Dungeons and Dragons Player Etiquette
Jumping into a Dungeons and Dragons campaign for the first time can seem like an overwhelming experience.
Especially if you’re jumping into a game with strangers. You don’t want to make yourself look like a fool, and neither do we. In this article, I’ll talk to you guys about some proper player etiquette and some general guidelines you’ll want to follow. Here’s our overview:
- Respect the Dungeon Master
- Respect Fellow Players
- Be Attentive to the Game
- Put Away Your Phone
- Keep the Rowdiness Low
- Engage Often, But Don’t Hog the Spotlight
- Don’t Be a Rule Lawyer (Unless Necessary)
- Bring Your Own Snacks
- Voice Your Opinions and Concerns
- Have Fun!
Respect the Dungeon Master
This may seem like a given for all tabletop games, but it is worth mentioning. Your Dungeon Master spends a lot of their free time to create this mystical world for you and your fellow players to explore and experience. They craft a wonderful tale that they have invited you to take part in. It would be quite rude to the Dungeon Master’s labor of love if you argue with him/ her constantly over every little thing. The Dungeon Master is the God of the world, and you must respect that their word is final. Don’t go around bashing the Dungeon Master for a decision they made during the session. If you feel like you disagree with something that was said or done, consult with your Dungeon Master after the session concludes. Be respectful and let him/her know why you disagree with what happened and see if you both can come to common ground.
Respect You Fellow Players
Just like your Dungeon Master, your fellow players are taking time out of their busy schedule to sit down and conjoin their imagination with yours. Although Dungeons and Dragons is a team effort, you will often see players do things that you may think is risky or stupid. Keep in mind that this is an environment where you can take risks and do things you otherwise wouldn’t do in a given situation. Whatever a player decides to do, respect their freedom of choice and don’t berate the player should their action have dire consequences.
If you’re a new player, you may be in the position aforementioned more than anyone else. Just as you give respect, you should also expect to be respected. Now keep in mind the aspect of roleplay. If your character is chaotic and has no regard for the rule of law, then characters that are lawful may disagree with your characters views and decisions. You need to remember that when a player is speaking as their character, what they say doesn’t necessarily reflect their personal views. If you are feeling like you have been wronged or disrespected in any way, communicate with your fellow players and Dungeon Master to prevent such instances from happening again.
Be Attentive to the Game
As a player, you are going to be sitting at a table with a bunch of nerd-folk for hours on end. I know that sitting down for an elongated amount of time can be tiring. However, if you let it, the game can be exciting and a wonderful use of your imagination. For this to be true, you’ll need to try your absolute best to pay attention to what’s going on. If your Dungeon Master is describing a scene or reciting and important monologue, cease all side conversations and give your Dungeon Master your full attention.
Try your best to keep activities such as doodling, gossiping, rule studying, etc. to a minimum during game time. It is vital to the livelihood of the campaign that you remain aware and in the present moment. Stay focused on the events transpiring before you as much as possible and I promise you will have a good time. Dungeon Masters, watch out for signs that your party members have lost interest and work to correct the problem.
Put Away Your Phone
I know this will be hard for a lot of you players out there, but seriously try to have your phone put away. As amazing as it is to have this technology available to us, it can be a distraction from the game at hand. Now, I want to say that it’s fine to keep your phone on and on vibrate. If there is something that is an emergency that needs your attention, then by all means let the party know and step out to answer the call. If you’re getting texts try to keep replying to a minimum. The most important rule of thumb to use is: If it’s not important, it can wait.
On the other hand, your phone can be a great resource. If you’re looking for rules or special mechanics your phone can be quite useful. You can also have dice rolling apps on your phone that can simplify your dice rolls. Just be sure that your phone is not a distraction and is being used appropriately.
Keep the Rowdiness Low
There will be points throughout your campaign where things will be tense and exciting. If you’re an adult, this can be especially true when you put alcohol into the equation. You and your party have probably just defeated the toughest enemy you all have faced yet. It’s likely that you will all want to rejoice, jumping up and releasing your fiercest battle cry. Just be sure that in your revelry, you are mindful to your surroundings. Try to keep yourself contained as to avoid any accidents. Don’t break any foreign objects and don’t cause any physical harm to your fellow players. Accidents do happen, but it’s good to be mindful to your surroundings to ensure everyone is having a good time.
Engage Often, But Don’t Hog the Spotlight
Part of being attentive in a game is being reactive to the events around your character. Be active in roleplay and other encounters, but don’t overdo it. Be sure that your fellow players are being given enough opportunity to share the attention and be proactive throughout the campaign. Try not to be the face man of the group, unless of course, the group is cool with you being the center of attention. If you are the face of the group just be sure to involve the other players in important decision making and strategizing. Be fair and open to your team and all will go swimmingly.
Don’t Be a Rule- Lawyer (Unless Need-Be)
There is a plethora of rules in Dungeons and Dragons and you’ll often find yourself in situations where technicalities will rule the fate of the situation. It’s fine to be a source of these rules and to lay them down every once in a while, but don’t make it your job. Nobody likes a stickler for the rules in a game that’s about freedom of choice. Besides, at the end of the day the Dungeon Master has final say and there may be house rules they employ. You don’t want your sessions to be filled with time disputing rules. That will take away from the experience and nobody wants that. Only argue the technical stuff when it’s necessary and accept the Dungeon Master’s ruling with grace.
Bring Your Own Snacks
No-one wants to play a tabletop game without some food and refreshments. As a general rule of courtesy, try to bring your own munchies. Fruit trays, chips, soft drinks, cheese platters, and beyond are always a good thing to bring to a party and the same is true here. You are all going to be there for a while, and while it may seem okay to raid the host’s fridge, it may not be the politest thing to do. Maybe come up with a pot luck between yourself, the Dungeon Master, and the other players. Or perhaps bring some money to pitch toward some pizza or other form of take out.
Voice Your Opinions and Concerns
Always find an appropriate time to let your concerns and opinions be known. It’s unwise to let your concerns go unknown, as they will boil over eventually and may destroy the positive game experience. Be forthright with your worries and work with your players and Dungeon Master to find some middle ground. Be calm when expressing any doubts or tribulations you may be having to create headway in finding a solution.
Remember that this is supposed to be a joyous occasion. You are all gathered to spend some time co-creating some wonderful and laugh filled stories. Strenuous situations will undoubtedly occur, as this makes for good storytelling. Just be sure that you do what you can to lighten the mood after the stress has passed. Keep an open mind and you will have a great time, no doubt!
I’d like to thank you all again so much for reading! If you feel like I may have missed something or you have any questions please leave a comment below! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for updates and more tips and tricks! Happy gaming!
Author: Ven’Orik (Zach)
I’m just a regular nerd with a passion for storytelling and fantasy. Growing up I read books by Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, and this solidified my love for the genre. I first started playing D&D when I was 13 and have been pursuing it since. I’m just here to share my knowledge and hopefully learn a thing or two from all of you as well!