When you set out to play a TTRPG, it's the start of an exciting journey. As you step into a world of unlimited imagination and fantastical landscapes, it's only natural if you feel a bit uncertain. This is the point of this blog post, to give you an entryway and to help you get started, ensuring that you make the most out of your journey. :)
Embrace the Crazy
TTRPGs are (mostly) about the narrative. The story that you create together with the other players and the GM, and to that end, your imagination is by far your greatest tool. Visualize your character (if you can, drawing it might be even better, as it helps convey your vision to your friends), and imagine their backstory and the world that surrounds them. Let your imagination and your creativity run wild, and the weirder and stranger your ideas are, usually the better they are (though admittedly, some games do foster a different and more natural approach to gaming and worldbuilding).
Collaboration and Communication
TTRPGs are collaborative games. You're telling the story together with other people, and to that end, communication is key. You need to share your ideas and work together to solve challenges, and for the best experience immerse yourself in your character interactions. These collaborations strengthen the story, and the bond between heroes, even if those interactions might be adversarial. Shared hatred can be a powerful tool too — just check some of the books out there.
Dive into the Role-Playing
In a TTRPG you're not just a "player". You're an actor (sort of) in a greater narrative, one shaped by the actions of yourself, and the other actors out there. Roleplaying allows you to step into your character's shoes, and breathe life into them. Embrace their motivations, emotions, and drawbacks, just as an author would when exploring the psyche of the characters in their book. The more you can immerse yourself (and especially if those around you do the same), the better your experience will be.
This might seem stupidly obvious, but you'd be surprised how often it doesn't happen. Learn the basics of the game: The mechanics, where you can find things on your character sheets, and just which dice are which. It seems obvious, but you'd be surprised at how much it can slow down a game where someone is fiddling for the dice they need, or simply hasn't put in the effort to figure out their key power and how they work. Even worse are those who HAVE put in that work, but who are deliberately misinterpreting the rules that they are reading: If it's too good to be true, it probably is. — In that case, ask your GM.
Your characters are heroes (usually). Heroes aren't the timid types (though reluctant heroes do exist), which means that you shouldn't back down from taking risks. Nothing says it has to be a stupid risk (you don't want your level 1 character bad-mouthing a god, but they might talk smack to a goblin), but no risks at all, that makes for a dull game, both for you, the other players, and the GM.
Engage with the Story
Speaking from a GM perspective, while people not knowing the basics are annoying, nothing is worse than the players that aren't engaged in the story. Sitting and playing on your phone and not paying attention as the GM is explaining what is going on is disrespectful. Not only that, but you might miss out on things that would otherwise be entertaining to you. That's not to say that it's always possible to be 100% attentive (it isn't, especially if you're playing online), but the least anyone can do is try. And just as importantly, it's not a bad thing if you sometimes have to go "This isn't for me".
And in relation to that: Be on time, and keep your appointments. People (especially gamers) are very quick to cancel or blow off dates for their games. Don't be that person. Others have set aside their valuable time to game with you, you should show them the same courtesy.
Stepping into the world of TTRPGs can be a fun and exhilarating ride. But it can also be a scary one, but by sticking to the above, you're maximizing your chances of enjoying the fun.
See you back next week. :)