Gamer Etiquette : Five ways to be a better tabletop gamer

I recently read a great article, 11 ways to be a better role player from LOOK, Robot. It contains a lot of good advice for players and it’s definitely worth sharing with your group. I wanted to write a little about the more…practical concerns of being a tabletop gamer. These tips about gamer etiquette don’t just help your DM, but everyone in your group. Emily Post would be proud!

  1. Don’t leave your character sheet at home. Until HeroSheets is ready and your character is always available online, this is a crucial element. You will never remember how many potions you had, what your Touch AC is or the extra effect on the sword you picked up last week. If you are forgetful, keep it in a folder in your car.
  2. Arrive ready to play. If you need help preparing your character, show up early. Nobody wants to sit around and watch you figure out which skills you’re going to train, even if it seems important to you
  3. When it’s your turn to play, be ready. You should never be surprised by what happens when it gets to be your turn. Speed game play along by paying attention to what your teammates are doing and have at least some idea of what you want to do when it’s your turn. Don’t take this too far – no need to pre-roll your attack dice!
  4. Be on time. This should go without saying, but the amount of time you waste by being late is multiplied by every player in the group! Let your group know if you’re not on time so they can start without you. A particularly punctual DM might institute XP penalties for tardiness!
  5. Help clean up. The host goes out of his way to make sure you have a great space to play each session. As a sign of gratitude, make his job easier by helping put away materials & food stuffs. A gamer with good manners never leaves dirty dishes on the table.

Gamer etiquette is a pre-requisite for being a great role player. Role-playing is a purely social event, but sometimes basic gamer etiquette doesn’t get enough attention.

The photo, “ etiquette” is copyright (c) 2005  by Robert Dulaney and made available under a Attribution-commercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

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  • Chris Rueber

    First of all- You should be using, so I don’t have to type my name in. 😉

    I think I would only add one thing to this list: Have at least a tenuous grasp of the rules. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you still need to understand how to basically play your character. This is the one I find violated most often.

    • HeroSheets

      I’ll check out, thanks for the tip! Any chance it helps with spam? About 99% of my comments are not from real people :)

      You are definitely right about that one, too. We spend a lot of time “live” looking up spell rules or ability rules. I’m guilty of it, too, especially when I want to use some skill creatively.