Playing D&D

I am a player of Dungeons and Dragons.

As a player of this game, I have certain expectations. I consider these to be reasonable and applicable to all players.

As a player, I expect to have control over my character. I don’t expect control of my character’s background because that means having control over a portion of the setting. I don’t have control over the setting, the DM does. I have my character from the moment I enter the game to the moment the character dies (and sometimes beyond).

My character is mine to control and I am free from anything that will limit that control. I understand there are exceptions to this freedom ~ I am not my character, after all; I am me and I am playing this game with friends and we are a team. As a member of a team, I will respect my friends’ thoughts and opinions; I am willing to work with my party to set agreeable goals for all of us; and I expect the same in return.

My character is mine to control, to be sure, but I’m not talking about in-game influences like enchantments or magic spells; I’m not seeking to shirk responsibilities; I’m not saying my character will never have attachments in the setting. These are superficial things. They are the window dressings of the game that we pretend are important, that we accept at face value. I’m saying that I, as a player, am not inherently beholden to anything in the game or to anyone outside the game, save my fellow players. I am a member of a team and must play the game accordingly; apart from that, I am free to play my character as I see fit.

As a member of a team, I will work with my fellow players. I will not work against them. I will not engage in player-vs-player behavior. I expect the same from my teammates.

I do not have control of the setting but I expect to be allowed the opportunity to gain control if I choose to pursue that goal. I expect that any goal I set for myself will be met with opposition. I do not expect the opposition to be appropriate to my level or my skill; only that it is appropriate to my circumstances and the setting around my character. If my character survives the setting and advances in any way ~ gold, equipment, power, status, level, skill ~ it will be because I (and my party) have triumphed against the odds.

As a player, I expect that the setting operates according to a rational design. There will be consequences for my actions, good or bad or indifferent, but always rational. I may not always understand the rationale or the reasoning behind why the setting behaves as it does. I merely expect that the DM’s decisions will be driven by some sort of reason and logic, and that, given the opportunity, I may figure out that reason and apply it to my advantage.

Since I do not control the setting and I am not my character, I expect that the DM will communicate my character’s circumstances to me. If I ask a question, I expect an answer, insofar as my character is able to reasonably know the answer. Without the DM’s description of the setting, I am deaf and blind.

I expect that the DM will follow the rules of the game and remain consistent in applying those rules. Where the rules are not clear for the immediate situation, I expect that the DM will do the right thing by making a ruling on the spot and revising that ruling when time permits. I expect that rules introduced in the middle of a game will be constructed with input from the players.

As a player, I will roll my dice in the open and I will accept a fair roll without dispute. I expect my DM will do the same.

As a DM, I expect my players hold these same understandings and expectations.


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