41

Establishing a Protocol Many RPG groups have a protocol for handling potentially uncomfortable situations. At the start of your game, you give all your players a card with an X on it, and you say: "We might touch on uncomfortable topics in this game. If you encounter a topic that makes you uncomfortable, show us this card. We won't ask why the topic ...


24

If something is too dark depends entirely on what your group is comfortable with. To illustrate the point, Let me start with three examples: I have played in at least one group in which destroying an orphanage was totally ok... no, let me rephrase that: We pulled an Exterminatus on a whole planet and it was very much expected because we played rather evil ...


22

Don't Be Delicate Or Subtle (But don't go too far and be overly aggressive, or dictatorial, etc.) It sounds like you've been at this for a year, and from your comment that you and almost all of the other players have little or no experience. This does, I realize, put you in a delicate situation rather than one where you might feel like you can be bold. But ...


14

Talk to them about your game, making clear that what you have planned may include elements they find shocking If you haven't started the game yet, or even are only a few sessions into it, you can still hold the Session 0 in a campaign-general way (that is to say, this relevant story might be far enough in the future that talking about it won't immediately ...


10

Is this a problem? So you have characters who "have grudges against one another and its in character for them to snap at one another." Unless and until this is a problem for the players (including you) it's a non-issue. I've played games where the characters literally murdered one another or used the halfling as a trap detector by bodily throwing ...


8

I recall hearing a "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me" interview with Jerry Springer, who was famed in the 90's for his talk show featuring all sorts of absolutely bonkers revelations. (Involving people who were also generally bonkers, and whose reactions were also predictably...bonkers. It made great daytime TV.) In the interview, Springer related that ...


7

Origin The oldest reference I could find is from August 2018, when Gauntlet RPG proposed Stars and Wishes as a softer alternative to the approach of "Roses & Thorns", which also is at times worded as "Rose, Thorn & Bud". Roses & Thorns is meant to identify "I liked this, I disliked that" and possibly "This has ...


5

This is a classic Session Zero issue I have an appreciation (though not exclusive) for the GrimDark sub-genre of written fiction. Although my tastes in RPG subject matter are significantly different (GrimDark in a tabletop RPG always feels more oppressive to me than in a book I can put down) I still belong to the victory-through-adversity and hard-choices-...


5

As with many other situations that warrant bringing focus to how your players are behaving, the best way to do it is to talk to them. In regards to specifically how to do it "delicately", that's going to be up to you. You may be able to find some other questions or answers that go into this with more detail; addressing such things as player ...


2

Generally, none at all, or at least no more than anyone else at the table. This depends on the social contract in place at the table in question. But most social contracts are informal, rather than something you actually write out. Most RPG groups are groups of friends or acquaintances that get together to play the game. In that situation, the GM generally ...


2

No more or less than any other person in the group. These roles - DM/GM/Keeper or any other 'administrator' - are titles within the game system. Being a Wizard doesn't mean the player can throw Fireballs, and being the DM doesn't convey any special privileges or responsibilities outside the game.


2

A wider survey of 'taboo' topics Don't ask about the few specific topics you have planned, ask about all the things for which you're unclear if they would consider it as 'taboo' in your games. Hand out a generic "session 0" survey listing all the common plausible "mature topics" and having the players mark down if there's something they'd ...


1

If you don't want to have to give a content warning, you might be better off making the adventure less contentious instead. For this specific situation: D&D 5e has a rule that if you don't want to kill an opponent you're attacking, you just have to declare a nonlethal attack, and they're knocked out when they reach 0HP instead. So there really shouldn't ...


1

It may feel a little silly or perhaps unnecessary to ask people to tell you if they feel uncomfortable, especially at the start of a gaming session. However, in my experience, people respect me more for establishing a way to make sure everyone feels comfortable, and they express gratitude for it. 1. Plan Ahead If you know your players very well, you may ...


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