Because Dungeons & Dragons is such a social game, it’s important to take time to learn how to be an awesome D&D player. The hobby is a fantastic way to have fun, make new friends, and express your creativity. But it’s still a social activity which means that there are certain expectations of players beyond playing the game.
Today, we are taking a look at the 11 Traits of Awesome D&D Players!
They Are On Time
Dungeons & Dragons is an incredibly fun game and should be fun, but that doesn’t mean there’s no responsibility.
The number one cause of a group dying is that it just kind of fades away. Players stop showing up, games keep getting canceled at the last minute, and eventually, everyone just stops trying.
Awesome players understand that this is a group hobby and it’s important to respect everyone’s time. They show up on time and are ready to play. If an Awesome Player can’t make it to a game or will be running late (life happens, after all), they let the group know ASAP.
Everyone at the table has set aside 4+ hours to roll some dice and tell a story. That’s why this is the #1 trait of Awesome D&D Players.
They Are Prepared
The Awesome Player shows up to the game prepared to play.
Mistakes happen and everyone has forgotten their dice or character sheet at some point or another. But this should be the exception.
When showing up to a session, Awesome Players have it together. They have their dice, character sheet, notebook, and whatever else they need to play. If their character leveled up after the last game, they already made sure to update their character sheet, select any new spells they want, and so on.
They Are Excited
Excitement is contagious.
Awesome Players tend to serve as hype-people for their groups. They talk about how excited they are for the next game during the week and are quick to celebrate the group’s successes.
As a Dungeon Master, this trait of an Awesome Player is probably the most appreciated. There’s nothing quite like validation that your players are enjoying what you’ve prepared!
Plus, being excited about the game makes it easier to leave real-world stresses at the door for everyone.
If only for a few hours, Players want to be noble paladins, dashing rogues, or powerful wizards who fight evil, get loot, and do awesome stuff. They don’t want to think about their bills, their incompetent boss, or the mountain of homework that’s piling up.
By bringing so much excitement to the group, the Awesome Player gives everyone something to look forward to on game night!
They Know Their Character
Awesome D&D Players do their homework.
There really isn’t a whole lot of homework to be done, which is what makes this step so important.
Players should know what their character can do. Attack and damage rolls, spells (for which I recommend using the 5e Spellbook Cards), and abilities are all commonly used.
An Awesome Player doesn’t have to know the intricate uses of every single thing on their character sheet, but they should know their key features.
Learning D&D takes time and it can be intimidating for new players. Focusing on learning your specific character then branching out from there is a great way to become an Awesome Player.
Also, they actually read the Player’s Handbook. It’s nifty as a resource, but there are so many other details that can be missed if it’s only ever used as a quick reference.
They Are Supportive
Awesome Players don’t tear other players down. On the contrary, they build each other up!
High-fiving the Wizard after they just rolled maximum damage on a fireball, thanking the Cleric for keeping you healed up in the big fight… These actions go a very long way and really add to your group’s chemistry!
If the Wizard cleared the field with a massive fireball only to be met with someone else at the table saying something like “Well, I could have handled it myself” is a pretty awful feeling.
On a similar note, Awesome Players provide help when asked. They don’t try to play other players’ characters for them, but may propose an idea if that player seems stuck making a decision.
They Are Respectful
Etiquette is incredibly important to keeping a group fun for everyone.
It’s easy to slip into a type of “video game mentality” where your character is the “hero” and the rest of the party are just helpful NPCs.
But don’t do it!
Awesome Players know that everyone wants some time in the spotlight and gives it to them. They don’t talk over other characters, arbitrarily make decisions for the party, or try to take away from others’ enjoyment of playing their character.
This trait is very similar to the previous one, but it is different in that being respectful often means taking a step back. More often than not, though, an Awesome Player who makes it a point to be respectful will also be supportive.
If the Rogue rolls a natural one and is unable to pick a lock (which is likely their “job” in the party), the Player may feel disappointed or embarrassed. The Awesome Player makes it a point to empathize with the Rogue and may say something like “Bummer!” or “That must be a crazy strong lock!” instead of saying something like “What do you mean you couldn’t pick it?” or a sarcastic “Gee, thanks for helping.”
They Are Attentive
Awesome Players pay attention to what’s happening!
We live in a world of distractions. Every minute, we’re getting tons of texts and push notifications that make us divert our attention from other things.
Someone who is on their phone, constantly talking with other players about stuff that’s not relevant to the game, or always asking “what happened?” becomes a disruption to the game.
Awesome Players put their phone away and play the game. The occasional quick-check or the inevitable work-call are fine, but it shouldn’t be more than that.
Paying attention to what is happening in the story and taking relevant notes are great ways to quickly become an Awesome D&D Player.
They Communicate Their Character’s Goals
This trait has a few different variations, but they are all important to being an Awesome D&D Player.
First, they have communicated their character’s goals to their Dungeon Master.
If their character is on a quest to reclaim a powerful artifact to their temple, that’s a pretty important plot hook for the Dungeon Master to know. If the DM doesn’t know that that’s what your character wants, it will never happen.
Secondly, they have communicated their goals to their party. A group with a heavier focus on roleplay is bound to have some “secrets” about their characters, but these should be elaborated on through roleplaying as the characters get to know each other more. If the party doesn’t know your character’s goals, they aren’t able to help you achieve them!
Lastly, Awesome Players tell the Dungeon Master what they would like to do and let the Dungeon Master determine the mechanics. This keeps them in character while also telling the Dungeon Master what the character’s intent is.
Rather than saying “I want to roll an Insight check,” they may say something more along the lines of “Can I get a sense if this merchant is trying to pull a fast one?”
The DM would now know what kind of information to give the player in asking them to roll for Insight. Meanwhile, there is still a clear character motive!
They Trust the DM
Awesome Players know that the DM is your friend.
It’s a fun trope that Dungeon Masters are planning awful ways to kill their players’ character, but it’s a tongue-in-cheek trope. The DM wants everyone to have a fun time and works to keep the game moving forward.
But no Dungeon Master is perfect and is bound to make a mistake. Stopping the game to argue the minutia of a specific rule is a quick way to ruin the fun for everyone at the table and bring the game to a screeching halt. An Awesome Player realizes that Rules discussions are best handled away from the table.
Now that doesn’t mean that Players shouldn’t ask questions about a Dungeon Master’s ruling on something.
Asking a question like “So it would be a Nature check and not a Survival check?” or “So this wouldn’t work in this instance?” and accepting the DM’s judgement are perfectly fine. It may clarify your intent, prompt the DM to double-check themselves real quick, or otherwise without stopping the game.
Debates about just how much the Keen Mind feat would allow you to do are best left in situations where the other players don’t have to just awkwardly sit there.
They Are Honest
There’s not a whole lot to say about this trait.
Don’t lie about your dice rolls. (Or anything else for that matter!)
Yes, it’s not fun when you go to make an attack on an enemy and roll an underwhelming 3. But saying that it was an 18 violates the trust that should be present at any table.
We all know that you want that fancy halberd at the weapon shop, but lying about how much gold you have is pretty uncool.
Awesome Players are honest.
They Engage With the Story
Last but not least, Awesome Players engage with the story.
They explore the plot hooks that the Dungeon Master throws out, interact with the NPCs that fill the lands, and actively contribute to the world that is being built by everyone at the table.
The greatest strength of Dungeons & Dragons as a game is that it allows for an immeasurable amount of player choices. Awesome players use this to explore the world and guide their roleplaying. They understand that the story is just a framework and that their group’s actions are what fill it in.
Look at the fantastic stories that are being told on shows like Critical Role, for example. Matt Mercer builds the framework for the story as the Dungeon Master, but the adventures and stories become so memorable because of how engaged every player at the table is.
What are some other traits of Awesome D&D Players? What traits do you find yourself trying to get better at?