The rules of Role-Play

A lot of folks seem to think that there really aren’t any rules to the role-play aspect of table top gaming, and they are mostly correct however I would like to bullet point some of my experiences. The stuff I wish I knew before I started playing.

1. Session 0 and safety tools.

I know this isn’t to everyone’s tastes, however it’s been vital for myself to understand who I’m playing with and what our boundaries are. We use a traffic light system, green is all good. Yellow means its okay to happen “off screen” or to a NPC or in the past, red is an absolute no no. We’ve discovered in our team that someone is a hard red on certain types of bugs, something that would never have crossed my mind and with that knowledge we have a safe and fun table for everyone.

2. Find a partner(s) in crime.

Some of us love to be the tortured lone wolf out for vengeance and justice, and if that’s what you love then go unleash hell, however for me it’s kinda limiting. Having a “solo” mission/storyline can be great for spotlight moments, but what if the dm doesn’t go that way? What if the other players just aren’t into bloody revenge so instead wanna pick daisies & steal from the local tavern? Having a partner or two is about having back stories align so you have bond with the others at the table. For example my character Lehane from “From the Ashes” was introduced to be a cocky, unlikable loner, however forging a relationship with Luke’s Character Rogg meant he had a way into the team by being vouched for as well as us both having all the fun of writing a backstory on the fly. In “Just Us League” having Luke and Toni join the Von Ryder family, of which my character Rothgon is the spoilt noble, has really lead to some fun chaotic moments. Check out “Just Us League” season 3 on YouTube to see how that plays out.

3. Accents don’t make a good role-player.

There I said it! Don’t get me wrong, nailing an accent is a great feeling, but does that make a good role player? Well no, not really. I wouldn’t call myself person who’s great at them. I have about 3 I can do pretty well (so now all my characters have them). I find that stressing about accents can actually hinder both the fun and role-play because the anxiety Goblins start doing cartwheels in my head and all I can do is sit there feeling bad. Rothgon is a great example of using my voice but not an accent, I pull him from a very nasal place with it coming high from the back of my mouth. Imagine a whiny posh Skeletor from the 1980s “He-Man” cartoon and you’re pretty much there. This was so freeing, because I pulled the voice from a comfort zone (I don’t know why vintage cartoon villains are in my wheelhouse but here we are) and I could really focus on personality and interactions.

4. Have fun.

Well duh! That’s obvious, but TTRPGs are immersive, so you do get swept into it. If your class isn’t working out for you talk to the DM, maybe you can change/multi class and build it into the story. Maybe yours and another players character have tension that spill out from the table, talk it out! Myself and Moa found that Lehane and Lilli in “From the Ashes” have a major personality clash, so we talked it out, found some common ground so we don’t spend every game snipping at each other.

Maybe you’re not at the right table for you, and that’s ok! TTRPGs are so popular now, they’re going to get more popular, so you can find the right table for you.

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written by.

Stephen Santouris 

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