When we come together to play at a table, we participate in social experiences which bring together people from diverse backgrounds and with varying play styles. Understanding and appreciating the different styles of the players at your table can foster a more inclusive and cooperative gaming experience for everyone involved. Today we will explore the most common play styles encountered in TRPG groups, their unique contributions, and discuss how to create a harmonious gaming environment.
The Methodical Planner
Methodical Planners approach TRPGs like a board or strategy game. They carefully consider their options and have meticulous attention to rules and detail. They find the most joy in formulating plans, analysing situations, and seeing their plans come to fruition. These players excel in problem-solving, exploring every route, and developing intricate plots. Their approach enhances the depth and complexity of the game, providing well-thought-out solutions and driving the narrative forward.
Planners can become uncomfortable if other players ignore their contributions, prevent their plans from paying off, or act in a way that will prevent the group from getting the best outcome. Where it makes sense for the narrative and the fun of the party, they should be empowered to succeed.
The Creative Storyteller
Creative Storytellers thrive on imaginative narratives and immersive storytelling. They focus on character development, emotional arcs, and creating memorable moments. These players infuse the game with rich descriptions, vibrant personalities, and compelling backstories. Their creativity fuels the narrative, inspiring other players to think outside the box, and breathe life into their own characters. They excel at building atmospheric worlds and engaging others in collaborative storytelling.
Members at the table may need to occasionally step in to move things forward, as the storyteller can get wrapped up in a scene, and dominate tables where others are less inclined to engage and role play to the same extent.
The Improvisational Adventurer
Improvisational Adventurers embrace spontaneity and thrive on chaos. They think on their feet, adapting to changing circumstances and bringing an element of surprise to the game. These players excel at improvisation, creating entertaining and unpredictable outcomes. Their quick thinking injects excitement into the gameplay, often leading to unexpected plot twists and memorable moments that keep the game dynamic and engaging.
Sometimes, you may need to remind this player to be careful and considerate of other players, as impulsive actions can have harmful consequences that ruin the fun of the rest of the party.
The Team Player
Team Players prioritise collaboration and harmony within the group. They focus on supporting and working with their fellow players, creating a cohesive and united team. These players excel at fostering positive interpersonal dynamics, offering assistance, and valuing everyone's contributions. Their ability to bring the group together ensures that everyone feels heard, appreciated, and included, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared adventure.
Once in a while, remember to check in with your team player to see how they are doing, as they may be sacrificing their own enjoyment to ensure others are having a good time instead.
The Audience Member
The Audience Member finds great enjoyment in watching the narrative unfold around them. They are content to sit back and soak in the excitement and atmosphere, taking in the nuances of the game world and the interactions between characters. This player is keen on observing the dynamics of the group, analysing the events, and relishing the creative choices made by others. Their attention to detail allows them to notice subtle clues and foreshadowing, adding depth to their understanding of the story. This player may not always take center stage, but their insights and perspective enhance the collective experience, making them a valuable presence in any game session.
Don't feel pressured to force your Audience Member to participate or role play in specific ways if they don't feel inclined. As long as they are contributing to the group and speaking up when it's their time, trust them when they tell you that they're having fun and enjoying themselves.
No two players are the same, and often times, players can embody one or more of the qualities discussed above. TRPGs thrive on the diversity of player styles, who each contribute to the dynamic of the game. Embracing and understanding different player styles can enhance the overall gaming experience, allowing for a more inclusive atmospheres and more exciting stories. By recognising and appreciating the strengths of each player style, TRPG groups can create an environment that encourages collaboration, sparks creativity, and embraces the myriad ways in which players can contribute.
So, celebrate the diversity within your RPG group, and let the combined styles of the players weave a captivating and unforgettable gaming experience.