Player Help: Working With Your GM

I often find certain players in my group that end up feel like their character fell short of their expectations. The others tend to outshine or out do them, or their character just doesn’t fit in right. I do prevent this from happening as much as I can by going over the character sheets before a new character joins the party or before a campaign starts. In my next campaign, we’re going to have a session just for rolling characters, to hopefully enforce what I want to say here. Work with your GM! This article goes over the reasons why you should work closely with your game master to create a character you feel invested in, and love.

My wife plays in most of our campaigns. More often than not, she is subject of some GM Bias accusations because she ends up being able to talk to me about her character then and there, at all times. She gets my direct input whenever she has questions about a character, and because of that; her characters tend to stick and shine, and fit in with the setting. While I often tell my players to come to me with questions and the likes, I very rarely see any of them asking for input on their character. They read my ‘handbook’ for the campaign, make a character, and then have me review it for rules/campaign problems. And that is that, they don’t tend to ask or want input on how well things fit in. I give them a bit more to work with, and suggestions but that’s normally where the conversation ends before we get them in game.

This leads to less enjoyment of characters when things don’t seem to fit right. They roll a damage dealer with little role play skills, in a setting that’s 50/50. They roll a healing character when the party already has several support characters. They roll a character with a race that is disliked and hated, and are subject to that in game, even though they knew the consequences. All of these lead to un-enjoyable situations when they don’t get the results they wanted.

There are a few key questions you should ask your game master when you’re rolling a new character.

  • Do they fit the setting?
  • Does their role fit into the party well enough?
  • Is there something I can do to make them better at <insert here>?
  • How much role play, or combat should we expect?
  • How hard is this campaign supposed to be?

By asking these questions you’re going to be able to react and change, edit, or create a character that you like, while filling in important roles, or avoiding potential backlash. By understanding the combat/role play ratio, and knowing approximately how hard the campaign should be; you get a better understanding of how much you need to focus on powerful versus versatile character options. More often than not, you simply don’t have the same vision of the campaign as the game master does. By asking them what can make your character better at certain things, or how they fit into the setting, you’re getting a direct answer on how to approach potential future issues.

To keep things short, simple, and sweet. When in doubt about your character, or if you just made one and sent the character sheet off to your game master, please ask them for more input than just “yep, looks fine”.

I’m taking precautions for my next campaign, and we’ll all be rolling together, everyone getting an equal amount of attention during the process. I can’t wait to see how much it changes party dynamic and lets people enjoy their more unique characters.

Till next time,


2 thoughts on “Player Help: Working With Your GM

  1. It does make a difference when your Players work to fit into the campaign and you, the GM, can give Players and PCs more interaction within the campaign. Best of luck with the new plan.

  2. Our gaming group’s technique is for the first session or two of a new campaign to not involve any narrative play at all. Usually the first one is world creation, where everyone gives the GM a bit of guidance about which of her setting ideas they’re most interested in engaging with. The second session is ensemble character creation, allowing people to collude on interwoven backstories so that they have plenty of interpersonal soap opera ready to go. A little bit of creative input to the setting and to the other characters at the outset helps to get everyone invested in both.

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