A lot if not the vast majority of articles, blog posts, videos about roleplaying games are focused on giving advice to game masters. From my experience and observations, most people writing or producing videos about the hobby are game masters themselves and that’s quite understandable that they focus mostly on giving advice to this group. And with a lot of people getting interested in tabletop roleplaying games after the success of shows like Critical Role, new GMs are in high demand. I’d even go so far as to say that the mainstream success of roleplaying games is mostly held back by the lack of GMs in comparison of the number of people interested in playing. With no new GMs around, people quickly switch back to other forms of entertainment including roleplaying games on PC or video game consoles.
But giving advice to new players is also highly important and something we as content creators have to put more emphasis on in the future. Back in the day, most gaming was done at the table with most players being friends, fellow students or coworkers of the GM. Nowadays a lot of games are being played online and more often than not players and GMs don’t know each other. Learning the unspoken rules (which are often called a “social contract”) gets much, much harder. Within a group of friends it’s much more likely that someone points out those unspoken rules and helps a new player to ease in. In random online games this is much less likely.
That’s why I think there should be more resources online and offline to help new players become better players. Especially if you are used to computer games where you’re always the hero of the story, or if your only exposure to tabletop roleplaying games are from watching Critical Role, there will be some misconceptions to deal with. If noone takes the time to clear up these misconceptions these new players might quickly lose interest in the hobby again. That’s why I plan to write a series of posts in 2024 focusing on new players. I’d also like to point people at good player advice out there, so you, dear reader, feel free to let me know of any great posts or videos out there.
Over the years I noticed that getting new people try out tabletop roleplaying games is quite easy but most of these people never stick with it. If we want the hobby to thrive, it’s up to us to change this.