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Playtesting as a PC

This past weekend I played in a playtest for the first time. This was a Pathfinder game. While it went very well, I think I could have done better job in holding up my end as a player. I’ve come up with some suggestions for those who may be about to venture into a playtest for the first time.

– Take Notes

I dislike taking notes while playing an RPG as I feel it takes away from time I should be playing the game. I understand sometimes it just needs to be done, but I always am looking for someone else to do it. In a playtest though, in a scenario played specifically to get feedback, it behooves you to write a few things down. It’s doesn’t need to be massively detailed, but it should be enough to jog your memory 2 or 4 hours down the road.

– Know The Other Characters

This scenario was intended to be be for tournament play. My GM for this game was going for a very specific feel and texture. We were stepping into the shoes of an already existing party, all with quirks and individuality. That’s not to say that we weren’t able to improvise. My character, at his most base, was a massive human barbarian with a penchant for rhyming and unrequited love for another party member. That is fertile ground to be jumping off from. My point is, if the GM allows it, because it *can* be a bit metagame-y, is to get to know the other characters a bit before you begin. Normally I would be against this, but since you are stepping into the boots of an established party, I think it can help with roleplaying party cohesion that your group should already have. See if you can read each other’s character descriptions. In this case, that info was on the sheet I was given and I felt it helped tremendously.

– Stay In Character And Don’t Dominate The Table.

This is Roleplaying 101, but it bears mentioning. Just because you’ve figured out the solution or know a better tactic, does not mean your character has. Possibly you’ve just come up with the funniest comeback since 1970, but being a smartass is not your character, it belongs to the person sitting across the table. Keep your mouth shut. Maybe they won’t come up with it, but you need to give them their chance. And if they do come up with a good comeback, don’t spit yours out afterwards and trump them.

If there is a character described as the party leader, let them be the party leader. Don’t go off on your own and drag everyone where you want to go, unless that is exactly what your character would do.

– Ask Questions

This will vary by GM, but you should ask the GM before you begin if they prefer questions during or after the session. Of course you can ask the usual RPG questions, I.E. “How far away is he?”, but this is for things you may not normally ask about. For example: A trial was had for a ship NPC crewmember. We were asked if anyone wanted to speak on his behalf. None of us did so he was found guilty and killed. I almost spoke up because I thought my rhyming Barbarian making an impassioned plea on his behalf would be pretty amazing, but I held my tongue. At the time, when I was running it over in my head, my questions were: “Why would I put myself on the line for this crewmember? Who is he to me?”

I found out later on if I had asked that question, I would have gotten the answers I needed to convince me to stand up for the guy. There was a bit of forgotten description there. The GM who ran would have been fine with me asking at the time and I should have. Knowing him as I do, I’m sure he made a note to make sure he gets that description in when he runs it again.

– Anything Else

There are other things here I could mention, but those are the top few. Please feel free to list any other tips/suggestions/ideas in the comments below.

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Living in his secluded mansion off the coast of Iowa, JimTo often spends evenings reading, role playing, and writing for DoucheyDM. His best qualities are being loud, rude, and obnoxious, but for some reason, people still love him.

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