Playing Well With Others

Author: Andrew /

Hey all, the Take is back! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years and got tons of great gamer gifts because, lets face it, you can never really have enough, eh?! Anyways, lets hop to it.

Just this week, I was reading a post that Chris Perkins (Creative Manager for Wizards) did on role playing and balancing it with the game. Here's the link, check it out, read it, then come back.

Alright, now that you're back, lets talk. I think there were some great points made in there, mainly about the balance there needs to be in a game and times where (be ready to shudder) meta gaming is OK.

Something I run into a lot is that a lot of us, myself included, enjoy making interesting characters; characters that wouldn't be your "standard" adventurer. That said, I think that can lead us to making characters that can make party dynamics difficult. Things such as characters that are surly or who just don't get along with any other characters or characters who are, for other reasons, really not suited to adventuring can really throw a party out of whack.

In the end, D&D is a game, like any other and there are certain considerations to be made, the main one being "Is everyone at the table going to be able to have fun with my idea?" If the answer to that isn't "Yes," then there needs to be some re-vamping done. There are lots of ideas out there that may make for an excellent book character or a movie character, but in this case, the character needs to be thought of as a component of a larger whole; as a member of a group instead of an entity completely alone.

I really like the way Mr. Perkins put it.

"... these players typically fall back on the defense of, “that’s what my character would do.” There are variants: “I don’t think my character would know that.” Or “This is the character I made.” They boil down to the same excuse, and regardless of the rationale, it’s lame."

That about hits the nail on the head. The excuses that players use when a character is doing something that hinders the party because it "fits the character" more can get really lame. In a cooperative game, the main consideration should be "This is what's best for the party and, correct "role playing" or not, this is what's best for the party."

So, in the spirit of the new year, I'm backing an RP change. Let's not make RP foremost anymore. Lets keep it alive, lets let it breathe, but lets think of our fellow gamers first and make it our primary goal to play well with others, then make a cool role play experience.


silent stone said...

Welcome back!

I've noticed the party cohesion problem, too, and one idea I have found that would go a long way to solving it is for at the beginning of a campaign, set the first session aside for the players to create their characters together, explicitly for this very reason. Then most of the roleplaying problems that might bog down gameplay later can be resolved before they ever happen. In the Mouse Guard RPG (which is a lot cooler than it sounds at first), this is standard practice (of course, Mouse Guard is a wholly different style of play than D&D, but the point stands).

Andrew said...

I actually played in a custom Mouse Guard game a ways back (using adapted D&D 3.5), read the graphic novel too. Great stuff. Yeah, achieving that cohesion though is difficult with online games, which is why I'm more and more wanting to stay away from them. It's just so far from being what D&D and a table-top rpg in general is supposed to be. I just need a group to play with; which is the hard part right now, it would seem.

Thanks for the welcome back, it's great to hear from you again!

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