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How do you, as a PC, prep for your next game?

How do you, as a PC, prep for your next game?

  • Read the rules

    Votes: 19 51.4%
  • Read other RPGs for ideas

    Votes: 2 5.4%
  • Read fiction

    Votes: 4 10.8%
  • Update my character sheet numbers

    Votes: 28 75.7%
  • Update my character's fluff (description/history/plans)

    Votes: 15 40.5%
  • Play video games (bonus for in-character)

    Votes: 1 2.7%
  • Listen to motivational music (not Eye of the Tiger)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Watch related TV shows/movies

    Votes: 3 8.1%
  • Sharpen my LARP weapons

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Listen to RPG podcasts

    Votes: 2 5.4%
  • Not a gods-damned thing

    Votes: 9 24.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 9 24.3%

  • Total voters


Guide of Modos
Rumor has it that game masters spend some time preparing for a game session before they show up. But are they the only ones? What do you do, as a player-character, before the game? What should you do? Would the game be better off if all the players spent as much time preparing as the GM does?

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As a player and GM, I feel a certain responsibility to assist the GM.

That includes reading the rules. I dont want to burden the GM with spell details or feat applications. I want to be ready to go and not slow the game down mechanically. The amount of time necessary usually goes down as sessions go up and system familiarity sets in. Though, new additional rule supplements can raise this player prep necessity back up again when introduced. I feel if im going to use a new feature, I ought to be able to explain it and understand how it works before game time.

I also try and assist the GM by being prepared for the setting and collaborative story side of TTRPG. That means reading available setting materials and being familiar with them. Asking the GM questions to clarify items. I also like to provide character motivations and desires as the game is going on. This prep varies from game to game and session to session. I'll give the GM as much as they want.

So I think Player prep is good and makes a game better for everyone. I think player prep is very different than GM prep, so its hard to say on a 1 for 1 basis how much time or effort should be put into it by each person.

John Dallman

Keep my character sheet up-to-date. Go over my notes taken in-session and use them to update my notes about things the party could try to do; I quite often have ideas about this between sessions, since most of the games I play are investigative.

Read history of the period for historical games, which sometimes results in scenario suggestions to the GM. Help the GM with research, if that would be useful. My best success was when the party arrived in Sydney, Australia, aboard a USN submarine during October 1942, when the USN was having terrible problems with the Mark 14 torpedo. The GM wondered if British torpedoes would be compatible: I found the manual for the right model of torpedo tube, complete with instructions on using British torpedoes.

Sir Brennen

Character sheet updates. Also, I take notes during each session, so make sure to review those. The notes also contain treasure found, and our group uses a spreadsheet to track it, so I (or other players) will make sure that's up to date. Occasionally we'll do a treasure split from that so everyone can update their own coin/treasure carried.

Often have group discussions either via email or a chat tool (like Slack) to discuss party plans for the next session if it's not obvious. These discussions include the DM to help them prepare for the next session.


The beggest thing for a player is to show up on time and be ready with your things. The burden is on the DM for most things. I agree with @payn that I DM most of the time so when I get to play I try to assist the DM with other players if there is a question or problem. One thing that has come up in my game a bit is spells from other sources than the PHB and looking them up at the table. A cell phone is fine, but players could take a few minutes to print them off at home and have things ready. Of course players could say that the DM could print them off as well.


Before the session starts, I read the recap and make sure I am remembering everything that happened and may happen. Important for me for weekly sessions as I may forget things from one week to the next.
If I'm expecting a level up soon or in the near future, I will have that planned out ahead of time, so if it happens in game, I can quickly do the bookwork and continue with the game.
Any down time I will have reached out to the DM before the session letting them know what I hope to do during that downtime.

I make sure I am familiar with the rules for my spells/class/race/etc. I generally don't go in for anything complicated, but I never want to slow the game down to figure out the rules for such. I will generally practice my character's voice - if it's inspired by a specific person, I will listen to them talk. For my one character, Lazlo the Laudable, I look up an archaic and goofy-sounding word to incorporate into his dialog. Words like pervulsion, doddypoll, and obloquy. So much of my characters' personalities come from how they talk.

Oh, and for Fantasy Grounds, I always try to log on early to account for the many updates.


Mod Squad
Staff member
Rumor has it that game masters spend some time preparing for a game session before they show up. But are they the only ones? What do you do, as a player-character, before the game? What should you do? Would the game be better off if all the players spent as much time preparing as the GM does?

Day-to-day, I usually find very little needs to be done on the player side.

If I've leveled up, I want that handled before I come to the table - including learning any new rules/spells that may apply.

Beyond that, it is entirely situational.


I'm a player in my son's campaign, but as I've also been DMing for decades I do a lot of the DM "busy work" for my son between sessions: updating the equipment sheets and spell lists for the players' folders if there was any change on those fronts during the last (weekly) session; updating the PC tracking sheet with AC, hp, stats, alignment, spell slots, and level of the PCs...and write up the Story Hour of last week's session.

As far as prepping my own PC, if I didn't level up the previous session I generally just do a quick scan over my feats and equipment (I run a melee type) to refresh in my memory what all is available to me, and that's about it.


Between sessions, but after the character is made?

I practice speaking in my character's voice, saying things he or she would say, usually alone in my car.

I like to draw a picture of my character, although that only needs to he done once.


Victoria Rules
I make note of (and then try to remember!) when the next game is.

I sometimes read the rules if during last session something came up.

The one thing I do between sessions after each adventure (so, once every few real-world months) is make sure the party treasury is typed in and halfway organized, so as to make dividing it easier. Now that we're playing online (meaning the treasury is also online), I don't even have to do this as I can update the treasury on the fly.

Things like updating my character sheet etc. I do during the game.


I generally familiarize myself with character specific rules. Plan ahead a bit in terms of tactical usage of my characters abilities. Think about how to work with some of the other people on the squad.

I’ll also think about “who” the character is a bit. Just because I dumped Cha doesn’t mean my earnest honest folk hero isn’t gonna TRY to convince the thugs to lay down their arms.
What kind of tattoos does my barbarian get? What do they mean to him or his clan?

Most importantly..

I Think about cool phrases to drop. Especially if they can include a moment of teamwork. Puns are key.


41st lv DM
Were my PC prepping for a game I imagine they'd do it how I do as a player..... As well as taking any specific steps that'd apply in the fantasy world.

Now as a player?
  • I keep my sheet(s) accurate & up to date.
  • I keep all my stuff collected & organized so that I don't forget anything vital when I get in the car.
  • I make sure I know how any new rules/abilities/spells/items/etc my character has gained work.
  • I carefully consider the choices I'm making while lv up, etc from the PoV of the character I'm playing. If it doesn't fit the character? Then it doesn't get chosen. Not even if it's the mechanically optimal choice.
  • I make sure to keep "game time" free of other commitments as much as I can.
  • Sometimes I write a list of things I want to get done character-wise during a session.
  • I make sure to order my take out in time so that I can pick it up en-route & still arrive on time.


Well, the character might do some shopping, or use downtime to train or seek information, or socialize with friends and family.

As a player:

I will read up on the rules if need be. Update the character sheet if applicable. And if I am writing a chronicle, then write it out (will then take copious amounts of noted during the campaign)


I have a player that will print off monsters or paint figures he may have, that I may need coming up in the game. The downside is that he knows what is coming.


as a PC, the lead two or three choices are big ones, but there is one other important one I don't really see mentioned. Plan for future character building decisions (spells/feats/etc) so I can be prepared & ready with an empowered PC who knows what they are doing & acts like it when those points are reached rather than fumbling along haplessly though progression. Unfortunately 5e has precious little room for deviation from "this is objectively the thing needed" with little or no subjectivity or meaningful options for parallel advancement & such


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Slam a cup of coffee and fill the thermos. Personal grooming. I usually up update my character sheet in session or soon after the session.

Though, once when I was playing a dwarven bard with a soldier back ground, I spent an inordinate time coming up with thinks to say when I cast vicious mockery that walked the fine line of being acceptable at the table.

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