These aren't in any particular order.
- Electronic devices are not welcome at the gaming table. I find it extremely rude when I'm describing a scenario and one or more players are surfing the web on a tablet or phone. If you're not interested in what's happening in game, why are you at the table in the first place? If you want to use some kind of mobile app for tracking your character I'm sorry. There's been one too many YouTube songs or videos played during the game for me to be flexible on this point anymore.
Everybody should have their own character sheets, miniature, dice and rules. I have a lot of minis that are meant to represent NPCs, they aren't loaners. I fear that it encourages people to not bother worrying about bringing their own mini. I also usually have a supply of blank character sheets but those are for my own characters or NPCs, and I print out as many as I think I'll need for upcoming adventures. Starting now, if you ask me for a blank character sheet, you owe me a blank character sheet.
Characters should be up to date and ready to go. Except in the most extreme cases of procrastination on my part in posting XP, there's really no reason a person can't manage to get their XP and stuff totaled up on their character between sessions. Nobody is THAT busy. Once the game starts, if a character hasn't been updated, it's too late.
Game starts promptly at 8:00. That's why the pizza and stuff comes out at 7. It's to give people time to eat, chat, get ready. Our sessions are fairly short as it is, and every minute counts.
Side convos are rude, especially during DM exposition. It's rude to the DM, and it's inconsiderate to the other players.
Each player should have their own copy of the rules. I don't like loaning stuff out. It's not that I'm stingy, it's that people become complacent when they know loaners can be had and before yuo know it, your loaner stuff is always in use and there's not enough to go around. (Same as with the miniatures.) I know with 5th Edition coming that'll be a little tougher, but the rules are available online for free, so at the very least I'd recommend printing out the pages that have rules specific to your class.
Each player should be familiar enough with the rules to not bog the game down endlessly having to calculate "to hit" rolls or saving throws. We're all going to be struggling at first with 5th Edition, but 6 months from now if you're still struggling... That's an issue.
Updates, XP, house rules, schedule changes, etc. are posted on our website site for the convenience of all of us. I maintain this website so that there's a simple, quick way to get at information players need in order to stay up to date with the campaign happenings. I absolutely will not create a Facebook page for this stuff. It's no hardship to check the site forums and campaign page a couple of times a week. Every single player in our club owns a computer and most own a mobile device capable of checking the site. NOBODY is so busy that they can't find a few minutes a couple times a week to make sure they know what's going on. I do not maintain separate hard copies of XP awards, house rules, messages, etc. so if it's game night and you're asking me about some piece of information or another, I'd have to look on the site same as you. Therefore, do it yourself.
Game cancellations will be posted by me on the Message Boards page as soon as I realize a need to cancel. If that happens on the Friday of the game, I am willing to make a special effort to let folks know by text, especially those who come from a long distance. Even so, always check the page before heading over if at all possible. Again, we've got computers and mobile devices, and checking the site is no hardship. I have a bunch of kids and a full time job in addition to my DM duties. If I have time to maintain the website, you have time to check it.
DM materials belong with the DM. Players are asked not to have their own copies of the DMG, Monster Manuals or any other DM-specific book out during the game. If you have your own copies that's great, but keep them packed up during the game, please. Exceptions are during times when a player has to look up a magic item that their character has, but that should be kept to a minimum.
I don't mean to come across like an ogre about this stuff. We're getting together primarily to socialize, have fun and throw dice around and nobody wants to feel like they're coming to class. It's just that I spend an immense amount of time reading up, working out XP, setting up encounters, updating the site and other miscellaneous things to get the game ready and it feels pointless when there are a lot of distractions and bogging down during the game.