The value of safety tools

NB: Based on a discussion I had in a local gaming Discord.

A friend asked whether I have ever played in or run a game where players could indicate that they were uncomfortable with certain themes or topics that came up during the game.

As previously noted, I use X cards and Lines & Veils in every game I run, even with people I know, because I don’t know their own past traumas and whatnot. And if I do know something about a player, they don’t even have to tell me specifically to exclude it. For example, some of my friends have lost children. While I already have lined out violence against children, literally no child will ever find themselves in danger (not even baby orcs or goblins or such) in games where they play. It just doesn’t happen.

Somebody complained that this stems from “PC culture” and that it “seems people are more protected and offended”. I don’t think that’s remotely true on several levels: people have always been offended. They (we, I should say) have had enough and demand to be treated with respect. The term “Political Correctness” usually means doing just that, but somehow viewed as a negative thing. That phrase really gets under my skin.

(c) 2016 Wizards of the Coast
Skin Invasion by Nils Hamm

I play horror games sometimes, but that encompasses a broad spectrum of things. The exclusion of some specific horrors just gives me a bit of creative constraint, and that encourages me to look for new and interesting takes. In such games, we talk about this in session 0 type discussions. And while I’m quite sure my players can and do survive in a world that mistreats everyone, in theory we’re friends and I don’t need to participate in making their life a little worse.

Honestly, that’s what we’re talking about when somebody complains about “PC culture”: treating other humans with kindness and respect. (The characters are fair game, though!)

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