Player's Rights and Obligations to the Group
The following material is a basic guideline of respect for all players involved in the gaming group. We do not ask our members of the gaming group to remember everything stated or view what is written as law. The following is for players to understand that these are everyone’s rights and obligations to both the gaming group and to the game itself so that the group may have a fun and enjoyable gaming experience.
As a player…
”I will always have fun”
-This group realizes that not every RPG out there is going to be perfect for all players. There is no “unwritten law of gaming” saying that you, as a player, must commit to a game that does not suit your tastes, or that you cannot shop around until you find a gaming group that’s right for you.
If you’re not having fun, you have the right to leave the game. It’s okay. This game might not be for you and this group understands, however; if you decide to leave the game, do the GM a favor of letting him/her know why you are going, and then make your leave with the minimum of fuss and melodrama. The GM & other players will respect you for it.
Equally, the group may determine, as time progresses, that you may not be suited for the group. It’s okay. The group sees that this game might not be for your style of play and may ask you to leave the game by explaining why, and will then request you to leave with the minimum of controversy and melodrama. The Game Master & other players will respect you for it.
”I understand that I am not the only player in the game.”
-This game is not about any one character, and particularly not about your character. There is no such thing as “winning” in an RPG, and anyone who thinks otherwise has ego-issues too severe to be bringing to a role-playing game.
That said, as a player, accept that sometimes, bad things might happen to your character. Your character might even – gasp! – be killed out. Learn how to deal with adversity gracefully. A minor fit of sulking is forgivable – particularly if you have been playing the character for a long time. A temper tantrum and frantic e-mails/textings to the Game Master looking for loopholes out of the situation are not mature ways to deal with the situation.
”I will respect the GM and other Players.”
-Please, have some manners. Even if you’re in a rush, remember the little things like ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and a pleasant demeanor. The bad karma that can be generated from one snappish comment can ripple throughout a group and poison it very quickly. Address the GM with some manners and pay attention when they speak. Never get into a heated argument with your GM or a fellow player. You will almost certainly say something that you will regret later. If your temper starts flaring, step back, take a time out and do not discuss the matter until you can be calm about it. Depending upon the severity of the concern, the GM may discuss the issue right-then-and-there or request to discuss it after the game so it won’t hold up valuable game play time.
Most importantly, respect everyone. You may be asked to join a group with people of various diversities and backgrounds. This could range from, but are not limited to: race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity, sexuality, age, military service, &/or people with physical, social or mental disabilities. You may also be asked to join a group where you personally know a player and have had a history with that player which may cause tension with you joining the group. Personal histories can be a wide range of reasons; ex-lover/ex-spouse, former friend/colleague, or former player of a past group.
We are all here to play a game and if this group is not for you for any of these reasons, you have the right to leave or be asked to leave the gaming group. Once again, it’s okay. This group might not be for you and we understand, however; if you decide to leave a game, do the GM a favor by stating that you are leaving the gaming group for personal reasons. Equally, if a GM or group asks you to leave, they will respectfully do the same. You do not need to explain any further if your reasons are based on personal views, past experiences, opinions or prejudices. All we ask is take your leave with minimum hassle. Everyone will respect you for it.
This can also be extended to personal property. If you wish to borrow items from the Game Master or player; ask. Explain how long you will be borrowing the item for as well; few minutes, the whole game, a few days. It’s frustrating when people grab and take. Especially when they borrow without asking for a few days or more.
”I will respect the Campaign.”
-Bring a character that fits your GM’s needs and the needs of their gaming world. If the game asks for lawful-good concepts, don’t be the pain-in-the-ass player who is convinced that they can talk the GM into allowing a chaotic-evil concept. GMs encounter this type of player every day and, believe me, that type of player is not popular.
”I will respect the Rules”
-If you don’t like them, then you have the freedom to tell the GM that, at a reasonable time, in a reasonable tone, in a reasonable manner. Usually the GM will request to discuss concerns after the game so it won’t hold up valuable game play time. Don’t forget that your Game Master needs feedback – positive as well as negative. Don’t assume that just because you keep coming to the game, that the Game Master must know that you’re having a good time. An honest compliment will brighten their day and make both of you feel good.
”I will keep the other Players’ fun in mind.”
-Sure, you want to have a good time, but remember that everyone else does too. Always consider the affect of your character’s actions on other players as well as other characters. This can be considered a postscript to the “Role-playing is not about winning” rule.
”I will create & role-play my character.”
-Define your character beyond simple numbers and a half-dozen sentences. Hint: the more interesting of a history your character has, the more likely the GM will think of ways to write you into the plot.
”I will assist the Game Master when duties are delegated.”
-Game Masters have a lot of duties to do. Aiding a Game Master in some of the lighter, non-in-game details of the campaign would sure help them a lot. For example, creating a journal for the group aids both the Game Master & Group to remind everyone what has been accomplished since your last gaming session. Helping to set up and clean up the game will ease the burden as well.
”I will volunteer to help other players in & outside of the game.”
-Assisting fellow players with any duties in which they have been delegated to do shows team work and respect to the group. Sometimes players need the help. This also applies to teaching the game to newbies too.
”I will be here on time.”
-Remember, people like yourself have lives outside the game, and they may wish to enjoy it every now and then. When the group agrees to a gaming schedule, it is because everyone wants to take that time out of their busy schedule to play. It is everyone’s duty and obligation to adhere to that schedule. We’ve all agreed to attend at such-and-such a time, we should all be there from such-and-such a time.
That being said, there are times when game scheduling conflicts with life. It happens. Life happens. If the group- let’s say- agrees to meet once a week on a Sunday between 3 pm to 9 pm for example, and you are aware of a scheduling conflict with another personal obligation such as wedding, party, or what have you, the best thing to do is let the group know in advance that you cannot make it. Sadly you may miss that scheduled game, but at least they are prepared for your absence. This will allow the GM to adjust the game if need be. There may also be times when a group can reschedule to suit a player’s schedule. Informing the group in advance may also allow the group to discuss rescheduling together.
Being late is also considered disrespectful. I mean, think about it. Everyone, including you, had discussed and agreed to the time & date that is best for everyone to play. So, when we all finally agree to a set time and date, the worst thing anyone can do is be an hour or more late for gaming. If you’re scheduling too much stuff to do in your day that it makes you late, it might be a good idea to think about better ways to handle your time management. Obviously things come up and life happens, but when life always seems to be happening and making you late, its disrespectful to everyone who has taken the time to show up upon the agreed time.
”I will listen and participate as much as possible.”
-This means a player needs to focus when another player or the GM asks for a moment of their time concerning gaming matters – be it at the game or by e-mails/calls/texts outside of the game. It means the players need to pay attention when the GM speaks, and heed their words when given. Neither side is speaking because they like the sound of their own voice.
This also means all non-essential rpg equipment & devices from distracting yourself & other players. Come on, we’ve all been there. You have a new phone and you are excited to show and try out all the new stuff you can do on it. Or, you figure you’ll play a portable electronic game console or read a book when it’s not your turn. Right?
Well, consider this. The GM & many of your group members have put a lot of time and effort into playing this game. Having you fiddle with a cell phone, playing a hand-held game, or reading a book to keep you occupied makes everyone think that you’re not interested in playing. Either that, or what the player is doing on his/her turn isn’t fully being supported by the group. Believe it or not, this sucks the life out of a game & makes a player feel less of a value to the group. Be respectful and turn off or avoid using devices which may distract the game. If you’re bored, remember you do have the right to express this to the GM or just simply leave the group. But also remember that you are not the only player here either. You might just need to be considerate and wait your turn.
”I will communicate my opinion and advice.”
- Communication requires an exchange of information and opinions. If that’s not happening, then somebody is just giving a monologue. Once you get the hang of listening to each other, try giving considered feedback.
This matter is particularly true when it comes to player-unhappiness. Every ongoing rpg that I have been a part of – and I mean every single one – has suffered communications problems when it comes time for the players to bring up an issue they have with the Game Master. What happens, instead, is that the players vent to each other. This is a useless activity and by the time it gets back to the GM - and it will, I assure you – the truth will be distorted beyond all recognition, and the GM will want to bang his/her head on wall with frustration, wondering why the players didn’t just talk to the GM.
I’ll let the cat out of the bag, game-masters are not telepathic. GMs cannot read players’ minds and vice versa. For a game to evolve and grow, information and opinions must be exchanged. Hoping that “someone else” will share your opinion with the other side never, ever works.
Players, if you’re having a good time, or enjoyed a particular plot event, tell the GM. I know this sounds like common-sense stuff, but you might be surprised at how often even simple communications fail to happen.
”I will respect other people’s health.”
-Remember, people do get ill outside the game, and you may want to take time to recuperate. If this happens, bring it up to your GM’s attention if you cannot make it. Try to notify the GM at least 24 hours if you decide you are cancelling due to illness. This also mean, if you feel sick and it’s 24 hours before your game, it’s best to simply bow out for that session. Do not attempt to attend a gaming session if you are sick. Making other’s ill is not fun. We have to be considerate of other’s health as well.
”I will respect the Shared Food & Drink Policy.”
-We understand that people get the munchies or need a nourishing meal. Especially if you’re playing for several hours. Unless told otherwise, please bring something to share and be prepared if the group requests money towards a group meal (i.e. pizza).
Being generous is also welcomed. Some people enjoy cooking a full meal for the group, while others enjoy buying the meal for everyone. This is not mandatory, but highly appreciated if a player or GM wishes to be so kind. As well, if a person wishes to show off their baking talents to share as snacks, the group will equally and pleasantly enjoy the gesture.
Obviously there are times when a person cannot afford such luxuries on a regular bases. We understand. Some players have purchased more snacks or beverages to save for other days. Example, buying two bags of chips one week, having one bag saved for the following week. Other players can only afford to contribute only once every two weeks or even once a month. It’s okay. The point is that all we ask is that you contribute. Obviously if you’re simply being frugal and cheap because you want to be, not because you have to be, then you’re not respecting the group’s Shared Food & Drink Policy either. Please contribute.
There are some cases where the gaming group may gather at a hobby/gaming store and it is deemed best for the group to have the players fend for themselves. If this is the case and the group has already established this during the group’s formation or prior to a gaming session, then the Shared Food & Drink Policy does not apply. But once again, this must be established by the group and not assumed. If you any any questions about the Shared Food & Drink Policy, ask. Your fellow GM and players will respect you for doing so.