When Gaming Bleeds

Monte Cook Games recently released Consent in Gaming, a sensitive topic that addresses subjects that make some players uncomfortable. Central to the understanding of why there's a debate at all involves the concept of "bleed" in role-play.


Bleed Basics

Courtney Kraft explains bleed:
It’s a phenomenon where the emotions from a character affect the player out of the game and vice versa. Part of the joy of roleplay comes from diving into the fantasy of being something we’re not. When we play a character for a long time, it’s easy to get swept up in the highs of victorious battle and the lows of character death. When these feelings persist after the game is over, that’s when bleed occurs.
Bleed isn't inherently bad. Like actors in a movie, players sometimes draw on experiences to fuel their role-playing, consciously or subconsciously, and this bleed can happen organically. What's of concern in gaming is when bleed has detrimental consequences to the player.

Consent in Gaming explains the risks of negative bleed:
There’s nothing wrong with bleed—in fact, it’s part of the reason we play games. We want to be excited when our character is excited, to feel the loss when our characters do. However, bleed can cause negative experiences if not handled carefully. For example, maybe a character acted in a way that your character didn’t like, and it made you angry at the player too. Or maybe your character is flirting with another character, and you’re worried that it’s also making you have feelings for the player. It’s important to talk about these distinctions between characters and players early and often, before things take an unexpected turn.
There are several aspects that create bleed, and it's central to understanding why someone would need consent in a game at all. Bleed is a result of immersion, and the level of immersion dictates the social contract of how the game is played. This isn't limited to rules alone, but rests as much on the other players as it is on the subject matter.

One of the experiences that create bleed is a player's association with the game's subject matter. For some players, less realistic games (like Dungeons & Dragons) have a lower chance of the game's experiences bleeding into real life, because it's fantasy and not analogous to real life. Modern games might have the opposite effect, mirroring real life situations a player has experience with. There are plenty of players who feel otherwise of course, particularly those deeply involved in role-playing their characters for some time -- I've experienced bleed role-playing a character on a spaceship just as easily as a modern game.

The other element that can affect bleed is how the game is played. Storytelling games often encourage deeper emotional involvement from a player, while more gamist tabletop games create a situational remove from the character by their nature -- miniatures, tactical combat, and other logistics that are less about role-playing and more about tactics. Live Action Role-Playing games (LARPs) have the player physically inhabit their role and are thus provide more opportunities for bleed. Conversely, Massive Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) might seem like they make bleed unlikely because the player is at a computer, experiencing the game through a virtual avatar -- and yet it can still happen. Players who play a game for a long time can experience more bleed than someone who just joined a game.

Dungeons & Dragons is a particular flashpoint for discussions of bleed, because while it is a fantasy game that can easily be played with disposable characters navigating a dungeon, it can also have surprisingly emotional depth and complexity -- as many live streams of tabletop play have demonstrated.

These two factors determine the "magic circle," where the reality of the world is replaced by the structure of another reality. The magic circle is not a magic wall -- it's porous, and players can easily have discussions about what's happening in the real world, make jokes derived from popular culture their characters would never know, or even just be influenced by their real life surroundings.

The deeper a player engages in the magic circle, the more immersed that player becomes. Governing the player's social contract within the magic circle is something Nordic LARP calls this "the alibi," in which the player accepts the premise that their actions don't reflect on them but rather their character:
Rather than playing a character who is very much like you (“close to home”), deliberately make character choices that separates the character from you and provides some differentiation. If your character has a very similar job to your ideal or actual job, find a reason for your character to change jobs. If your character has a very similar personality to you, find aspects of their personality that are different from yours to play up and focus on. Or play an alternate character that is deliberately “further from home”.
Bleeding Out

Where things get sticky is when real life circumstances apply to imaginary concepts. Bleed exists within the mind of each player but is influenced by the other players. It is fungible and can be highly personal. Additionally, what constitutes bleed can be an unconscious process. This isn't necessarily a problem -- after all, the rush of playing an awesome superhero can be a positive influence for someone who doesn't feel empowered in real life -- unless the bleed touches on negative subjects that makes the player uncomfortable. These psychological triggers are a form of "bleed-in," in which the player's psychology affects the character experience. Not all bleed moments are triggers, but they can be significantly distressing for players who have suffered some form of abuse or trauma.

Consent in Gaming attempts to address these issues by using a variety of tools to define the social contract. For players who are friends, those social contracts have likely been established over years through both in- and out-of-game experiences. But for players who are new to each other, social contracts can be difficult to determine up front, and tools like x-cards can go a long way in preventing misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Thanks to the increasing popularity of tabletop role-playing games, players are coming from more diverse backgrounds with a wide range of experiences. An influx of new players means those experiences will not always be compatible with established social contracts. The recent incident at the UK Gaming Expo, as reported by Darryl is an egregious example of what happens when a game master's expectations of what's appropriate for a "mature" game doesn't match the assumed social contract of players at the table.

This sort of social contract reinforcement can seem intrusive to gamers who have long-suffered from suspicion that they are out of touch with reality, or that if they play an evil character, they are evil (an allegation propagated during the Satanic Panic). This need to perform under a "cover" in their "real" life has made the entire concept of bleed and its associated risks a particularly sensitive topic of discussion.

X-cards and consent discussions may not be for everyone, but as we welcome new players with new experiences into the hobby, those tools will help us all negotiate the social contract that makes every game's magic circle a magical experience.
 
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Michael Tresca

Comments

Because participating in a table top role playing game isn't an inherently dangerous activity. And the day I feel the need to implement the X-Card or an opt-in consent form to romp around the Forgotten Realms is the day I bust out my Ouiji board and summon Pat Pulling to let her know she was right to be bothered about Dungeons & Dragons all along.
It also makes 0 sense to require greater restriction on individuals like dms than megacorporation like the companies involved in cable television. Asking a lot. Some might call the need for an x card selfish and naive. No reason individuals cant choose to use it. Really dumb saying that the restriction makes any sense as a requirement. Dm's dont have the resources of multi million or even billion dollar corporations behind them and dont employ thousands of staff to parse all those requests (yes i know there arent millions of requests (x cards) thrown at a given dm but there would still be likely more than a couple and its a seperate job on top of what they already do, slows down the campaign for even the most competant dm, is asking a lot and asking the dm to weigh everyone else down for one person possibly unnecessarily as they couod just go to a different campaign, and unlike cabke this is happening in real time which has an extreme multiplying effect on just how inconvenient and innefficient this is). Cable tv does and still even they dont generally have something like an individualized x card. They have channel ratings (which is already coddling people but its fine. Doesnt get in anyones way and allows people with actual problems and emotional trauma to navigate well enough for the most part).

Tl/dr

Optional x card=fine/acceptable and on rare occasion maybe even signifficantly good.

Mandatory x card=idiocy and slow game progression that will irritate players at eachother once they figure out who keeps doing it (they arent stupid. Doesnt matter how the dm handles it eventually the players will figure out whos doing it if they are doing it excessively) or put them to sleep and also alert them to one person they will not want to hang out with in the future. The player using the x cards.

Ps

So u see its also a flawed tool in that it makes those who use it be viewed as a pain to most people playing with them. It depersonalizes things so much that it actually reduces the likelyhood other playrrs with be empathetic. They may still be. But it will be in spite of and not because of the delivery method. In the long run i see (and have seen) this tool as mostly destructive to everyone involved.

Use with great caution is all i can really say.
 
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Do these workshops include an opt-in consent forms and a safe word?



I see the safe word in use here but do they practice opt-in consent?



I'm a business person who attends conferences where we discuss hostile work environments, racism, sexual harassment, bullying, etc., etc. and I've never been given a form so I could consent to each topic nor has anyone provided me with a safe word. Marriage counseling I could see given that it's a volatile situation where emotions are running high so it makes sense in that context.

It doesn't make sense in the context of recreational role playing though.




I attend many business meetings often dealing with racism, sexual harassment, and other unpleasant workplace topics. We've never used an opt-in consent form and we don't have safe words. Maybe it's just a matter of time?
Yes. Speaking from my nowadays depressing background in psych the way things are going and the models that are being popularized in spite of being scientifically bankrupt it is only a matter of time. Actually, it already happens occasionally. Business meeting being required in some companoes to have all kinds of consent forms and warnings about potentially traumatizing topics is a thing albeit currently still uncommon. Its on the rise though an will spread.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
As someone involved in indie scene I have been part of groups that have used the X-Card since it was like a thing. I have never seen players use it as a weapon to force things to go their way. In the context of deeply immersive play where we have explored darker themes in games like Apocalypse World and Vampire : The Requiem emotions can run hot. I have found that having a reminder that you can speak if you feel uncomfortable with the expectation that everyone else will respect your feelings has been deeply useful.

I do feel the actual implementation is flawed not because a player can raise it with the expectation of being heard (that's a good thing by the way), but because it proscribes a solution that might not always be the best solution. It's not always best just to do a quick edit and move on. Sometimes taking a 10-15 minute breather and playing out the scene works best. Sometimes talking things over works best. Sometimes it might be better just to end it there and make some adjustments for next time. Often times what gets X-ed is not something the GM does, but something another player does and two players need to work it out. The GM should not need to act as a parent to the players.

I also have experience with groups where no attention is paid to emotional safety where we tried to do the same sort of things. I have had absolutely horrible experiences with Vampire : The Masquerade in groups where players did not feel comfortable expressing the fact that they had an unexpected emotional response to something in play. I have left groups where the emotional spillover from in game events started effecting real relationships.

Just last week we ran into an issue in a Dungeons and Dragons game I am a player in where the player of one of our characters did something which really impacted another player. I had a phone conversation where I talked to the inciting player later that night because they were upset that a game could cause these sorts of issues to happen. I let that player know they did not do anything wrong because we had never really discussed expectations and we probably should before our next game.

I do not think the X-Card or any particular technique is like necessary. We do not need any particular thing to role play including big thick books of rules and GMs.

In the right context it can be useful, especially the part where people are reminded that if they do not feel comfortable they can speak up without fear of reprisal. That kind of welcoming and inclusive environment also means that when people do not speak up we can feel more confident that we are not affecting each other. Had more attention been paid to this kind of stuff we might have averted some hurt feelings that affected a personal relationship in my Dungeons and Dragons group.

I do feel that in the context of less immersive play or where most of content comes from a GM who knows their group well or is careful not to delve too deeply into darker themes these techniques will see less use. I think they can still be somewhat useful. Overall it is much more important to make sure everyone feels comfortable speaking up as issues arise and that we all respect each rather than to embrace any specific technique.
 

macd21

Explorer
Because participating in a table top role playing game isn't an inherently dangerous activity. And the day I feel the need to implement the X-Card or an opt-in consent form to romp around the Forgotten Realms is the day I bust out my Ouiji board and summon Pat Pulling to let her know she was right to be bothered about Dungeons & Dragons all along.
And yet we have people providing examples from their own experience explaining how the use of the X-cards or other techniques would have been of benefit at their gaming table. You keep on insisting that the X-card is inappropriate for the gaming table, despite plenty of testimonials to the contrary. You may not have had these problems at your table, but I put it to you that that’s down to nothing more than luck.

You’re arguing against it because you’ve never needed it, which is just like someone complaining about seat belts because they’ve never been in a car accident. Meanwhile people are telling you they wish they’d had a seat belt instead of crashing through their windscreen, and you’re dismissing their experiences.
 
And yet we have people providing examples from their own experience explaining how the use of the X-cards or other techniques would have been of benefit at their gaming table. You keep on insisting that the X-card is inappropriate for the gaming table, despite plenty of testimonials to the contrary. You may not have had these problems at your table, but I put it to you that that’s down to nothing more than luck.

You’re arguing against it because you’ve never needed it, which is just like someone complaining about seat belts because they’ve never been in a car accident. Meanwhile people are telling you they wish they’d had a seat belt instead of crashing through their windscreen, and you’re dismissing their experiences.
ive seen examples of it causing far more problems than it solves too though. Hows that for a testimonial? I explained some ways that this happens too. Slowing down the game and campaign for instance. I dont care how competant the dm is, if its used enough it will do that. Which can then cause one of the other several problems i mentioned. Players being more irate with other players than they would have been if more intelligent (i know this is blunt but actually saying it is not just more efficient, its smarter. It may also be slightly more uncomfortable but it is more likely to net a positive response due to people knowing why something is an issue as they now feel like one player isnt holding them hostage and instead they can do something to help) means of conveying a problem had been used. Yes. I know that x cards are meant to reduce knowledge of who has an issue. But it really isnt a great trade off. Its better for the person to just say it. Because they are less likely to burn bridges with others. You dont have to like it. But it is true.
 
As someone involved in indie scene I have been part of groups that have used the X-Card since it was like a thing. I have never seen players use it as a weapon to force things to go their way. In the context of deeply immersive play where we have explored darker themes in games like Apocalypse World and Vampire : The Requiem emotions can run hot. I have found that having a reminder that you can speak if you feel uncomfortable with the expectation that everyone else will respect your feelings has been deeply useful.

I do feel the actual implementation is flawed not because a player can raise it with the expectation of being heard (that's a good thing by the way), but because it proscribes a solution that might not always be the best solution. It's not always best just to do a quick edit and move on. Sometimes taking a 10-15 minute breather and playing out the scene works best. Sometimes talking things over works best. Sometimes it might be better just to end it there and make some adjustments for next time. Often times what gets X-ed is not something the GM does, but something another player does and two players need to work it out. The GM should not need to act as a parent to the players.

I also have experience with groups where no attention is paid to emotional safety where we tried to do the same sort of things. I have had absolutely horrible experiences with Vampire : The Masquerade in groups where players did not feel comfortable expressing the fact that they had an unexpected emotional response to something in play. I have left groups where the emotional spillover from in game events started effecting real relationships.

Just last week we ran into an issue in a Dungeons and Dragons game I am a player in where the player of one of our characters did something which really impacted another player. I had a phone conversation where I talked to the inciting player later that night because they were upset that a game could cause these sorts of issues to happen. I let that player know they did not do anything wrong because we had never really discussed expectations and we probably should before our next game.

I do not think the X-Card or any particular technique is like necessary. We do not need any particular thing to role play including big thick books of rules and GMs.

In the right context it can be useful, especially the part where people are reminded that if they do not feel comfortable they can speak up without fear of reprisal. That kind of welcoming and inclusive environment also means that when people do not speak up we can feel more confident that we are not affecting each other. Had more attention been paid to this kind of stuff we might have averted some hurt feelings that affected a personal relationship in my Dungeons and Dragons group.

I do feel that in the context of less immersive play or where most of content comes from a GM who knows their group well or is careful not to delve too deeply into darker themes these techniques will see less use. I think they can still be somewhat useful. Overall it is much more important to make sure everyone feels comfortable speaking up as issues arise and that we all respect each rather than to embrace any specific technique.
Imo and ime the more immersion the more damaging the x card is. And the more likely to cause a problem. I have seen it cause issues. Not everyone will see that because every group is different.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Imo and ime the more immersion the more damaging the x card is. And the more likely to cause a problem. I have seen it cause issues. Not everyone will see that because every group is different.
I have a feeling your talking about D&D whereas @Campbell is talking about other games. Immersion in D&D games is inherently safer, because you're playing as the heroes fighting off the horrors, in a fantasy game that features heroic tropes. Immersion in some ither games (Monsterhearts, Vampire, etc.) Is riskier because you're playing as the horrors, on a game set closer to reality often with pscyological horror tropes.

Immersion is an imprecise term because it means rather different things depending on what your trying to immerse in.

I agree with @Campbell that D&D doesn't benefit from tools like the X-card like some other games/situations might. I think that the push for global usefulness is about as useful as any other zero-tolerance rule.
 
I have a feeling your talking about D&D whereas @Campbell is talking about other games. Immersion in D&D games is inherently safer, because you're playing as the heroes fighting off the horrors, in a fantasy game that features heroic tropes. Immersion in some ither games (Monsterhearts, Vampire, etc.) Is riskier because you're playing as the horrors, on a game set closer to reality often with pscyological horror tropes.

Immersion is an imprecise term because it means rather different things depending on what your trying to immerse in.

I agree with @Campbell that D&D doesn't benefit from tools like the X-card like some other games/situations might. I think that the push for global usefulness is about as useful as any other zero-tolerance rule.
Never played a d&d game with high character death rate, high chance of the villain getting their way, or an evil/nongood aligned party campaign in which you may not be the hero, may be against the hero, or there may in fact be no clear hero whatsoever? Looks like i need to do some clarifying.

Actually it sounds like you are actually talking about one type of d&d game. Im talking about all types of d&d games. D&d in no way shape or form is limited to heroic tropes. Thats only in some groups. Plenty of people play games completely divorced of this a fairly frequent amount of the time. Myself included. Besides, ever play the good guys who fail to save the day as a frequent theme in a hopeless world? It can be very fun. Lots of different types of campaigns can be played. And yes, when you are playing as the evil person doing dastardly things in d&d the x card gets used. But you are wrong. It happens way less. It happens way more in the campaign where no one in the party is evil aligned at all. It happens most often when the villain (someone a player has no control over) does something. Your assumption is opposite of correct. When the party is evil, when the party is raping, pillaging, burning, enslaving, eating the newborns, and doing all manner of depraved acts its actually much much less likely to be used. Because there is control over evil more often. Because acts chosen are less likely to have been ones the party hasnt consistantly done by choice for months. When the evil is you, the evil is likely to be in a form you were comfortable choosing to see. And an x card will break the immersion in either case as well as cause many many other problems. You have it backward though. It would in fact be used more often in a good aligned party. I honestly thought it was obvious. Although its fine as an optional thing that dms can choose to ignore and leave out of their game it is definitely damaging to any game in which people find it unnecessary. Ill expand this statement too. This statement im making applies to all roleplay games. All. In the case of larps where the possibility of real harm is present a signal that someone is or may be about to get hurt is reasonable but thats not similar to the x card. X cards are great as an option. But if possible the game (any rp game) is in superior form without it. As well as nearly (keyword) all things in existance (where none of the default primary functions of the object in question is protection with the exception being when added safety limits potential functioning level none) being better without the training wheels.

Example of "nearly all things": bicycle.
Example of the exception due to intended function: plate armor (literally armor)
Example of the rare exception that doesnt qualify the way armor does: a disease. Obviously vaccines are good.
Example of an exception due to safety feature not reducing function: a gun (unless its one of the annoying types of safety)
 
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MGibster

Adventurer
And yet we have people providing examples from their own experience explaining how the use of the X-cards or other techniques would have been of benefit at their gaming table. You keep on insisting that the X-card is inappropriate for the gaming table, despite plenty of testimonials to the contrary. You may not have had these problems at your table, but I put it to you that that’s down to nothing more than luck.
It's a long thread so I can understand how easy it is to miss some posts. But I've given two separate examples of situations where one of my players had difficulty with an aspect of the game and I was able to make accommodations. I do not believe the X-Card was necessary, and, if the rules of the X-Card were followed, it's use could have made things more difficult.

You’re arguing against it because you’ve never needed it, which is just like someone complaining about seat belts because they’ve never been in a car accident. Meanwhile people are telling you they wish they’d had a seat belt instead of crashing through their windscreen, and you’re dismissing their experiences.
That's not why I'm arguing against it. I've explained why in multiple posts so I don't think there's any reason to rehash it at this point. Communication does not always end in agreement and I fear this is one of those cases. Such is life.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Never played a d&d game with high character death rate, high chance of the villain getting their way, or an evil/nongood aligned party campaign in which you may not be the hero, may be against the hero, or there may in fact be no clear hero whatsoever? Looks like i need to do some clarifying.

Actually it sounds like you are actually talking about one type of d&d game. Im talking about all types of d&d games. D&d in no way shape or form is limited to heroic tropes. Thats only in some groups. Plenty of people play games completely divorced of this a fairly frequent amount of the time. Myself included. Besides, ever play the good guys who fail to save the day as a frequent theme in a hopeless world? It can be very fun. Lots of different types of campaigns can be played. And yes, when you are playing as the evil person doing dastardly things in d&d the x card gets used. But you are wrong. It happens way less. It happens way more in the campaign where no one in the party is evil aligned at all. It happens most often when the villain (someone a player has no control over) does something. Your assumption is opposite of correct. When the party is evil, when the party is raping, pillaging, burning, enslaving, eating the newborns, and doing all manner of depraved acts its actually much much less likely to be used. Because there is control over evil more often. Because acts chosen are less likely to have been ones the party hasnt consistantly done by choice for months. When the evil is you, the evil is likely to be in a form you were comfortable choosing to see. And an x card will break the immersion in either case as well as cause many many other problems. You have it backward though. It would in fact be used more often in a good aligned party. I honestly thought it was obvious. Although its fine as an optional thing that dms can choose to ignore and leave out of their game it is definitely damaging to any game in which people find it unnecessary. Ill expand this statement too. This statement im making applies to all roleplay games. All. In the case of larps where the possibility of real harm is present a signal that someone is or may be about to get hurt is reasonable but thats not similar to the x card. X cards are great as an option. But if possible the game (any rp game) is in superior form without it. As well as nearly (keyword) all things in existance (where none of the default primary functions of the object in question is protection with the exception being when added safety limits potential functioning level none) being better without the training wheels.

Example of "nearly all things": bicycle.
Example of the exception due to intended function: plate armor (literally armor)
Example of the rare exception that doesnt qualify the way armor does: a disease. Obviously vaccines are good.
Example of an exception due to safety feature not reducing function: a gun (unless its one of the annoying types of safety)
Firstly, let me say that I'm a big fan of D&D -- played since 1e, every edition, and am currently running and loving a 5e campaign -- my fourth in this system.

That said, the above really, really, reads like someone that's only ever played D&D, or similar in play games like d20 games. It exposes the usual belief that D&D is actually a broad play experience that does well exploring a wide range of themes. It's not. I love it, but it's not. The things you've posted above as representative of transgressive D&D play are all moustache-twirly and are really just subversions of the very heroic tropes that D&D is built on. In other words, the examples you posted are the same heroic tropes D&D is built on, just reversed. They aren't terribly transgressive because you're not actually immersing into the murder of orphans -- it's played for a lark.

Your run-on paragraph then switches topics to the use of the X-card as inherently immersion breaking. It's not. This is like saying that having brakes on your bike distracts from how fast you can ride. The point of the X-card is to provide a brake on play if you go too fast -- it doesn't detract in and of itself. That said, I'll agree to your point with the way it's being strongly presented by some -- as a discussion about play. And I'll also agree that you usually won't need one in a D&D game -- they don't transgress enough. So, here, they don't do anything for immersion at all, as problems that arise aren't going to be because play has gone too far but because a hidden trigger has been found or the players themselves have become toxic. I question the utility of the X-card as a ward against suddenly triggering hidden problems (I think there are better ways), but I see good value in games where play itself is likely to be transgressive in nature (ie, not D&D, even in "evil" mode).

However, saying that an X-card is not like a signal in a LARP to halt play is -- odd? I'm not sure what you think the X-card is doing but it's pretty much exactly the same as a hand signal in a LARP to halt play. It's helpful to think of the X-card as a safe word -- something that immediately removes all consent to continue in play. One of the difficulties in this thread is the confusion of what happens next. And that some seem to want to claim all outcomes as good -- no talking, talking, no play, play continues, etc..

Finally, I can't make heads or tales of your last bits.
 
Firstly, let me say that I'm a big fan of D&D -- played since 1e, every edition, and am currently running and loving a 5e campaign -- my fourth in this system.

That said, the above really, really, reads like someone that's only ever played D&D, or similar in play games like d20 games. It exposes the usual belief that D&D is actually a broad play experience that does well exploring a wide range of themes. It's not. I love it, but it's not. The things you've posted above as representative of transgressive D&D play are all moustache-twirly and are really just subversions of the very heroic tropes that D&D is built on. In other words, the examples you posted are the same heroic tropes D&D is built on, just reversed. They aren't terribly transgressive because you're not actually immersing into the murder of orphans -- it's played for a lark.

Your run-on paragraph then switches topics to the use of the X-card as inherently immersion breaking. It's not. This is like saying that having brakes on your bike distracts from how fast you can ride. The point of the X-card is to provide a brake on play if you go too fast -- it doesn't detract in and of itself. That said, I'll agree to your point with the way it's being strongly presented by some -- as a discussion about play. And I'll also agree that you usually won't need one in a D&D game -- they don't transgress enough. So, here, they don't do anything for immersion at all, as problems that arise aren't going to be because play has gone too far but because a hidden trigger has been found or the players themselves have become toxic. I question the utility of the X-card as a ward against suddenly triggering hidden problems (I think there are better ways), but I see good value in games where play itself is likely to be transgressive in nature (ie, not D&D, even in "evil" mode).

However, saying that an X-card is not like a signal in a LARP to halt play is -- odd? I'm not sure what you think the X-card is doing but it's pretty much exactly the same as a hand signal in a LARP to halt play. It's helpful to think of the X-card as a safe word -- something that immediately removes all consent to continue in play. One of the difficulties in this thread is the confusion of what happens next. And that some seem to want to claim all outcomes as good -- no talking, talking, no play, play continues, etc..

Finally, I can't make heads or tales of your last bits.
Well that was pretty disingenous and dismissive. I think this is where i just say "you win" because this isnt going to go anywhere.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Well that was pretty disingenous and dismissive. I think this is where i just say "you win" because this isnt going to go anywhere.
It wasn't disingenuous at all. It was, unfortunately, a tad dismissive, and for that I apologize. It's rather hard to point out that someone might have a limited set of experiences without doing that. I considered not responding but I think the point is one that needs to be stressed: D&D has a specific set of tropes and expectations that make it not a good example of a game that needs something like an X-card to protect the play. D&D is pretty locked into the fantasy heroic tropes. As I noted, your examples of "evil" games are just perverting those tropes, they aren't striking out for new ground. If you lack the experience with other games, saying this seems like it's attacking D&D, or the players of such. It isn't. It's like saying that Monopoly delivers a different experience entirely than does Pandemic, despite both being boardgames.

And, to be fair, a game like Monsterhearts is even narrower that D&D. But the things a game of Monsterhearts explores is not something you can do in a D&D game. It isn't. And I can't easily explain how that is without describing how the very mechanics of Monsterhearts drive towards completely different ends than D&D, or that D&D mechanics cannot replicate that play. Not "do it badly" but cannot. You could hack D&D to do it badly, though, which is often misconstrued for actually being D&D rather than a hack that still does a poor job of it.
 
It wasn't disingenuous at all. It was, unfortunately, a tad dismissive, and for that I apologize. It's rather hard to point out that someone might have a limited set of experiences without doing that. I considered not responding but I think the point is one that needs to be stressed: D&D has a specific set of tropes and expectations that make it not a good example of a game that needs something like an X-card to protect the play. D&D is pretty locked into the fantasy heroic tropes. As I noted, your examples of "evil" games are just perverting those tropes, they aren't striking out for new ground. If you lack the experience with other games, saying this seems like it's attacking D&D, or the players of such. It isn't. It's like saying that Monopoly delivers a different experience entirely than does Pandemic, despite both being boardgames.

And, to be fair, a game like Monsterhearts is even narrower that D&D. But the things a game of Monsterhearts explores is not something you can do in a D&D game. It isn't. And I can't easily explain how that is without describing how the very mechanics of Monsterhearts drive towards completely different ends than D&D, or that D&D mechanics cannot replicate that play. Not "do it badly" but cannot. You could hack D&D to do it badly, though, which is often misconstrued for actually being D&D rather than a hack that still does a poor job of it.
If you read my post and practiced intellectual charity (as is necessary for unbiased discussion) you would have found that i already statee ive played plenty of other games. So im not really falling into the fallacies you mention relevant to gaming experience as i dont lack said experience. Further if you paid close attention you would have found that was no where near the only thing you missed (or didnt take into account. Ill go with missed.)

Also mustache twirly examples. You listed among other things vampire the masquerade and stated a difference betwixt it and d&d of playing "the horrors" instead of being preyed upon by them. I gave the examples i gave due to the way you presented your supposed contrast. If what you were looking for was a specific other sort of despicableness and you were specific about it im fairly confident i easily could show you examples that flew right under your radar. And there are other glaring holes in your examination of what i said. Besides, the truth is, d&d is far less limited than you think. Im pretty sure if vampire the masquerade is what you are saying is less limited in this way. Honestly, i think of vampire the masquerade as a little stifling. And while i would agree the average game of vampire is more an example of what we are talking about its extreme end is actually more tame than d&d's extreme end. Gotta find the right dm though. It can in fact get highly immersive depending on method and FAR darker than vampire. Its scope is less limited. The style of play just has to be agreed upon prior to the campaign (for consistancy). No mustache twirling necessary (though i could even conceive of a scenario in which thats the opposite of cartoonish. Not appropriate to be stated here. Certainly not the typical case either. Normally thats just cartoonish strictly). I think this is an example of force of stereotype and historic momentum awareness causing both the object of stereotype as a knock on the observer to think there is only one way to play a particular game when in fact its not due to the nature if the game that this happens but instead due to assumption that the most common method and style is the only common one and that the most common themes are the only common ones.

I mean, to mention a societal evil (as some would think of it. But modern societies view on this and how many forms they believe there to be is often so narrow they dont realize they often are in a form of it presently (heh...reminds me of dante asking mephistopheles a certain something involving hell and location ;) )) slavery. Easy as heck to portray viscerally in d&d and the finer subtle problems that arise from it. Id wager easier than vampire the masquerade. Because ive done it. In meticulous, gritty, non mustache twirly, detail. The mundaneity of the price of a breeding female. And all the various other stuff ill spare the thread from.
 

MGibster

Adventurer
As someone involved in indie scene I have been part of groups that have used the X-Card since it was like a thing. I have never seen players use it as a weapon to force things to go their way.
Even in the unlikely even that a manipulative individual weaponizes the X-Card, this isn't a flaw with the card. Toxic individuals will often exploit social conventions for their own ends but we generally don't advocate getting rid of those conventions.
 
@Ovinomancer btw. There are farrrrrrr more things you missed with what ive said. Other than what i just outlined. But im going to leave it at that. And again. Ive definitely played my fair share of non d&d rp.
 

MGibster

Adventurer
D&D has a specific set of tropes and expectations that make it not a good example of a game that needs something like an X-card to protect the play. D&D is pretty locked into the fantasy heroic tropes. As I noted, your examples of "evil" games are just perverting those tropes, they aren't striking out for new ground. If you lack the experience with other games, saying this seems like it's attacking D&D, or the players of such. It isn't. It's like saying that Monopoly delivers a different experience entirely than does Pandemic, despite both being boardgames.
But D&D contains numerous elements that Consent in Gaming says it is necessary for players to consent to before game play starts. Remember, if the DM doens't get consent from his players to specifically bring something up the answer is a no.

Bugs
Demons
Eyeballs (beholders)
Rats
Spiders
Racism (some of the D&D races are supremacist)
Freezing to death (spells/weather effects)
Gaslighting (Charm person?)
Heatstroke (spells/weather effects)
Natural Disaster (spells/weather effects)
Paralysis/Physical Restraint (Hold Person, grapples, creature effects)
Severe Weather (spells/weather effects)

It seems like D&D needs an X-Card just as much as any other game.
 
The far wider scope of politics in d&d than say vampire the masquerade also means far more offensive political ideologies and a much more complex and subtle fabric of high society corruption if we are talking just sheer potential levels if not on average definitely at extremes...ironic. Quite a lot for people scared of certain ideologies to throw an x card at. People thing this game cant trigger people...plenty of ideological scary people to worry about getting a paper cut while reading about...totally just mustache twirly cartoonish and never the crawling horror of despicableness at your own hand in high detail though im sure. It is a game with vast capacity to meet the supposedly reasonable qualifications yet thays actually why the x card can be quite damaging. Like i keep saying. Some dms may wanna use the x cards. The ones who want to deal in dark themes should probably not offer their use at all though if he wants his plot and game to proceed with maximum quality though. Yes. There is a lot of sarcasm in this post.
 
I sort of followed the original, and now locked, thread about the Consent in Gaming pdf and have mostly skimmed through this thread, and one thing I am still trying to figure out. What has happened in the 25+ years since White Wolf originally released Vampire, and all the subsequent dark and disturbing books to go with it? They pushed boundaries and were quite graphic in some cases. I played a lot of their games in the 90s and early 2000s and I do not remember people needing anything like this back then. But now, 25 years later, gamers are suddenly so sensitive and unbalanced, whether they know it or not, that something like this is put out? Now yes, there are always some people that this kind of stuff is relevant for, but this conversation and pdf make it seem like it is an epidemic now.

And on a side note that I am not sure if I am being silly or serious, or both, but I sure hope that everyone going to see the new Joker movie got a consent form and a safe word/x-card before going into the theater.
 
White wolf and wotc should not be officially endorsing mandated (key word, mandated) x card use at any point if they want to avoid being sued in the future. A paradigm shift is soon coming. Optional is fine. Mandated is a great way to get sued far enough down the line though after enough of the inevitable political shifts coming happen. They might get lucky and not be though. I hear gen z really hates this kind of thing. Could be gen z. Could be the gen after z. Who knows? But soon.
 

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