Table Conduct

Table Conduct

Table conduct is perhaps one of the most important skills of a role-player, surpassing strength, constitution, intelligence, etc, etc. Of course, role-playing is the most important of these skills, but that is hard to simply give pointers on. It will be covered, nonetheless.

This may be scathing. Be warned.

  • Distraction
  • Everyone is prone to distraction, at times. There are times, however, when extreme distraction surpasses annoyance and begins to ruin a game session. Common distractions at the game table could be texting, constantly requiring a new morsel of food (usually chips,) or simple, out of character speech.

  • Rulebooking and Rules-Lawyering
  • These are two terms usually unfamiliar to new players. Rulebooking is the verb form of the term meaning “frequent paging through rulebooks looking for information that previously could have been memorized easily.” Please, before you begin to play at the table, memorize most of the things that your character can do. Rulebooking slows down the whole game, meaning less time for actual enjoyment.

    Rules-Lawyering is the common verb form for strictly enforcing rules to the letter. Rules-Lawyers are usually no fun, and having to constantly deal with Rules-Lawyering can drive some DMs mad. Me in particular. Please, if you find yourself constantly interjecting and explaining that a power can’t be, under the exact rules, used that way, use your imagination and let it go by if it’s plausible. Just make sure that you do so before your DM drops you solo into a rules-strict “You vs. Big-Bad-Evil-Guy.” (Also check out At-Will’s Powers in Role-Play)

  • Tactics and Planning
  • This isn’t a far jump from distraction, but it is an important point. During combat, the game can grind to a halt because someone spends several minutes planning a tactic during their turn. Veteran players can complete a decently long turn in ninety seconds. When you’re talking out of character to someone else during someone else’s turn, you’re taking away from planning time, which both detriments time for the remainder of the game session, and the effectiveness of your turn. Please, be kind to everybody and plan your turn even when it’s not your turn.

  • Dungeons and Dragons is not a mechanic obsessed game system. The LotR Battle Strategy Game is a rules-strict game. Dungeons and Dragons is meant to be a game where players assume the lives of other people. Try to be your character when you’re at the table, not yourself. Assume your character’s mannerisms, tone, and perspective. When the DM sets up a DM screen and begins to speak, you are no longer a man or woman sitting in a booth at a kitchen table waiting to begin to roll dice, you are a wizard or cleric or rogue in a troubled world. You will be the heroes trying to save the lives of millions, not who you were when you last sat back in your chair. Please, heed my words and remember, when you sit down to play Dungeons and Dragons, you’re not playing a game, you’re exploring a world.

    Table Conduct

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