What table rules do you have? The Social Contract

AMP

Explorer
Excellent list
1: Be consistent. If you take rolls that fall off the table, you take all of them. If you don't, you never do.

2: If you think a ruling of mine is wrong, you can make a brief case, if I still don't agree then my ruling goes into effect and we can discuss it further after the game. Unless your character will die as a result of the ruling, then we hash it out in detail now. However, my ruling is ultimately final.

3: Don't be a douche.

4: CvC is fine if your character would do it, but if it doesn't leave the game. PvP is not fine.

5: Everyone rolls stats(by the method I came up with) and hit points.

6: We are all here to have fun. If anyone, including the DM is not having fun, we discuss as a group what we can do to fix it.

7: A roll of 1(does not apply to initiative) means a draw from the fate deck(MtG cards). The draw will be interpreted by me according to the current circumstances and can be good, bad or neutral in effect. Fate isn't always bad or good. If the card just plain doesn't apply, I can swap it from a small pool of cards I draw at the beginning of the game and keep behind the screen.

8: Initiative is rolled each round.

9: If you roll a critical hit, any die you roll that shows maximum on the die gets to be re-rolled and added to the total damage. This continues as long as you keep rolling maximum.

10: Any spell or item designed to simply remove a significant portion of one of the pillars of play is banned. For example, Rope Trick and Tiny Hut are not available.

11: Hit points assume that you are trying to stay alive. If you walk off of a 100 foot cliff because you had 100 hit points, you are going to hit the ground with only your con score in hit points(assuming you've gained enough to pass your con score), because those are the purely physical ones. You've voluntarily given up the ones based on luck, skill, etc. gained via leveling.

12+ I'm sure there are more that I'm not thinking of, and I tend to experiment with new ones from campaign to campaign to see if one will stick or if it's going to be jettisoned when the campaign ends

1: Be consistent. If you take rolls that fall off the table, you take all of them. If you don't, you never do.

2: If you think a ruling of mine is wrong, you can make a brief case, if I still don't agree then my ruling goes into effect and we can discuss it further after the game. Unless your character will die as a result of the ruling, then we hash it out in detail now. However, my ruling is ultimately final.

3: Don't be a douche.

4: CvC is fine if your character would do it, but if it doesn't leave the game. PvP is not fine.

5: Everyone rolls stats(by the method I came up with) and hit points.

6: We are all here to have fun. If anyone, including the DM is not having fun, we discuss as a group what we can do to fix it.

7: A roll of 1(does not apply to initiative) means a draw from the fate deck(MtG cards). The draw will be interpreted by me according to the current circumstances and can be good, bad or neutral in effect. Fate isn't always bad or good. If the card just plain doesn't apply, I can swap it from a small pool of cards I draw at the beginning of the game and keep behind the screen.

8: Initiative is rolled each round.

9: If you roll a critical hit, any die you roll that shows maximum on the die gets to be re-rolled and added to the total damage. This continues as long as you keep rolling maximum.

10: Any spell or item designed to simply remove a significant portion of one of the pillars of play is banned. For example, Rope Trick and Tiny Hut are not available.

11: Hit points assume that you are trying to stay alive. If you walk off of a 100 foot cliff because you had 100 hit points, you are going to hit the ground with only your con score in hit points(assuming you've gained enough to pass your con score), because those are the purely physical ones. You've voluntarily given up the ones based on luck, skill, etc. gained via leveling.

12+ I'm sure there are more that I'm not thinking of, and I tend to experiment with new ones from campaign to campaign to see if one will stick or if it's going to be jettisoned when the campaign ends.
I like it! There are a lot of similarities, for the most part, across the posts here, as well as some that address issues that in 30 years of DMing I've never needed to address. It's so wild that within a hobby where so many things are so similar that experiences can differ so wildly, but that's the nature of a creative hobby. Also I lol'd at "Don't be a douche," a very succinct rule haha!
 

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Li Shenron

Legend
Suspicion? That's strong. Mine come from DMing for 30+ years and are simply meant to outline for players how a campaign with me as DM works.
Well "suspicion" was just a saying... I could have said I sigh inside or roll my eyes a bit. I also have about 30 years experience (22-23 DMing) and in my case it only lead me to progressively shed the unnecessary
 

AMP

Explorer
Well "suspicion" was just a saying... I could have said I sigh inside or roll my eyes a bit. I also have about 30 years experience (22-23 DMing) and in my case it only lead me to progressively shed the unnecessary
I gotcha. I've just found it best practice to let the group know up front how this particular campaign may differ from their past experiences. It works especially well with groups assembled from local game shops that want in on a game and aren't familiar with how a particular DM may run. I usually assemble a small document with any house rules or original material along with any sort of table rules. I always make nice printed copies that participants can keep for future use if they like (especially if there is a bunch of new class or spell material in the game).
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
This thread has me thinking about the common no-jerks rule and similar variations (Weaton's law - "don't be a dick", "don't be a douche", etc.)

I always found that a weird rule to include in any written expectations. Even in contexts where written expectations are the norm or are required, such as on player-matching and paid-DM platform, I see variations of this rule. But I find it unhelpful. Almost nobody sets out to be a jerk and those few who do are not unlikely to pay attention to such a rule. Nearly all the other social expectations are just setting guidelines for what would make you the jerk among this group of players.

I run one game with the same group of players I've played with for years. So there isn't much point in writing down social expectations when I start a new campaign. About the only thing I'll bother putting in writing would be rules alternatives or home brew that I'll use. Because that is something that we may all need to reference from time to time. Even campaign setting and style of play is just something we discuss and agree upon before we start a new campaign and not something I write out anymore (though I used to when I used to put out calls for players).

The only time setting social expectations come up is when we have someone drop in as a guest player. This is always someone that is a friend or family member of another player. I've never felt the need to send this guest player any written expectations or social contract. There is only one thing that I make sure a guest player knows and something my players know about me that they make sure that they inform someone they invite to a game knows.

"No discussion of real world politics."

The reason go out of my way to make this clear is not because someone who makes political comments is a jerk. But rather because not letting people know is just creating an unfair pitfall to someone who hasn't played in my games before. I think that the best use of written expectations is to serve as a kindness to new players joining your game so they avoid breaking some rule of etiquette they might not be aware of. It isn't fair to make someone feel awkward or put on the defensive for engaging in something that may be totally acceptable and common in their social circles.

My no politics rule arose because of two very long-time friends who have very strong and opposing political views. They've been friends for decades. They can have fierce arguments with each other and remain friends. They've done so for years. But it makes other players uncomfortable and it can eat up big chunks of game time. Further, I work in a highly political environment and my monthly game is a good 8-hours when I can just hang out with friends and put politics aside. It is one reason I really cherish my monthly game. So, people who violate this rule are not invited to future games.

I would not expect a new player to know any of this and it seems only fair to point it out. I really can't think of too many other rules that I need to highlight given the context in which I run my game.

Maybe it would be worth pointing out that we are pretty lax with profanity and off-color humor. The games can get pretty graphic when it comes to violence, body horror, etc. Romance/sex might come up but I run it fade-to-black and am not interested in acting that stuff out or narrating it in much detail. But I've not had to put this in writing or specially point it out verbally for many years now due to how new or guest players come to my game. So, with my current game, really, the only one social-contract rule is "don't discuss real-world politics." It is the only thing I can think of that I really need to clearly point out and emphasize.
 
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AMP

Explorer
This thread has me thinking about the common no-jerks rule and similar variations (Weaton's law - "don't be a dick", "don't be a douche", etc.)

I always found that a weird rule to include in any written expectations. Even in contexts where written expectations are the norm or are required, such as on player-matching and paid-DM platform, I see variations of this rule. But I find it unhelpful. Almost nobody sets out to be a jerk and those few who do are not unlikely to pay attention to such a rule. Nearly all the other social expectations are just setting guidelines for what would make you the jerk among this group of players.

I run one game with the same group of players I've played with for years. So there isn't much point in writing down social expectations when I start a new campaign. About the only thing I'll bother putting in writing would be rules alternatives or home brew that I'll use. Because that is something that we may all need to reference from time to time. Even campaign setting and style of play is just something we discuss and agree upon before we start a new campaign and not something I write out anymore (though I used to when I used to put out calls for players).

The only time setting social expectations come up is when we have someone drop in as a guest player. This is always someone that is a friend or family member of another player. I've never felt the need to send this guest player any written expectations or social contract. There is only one thing that I make sure a guest player knows and something my players know about me that they make sure that they inform someone they invite to a game knows.

"No discussion of real world politics."

The reason go out of my way to make this clear is not because someone who makes political comments is a jerk. But rather because not letting people know is just creating an unfair pitfall to someone who hasn't played in my games before. I think that the best use of written expectations is to serve as a kindness to new players joining your game so they avoid breaking some rule of etiquette they might not be aware of. It isn't fair to make someone feel awkward or put on the defensive for engaging in something that may be totally acceptable and common in their social circles.

My no politics rule arose because of two very long-time friends who have very strong and opposing political views. They've been friends for decades. They can have fierce arguments with each other and remain friends. They've done so for years. But it makes other players uncomfortable and it can eat up big chunks of game time. Further, I work in a highly political environment and my monthly game is a good 8-hours when I can just hang out with friends and put politics aside. It is one reason I really cherish my monthly game. So, people who violate this rule are not invited to future games.

I would not expect a new player to know any of this and it seems only fair to point it out. I really can't think of too many other rules that I need to highlight given the context in which I run my game.

Maybe it would be worth pointing out that we are pretty lax with profanity and off-color humor. The games can get pretty graphic when it comes to violence, body horror, etc. Romance/sex might come up but I run it fade-to-black and am not interested in acting that stuff out or narrating it in much detail. But I've not had to put this in writing or specially point it out verbally for many years now due to how new or guest players come to my game. So, with my current game, really, the only one social-contract rule is "don't discuss real-world politics." It is the only thing I can think of that I really need to clearly point out and emphasize.
That is such a good one in the environment that exists today. Like, a REALLY good one. We even have that particular rule at family functions now on holidays.
 


aramis erak

Legend
For the game at the store:
I prefer to hang on to character sheets; I've only rarely forgotten them (thrice in 7 years), and it means we can use your PC in play if needed for story or firepower. If it is used, it gets XP. If it's played by a drop-in, it gets full XP, and even if killed, it will have survived. How is often best lest to the imagination.
X Card: sign at me with the ASL X sign for an immediate stop. I don't keep physical cards on the table unless the campaign is really pushing it. (Conventions are different - I use one per player, laminated red cardstock.) No guarantees on the scene picking back up; The options are to sit out the scene (we'll come get you from the hall), clue me in so I can apply veiling of the subject, or take a few minutes. (I have had a player drop an X card so they could go pee without missing anything... Not my preferred use, but everyone agreed to it.) I'll note that a couple of my players have psych meds (so do I), and I've had one ask for a break for meds to kick in. We broke out the Hanafuda cards for the interim.
Dice: read them where they land. Doesn't matter if it's across the room, on the floor, on top of someone's lunch...
Dice, part 2: 6x6 rule: at least 6" movement from at least 6" up. preferably with six seconds of shaking without a pause before the release.
Dice, part 3: Rolls picked up before anyone else could verify count as either zero (in roll high) or max+1 (in roll low). Seldom enforced. If I see a die being misread, it comes out. Even my rolls get left for a good bit.
Intoxicants: Please do not use them before or during game.
Property: Keep your hands off everyone else's unless given permission. This isn't mine, it's the store's rule.

In general, as a GM:
The dice rules above.
I always veil sex scenes. I often abstract romance (a limited form of veil). Mostly because romance scenes make me uncomfortable.
I generally aim for PG-13; a few games I'll go to R equivalent. (US MPAA ratings)
I don't have an issue with gore, let me know if you do.
 


AMP

Explorer
For the game at the store:
I prefer to hang on to character sheets; I've only rarely forgotten them (thrice in 7 years), and it means we can use your PC in play if needed for story or firepower. If it is used, it gets XP. If it's played by a drop-in, it gets full XP, and even if killed, it will have survived. How is often best lest to the imagination.
X Card: sign at me with the ASL X sign for an immediate stop. I don't keep physical cards on the table unless the campaign is really pushing it. (Conventions are different - I use one per player, laminated red cardstock.) No guarantees on the scene picking back up; The options are to sit out the scene (we'll come get you from the hall), clue me in so I can apply veiling of the subject, or take a few minutes. (I have had a player drop an X card so they could go pee without missing anything... Not my preferred use, but everyone agreed to it.) I'll note that a couple of my players have psych meds (so do I), and I've had one ask for a break for meds to kick in. We broke out the Hanafuda cards for the interim.
Dice: read them where they land. Doesn't matter if it's across the room, on the floor, on top of someone's lunch...
Dice, part 2: 6x6 rule: at least 6" movement from at least 6" up. preferably with six seconds of shaking without a pause before the release.
Dice, part 3: Rolls picked up before anyone else could verify count as either zero (in roll high) or max+1 (in roll low). Seldom enforced. If I see a die being misread, it comes out. Even my rolls get left for a good bit.
Intoxicants: Please do not use them before or during game.
Property: Keep your hands off everyone else's unless given permission. This isn't mine, it's the store's rule.

In general, as a GM:
The dice rules above.
I always veil sex scenes. I often abstract romance (a limited form of veil). Mostly because romance scenes make me uncomfortable.
I generally aim for PG-13; a few games I'll go to R equivalent. (US MPAA ratings)
I don't have an issue with gore, let me know if you do.
An excellent and thoughtful list. Kudos for the ASL mention! My youngest stepson is autistic and uses a limited amount of ASL to communicate his needs.

I've also tended to hold on to character sheets. It's handy to have them on hand when planning the next game, in case you forget what world-shattering artifact you recently gave the wizard. I am one of those folks who only plays in person, so it's easy enough to collect them all.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
An excellent and thoughtful list. Kudos for the ASL mention! My youngest stepson is autistic and uses a limited amount of ASL to communicate his needs.

I've also tended to hold on to character sheets. It's handy to have them on hand when planning the next game, in case you forget what world-shattering artifact you recently gave the wizard. I am one of those folks who only plays in person, so it's easy enough to collect them all.

I've had a habit of having digital versions of character sheets for a long time now; I've always had the policy that unless there's an easy and logical way for your character to take off, your character is played by someone else when you're gone.

(And yes, I know some people are super-hostile to other people playing their character.)
 

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