My First Roleplaying Convention
My First Roleplaying Convention
Author: Daniel Hodges Category: Articles
60% of the time these tips work every time.
The scholars say that once in every roleplayer’s life they must make a pilgrimage to the mythical GenCon in Indianapolis Indiana. There they must gaze upon the Gygaxian sepulchra and make offerings to the merchants, obtaining relics, both old and new.
Thenceforth, after worshiping at the anointed shrine and drinking in the heady musk of the cathedral, shared purpose draws clusters of the supplicants together. In caves and great halls the strangers then become one with the infinite as they weave tales never told together.
As you can see, attending a con is a very serious business… actually it’s not, or it shouldn’t be. Attending a con should be a chance to unwind and to enjoy the company of ready-made friends with interests just like yours.
So what do you actually do? Well, whether it’s your first roleplaying game ever or your hundredth con it’s worth keeping the following things in mind.
Rules... da-da, what are they good for? GMs t’know-that’s it. Say it again!... You do not need to know any of the rules of the games you’re interested in ahead of time. A good GM will explain things as you go and help you to play. Part of the fun, for even the most seasoned player, is learning new games. Embrace that.
Part of the fun, for even the most seasoned player, is learning new games.
Take turns talking- just like a real conversation it’s polite to give other people a chance to speak and even more polite to listen to what they have to say. Be aware of everyone around the table and let them have their turn.
Make an effort to include everyone. If there’s someone who’s not said much maybe direct some questions towards them “Hey Character’s Name, what do you think?”. It’s a super simple thing to do and very much appreciated.
Take turns acting- chances are the characters at the table will have different skills. Take the trouble to discover what they’re good at and encourage people to have their time in the spotlight. Nobody likes someone who tries to do everything.
When someone is trying to do something be their cheering squad. Tentative players particularly will appreciate you backing their play. Even if you personally think the idea is bad, cede power to them as the expert in this area or at least couch suggestions with a “but what do you think about X? Will that be a problem?” at the end so they still have the power.
...games that you’ve been playing for decades can become fresh and new.
Accept interpretations- Everyone plays games differently. That’s just part of why roleplying games are fun, and how games that you’ve been playing for decades can become fresh and new. Trust that your GM knows what they’re about and that they want the game to be fun. You can go back to playing it your own way with your home group or, maybe, you might decide to incorporate some of these little differences in the future.
Spend a moment thinking the different perspective through and see what if any flow on effects it might have, not so you can have an argument but so that you might better understand how it might alter the game experience.
...do the most interesting things you can and enjoy both your successes and your failures...
Be Interesting- Convention games are made to be self-contained. Don’t limit your actions because of their possible long-term consequences: there really is no tomorrow for your character. This doesn’t mean you should do stupid things, but you should wholeheartedly embrace your character’s personality and act accordingly.
In short, do the most interesting things you can and enjoy both your successes and your failures, after all, Glory is fleeting but Obscurity lasts forever but...
Reject BIWMCWD- Anything anyone does after they say “But it’s what my character would do” is, at best, going to be the wrong thing to do for the game, or, at worst, the wrong thing to do for the people at the table. In the case of the former, be forthright and suggest something different, and in the case of the latter, call them out on their nonsense. Now, This doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be true to their character, but before acting please think of the long term consequences of what you’re considering. After you’ve done that, then, just maybe, remind yourself that there’s no award for truest character interpretation.
Also remember the old chestnut: the only way to win is for EVERYONE to have fun.