Once again I had some options available this day, but I finally decided to go with Support because I think it’s one of the most important things in tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs) from more than one angle.
Rules That Support the Fiction
I think this opinion it’s still somehow controversial, but the TTRPG system you use matters. Of course that you can technically play with any system to emulate any fiction—even with no system at all!—but one of the core parts of playing a TTRPG, in my opinion, is experiencing the intermingling between mechanics and the fiction. After all, my favorite short description of a TTRPG is “a ludonarrative conversation”. Ludonarrative is literally the sum of gaming rules and the story around them.
Because of this, I recommend that you try as many TTRPGs as you can, so you get to experience many different mechanics and the fiction that they relate to best. Having a favorite system/TTRPG is all well and good—preference is human!—but if you never try something new I think you may miss something valuable.
So, the next time you want to play a supernatural mystery go and play with the Call of Cthulhu’s (7th Edition) Quickstart. You want to play a fantasy, cloak-and-dagger adventure in Not-Renaissance-Europe? Go check out the 7th Sea (Second Edition) Basic Rules. Or if you are really wanting to play with a Mapuche warrior-woman in a Neolithic South America that was never invaded by the Spanish there’s The Way of the Pukona at PWYW (that was a highly specific desire! xD).
Play With People That Support You
I think it’s less prevalent nowadays—luckily!—but sometimes I still read people that have to fight tooth and nail for the minimum support from their playgroups or GM. If you are playing, the least you deserve is for a GM that is a fan of your character and for your fellow players to interact with your character, creating all together a wonderful story.
If your GM fights you over petty stuff or you feel that they are playing against you, then leave and look for a better group. If your fellow players ignore you, interrupt you, speak over you, or make decisions without consulting you, leave that group and look for a better one.
Support the People You Play With
Don’t be an asshole. Respect people’s boundaries, starting with their pronouns. Appreciate your GM by taking notes and paying attention. Encourage your fellow players at the (virtual) table to come out of their shells and roleplay their characters. Engage with them. Ask them questions and listen with intent. Listen like you mean it. Look at them while speaking.
Go even further if you want/can. Gift your GM with that book they’re missing in their collection. Gift dice and other playing materials to fellow players who don’t have them. Share your knowledge only when asked to, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Seek Support When You Need It
Running a TTRPG can be an incredibly demanding task and, since GMing often attracts the most obsessive and dedicated people, we tend to pour ourselves into it. Sometimes that drains us.
When that happens, ask for help. Play with other friends (ideally a group of GMs), so you can unplug and enjoy the game from the other perspective for a while. Read an inspiring book. Watch some people having fun while playing the TTRPG you’re running.
In short: support is very important in TTRPGs for many reasons, and the above are just the ones that came to mind most easily. What are the ones you can think of?
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