Consent Checklist, Consent in Gaming, Valley of the Three Forks

Let’s Talk About My Consent Checklist

I’ve been thinking a bit more about the review of Consent in Gaming I wrote. I’ve thought about the filling out of the paperwork and the back and forth that comes with that – all of which is about as enjoyable as filling out an excel spreadsheet for a project you hate. So I thought it might be more helpful if I posted mine on the blog so people can see what I’m about instead of it being something we hand back and forth.

Before I did though I asked Shanna Germain if it would be okay to post my filled out copy of the checklist on the blog:

So that’s what we’re going to be doing next and then I want to talk a little about what I’m okay with having in my role-playing games and what I won’t allow.

As you can see I filled this out for my Valley of the Three Forks setting that I’ve been working on with the Gygax ’75 Challenge; however, you can pretty well use this for all of my games. I’m mostly open with what I allow and what I’m willing to participate in as a player. To better understand what I’m against though let’s break it down by the areas.

Horror

In the horror section I’m mostly good with everything except cruelty to animals and to children. On the animals thing there are times when I’m okay with it appearing if it happens in a moment that makes the animal’s harm important for the story. For example, let’s say that a Druid had an animal companion that they exposed to harm in an effort to save the team. I’m not, however, okay with someone just torturing an animal because it’s something that helps them get their rocks off.

Harm to children is one of my bright red lines. I can’t stand someone being cruel to a child in real life. I won’t have it in a game where I’m getting together with my friends to have fun either.

Relationships

I’m okay with players having their characters develop relationships with non-player characters in the game world, however, I don’t want to think about them getting sexual beyond a hand waved, “You two had sex.” I fully understand that other people enjoy this side of the game but for me it’s about as enjoyable as watching paint dry while listening to my neighbors fight about the size of each others’ genitalia.

I’m also absolutely against players becoming romantically involved with each other at the table. I’ve been at tables where players were becoming romantically entangled in real life and carried it over into our game – it was a nightmare for the rest of us. What’s worse, though, are these horror stories I’ve read online where some self-entitled gamer decides to throw their character on another player’s and attempt to seduce them.

That’s utterly disgusting. Don’t do that shit.

Social and Cultural Issues

With this topic I’m mostly against all of the topics brought up. I have too many gay and transgendered friends to be willing for any sort of bigotry to be brought up at the table. They have to put up with that vileness in real life; it will not be brought to my table. The same can be said for sexism.

Now racism is an odd one because I have had players who wanted to play half-elves and half-orcs with the racism against them from the non-player characters to be brought into play. It’s not something that I’m very comfortable with as I find myself often confronting racists in my daily life; however, if a player asks to experience that side of their character I will oblige so I marked it as yellow. In general though I am against having it in my games at all.

The other one I marked yellow is the Specific Cultural Issues because I have no idea what those might be and I might do something without really knowing about it. Most of my games take place in a pseudo-South so the culture is one I’m fairly familiar with. I can make mistakes though so I’m not willing to outright say I won’t.

Mental and Physical Health

I’m good with most everything here except for a couple of topics. The first is sexual assault. It will be a cold day before I have rape or sexual assault in my games. That sort of thing is a brutal cross too many people are forced to carry in real life. It won’t be at my table.

The other two topics I marked as yellow are “Pregnancy, miscarriage, or abortion” (PMA) and “gaslighting.” I marked PMA as a maybe because I have had players whose characters fathered children and who gave birth before. It was something their players actively tried to do and it was handled in mostly a hand wave way as I don’t particularly feel comfortable describing those situations. So I’m okay with them in the hand wave, “You had a baby girl/boy/demon spawn,” sort of way. I don’t allow miscarriages as that’s a cross people actually live with. It won’t be here.

I’ve never had anyone look to have an abortion in the games I run but if that’s what they want to do I would probably handle it in the same way as I do pregnancy. It’s not something I’m willing to act out in game.

Gaslighting, on the other hand, I had to mark as yellow because I’m completely baffled by the term. I have no idea if I’m doing it or not so I have no way of saying that I won’t do it.

Do you guys have any questions?

21 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About My Consent Checklist”

    1. I think it was an implied thing?

      I’ll be honest with you Stelios, I’m not sure. I think that so much of the focus was on things that typically come up in the world as triggering factors for RPG players that they forgot about murder. I mean, how many people know murderers?

      I know six, but let’s be honest, I come from a rough area where that sort of thing isn’t surprising.

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  1. Gaslighting is a thing where someone who is emotionally abusive denies wrongful activity and tries to get their victim to blame themselves for making the accusation, and to challenge their sense of self worth. It comes from a Victorian book of that name, where a husband tries to make his wife think she is losing her mind by dimming the lighting and telling her he can see just fine, that it isnt dark at all and is just her. It is a classic technique of manipulation, frequently performed by folks with a narcissistic personality. Replaying this kind of thing can be triggering for people who have endured emotional abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Would you consider racism and sexism if they are shown to be qualities of the bad guys?

    For instance, several years ago, I had a group of Knights known as the White Lions, they were helping humans but were against non-humans. If there were some in a village they would force the community to exile the non-humans before they provided necessary aid and defense (it was a Points of Light setting).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not any more, Mark.

      Years ago I had a situation where the setting we were playing in expressly talked about how elves were discriminated against because of their race. I ran with that in the game and it just bothered me every time I role-played that side of the setting. None of my players enjoyed it either; so after two sessions we decided, as a group, to forego that side of the setting. It just wasn’t something we could deal with anymore.

      Now, man, like I’m seeing actual fucking Nazis walking into the store on the regular and I’m hearing people drop the N-word in conversations again like it’s the early 90s. I’m having to step in between customers and racists too often for words. I just don’t want to have that in my games. I don’t want to have to deal with that stuff when I’m trying to have fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I appreciate your honesty. We all have different levels of vulnerability. If you don’t mind me asking, does that also mean you wouldn’t use Nazis as antagonists in games of the appropriate period?

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      2. I don’t know. I suppose I could use them like the Nazis are used in Indiana Jones movies, where they’re evil but we’re not really going to mention the racism thing. I mean all that other stuff would be implied, of course, but at least I wouldn’t have to deal with it in the game. So maybe?

        I guess I’d have to see the game.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I currently have a gang of bullies who are against people who are half fae, they are being manipulated by unseelie faeries who find humans distasteful, and interbreeding a source of disturbing disonance with their narrow beliefs. As no peoples like orcs and goblins are inherently evil, I wanted to drop in some enemies they could feel righteous fighting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That was my point in creating the White Lions, they were introduced in the first session of the game and became the binding that pulled the group together as they decided to follow the non-humans of the town and guard them from White Lion attacks.

      I wanted something to other than just adventure or gold to unite the group and it worked really well.

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      1. My plan is to have the bullies get beat down and eventuall collapse as an organization when they discover they are onky pawns of the Winter Court. I have further factioning among the fey thay will further complicate things.

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    1. Not that I’m focusing on the racism thing, but I’m interested in the idea that you’ve got going here. Do you think it would have had the same impact if the bullies were focused on a different unifying theme in their victims? For example, if everyone were poor or all came from a single region?

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      1. I am building from a specific factional point; the unseelie court consists of the winter court, and is intolerant of humans. A subfaction of the group (dark elves, who are not drow, but look like any other faeries) cannot bear the possibility that Faerie and the human world can intermingle, and is setting racist humans against changelings. This is completely against one of the important leaders of the Winter Court, the Queen of Air and Darkness, who, in her role as the Fariy midwife, has dominion over the Changelings, and if this group’s actions are brought to her attention, it will not go well for them.
        I am building this after the style of the GDQ modules, subbing in brute humans for Giants, the Unseelie for Drow, and their goddess as a champion of the PC’s rather than an enemy.
        They have met one or two anti-orc humans, and there was a recent goblin/orc conflict that really had its roots in a relationship between the cheerleader and a player from rival sporting teams.
        The bullies in question come from two groups; one group was a bunch of MRA’s who were bothering a female couple and their friends, the others were being coaxed into nationalism by outside agitators. I have several different human cultures along with the non human ones, and while they have a lot of self-segregation by neighborhood (with different sized housing and specific ethnic grocery stores) they all work reasonably well together, to the point that until this plotline started, there have only been occasional encounters with closeminded individuals, and never anything organized.

        Liked by 1 person

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