We’ve all heard the stories before. There are playlists on YouTube and Reddit communities dedicated to those RPG and board game players. Always quick act, ready to back stab NPCs and PCs alike – just for the joy or coin of it.
They have their names – the edgelords, the Mary Sue’s, the lone wolves. They’re dangerous to any party because they can destroy an entire game by trying to control the circumstances.
How do you not end up as one of these creatures? Let me tell you a few tricks that will help you out.
This would should be obvious, but it can sometimes slip the mind. You are working in a party. Help each other out. Don’t go running out on your own to be a badass. You are just going to get yourself killed and have to re-roll a new character.
Some players won’t acknowledge their party at first, suggesting they are more the desperado-type. If this is pivotal to your characters back story, you can have it in there. Just make sure that you find a reason to be willing to work with the party. If you can’t find a reason, perhaps this character should be saved for a different adventure.
No matter your back story, background, anything – just make sure your character has a reason for being with the party. Otherwise, they will very quickly be out of it.
Give What You Get
With any kind of RPG, you get what you put into it. As a DM, this means prepping sessions, coming up with plot hooks and adventures. DM’s have their work cut out for them in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean that players get to fly under the radar.
For players, you have to be willing to put in the time to help get your character invested in the game. Who amongst the party do they hang out with? How do they get along with others? Having scenes amongst yourself in the group is a great way to develop your character and find out who they really are.
Also, please, for everything holy in this world, take notes. It will save you a lot of headaches later.
Find The Path
Some players are very resistant to plot hooks. They will reject a plot hook by saying ‘my character doesn’t care about this‘, or ‘this isn’t something my character would be invested in.‘ This is the mark of either a new player or someone who wants to tell their own story.
If the DM offers a plot hook for you, then take it. Find a reason to want it. If you are currently running after something else, then it’s totally fine to reject it. However, if you are given a story hook by the DM, there is more than likely a good reason for it.
Not all plot hooks need to be played the same way. If it is a straight forward plot hook, then maybe there is a character aspect you haven’t explored yet that would make your character take a chance. If the plot hook is opposite to your character’s ideals or thoughts, then perhaps an opportunity for betrayal is afoot. Discuss it in-game with your party. Perhaps there is a member of your group that is holding a secret that gets addressed in this story. Maybe it is something seemingly small that will grow and reveal itself to be a larger conspiracy.
Never look away from a plot hook – you never know when it’s going to stab you in the back.
Be Open to Possibility
The biggest difficulty you hear about player characters is that they are resistant to change. Mary Sue’s and edgelord’s constantly believe they know their character inside and out, and no one will tell them otherwise.
Here’s the problem – people change. Characters change. Stagnate characters offer nothing.
Be open to change in the game. Perhaps an event will change your character’s mind about an event or personal aspect about themselves. When someone brings up a back story event, have a chat with them. Learn more about your fellow PCs. You never know how your character might change for the better – or worse.
If you ever confused about something, ask. Don’t be worried or nervous – your DM or fellow players are there to help back you up. An adventure is hardly ever accomplished alone. If you want more of a world question, ask as you character. That way, you can distance yourself from the question if you are nervous about asking.
In the end, no matter what monster your facing or what trial is ahead of you, everyone at the table is there to help. It is better for everyone if you are all on the same page.
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