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D&D General [+] Ravenloft, horror, & safety tools...

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
My wife thinks I was wrong.

So, from the point of view of the tools conversation - when a player has an issue with a topic, the GM has a choice. You either accommodate the players, or you tell the players your game will not be for them. From perspective of use of these tools, the only "wrong" choice is to tell the players you'll accommodate their needs, and then not do so.

Whether you want to play with folks who do not want inclusive content in the game is out of scope of this discussion.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Trying to not sound "thread-cappy" or dismissive, but if I have any inclination that my players aren't cool with horror or any other thing that might come up in a given game, I simply don't run it. I save that theme or adventure for another group. My current group isn't cool with some parts of Rime of the Frostmaiden, so I'm switching it around to meet their tastes. If there was something that I didn't know about (like if a player had a spider phobia), I'd make note to not use them in encounters again with that player.
For me, I'd rather just stay away from the lines once I know where they are placed. I don't want to ask a player "how much cruelty to animals are you okay with" - I just don't put that in their adventure.
This has resulted in me ending campaigns prematurely. Like when I was running an undead-centered campaign and a player's husband passed away IRL. After that, raiding crypts, stalking cemeteries, etc., just felt wrong. And that's okay. To me the game isn't some sacred, artistic expression. It's a leisure activity meant to be shared with friends.
Do others think this makes me a bad GM? (My wife suggests that what I'm cutting out of Rime of the Frostmaiden makes me a bad GM and it's borderline a character flaw.)
Bad DM? Not at all. I had a fairly similar situation. Several players were brothers and their father died. A player was going to switch to playing a necromancer around the same time. I strongly suggested that particular concept be put on hold. I erred on the side of not poking the players in a recent trauma. That feels like politeness and compassion to me.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
This specific case is based on something that I discussed with my players that is largely considered positive in the gaming community and by the content creators, but makes the players feel uncomfortable. So in this case the players' X's were inclusion, gender identity, and sexual orientation. So for their comfort I presented the world in a heteronormative fashion.
My wife thinks I was wrong. I don't know - does the X card apply to these issues as well? I erred on the side of making the environment comfortable since they obviously had issues, after I discussed it with them.
To me, a big part of safety tools is to help facilitate the inclusion of players. They’re meant as a check in to see if anything is over the line. Take racism as an example. It’s one of the things listed on the Consent in Gaming and Stay Alive! checklists. The options are: line, veil, green light. So you can say zero racism, background-only racism, or racism is okay. There’s no option for racism must be focused on. There’s no “racism must be a big, main focus of this game”. So even the most basic reading of safety tools, that is a subversion of their intent. That’s safety tools as explicitly excluding players. Sorry to say, but I think your wife is right on that one.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
You are going very deep into comparing apples & screwdrivers by comparing the vicarious thrill of something like someone torturing clowns

No, I'm not. I was told to "ask any person with arachnophobia..." (emphasis mine) . I was providing a counter, that happens to be from personal experience. I was provided with an absolute statement, and provided the one example logically needed to show that absolute does not hold.

The point being that not all phobia is the same - and if a person indicates to you that they have a problem with spiders you absolutely cannot assume that making it so that they can kill the spiders will end well. If you get an indication that the material isn't okay, you either don't include it, or you discuss with the player before introducing that content to get more details about their needs.

If you ask them about what bothers them and then surprise them with that thing when they thought they were safe from it, that is very much not okay.

Several folks here seem to be approaching this like there's some need to find exactly how far you can go, and find exceptions. If you actually are trying to prioritize safety at your table, that's not a very constructive approach. You have the entire world of imagination to work with - you can just leave the bloody clowns out. If you can't, then you can tell the player the game won't be for them.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Okay, so, here's a language thing. Before, you said, "I'm perfectly fine enjoying the view as a passenger over that bridge," (emphasis mine). The white-knuckle-grip, to me, is an indication that you are most definitely not "perfectly fine," and are instead barely managing to hold on to your cool, and the view is really not the foremost thing on your mind.

Use of these tools requires clarity and honesty. Polite understatement of the situation - like, the driver looks at your white knuckles and clenched jaw, and asks if you are okay, and you say, "I'm fine." - is going to defeat the purpose.
yes I said that because I'm capable of enjoying the view & experience of doing something cool with friends/family/etc that is made capable only because of that stress. That mix of stress fear excitement & pleasure hormones can be found in a great many ways, but the screams accompanying so many videos of rollercoasters & skydivers that it's practically a stereotype. That highly stimulated mix of adrenaline oxytocin dopamine & cortisol is present in each of those to varying degrees. I picked the sunshine skyway bridge because I've twice had to get a friend & spouse to come get me & my car so I could cross it to get to their house while visiting them in tampa/leaving with both trip being a weirdly enjoyable experience rather than simply because it's a scary looking mountain of a bridge.

We are probably never going to agree on phobias, that's ok though because we don't need to in order to talk about why the dislike/emotionally harmful distinction is important to improving these kinds of tools to meet the needs of a horror campaign where the characters are expected to be deliberately unsettled. Approval & agreement is different from recognizing serious problems being ignored in order to use some of these tools for something they were not designed for.

There are probably therapy & care type situations where tools very similar to these are used to help make sure vulnerable & traumatized individuals are not accidentally given problematic negative stimulus in a situation or environment not trying to deliberately use things like horror tropes with the intent of disturbing the character being played by an individual player. That makes areas where analogous tools are used in order to safely enjoy the deliberate engagement in potentially harmful activities a better source to look towards for improvements than that possible therapeutic/care one.

Here is a good example from a rhime of the frostmaiden game I'm playing in where horror tropes unexpectedly came up in relevant ways that show where these kinds of tools need growth to meet the levels needed for a campaign where horror tropes are expected to come up deliberately. This all developed organically in a game not expecting horror in an encounter the GM expected to generate a dead ghost. That ghost almost did die twice & in the process one player was made uncomfortable by the GM attempting to avoid killing low level PCs. Possession was involved, nut that gleefully experienced ability of the ghost was not the problem either. Correcting those problems involves discussion rather than blindly accepting that a good first step as the gold standard end all be all

There is a point where you can encounter a lawful neutral MM147 wearing an NPC's body because they have rather undefined things they want to keep doing.
  • Player1 was aged around 30-40 years by horrifying visage & pretty much shrugged as a changeling & opted to fix herlooks later. Player2 was possessed & said player was thrilled after getting a text saying it was LN & asked to go off to the side to talk to the gm . GM was worried because he expected to be getting a ration of shit only to be surprised when the player wanted details on the ghost's motivations & such(completely mundane bordering on near nonexistent motivations & goals). Player3 went on for like three sessions playing this ghost as it juggled learning the abilities of the new meat suit & the suspicions of two other players. everyone had a blast.
  • Mid session 3 Player1 & player3 agreed they were going to confront the ghost in their friend. They had been occasionally watching player2 work with the gm openly & secretly towards the goal of said ghost getting dumped to his awakened spellbook in a couple levels. They didn't know specifics but knew there were enthusiastic plans in motion from player2 The confrontation was not done well & this player still wanted to keep this ghost so was very motivated. This happened largely because player3 decided he was going to force the issue using a sword at night while staying in different locked rooms at an inn. Everyone is still having a blast
  • Players2 &3 were obviously not unified & did a poor job in the initial confrontation allowing the ghost to escape with the meatsuit secretly cheering on from the back seat. Remember, the possessed player2 had more than once told them everything was fine as a player & to let things play out while player1 was suspicious but finding it interesting to watch. Everyone is still having a blast
  • Eventually they caught up & after forcing the ghost from their friend with a spell(PfG&E?). Player2 is worried about the ghost he wanted to make into his awakened spellbook's bobmaybe being about to get killed. Everyone is still having a blast
    • Ghost is next up on the initiative, player3 is aged 10 years (minimum) by a panicked ghost suddenly forced from a comfy meat suit.. but player3 was very upset. even though it was only the minimum10 years.
That's not even a horror game & the ghost's motives were basically to not be dead. One player was having a blast needing to balance "do anything needed" with "do everything to blend in enough". A second player was a paladin happy to have an excuse that let them fume with indignation. A third wanted to better understand the situation until suddenly zomg my character is ten years older(?!?!)the party must fix with forced march across icewind dale to a church for a greater restoration

This was an entirely unplanned case of near SymbioticPossession rather than some kind of horror themed DemonicPossession in a non horror campaign resulting in two different players thrilled for completely different unexpected reasons & a third freaked out over things that barely fit within the lines & veils or various ill suited checklists being repurposed. Mot if not all of those things that were completely unknown by the players.

in a single turn two sessions after everyone (including Player1) forgot Player1 was aged 30-40 years player3 realized that having her character subjected to rapid aging is emotionally harmful. The GM was kinda worried about the whole thing and admitted he used that ability because nobody seemed to care when it happened to player1 & based on our after session mid cleanup chat he said that the only reason for doing that was trying not to risk killing any of the very low level PCs with the no longer meatsuited ghost he was unexpectedly controlling. In anon-horror game a GM did all that by trying to avoid doing something that might upset someone

Who's at fault for Player 3's discomfort?... player1 for playing along with an NPC that seems to only be affecting them? Player 2 for forcing the issue with potential violence? The GM for making an honest attempt to avoid causing anyone discomfort over a PC death? Player 3 for not saying anything that would have allowed her to make her discomfort over being the target of "horrifying Visage" when it happened to player 1 a couple sessions prior to it hitting her?

In this case the fault or share of it were probably not too important matter if it's anyone at all but in a horror campaign it could have been much worse. Here's how those tools could be improved to handle those kind of needs. Take Lines & veils as a start

1619666479037.png

veils are a great concept for a horror game or horror themed campaign for the same reason they are i horror films where they are called a Discretion Shot. Whatever you call it they are absolutely not a "soft limit". The events of that frostmaiden game nicely show why correcting that is important if the idea of safety tools for a horror campaign is to be taken seriously. From here on I'll be making quite a few references to how the term soft limits has been used for many many years in other communities & quoting articles on them.


The bit on lines & hard limits in lines & veils kicks off as a good start, simplified but not bad. That simplistic problem no doubt led to a lot of the "they might not really be X" discussion due to the resulting ambiguity making it difficult if not impossible to avoid misinterpretation. Take this blurb I pulled from part of a hard limits vrs soft limits article. I'm going to change the underlined word to a reasonable substitute that probably wasn't needed
When considering what your hard limits are you should consider things that are against your own personal moral code, things that 'ick' you out, and things that might cause health problems for you or trigger your phobias. For example, I suffer from very poor circulation and so cold temperatures can be a big problem for me. Exposure to cold temperatures is one of my hard limits. I also have a huge fear of balloons. This fear has the potential to trigger a panic response. This is important for my DM to know especially if playing in a public/club setting where the presence of balloons as decorations could be possible.
That is a clear & concise explanation of the kinds of things that need to be considered for a hard limit & leaves little room for confusion if someone should check an item as a hard limit or line in ways that both "lines & veils" as well as "
1619674638082.png
" does not. It also clearly expresses the gravity of why someone should be checking a hard limit. I have never heard or seen debate over hard limits in that community like I saw in the last thread over if someone should really check something as a line or not. Clear wording like that would have avoided the whole "debate" in the first place.

That veil as a soft limit though?.... it describes a Discretion Shot not a soft limit. Soft limits are important and fill a very different role than fade to black or a thing happening to someone else who might be enjoying it. From the same article here's the writeup for soft limits, again with the underline
Soft limits are things that are not hard limits in the "no never gonna happen" way. They are either things that at the current time you feel are not for you and/or possibly things that maybe you have no experience with, but may like to explore under the right circumstances. Soft limits are often seen as boundaries and edges that the DM can explore and push with/for you.

As with all aspects of horror, limits are not set in stone. It is completely acceptable for them to change over time. For example, when I first put my soft limits list together, one of the things on there was activity1. I had no experience with it at all. When I thought about it as a concept, it did nothing for me. It neither excited me, nor freaked me out. So, it was a soft limit for me because it was utterly unknown territory. Over time, seeing images and others exploring the kink sparked my interest. Eventually, my DM decided to push me a little a see what reaction he got. Now, activity1 is a huge thing for me.

Likewise, things can also move in the other direction. For example, take activity2. It was only when it was done to me that I had a huge negative response. It became something that is now a hard limit for me. With that in mind, it is a good idea to regularly review your hard and soft limits with your group as you evolve to learn more about what does and does not work for you.
The lines and veils assume perfect knowledge & leave no room for "I dunno does nothing either way" while not doing anything to encourage people to keep thinking on them or revisiting them. Prior to those icewind dale game where player1 player2 & player3 all learned that various inadvertent horror tropes taught them that they have totally unexpected (dis)interests & if we were playing a horror campaign with tools intended for a horror campaign should have updated them accordingly.

If a player doesn't know & thinks they have no strong feelings either way so check off a green
1619674838989.png
because they've not been given good guidance on what the options mean & important options are missing. Checking that green tells the GM to do exactly that full speed ahead. If a player doesn't know & they check off something as a soft limit that soft limit is an area the GM knows to tread lightly & ease into things in a way that players can raise anything being newly discovered that needs raising
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
So, from the point of view of the tools conversation - when a player has an issue with a topic, the GM has a choice. You either accommodate the players, or you tell the players your game will not be for them. From perspective of use of these tools, the only "wrong" choice is to tell the players you'll accommodate their needs, and then not do so.

Whether you want to play with folks who do not want inclusive content in the game is out of scope of this discussion.
Yeah, I think this is the right answer here.

So I'm transgender, but I'm also asexual. Explicit sexual content is something that makes me fairly uncomfortable, at least from a TTRPG perspective. When my friends want to break out Shadowhearts, for instance, I typically exclude myself (even though I love that game).

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to uncomfortable with issues of gender expression and sexuality at the TTRPG (inclusion, less so; but then I also know people for whom Inclusivity & Equity is their day job, and I could see one or two of them wanting to enjoy themselves outside of work without having to deal with it, if they can avoid it). The obvious examples would be an individual who is questioning and/or closeted, and isn't comfortable at this point exploring those issues in a tabletop setting, or someone who is an activist and doesn't wants to play the game without being reminded of the trauma they have to constantly navigate (see the above scenario about inclusion, though from the context that doesn't seem to have been the case there.

But also, the "this game is probably not going to be a good fit for you" solution is often ignored and overlooked by all the folx wringing their hands over these things; nobody is forced to do anything regardless of how many or which tools they're using. You don't have to accommodate a player. One example I used to see a lot was a DM planning a big Underdark/Drow campaign and one of their players says they're arachnophobic and can't deal with spiders. The handwringers would have you believe that the only choice is to completely destroy your plans as the DM, but it's equally valid and okay to just say "Well, there are going to be a lot of spiders in this one, so if you want to sit this one out, I understand."
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
No, I'm not. I was told to "ask any person with arachnophobia..." (emphasis mine) . I was providing a counter, that happens to be from personal experience. I was provided with an absolute statement, and provided the one example logically needed to show that absolute does not hold.

The point being that not all phobia is the same - and if a person indicates to you that they have a problem with spiders you absolutely cannot assume that making it so that they can kill the spiders will end well. If you get an indication that the material isn't okay, you either don't include it, or you discuss with the player before introducing that content to get more details about their needs.

If you ask them about what bothers them and then surprise them with that thing when they thought they were safe from it, that is very much not okay.

Several folks here seem to be approaching this like there's some need to find exactly how far you can go, and find exceptions. If you actually are trying to prioritize safety at your table, that's not a very constructive approach. You have the entire world of imagination to work with - you can just leave the bloody clowns out. If you can't, then you can tell the player the game won't be for them.
You are looking at this from the wrong point of view, a horror campaign where the characters will be getting deliberately exposed to things that may or may not be likely to make that character uncomfortable or unsetttled, how far i too far for the player is incredibly critical for horror safety tools built for that type of campaign.

With the recent talk of racism & homophobia wrt the safety tools?... soooo xmen is off the table? What about obvious minority members of the team who regularly face discrimination because they don't look non-mutant enough like Nightcrawler Beast & others? How about stereotypical orcs & goblins, can they exist & what happens if another player makes mention of gearing up to fight raider orcs that weren't intended as raider orcs? These kind of questions require conversation starting tools because they can't be answered by an exhaustive no pressure do what your comfortable with checklist that demands people to act as some kind of mindreading ninja with things like this
Nobody has to explain why they’re not consenting. Nobody is owed an explanation to the game group about it. The person refusing consent is not responsible for making the group understand why a topic is a problem for them. Roleplaying in a gaming group is not meant to take the place of therapy, nor religious advisement. It's not the group's job to counsel people about a consent topic. If you are the one objecting to that topic, you don’t have to volunteer that you don’t want to talk about it—the default is that you don’t have to and aren’t going to talk about it. (Note that if your gaming group includes people who are your friends and care about you, they may ask if you want to talk about the topic, but you can still say no.)
@Gradine raised the idea that nobody is forced to use these tools & that you can't always accommodate a person focused exclusively on one side of the discussion, that goes both ways. A player who can't handle the sort of "more open-ended and as conversation starting tools rather than try to write up exhaustive lists of every possible trope or theme." @overgeeked mentioned needed for campaigns with deliberate horror elements fall under that same umbrella of not being able to the group

Those tools being a bad fit for that player doesn't make them bad any more than these tools are bad because they are a bad fit for campaigns with deliberate horror
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
The lines and veils assume perfect knowledge & leave no room for "I dunno does nothing either way" while not doing anything to encourage people to keep thinking on them or revisiting them. Prior to those icewind dale game where player1 player2 & player3 all learned that various inadvertent horror tropes taught them that they have totally unexpected (dis)interests & if we were playing a horror campaign with tools intended for a horror campaign should have updated them accordingly.
This is what in-game tools (stuff like the X-card) and de-briefing sessions are all about. No (reasonable) DM is going to sit there holding the forms from session zero saying "Well, you didn't put it down at the beginning, so tough noogies." The thing about TTRPG's is... you never know what's going to happen in them! That's kind of the major appeal of them! So if you're a player and something comes up that you didn't think would be a problem for you but you're realizing definitely is a problem for you right now, all you gotta do is make the T-for-timeout with your hands and talk about what's happening, and discuss possible solutions to turns that the situation might take.

You're right in that these tools should probably be shaped and edited to better match the genre (you probably wouldn't need to know if anyone has a problem with guns in D&D, but in Call of Cthulhu?) and, more specifically, what the DM has potential plans for. There's not necessarily going to be one single, all-encompassing "one-size-fits-all" tool. The DM is going to have to make adjustments (go get it energized) (sorry) for it to be the right tool for their table. And also probably have a plan for what to do if some unexpected line is crossed mid-session.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Being dominated isn’t supposed to be nice. It’s supposed to be horrific. That’s it’s thing. Similar to being murdered except you have to watch it being done.

I love how compulsion in Wheel of Time is treated with the disgust and shock it deserves.

However players that are cool with it on other people but not on themselves are missing the point I think. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
 

Faolyn

Hero
This specific case is based on something that I discussed with my players that is largely considered positive in the gaming community and by the content creators, but makes the players feel uncomfortable. So in this case the players' X's were inclusion, gender identity, and sexual orientation. So for their comfort I presented the world in a heteronormative fashion.
My wife thinks I was wrong. I don't know - does the X card apply to these issues as well? I erred on the side of making the environment comfortable since they obviously had issues, after I discussed it with them.
No, the X card shouldn't apply here because sexual orientations and identities are intrinsic parts of people, not actions or events.

What I would have done in this case is ask the player what made them uncomfortable about those things. Now, 99.5% chance that the person would have replied with something bigoted (which at my table would have resulted in getting tossed out), but on that 0.5% chance that the person just didn't want to get hit on by someone of the same sex, that you could have accommodated.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Being dominated isn’t supposed to be nice. It’s supposed to be horrific. That’s it’s thing. Similar to being murdered except you have to watch it being done.

I love how compulsion in Wheel of Time is treated with the disgust and shock it deserves.

However players that are cool with it on other people but not on themselves are missing the point I think. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
As I mentioned in the other thread, I have a player who, due to bad religious upbringing, couldn't tolerate his characters being possessed. He's OK with it happening to other characters (I asked). I don't think he's "missing the point" here. In this case, it's not the concept of being possessed that bothers him so much as the connections to (what is likely) emotional abuse in his upbringing.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Being dominated isn’t supposed to be nice. It’s supposed to be horrific. That’s it’s thing. Similar to being murdered except you have to watch it being done.

I love how compulsion in Wheel of Time is treated with the disgust and shock it deserves.

However players that are cool with it on other people but not on themselves are missing the point I think. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
There are players who don't want their character to die. According to your logic, that means there's no death in a game.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
This is what in-game tools (stuff like the X-card) and de-briefing sessions are all about. No (reasonable) DM is going to sit there holding the forms from session zero saying "Well, you didn't put it down at the beginning, so tough noogies." The thing about TTRPG's is... you never know what's going to happen in them! That's kind of the major appeal of them! So if you're a player and something comes up that you didn't think would be a problem for you but you're realizing definitely is a problem for you right now, all you gotta do is make the T-for-timeout with your hands and talk about what's happening, and discuss possible solutions to turns that the situation might take.

You're right in that these tools should probably be shaped and edited to better match the genre (you probably wouldn't need to know if anyone has a problem with guns in D&D, but in Call of Cthulhu?) and, more specifically, what the DM has potential plans for. There's not necessarily going to be one single, all-encompassing "one-size-fits-all" tool. The DM is going to have to make adjustments (go get it energized) (sorry) for it to be the right tool for their table. And also probably have a plan for what to do if some unexpected line is crossed mid-session.
I agree that may have been their intent, but those tools are not exempt from the same needing to be "shaped & edited to better match the genre" hurdle. A player deliberately riding the wire balancing feel good & reward hormones like dopamine oxytocin & adrenaline with stress hormones in a game where those things are being deliberately invoked is going to feel intense pressure to tough it out & prove themselves. That pressure will make actively thrusting themselves in the spotlight to shut that down very difficult. The X card & such are reactive tools needed when someone is not going to be in the same neutral clear headed state as when filling out a proactive tool long before reaching that state.

Looking at those proactive forms only from the point of a gm going back to scold the player for not filling out the form right if things change is the wrong approach. Proactive tools can also exist to proactively chart a couse of safe sane & consensual fun. In a horror campaign where at times the characters are going to be deliberately targeted those proactive forms also provide insight or the GM to target individual characters in a safe sane & consensual way that moves at speeds people are comfortable with enjoying.
 
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TheSword

Legend
Supporter
There are players who don't want their character to die. According to your logic, that means there's no death in a game.
I would give short shrift to a player who expected not to die, but was happy to see (or even contribute) to other NPCs or creatures dying.

The hypocrisy of rejecting domination is that there are lots of equivalents in the game.
  • Madness caused by Confusion
  • Paralysation while something attacks you
  • Fear that makes you flee while your friends are left to fight alone and the abandonment that comes with that.
Loss of control is scary. That’s the point.

Sure you can stick to being a bag of hp if you prefer. You’re just rejecting useful tools in the horror toolbox.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I would give short shrift to a player who expected not to die, but was happy to see (or even contribute) to other NPCs or creatures dying.
Good for you. You've rejected a large swathe of modern players.
Loss of control is scary. That’s the point.
Ah. So you recognize that it's scary, and since this is a thread about safety tools...about tools to empower players to reject things that are scary in the name of their personal feelings and safety...what are you on about again?
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Good for you. You've rejected a large swathe of modern players.

Ah. So you recognize that it's scary, and since this is a thread about safety tools...about tools to empower players to reject things that are scary in the name of their personal feelings and safety...what are you on about again?
As has been said anyone who had with issues with idea of lack of control because it caused emotional trauma would be protected. These things would just be removed from the game. I would expect that to be an issue for anyone in the game to suffer that though. Not that they were cool with it, just not when it happened to them.

If I was concerned because of well-being, not to include domination, paralysation, fear effects, madness, charm or loss of bodily autonomy... then I would not be running a horror campaign. I’d even be concerned whether standard heroic D&D would be appropriate given the prevalence of these effects.

Surely people play in a horror setting to get a thrill of fear or tension though. Otherwise why bother. Once you take out vampires, mummies, werewolves, ghosts, mind flayers, surgical tables with restraints and glinting instruments what is the point?

I find it fascinating that people equivocate what are to me obviously inappropriate elements (sexual assault, trans/homophobic insults, child abuse, real world terminal diseases) with typical game elements like fear, charm, paralysation, spiders (and amazingly clowns).

Am I the only one who sees a clear order of magnitude between the former and the latter. Only to be crossed with the explicit permission of the group and with great care if needed at all.
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
As has been said anyone who had with issues with idea of lack of control because it caused emotional trauma would be protected. These things would just be removed from the game. I would expect that to be an issue for anyone in the game to suffer that though. Not that they were cool with it, just not when it happened to them.
Can you understand the difference between a PC and an NPC? Then you should be able to grok the difference between a player not wanting something to effect their character whilst being okay with it effecting an NPC.
If I was concerned because of well-being, not to include domination, paralysation, fear effects, madness, charm or loss of bodily autonomy... then I would not be running a horror campaign.
Well, good thing that's not what we're talking about then. What we're talking about is domination. Not the rest. Also, there's a whole wide universe of horror to draw from. Can you honestly find nothing else in the entire genre you could use? That's an incredibly limited view of horror you seem to have.
I’d even be concerned whether standard heroic D&D would be appropriate given the prevalence of these effects.
Maybe we should examine their prevalence in standard heroic D&D. Again, safety tools are meant to help players feel safe at the gaming table. A lot of people do not want to lose bodily autonomy. Maybe those effects should be lessened across the board.
Surely people play in a horror setting to get a thrill of fear or tension though. Otherwise why bother. Once you take out vampires, mummies, werewolves, ghosts, mind flayers, surgical tables with restraints and glinting instruments what is the point?
Again, we're not talking about that list of things, nor is the horror genre limited to those things. You appear to be wildly flailing at this point.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Can you understand the difference between a PC and an NPC? Then you should be able to grok the difference between a player not wanting something to effect their character whilst being okay with it effecting an NPC.

Well, good thing that's not what we're talking about then. What we're talking about is domination. Not the rest. Also, there's a whole wide universe of horror to draw from. Can you honestly find nothing else in the entire genre you could use? That's an incredibly limited view of horror you seem to have.

Maybe we should examine their prevalence in standard heroic D&D. Again, safety tools are meant to help players feel safe at the gaming table. A lot of people do not want to lose bodily autonomy. Maybe those effects should be lessened across the board.

Again, we're not talking about that list of things, nor is the horror genre limited to those things. You appear to be wildly flailing at this point.
Ahh. It makes sense now. You seem to treating not wanting and being unacceptable as synonymous.

“I don’t want X to happen to me” is not the same as “it is unacceptable for X to happen to me”.

I don’t want my characters to die. I would not say “it is unacceptable for my characters to die.” I don’t want my character to die, but I accept that there might be a risk of death.

I would say it is “unacceptable for my character to be sexually assaulted” though. My DM needs to know that even considering sexually assaulting a character of mine, or anyone else at the table when I’m there is unacceptable.
 

Faolyn

Hero
I find it fascinating that people equivocate what are to me obviously inappropriate elements (sexual assault, trans/homophobic insults, child abuse, real world terminal diseases) with typical game elements like fear, charm, paralysation, spiders (and amazingly clowns).

Am I the only one who sees a clear order of magnitude between the former and the latter. Only to be crossed with the explicit permission of the group and with great care if needed at all.
So here's the thing: the human body has only so many ways to respond to things that upset or threaten it. It kind of doesn't matter if it's a real world thing or a completely fictional thing: if your body decides to send you the "NOOOO!!!" signal, you get that signal, even if the stimulus is something completely harmless to you in reality--like having your character be Paralyzed.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Ahh. It makes sense now. You seem to treating not wanting and being unacceptable as synonymous.

“I don’t want X to happen to me” is not the same as “it is unacceptable for X to happen to me”.

I don’t want my characters to die. I would not say “it is unacceptable for my characters to die.” I don’t want my character to die, but I accept that there might be a risk of death.

I would say it is “unacceptable for my character to be sexually assaulted” though. My DM needs to know that even considering sexually assaulting a character of mine, or anyone else at the table when I’m there is unacceptable.
Sort of. But it's a good start.

The difference between a preference and a line is that "don't want" vs "unacceptable".

For you, sexual assault is a line. For me, domination is a line. Now imagine a dozen or so posts arguing with you on whether your line was acceptable to other posters or not. Imagine what that would be like. Having to defend your line on sexual assault. But then, I'm sure you have had that experience. Having to justify a "no rape" policy to other gamers. I bet that sucked. A lot. So why the pushback on my lines here? I don't get to have a line because you don't agree with it. Too bad. That's not your decision to make for me. What have you said to people arguing that rape is on the table no matter what you say? How would the exact same not apply here with you arguing that my lines are unacceptable to you?
I find it fascinating that people equivocate what are to me obviously inappropriate elements (sexual assault, trans/homophobic insults, child abuse, real world terminal diseases) with typical game elements like fear, charm, paralysation, spiders (and amazingly clowns).

Am I the only one who sees a clear order of magnitude between the former and the latter. Only to be crossed with the explicit permission of the group and with great care if needed at all.
What's a line for you may not be a line for someone else. That's the point. People assuming their lines apply to everyone else is the source of a lot of problems. What you find unacceptable others revel in. What you find beneath contempt (a fear of clowns, for example), others find abjectly terrifying. A phobia of clowns is a real thing, by the way. So too with spiders. Loss of control. Etc. Your lines are not my lines. And neither of us should have to justify their lines to the other. Yet here we are.
 

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