Playing Well With Others

2008 February 26
by Stupid Ranger

Last week, I shared a short list of characteristics for a good group. Included on that list was Cooperative role play; this time, I want to expand on that idea.

Character Interaction

If you’re involved in a story-intensive campaign, character interaction can be vital to the flow of the story and the general roleplaying experience. I can’t imagine an intro session where characters didn’t talk to each other to learn more about their stories and livelihoods; sharing a round of drinks and discussing what brought you into town is a lot more satisfying (story-wise) than just giving your character’s vitals.

Taken a step further, forging a bond between characters can make the story even more memorable as the characters grow together. For example, in the first half of our campaign,Tiri and Nathaniel were old friends from before the inception of the group. When something happened to one character, the other was always ready to jump to his/her defense.

Unified Front

Being able to present a unified front, whether facing allies or enemies, is a very important characteristic of a good group in a story-intensive campaign. For every group, there is usually one leader, who handles most of the NPC interactions so that the group is treated the same (for better or worse) wherever they may go. This, of course, may vary dependent on the situation or environment; even if he is the figurehead most times, the dwarf doesn’t usually lead the party into the heart of the elven lands.

I believe that presenting a unified front can be one of the hardest and most essential characteristics to reduce the havoc the DM can create with NPCs. If the group is constantly bickering about who is authorized to speak, or if multiple characters are speaking with different agendas, NPCs can become confused, and the DM can create some conflict based on this confusion.

Cooperative Combat

For either the story-intensive or the hack-n-slash campaigns, a good group can fight together very well. This involves many battle elements, such as spelling up for maximum benefit, coordinating attacks, and character placement during battle. And since every encounter is different, the group has to be flexible enough to adapt. An approach that might be highly successful against hill giants may not yield the same positive results against zombies. In my experience, this is a characteristics that groups gain the longer they adventure together; it takes some time to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the group.

One Response leave one →
  1. thanuir permalink
    February 27, 2008

    Personally, I find the stories and games to be much more intensive when the characters don’t form a party and stick together, but rather sometimes oppose and sometimes aid each other. (Players must, of course, all be in on the deal; otherwise there is likely to be hurt feelings and such.)

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