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Consent in Gaming - Free Guidebook

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A very OK person
Sometimes I worry that the real ideological divide on this and so many other similar issues is this:
  • one side believes that people will utilize this tool in good faith in order to communicate the kinds of scenarios that would likely aggravate past trauma;
  • the other side believes that people will utilize this tool in bad faith in order to manipulate and dominate a game so nobody gets to have any fun.
Whereas the reality is... yes. Maybe personal experience is coloring whether we see one or the other scenario is more or less likely. My own take is that the latter don't need a tool to accomplish what they set out to do (that is, ruin your game) whereas the former very often do. Maybe not this tool in specific, but other tools (session zero, Same Page Tool, etc.) that often work out to the same effect. I would say that this tool is a lot more nuanced than many of its critics seem to be willing to give it credit for, and at the same time not quite nuanced enough to be completely immune from said criticism.

There's another issue that came up as I was typing this that kind of bears a brief discussion, however:

This is exactly why I get frustrated to the point of breaking down and FAKE YELLING at people in CAPS LOCK (though to be honest, it's really difficult to maintain that level of emotional distress when you aren't allowed to curse). For a lot of people, particular those on the more critical side of efforts such as these, this kind of debate really is strictly academic or philosophical. For others of us, this is our lived experience, and we've had to deal with and try to learn what things work and don't work for a very long time. And it gets really, really, frustrating when those of us in the latter audience have our experiences dismissed by those in the former.

Consider that maybe, just maybe, if this conversation is purely academic for you, that you might actually have something to learn from people with actual practical experience in the subject.
Everyone is frustrated when their opinions or perspectives are dismissed.

I think it’s better to treat everyone’s concerns as though they do matter. I understand that your lived experiences make something like this document a relief. And I see that at the beginning of this thread, even potential objections were pre-cast as “alt-right” and “anti-inclusive.” This means those for whom this issue is academic are already anticipating being clubbed with the “alt-right” cudgel. It does not surprise me that people have a wary eye. That cudgel swings too wide sometimes.

I dont know. I just think it’s better to assume everyone’s concerns are good faith concerns (even when those concerns are about bad faith actors). It’s no good for anyone to take the position “that point doesn’t matter to me so therefore it doesn’t matter at all.” You hate when it’s done to you. So don’t do it to others. (Not YOU-you, but the y’all-you).

Anecdotally, I have had a content problem once in recent history. It was an honest misunderstanding in which one player wondered whether the NPC mob was lascivious (and they wanted to avoid that sort of situation) and the DM misinterpreted the question as an offer to increase the tension in the scene, because of the way the player asked the question. It was absolutely a simple miscommunication. And some clarity ahead of time might have avoided distressing the player.

So I get it. It happens. And for some people, explicit consent is preferable to implied consent for just that reason. It’s a valid concern.


Final Form
I've only read the last few pages of the thread, but I have to wonder why someone so easily traumatized by violence would play a violent game like D&D. I have a fear of heights and I guarantee you that you won't see me scaling a cliff. It seems to me that people would avoid things that are likely to trigger their traumas.

I did want to respond to this post in particular, because I think it's illustrative of an issue with one of the main critiques of the "veto" idea.

First off, though, to respond to this post specifically, not all RPGs are D&D, and in fact not all RPGs include violence. If you'd looked at document itself, you'd see that it's even very specifically associated with the Cypher System, a system that, in my admittedly limited awareness, isn't nearly as focused on violence and combat as D&D. Granted, the document is ultimately setting-neutral, but this comment is a bit off-based regardless.

But there's a bit of an overreaction in general to this thread that gets to the idea of "spoiling people's fun" in that there's a lot of things that are fun and not every RPG or session or campaign needs to contain every element of every RPG in order to be fun. Let's go to an example that has been passed around this thread a bit: spiders.

When I was a small child, I lived in an area that housed massive wolf spiders. One day, there was a particularly large one in my room. Typically, we scoop the creatures up in a glass and put them outside. My drunk uncle decided to instead step on it. This, naturally, caused a multitude of young spiders to spring forth into my room, and quite a few immediately began climbing me. I still have pretty severe arachnophobia. Still, by this point I've learned to be okay with fictional spiders.

A much younger version of me, however, probably wouldn't have been able to handle spiders in an RPG session. So, lets say teenage me is new to your table and I explain that I can't deal with spiders. But you've been using spiders a lot. You and your players have fun dealing with spiders. You either have to turn me away, or else accommodate me by spoiling everyone's fun, right?

But... how essential are the spiders to your fun, really? Is the game irrevocably ruined? Is it simply not possible that the game could be anywhere near as, let alone equally, fun without spiders in it? Really?

I mean, maybe you're running a drow heavy campaign and this is a bridge too far, and I get that. But again, not all games are D&D and not all D&D campaigns feature drow prominently, if at all. So, other than a case where spiders are completely relevant to the plot of the campaign, is this really so untenable of an ask?

Do you see why maybe there's a disconnect in what one person or another might consider reasonable or unreasonable?


My own take is that the latter don't need a tool to accomplish what they set out to do (that is, ruin your game) whereas the former very often do.

Well said. For all the hand wringing over whether such a tool for discussion will be used to ruin games, my take is that people who set out to ruin games don’t need a frikken tool to do it.

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