Now I know that I'm not a fantastic player. I sure do have my problems. Unfortunately, while I can get advice on the web for how to DM a game there's paltry advice on how to deal with problems as a player. Look up DM burnout. Look up how a player can help a DM with burnout. You'll see a similar set of articles by DMs for DMs.
But why is that?
For every DM dealing with the pain of burnout, there's generally around four players itching to get their fix and knowing it's about to get cut off.
What is it about being a player that encourages passivity and prevents players from getting and giving tips on how to keep their DMs in the game? I say this also as a player who has felt that passivity and sat there, brooding, unaware of what to do or where to go.
I mean, there are advice columns to DMs on how to re-educate, re-form, re-sculpt and re-design their players. Sure most of them won't ever work because, y'know, changing another person is really, really hard. If DMs suddenly found the magic cure-all for controlling misbehaviour, we'd all be highly desired in managerial positions and putting DM on your resume with three player references would make you a shoe-in at a job interview.
So it's not that we're magically better equipped to cope with it as DMs than as players.
But why are there so few articles out there to help players figure out what they can do?
I mean, players are in a really good position to help their DMs stay motivated. They can help mitigate player and gameplay issues. They can increase tension in a horror game and mysticism in a fantasy game. In fact, they have as much control over out of character issues as the DM does. Sure, perhaps a bit less 'official power', but they're at least one-fifth of the group and therefore can bring in all of their own conflict resolution skills or at least not contribute to whatever problem is affecting the game.
Why are all the articles on creating characters more suited to their genre directed to DMs and not the players who are making them?
Why aren't there reams of articles from players wondering how to play a better horror character (or be a better player in a horror game)?
There are DM articles on how to get players to take notes. Where are the articles for players on how to best take their own notes or cope with note-taking when they really don't want to but know another player won't do it?
I get that there's not much a player can do between sessions to prep for a game and generally there should be no need to do so but there are other areas where the greater numbers of players and their greater involvement in the area (i.e. concept creation) should lead to more articles on the subject.
But I would have thought that there'd be at least as many players crying out for help or wanting to help as DMs and yet the player base is silent on such meta-considerations and seems to instead focus primarily on stats, lurking on forums and participating in the occasional Funniest / Scariest / Deadliest Moment threads.
I just so rarely see pro-active articles from players saying such things as, "Hi, I'm a player, and I'm having trouble with my DM / Fellow Gamers / Own Habit / Gaming Needs. How can I fix this?"
Though maybe I'm just looking in all of the right places.
If you know any good player-directed articles, please link them in the Comments section below. I know I'd be very interested as a player.