• Justin Handlin

D&D: 5 Tips on How to Be a Better Player in Dungeons & Dragon


Group of adventurers fighting an an army of goblins
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How do I become a better Dungeons & Dragons player? This isn’t a question many players ask themselves. How do I become a better Dungeon Master? This is a question almost every DM asks themselves. Why is it that making sure that the game is fun rests solely on the DM? Don’t they have enough work to do? Before I made the Crit Academy show, I asked myself this question. Combined with some other thoughts, a show dedicated to providing guidance to Dungeons and Dragons to both players and DMs was born. Since then over 250 episodes chock full of DM and Players tips have been created.


So, if you’re looking for a few ways to not only take some weight off your DMs shoulders but also make the game more fun for everyone involved, then check out this list of “5 Tips on How to Be a Better Player in Dungeons & Dragons”.


Do Stuff

As a DM, the worst feeling in the world is when you describe a scene and then look around the table only to hear crickets chirping because the players are sitting there, staring at you, waiting for someone else to do something.


When you’re a player, engaging with the game is your most important job. Remember that your character has goals. When you enter a town, do you wait for the DM to describe every noteworthy location before moving along with your quest, or do you immediately start looking for the nearest tavern? When inside the tavern, do you simply say, “I order a drink and find a table in the corner” so you can wait for someone or something to come to you, or do you seek out an NPC that your character would want to speak to or keep an eye on?


The DM will do their best to provide you with options, but remember that there are always more. If you’re just waiting for the DM to list off a bunch of choices, then you’re putting all the work on the DM. Instead, offer suggestions off the bat. Take the initiative to search for clues or do things that your character would do; you’ll find that the game will go from being one-sided to being a collaborative story as a result.


Your character should always be doing something. Think about your past, goals, and

what your character wants to achieve both now and in the future. All of these

should inform what your character is doing at any given moment.


Come Prepared

If a DM came to a table and had nothing prepared for the session, you’d know it. You’d have to sit around waiting for them to flip through books, and whenever they got the

adventure going they’d have to constantly checkbooks to see how abilities and spells worked. It would probably seem like everyone’s time was being wasted. Preparedness isn’t just essential to DMs. As players, you should arrive at a gaming table with as much preparation as possible. This can articulate in lots of ways, including:


Bring your character sheet! Nobody wants to sit around waiting for you to remake your character because you forgot yours at home.


Bring your dice and pencils! Oftentimes other players will have extras for you to borrow, but you shouldn’t need to borrow from them. You have just as much of a responsibility as everyone else to keep the game running smoothly.


Remember where you left off last session! A good player might even take notes during one session to help them remember what they were doing, so the next session the game can just immediately hit the ground running.


As the mantra goes, don’t be a dick. Everyone is taking time out of their busy schedules to show up at the table, not just you. Accidents happen you’re going to forget your supplies or be unprepared once in a while, but if you’re actively trying to keep it from happening, it’ll happen less. I guarantee it.

Related Article: 10 Tips to Help you become a Better Dungeons & Dragons Player

Take the Hooks the DM Gives you

Your characters are sitting in a tavern when an old man in a dark robe beckons you into the corner. Rather than speaking to the old man about the mysterious map he’s found, you decide to take your drink and go elsewhere (oblivious to the DM’s confused stare).


Once you’ve finished your drink, you step outside and hear screams coming from the thoroughfare and roars of the scaled beast flying around town breathing fire! But, hey, you were hoping to go apple-picking today, so you ignore the screams and go off on your own way. Then, your god appears in the clouds before you and commands you to go on a quest to retrieve a lost artifact, but you say no thanks and keep walking.


Meanwhile, the DM has thrown his hands up, packed his books, and left the game.

What went wrong here? I’ll tell you: you didn’t take the DM’s hooks for the adventure. Forget about the character for a moment. You came to the gaming table to go on an adventure. When the DM gives you a hook for an adventure, instead of thinking, “Would my character want to go on this adventure?” you should be asking, “Why does my character want to go on this adventure?” Whether or not you’re going to go adventuring shouldn’t be in question.


Instead, you should use the adventure to flesh out your character and come up with a reason why you would be interested if one doesn’t arise. If you can’t think of a reason why your character would go on an adventure, then make a new character that would go on the adventure. Leave your old character behind to be an NPC or used on a different adventure..


Diversify Your Characters

We all know this type of player: they’re playing Thorg the Barbarian after their previous character - Throg the Barbarian - died in combat. Before that, Groth the Barbarian was killed by an unlucky crit. Before that, Gorth the Barbarian was killed in the party’s first encounter with a Roper in the Underdark. Every time they make a new character, it’s the same character with a different name.


Now, there’s no reason to force people to play a character they don’t want to play. If someone really, really likes playing Barbarians, then they should feel free to. However, if you want to be a great asset to your party, try playing different characters each time. Instead of an up-front melee character, try playing a ranged fighter, a spell-slinging sorcerer, or a heavily armored healer. If you just can’t tear yourself away from playing a Barbarian again, at least try to change things up a bit. Try a different archetype, or maybe use a different weapon. Even a little bit of diversity might open your eyes to different styles, and you’ll discover that every style has its own strengths and weaknesses!


Share the DM’s Workload

Do you ever feel like battle takes forever? Does the DM ever seem flustered, or maybe mix up details while trying to keep the game running smoothly? Try offering to help share the workload!


Offer to keep track of initiative. If the DM is behind a DM screen and is constantly having to stop and move miniatures, move them yourself! Work with the DM to track experience, keep a list of treasure gathered, or even something as simple as packing up books or cleaning the battlemat. Being a DM is a lot of work, rewarding work, but still work and anything you can do, no matter how small, will help lighten the DM’s workload and make it easier for them to keep the game running smoothly.


If your DM has been having a rough week and is struggling to keep all of those plates in the air at the gaming table, maybe- and this is a big one, so don’t take it lightly- offer to run a game session yourself, and give the DM a chance to sit back and be a player for once. That’ll help the DM have a different experience they probably don’t get very often, and it can be a refreshing change for your group to try something a little different! (Also, it’ll surely give you a better appreciation for the work that your DM puts in!)


While there are way more ways to better yourself at the table. When it comes down to it, these tips not only make the game more enjoyable for you but also enhance the fun at the table for everyone else. Remember, we’re all here to have fun. Let’s each do our part.


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