Usually, a GM is the one doing most of the planning in a roleplaying game. Gms have to plan encounters, plot elements, NPCs, rewards, settings aspects, and more. But proper player planning improves the experience of the game.
First and foremost, planning by players can help keep the game moving at a steady pace. If you come to a town, having a list of items to shop for or errands to run will save time. Instead of having a long conversation with the group about what to do and where to go, you can be preapred with these choices ahead of time, and make the transition into actually handling these scenes more smooth, or even have them happen off screen if possible.
Further, having plans helps prepare for the eventuality that the GM doesn't. Sometimes GMs come to the table with the intention of improvising. Maybe they didn't have time to prepare, or maybe they want to see how the game functions without a structured narrative. In these instances, the players having plans can help guide the game and keep it focused, helping you to have the experience you want. And even if the GM does have plans, they might sometimes solicit ideas from the players so they know to include some things that the players personally want, rather than what the GM just thinks they want.
Moreover, having plans for individual situations can help improve the flow of the game and the running of it's mechanical aspects. For example, if you have a member of your party who is in heavy armor and you intend to sneak up on some enemies, having the plan ahead of time to cast levitate on him and rope him to the rogue, you have a prepared solution for dealing with the problem of sneaking in heavy armor. Whether or not it works is a different story, but at least you've gotten rid of the time bickering about it in game. And if it does prove to be successful, you can store this plan in your toolbox for later use.
In short, come to the game prepared. Working together and being mentally ready for the situations you are going to face can only improve your odds of success, so you're just shooting yourself in the foot by not doing so. Ideally, you can coordinate your efforts with your fellow players to have something that is agreeable to all of you. However, if you find your fellow players slicking in coming up with plans, then you should lead by example and come prepared with options. Because if you're the only one with a plan, then by default you're the one with the best plan.
I hope you enjoyed this and the rest of the content by Digital & Dice. Until next time…Game on Internets!
- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.