Player Principles in your Handouts

February 23, 2023

I wrote up a one page Getting Started guide for my last game, Stormwreck Isle. I had one brand new player, but all sort of new-ish. On the back of that one page I added my growing list of "Player Tips". Here's the PDF of my Session Zero doc:

Player Tips
This is your world. You live here. You’re competent and dangerous in most circumstances. Ask the GM for more information if there’s something you think you should know. Your Ability Scores and Skills are important, but don't rely on your abilities and skills:

Ask the NPCs for help, ask them questions.
Your character knows this world, even if you—the player—do not. Ask the GM what you know.
Fill in gaps in the fiction—reveal the hidden details of the world.
Connect the dots on your own.
Coordinate plans and objectives with the other characters.
Explore the world and take notes.
Tie in older events and NPCs you have met.

Do you have to fight?
Sometimes you have to, but if you can, try to talk your way out of a potential conflict.
Can you sneak past the baddies? Can you run away?
Can you trick them or convince them that fighting is a terrible idea?
Can you surprise or intimidate them?
If you have to fight your way out of a situation, get creative with your skills, use the surrounding terrain, and the stuff—even trivial stuff—you're carrying. Do some recon and analysis. See if you can increase your ability to deal Damage and reduce the Damage you may receive from a foe.

Find out what the NPCs know—they live here.
Talk to them. Treat them as if they're real people. Remember the NPCs you’ve met.
Don't burn bridges with the world's NPCs, unless they deserve it.
Ask them for information and ask them for help.
Many NPCs are not violent unless they're threatened.
Not all NPCs are friendly or even nice, but that does not mean they want to throw down with you. Some people are just cruel or filled with hate.

You and your character
What does your character want and why do they want it?
You have narrative control. Ask what your character would do. How do they react?
Think about what you (not your character) would do in the same situation.
Try to speak to the other characters, not the players.
The world can be a dangerous place. How does your character face it?

Failing a roll
Rolling low when you need a nineteen usually isn’t the end of the world.
Use a failed roll to build tension or do something memorable—or even silly.
Handle failed rolls through your character, with grim determination, denial, or panache.
The dice are there to complicate your character’s lives; without complication there is no story.
Make failed rolls as much about upsetting the story as damage or punishment.

Character Death
This game is complex, with different abilities, skills, and powers that can come into play at once, and this complexity, along with the randomness of dice, means that it is possible for your character to die while doing everything correctly. 


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