5 Things Every GM Wishes You Wouldn’t Do

Picard Face Palms

My most recently played game was a Call of Cthulhu boxed adventure being run for a large group of eight players, most of whom I was meeting for the first time. We had a fantastic, patient and knowledgeable Game Master but the game was disappointing. There was one player whose behavior almost ruined the night.  It’s rare to have a single player enact so many terrible gaming habits in a single session but nonetheless that’s what happened.  Below are the bad behaviors of the offending player.  Take heed my gamer friends and avoid these.

Show Up Late – In my most recent game as a player I had a bad feeling when the game master had to call a player to check if they were coming.  She was coming, but late.  There’s nothing worse for the players and the GM than sitting around a table with nothing to do waiting on someone with poor time management skills.  Arrive on time.

Don’t Bring Your Character – I am as guilty as the next player on this taboo.  If you forget your character sheet often, give your game master a spare copy just in case.  The guilty player in this last game wasn’t only late, they still had to make up a character.  If you haven’t even rolled a character up yet, please show up to the game early.  

Don’t Bring Gaming Supplies – Our late gamer came unprepared. There is no reason to show up to a game with no paper, no dice and no pencil.  How do you expect to keep track of everything, in your head?  Put together a gaming bag or folder that contains the bare minimum so that you can get started once you arrive.

Speak Over the GM – There’s a reason everyone else at the table is quietly staring at the Game Master while he’s reading a paragraph of text from the adventure.  That text contains important information that the other players want to hear.  In this Call of Cthulhu session, extremely important clues and foreshadowing were being read to the gamers by the Game Master.  Our bad player thought it was the perfect time to interrupt with non-game related sarcasm and other non-sense.  Listen and pay attention when the GM speaks.  Take notes!

Break the Mood Constantly – I get it, gaming may be your only real social outlet.  This girl was awkward and very attention hungry.  There’s no excuse for constantly interrupting the game with out of character chatter.  Gamers expect a little side-banter but there is a limit to what’s acceptable.  Everyone else is there to transcend reality and spend some time in a fantasy world.  Don’t ruin it for them just because you have some emotional void that needs filling.  Remember you’re there to game.

We’re all guilty of these things from time to time, but committing all five cardinal sins in a single session takes the cake.  Don’t be THAT player.