I need to mention, up front, that I have not downloaded this thing from Monte Cook games (yet), so some of the thoughts that have been formed in my head are based on the threads/arguments/rants that I have read. Please, forgive AND inform me if I have something skewed.
I’ve been playing tabletop role-playing games for over 3 decades. Too say the least, I’m old… school. So when this RPG CONSENT CHECKLIST was published by Monte Cook Games and all the discussions began, I admittedly scratched my head.
It just didn’t make sense to me. Part of the reason for that was some of the more volatile threads I was seeing concerning using or not using this checklist and simply the point of it in the first place. I just didn’t see why some folks felt the need to make all the proverbial noise they were making. It’s just gaming. Each to their own…
The other reason was that “old… school” thing. Of all the gaming groups I have been with over the years, I just couldn’t recall a need for something like a consent checklist, and that included groups that were mixed with adults and kids and/or male and female. If there was some concern over a type of content in the game, there was a discussion (group and/or individual) and we moved on with adjustments made.
As a DM/GM, I have always been upfront about the content of my campaigns. When there was an issue over something in my campaign, it was discussed. We resolved the issue and continued on. The resolution was not always perfect, but I never passed judgement on those that brought up the issue. I never felt any need. I would rather work something out and understand the issue rather than be a jerk and hurt feelings and lose players. So, maybe that’s why I’m initially uncertain about the value of this checklist.
With that said…
This checklist could be quite useful when trying to form a new group. It is a convenient collection of possible contents in a campaign that a person can go through and give their acceptance (or lack thereof) to in a written form that the DM/GM can quickly read and get a preliminary understanding of potential player requirements. He/She can then go through and choose players that appear to be the best fit for the intended content of the campaign.
When you don’t know people, admitting being squeamish or having issues with certain content might sometimes be difficult. So, having a form like this makes it a little less personal than having to explain issues face to face. It’s a win then and carries some value.
I don’t know that I will use it since I am the type of person that is more than willing to discuss these things directly and without judgement. But if a possible player approached me and gave a checklist to me, I would not be offended in the least. Some folks are just better at communicating that way. I would go over it and see it as an opportunity to begin a conversation with that person/potential player.
That brings me to the next point I’d like to make…
Who gives a shit if some people want to use this checklist and some don’t? I guess I don’t see the point of all the “angst” this has seemed to create. It’s a tool that can be used or not. It might help some socially awkward folks better communicate with potential gaming groups about concerns they have over the content of a game. If it helps better inform, what’s the problem? If you don’t want to use it, so what? It’s up to the individual to decide whether to use this checklist and whether to try and interact with other individuals that decide the opposite way. If you don’t like how a DM/GM handles things, you don’t have to be a part of that group… walk away.
Look. I understand that gaming has many personal facets to it. I have gotten to know gamers over the years way better sometimes than casual friends. It’s amazing what you learn about people when you play RPGs with them. There is potential to strike some deep chords with individuals with certain types of situations, even if it is just in a game. I have even creeped myself out while running a game because of situations the players helped me create. I understand where this checklist idea probably came from.
I still don’t understand why, though, this has seemed to boil up like it has. I think some folks are being too rash about this. I don’t think it’s right or wrong to use or not use a checklist like this. I don’t think it’s right or wrong to have conversations about possible content in a game before starting that game. I don’t think it’s right or wrong to have a combination of these things. I don’t see a reason to judge people either way.
The fear of being a bit vulnerable is, I guess, why this seemed to escalate. When there is concern over the content of a game, folks with the concern must admit that concern making themselves feel, at least, a bit vulnerable. Just discussing the possible use of this checklist makes folks think about vulnerability, and I suppose, opinions are strong because of it.
Again, though, I’m going to admit to not understanding the tension this has created. Some people like the idea of the checklist, some don’t. There’s no need to argue about whether it should be used and be butt-hurt if there is disagreement. Quite frankly, if you’re going to try and ram your side of an argument down my throat, I’m not going to be interested in wanting you around as a fellow gamer (or person) anyway.
Everybody has the freedom to choose. Gamers can choose with whom they will group up. If part of the criteria for joining or not joining a group is the use of the checklist, so be it. You do you, and I’ll do me.
I would appreciate hearing from you folks about his. Do I have this wrong? What other insight is there concerning the consent checklist in gaming?
As always, if you like what you’ve read here, click the like button. If you have something to say about this post, please, leave a comment. I always want to hear what other people think. Conversation is much more fun than monologue.
Type to you later 🙂