Every gaming group has its own “Table Rules” – expectations, guidelines, and overall social scripts that keep the group and the game running smoothly. Role-playing is a social activity, and for games to remain fun for all involved, it is important that everyone observe a few common sense rules, as described below. Much of this is simple common sense, and has rarely been a serious problem, but it never hurts to have things spelled out ahead of time.
- Start Time: Games start at 1:30 PM. Please do your best to show up at least 15 minutes before this time. This allows you to get your character sheets and dice out, to prep your cards, and ask the DM any questions or clarifications. If you like, feel free to show up earlier to enjoy socializing with others in the group. (Please avoid arriving earlier than 12:30, however.)
- End Time: Face it, we’re all getting older! At one time, my games ran to midnight or later. These days, most games will end by 10:30 or 11 PM at the latest. Unless there is an unusual event, it is safe to assume we’ll play to around this end time.
- Notification: If you can’t make a game, or if you will be late, please let me know as soon as possible ahead of time. This is rarely a problem, as it is simple, obvious, common good sense, but do keep it in mind.
- Absences: This bears repeating and emphasizing. If you are going to be late or miss a game, notify the DM as soon as possible. In this era of e-mail, texts, cell phones, and the like, there are precious few excuses for not providing minimum common courtesy. (Lying in the ditch somewhere or in the hospital emergency room are the sort of excuse situations to which I am referring.)
If a player has three unannounced absences from games, that player is considered to have left the game permanently.
- Food: I encourage everyone to bring food and snacks to share from time to time. Periodically, we will have pot lucks or similar festivities, as these only serve to make the game even more an enjoyable experience.
- Rules Discussions: In a word, no. In 99% of situations with a rule question, the DM will make a quick judgment call to keep the game moving. I try to err in favor of the characters, so this will usually come out in favor of the players. Overall, none of us is terribly worried about always doing things the “right” way, as long as we have fun.
- Be Considerate of Others: Yes, this is the “Golden Rule.” Please try to remember it and remain considerate of everyone else at the table. People get into arguments, people feel grumpy or upset, and people sometimes suffer from a case of “Real Life.” If you feel your blood pressure rising or your temper flaring, I invite you to step away from the table and take five (or longer, if necessary). Trust me, you’ll be doing yourself and everyone else a favor!
- DM Explanations: We’ve had two years experience with 4th edition. We are familiar with how the game works and how it plays. That being said, in this (and future) campaigns, don’t expect the DM to necessarily explain why or how a monster can do something. Expect monsters to surprise you from time to time; expect them to do things your characters can’t. If the characters would have a clue as to how or why a monster did something, the DM will let you know. If the characters wouldn’t know, then don’t plan on the DM to tell you.
- Bending the Rules: Expect the DM to bend (and sometimes break) the rules for the good of the story. Again, I prefer to err on the side of the characters, so most of the time such bending will be of benefit to you. If a rule makes no logical sense in terms of the story, expect it to be ignored, bent, changed, or otherwise broken.
- Keep No Secrets from the DM: If your character uses a power that will have an effect later in the round or later in the encounter, or that take effect in reaction to a trigger, you need to let the DM know about it. If you try to “gotcha” the DM, the DM will tell you your special effect didn’t work. I need to know what is going to happen in order to adjudicate events. Please keep in mind that just because the DM knows what the effect is/will be does NOT mean the monsters and villains will.
- Contribute! This is very important. We are together building a collective story. I have laid down the ground rules and built some of the setting, but without your participation and your ideas, there is no magic. The best, most memorable campaigns occur when the players provide feedback, contribute ideas, and play an active role in building the campaign. Have an idea for your character? Share it! Have you come up with an organization or NPC you’d love to see? Tell me about it! The more people contribute and share, the more fun we all have. This is our campaign to share with each other.
That’s all, folks!