Consent in Gaming: a guide for GMs and players to difficult subjects for amazing games

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I am fortunate to never have had a bad group of role players. Annoying sometimes? Yes. But I read a thread about “worst RPG game/player” and it ranged from a petty GMs and player on a humorous level, to out right vile players and GMs. I mean the direct harassment of other players was appalling.

I’d never let shit like that go down in a game I run. Obviously there had to be base level of civility between players in and out of game, and if that can’t be agreed upon, you gotta just let some people go.


I’d add a clear “phobia” line, making it clearer for everyone if it applies. As a GMing noob, that was the one thing I asked before beginning.


As a long time DM (I still can’t get used to using GM for D&D), I’ve always felt job #1 is making sure everyone is having a good time. Not some of the players…all of the players. Anything less and “you’re doing it wrong”.

The DM is entitled to fun too, but I get a lot of vicarious fun from seeing the players enjoy the game.

I don’t object to something like that checklist, but it’s at once weirdly specific in places and vague in others. I’d probably just try to get to know my players, asking them if there’s anything in particular that they’d rather not see and what things they do. If in doubt, err on the side caution and be ready to adapt to player reactions.

A good DM can adapt to practically anything.


One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn as a gm is kicking out players. But I’ve had games everyone liked crash and die because no one wanted to confront a problem player about his behavior. Usually your players are your friends too, so it’s like voting someone off the island. But forms like this are a good way for new gms to find out where the lines are so they don’t try to run an arachnophobe through the demonweb pits…


I would like to add some to my reply, since my last post sounds like I’ve never had to deal with difficult players.

I use a couple basic techniques to deal with problem players and other situations made crystal clear before any game is begun:

  1. DM’s ruling is final. No arguing rules at the table. I am open to discussing rules between sessions, but decisions are made to keep the game going. Any obvious mistakes I make are of course fair game and gladly corrected.

  2. I don’t ban any race/class/alignment option. Your character can be evil, steal, hide stuff from the party, etc. but it MUST NOT be played in a way that annoys other players. Annoying characters is fine if it doesn’t bother the players. Interaction with the party is paramount, but NPC interaction is important too. A player constantly sabotaging the party’s goals or methods in the name of “being in character” is just being an ass. If the other players are OK with a shifty thief who isn’t always honest with the party then fine, otherwise it isn’t going to happen. It is the player’s job to convince them, not mine. D&D is fundamentally a group game, not your personal fantasy-land. Refusal to cooperate here means you won’t be playing in any game I run.

Edit: Number 2 is essentially being aware of the paradox of tolerance. :slightly_smiling_face:


I’d red check “eyeballs” under horror to get a setting where everybody has empty sockets where their eyes should be. The game of the blind leading the blind. Maybe all of the players would wear blindfolds to complete the experience.

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From KOTOR 2


Good points, I see this as something for less experienced GMs and players in order to start a conversation about things and set baselines.

My son (11 y.o.) is just getting into D&D and RPGs in general. He and his friends are a bit, errr…, socially awkward, and not all of their sessions go well. It’s all a learning experience. And I think that something like this can accelerate that learning.


That whole “Relationships” section probably shouldn’t be there. How many gaming groups have you ever hosted where it wouldn’t be extremely awkward for the rest of the players to have one or two of the players go into graphic detail about their sexual encounters or even seduction?

Then you can decide that for your game and not have relationships between the player’s characters. Others might make different choices about whether or not to include relationships in their RPGs and having that section would be helpful for them. I see no reason for you to decide that for them.


Yeah… we had a character-character romance that was pretty cool. More of a fade to black variety, but it added to the role-play.


Sounds fun! But of course, not for everyone. But that’s what I kind of appreciate about their list, it seems like it’s most certainly flexible for whatever people decide to do!


I’ve been in several games with friends exploring their sexual identity and development though their characters. Late bloomers, people working through trauma, people with dysphoria, and people coming out of the closet etc.

So I have roleplayed with people in scenes including dating, sex, and domestic/sexual abuse.

If you are playing with close friends gaming can be like therapy, as well as fun.


I think it’s funny when people think role-playing romantic relationships might be the awkward part, in a game that routinely asks its players to go on detailed murder sprees together. :smiley:


What is the rest of the group doing while one of the players is exploring their sexual identity or talking about which body parts of the NPC they are currently manipulating and how much arousal they are currently feeling?



And that’s your business because… why?


Well, if nobody’s guiding the campaign, or the players are basic idiots, what is the rest of the group doing when one of the players goes into a weird uncomfortably-detailed tangent about killing orcs or a really boring lecture about bardic philosophy?

If you can’t handle talking about human experience, even in a role-playing environment, then maybe you’re not getting as much from the game as you could?



If they are in the scene they are in the scene.

If a player is not in a particular scene they are mostly quiet unless they have a useful suggestion or make a joke. What kind of side jokes are considered appropriate depend on the players and the scene. Also part of knowing the group.

It’s not any different from a player getting the spotlight temporarily because their character is on a seeking, in a personal mindscape, on a drug trip, doing a solo ritual, kidnapped, lost, or working on a solo science project. All thing that happen all the time in our games.

Some scenes involve everyone, some games include occasional solo scenes, which can still be very entertaining for other players.

Also you can explore this stuff without narrating a whole porno, but yeah, with my friends some games include one or two dirty details if there is a good enough story reason to specify instead of glossing.

None of my friends are rude enough to spotlight hog for too long and the whole point is that we understand each other’s comfort levels.

This discussion is about why it’s important to only get into heavy subjects with permission.