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RPG Etiquette

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RPG Etiquette

Quick note on verbiage: Not all gamers are male. That said, I’ll be using masculine pronouns, because English is a shitty language and the dearth of gender-neutral singular pronouns forces sacrifices. Similarly, any time I use a term like “game master,” translate that into whatever the equivalent is of whatever game you play.

  1. There are exceptions to all of these rules. You’re probably not qualified to identify them. Assume there are no exceptions to these rules.
  2. Outside of an actual game session, nobody, not even another gamer, wants to hear about your character, your campaign world, or your game. Most people will politely listen to your anecdote, but behind the fake smile they’re thinking, “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.”
  3. Respect the game master. His job is a lot harder than yours. If he does a good job, thank him.
  4. Respect the host. If you’re playing at a game store, be considerate to other patrons and don’t do anything that might discourage sales or patronage. If playing at someone’s house, pick up after yourself, bring some drinks or snacks, and thank the host at the end of the night.
  5. Respect the other players. Allow them to play their characters the way they want to. Whether a player has made suboptimal choices or not, that’s their decision.
  6. Hygeine: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law. Well, not really, but it should be.
  7. Put some thought into your snack choices. RPGs are nice in that there are relatively few shared, expensive components (compared to boardgames and cardgames), so greasy snacks like chips aren’t an automatic no. That said, avoid the really grimy stuff (anything that leaves your fingers orange), buy bottles with resealable caps, leave a couple inches to the brim of your cup, use a napkin or a coaster, and make sure your hands aren’t greasy before handling someone else’s books.
  8. Don’t touch someone else’s dice without asking. In general, don’t touch anything belonging to someone else without permission, but in particular dice sometimes feel “shared” and, at the same time, many gamers are superstitious about their dice.
  9. Be prepared for a game session. Have your character sheet, dice, and a writing implement ready. If you can, bring extras for other players in case they forget theirs.
  10. If you agree to a game, give that social obligation the respect it deserves. “I didn’t feel like it,” isn’t a valid excuse, and neither is, “something better came up.”
  11. If you can’t make a game, let the GM know as soon as possible. If you are the GM (or the host), let everyone else know that the game is canceled as soon as possible.
  12. Last, and perhaps most importantly, don’t begrudge someone who breaks these rules. Nobody’s perfect, least of all you.

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