log in or register to remove this ad

 

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

In terms of tools, I've also come across the "Stoplight System" which is the X-card with nuance

You have cards or something with green, yellow, and red circles on them. If things are going good and you want them to continue or get more intense, tap green. If you need to stop, tap red. If you want things to maintain or slow down but not stop, tap yellow
This is a useful system because it doesn't just allow the players to halt the action, but allows them to push for more intensity by tapping green.

This could easily be tweaked into using had signals: thumbs up, thumbs down, thumbs sideways. Or a so-so hand jiggle for uncertainty and to prompt the DM to inquire more or continue but check in again often.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
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.

Exactly.

In my game, instead of ''dead'', I mostly use the ''Defeated'' condition. So every damage is ''non-lethal'' unless specified by the players. PC who fails 3 Defeat Saving Throws are defeated and must decide if they are dead or just too damaged to continue adventuring.

Some of them prefer to have their character die, others retire them; its all about the story they want to explore after the ''departure'' of their character.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
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.
Sigh. It is not up to the DM or other players if someone else's lines, veils, or use of the X-card is a need or a want. It's up to the player who uses the safety tools to determine for themselves. Trying to second-guess or question the motives of the players undermines the entire point of the safety tools.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
So we have examples to work with, not only abstractions:

Could a few people who have played / DM'ed Curse of Stradh explain how they would apply a safety toolkit to the subject matter of that adventure, and introduce it to the players? As if you were holding a Session Zero.
 

Remathilis

Legend
So we have examples to work with, not only abstractions:

Could a few people who have played / DM'ed Curse of Stradh explain how they would apply a safety toolkit to the subject matter of that adventure, and introduce it to the players? As if you were holding a Session Zero.
I ran CoS and my group has no inherent traumas that made them have issues with the material. But a few problem areas I could see.

* Child Abuse. There are few instances of children in peril or abused in the model: Rose and Thorne in Death House, the hags of Old Bonegrinder, the priest who locked his vampire son in the basement, and the Vistani girl Arabella being kidnapped and tossed into a lake.

* Mental Illness. The broken ones of the Abbey. The Mad Mage. Mad Mary. Strahd's broken one servant. While it's mostly played as cartoony-levels of crazy, it could disturb people who are sensitive to depictions of behavioral health

* Misogyny. Strahd's actions against Ireena and the dusk elves, plus the Abbott's "bride" might be troublesome for people who have had gender-related trauma.

This is not too say these parts are bad or wrong, merely that it is possible that these parts could have negative reactions.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
So we have examples to work with, not only abstractions:

Could a few people who have played / DM'ed Curse of Stradh explain how they would apply a safety toolkit to the subject matter of that adventure, and introduce it to the players? As if you were holding a Session Zero.
I would review the module, find any bits that stand out, as done below.
I ran CoS and my group has no inherent traumas that made them have issues with the material. But a few problem areas I could see.

* Child Abuse. There are few instances of children in peril or abused in the model: Rose and Thorne in Death House, the hags of Old Bonegrinder, the priest who locked his vampire son in the basement, and the Vistani girl Arabella being kidnapped and tossed into a lake.

* Mental Illness. The broken ones of the Abbey. The Mad Mage. Mad Mary. Strahd's broken one servant. While it's mostly played as cartoony-levels of crazy, it could disturb people who are sensitive to depictions of behavioral health

* Misogyny. Strahd's actions against Ireena and the dusk elves, plus the Abbott's "bride" might be troublesome for people who have had gender-related trauma.

This is not too say these parts are bad or wrong, merely that it is possible that these parts could have negative reactions.
Strip out the spoilers, but leave the categories (child abuse, mental illness, misogyny) and see where we stood on those as a group. Go over the safety tools. General rating. Lines and veils. X-card. Some of the above can be veiled without changing much. Others, if lined, will require reworking sections of the module or cutting them entirely.

This is also why I think more resolution on some questions is necessary. Like child abuse. It’s a line for me generally. Reading the Death House was almost too much for me. You could easily veil or line the abuse there and not change the adventure. It’s background info, basically. As for the priest and son, I didn’t read it as child abuse, but others easily could. So it would depend on how it’s presented and how the players read the situation.

To me, it’s a clear example that safety tools are the beginning of the conversation, not the end.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Sigh. It is not up to the DM or other players if someone else's lines, veils, or use of the X-card is a need or a want. It's up to the player who uses the safety tools to determine for themselves. Trying to second-guess or question the motives of the players undermines the entire point of the safety tools.
I wouldn’t mind-read. I would assume it was a need. I’d then expect them to be consistent with it.

I might ask a question if it was unusual or wasn’t clear. Not wanting far eastern settings was one I came across for instance. It wouldn’t be an interrogation though. Asking sensitive questions to understand is a perfectly reasonable course of action in my opinion.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I wouldn’t mind-read. I would assume it was a need. I’d then expect them to be consistent with it.

I might ask a question if it was unusual or wasn’t clear. Not wanting far eastern settings was one I came across for instance. It wouldn’t be an interrogation though. Asking sensitive questions to understand is a perfectly reasonable course of action in my opinion.
Sigh. As explained this is you trying to make illogical and emotion-based decisions conform to your skewed sense of logic and reason. Humans simply don’t work like that.
 



Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
This could easily be tweaked into using had signals: thumbs up, thumbs down, thumbs sideways. Or a so-so hand jiggle for uncertainty and to prompt the DM to inquire more or continue but check in again often.

This is already pretty common in some live-action RPG circles. When folks are trying for full-on acting, it can be hard to tell if someone is having an issue, or only roleplaying they are having a bad issue. A quick exchange of hand-signs can act as a check-in without breaking the scene unnecessarily.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I would review the module, find any bits that stand out, as done below.

Strip out the spoilers, but leave the categories (child abuse, mental illness, misogyny) and see where we stood on those as a group. Go over the safety tools. General rating. Lines and veils. X-card. Some of the above can be veiled without changing much. Others, if lined, will require reworking sections of the module or cutting them entirely.
I think if it's a question of rating a campaign to give players a tool for judging their own compatibility with it, just the categories aren't always going to be enough. Some context may be necessary. I'll use Masks of Nyarlathotep as an example.

Racism, Colonialism, Specific cultural issues - Masks is a globe-spanning campaign set in the 1920s with a significant nod to historical immersion, some of the action is set in European colonial locations complete with attitudes and segregation that can affect the outcome of play. PCs are not required to endorse or uphold these attitudes, but they will encounter them in campaign locations.

Without some context, the categories may drive people away if they make the wrong assumptions about how they are involved in the campaign. It's like a better movie rating system offering some elaboration on what Adult Situations, Nudity, and Violence mean in the context of the movie.
 

J.Quondam

90% grunts. 10% thews.
I wouldn’t mind-read. I would assume it was a need. I’d then expect them to be consistent with it.
Out of curiosity...
After asking the player for clarification, if you determine that what you're calling "inconsistency" is exactly the "need" they're expressing, what do you do about it?
  1. Do you allow them to play and accommodate the request, despite your opinion on the matter?
  2. Do you not allow them to play, explaining that the game's not a good fit for them?
  3. Do you allow them to play, but go ahead do what you feel is "consistent" despite their request?
I think #3 is the only wrong course of action. I don't think any decent human being (or competent GM who simply wants a smoothly running table!) would let the player play while also ignoring their request and risking whatever conflict might arise from that.

As long as the GM / group doesn't choose go the route of that obviously bad outcome, I think the "safety tools" (whichever implementation you use) were basically successful.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I think if it's a question of rating a campaign to give players a tool for judging their own compatibility with it, just the categories aren't always going to be enough. Some context may be necessary. I'll use Masks of Nyarlathotep as an example.

Racism, Colonialism, Specific cultural issues - Masks is a globe-spanning campaign set in the 1920s with a significant nod to historical immersion, some of the action is set in European colonial locations complete with attitudes and segregation that can affect the outcome of play. PCs are not required to endorse or uphold these attitudes, but they will encounter them in campaign locations.

Without some context, the categories may drive people away if they make the wrong assumptions about how they are involved in the campaign. It's like a better movie rating system offering some elaboration on what Adult Situations, Nudity, and Violence mean in the context of the movie.
Right. Exactly like I said in the rest of the post you quoted but cut out. Not spoiling things but also having enough resolution or detail in the categories to properly figure out if what's actually in the game is going to be a problem for any of the players. Without that resolution/granularity/whatever the tools basically won't work.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Without that resolution/granularity/whatever the tools basically won't work.

It is perhaps more accurate to say that they won't work... for telling you if a specific pre-written adventure will work out well.

If, however, you use these tools before you choose the adventure, it is a different story. If a player says they have issues with racism and colonialism, then you look at Masks of Nyarlathotep, realize it has a lot of that, and you just don't use it with that group. Done. Super simple.

Tools with poor resolution work fine if you have the freedom to choose or design adventure content to give topics wide berth.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Out of curiosity...
After asking the player for clarification, if you determine that what you're calling "inconsistency" is exactly the "need" they're expressing, what do you do about it?
  1. Do you allow them to play and accommodate the request, despite your opinion on the matter?
  2. Do you not allow them to play, explaining that the game's not a good fit for them?
  3. Do you allow them to play, but go ahead do what you feel is "consistent" despite their request?
I think #3 is the only wrong course of action. I don't think any decent human being (or competent GM who simply wants a smoothly running table!) would let the player play while also ignoring their request and risking whatever conflict might arise from that.

As long as the GM / group doesn't choose go the route of that obviously bad outcome, I think the "safety tools" (whichever implementation you use) were basically successful.
The inconsistency would be if they drew a line under it for themselves but expected to be able to do it other people.

I wouldn’t force anything on anyone though. I would say sorry I don’t appreciate that approach and would not play with them.
 
Last edited:

overgeeked

B/X Known World
It is perhaps more accurate to say that they won't work... for telling you if a specific pre-written adventure will work out well.

If, however, you use these tools before you choose the adventure, it is a different story. If a player says they have issues with racism and colonialism, then you look at Masks of Nyarlathotep, realize it has a lot of that, and you just don't use it with that group. Done. Super simple.

Tools with poor resolution work fine if you have the freedom to choose or design adventure content to give topics wide berth.
Sorry. I thought that was a given as that's exactly the context of this part of the conversation.
 

Faolyn

Hero
The inconsistency would be if they drew a line under it for themselves but expected to be able to do it other people.

I wouldn’t force anything on anyone though. I would say sorry I don’t appreciate that approach and would not play with them.
But again, some things only bother you if they affect you directly.

For instance, I'm aroace in real life. While my character may be also be ace, or be any of the Four Standard RPG Sexualities (gay, straight, bi, bard), I... honestly have really no idea how to flirt and it makes me quite uncomfortable to be flirted with, whether by a PC or NPC (or in real life). I kind of go blue screen when it happens. So "don't flirt with my character" is pretty much a line with me. On the off-chance I want my character to be in a relationship or have a one-night stand, I don't do it in first-person language and rely on Charisma checks, which provides me with sufficient mental distance from the action.

Now, that's not a game rule kind of thing; there's no Flirt action or Enamored condition. But if there were, then my line would be "don't use those on me." But in this case, it's not something that bothers me when it happens to other people.
 

J.Quondam

90% grunts. 10% thews.
The inconsistency would be if they drew a line under it for themselves but expected to be able to do it other people.

I wouldn’t force anything on anyone though. I would say sorry I don’t appreciate that approach and would not play with them.

Sounds good. You've identified a fundamental incompatibility between that player's line and a "line" of your own.
The safety tool appears to have worked.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top