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Author Topic: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum  (Read 1988 times)

rytrasmi

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2022, 11:40:48 AM »
I've been forced to run X Cards at my flgs a few times when I was a DM for the adventures league. To say the least for the average group of players they where never used. Then, the fourth session of them being used three new players joined the games (turned out these three requested the X Cards to be used but then had the gull to not show up for a few weeks) and used them to basically bully other players and GMs. These three where walking stereotypes, two MTFs and one Butch Lesbian. The dozens of pride pins all the works, minus hair dye. And a serious chip on their shoulders.

Something happened they didn't like? X-Card. They fail an action? X-Card. A monster targets them? X-Card. This was actually a day where I was playing board games with friends and not running as we had a smaller turn out. The DM who has these 3 disruptive players during a break asked to swap with me and they are on the... Awkward side of things when it comes to social interactions and did not handle conflict well. And being bullied by these three bad actors really upset this lad. So, he made up an excuse about an emergency and handed the game off to me.

The problem I noticed with these bloody cards is the expectation to not question their use. Which means you can never actually find the problem. So, when they started bullying myself and the other players again, I began to ask "What happened? There seems to be something upsetting you as you are using the card often."

It was like I kicked a puppy or something. The reactions from those three where horrid as they started screaming that I should never ask for someone to explain traumas and that this is a safe space where they should feel safe. I countered with something like "I cannot provide a safe space without understanding what is triggering. I don't need details, just the knowledge of what is triggering you" this one sentence. Took like seven attempts to be said with me having to calm them down.

After many attempts I was able to find out the problem. They didn't like "My Style" or the word "No".  Now, by this point most of the game store was high key paying attention to the table since it was free entertainment by this point. But I managed to finish half of the session despite all of the interruptions and I managed to push back against these three bullies by forcing them to explain the problem they had .

Thankfully, they never came back and the shop for the 5th week since the introduction of these rules removed them as "We felt these rules created a negative environment for players and DMs"

Since then, I've experienced them in online games and a few convention's and I've learned that they are almost only used by bullies and losers. And if you push back against this bad behavior you can curb the behavior utterly or quickly get kicked out from a game. Overall, I agree that these are just tools to control others. Nothing else, as if you do have traumas and I somehow trigger your trauma..it's your job to handle that shit then talk to me after you handle your shit. If we need a short pause? Sure. But it better be a damn good reason to stop the game.

So far, I've only had to stop the game once for a player who has a good reason and otherwise my players spoke to me in PMs or after the game if something came up that upset them.
That's pretty messed up. Good on your FLGS for rescinding the "safety tools." And good on you for confronting these assholes!
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rytrasmi

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2022, 11:42:25 AM »
Can you use your own X-card to x-card someone else’s x-card?

So like, a counterspell?

What happens if someone X-Cards you X-Carding someone else?  It will never end!!!   ;D ;D
It's X Cards all the way down. There's a parody game in here somewhere.
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Skullking

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2022, 11:54:19 AM »
Here is my solution to the whole X-card business.  Have a sign on a door that reads: “This Way To collect your ‘X’ Card.” Have that door be a one-way exit that leads to a garbage-strewn alley. A camera should be installed so you can record the looks on their faces once they hear that final “SLAM” behind them.

Best solution ever!

Skullking

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2022, 11:56:17 AM »
I said this on a different thread early June: Tools for narcissists to gain power and leverage.

GhostNinja

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2022, 12:38:22 PM »

It's X Cards all the way down. There's a parody game in here somewhere.

I am getting to work on X-cards, the card game right away!

jeff37923

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2022, 02:36:38 PM »
Can you use your own X-card to x-card someone else’s x-card?

So like, a counterspell?

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Zalman

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2022, 02:57:09 PM »
I've been forced to run X Cards at my flgs a few times when I was a DM for the adventures league.
Can you use your own X-card to x-card someone else’s x-card?

Makes sense to me. Kahoona is a perfect example of someone who's basically been raped by X-cards, and anyone who uses an X-card (in public no less!) is being grossly insensitive to that trauma.
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Venka

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2022, 03:15:04 PM »
As part of my quest to leave roll20, I've been getting helpful links and searching up other VTTs.  Possibly of interest to the thread is Shard Tabletop adding "safety" tools that sound similar to the X-cards:
https://twitter.com/ShardTabletop/status/1548307440495497216

GhostNinja

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2022, 03:39:32 PM »

 Brought to you by Classic Traveller....



I'm stealing this! :)

rytrasmi

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2022, 05:13:11 PM »
I think the video made a good point of logic.

Either the X-Card is (A) required to allow people with trauma to play TTRPGs or it's (B) merely a way of expressing preferences.

If (A), then the X-Card is way too much responsibility for the GM and is also probably some form of untrained/unlicensed therapy, and poorly conceived at that.

If (B), then the X-Card is unnecessary because human beings already have several ways of doing this, which interestingly do not carry an unquestionable veto like the X-Card does.

The X-Card's sole reason to exist boils down to an unquestionable veto. The other reasons that are used to support it are just a smokescreen.

Do not let this thing pollute your table.
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jeff37923

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2022, 06:03:18 PM »

 Brought to you by Classic Traveller....



I'm stealing this! :)

Feel free! It is available for anyone's use!
"I do not want to create a story, I want to create a stage. The player characters will perform on that stage and interact with the setting. When the players talk to their friends about what their characters did, then there will be a story."

The Spaniard

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2022, 06:17:31 PM »
In my opinion, good table governance can always substitute for the situations you would actually want safety tool, but a safety tool--being a dedicated implement--can't do certain things which table governance can. The tradeoff is that it means moving past the idea that the GM is God of the Game because you have to run a formal mechanical process. I'm sure that's going to piss some grognards off.

Does not follow.  Look, being "God of the Game" means exactly that.  Within the game setting/world/rules however you want to define it, the GM has last say, and often first and middle say as well.  It's a necessary part of a traditionally run game (i.e. absent certain meta game mechanics put in place to deliberately farm some of that responsibility out to the players in a formal way) but even then, someone has to do it.

This is completely orthogonal to whether or not said person, GM or otherwise, is acting like a reasonable person or a dick.  Part of not being a dick is being aware of the other people at the table as fellow human beings with feelings and interests.  The only reason to ever continue playing with a dick (GM or otherwise) is that the dick behavior is compensated by something else the group values (great roleplaying, long-time friend in other pursuits, whatever) enough to put up with it.  Or rarely, everyone else sees that person is really trying hard to improve but just not there yet, and thus they see the game as a way to help practice out of bad habits.  (It is rare, and usually people try this with way too much optimism about human nature.  However, I have seen it work more than once.)

Mixing the two categories, in the game and out of the game, seldom works well for changing behavior.  And when they do, it is only around the edges.  Leaving aside all the specific things wrong with the X-Card that make it either useless or actively harmful, it doesn't even perform as advertised, because it can't bridge that divide.  It's the player equivalent of the GM engineering a TPK because the players brought pizza to the game but didn't get exactly what he wanted. 

An X-Card variant, where touching it stopped the game momentarily while everyone talked out what was going on that was bothering them--completely outside the game, could conceivably work in certain select situations.  For me, that would be an automatic game killer--as in, I'm stopping the game right there--because I'm not going that close to the edge, and my sessions aren't for therapy.  I think attempting to use an RPG for therapy is GM malpractice, and more likely to harm than hurt (having some practical experience with people involved in each). 

"Table Governance" for normal people, in normal situations, is the same as it is at every other non-gaming social activity.  Excluding the dicks, if something comes up, you talk about it, no mechanical widget necessary.

Exactly.  I'm not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV.  It's a gaming session, not group therapy.  Don't feel comfortable, that's ok.  Just means you can't play in the session.  End of story.

Fheredin

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2022, 07:42:32 PM »
In my opinion, good table governance can always substitute for the situations you would actually want safety tool, but a safety tool--being a dedicated implement--can't do certain things which table governance can. The tradeoff is that it means moving past the idea that the GM is God of the Game because you have to run a formal mechanical process. I'm sure that's going to piss some grognards off.

Does not follow.  Look, being "God of the Game" means exactly that.  Within the game setting/world/rules however you want to define it, the GM has last say, and often first and middle say as well.  It's a necessary part of a traditionally run game (i.e. absent certain meta game mechanics put in place to deliberately farm some of that responsibility out to the players in a formal way) but even then, someone has to do it.

...

"Table Governance" for normal people, in normal situations, is the same as it is at every other non-gaming social activity.  Excluding the dicks, if something comes up, you talk about it, no mechanical widget necessary.

No, the GM does not have to have universal say on the game. This is literally the Divine Right of Kings argument applied to games; we do have government models which do not require a single player (and the GM is still a player) to exert perfect control.

My point in my prior post is that while play without safety tools is quite possible, it often has unspoken requirements which leverage GM experience, which puts RPGs in an awkward position where the GM (and often the players, too) need years of experience to play. Saying "don't be a dick," is useless because people can and do make mistakes. Worse, this is basically the same purity standard Woke SJWs use, it's just applied in the reverse manner. Yes, kicking players is inevitable, but you should really design your game's mechanics so its rarely necessary, and when you force the conversation to be "play with the X-Card or play without one" with no other options provided, it doesn't really matter. Both options lead to kicking players being the primary outcome.

The problem with X-Cards specifically is that the RPG market has largely either fallen into one of two categories:

  • You don't think safety tools are useful or helpful, or
  • You don't see the flaws with the safety tools you are using.

I think the X-Card is a useful tool, but it's also a critically flawed one. But here we're caught in a Catch-22 where the people who recognize it's flaws aren't interested in improving it because they personally are GMs of 10-20+ years experience who generally run curated groups, and they personally don't need them, preferring the freedom of manual control.

That's a valid decision on a per-group basis, but as a collective, that decision poses a problem.

The X-Card should have been a first generation tool, a temporary fill-in tool until games developed better tools. However, no one actually bothered to come forward with less disruptive tools in a reasonable timeframe, and now we're stuck with the maximum disruption X-Card as an almost mandatory fixture of public play in an environment where our SJW-ridden culture encourages creating a following for yourself by creating disruption and tearing others down. So, I've basically given up on the idea of Con-Play being of any quality for a very long time.


However, perhaps this will get you to see what I'm thinking of.

Each person gets 2 x-cards. They can use each once. After that they have to leave as the game is clearly overly triggering.
This is assuming a convention game or open table in which the GM has no control over who plays.

Hopefully you can get sane players to goad the x-card usage early to get the problems out of the way.

That leads me to think that Parliamentary rules might help, where generally someone has to Second the use of a game-disrupting tool. Here's a quick brainstorm.

  • You start the campaign with three Call For A Vote cards. When you play a Call For A Vote card, you describe the problem with the game as is and propose an Amendment to the game's Social Contract. Other players may propose additions or changes, but it still counts as your Amendment.
  • To immediately change what is happening in the game, you must call for a vote and more than 2/3rds of players at the table agree with you. This is Passing with a Supermajority.
  • To change the game in the future (but not in the present) you must call for a vote and more than 1/2 of players at the table agree with you. This is Passing with a Simple Majority.
  • The GM's vote counts double.
  • A Call For A Vote card returns to you indefinitely if your Amendment passes.
  • You may Spend a second Call For A Vote card on a failed Call For A Vote to create a Hard Veto. A Hard Veto destroys both Call For A Vote cards used (meaning it can only happen once.) The rest of the table then (minus you) votes whether they want to Bar you from Play (requires a Supermajority) rather than accept the Veto.

jeff37923

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2022, 08:58:08 PM »
In my opinion, good table governance can always substitute for the situations you would actually want safety tool, but a safety tool--being a dedicated implement--can't do certain things which table governance can. The tradeoff is that it means moving past the idea that the GM is God of the Game because you have to run a formal mechanical process. I'm sure that's going to piss some grognards off.

Does not follow.  Look, being "God of the Game" means exactly that.  Within the game setting/world/rules however you want to define it, the GM has last say, and often first and middle say as well.  It's a necessary part of a traditionally run game (i.e. absent certain meta game mechanics put in place to deliberately farm some of that responsibility out to the players in a formal way) but even then, someone has to do it.

...

"Table Governance" for normal people, in normal situations, is the same as it is at every other non-gaming social activity.  Excluding the dicks, if something comes up, you talk about it, no mechanical widget necessary.

No, the GM does not have to have universal say on the game. This is literally the Divine Right of Kings argument applied to games; we do have government models which do not require a single player (and the GM is still a player) to exert perfect control.

My point in my prior post is that while play without safety tools is quite possible, it often has unspoken requirements which leverage GM experience, which puts RPGs in an awkward position where the GM (and often the players, too) need years of experience to play. Saying "don't be a dick," is useless because people can and do make mistakes. Worse, this is basically the same purity standard Woke SJWs use, it's just applied in the reverse manner. Yes, kicking players is inevitable, but you should really design your game's mechanics so its rarely necessary, and when you force the conversation to be "play with the X-Card or play without one" with no other options provided, it doesn't really matter. Both options lead to kicking players being the primary outcome.

The problem with X-Cards specifically is that the RPG market has largely either fallen into one of two categories:

  • You don't think safety tools are useful or helpful, or
  • You don't see the flaws with the safety tools you are using.

I think the X-Card is a useful tool, but it's also a critically flawed one. But here we're caught in a Catch-22 where the people who recognize it's flaws aren't interested in improving it because they personally are GMs of 10-20+ years experience who generally run curated groups, and they personally don't need them, preferring the freedom of manual control.

That's a valid decision on a per-group basis, but as a collective, that decision poses a problem.

The X-Card should have been a first generation tool, a temporary fill-in tool until games developed better tools. However, no one actually bothered to come forward with less disruptive tools in a reasonable timeframe, and now we're stuck with the maximum disruption X-Card as an almost mandatory fixture of public play in an environment where our SJW-ridden culture encourages creating a following for yourself by creating disruption and tearing others down. So, I've basically given up on the idea of Con-Play being of any quality for a very long time.


However, perhaps this will get you to see what I'm thinking of.

Each person gets 2 x-cards. They can use each once. After that they have to leave as the game is clearly overly triggering.
This is assuming a convention game or open table in which the GM has no control over who plays.

Hopefully you can get sane players to goad the x-card usage early to get the problems out of the way.

That leads me to think that Parliamentary rules might help, where generally someone has to Second the use of a game-disrupting tool. Here's a quick brainstorm.

  • You start the campaign with three Call For A Vote cards. When you play a Call For A Vote card, you describe the problem with the game as is and propose an Amendment to the game's Social Contract. Other players may propose additions or changes, but it still counts as your Amendment.
  • To immediately change what is happening in the game, you must call for a vote and more than 2/3rds of players at the table agree with you. This is Passing with a Supermajority.
  • To change the game in the future (but not in the present) you must call for a vote and more than 1/2 of players at the table agree with you. This is Passing with a Simple Majority.
  • The GM's vote counts double.
  • A Call For A Vote card returns to you indefinitely if your Amendment passes.
  • You may Spend a second Call For A Vote card on a failed Call For A Vote to create a Hard Veto. A Hard Veto destroys both Call For A Vote cards used (meaning it can only happen once.) The rest of the table then (minus you) votes whether they want to Bar you from Play (requires a Supermajority) rather than accept the Veto.

If players don't like the way that I GM a game, they are more than welcome to go find another GM. Likewise, if I don't like how players are acting in a game I GM, I can either eject the problem player or just not run the game for them.

No 'Divine Right of Kings', just common sense.
"I do not want to create a story, I want to create a stage. The player characters will perform on that stage and interact with the setting. When the players talk to their friends about what their characters did, then there will be a story."

Steven Mitchell

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Re: D&D "Safety Tools": The Quiet Tantrum
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2022, 09:30:54 PM »
You can't legislate therapy.   You can't legislate all game decisions.  You sure can't mix the two, as they are fundamentally different.  That's the root problem with the thinking behind the X-card.  That it's a flawed implementation even on its own terms is just more nails in its coffin. 

There must be some judgment exercised at the table for the gaming version of role play to exist.  This is completely separate thing from the activity of a trained psychologist working through a damaged person's therapy needs.  There is not some better tool that can be done that will bridge that gap.  Anyone that thinks there can be doesn't understand how therapy works.