Jul 282011
 

The Commandments of Gaming is a series of blog posts where 8one6 gets up on a soapbox to proclaim from on high how he feels that games should be run or could be improved.
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Some of us are RPG geeks, some of us are Video Game Geeks, some are Sci-Fi Geeks, or Boardgame Geeks, or Romance Geeks, and some of us are just geeks, unbound by labels and willing to get our geek on about whatever happens to catch our fancy. It matters not what type of geek you are for there is a place where you can go to be surrounded by people like yourself. That place is called a convention.

Most of you reading this are here because you’re an RPG geek. For you I would recommend nothing less than partaking in at least one Gen Con. In my opinion it truly is the best four days in gaming (and with Wednesday pickup games it’s easily the best five days of gaming as well). It’s a place where you are surrounded by people who share your interests (something like 30,000 people attended last year), where you can meet the people who are responsible for the games you love (Like Mike Mearls of D&D fame or Jason Bulmahn of Pathfinder fame), where you can find the rare treasures you thought lost to the depths of time (last year WDR for an intact World of Greyhawk for $15), heck, you can even find love at Gen Con!

Perhaps you’re more into pop culture and sci-fi and fantasy, well Dragon*Con is the place for you. While Gen Con has media guests and costumes,  compared to Dragon*Con they don’t hold a candle!

Perhaps your geekdom runs more toward video games, then PAX (and PAX East) are where you’re going to want to journey. Run by the guys who do Penny Arcade, PAX (in my opinion anyway) has relpaced E3 as the go-to Video Game convention.

There are dozens of other local conventions held every year (such as KantCon in Overland Park) I bet that if you look you’ll find one within easy drive distance. You owe it to yourself to get yourself (and as many friends as you can cram in a car) to a convention at least once in your life.

Jul 212011
 

The Commandments of Gaming is a series of blog posts where 8one6 gets up on a soapbox to proclaim from on high how he feels that games should be run or could be improved.
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As far as I’m concerned every person who plays RPGs should bring at least one new person into the hobby.

The RPG hobby only exists if people are playing RPGs and RPGs can’t bring in new people without your help. Like it or not you are an ambassador of the hobby. What you and your group do or don’t do has a very real effect on the hobby. Being a bunch of mouth-breathing trolls in public does the rest of us (us being anyone who has ever been a gamer who was told “gamers are creepy/rude/whatever”) a disservice.

You want to grow the hobby, because if the hobby grows then the companies that you buy your gaming stuff from (From the Friendly Local Gaming Stores all the way up to the game publishers) will do better. It ensures that rolepalying will continue to exists.

What’s the best way to grow the hobby? Run a game in public. Somewhere like the FLGS is good, you could draw people from some of the other tabletop hobbies, (the Undergophers have converted 3 Magic: the Gathering players so far) but a better place would be somewhere that gamers don’t normally congregate, like a Barnes and Nobel. Running a game in public, having lots of fun, and being open to letting new people sit down and trying it out is one of the best ways to show people that the hobby can be a great use of free time.

Jul 142011
 

The Commandments of Gaming is a series of blog posts where 8one6 gets up on a soapbox to proclaim from on high how he feels that games should be run or could be improved.
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There is one simple fact that you can’t deny: the Game Master does more work for the game than any of the other players in the group. Any exception to this fact is just that, an exception. The Game Master puts together the setting, runs all of the NPCs and Monsters, has to know the rules better than the rest of the players because they’re going to be the one asked about them, and is in most groups the person coordinating the scheduling for the group.

When the GM asks for feedback they’re doing it to try and improve your gaming experience, so give them actual feedback. “It was alright” doesn’t tell them anything. Be constructive with your comments or criticisms. Any GM who reacts poorly to that kind of input isn’t worth your time, but a good GM will actually appreciate it.

Also, feel free to occasionally bring your GM something to let them know you appreciate their effort. Nothing major, just something like a soda or the occasional dinner thrown their way is always appreciated by a GM.

Jul 072011
 

The Commandments of Gaming is a series of blog posts where 8one6 gets up on a soapbox to proclaim from on high how he feels that games should be run or could be improved.
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You are not your character and your character is not you. There is a difference of in-game and out-of-game knowledge. Having a character act on knowledge it doesn’t have is cheesy at best and could be considered cheating at worst.

Metagaming is also acting out of character just for a benefit. Having a character act against its nature just because it would be beneficial is again metagaming. Remember, RPGs are not games you can “win,” so there’s no real point to act out of character just for some short term benefit.

Jun 302011
 

The Commandments of Gaming is a series of blog posts where 8one6 gets up on a soapbox to proclaim from on high how he feels that games should be run or could be improved.
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If you’re part of a game pay attention to the game! You sitting there, playing angry birds or watching baseball while occasionally saying “I’m listening” whenever the game isn’t actively spotlighting you is kinda’ rude. Rude to the other players who are actually paying attention and to the game master.

When it’s not your turn pay attention and be aware of what’s going on. It will save time because people won’t have to repeat themselves. Be thinking about what you’re going to do next.

Jun 232011
 

The Commandments of Gaming is a series of blog posts where 8one6 gets up on a soapbox to proclaim from on high how he feels that games should be run or could be improved.
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As we have discussed in the past RPGs are both a game and a social event. DO NOT try to twist the game into being all about you and your character. There are several other people in the group and they are not there to be your “and the Pips.” Give other people a chance to shine.

Game Masters this goes for you too. Don’t make the game about a single character. That’s not fun for the others and it can cause you to paint yourself into a corner.

Jun 162011
 

The Commandments of Gaming is a series of blog posts where 8one6 gets up on a soapbox to proclaim from on high how he feels that games should be run or could be improved.
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This one is really simple, you need to make sure that you bring everything you need to play to the game. Yes, odds are that you can borrow dice, paper, or pencils from someone else in the group, but it’s a lot harder to borrow a character sheet. Bring your dice, bring your character sheet (or give it to the GM for safe keeping), bring your power cards, whatever you need to play you should bring.

Game masters this is both more and less important for you! The game doesn’t happen without you, so you need to have everything you feel you need to run the game. If you keep detailed notes then don’t forget them. If the players hand in their character sheets you need to remember to bring them (you know how irritating it is when the players forget a char sheet? Ya, it’s annoying for everyone when you do it.) The more you prepare the smother the game will run.

Jun 092011
 

The Commandments of Gaming is a series of blog posts where 8one6 gets up on a soapbox to proclaim from on high how he feels that games should be run or could be improved.
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It is incredibly rude to play the game without learning anything at all about it. Doing so essentially shuffles the effort off onto the other players and the GM.

If you’re a new player it’s one thing if you don’t know the system the group is using, but you should be learning as you play. Three or four sessions later, if you’re still asking questions about the most basic mechanics of the game (“What do I roll to hit?”) then it shows that you haven’t been putting effort one into learning the game.

Now I’m not saying that you should become a master of the rules, but you should know what your character can do and what you need to do to accomplish it. This includes what dice to roll and what your skills and abilities can do. If it’s on your character sheet you should learn what it is.

Game Masters, bad news, you can’t get away with not knowing the game. Again, you don’t need to be an expert, but you should be versed enough in the system to know where the answer to a question could be found or be willing to make a ruling and look it up later.

Jun 022011
 

The Commandments of Gaming is a series of blog posts where 8one6 gets up on a soapbox to proclaim from on high how he feels that games should be run or could be improved.
==

RPGs (and generally all tabletop gaming in general) are social exercises more than they are games. It’s the reason why RPGs are the only type of games that we tolerate people not knowing the rules while still allowing them to play (seriously, try actively refusing to learn the rules of poker or football and joining a game. “Oh, I’m just here to hang out.”)

RPGs are only as good as the group playing them, so abide by the rules (stated or otherwise) of the group. Some people call this the social contract. If there’s no swearing then don’t swear. If everyone contributes to dinner then contribute or don’t eat. Respect the other players in the group and don’t set out to irritate them or make them uncomfortable.

When playing try to make it fun for everyone. When asked for criticism or comments make them constructive. If someone has an issue with a character help them with it. Generally try to be a team player.