Friday, March 9, 2012

Player's comfort zone

As I started playing with beginner I started to think I have to find out his comfort zone. I have played with my girlfriend and I know what she is okay with and what is too much.

I will rate these questions from 1 to 3.
1: No way!
2. Okay with it if it's in good taste.

Basic questions will be:

Is player ok if religion (real-life or fantasy) is present in game. How much religion and pantheon can be dealed in campaign? Is religion for any reason uncomfortable topic for player?

Can there be sexual themes? Could player character have sex with other characters and how detailed this would be? Should there be sex in normal life of game world, or should sex just be one detail not needed at all. What about forced sex or perversions or unnatural sex? Could character interrupt scene of raping or should it be changed to assault? If player character is having sex should the scene be skipped or should it be described? If description is ok how detailed it should be?

Occultism, dark arts, sacrifices
How much occultism there can be in game? Is player comfortable with dark rituals and demons? How detailed rituals should be, are human sacrifices ok or should occultic rituals be handled with softer tone. How much detail there should be in rituals or is description of "some sinister and dark ritual" enough.

How detailed death should be? Is enemy defeated or does his head splatter all over the place and guts flow to the floor? Are there just bodies or horribly mutilated bodies? Are there worms or do the worms crawl the rotten flesh in high detail? What about innocent people? Is it ok that innocents suffer?

Depressive Themes
How dark and depressive game can be? Should things never go too depressing and desperate? Is player comfortable with depressing themes or does he want lighter touch. In what detail player is willing to go describing and playing his character's mood? If player himself is vulnerable to depression how can he handle themes like this?

I am all the way to 3. But I am experienced player and know well how to put aside my own feelings if it suits the character or situation. I don't mix with real life what happens in game. Naturally I can feel disgusted, sad, or repelled but it is just a game. Some people are more sensitive and it should be respected.

Are there any other points to add to my list of topics that should be considered when playing with others? Point of having fun when gaming is that no one feels uncomfortable. Sometimes it's good for the game to feel a bit uncomfortable but if it is overwhelming I don't see advantage in that. Playing should be fun for everyone including being afraid or disgusted of the Rotten Maggot King Of Dark Temple but sometimes it might be just enough for someone. Not everyone of us enjoy funeral doom metal and splatter movies.


Jonas said...

I would say I'm mostly in category two.

If I would be inclined to use type of rating system you have developed I would seperate sex and rape to different categories.

I would consider in such table acknowledgement of such difference of utmost importance as most gaming horror stories seem to be about folk who dont seem to get it.

Unknown said...

Rape could be included in violence or gore I think, or is sexual violence so big theme that it needs it's own category?

Nuurori said...

Yes, along with other things that are not yet made fun in movies. I've never heard of a movie or book where rape or pedofilia or such things are shown in "funny" light. Even if the movie otherwise would be, taboo broken is usually the reason to exact revenge on the wrongdoer.

In my game Characters participating a feast were served grilled foetus. Most didn't eat even under threat of severe consequences of not pleasing their host, the Duke Black Consciousness.