Do you wish that your players got more into character when they play?
Do you have a problem player in your group that you just can’t quite get through to?
Do you want to praise someone at your table but just don’t know the right time to do so?
I have a very easy solution for you. The answer may even surprise you.
Talk more at the game table…just save it for the end.
Tabletop Role-Playing Can Be Social Interaction at Its Finest
- We can learn to problem solve together using a combination of the best of our individual skills or backgrounds.
- We can express ourselves in a different light, opening the eyes of our friends and families to see us in so many different ways.
- We can share time together as communal creatures having fun and enjoying one another’s company.
In general, I think we get so much out of our tabletop gaming sessions that I think a lot of us take the benefits for granted. Especially the people we play with and the time that we have together. As gamers, we are all so busy these days. Each of us is racing around trying to make the most of our time. It’s like we’re all stuck in the MMO of life, trying to efficiently grind, so that we can raid, while beholden to every ping or notification. This pace has affected our game table habits, shortening the time we share after each session. I get it! If you hurry, you can still make it home for dinner or to fit in another episode of the Dragon Prince on Netflix. At what cost, though?
Talking about the games that bring us together is almost as important as playing them.
If you are lucky enough to be gaming regularly, it is so important to fight for a little more time at the end of each session. Even if it is just to hang out! The time you used to walk home talking with your friends. The time you would walk out to the car talking, standing around for an extra hour or two instead of leaving like you thought. These are the moments we reflect on the game we played and the fun we shared together. We can’t lose sight of that!
As a Game or Dungeon Master, we can do one better! Plan to stop the game about 15 minutes early. Use those 15 minutes to remind us of why we came here and why we play these games together. Use it to express your gratitude for the time shared and to ask others to do the same.
Ask each player to share one thing that another player did to make their experience better. Don’t let players overgeneralize either, the more specific the better!
- It could be something they said in character creation that helped you make a better character.
- It could be something hilarious that a player said or did in character that made you laugh.
- It could be something that a player did to really get everyone invested in the game.
Whatever you choose, it doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to say thanks.
And, GM, don’t worry! The players will send some love your way, no matter how much you tell them to focus on the other players.
Besides, gratitude is a great way for players to recognize and praise one another when they take chances. How else do we grow and get better at things, if not by taking chances? If you like how a player role-plays their character, then praise them for it. If you got a great idea from another player, let them know they were inspirational. Positive reinforcement will make them feel good and want to do it again.
Role modeling good behavior is something we all do in our social circles. What we praise as a group helps us define whom we are and what kind of a group we want to be. It’s also a great way to help new players break the ice with one another and feel like they belong. Heck, it is also a great way to end a session or a playtest! It never hurts to end on a good note.
Give a little gratitude. It’ll go a long way!
What do you do to praise your players? How do you reward good role-playing or great sessions? Do you have a different endgame ritual to share?