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How do you do pre-game talks, if at all? Ons, offs, don't-fucking-go-there, etc...

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  • #16
    Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
    As an agnostic, I like to explore religion from a cultural point of view and am really rough on religious beliefs, so I usually talk to my practicing religious players to see how far I can do. Some are okay with their religion not being showcases. I have a Mormon player who I know I can't run Dogs in the Vineyard and the Utah of Deadlands with. Other players, I just don't bring up religion at all unless it is D&D like religion. I try to respect my players beliefs and frankly, there is plenty of other things to play without trampling on someone's religious views.
    Living in a country that ranks among the top five least religious countries in the world, that is something else I haven't really thought about. But I guess I should keep it in mind, as I'm thinking about giving roleplay over videochat a try when I'm done with a current project so I have a bit more free time again.

    However, my pretalks aren't perfect. In my first Pathfinder game, I fumbled the in game romance topic. We were playing Kingmaker and I said it would be okay if the players wanted to use downtime to found businesses, start families, etc. I was assuming the romance would happen off screen or be more situation comedy romance. Something to add color to the game but not detract from the main plot. One player ended up doing this weird Lifetime abusive romance (so she could make him a better man) that made everyone at the table uncomfortable. So new pre-game talk about romance at the table for future games.
    I guess I would have been uncomfortable as well, if I wasn't prepared for it. And I want to have more romance/relation stuff in gaming (mainly because I want more "everyday stuff" and less "adventuring focus"), but it still is outside my comfort zone and it feels weird. So if it is something you want to include more of in the future, in some form, it can be worth to remember

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Lundgren View Post
      I guess I would have been uncomfortable as well, if I wasn't prepared for it. And I want to have more romance/relation stuff in gaming (mainly because I want more "everyday stuff" and less "adventuring focus"), but it still is outside my comfort zone and it feels weird. So if it is something you want to include more of in the future, in some form, it can be worth to remember
      I had good experiences with romance in RPG games. My character got married to another PC and we had a crazy silly wedding (the other player and I agree to make the wedding as least like an actual wedding as possible. I think we walked down the isle to the Scooby Doo theme song.) So I was kind of blind sided when the player started having a fist fight with her lover.


      I write things.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by hm8453a View Post

        Even in that case, you can bring them up to players after another player has told you a "secret secret", and you can use the laundry list tactic I suggested. For example, if a player tells you their character was sexually abused as a child, you could go to the rest of your players and say, "do you feel safe with a character having sexual abuse in their background, if it's never discussed graphically, doesn't happen on screen, and more shaped who they've become today?" That way, for all they know, you're asking about a Storyteller character. No spoilers, and no secrets revealed.
        Good point

        When it comes to phobias, last time I tried to recruit a group to Noir, I did asked something similar to "anyone having a phobia or similar I should be aware of?" Which was after quite a bit of talk on a forum, and over an hour into our first face to face meeting. Any suggestion on how to improve on asking for phobias?

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        • #19
          Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
          So I was kind of blind sided when the player started having a fist fight with her lover.
          While I haven't looked at any of the Paths for Pathfinders, that isn't the tone and theme of an added in-game romance I would had expected either when running PF
          Last edited by Lundgren; 08-30-2016, 01:09 PM. Reason: Added "of an added in-game romance"

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          • #20
            Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
            As an agnostic, I like to explore religion from a cultural point of view and am really rough on religious beliefs, so I usually talk to my practicing religious players to see how far I can do. Some are okay with their religion not being showcases. I have a Mormon player who I know I can't run Dogs in the Vineyard and the Utah of Deadlands with. Other players, I just don't bring up religion at all unless it is D&D like religion. I try to respect my players beliefs and frankly, there is plenty of other things to play without trampling on someone's religious views.
            I consider myself lucky, in that even WITH the divergent alignment/religion issues in ADND games (as it has been my more prevalent game besides Starwars D6 i have played/ran), that i have yet to have anyone have issues WITH discussing religion in game..

            Originally posted by Lundgren View Post
            I have a friend that has a phobia against pictures of fishes (seeing a live one in an aquarium isn't much of a problem).
            Fish pics bad, live fish ok?? That makes no sense..
            But hearing some of the strange phobias i have heard of, its not outlandish..
            Originally posted by hm8453a View Post

            Even in that case, you can bring them up to players after another player has told you a "secret secret", and you can use the laundry list tactic I suggested. For example, if a player tells you their character was sexually abused as a child, you could go to the rest of your players and say, "do you feel safe with a character having sexual abuse in their background, if it's never discussed graphically, doesn't happen on screen, and more shaped who they've become today?" That way, for all they know, you're asking about a Storyteller character. No spoilers, and no secrets revealed.
            Strange.. You would think i have had something like that crop up before by now.. However the ONLY time i have remembered some DM asking it, was for an adnd game focusing on the vulgerness of war and rape/pillaging, and asking if anyone had an issue with it being discussed IN GAME..

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            • #21
              Originally posted by garhkal View Post

              I consider myself lucky, in that even WITH the divergent alignment/religion issues in ADND games (as it has been my more prevalent game besides Starwars D6 i have played/ran), that i have yet to have anyone have issues WITH discussing religion in game..
              I've lived in Arkansas and Texas for the past five years. It's difficult to make friends in that area without a few of them being Religious. Contrary to what the Internet says, most Christians are very respectful of your beliefs and just want you to not trample all over their beliefs.


              I write things.

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              • #22
                I always vet the players with discussion on skype to find out if they have any major no-no's...lines to not cross...things to not do. So forth and so on. That way, they do not feel pressured when in front of a group to not admit something. If they have a phobia or some kind of specific mental situation, then it is probably not best to point to the person and mention it. That can be even worse than the actual condition in most cases.

                Then, we go for a session zero wherein we make the characters...we discuss what I would like to do...they tell me the type of stories they enjoy...we see the mixup of the party...the fun stuff. Then we get down to the nitty gritty social contract stuff. Things that I do not tolerate at the table and things that can make them or I walk away from the game. We also talk about what is and is not allowed as a group.

                When you put all of that together, it makes for a respectful environment that allows the players to do whatever they want to do in the game and allows me to tell a story that will keep them from coming back for more.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by garhkal View Post
                  Fish pics bad, live fish ok?? That makes no sense..
                  But hearing some of the strange phobias i have heard of, its not outlandish..
                  It is definitely an odd one, but the brain can make quite strange connections. Her own guess is that someone scared her with that a fish would eat her, while she was reading a book with a story of someone being swallowed by a whale (perhaps Jonah or Pinocchio) as a young kid. So it got connected to the drawings in the book, then it expanded to pictures as well as she grew up.

                  Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
                  I've lived in Arkansas and Texas for the past five years. It's difficult to make friends in that area without a few of them being Religious. Contrary to what the Internet says, most Christians are very respectful of your beliefs and just want you to not trample all over their beliefs.
                  Sweden tend to rank in the top five of least religious countries in the world, and just as a lot of atheists and agnostics in the US bible belt have stories of how they have been treated by religious people there, a lot of religious people over here have stories about how they have been treated by atheists and agnostics. There are unfortunately bad apples everywhere, but many (hopefully most) aren't. But previous bad experiences can lead to people being reserved until they know they are dealing with someone that are won't give them more grief.

                  So to me, religion ends up as just one of many potential issues where someone isn't interesting in playing in a certain setting, or be interested but isn't confident I will handle it in a good way and isn't willing to risk it. But just as you mentioned, while some aren't interested in a game because it clashes with some of their opinions or beliefs, others are.

                  And sometimes people are just fed up with something, and don't want to see it in the game. Can be because they have to deal with it in real life (for example due to sexism, racism, or other types of prejudices), or because they don't want to do yet another game of something (myself, I will not participate as a player in an epic save the world game).

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by hm8453a View Post
                    Triggers. Not content warnings. Not "does this make you UNCOMFORTABLE". Horror is supposed to do that. We're not talking about discomfort. We're not talking about offense. We're talking about psychological HARM. So nothing about comfort. Rather, "do you feel SAFE with my examining x, y, z topic in my game."
                    I will oppose to this, while yes terror is suppose to be unconfortable and etc etc etc RPGs are suppose to be fun, fun meaning something the player wants to get together to play once a week/month. So if a player doesnt want to delve into a specific aspect forcing the issue is mostly annoying to the player.

                    Example my dm said lets run a mage game. Then on session 0 he dropped he wanted a game of teenagers, with families and etc on the first part of the game.

                    I explained to him that i dont like to roleplay family relationships, i just dont. And that the DM, just downplayed my character family to the background until they vanished while using that "free time" to explore the family relationships of another player who really wanted his family to be a focal point.

                    We all won there, so my advice is to talk and listen to what each character want from the game.

                    Examine the merits and flaws of the pcs. Ask them how they should influnce or not the story. Again like in my example above the players whose family was gonna be relevant to the story picked the "dependants" (i think thats the name it was) flaw and got points for it while i didnt because while we both got forced for out pcs to have a families, mine was destined to vanish to the background so picking a flaw for that would be cheating somewhat.
                    Last edited by LokiRavenSpeak; 08-31-2016, 05:44 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by LokiRavenSpeak View Post

                      I will oppose to this, while yes terror is suppose to be unconfortable and etc etc etc RPGs are suppose to be fun, fun meaning something the player wants to get together to play once a week/month. So if a player doesnt want to delve into a specific aspect forcing the issue is mostly annoying to the player.

                      Example my dm said lets run a mage game. Then on session 0 he dropped he wanted a game of teenagers, with families and etc on the first part of the game.

                      I explained to him that i dont like to roleplay family relationships, i just dont. And that the DM, just downplayed my character family to the background until they vanished while using that "free time" to explore the family relationships of another player who really wanted his family to be a focal point.

                      We all won there, so my advice is to talk and listen to what each character want from the game.
                      I agree with this. As I said--at least I think I did, but I've been busy--later in the thread, it's always important to sit down with players and discuss what they want and don't like. However, that is not the same as providing a warning about what content will be included. Warnings for psychological trauma are not the same as discussing your likes and dislikes with players.


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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by hm8453a View Post
                        I agree with this. As I said--at least I think I did, but I've been busy--later in the thread, it's always important to sit down with players and discuss what they want and don't like. However, that is not the same as providing a warning about what content will be included. Warnings for psychological trauma are not the same as discussing your likes and dislikes with players.
                        Of course physicological issues will and should take center stage while discussing what will be and what wont be on the game.

                        But also i have been in far too many game in which DMs take the terror tag line of WoD to mean "i can shove whatever i want on the player even though he isnt interested in X" with frankly dissastrous results for the fun of the game.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by LokiRavenSpeak View Post
                          But also i have been in far too many game in which DMs take the terror tag line of WoD to mean "i can shove whatever i want on the player even though he isnt interested in X" with frankly dissastrous results for the fun of the game.
                          Agree! Definitely another important thing to discuss with players, which is, I think, why a lot of others and myself included it above. Your DM should have discussed that he wanted the group to be teenagers much earlier, and even cleared it with you.


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                          • #28
                            I tell my players that the world of darkness is a shit place and there'll be bad themes. I point out that the attitude of people is shittier, people are less tollerant, everything's more corrupt and violence, including sexual violence happens more often. I ask my players if there's anything they really can't deal with. Then I tell them that I'm not talking about what makes you uncomfortable, but rather what you really can't deal with.

                            If they say spiders I roll my eyes. I like to push comfort zones, but If anyone has a serious problem I acknowledge it and me and my players avoid it.
                            If someone's triggered by too many things, and I feel like I'll have to sacrifice too much of the world, I'll probably ask them to not play. That's never happened though.

                            I've done some cruel stuff as a GM. I've had a player in solo session have break downs because I killed off his abused girlfriend, because I killed off the in game father figure of a real life guy who's got daddy issues, and I drove him into a real nasty one when his toxic character went ronin (mostly because he had an out of character spiral of emotion and treated a month of exile like the three minute discussion it was out of character. I allowed a retcon)
                            With the exception of the last one, he loves that i'm a real bastard when it comes to storytelling. He thanked me for the emotional roller coaster that was killing his drunken, metis hating, irish-wannabee fianna pack leader who fell into a depression when a hive raid went bad and the PC got tortured and the PC's love interest got raped into having a metis. His IRL dad's an irish drunk who left the player at a young age and would think the player a disapointment for being gay and wanting to be a girl. Yeah, the player sometimes gets upset about me punishing him for making poor decisions too often (he makes a lot of them. Wasn't blessed with great brains) , but aside from the ronin incident, he's never really hated it when I've pulled triggers and made him cry over a game. We both agree that he's a masochist.
                            Personally, I think crafting stories to pull on every emotion is a way to make masterworks, and the quality goes up if you know where to hit and it's ok to hit there. I don't know if I'm helping people cope or not by pushing, but it sure can be entertaining for the table.
                            Last edited by Innocent Flower; 09-02-2016, 12:45 AM.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Innocent Flower View Post
                              I tell my players that the world of darkness is a shit place and there'll be bad themes. I point out that the attitude of people is shittier, people are less tollerant, everything's more corrupt and violence, including sexual violence happens more often. I ask my players if there's anything they really can't deal with. Then I tell them that I'm not talking about what makes you uncomfortable, but rather what you really can't deal with.

                              If they say spiders I roll my eyes. I like to push comfort zones, but If anyone has a serious problem I acknowledge it and me and my players avoid it.
                              If someone's triggered by too many things, and I feel like I'll have to sacrifice too much of the world, I'll probably ask them to not play. That's never happened though.

                              I've done some cruel stuff as a GM. I've had a player in solo session have break downs because I killed off his abused girlfriend, because I killed off the in game father figure of a real life guy who's got daddy issues, and I drove him into a real nasty one when his toxic character went ronin (mostly because he had an out of character spiral of emotion and treated a month of exile like the three minute discussion it was out of character. I allowed a retcon)
                              With the exception of the last one, he loves that i'm a real bastard when it comes to storytelling. He thanked me for the emotional roller coaster that was killing his drunken, metis hating, irish-wannabee fianna pack leader who fell into a depression when a hive raid went bad and the PC got tortured and the PC's love interest got raped into having a metis. His IRL dad's an irish drunk who left the player at a young age and would think the player a disapointment for being gay and wanting to be a girl. Yeah, the player sometimes gets upset about me punishing him for making poor decisions too often (he makes a lot of them. Wasn't blessed with great brains) , but aside from the ronin incident, he's never really hated it when I've pulled triggers and made him cry over a game. We both agree that he's a masochist.
                              Personally, I think crafting stories to pull on every emotion is a way to make masterworks, and the quality goes up if you know where to hit and it's ok to hit there. I don't know if I'm helping people cope or not by pushing, but it sure can be entertaining for the table.
                              Making your world one with more sexual violence than reality, mocking triggers, referring to someone's parental abandonment as "daddy issues," and outright insulting one of your players... yeesh.


                              Remi. she/her. game designer.

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                              • #30
                                The world of darkness IS supposed to be darker and shitier, Default cannon. And the real world hyperbolising issues and blaming it on supernatural evil half the time is one of the great ways that WoD satirises the real world. There are players who don't like that and wanna play escapism, that's fine, but it's usually more fun to put the angry feminist behind a black fury than it is to play in a world where gender issues doesn't exist. Nobody's ever said no sexual violence in my games, so it's been fine,
                                and we were playing werewolf. Spirals are not very nice. It's not as much of a thing when vampires are played (unless you're in that side of the sabbat or using infernalists) .
                                Fear of spiders is an Irrational fear. Phobias are not the same as PTSD, and you're misguided to think so.

                                Me and my player have talked about his issues at some length. He's come to terms with it. I'm not mocking him, and he's mocked himself comfortably. I'm saying it how it is.

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