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

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
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 is not one single "the point" here.

The issues we are talking about are not generally born of cold logic and rational thought. Human psychology and neurology are not symmetric in this manner - we generally think about our selves and others differently (as in, literally using different areas of the brain). It therefore is not strange to see such asymmetry in our fears and reactions.

If you, as a GM decide that you want to impose symmetry, that's fine. But let us be clear - if you are the GM, removing charms and such from your arsenal doesn't really impede your ability to challenge the players, even if they still have them.
 

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TheSword

Legend
Supporter
There is not one single "the point" here.

The issues we are talking about are not generally born of cold logic and rational thought. Human psychology and neurology are not symmetric in this manner - we generally think about our selves and others differently (as in, literally using different areas of the brain). It therefore is not strange to see such asymmetry in our fears and reactions.

If you, as a GM decide that you want to impose symmetry, that's fine. But let us be clear - if you are the GM, removing charms and such from your arsenal doesn't really impede your ability to challenge the players, even if they still have them.
To be fair I meant missing the point of my post rather the point of the thread.

I don’t expect people I play with to be rational. Gods know we aren’t. I do expect them to be consistent though. I expect an element of equity that says if it’s not okay for something bad to happen to you, then it also becomes not ok for you to do it to other people. I do think this is a fundamental principle of fairness and respect. I’m not religious but I recognize the Golden Rule, treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
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).

The human limbic system is indeed fascinating! The limbic system is the where we initiate most of our emotional responses - it is the collection of bits of your brain built, among other things, to say, "Oh sh*t! Jaguar!!!" and get your adrenal glands pumping before you can think things through, because if you don't, the jaguar will eat you. It is tightly bound to memory, but NOT to logical processing, which is too darned slow for the limbic system.

And, for our purposes here, it is important to note that the limbic system is a blunt instrument. Unfortunately for humans, the limbic system doesn't generally take context into account - that's logical processing. And its reading of stimulus is not what you want it to be. The limbic system will totally take the stimulus of the thought of game paralyzation, and relate that to, say, a paralyzing fear you felt while being abused as a kid. The totally safe game thing and the traumatic experience can elicit similar and very powerful emotional/memory responses.

And, on occaision, the limbic system can be keyed in an indivdual for no reason we can discern. You can be strongly arachnophobic without having ever had a bad spider-like experience. Humans are just weird.

This is why we have to talk about safety tools.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
With the recent talk of racism & homophobia wrt the safety tools?... soooo xmen is off the table?
For tables with people who don't want to deal with racism in their escapist hobby and communicate that to the group/dm, yes. Simple as that.
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.
And I wouldn't play in a game that is going to include helplessly being murdered, either. Losing a fight to the death is completely different from that, obviously.
Being mind-raped is also off the table. For some people, the visceral reaction to a thing only happens when it is directed at them. That isn't less valid than a universal reaction.
I love how compulsion in Wheel of Time is treated with the disgust and shock it deserves.
Me too! Doesn't mean I am okay with my PC being mind controlled. Getting to murder a mind-controlling evil slaving piece of garbage, on the other hand, I'm fine with.
My allies using abilities that are similar to mind control, but that explicitly don't take away their free will, like Charm Person which only changes your perception of someone and thus might as well be an illusion spell, I am judgmental about the use of, but they don't make me nearly as uncomfortable. At worst, they're a veil.

If a DM decided that they just aren't going to use or allow mind control in the game, to avoid the issue entirely, I'd be fine with that, but consider it a bit extreme and perhaps even a bit lazy of them, depending on the situation. Especially if they included things like Crown of Madness and Command. I've seen people include effects that stun, which is really extreme. I don't think @overgeeked is going nearly that far, as they've said that fear is also kinda boring for them but not a big deal, for instance.
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.
No. NPCs aren't being embodied by the player who is uncomfortable with having their agency removed without their consent. If the DM has a thing with mind control, they are just as free as a player to ask the table not to use it on NPCs, or to only use it on nameless combat enemies, or whatever their actual line is.
 

J.Quondam

90% grunts. 10% thews.
Ahh. It makes sense now. You seem to treating not wanting and being unacceptable as synonymous.

To be fair, it's not the job of the GM-- or anyone else at the table-- to be deciding when someone's request is "merely" a want rather than a legitimate need. I simply don't know what they're feeling or thinking.

Consider: A player indicates they don't want their PC experience addiction in the game. Is that because of a personal struggle with addiction? Or a loved one? Or maybe it's just part of their day job? Or do they just not want to lose control of their character in game?

Or consider: A player says they can't meet on Friday evenings. Is it because of work? Or family? Are they just tired? Or involved in another game???

Well, from a purely GM perspective, it doesn't matter. The player put it on the sheet, and that's that.

My take on RPG safety tools is that they are not about why someone has voiced their preference. They're simply a means to communicate that preference to the table, with the expectation that it will be considered without judgement, and accepted. Period. Whether the GM personally understands it is completely immaterial. Just take it at face value, and, if possible, accommodate it at the table. And if accommodation is not possible, then tell that player the game/table isn't a good fit, and carry on.

Safety tools just offer another method to facilitate gaming group management, like any other table culture agreement. They're not "cries for attention" or attempts to subvert gaming culture. They're just table rules regarding content; on the same level as the DM's scheduling requirements, or the host's rules about smoking or rummaging in the kitchen.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
To be fair, it's not the job of the GM-- or anyone else at the table-- to be deciding when someone's request is "merely" a want rather than a legitimate need. I simply don't know what they're feeling or thinking.

Consider: A player indicates they don't want their PC experience addiction in the game. Is that because of a personal struggle with addiction? Or a loved one? Or maybe it's just part of their day job? Or do they just not want to lose control of their character in game?

Or consider: A player says they can't meet on Friday evenings. Is it because of work? Or family? Are they just tired? Or involved in another game???

Well, from a purely GM perspective, it doesn't matter. The player put it on the sheet, and that's that.

My take on RPG safety tools is that they are not about why someone has voiced their preference. They're simply a means to communicate that preference to the table, with the expectation that it will be considered without judgement, and accepted. Period. Whether the GM personally understands it is completely immaterial. Just take it at face value, and, if possible, accommodate it at the table. And if accommodation is not possible, then tell that player the game/table isn't a good fit, and carry on.

Safety tools just offer another method to facilitate gaming group management, like any other table culture agreement. They're not "cries for attention" or attempts to subvert gaming culture. They're just table rules regarding content; on the same level as the DM's scheduling requirements, or the host's rules about smoking or rummaging in the kitchen.
Definitely. I don’t disagree with things being off the table. I’m also happy to take people at face value. I just prefer to have those conversations in a different format. As Morrus said in the other thread. They’re all safety tools.

My issue is reciprocity. Which seems to be an issue for players like Overgeeked.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Mod Note:

I would like to remind people to READ CAREFULLY. At least one post in this thread got reported for rejecting the use of tools, when, in fact, the post was explicitly laying out when tools are useful., and bad approaches to tools.

If you have already decided what someone's about, you may not actually be reading as closely as you think.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
My issue is reciprocity. Which seems to be an issue for players like Overgeeked.

I am not sure what you mean by reciprocity here. Do you mean the symmetry - what's good for the goose is good for the gander? Or is there some other place where you don't see the player reciprocating?

I do expect them to be consistent though.

If you mean this - I am very sorry, but human neurology and emotional systems do not produce consistent behavior. These are not rational things. If they report that they have an issue when they are the target, but not when others are, that's not out of the ordinary for emotional reactions. And, it is a fair thing for the GM to respond - "Okay, folks, neither you nor I will be using Charms and such at this table." You can do that. I think it is unnecessary, but if you feel it is, that's fine.

Now, if you have a player who says they don't want to have these powers used against them, but insists that they be able to use themselves, there's a simple point you can make - "Just as I am respecting your needs about these powers, I expect you to respect mine. If you aren't okay with that, perhaps this isn't the table for you."
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
My issue is reciprocity. Which seems to be an issue for players like Overgeeked.
If you mean I expect my lines and veils and use of the X-card to be respected therefore I will respect others use of the X-card as well as their lines and veils, then yes...of course.

If you mean that if I don't want domination used against my character therefore I must want no one in the game to ever use domination at all...then sorry, but one clearly does not follow from the other. As explained several times now. I'm not sure how to explain to you there's a difference between what I want and what other people might want. That's a really odd thing to not understand.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I am not sure what you mean by reciprocity here. Do you mean the symmetry - what's good for the goose is good for the gander? Or is there some other place where you don't see the player reciprocating?



If you mean this - I am very sorry, but human neurology and emotional systems do not produce consistent behavior. These are not rational things. If they report that they have an issue when they are the target, but not when others are, that's not out of the ordinary for emotional reactions. And, it is a fair thing for the GM to respond - "Okay, folks, neither you nor I will be using Charms and such at this table." You can do that. I think it is unnecessary, but if you feel it is, that's fine.

Now, if you have a player who says they don't want to have these powers used against them, but insists that they be able to use themselves, there's a simple point you can make - "Just as I am respecting your needs about these powers, I expect you to respect mine. If you aren't okay with that, perhaps this isn't the table for you."
I think that’s hit the nail on the head. The inconsistency may be the way they feel but I would expect them to accept that they would need to make allowances for the sake of consistency even if they don’t ‘feel’ it should be a problem. If they couldn’t then they wouldn’t work with me as a player. Off the table as a DM means off the table as a player.

I think Overgeeked is saying something doesn’t need to be stopped against other players, or NPCs just because can’t be used on him. That doesn’t work for me. The line is the line. Once drawn you shouldn’t hedge it.
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
The reference to the Golden Rule is a big red flag, actually. Those of us don't work in Equity, Inclusion, Trauma-Informed anything really, even something as seemingly benign as TTRPGs, have come to understand the shortcomings of the Golden Rule. It looks good on paper; it seems to teach people about mutual respect. Unfortunately, what it really teaches you to do is universalize your specific experiences and needs. You begin to think that if you are okay with being treated a certain way, then everybody should be okay with that. And when people aren't, it can lead to accusations of insincerity and ulterior motives.

We tend to use instead the "Platinum Rule" which states "Treat people the way they want to be treated." Now, on its face this sounds like recipe for abuse, but the Platinum Rule is meant to be reciprocal; a mutual level of respect that understands that people have different needs, wants, and triggers, and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, however they define that for themselves. Of course, this is a lot more difficult than simply using your own experiences as your primary metric for interacting with others, and it's easy to make mistakes out of ignorance, but it does a far better job of capturing and respecting the vast diversity of human experience.

In other words, in the real world, what's good for the goose is rarely what's going to be good for the gander.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I think Overgeeked is saying something doesn’t need to be stopped against other players, or NPCs just because can’t be used on him. That doesn’t work for me. The line is the line. Once drawn you shouldn’t hedge it.

I think Overgeeked is saying there's no technical need for symmetry here. The game isn't going to break. The GM has enough other tools at their disposal, and all that. It is not hard to run a game where PCs have those spells, and the GM just never uses them.

That you don't like doing so is fair, and a valid choice for your campaign.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
In other words, in the real world, what's good for the goose is rarely what's going to be good for the gander.

It may be relevant to note that the original of this is, "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." It is "what can be applied to one can be applied to the other." It is not about making either bird's life better - they are getting eaten, after all.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I think that’s hit the nail on the head. The inconsistency may be the way they feel but I would expect them to accept that they would need to make allowances for the sake of consistency even if they don’t ‘feel’ it should be a problem. If they couldn’t then they wouldn’t work with me as a player. Off the table as a DM means off the table as a player.

I think Overgeeked is saying something doesn’t need to be stopped against other players, or NPCs just because can’t be used on him. That doesn’t work for me. The line is the line. Once drawn you shouldn’t hedge it.
If you're not going to respond to me, stop talking about me. Thanks.
 


Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
It may be relevant to note that the original of this is, "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." It is "what can be applied to one can be applied to the other." It is not about making either bird's life better - they are getting eaten, after all.
Humans excel at misusing idioms and sayings until their original intent is rendered either meaningless or even reversed. See also: bad apple, one, and what it does to the bunch
 

I wonder how much disagreement is caused by a fundamental disconnect between the starting states of "We want to play with these pre-selected people, therefore the table elements should be specifically accommodated to them." and "We want to play a game with these table elements, and therefore potential players need to accommodate themselves to that."
 

Remathilis

Legend
I think that’s hit the nail on the head. The inconsistency may be the way they feel but I would expect them to accept that they would need to make allowances for the sake of consistency even if they don’t ‘feel’ it should be a problem. If they couldn’t then they wouldn’t work with me as a player. Off the table as a DM means off the table as a player.

I think Overgeeked is saying something doesn’t need to be stopped against other players, or NPCs just because can’t be used on him. That doesn’t work for me. The line is the line. Once drawn you shouldn’t hedge it.

Consider a different example.

I'm kinda squeemish about gory dismemberment. Not panic inducing, but unpleasant. So, if we're playing a Jack the Ripper style module, I would probably veil over descriptions of body of the victims. (They are graphic killings if you've ever read on them) with just enough info to protray the nature of the killings. However, if my PC as attacked by our Ripper killer, I would Hard Line them desecrating my PC in a comparable manner. I don't care if it was out of character for the killer to do so, you chop me up like that and I'm DONE. That said, I'm not against if I'm attacked being reduced to 0 hp and left dying/dead. Just the gory mutilation of my corpse.

I wager most lines and veils work on similar level; some things can be alluded to, some outright said, and some not even hinted at and there doesn't have to be all-or-nothing but a general situational element. There isn't always a "one size fits all" solution.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
The reference to the Golden Rule is a big red flag, actually. Those of us don't work in Equity, Inclusion, Trauma-Informed anything really, even something as seemingly benign as TTRPGs, have come to understand the shortcomings of the Golden Rule. It looks good on paper; it seems to teach people about mutual respect. Unfortunately, what it really teaches you to do is universalize your specific experiences and needs. You begin to think that if you are okay with being treated a certain way, then everybody should be okay with that. And when people aren't, it can lead to accusations of insincerity and ulterior motives.

We tend to use instead the "Platinum Rule" which states "Treat people the way they want to be treated." Now, on its face this sounds like recipe for abuse, but the Platinum Rule is meant to be reciprocal; a mutual level of respect that understands that people have different needs, wants, and triggers, and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, however they define that for themselves. Of course, this is a lot more difficult than simply using your own experiences as your primary metric for interacting with others, and it's easy to make mistakes out of ignorance, but it does a far better job of capturing and respecting the vast diversity of human experience.

In other words, in the real world, what's good for the goose is rarely what's going to be good for the gander.
I appreciate that the golden rule isn’t enough. It is a starting point though. It sets a benchmark that many people don’t even meet trying to break a double standard that all too often arises in life. It has limits though. Let me add to it...“Don’t judge a person until you’ve worked a mile in their shoes.” I agree just because you can tolerate off jokes at work, doesn’t mean I should have to as well. I also understand that fairness and equality are not the same thing. Everybody getting the same amount of time to sit an exam is equal. However if I’m dyslexic it probably isn’t fair.

The platinum rule is fine for some things. But isn’t universal either. It works for managing personal relations at work, or appropriate behavior when dating. It totally breaks down though when what a person wants isn’t reasonable. When it requires greater resources than are available, or requires someone else missing out in an unreasonable way.

When deciding how to manage competing interests around a table... Likes and dislikes. Then I try to be fair. I may like puzzles but John doesn’t so we compromise and have puzzles but only so often and John gets what he likes to balance it out. Wants require consideration and should be accomadated when possible - that’s good DMing - but it isn’t the same as needing something. Not liking having to sit at our combat because of paralyzation would normally be a want. It doesn’t cause them harm. It just isn’t what they’d prefer to be doing.

If it is a need then it is fundamentally different. A victim of trauma needs to have their well-being protected. That has to trump all other wants. Well-being first, fun second. Or if that doesn’t work, no gaming is better.
 

There are players who don't want their character to die. According to your logic, that means there's no death in a game.
Does there NEED to be death in the game?
Nobody ever dies in Pokemon and that game and cartoon is filled with battles and is super popular.

Why can't failure in combat have a different penalty than death? The PCs and their opponents could easily be defeated and knocked unconscious rather than killed.
 

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