Making sure everyone understands the in-game rules of conduct
These rules of conduct aren’t revolutionary, but it’s good to review them with your gaming group so that everyone knows what’s expected of them when they come to play D&D:
- It’s the DM’s show. Players need to be kind to the DM and accept the DM’s authority over the game. Likewise, when the DM makes a mistake (and it will happen), he or she should be willing to change a decision if that decision had negative repercussions for a player character.
- Have fun!
- Play fair. Players shouldn’t cheat, even to save their characters’ lives. There are ways to deal with bad rolls (even ones that will result in a character’s death) that don’t force a player to stoop so low as to cheat.
- Accentuate the positive. Players should compliment the DM on a good game. Likewise, DMs should praise players when they have their characters do something especially clever or heroic or just plain fun.
- Let the players play. The DM needs to be kind to the players, treating them fairly and letting them make their own decisions. The DM shouldn’t force the player characters to follow a specific path through the adventure, shouldn’t punish them for being clever, and shouldn’t intentionally and maliciously try to kill them.
- It’s the players’ game, too. The DM needs to treat players with respect and should ask them for their opinions on difficult rules interpretations.
- Eliminate the negative. The DM and the players should leave the real world behind when they play D&D, including any disagreements or lingering bad feelings that might otherwise color the way they play for a particular session. The DM and players should avoid distractions that make it hard for everyone to enjoy the game.
- And most importantly, have fun!
Setting a time limit
Set a time limit for the game session. This allows the other players to plan accordingly and gives you an idea of how much material you need to have prepared for the game. Bear in mind that the time limit is only a guideline. If you and the other players want to keep playing, you can adjust the time limit to everyone’s satisfaction.