The DM as Moral Compass

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First things first. Some discussion on another thread about what was, and was not, acceptable within the game inspired me to create this thread. I don't want anyone to see it as a personal attack. I really think this is an imporant issue.

Its not just about what is acceptable within a gaming group, but the community as a whole. And how we are all responsible to that community.
Its not a secret that things can explode in social media. Often in a dramaticly negative fashion that can have far reaching effects.
Imagine the following: (paraphasing something I read today on this forum and expanding on it)

Reporter:"Wizards of the Coast? How do you answer to the accusation that **** and torture are acceptable parts of playing dungeons and dragons?"
WotC:"what!!??"
Reporter:"It says right here that the group allows **** and torture, and its OK, because they all agreed to it. Should young adults be playing this game?"
WotC:"Sorry, we no longer publish D and D products"

I don't believe that 'because our group agreed to it' makes something an acceptable practice.
I don't believe that 'because thats how my character would act' makes something an acceptable practice.
I don't believe that 'age filtering' makes something acceptable.

The DM is the leader/organizer of a gaming group and should take the moral high ground and be the moral compass for the group.
The DM shouldn't be afraid to stop unacceptable behavior and make it known that thier game is one where harrassment, tasteless and suggestive behavior, and bullying are not tolerated.
The DM shouldn't stop at what the DM considers the morally acceptable standard. They should stand up and hold thier game to the higher standards they hope thier players have.
 
I respect what people do in their social circles.

Different social groups have differing ranges of "acceptability". Hell, my group is a prime candidate for that! Both of them actually since I run two groups.

However, I'm mature enough to realize the importance of respecting the nature of this forum and of discussing the game in general to keep from putting forth certain behavior as a "norm" or "par for the course". It is irresponsible and improper. It is the same as if someone new came into our group...we're all adults so we would be mature and responsible enough to respect that persons sensibilities until we were all familiar with each other and such. That is how group interactions (should) work.

On a public forum for a game that supports gameplay for all ages, there is no way discussions should veer towards how it's "okay" to support certain clearly offensive topics if the "group is cool with it". There is an unspoken, painfully obvious fact that what people do with their game is their business but that doesn't mean it should be presented as a norm. It is stupid to do so. It is inconsiderate to do so.

This reminds me, in many ways, of an issue that happened in the fighting game community with a player/commentator making repeated inappropriate sexist remarks during a live-cast. Guess what? Even though it was "the norm" for his social circle (and I assume many others) people (rightfully) took offense. And it made the entire FGC (fighting game community) look bad because it was presented as a norm. It was denounced just as it should have been.

It's no different for D&D. Just because something inappropriate isn't taboo amongst friends doesn't make it okay to put forth as a 'norm' or as commonly acceptable.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.


On a public forum for a game that supports gameplay for all ages, there is no way discussions should veer towards how it's "okay" to support certain clearly offensive topics if the "group is cool with it". 


This reminds me of something I wanted to put in the original post.
Just because 'the group is cool with it' doesn't mean the group is actually cool with it.
People tend to go along with the group. Especially in a situation where disagreeing could be seen as compromising the fun of the rest of the group.
All the more reason to take a moral high road. You are less likely to have a suffering in silence member of the group.


This is something of a touchy subject because morals vary from culture to culture and person to person. I agree that there are certain things which are almost universally taboo and there are also things would should not be advocated for, at all. But this is a group game where everyone is there to have fun. If one player's actions are ruining the fun of others because they are behaving in a vulgar way it should be the responsibility of EVERYONE to tell that person what they're doing to upset them all and why they should stop.

Where your morals lie and what crosses the line is something of a collective concensus of the group, but there are probably some general things most people would agree on and I believe **** is one of those things. Myself I would certainly make an ultimatum to stop such a behvior or leave the group or kick out that player (depending on what the exact circumstances were).

Ultimately I think what it comes down to is that everyone at the table should feel comfortable and be having fun.

On a side note there are some utterly dispicable "games (if you could call them that) that not only tolerate but encourage things like **** and racism. I won't name them, but it's worth saying that they diminish the community as a whole, give us a bad name, and are generally deplorable.
I believe my own responsibility extends only as far as:

  1. establishing with my group what I am comfortable dealing with, and where my limits are

  2. understanding what each member of my group is comfortable with, and respecting their boundaries

  3. choosing not to game with a group (and/or DM) that does not set, understand, or respect limits and boundaries

  4. obeying laws and acting in a responsible manner

  5. upholding my responsibilities as a host for the safety and well-being for any guests I invite into my home


I am not in the habit of joining social groups to act as their morality police.


I am not in the habit of joining social groups to have them indoctrinate me with their morality (or immorality, as the case may be.)


I am not in the habit of joining social groups for the dubious pleasure of being upset and offended by them because I didn't set boundaries, or because I set boundaries they chose to ignore.


I am not in the habit of joining social groups to break laws and hurt innocent people or stand by while innocent people get hurt.


And, I'm not in the habit of sitting around doing nothing while my guests run amok in my home offending and hurting each other.



[spoiler That said....]


As far as I'm concerned, it's OK for NPC villains to humiliate, rob, ****, torture, maim, murder, and tie to the railroad tracks NPC victims.  This is, after all, what villains do.  And, I'm definitely OK with the PCs stopping those villains heroically, even if it means using deadly force - it's what PCs and other heroes do.


However, I don't really have an interest in running or joining a game where PCs act like NPC villains, except in a G-rated or light PG-rated way.  And, I'd be a bit squeamish about NPC villains victimizing PCs, or PCs victimizing other PCs, if the players involved have explicitly consented to it.  Victimizing PCs without the player's consent is, to me, totally out of the question.  That sort of game is just not my cup of tea.


[/spoiler]

[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
To me moral compass = world setting and culture players want to play. Once thats determined it dictates whats right or wrong, acceptable or not. Guess setting is determined by group discussion. After I the dm direct the rest
To me moral compass = world setting and culture players want to play. Once thats determined it dictates whats right or wrong, acceptable or not. Guess setting is determined by group discussion. After I the dm direct the rest


I think FamousErik is more focused on metagame morals (or rather lack thereof) effecting the game.
Well, how to begin?

First things first, yes, this is an important issue to understand and I understand your concerns. However, I disagree with (sort of) a few of your points.



Imagine the following: (paraphasing something I read today on this forum and expanding on it)

Reporter:"Wizards of the Coast? How do you answer to the accusation that **** and torture are acceptable parts of playing dungeons and dragons?"
WotC:"what!!??"
Reporter:"It says right here that the group allows **** and torture, and its OK, because they all agreed to it. Should young adults be playing this game?"
WotC:"Sorry, we no longer publish D and D products"

 



Yes, the media as well as the community can blow things out of proportion or spin a rather lobsided argument on an issue. But this?? Are you actually concerned about a conversation like this getting credible coverage without rebuke? This conversation makes no sense, because D&D is not a crime; D&D is a vessel. D&D as a mechanical ruleset has no other morality than what the players bring to it. Simply because the worst is possible, doesn't mean that it is actually in widespread practice.

A similar, and just as illogical, argument would be the banning of automated vehicals. Some, some, drivers are fine with vehicular manslaughter and similar crimes. Does that mean that Ford should shut down all automobile production? No, nobody would take that argument seriously. "The group" is not equivilent to the WOTC board.

I don't believe that 'because our group agreed to it' makes something an acceptable practice.



Actually... yes. Yes it does. The very definition of  "acceptable" is the mere possibility of someone, anyone, accepting it. The key then, is that it is only acceptable to that, specific group as agreed upon by everyone within that group. If you are saying that if one group practices a certain morality at the table, that doesn't make it a relatively good morality, then yes; that's possible. But the morality differs from group to group and only that group is responsible.

Just because 'the group is cool with it' doesn't mean the group is actually cool with it.
People tend to go along with the group. Especially in a situation where disagreeing could be seen as compromising the fun of the rest of the group.



And this, this hints at a problem just as worrying as player morality. Trust. This statement is saying that there can be practically no trust between a DM and a player as for when a player is actually comfortable. The DM has to be able to take what people say at face-value. The question of what a player is comfortable with should be asked in a one-on-one setting in my own opinion, but the DM has to be able to trust the player, and the players have to be able to trust one another.

I mean, at what point does a DM who believes this stop distrusting when the group says its comfortable? What if they say they're perfectly fine with killing Random Orc Enemy #2445-GX-9? Do they really mean it? Or are they just lying for the group? There has to be trust somewhere, and the DM needs to make sure that every player understands that they can rely on that trust.

 Its not just about what is acceptable within a gaming group, but the community as a whole. And how we are all responsible to that community.



I think overall, this is where you and I differ the most in our opinions.

As far as I can tell, I am in no way responisble to the community. No one is responsible to the community, anytime, anywhere, for any reason.

Each gaming group is responsible for itself and itself only. Each group chooses its own players and DM, who in turn choose their own style, boundaries, relationships, and goals and that is what makes D&D a vessel rather than an outcome. Anything born from that is not on anyone's shoulders but their own.

If the media, or the community, or just anybody really colors their perspective of D&D because of one group and its own morality, then that's that and I will still continue to enjoy my game regardless of other people's incomplete observations.

Christianity cannot be summed up in Westboro Baptist Church. The United Sates cannot be summed up in Texas (despite how many Texans would believe that). Humanity cannot be summed up in a handful of people.

To each their own, and nothing more.







He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

A similar, and just as illogical, argument would be the banning of automated vehicals. Some, some, drivers are fine with vehicular manslaughter and similar crimes. Does that mean that Ford should shut down all automobile production? No, nobody would take that argument seriously. "The group" is not equivilent to the WOTC board.


This.

The rest of the discussion should be between parents and their kids, not on a message board.
First things first. Some discussion on another thread about what was, and was not, acceptable within the game inspired me to create this thread. I don't want anyone to see it as a personal attack. I really think this is an imporant issue.

Its not just about what is acceptable within a gaming group, but the community as a whole. And how we are all responsible to that community.
Its not a secret that things can explode in social media. Often in a dramaticly negative fashion that can have far reaching effects.
Imagine the following: (paraphasing something I read today on this forum and expanding on it)

Reporter:"Wizards of the Coast? How do you answer to the accusation that **** and torture are acceptable parts of playing dungeons and dragons?"
WotC:"what!!??"
Reporter:"It says right here that the group allows **** and torture, and its OK, because they all agreed to it. Should young adults be playing this game?"
WotC:"Sorry, we no longer publish D and D products"

I don't believe that 'because our group agreed to it' makes something an acceptable practice.
I don't believe that 'because thats how my character would act' makes something an acceptable practice.
I don't believe that 'age filtering' makes something acceptable.

The DM is the leader/organizer of a gaming group and should take the moral high ground and be the moral compass for the group.
The DM shouldn't be afraid to stop unacceptable behavior and make it known that thier game is one where harrassment, tasteless and suggestive behavior, and bullying are not tolerated.
The DM shouldn't stop at what the DM considers the morally acceptable standard. They should stand up and hold thier game to the higher standards they hope thier players have.
 

People are conscious beings capable of exercising moral judgment. That applies to adults and teens alike, and whether they are players or observers.
The DM is the leader/organizer of a gaming group and should take the moral high ground and be the moral compass for the group. The DM shouldn't be afraid to stop unacceptable behavior and make it known that thier game is one where harrassment, tasteless and suggestive behavior, and bullying are not tolerated. The DM shouldn't stop at what the DM considers the morally acceptable standard. They should stand up and hold thier game to the higher standards they hope thier players have.
 



I will run the type of games that I and my players enjoy. So, about the moral high ground, where do you draw the line? Do you want D&D to be like Walt Disney movies, or G-level violence like Tom and Jerry? What do you want? Wizards made a product that player groups can interpret however they want.

I make sure that all players are aware of one anothers biases on Session Zero, where we all make known our expectations. I have run games before where "socially questionable or unacceptable" elements have entered the game. They must indeed be handled with care!

I have to ask though, where your boundries are different than mine. I can't force my morality on others, nor can anyone else make me accept their morality. We can be adults and negotiate. There are a lot of things that I would never do, or allow to be done. Sometimes, people just have different moral systems. That can create a barrier which cannot be overcome, and I am fine with excluding them from my game. I won't have "Moral Guardians" in my game. I also won't have "We **** the elf!" in my game. Of course, this is all learned at Session Zero.

Within; Without.


  1. No one should tell others what they can and can’t do at their table if all parties agree something is okay

  2. That’s it. There is no Overlaying moral code that DnD players MUST follow.


Sorry if anyone gets butt-hurt over this but it’s the plane honest truth; just because some people are not comfortable with what other people do/allow at their games doesn’t mean those people are obligated to stop doing those things.  Period.


This isn’t politics you can’t call foul when you are offended; we all have freedom of speech (or we all should) none of us has freedom against being offended.


If you don’t like these actions/themes in your games; just don’t allow them to be present at all; but don’t think ranting about how the community should have some moral code we abide has any more value than the air you wasted to say it; at this point people have more or less taken sides on the issue, you either are okay with this content in your games, or you are not.


News flash; if you are okay with these things in your game, you and your players are not bad people, you and your players are not ruining the community & you and your players shouldn’t be bashed because they accept things in games that some others don’t.


The community is still here despite all us “bad” players allowing such things in our games; the news and media are going to twist whatever, whomever and whenever they want if they decide they don’t like DnD then it doesn’t matter they WILL find a reason to bash it ((but come on I haven’t seen the a major news or media outlet focus on DnD in ages))


Bottom line is each table is free to decide what they want or don’t want in their games; nothing anyone says can stop that or should stop that from happening. This is the reality we live in, now you can complain all you want; but in the end it amounts to nothing.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/1.jpg)

1. There is a perception of social incompetents because it is well known that Dungeons and Dragons and other such games attracts Introverts. Introverts are not the "preference" in a society where the values only promote Extroverts. Thus, anything which is attractive to Introverts becomes deviance against the norm of Extroversion.

2. I enjoy women at my table, honestly. Something about women is hard wired toward empathy and emotion, meaning they are more prone to bite emotional hooks and buy-in to that element of a situation; even so much as to "sell" it to other players!

3. I don't know what anyone owes a community. If this were a community where we all contributed something, and benefited from something, I would agree with you. If there were a "big community", I would agree. But instead, there are small groups which are often isolated from one another. No two groups are similar enough to call all the groups a combined community.

4. Don't misunderstand me, I agree with you overall. I think the resistance occurs because most people say that "My group isn't in the bigger community!" They only see their own group, and social occultation dictates that by looking at "my group" the notion of "other groups" gains a level of invisibility. Over time, this invisibility can grow to the point that I have no concern for the "other groups", they are less like "allies" and more like "critics", and any community where you have "artists" and "critics" you already have "us-and-them" mentality of superiority complexes.

I guess I am trying to say that most people don't see themselves in a community, so they don't feel responsible for it. There is no "Social Contract" of "Role Players", just some rules outlined for a game in a few books. There is nothing that makes people feel a common bond, and that is what this is about to me; the common bond. In an individualistic, egoistic, capitalist society where "The Commons" is not valued, is it really surprising most people feel no accountability to a bigger picture? I find it natural law. People were born and raised into a society that taught them ultimate selfishness, and self-justification at all costs, disrespect toward others and we wonder why people feel this way.

Is there a "Solution"?  I don't know.  I know that my reach is very limited. My actions will never impact the rest of you, and I doubt your actions will ever impact the rest of me. As for "Moral Guardians", I would attack them on every single issue, demanding their censorship campaigns are Un-American and anti-patriotic to Freedom of Speech, and if you don't like what I have going on, then "Don't let the door hit you where your good lord split you".  I think that communication is key, and the solution, if there is one, is in letting others know what isn't normal.

But what is normal?  I am starting to learn that "chop it all down" is the new norm, and role playing has fallen to the wayside of looting dead barmaids and children. That will never be the norm in my game, but as I fall further and further into a minority where my ideas have less and less meaning to the greater picture, it is hard to see myself as part of the picture. I think most of us don't see ourselves as part of a bigger picture.

Within; Without.

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 the news and media are going to twist whatever, whomever and whenever they want if they decide they don’t like DnD then it doesn’t matter they WILL find a reason to bash it ((but come on I haven’t seen the a major news or media outlet focus on DnD in ages))




Does anyone else Remember B.A.D.D.? Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons? That's the last main attack I know of, though there have been many smaller ones scattered over the years I'm sure.

The women heading the organization (as well as its only member) tried to directly connect RPGs with things ranging from sexual perversion to increased suicide rates and a whole bunch of stuff inbetween. Her arguments were just as illogical (and unfounded) as the earlier conversation, and as a result, she lost every court case she either pushed for herself or was a major contributer in. A few people later down the line severly rebuked her arguments and B.A.D.D. lost traction fast.


I don't trust the media as far as I can... well, I don't trust them. But this seems to be a very realistic conclusion to that "what if" conversation if anyone tried to crusade with it.
  

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

As both a gamer and a member of the media (I'm a newspaper reporter) I can tell you neither group likes being painted with a broad brush. I can also tell you that as a journalist I have written about gaming and games, including D&D, numerous times and always with a positive eye toward bringing more people into the hobby.

As for the OP's post, I'm curious as to where they found this conversation. It may be how it was paraphrased, but it rings very false with me that this interview actually happend that way.
All opinions aside, I think the best answer is this:

"Each gaming group is a separate entity. Each group will decide independently what kind of content is appropriate in their game. Some groups may find some content inappropriate for their game that others don't.

Just as some games focus on being played on a grid with a general expectation of hacking down fictional monsters and evading traps like those from epic movies; other games might focus on large scale battles, sieges, or conducting politics, diplomacy and espionage."

The Slippery Slope argument is a fallacy often used to create the worst portrayal of something.

Let us remind ourselves that Gaming is a hobby which has been around for a very long time.

Lastly, I would add that many people have preferences in content which differs from other people. Those who are moral guardians are welcome to start gaming groups, and play games where content is filtered to their preferences,

Within; Without.

As both a gamer and a member of the media (I'm a newspaper reporter) I can tell you neither group likes being painted with a broad brush. I can also tell you that as a journalist I have written about gaming and games, including D&D, numerous times and always with a positive eye toward bringing more people into the hobby.

As for the OP's post, I'm curious as to where they found this conversation. It may be how it was paraphrased, but it rings very false with me that this interview actually happend that way.


Sorry for the confusion. I was only paraphasing the 'we allow **** and torture in our group part'



I seemed to have touched a nerve when I used the term 'morals'. Let's back it up and use the term 'Social Standards' instead.

Let's apply ourselves to have higher social standards in our games.
I'm not proposing an open ended watering down of the game.
I would like to see people say the following things are not acceptable in the RPG community:

****! Torture. Sexism. Objectification of women. Women as victims. Bullying. Inappropriate language(eg. racist, degrading to minorities.....there is a word for this but it totally escapes me.)

Instead of starting at the lowest common denominator of acceptable behavior and agreeing thats good enough, or apperently throwing a dart at the morality dartboard and starting there, we should  make it clear all the above listed items are off the table.
 




Just because 'the group is cool with it' doesn't mean the group is actually cool with it.
People tend to go along with the group. Especially in a situation where disagreeing could be seen as compromising the fun of the rest of the group.



And this, this hints at a problem just as worrying as player morality. Trust. This statement is saying that there can be practically no trust between a DM and a player as for when a player is actually comfortable. The DM has to be able to take what people say at face-value. The question of what a player is comfortable with should be asked in a one-on-one setting in my own opinion, but the DM has to be able to trust the player, and the players have to be able to trust one another.


Unfortunately open trust to speak how we really feel often falls down, and you really can't trust what your players tell you about what they find acceptable.
2 examples:
Your friend is going out with a girl you hate. When your friend asks about them, there is only one answer, and its far from honest:
"she's nice. you guys make a nice couple"
Your girlfriend asks you to put on clown makeup and cover yourself in mayonaise before coming to bed for sexy time. She asks you if this sounds weird.
There is only one answer and its far from honest.
"No, its not wierd. sounds like fun"

Now we have something with far smaller social stakes that can still produce the same deception: something the player may find mildly objectionable.
The inclination to not embarass you or themselves or make the other players think something negative about them can make them un-truthful. Even if they are only imagining the emotional insult.

Putting that aside(and not this just sounds like a justification to say this)
If you state from the start that a high social standard is being put in place, the player is much less likely to have something objectionable to them come up in the game.

Wow, you have a warped view of human relationships.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Why should we stand up for these higher social standards?
Why is the effect of unacceptable game content larger than the group playing?
Why do we have a responsibility to a larger community and society?

Normalizing.
When you say that the **** of women is OK in your game, you are normalizing it. You are saying that its not that big a deal. The same applies to other unacceptable social behaviours.
You are taking away the seriousness of it by putting it in a fantasy setting and watering it down with a vanilla description and removing the consequences.
The pretend people in your game are never able to raise a protest of the situation or fight so that it never happens again.
 
The people you are playing with move on to other games where the chances of unacceptable behaviours becomes larger, because the player already views the behaviour as normal.
The people you are playing with go to the locker room or chess club or work BBQ and are much less likely to speak up if they are confronted with unacceptable behaviour because they see it as normal.



 
My Spidy-Sense is tingling... and telling me that this conversation is going nowhere. One last attempt then, I suppose.

I seemed to have touched a nerve


No. People just disagree with you.

Let's back it up and use the term 'Social Standards' instead.


I see no differences between Social Standards and Morals. Elaborate please.

Let's apply ourselves to have higher social standards in our games.
I would like to see people say the following things are not acceptable in the RPG community


You continue to use words that imply a togetherness, a union between all RPG'ers. To be blunt, there is no such thing as the RPG community. This isn't a political party; no one signs up, no one votes on group policy, there is no agenda, no communication, and no goals. It simply doesn't exist. What you are asking for isn't possible even on a small scale.

The "RPG Community" is made entirely of free-floating cells of players that (thankfully) have no authority over any other group. There is no structure... at all.

And I know you mean for this to be informal, but even informally its impossible given how individual games and the people who play them are.

Women as victims.


Why can't women be victims? That's just as sexist as saying they must always be.

Unfortunately open trust to speak how we really feel often falls down, and you really can't trust what your players tell you about what they find acceptable.


Okay, the train stops here.

Excuse me?

Are you telling me that I can't trust people you've never met? A few of whom I have know since pre-school and practically all of my life? Friends and Best friends that I've had conversations specifically about honesty and trust with that you've never heard?

I don't know what kind of friends you have, but I trust these people. I trust that if I walk up to my lifelong friend Zach and ask him "How do I look?", he's not going to lie to me. He'd flat out tell me "Forgotten... you look like $%&#@."

If you can't trust your players and your players don't trust you, there is no game. They don't have to be your best friends, they don't have to even know you. But if its clear that this isn't a safe enviornment and that you have to lie about your comfort level, this is no place for gaming of any kind.

I could post more, especially about the idea of Normalizing not working in this context, but I'm bushed, and this seems fruitless.



He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

Presumably Zach would call you by your real name? Tongue Out
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Haha.

Presumably.

Laughing 

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

I am afraid a "world" with such a "high social standard" wouldn't be believable to me. Only men can be victims? Wow. Just, wow.


Objectification? Great, so everyone is dressing like Puritans and Quakers, afraid of revealing anything above the ankles. Bullying is the number one motivator.

Nations with power bully those without. Classes and interest groups with resources and money bully those without. Individuals with resources and power bully those without on a million different levels. If an empire invades a smaller kingdom, bullying just occurred. If the Empire is run by a man and the kingdom a woman, now you are calling it sexist. If I have an island of inward people who dislike foreigners and use a "dirty word" to describe them all (except the few that earn their trust) I am racist? Are you saying that my races must live in harmony without conflict? What about religion? Can I have religious conflict? I could have the attackers poison the river in a siege; or does that promote terrorism?

Unfortunately, different people want to play different types of games with different levels of adult content.

You are welcome to start your own group with your own "social standards", and good luck. I, personally, wouldn't want to play in such a shallow world where everything is filtered down. Next, you will say that I can't attack other humanoids, only monsters because you don't want to encourage fighting and gang violence.

I agree only so far that these standards should be determined before the group. Anyone who has opinions about "what is appropriate" should discuss that BEFORE the first game session, to keep everyone happy and on one page. I wouldn't want a player like you in my game, because you would be freaking out and you wouldn't enjoy yourself in my game anyway. Better we both learn this before wasting our time, after all; we can still respect each other and disagree.

One final point:

I would never patronize or condescend my players by being "their moral compass". That insinuation would be considered demeaning and insulting. Personally, I believe in letting others express their own moral compass. If their moral compass and mine are misaligned enough that we don't enjoy one anothers presence, that can be quickly arranged.

Within; Without.

People will vote with there feet.  If a game doesn't suit someone they will seek out other games.  Its pretty much why many gaming groups are long time friends.  
My point in this thread is less that people cannot do as they please in their games (I, in fact, encourage this) and more that the community simply needs to understand, respect and act with standards of common decency and accountability. For those saying that there is "no larger community" for gamers, you're so off-base it's sad. You are posting on it. People in that community are reading it. If you want to be an island unto yourself you are welcome to do so but it means cutting ties to this board and stopping posting publically since doing so contributes to a community. Being blind to that is just silly.

Everyone should realize, rightfully so, that what players agree on at their table is what goes and that is perfectly awesome. Cool. No prob. Have fun.

However, imagine someone posting up a thread topic requesting a rules adjudication for the best Skill to use for a player to determine the superiority of one color of people over another on a biological or magical basis. Would the former be very high Knowledge - Nature and the latter be Spellcraft or something similar? What is your suggestion for that person? How far down the rabbit hole do you go? After all, at someones table that could be a legitimate, agreed upon mentality, yes?

Doesn't matter.

It is obscene. It doesn't have a place as part of a discussion that elevates it to normalcy (to borrow the phrase). It should not be accepted as part of the standard discussion for the game. Now, of course they can be as racist or ignorant as they want in their lives...whatever. As a community, however, the damage that can do to someone coming to the board is undeniable. The damage it does to the way the community looks, and the ability for that community to grow & thrive, is undeniable. None of us are an island. Nothing we post is in a vacuum.

It is why when there is a debate started about how it is justifiable to use the Skill "Intimidate" to get "seduce" someone (with the meaning of the latter being a sexual congress) there is no way to debate that well. Trying to justify it when the immediate response from many people is that it is clearly "rapey" is digging a hole that need not be dug. As a test, go out into the street and ask a woman (or a man for that matter) if they'd be cool with being "Intimidated" into having sex with someone else. Ask them how they'd classify it. If you get the answer "****" 9 out of 10 times, then yeah you should probably stop trying to justify how it could be perfectly innocent and realize that that outlier 1 of 10 is not worth justifying in the face of what your argument represents to people...and how it represents a community that takes part in such a debate.

It is the ultimate in nerd "missing the forest for the trees". And, again, it reinforces so many negative stereotypes that plague the hobby. Not understanding that also reinforces other negative stereotypes in the hobby.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

For those saying that there is "no larger community" for gamers, you're so off-base it's sad. You are posting on it. People in that community are reading it. If you want to be an island unto yourself you are welcome to do so but it means cutting ties to this board and stopping posting publically since doing so contributes to a community. Being blind to that is just silly.



I suspect that despite the use of "For those", this is mostly directed at myself. Especially since I am the only one to have made that claim. You could just adress me personally, YagamiFire.

I believe there may have been a misunderstanding here, mostly one invloving scope.

Is there a community? Yes. The forums here, the conventions, and the multiple groups gathering at homes, stores, or other places are communities.

What I was saying is that there is no RPG Community, or the collective and organized sum of all players of Pen and Paper RPG players. No one can make rules for everyone that plays any kind of RPG, especially if they expect everyone to follow those rules or guidelines. FamousErik wants the collective sum of all Pen and Paper RPG players to adhere to his moral standards. That is simply impossible.

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

For those saying that there is "no larger community" for gamers, you're so off-base it's sad. You are posting on it. People in that community are reading it. If you want to be an island unto yourself you are welcome to do so but it means cutting ties to this board and stopping posting publically since doing so contributes to a community. Being blind to that is just silly.



I suspect that despite the use of "For those", this is mostly directed at myself. Especially since I am the only one to have made that claim. You could just adress me personally, YagamiFire.

I believe there may have been a misunderstanding here, mostly one invloving scope.

Is there a community? Yes. The forums here, the conventions, and the multiple groups gathering at homes, stores, or other places are communities.

What I was saying is that there is no RPG Community, or the collective and organized sum of all players of Pen and Paper RPG players. No one can make rules for everyone that plays any kind of RPG, especially if they expect everyone to follow those rules or guidelines. FamousErik wants the collective sum of all Pen and Paper RPG players to adhere to his moral standards. That is simply impossible.




Then worry less about what he's saying and address what I'm saying.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

I thought I just did.

That section of your post was more or less a response to mine and mine alone. I thought, and still think, that it was based off you reading "No communities at all" vs "No "Entire RPG player community". I only "worried" about what FamousErik was wanting because his statement was meanst to provide clarity about the context of my response.

I agree with everything else in that section and feel no need at all to respond to anything else you have said. 
 

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

I thought I just did.

That section of your post was more or less a response to mine and mine alone. I thought, and still think, that it was based off you reading "No communities at all" vs "No "Entire RPG player community". I only "worried" about what FamousErik was wanting because his statement was meanst to provide clarity about the context of my response.

I agree with everything else in that section and feel no need at all to respond to anything else you have said. 
 



I'll also point out that you're using "community" in a way that is far more like "society"...what with the emphasis on organization and such. Community is not required to be organized with rules and guidelines. However, a community is perfectly possible of policing itself...it just takes the individual members to do so.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

I won't have "Moral Guardians" in my game. I also won't have "We **** the elf!" in my game.



Thadian...doesn't the latter make you the former?

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

The DM is the leader/organizer of a gaming group and should take the moral high ground and be the moral compass for the group.
 

Point of order: the DM is the moral every ground.


I'll also point out that you're using "community" in a way that is far more like "society"...what with the emphasis on organization and such.



Perhaps I am. Society and community do have certain levels of interchangability. My focus on structure was in response to FE's focus on a uniform rule that should be followed.

Community is not required to be organized with rules and guidelines. However, a community is perfectly possible of policing itself...it just takes the individual members to do so.



Possible? Yes? Probable? No. Even "policing" these community forums for the suggested rule would be difficult. For the entirity of RPG players? As close to impossible as it can be.

Anyways, this is begining to derail this thread from Morality to the existence and differences between RPG communities. If you are interested in continuing this idea, a new thread should be started or you could PM me if you care.



He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. -Revelation 21:6

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.-John Donne, Meditation XVII

My photo was found here.

It doesn't have a place as part of a discussion that elevates it to normalcy (to borrow the phrase). It should not be accepted as part of the standard discussion for the game. Now, of course they can be as racist or ignorant as they want in their lives...whatever. As a community, however, the damage that can do to someone coming to the board is undeniable. The damage it does to the way the community looks, and the ability for that community to grow & thrive, is undeniable. None of us are an island. Nothing we post is in a vacuum.

It is why when there is a debate started about how it is justifiable to use the Skill "Intimidate" to get "seduce" someone (with the meaning of the latter being a sexual congress) there is no way to debate that well. Trying to justify it when the immediate response from many people is that it is clearly "rapey" is digging a hole that need not be dug. As a test, go out into the street and ask a woman (or a man for that matter) if they'd be cool with being "Intimidated" into having sex with someone else. Ask them how they'd classify it. If you get the answer "****" 9 out of 10 times, then yeah you should probably stop trying to justify how it could be perfectly innocent and realize that that outlier 1 of 10 is not worth justifying in the face of what your argument represents to people...and how it represents a community that takes part in such a debate.

It is the ultimate in nerd "missing the forest for the trees". And, again, it reinforces so many negative stereotypes that plague the hobby. Not understanding that also reinforces other negative stereotypes in the hobby.


Very well put.

What I would like to know from the people who play rapists, child molesters, arsonists, demon worshippers etc. is why they like this sort of stuff. And if they post their desires to play these kind of games on boards like this here, I think they should expect to be asked that question. What is anybody trying to achieve with and in this kind of game? Also, for example, what is somebody trying to tell me if their signature reads something like: "I am a chaotic evil wizard" (followed by stats etc.)? Because, let's face it, in real life, real-life tendencies like this (****, pimping, chaotic evil) are considered socially very abnormal behaviour. Please note that I am not saying that people who play games like that perform acts like that in real life. I am assuming it is just a game for them.
But to me, playing a game like this is just so.... weird that I would really like to know what the appeal is. Anybody out there who can explain this to me?
I don't think anyone plays characters like that.
My only problem with the idea of a "greater community" is that I don't make money from any of you, nor do I pay any of you. I have no legal connection, no social contract, no agreement. Posting on this forum simply required agreeing to certain terms from WOTC, not from "The Role-Playing Community". This website is NOT the "place of that community", because I know too many people who have NEVER been to the Wizards of the Coast website in their entire life, people well over 30 who use the internet and play weekly. I might be part of THIS community on THIS website, and a few others; but that doesn't mean I and "all other gamers" are "unified".



Is it fair to assert that ****, Torture, Bullying, Racism, Sexism, etc, etc are "Inappropriate"?

I would say that overall, yes. Yet we all have games where someone, even a simple NPC thief, will rob someone; or a "heel" (bad guy) nobleman will kick dirt at the peasant while laughing. The point is, morality conflicts are a story motivator. Knowing the group you are gaming with goes a long way toward content moderation.

However, would I go as far as writing it in the book? Page 1 of the DMG and PHB "Players may not....X...Y...Z..."?

No.

I wouldn't want a book TELLING ME that "**** is not appropriate for games, especially involving young adolescents, children, women, **** victims...."  I mean, I want a book that doesn't assume the worst of me, and need to tell me up front what is and isn't okay. I don't want my coffee cup reminding me "HOT" and I don't want my game book telling me that Racism isn't okay.  That would be patronizing, condescending, degrading and insulting to me, to assume that I don't already know certain principles of common decency and need to be reminded every time I open the book. I mean, really? Give me a break.


So, I think content moderation takes care of itself, really. Think about it. If you associate with a sicko, does that really mean your favorite band is toxic to society, your video games drove you insane, your favorite movie "broke" your perception of fantasy and reality, etc?

I suppose you will want engraved on every knife and gun and fork and spork "Please do not use this object to harm or threaten violence..." because, as a community of Kitchen Knife users, I must agree to a set of universal rules? that someone else came up with? Or, can I just be assumed to have my own common sense?

Within; Without.

I won't have "Moral Guardians" in my game. I also won't have "We **** the elf!" in my game.



Thadian...doesn't the latter make you the former?




That is why I half-agree with you and FamousErik.  I struggle with this one, I will be honest. I feel there are appropriate ways to handle the most ugly aspects that can come up in game, from declaring openly "This is not part of the game" to "implying it in the background". 

I suppose to me, this is more an issue of the warning label.  I don't want 10,000 warning labels all over the place, because then the warning labels which are actually important seem less important.

I don't need to be reminded every time I open my book not to run Hostel scenes for 9 year old kids, and having that label in my book treats me as though I do, which "assumes" something about me from the publishers of the book. I would rather them assume their audience to be sane people, who don't have psychosis issues and don't need to be told.

I struggle with this because I do like universal maxims, however I am always the first critic of them.

Within; Without.

If you're worried about your players doing things like this, just make them all pick good alignments.  If someone horrifies or scares you, don't play with them anymore.
Any player who wants to **** some one in game has RL issues. Wtf. There is being fun evil and just being a RL fuking psycho demented prick living out his fantasy in game.  I dont give a f&#k. No such player is welcome at my home or my table. Fuking **** fantasizing RL psycho fuk. Go live out your fantasy else where. Not in my game. There is playing a villain for fun and playing out your sick fantasy under the guise of "its just a game" so accept me. GTFO of my face. 
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