Back in high school, we decided there were Three Laws of Dungeons and Dragons: (1) Don't split up the party! (2) Don't touch that idol! and (3) When PCs fight, the game goes downhill!
The third rule, the serious one, was the most important -- if you violated the first two, your character might die. If you violated the third, your friendships might end. I was reminded of those long-ago laws when I read a post recently on Anne Trent's blog, Nichiroku no Oni-no-Anne. And with that in mind, I dug up a few more links to suggestions on how to make your game more friendly:
When was the last time you thanked your DM for running the game? Or kicked in a couple bucks to defray the cost of munchies? How about offered to help with some game job -- make a map, update a Web site, walk a new player through setting up a character?
On the other hand, when was the last time you took a fit because the DM didn't interpret the rules the way you did? Or mocked the guy using the odd voice for his roleplay? Or left the place a mess and let someone else pick up your trash? Or just didn't show up?
Let me add a couple thoughts on online gaming etiquette, especially for play-by-post RPGing:
- Find out the posting schedule for the game and only join the game if you promise yourself to stick to it.
- If you have to miss a post, try to let others in the game know, so that you don't just go silent.
- The DM is going to a lot of effort to write scenes and descriptions -- please read the DM posts carefully and react to them. Those details are clues! Don't ignore them!
- If you are a DM, it is doubly important for you to keep to schedule. And when you post, try to react to everything that each player does. Nothing is more discouraging than to be ignored.
- Take the time to write as well as you can. Consider writing in a text editor first, and then spell check, before posting.
- Keep game records (character sheets for players, everything else for DMs) up to date. If possible, get one or two players (not the DM -- she is too busy already!) to volunteer to keep things updated online. Sites like mine are free through GeoCities.
- It's easy to misunderstand people when you are writing -- the nuances of speech and body language aren't there, and messages are miscommunicated. Strive to keep your written tone warm and friendly. If someone else seems antagonistic, operate from the assumption of misunderstanding rather than anger.
Now get out there and play nice!