three tips above, follow this one rule. This goes for any and all games. We play games for enjoyment. When you take part in a collaborative game, you are not alone in wanting to have fun.
You need to make sure that everyone is having fun. Everyone. Including yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are a player or a gamemaster.
Newcomer or experienced veteran.
Everyone should have fun.
Sure, there are aspects of games that people do not enjoy. People have off days. Someone gets upset. Things happen. Just make sure that you strive for fun for everyone. Follow this rule, and you will impress any group enough to be invited back.
If you are joining a new group soon, make sure you remember the tips above: be a team player, show your passion, and stick to what you know. But above all else, remember to have fun and create fun. Not every group is going to be a good fit. However, if you and the others enjoy the sessions, then you should feel right at home.
Find these tips helpful? Do you feel there are better ways to impress a new group?
Donald Robinson first learned to play Dungeons and Dragons from his father. With more than twenty years of experience in various RPGs from both sides of the table, Donald took the leap into freelance game design. A Paizo RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 contestant and freelance writer, Donald posts tips and free roleplaying game resources on his blog: www.thedmdr.com. You can follow The DM Doctor on twitter, facebook, and google+.
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