Consent in Gaming - Free Guidebook

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Zardnaar

Hero
If someone tells me about XYZ I believe them I'm not going to argue about it.

If XYZ is completely incompatible with what you want to do or you have multiple people with conflicting XYZs your gonna have to draw a line in the Sand somewhere.

If you're running Out of the Abyss be upfront about demons and Underdark. And in a public setting that's pick up and play it may not be possible to prep something else.
 

Gradine

Archivist
Do you expect this sort of thing to persuade or convert anyone?

Taking you in good faith, that you want this issue to be treated seriously, why would you make it harder to agree with your position?
Because I got super heated and there's a lot of stuff going on in my life outside of this and I got set off. It happens. I'm not proud.

For what it's worth, I do apologize for the flippancy. I don't apologize for calling out dismissiveness over what is (not what I perceive but what actually is) a hugely important issue, not just for me but for a lot of people (some of whom I know and care about). It sucks hearing that kind of nonsense day in and day out; being told you're overreacting; being told that you're just trying to manipulate others; when all you're trying to do is get through your day without having to be reminded of or forced to relive the worst experiences of your life. It really sucks to hear that **** coming from people you otherwise respect; who otherwise present as entirely reasonable and rational people. Like, you kind of expect it from certain people, but there are others from whom it hits like a sack of bricks. Because they are otherwise reasonable and rational and...

It just makes you feel like maybe you are the crazy one. It's just... it's just ****ty. And I know better. It doesn't make it suck any less.

And I just want more people to know, or to just understand what it feels like; but sometimes it feels like the only people who do are the people who've been through it too. And that's not something I would wish on anyone. And even some of us perpetuate that same garbage. Because some of us have heard it so many times we've started to believe it. And we haven't had anybody to help us understand ourselves better. I just want... people to listen. And believe. And so I try and I try and I try and I just.... never get through.

I can only bash my head against the same brick wall so many times before something breaks, you know?
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
I suppose, but I think what the doc is saying is let’s respect that person’s distress at face value rather than second guess them or get defensive about our own pet campaigns. Are we really that worried about Munchausen Syndrome? Would that not be an extreme edge case that would eventually come out anyway? The argument feels like a red herring to me.
Sure. I’m just saying if we’re gonna ask others to take a person’s distress at face value, that we should treat others’ distress about it sincerely. Live the behavior you want adopted.
 

Wolfpack48

Explorer
I suppose the elephant in the room is that many roleplayers have experienced trauma of one kind or another. I think it’s a major reason people roleplay, because it’s a safe and creative hobby that involves socializing without the pressure of the real world. Most everyone I have gamed with has had something terrible in their lives. Acknowledging and respecting that can only be a good thing.
 
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Wolfpack48

Explorer
Because I got super heated and there's a lot of stuff going on in my life outside of this and I got set off. It happens. I'm not proud.

For what it's worth, I do apologize for the flippancy. I don't apologize for calling out dismissiveness over what is (not what I perceive but what actually is) a hugely important issue, not just for me but for a lot of people (some of whom I know and care about). It sucks hearing that kind of nonsense day in and day out; being told you're overreacting; being told that you're just trying to manipulate others; when all you're trying to do is get through your day without having to be reminded of or forced to relive the worst experiences of your life. It really sucks to hear that **** coming from people you otherwise respect; who otherwise present as entirely reasonable and rational people. Like, you kind of expect it from certain people, but there are others from whom it hits like a sack of bricks. Because they are otherwise reasonable and rational and...

It just makes you feel like maybe you are the crazy one. It's just... it's just ****ty. And I know better. It doesn't make it suck any less.

And I just want more people to know, or to just understand what it feels like; but sometimes it feels like the only people who do are the people who've been through it too. And that's not something I would wish on anyone. And even some of us perpetuate that same garbage. Because some of us have heard it so many times we've started to believe it. And we haven't had anybody to help us understand ourselves better. I just want... people to listen. And believe. And so I try and I try and I try and I just.... never get through.

I can only bash my head against the same brick wall so many times before something breaks, you know?
People are (slowly) starting to get it. Hang in there!
 

Bedrockgames

Adventurer
So, again, you don't have to use it. I won't be using it, but that's just because I know my tables right now.

But you can't project your wants and needs on to everyone else, or assume that this is some kind of overblown issue. It can be hard for people to speak up and raise an issue, and this can be a good way to get difficult conversations started.

For the life of me, I don't understand why anyone would be against that.
It just ridiculous to have a check list of things you would consent to in an RPG (especially when the list includes things like thirst and severe weather). It is like a parody from sketch comedy. Maybe some people will find it a useful conversation starter. I don’t think it is something that would be good if it became the norm in the hobby. I do think if people find use in it, that is fine. But I do have concerns about where this is going. And I do think it is perfectly okay to express those concern (people don’t have to agree with me and are free to make their own choices about it).
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
It just ridiculous to have a check list of things you would consent to in an RPG (especially when the list includes things like thirst and severe weather). It is like a parody from sketch comedy. Maybe some people will find it a useful conversation starter. I don’t think it is something that would be good if it became the norm in the hobby. I do think if people find use in it, that is fine. But I do have concerns about where this is going. And I do think it is perfectly okay to express those concern (people don’t have to agree with me and are free to make their own choices about it).
Yeah some bits of the checklist are a little out there. But the basic idea is that a player at a public game approaches you and says “hey this stuff bugs me, is any of it in your game?” And then you can go, “sorry yeah there is” or “nah you’re good.”

Basic idea is sound. Good, honest, up-front, open communication is better than most alternatives.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Yeah some bits of the checklist are a little out there. But the basic idea is that a player at a public game approaches you and says “hey this stuff bugs me, is any of it in your game?” And then you can go, “sorry yeah there is” or “nah you’re good.”

Basic idea is sound. Good, honest, up-front, open communication is better than most alternatives.
This you can't please everyone all of the time, please most of the people most of the time.
 

Bedrockgames

Adventurer
Yeah some bits of the checklist are a little out there. But the basic idea is that a player at a public game approaches you and says “hey this stuff bugs me, is any of it in your game?” And then you can go, “sorry yeah there is” or “nah you’re good.”

Basic idea is sound. Good, honest, up-front, open communication is better than most alternatives.
Maybe. I don't know. Like I said. People can do what they want and if the checklist is part of that, or if someone presenting a list of problems at a public game is how they want to go about it, that is fine. I just have a very hard time reading this and seeing how it is being discussed in some quarters, and not think we are getting into very flaky territory at best.
 

MGibster

Adventurer
A conscious choice to exclude a potential player because their consent issue runs afoul of your game - regardless of stripe - is not inclusive.
I humbly submit for your consideration that not all games are meant for all players. We all agree that it's acceptable to bow out of a game when someone dislikes or are uncomfortable with the content. It's also okay for others to say they do like the content and would prefer to continue having it in the game.
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
I humbly submit for your consideration that not all games are meant for all players. We all agree that it's acceptable to bow out of a game when someone dislikes or are uncomfortable with the content. It's also okay for others to say they do like the content and would prefer to continue having it in the game.
I not-so-humbly agree. If it’s not 100% mutual and 100% voluntary, then it is not consent.

Seems the purpose of the doc is to move from implied consent (which sometimes has some honest misunderstandings) to explicitly stated consent (that has less room for ambiguity). Which is fine. Everyone gets an honest “No thanks.”
 

Gradine

Archivist
Where were you all when the world was collectively losing their minds over "trigger warnings"? Cuz that's what y'all are talking about now and... yeah they're pretty alright.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I humbly submit for your consideration that not all games are meant for all players. We all agree that it's acceptable to bow out of a game when someone dislikes or are uncomfortable with the content. It's also okay for others to say they do like the content and would prefer to continue having it in the game.
This actually raises a good point: if this form is intended for use pre-game or pre-campaign, then a handy-for-the-DM add-on to the [paraphrased] "what content don't you want" section might be a "what content do you want/would you prefer" piece, and also an outright "what rating level (G,PG13,NC17,XXX) rating level are you comfortable with" question. This way, if one player answers "XXX-rated but no deserts" and another answers "I want a G-rated desert-themed game" the DM can iron this out before dropping the puck and hopefully before deciding who to invite in!

Personally, I'm probably a long way toward 'anything goes'. As a DM this is made clear up front; and as a player I'm far more likely to leave a game due to boredom than due to content. :)
 

Hussar

Legend
And people shouldn't necessarily expect that they can hold a full veto over the game, beyond simply walking away from the game,. But, in this thread, you can find people arguing that if someone was made to walk away from the game, because the group couldn't accommodate them, that that was a monstrous act. Maybe in some imaginary cases it was, but not for the majority that actually come up.
Been reading the thread from the beginning and I think this tidbit gets to the heart of things.

What is more important to you? The game or the people at the table playing that game? Because that's what it boils down to. "Oh, I can't change my game" means that the game is more important than that person. That doesn't make you a monster, but, it does show where your priorities are. If changing your game provokes that much of a reaction, then, sure, that player probably shouldn't sit at that table since that table obviously isn't interested in respecting that person's boundaries.

Again, this isn't a bad thing. We're playing a game. I should not feel like I have to deal with someone else's baggage in my free time. I'm not a psychiatrist. I'm not a mental health care worker. I'm sympathetic, sure, but, by the same token, I shouldn't feel like I have to deal with someone's issues in my free time.

OTOH, if you approach the hobby from the perspective that the people at the table are more important than the game, then, well, it would make perfect sense to change the game to accommodate someone's issues.

So, that's where it really boils down to. What's more important to you. And, obviously, that can change over time and situation as well. A con game with strangers is a different situation than a home game that's been running for extended periods of time. This is something everyone has to think about for themselves.
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
Where were you all when the world was collectively losing their minds over "trigger warnings"? Cuz that's what y'all are talking about now and... yeah they're pretty alright.
I’ll tell you - I was “losing my mind” over perceived infantilization. Because we weren’t having the same conversation over trigger warnings. Some folks wanted reasonable advance notice for stuff (a completely reasonable expectation).

And some were using the term for secondary gain. At work, I had a grown adult male claim to be triggered over a dispute in the amount of a reimbursement for a replacement rental vehicle. He shouted at me “you are triggering me,” repeatedly. That’s not honest brokering. That was a grown man trying to leverage the language of PTSD to avoid paying $30. That’s the most egregious, but not the only, personal example I have. Every day I hear something like “your employee was offensive. I’m offended!” And they’re not offensive, they just disagree and won’t be caving-in on issues because someone claims offense.

IOW, I’m 100% on board with reasonable accommodations for special needs and concerns. AND I’m 100% over bad actors capitalizing on the real issues of others for personal gain.

So that’s where I was. And am. There are bad actors and bad faith and people who use the truly vulnerable as shields. That’s infuriating.
 

Hussar

Legend
They can pull an X card, my X card is booting them from the game.
And, as a perfect, textbook example of what I just talked about, we have this.

Here is a 100% clear example of a DM for whom the game is more important than the players at the table. Again, totally fair. It's his game, he can run it however he likes. But, the point of this PDF is when you have DM's like this, for whom the game is more important than the players, the players can use something like their X card or their list to quickly realize that this game is not for them.

Everyone's happy. The player doesn't have to deal with stuff coming up at the table, and the DM doesn't have to compromise. Done.
 

Hussar

Legend
It just ridiculous to have a check list of things you would consent to in an RPG (especially when the list includes things like thirst and severe weather).
Umm, a few years ago nearly 20000 people died in the country I live in to "severe weather". ((Granted it was a tsunami from an earthquake, but, similar issue) Several million were directly affected. I have students who have lost family or know people who lost family to the tsunami and I live in an area that was totally unaffected, directly, by it.

The notion that "severe weather" can't be something that triggers people is a bit dismissive.

And, see, that's the point of the list. Just because you think it's "ridiculous" means that it would be extremely difficult for a player to come to you and talk to you about it for fear of being ridiculed. You don't get to decide what triggers other people. That's why they add in the caveat that you don't discuss it. It gets brought up and that's the end of the conversation, not the beginning.

Because, for people with trauma, "it's ridiculous" is far, far too often the response they have to face from everyone around them.
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
Bad actors are going to be bad actors using whatever tools they have at their disposal. It's no reason to withhold useful tools that people need to make their way through the world
Oh I absolutely agree. And I tried to make that part clear.
 
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