At The Gaming Table: The X Card

This article is making the rounds by gamers about how to deal with unwelcome situations at a gaming table.

And of course, there is the X-Card.

What I find lacking in the first article is the fact that saying “we don’t do that here” is fine and dandy for the GM, but what about the players? Empowering the players seems to be the point of the X-Card, and of creating ┬ásafe space at the gaming table.

True Story: I was running a game that took place in a real world type setting and had planned to do something relating to a real world event/ holiday. One of my players asked me if this was my plan, and if it was, not to do this, because, she connected very strongly with this day in a way that one might not know or suspect.

Expanding this, bad shit happens in the world. If I decide to set my game aboard a plane, someone might have plane issues.

And, in no way and I making light of them.

I have a friend who refuses to see any movie with an animal in it, as he hates seeing cruelty to animals, which often happens.

That’s legit.

All of us carry baggage.

The X-Card allows my friend/player to say “NO!” when the GM (me) centers a plot idea around a specific date. (Fortunately, she told me this in advance, and I adjusted).

But, there is no way to tell what might affect some people. What I, as GM, might take issue with is not what you might take issue with.

More to the point, many RPGs are about killing. Player characters kill other creatures, some of them even sentient.

If I don’t want to participate in that, I should avoid most games. I can accept this. I will own this. But, I also will not show up to play at a game where I know there will be killing. That puts a real damper on the fun for everyone else.

If a (narrative, collaborative, player-focused) game deals with a bastard child of a demon, ┬ánon-consensual sex may indeed be part of the equation. And, here is the thing- we don’t have to relive it, we can acknowledge this is bad shit, and it’s a way-too-common trope, non-consensual sex, but, ignoring this seems dishonest to the fiction. But, how many people will foresee this unexpected result.

If one doesn’t want to deal with non-consensual sex, perhaps don’t include bastard children of demons.

PreppiePunk deals with some dark shit, I will acknowledge this, but there are no fucking murder hobos.

No one is killing anyone.

What is the body count at your table?






PreppiePunk: HP Academy

In addition to all the classics of the School Genre of fiction: Dead Poets Society, Catcher in the Rye, Gossip Girl, etc, there is a sub-genre that deal with malevolent and/or occult happenings at these schools. The question is, or rather was, would the greatest game ever about Prep-school students be able to handle it, wor would your favorite game designer need to doa a shameless cash grab, launch a kickstarter, just to reskin the book with an extra section on shit like this? Maybe I’ll get some self-proclaimed punk-rock/ rock-star game designers to write a couple paragraphs for me.


It’s all right there.

During the “I Never” phase what happens to the game if #16 was

“I never took part in an occult ritual.”

1370744-1281659695How does this change the cooperatively-created “setting” of your game, and the expectations, as well as the fiction that springs from your game?

  • St. Trinian’s
  • Harry Potter
  • Morning Glories
  • School for Good and Evil
  • Gemma Doyle
  • Vampire Academy
  • Fallen
  • Rosario + Vampire
  • The Magicians
  • Night School


Spring Break at GenCon!

PPunk17_Streamlined_RPGNow - Untitled PageThat’s right!

PreppiePunk at GenCon: RPG17109230

But what about They Might Be Giants, they are playing at 8pm on Thursday.

TMBG is the equivalent of most Super Bowl halftime shows of late, artists that were relevant 25 years ago.

What acts would be better suited for skipping the most important game at GenCon.

Funny you should ask.

  • Patton Oswalt stand-up set
  • Brian Posehn stand-up set
  • Chris Hardwick stand-up set (fuck a live-action D&D game with these three and maybe Wil Fucking Wheaton and Blaine Capatch and why not, Vin Diesel)
  • Weezer (noted D&D players)
  • Gerard Way- not only is he from My Chemical Romance, but is overseeing a whole line of DC Comics.
  • Marilyn Manson
  • James Franco- just being James Franco
  • Zak Sabbath
  • Tom Morello
  • Adam Warrock