How to get the most out of Role Playing Games

First you have to ask what your group wants out of role-playing? This can be the most vital and often overlooked step. Make sure your group is conducive to a good gaming atmosphere. Make sure they want similar things out of the game.

This said, there are a number of things I have come across in my experience as a player and a Games master, that I believe are important in getting the most out of role-playing.

1. Have fun. If the game or group becomes stale, you need to change things or move on.
2. Gm’s- the game is not a competition in which you must prove yourself superior to your players by confusing them with impossible riddles or killing them repeatedly with over-powered monsters and super villains. The aim of a GM is to run a fun game. It can be a challenging game, but read your players, and feel free to ask them for honest opinions before or after the game session. They can tell you what works and what doesn’t.
3. The GM’s word is final- during a game session. Do not allow rule debates during a session. Make a fair decision and stick to it. After the session is the time to discuss and debate. If house rules need to be made then great, you will all know next time. Write them down and stick to them if you find variations on the rules you like better. But in game is not the time to do this.
4. Do not baby your players. Sometimes characters die. It happens. Especially if they make stupid decisions. Or sometimes its just dumb luck. This also happens. If a character makes a bad choice, they need to know they might pay for it with their lives. Even if the stupid decision was in character, do not rob them of a glorious death. Make the most of it. Make it legend. Don’t feel you have to fudge dice rolls to keep them alive. It will very quickly lose its edge if players can get away with anything. That being said. If characters are dying every week, you need to address game balance. It is a fine line. Again, communicate with players on this and find out what they want.
5. Encourage description. Encourage Role playing. i find that the more realistic and energetic a Gm is, the more I can be immersed in the game. Describe battles scenes. Keep them moving quickly. Have players describe what they do, and reward them for vivid description. It will help stop the descent into monotonous hours of dice rolling and the many forgettable battles that all role-players have experienced. It is not that difficult. It just takes a GM willing to make some effort. Try new things, different characters, accents and styles. See what works.

So thats it. Find out what the group wants. Play it. Have fun. Communicate ideas-rules changes-feedback. And be descriptive, don’t be afraid. Role-playing can be a lot of fun. It can also mean long hours wondering why you bothered showing up for the 5th straight week of dice rolling and Cheeto’s. As always, its your choice.