Starting fresh (Safety and Expectations)

I will be starting a new chapter in the Cursed Lands campaign. This is a result of a tragic TPK. This was a result of a Twist that the players wanted to be more severe.

This is the perfect time to remind me of safety tools and introduce some safety tools for my game.

Some essential reading on safety tools and their uses is the prescribed start of this post. I recommend Leaving Mundania’s A Primer on Safety in Roleplaying Games and Big Bad Con’s Safety and Calibration tools.

Safety tools are here to make you feel safe, comfortable and enjoy the game. They are not an attempt to make the game one where everyone wins, and the heroes are not challenged and where challenging issues are never addressed. Just the opposite. They provide a safety mechanism to establish what is and isn’t included in the game.

Safety Tools

The primary default safety tool is Consent and Trust. For Consent and Trust to work, you have to have communication. There can’t be consent if there is no communication, constant check-ins have to occur. Trust is the feeling you have towards the other players to not do anything uncomfortable or harmful. If you haven’t yet established what behaviours you consider harmful or uncomfortable, then Trust should be there to make yourself feel safe when you voice your concerns. You have to trust that the other players enough to back-off, stop being a jerk on purpose, change their behaviour, etc., whatever the problem is and not challenge you for it. You don’t get awarded trust, it is earned through continual safe play. Don’t forget to apologize when you check-in with them afterwards.

The X-Card is a card laid on the table that when someone touches it, we as a group immediately rewind and back off, and try to continue to navigate or even skip entirely and issue that prompted the X-Card. It allows everyone to be an editor of the story.

Lines/Veils is perhaps my favourite safety tool. It establishes lines that you should cross and allows for things that might make use uncomfortable to RP to be still in the game by drawing a veil on it.

Cut/Brake is a variation on Lines and Veils. This allows you to stop action much like the X-Card and also lets you change course.

The Door is Open lets you take a break at any point for any reason. Once after your break, you will join in the game and resume play. This is a no judgement policy. If you are skipping the rest of the session, please let the facilitator know, GM, DM, MC, ref, etc…

Script Change functions like a combination. Letting you ‘rewind’ a scene to revise the action or content, ‘fast forward’ through parts, and ‘pausing’ lets you cool down before continuing.

I will be going over Lines/Veils, Script change, and what Consent and Trust look like. While informing them of the Open Door Policy.

My Check-in list.

Checking in with the expectations:

  • About the difficulty: Negotiating tougher challenges, what challenges they want out of the game, what I think the game provides and wants you to do, whether meta-gaming is encouraged etc…
  • Expectations I have for the Adventure and if they match what the players have: themed dungeons, environs, living world, challenges that can outright kill you if approached wrong, some problems are not supposed to be approached at all, classic troupes but with darker twists thrown in.
  • Expectations of Themes: society’s ruin, seemingly impossible odds, strange curses
    Leading into possible Lines/Veils talk and Safety Talk.
  • Safety and whose responsible for your emotional security.