Today we're going to be covering a topic I've touched on before in passing, but that bears repeating and further detailing. Players, do your best to learn the rules of the game you are playing.
You don't have to be an expert. Knowing every single rule in the book isn't required, nor would it even be necessarily helpful. But you should know the basics of how the game functions. For example, if the GM tells you it's your turn, your response shouldn't be an open ended question like "What can I do?" You could certainly ask if certain actions are applicable, or if your character is able to do particular things, but know what you can do in a general sense helps speed the game along and reduce the burden of teaching you.
Which brings me to another major point. When learning the rules of whatever game, focus on the rules that are directly relevant to you. This reduces the amount you have to learn, and frontloads your learning with information that is useful. For example, if you're playing D&D and decide to be a rogue, you don't need to know how a barbarian's rage works. However, you should have a pretty good idea about how your sneak attack feature works, so research that. In time, as you play around other people and interact more with the game system you're playing, you should pick up some of those other tidbits of information. So when your rogue fails to pick the lock of your cell, you might remember that a barbarian's rage gives him advantage on strength checks, so maybe bending the bars would be a good plan B.
And nobody should expect you to recall things perfectly. Lots of rules can be overwhelming, especially for new players unfamiliar with roleplaying or that particular system. Asking questions or forgetting the details of a certain rule is perfectly acceptable. But you should be trying to make an effort to do as best you can. If you can manage it, try to have a rulebook of your own handy, or at least a reference sheet of some kind with helpful reminders if you think you might forget. Players have an obligation to their fellows at the table besides showing up and having a good time. They should make sure everyone else is having a good time and making sure that the game can run smoothly for the other players and the GM. Knowing the rules, at least somewhat, is a great way to facilitate that.
So go out, read the rulebooks, watch videos on the subject, or even just have a friend sit and teach you. You'll make gaming a lot easier for everyone. Especially you.
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.