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

MGibster

Legend
When Vampire 5E was released there was some division among critics about the “disclaimer” in the book. It should come to no surprise that vampires aren’t very nice people. After all, their very existence is predicated on the predation of human beings. Vampires are monsters and this is true of the player characters as well. The authors’ make no bones about Vampire 5E dealing with such unpleasant issues as violence, racism, sexism, and sexual assault among other topics. But we are reminded that while it is okay to deal with these issues in a game, consideration must be made for all participants. What one player might shrug off with indifference may affect another player profoundly and it is important to respect the need for boundaries.

Some scoffed at this disclaimer claiming it infantilizes players. After all, players who sit down for a game of Vampire should know there will be unpleasant things in the game. We’re talking about creatures that sink their fangs into their victims and suck their blood! That’s just horrifyingly gross, right? There were also some grumblings the disclaimer was only included to appease the “Social Justice Warriors, ” though I’m not quite sure how this would appease them. Surly if they find the contents of the game offensive these so-called SJWs aren’t going to change their mind because of a disclaimer.

I dislike thinking of this section of the book as a disclaimer because it implies the authors’ are trying to abrogate any responsibility they have for their work. This isn’t an apology for the contents of the book, but rather some suggestions on how to make sure the game is fun for everyone involved. Far from treating their player base as infants, the authors’ work from the assumption that their audience are rational people with the maturity to discuss sensitive issues but also show consideration for one another by leaving subjects out of the game some participants are uncomfortable with. This is good advice for anyone who wants to run any horror game.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
When Vampire 5E was released there was some division among critics about the “disclaimer” in the book. It should come to no surprise that vampires aren’t very nice people. After all, their very existence is predicated on the predation of human beings. Vampires are monsters and this is true of the player characters as well. The authors’ make no bones about Vampire 5E dealing with such unpleasant issues as violence, racism, sexism, and sexual assault among other topics. But we are reminded that while it is okay to deal with these issues in a game, consideration must be made for all participants. What one player might shrug off with indifference may affect another player profoundly and it is important to respect the need for boundaries.
I think that was largely the writers trying to be hyper-edgy and also take the game back to a place of horror rather than superheroes with fangs as so many Vampire players handled the game back in the day. The wrote V5 with a bit more...edgelord...than any version had before. Having Nazi vampires helping modern hate groups and featuring vampire pedophiles for example. It was a thoroughly gross edition of the game.
Some scoffed at this disclaimer claiming it infantilizes players. After all, players who sit down for a game of Vampire should know there will be unpleasant things in the game. We’re talking about creatures that sink their fangs into their victims and suck their blood! That’s just horrifyingly gross, right? There were also some grumblings the disclaimer was only included to appease the “Social Justice Warriors, ” though I’m not quite sure how this would appease them. Surly if they find the contents of the game offensive these so-called SJWs aren’t going to change their mind because of a disclaimer.
Just because you're sitting down to play a horror game doesn't mean everything's on the table. There are still lines people don't want crossed.
I dislike thinking of this section of the book as a disclaimer because it implies the authors’ are trying to abrogate any responsibility they have for their work. This isn’t an apology for the contents of the book, but rather some suggestions on how to make sure the game is fun for everyone involved. Far from treating their player base as infants, the authors’ work from the assumption that their audience are rational people with the maturity to discuss sensitive issues but also show consideration for one another by leaving subjects out of the game some participants are uncomfortable with. This is good advice for anyone who wants to run any horror game.
I don't think it's a disclaimer or an apology. It's clearly meant to provide safety tools for people to engage with horror gaming without causing harm. People will ignore this advice and cause harm. But some will follow this advice and play a safer game for it.
 

MGibster

Legend
I don't think it's a disclaimer or an apology. It's clearly meant to provide safety tools for people to engage with horror gaming without causing harm. People will ignore this advice and cause harm. But some will follow this advice and play a safer game for it.
Which is my interpretation as well. It's just that I saw a few Youtubers and online reviews at the time who were complaining about those safety tools as they believed it to be demeaning to players.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Yes. VGR is the notation used in the book when referring to itself. In the genre guides there are lists of appropriate monsters. When a monster appears in Van Richten’s the source is listed as VGR.
Thank you both. I was trying to get Volo's out of the abbreviation but it would not fit.
 




tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter

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That' a good bit of advice there, trying to get players to be proactive with that kinda stuff is freaking hard with d&d since it's generally so discouraged by how the rules are structured. I hope to see more things like this that accept the gm is human & encourage players to act accordingly. trying to do horror with passive players can be tough & it becomes obvious that "this" is a good direction when players are asking for it
 


A pretty good article.

Yeah, made me think. Early on DMing for my current group, and coming back after not DMing for a long time, I created an adventure (just regular D&D, not specifically flagged as horror) in a haunted orphanage, with implied child torture and child-sized ghouls. It didn't bother me, so it didn't occur to me that it might bother someone else. As it happened it went okay and a good time was had by all. But it could have gone horribly, horribly wrong.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
So, with the book out now, I think it might be a good idea to talk about the horror advice and safety tools presented in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft.

I'm going to treat this like a "Let's Read" and go over the various bits of advice in the Horror Adventures chapter. Once that's done, hit any stray bits and bobs from the rest of the book. I'm sure there's some in the intro and character creation sections, it just mostly seems to be concentrated in Horror Adventures.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
So, with the book out now, I think it might be a good idea to talk about the horror advice and safety tools presented in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft.

I'm going to treat this like a "Let's Read" and go over the various bits of advice in the Horror Adventures chapter. Once that's done, hit any stray bits and bobs from the rest of the book. I'm sure there's some in the intro and character creation sections, it just mostly seems to be concentrated in Horror Adventures.
There was a pretty good bit about modifying monsters late in it that covers using descriptive language to create uncertainty of what players are facing & such along with changing the monsters to force the party into reevaluating their strategies now that your throwing things immune to it at them. that was pretty good advice
 

TheSword

Legend
A pretty good article.

Very good. Hard not to agree with all of it apart from the last section.

I think the content warnings section is a really good solution so people know what they’re getting into, without curtailing the DMs plans.
 

MGibster

Legend
A pretty good article.
I especially appreciated the part where the author reminds people to be aware of where their game is being played. While I don't run super horrific games in public venues (because duh), I've had to be mindful of my descriptions and language due to the presence of children and others. On more than one occasion I've been embarrassed by participants at my table swearing loudly or otherwise being crude. It's not that I'm a prude or anything I just think context is important. What I might say at my friend's house while gaming isn't the same thing I'll blurt out where a bunch of people I don't know very well can hear me.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I especially appreciated the part where the author reminds people to be aware of where their game is being played. While I don't run super horrific games in public venues (because duh), I've had to be mindful of my descriptions and language due to the presence of children and others. On more than one occasion I've been embarrassed by participants at my table swearing loudly or otherwise being crude. It's not that I'm a prude or anything I just think context is important. What I might say at my friend's house while gaming isn't the same thing I'll blurt out where a bunch of people I don't know very well can hear me.
That's one of those things. It's "well, duh" for some and a forehead-slapping revelation to others.
 

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